Another season marks another chance to feel optimistic about your favorite NBA team’s chances of making some noise. Other than a few brief stretches, Minnesota Timberwolves fans have had trouble finding any reason to be optimistic over the past few years. From injuries to frequent coaching changes to frequent front office switches to Darko Milicic, the Timberwolves have had quite an interesting little decade. This season is a special one. It marks the 10-year anniversary of their 2003-04 run to the Western
This week marks the final edition of our Sixth Man Rankings, and we have a winner. While major alterations to the list have been made throughout this process, the race ultimately has come down to two players on opposite sides of the country: Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford and New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith. Both players are in their first full season with their teams and both were able to add a bench scoring dimension to which neither team had
Basketball is a team game, but it is also a game that can easily be altered by a single player, moreso than any other major sport. And that player doesn’t even have to be a starter. In many games this season, there has been a fairly strong correlation between the success of the Los Angeles Clippers when Jamal Crawford is doing well – and when he isn’t. The same can be said for J.R. Smith in New York. With two weeks in the
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. As cliché as that may be, it’s something that NBA coaches tend to live by in terms of player rotations. However, sometimes things break, and it’s the coach’s job to fix the mess. The Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics both have had to deal with adversity of late and have had to make the tough choice to put their most productive sparks off the bench – Gordon Hayward and Jeff Green, respectively – into the
A month of the regular season remains. There is still plenty of basketball to be played and still plenty of chances for teams around the league to solidify their playoff positions. On the other hand, there is a handful of teams whose executives may be forced to look at the draft lottery and beyond, even with about 15 games remaining for most teams. The key players off the bench around the NBA are all over the league. They play for teams competing
It’s amazing what an injury to a single player, especially a star player, can do to the entirety of a 15-man roster. Recent injuries to the likes of Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo and Knicks forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire have raised serious questions about how these teams cope without indespensable players. Some of the NBA’s best sixth men are trying to take full advantage of these very situations. What can be especially amazing about a star-driven
Finally, a chance for some our candidates for the Sixth Man Award to get time in the national spotlight. With TNT airing two extra games Tuesday, the week was filled with national TV showcases. While some candidates were able to step up, others didn’t look quite as prepared. While it’s likely that the televising network didn’t have much to do with their success, or lack thereof, the difference in production for a couple players seemed to change when the likes of
When February turns into March, the hope for all NBA coaches is that their teams will be fresh and up to the challenge of competing for respect around the league (relatively speaking for each team, of course). Sometimes things just happen that the neither the coaches nor the players can expect or account for. In a lot of cases, after the All Star break, some players who were on a roll can run into problems.