Sheridan Hoops Sun, 29 Nov 2015 18:35:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 NBA Daily Links: 11.29.15 Sun, 29 Nov 2015 07:01:06 +0000


“I think that the power is the principle. The principle of moving forward, as though you have the confidence to move forward, eventually gives you confidence when you look back and see what you’ve done.”

-Robert Downey Jr.



First female NBA head coach: who will it be?


Which comes first: Warriors lose or Sixers win?


In current NBA, shooters are at a distinct advantage


The NBA’s best No. 2 options


The NBA’s most improved players


Here’s what NBA players looked like before they were covered in tattoos


NBA twins can’t live together because their cats hate each other



Prosecution for cocaine possession unlikely



Noel, Okafor yet to find a fit on court



Preview: Bucks vs Hornets


Bucks trying to keep up in improved Eastern Conference


Rookie makes veteran-like move



Derrick Rose’s shooting struggles at or near career lows


Hoiberg offense a work-in-progress



A LeBron mini-hook at the buzzer gives Cavs a 90-88 win over Nets


Lionel Hollins sees a little bit of LeBron rubbing off on Kevin Love



Brad Stevens has the Celtics’ attention


Celtics toughest road test awaits with 5 games in 9 days


Sullinger catching everything that comes his way



Jordan has plenty to say about Stephenson’s bounce-back game



Griz on guard with winless Sixers visiting



Hawks-Spurs report card


Observations from Hawks loss to Spurs


Sefolosha returns to Hawks starting lineup



Hassan Whiteside on pace to lead block party


Gerald Green works his way back from purgatory as a more complete player


Webber sees Wade aging more like Duncan than Kobe


Wade pays tribute to slain teen on shoes



Hornets gameday vs Bucks



Jazz close by committee in win over New Orleans


Team searches for consistency in long season


Tibor Pleiss’ new wardrobe accessories doesn’t impress teammates


With Favors out, Booker comes up big



Draymond Green has triple-double as Warriors beat Kings


Kings another victim in Warriors historic run


Rondo finding his groove



Derek Fisher at game 100


Porzingis gets advice from Phil: He can help me with everything


Hushed Phil Jackson has teaching moment with Porzingis


Jimmer expected to debut with D-League Knicks on Monday



Scott says he tries to block out noise from angry fans


Lakers drop 5th straight


Hibbert must face his feeling when playing Pacers



Magic may be without budding star Fournier (hip) against Celtics


Much about the Magic’s rebuild remains to be settled


Skiles says East much better this season



How Wesley Matthews, mojo fostered franchise-best display of defense vs Nuggets


How Chandler Parsons is progressing


Why rookie Justin Anderson could see bump in playing time soon


Justin Anderson still trying to cracks Mavs rotation



LeBron latest to rip Nets heart out with game winner



Cold third-quarter shooting dooms Nuggets



What makes Lavoy Allen the most interesting Pacer?



Anthony Davis scores 36, Pelicans still lose


Lack of production outside Anthony Davis among key stats



Van Gundy wants more effort out of Drummond


Forget stars’ thoughts, Pistons happy with Jackson



Buzzer-beater gives Raptors win over Wizards



Motiejunas getting closer to return


JB Bickerstaff looks forward to taking these Rockets on the road



Fresh Duncan, Ginobili star in Spurs win


Spurs reminding former assistant of defensive salad days


Kawhi Leonard’s transformation to an MVP candidate is complete


New Spurs, old style



Suns deal with defensive issues to start trip



Blazers cruise past Lakers


Blazers found quality lineups, both big and small, with Meyers Leonard sidelined



Warriors ride Rush to 18th straight victory


No timetable for Harrison Barnes to return


Golden State up to 17-0 with perfection imperfections


Warriors by the numbers


Warriors fans are basking in a golden state


With Steve Kerr sidelined, Warriors perfect start raises question of credit



Gortat: We’ve got to cut the negativity


Cory Joseph beat buzzer as Raptors stun Wizards


Peter Newmann is an analyst and writer who spent 10 years at ESPN, 8 as the NBA senior researcher working 24/7 on the league. He wrote game notes for crews, articles for, analysis for studio shows, and regularly assisted reporters and writers. Follow him on Twitter, and check out his Web site,

]]> 0
Most Improved Player Rankings: The Birth of a Star Sat, 28 Nov 2015 16:01:47 +0000

KavehSome 7,500 light years away from Earth, at the center of a swirling vortex of nebulous clouds larger than our entire solar system lies Eta Carinae.

EtaCarinaeA stellar system that burns over five million times brighter than our sun, Eta Carinae is the only star of its kind in the known universe. Observing it has sparked new theories and understandings of radiation, fusion, and spectral energy distribution.

But astronomers and stargazers have watched and recorded Eta Carinae every night since 1679 for one reason; because it continues to defy expectations. At over 150 million years old, Eta Carine burned the brightest it ever has just last year – the brightest it may ever be until it eventually explodes in a supernova.

The birth of Eta Carinae was like any other star; violent and punctuated by eruptions. Once fusion begins at the core level, it begins an unmistakable and often rapid process that ends in the formation a full fledged star. The NBA has a few stars of its own, and their eruptions are not so different.

It would be nice to call the Most Improved Player award the Eta Carinae Award, but nobody would get it aside from astronomers who like basketball.

In a galaxy of stars, only a few players have unexpectedly moved toward supernova stage. The guy I have on top of these rankings isn’t often mentioned in the Most Improved Player award debate … but he should be.

Stephen Currywarriors small logo1. Stephen Curry, G, Warriors
51% FG%, 93% FT%, 5.0 3PTM, 31.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 6.1 APG, 2.6 SPG, .2 BP, 3.6 TO

If one player has vaulted himself to a new level of stardom, it is undoubtedly Stephen Curry.  He is morphing from being the best player in the NBA last season to being the best player in all of sports. The truth is that it’s not even close, he’s improved across the board in leaps and bounds. He’s averaging nearly 10 more PPG than last season, leads the league in 3PTM by a massive margin, and is shooting 67% in the paint – 2nd in the NBA. His undefeated Golden State Warriors team looks poised to challenge the ‘96-’97 Bulls record for 72 regular season wins because Steph is like Mike, actually Curry’s true shooting percentage is 6 points better than Michael Jordan’s career high. The only thing holding Steph back is how quickly the Dubs are blowing out teams; he hasn’t played in the fourth quarter of his last four games.

Hassan Whitesideheat small logo2. Hassan Whiteside, C, Heat
60% FG%, 54% FT%, 0 3PTM, 14 PPG, 11.4 RPG, .3 APG, .7 SPG, 4.8 BP, 2.1 TO

You might say that Hassan Whiteside finishing 4th in last year’s Most Improved Player race precludes him from being it this year – and you would be wrong. First of all the man is leading the NBA in BPG at 4.8, which is almost 2 BPG more than any other player. He has been much more consistent than last season, registering 9 or more rebounds in every game except one since opening night and averaging 2.2 BPG more than last season. Whiteside earned a triple-double with 12 blocks against Minnesota and has improved on last years marks in every category. Whiteside has been Miami’s answer to opponents’ small ball lineups, and perhaps most impressively has become the Heat’s best two-way player on a roster that has a combined 29 All Star appearances. He currently ranks 13th overall in fantasy and stands among the best centers in the NBA.

Portland Trail BlazersPortland_TrailBlazers_logosheet3. C.J. McCollum, G, Blazers
46% FG%, 88% FT%, 2.1 3PTM, 20.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.1 APG, .9 SPG, .4 BP, 2.1 TO

If you compare last year’s stats to this year, CJ McCollum has grown more than any player in the NBA. CJ averaged only 6.8 points last year behind Wesley Matthews, but is averaging 20 PPG and 2.1 3PTM this season in starting duties. His 37-point performance in the season opener, high percentages, 3.1 APG, and ever improving AST/TO ratio proves his value as a decision maker. After losing four-fifth of the starting lineup to free agency in the offseason, Blazers fans can take solace in the fact that GM Neil Olshey has another star to pair with Damian Lillard in the backcourt for the foreseeable future. McCollum is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league and appears to be improving in every game.


Ish-Smith4. Ish Smith, G, Pelicans                                                                                                                     
41% FG%, 72% FT%, .6 3PTM, 11.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 8.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, .4 BP, 2.1 TO

On a Pelicans team decimated by injuries, the  silver lining has been the unexpected production of Ish Smith. On his 10th team in five seasons, Smith was picked up by the Pels just two days before the start of the ’15-’16 campaign. He currently is third in the NBA in assists, and has nearly doubled his previous career highs in steals and points per game. Smith has capitalized on the opportunity to play the lion’s share of minutes with Jrue Holiday still under heavy minutes restrictions, and appears to have finally found a home. He’s had 10 or more assists in four of his last six games, and the speedster shows no signs of slowing down.

magic small logo EvanFournier5. Evan Fournier, F, Magic
46% FG%, 79% FT%, 2.4 3PTM, 17.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0 BP, 1.7 TO

On a Magic squad loaded with first-round picks, Evan Fournier has emerged as the leading scorer and one of the best surprises of the young season. He has gone from a rotation player to leading the Magic in minutes per game and doubled his win shares per 48 minutes.  The 23-year old has made the 7th most 3 pointers in the NBA, including 5 threes and a game-winner over the Wolves. This dark horse candidate will need to lead the Magic to more victories to earn MIP, but with career highs in across the board, including 1.3 steals, Fournier might be ready to turn that corner. The Frenchman sits at number 35 overall in fantasy.

Kaveh Eslampour is a writer from New York with no experience in spectral energy distribution. Follow him on Twitter @KEslampour.

]]> 0
Fantasy Spin: Warriors Score 135 In Latest Romp; Go For 18 Tonight Sat, 28 Nov 2015 15:24:37 +0000

KentSaturday’s 7-game slate again features Stephen Curry $10900 and the amazing Warriors, a two-touchdown favorite at home against Sacramento. Draymond Green $7400 triple-doubled as 17-0 Golden State scored 75 points in the first half; the MVP hit nine triples and scored 41 in just 31 minutes.

They may not be needed for long tonight; who lost in Minnesota without DeMarcus Cousins $10600 (back) and with Rudy Gay $7400 shooting 1-for-13. The Kings’ bench scored 45 points; Marco Belinelli $4300, Omri Casspi $4700 and Darren Collison $4400 are again better value than the starters.

Tim Duncan $6100 and Manu Ginobili $4400 should be prominent after sitting out last night’s easy win in Denver. Tony Parker $5500 might be due for a rest tonight but the Spurs need all hands on deck against Atlanta. Six Hawks hit double figures in Memphis, as Kent Bazemore $5400 (ankle) returned from a five-game absence. Jeff Teague $6700 and Paul Millsap $7800 were particularly great and Mike Muscala $3000 played a strong 24 minutes.

Plays of the Day

Daily fantasy contests at DraftKings close at 7:00 ET. The $200K Sharpshooter is a $3 buy-in (FREE to new depositors) that pays the top 16,300 finishers from up to 76,666 teams. First place wins $15,000. Enter now and make unlimited lineup changes until each player’s game begins.

lineup-11-28In this road back-to-back off a 21-point loss, with Anthony Davis $10600 (knee bruise) questionable, the Pelicans are in big trouble. Raul Neto $3000 will get 30+ minutes if Trey Burke $3700 (back) sits out. Rodney Hood $5000 (back) is also questionable, so Gordon Hayward $6500 will take a lot of shots. Derrick Favors $7100 and Rudy Gobert $6100 become even more valuable if Davis sits.

Damian Lillard $9100 missed 18 shots against the Bulls on Tuesday but torched the Lakers in L.A. last Sunday (30 PTS, 13 AST, 6 REB, 2 STL) and should have similar starts at home. C.J. McCollum $6500 and Mason Plumlee $6000 were also bargains. Meyers Leonard $4200 will return after missing only seven games with a shoulder injury; he’s probably on a minutes restriction.

LeBron James $9600 and Kevin Love $8300 are solid plays at home against Brooklyn. Even when they lose, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson $4400 and Brook Lopez $7300 are putting up good numbers for the Nets.

Deron Williams $5800 and Dirk Nowitzki $6200 are affordable as Dallas hosts the Nuggets. I’m also watching Chandler Parsons $4200 for a breakout game — he’s up to 25 minutes, well-rested and at home.

Though the Raptors are downplaying revenge, they are still hurting from Washington’s playoff sweep. Kyle Lowry $8500 and DeMar DeRozan will battle John Wall $7900 and Bradley Beal $6600 at a furious pace. The hand injury to Jonas Valanciunas made Bismack Biyombo $4300 a starter and Luis Scola $5100 a scorer. Marcin Gortat $5600 is the best Wizards big man by far, with Kris Humphries $4000 slumping and Nene Hilario (calf) injured, so Jared Dudley $3000 scored 19 in 30 minutes off the bench as they were blown out in Boston.

Pos Premium Midrange Bargain
PG Damian Lillard $9100 Kyle Lowry $8500 Raul Neto $3000
SG DeMar DeRozan $7000 C.J. McCollum $6500 Manu Ginobili $4400
SF Kawhi Leonard $8400 Gordon Hayward $6500 Chandler Parsons $4200
PF Kevin Love $8300 Dirk Nowitzki $6200 Luis Scola $5100
C Brook Lopez $7300 Mason Plumlee $6000 Bismack Biyombo $4300

The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.

]]> 0
NBA Daily Links: 11.28.15 Sat, 28 Nov 2015 07:01:37 +0000


“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”

-Arthur Ashe




Curry vs Westbrook debate not so simple to determine


Biggest early surprises of 2015-16 season


Is the future of the NBA’s shooting guard position in good hands?


Top clutch players this season


Teams underachieving and overachieving



Police now investigating incident involving Okafor


Jahlil Okafor had gun pointed at him in Oct. altercation



Sixers lose, set dubious mark


76ers one loss from worst start in NBA history



Bucks defense disappears as Magic pull away in third quarter


Jason Kidd suspended one game



Pacers run away from low energy Bulls


Frank Vogel lauds Jimmy Butler for All-Star level of play


Jimmy Butler playing through the pain



LeBron’s talks Jordan’s continued impact on hoops


Cavaliers rally in fourth quarter to beat Hornets


JR Smith on exchange with Cam Newton: All fun and games


The scary thing is the Cavs will get better


LeBron not there yet for wanting to own an NBA team



Celtics jump out early, beat down Wizards


Marcus Smart uncertain on return date: You can’t tell your body what to do


Jared Sullinger doesn’t need big minutes to make an impact


Celtics make Wall a non-factor



Clippers get much needed win in New Orleans


Clippers suffering from same old problems



Hawks hand Grizzlies 116-101 loss


New-look Grizzlies pushing the pace–25799338-9b9c-5d5a-e053-0100007f0f9b-355228991.html



Injured Splitter to miss more time


Observations from Hawks win over Grizzlies



Heat focused on forging a legacy after LeBron


Gerald Green steals show in Heat win over Knicks


Deng misses second straight game



Hornets coach: Jordan is easiest owner to work for


LeBron, Cavs too much for Hornets



Anthony Davis provides another daunting task for Jazz bigs


Hayward, Jazz hope win over Clippers was a confidence booster


After road-heavy, early-season slate, Jazz aim to fatten up record at home



Kings battle but fall again without Cousins



Carmelo disappears as Knicks fall apart in 3rd straight loss


Heat expose Knicks discipline problems



Kobe Bryant is giving the Lakers an easy out


Byron Scott says benching Kobe Bryant is not an option


Kobe Bryant’s playing time during grueling stretch not yet determined


Lakers balancing Kobe Bryant’s options in back-to-backs



Magic crush Bucks, clinch 1st winning month since March 2012


Skiles, Kidd recall Phoenix days together


Skiles says he wouldn’t have traded Harris



What the Mavericks need to do to keep pace in the mild, mild West


Barea will miss at least 3 games with ankle injury



Joe Johnson’s shifted role hiding reason Nets need him


It’s not easy coming to work with a 3-12 record, says Joe Johnson



Arthur sharpens touch from beyond the arc


Spurs dominate in Denver without Duncan, Ginobili



Bulls impressed by Paul George’s return to superstar level


George’s grit leads Pacers



Anthony Davis goes down, Pelicans lose


Anthony Davis carried off the court after collision with Chris Paul


Tyreke Evans sits out another game but could make his debut Saturday



Durant spoils Jackson’s return


Van Gundy knows why coach-ref quarrels happen



Raptors settle Johnson dispute, look ahead to Wizards rematch


Scola, 35, up to his old tricks



Harden’s 50 points lift Rockets past winless 76ers


Rockets unveil new big starting lineup


Beverley has a fan over to celebrate Thanksgiving



Leonard’s big night carries Spurs


Parker’s defense pleases Pop



Warriors roll past Suns



Durant leads Thunder to 103-87 win over Pistons


Defense-by-committee limits Drummond


Appreciating Russell Westbrook


What Billy Donovan’s most important job is with the Thunder



Wolves beat Kings behind Wiggins, LaVine, bench


Milt Newton’s odyssey goes from troubled kid to GM


Meyers Leonard set to return against Lakers



Is Curry the MVP and most improved?


What historic feats could be in store for Warriors?


Warriors unselfish play gets Jeff Hornacek’s attention, praise


As the NBA stays big, the Warriors win small


Barnes exits early with ankle injury


Walton might get credit for victories


Curry: Warriors talk about 33 in a row



Wizards sleepwalk through rout in Boston


Nene says he definitely won’t play against Raptors


Peter Newmann is an analyst and writer who spent 10 years at ESPN, 8 as the NBA senior researcher working 24/7 on the league. He wrote game notes for crews, articles for, analysis for studio shows, and regularly assisted reporters and writers. Follow him on Twitter, and check out his Web site,

]]> 0
Fantasy Spin: Teammates Gain Value As San Antonio Rests Duncan & Ginobili Fri, 27 Nov 2015 15:53:09 +0000

KentAs expected, breaking news has affected our preliminary lineup for DFS contests at DraftKings tonight. Sure enough, Gregg Popovich did not take Manu Ginobili or Tim Duncan (rest) to Denver, resting them for tomorrow’s home game.

All three of the Spurs we liked become even better daily plays. Kawhi Leonard $8400, Tony Parker $5300 and LaMarcus Aldridge $6800 will get more touches, with David West $3800 a bargain as a starter and Boris Diaw $3400 gaining value. If Danny Green $$4500 gets hot early, that’s an excellent price. Role players like Patty Mills $3600 could get extra run.

For the overmatched Nuggets, Danilo Gallinari $7000 is fresh off a 20-point, 18-rebound game, and with Kenneth Faried (ankle) out, Darrell Arthur $4000 and Nikola Jokic $4600 are inexpensive starters. If Joffrey Lauvergne $4200 (back) suits up, avoid all three big men.

Among 11 players with salaries above $9000, we keyed on James Harden $10100 in Thursday’s Spin and managed to fit in Blake Griffin $9100 at PF. I still like Blake, Chris Paul $8400 and DeAndre Jordan $7200 at home against Anthony Davis $10800 and his supporting cast, but am reconsidering Harden.

Every team is overconfident against the Sixers, who have lost their last three by five points or less. Robert Covington $5100 has been terrific — even when he shot 4-for-16, he had 14 REB, 6 STL and 2 BLK — and despite an after-hours altercation in Boston on Wednesday, rookie Jahlil Okafor $7000 is off to a great start. Isaiah Canaan $3900 and Hollis Thompson $3600 are both contributing. It’s worth pointing out that the Rockets, dysfunctional before the coaching change, have lost three straight.

Plays of the Day

Contests spanning all 12 games close at 7:00 ET. There are also Turbo pools, which close at 8:00 Eastern and cover just five games. The Turbo $30K Sharpshooter is a $3 buy-in (FREE to new DK depositors) that pays the top 2,302 finishers from up to 11,495 teams. First place wins $2,000. Enter now and make unlimited lineup changes until each player’s game begins.

lineup-11-27aIt’s fun to speculate on whether the 0-16 Philadelphia 76ers will win a game before the 16-0 Golden State Warriors lose one. In a way, there’s more pressure on Stephen Curry $10900, Draymond Green $7500 and their teammates to be great every night, and much more incentive for each opponent to knock off the champions.

DeMarcus Cousins $10600 (back) left Monday’s game and sat out on Wednesday. If he does not suit up, Rudy Gay $7200 is an excellent price. While Rajon Rondo $9300 has surprised, there’s room for him and Darren Collison $4400 to co-exist. Kosta Koufos $4500 is also playable when DMC is out. For the T-wolves, Ricky Rubio $6900 (ankle) is questionable so Zach LaVine $4800 could be a bargain, and Gorgui Dieng $3700 has overachieved in three of his last four.

While Russell Westbrook $11000 doesn’t need extra motivation, he’s playing at home against former understudy Reggie Jackson $7200 for the first time since the trade. Westbrook also has Kevin Durant $9600 as a co-star, so a big win for OKC seems likely.

We didn’t mention the Bulls and Pacers yesterday. Paul George $10200 is having an MVP-type season, with a career-high 40 in Washington on Tuesday. He’s earned a higher salary than KD and LeBron James $9900 at the loaded SF position. George Hill $6000 returned sharp after missing ten days with an illness. Chicago relies on Jimmy Butler $8200, Pau Gasol $7100 and Derrick Rose $6000.

If you don’t pay up for Harden or Butler, it’s tempting to “punt” SG with Thompson — or Gerald Green $3300 if Luol Deng $4200 (hamstring) misses another game.

By the way, stacking the maximum six Spurs leaves $17600 for a Premium C and Util. Andre Drummond $9100 and CP3, Hassan Whiteside $8300 and Griffin, even Dwight Howard $7200 and Harden. I’ve entered worse lineups.

Pos Premium Midrange Bargain
PG Russell Westbrook $11100 Tony Parker $5300 Isaiah Canaan $3900
SG James Harden $10100 Jimmy Butler $8200 Hollis Thompson $3600
SF Kawhi Leonard $8400  Rudy Gay $7200 Robert Covington $5100
PF Blake Griffin $9100 LaMarcus Aldridge $6800 David West $3800
C Andre Drummond $9100 Marcin Gortat $5400 Gorgui Dieng $3700

The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.

]]> 0
Steps to fixing the Clippers Fri, 27 Nov 2015 15:08:53 +0000

PeterNewmannSince a 4-0 start, the Clippers are just 3-8 in their last 11 games. LA is under .500 after Wednesday’s loss to the Jazz, begging the question, ‘Can whatever is wrong be fixed?’



These are the steps that would be imperative to fixing the team.

1 – Lineup analysis

The Clippers have used 19 different 5-man combinations that have played 10+ minutes together.

Of these 19 combinations, the one that stands out is Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, Wesley Johnson, Josh Smith and DeAndre Jordan.

This is the Clippers best defensive lineup of the 19, allowing just 76.6 points per 100 possessions. This also happens to be LA’s best offensive lineup. The Clippers have a ridiculous +59.1 net rating when this group has played together. This lineup has outscored its opponents 50-32, for a +18 advantage, in only 20 minutes on the court.

The Clippers like this lineup, but not as much as playing a true second unit together. LA will swap out DeAndre Jordan for Paul Pierce, creating a new lineup that goes from a dominating +59.1 net rating to a -17.3 net rating. That lineup is used more than twice as often, and is the second-most used lineup for the Clippers all season! This is regardless of the fact that LA’s -25 plus/minus with that group is it’s worst for any lineup combination.

2 – Make more free throws

The Clippers draw fouls at a rate that is the second-highest in the NBA. However, the inconsistency from game to game is very apparent.

The Clippers need to make free throws to win games. When they make 20 free throws or more, LA is 7-1. When they make 19 or less, LA is 0-7.

3 – Rebounding

The Clippers have played 15 games and have been outrebounded in 13 of those games, including all 8 losses. In the games they weren’t outrebounded, they tied their opponent.

The Clippers have not outrebounded a single opponent this season.

The team’s -5.3 rebound margin per game is 29th in the NBA. It’s offensive rebound percentage is 23rd, defensive rebound percentage is 28th and overall rebound percentage is 29th (Bucks).


Peter Newmann is an analyst and writer who spent 10 years at ESPN, 8 as the NBA senior researcher working 24/7 on the league. He wrote game notes for crews, articles for, analysis for studio shows, and regularly assisted reporters and writers. Follow him on Twitter, and check out his Web site,

]]> 0
Scotto: Ben Simmons Headlines NBA Draft Prospects at 2K and Legends Classic Thu, 26 Nov 2015 17:00:50 +0000

Michael Scotto NEW YORK – Some of the 2016 NBA draft’s top prospects were in town for the 2K and Legends Classics with executives drooling over their potential, including Philadelphia’s Sam Hinkie and Boston’s Danny Ainge.

With Brooklyn holding the third-worst record in the league (3-12), Ainge should give Nets GM Billy King a Thanksgiving turkey for sending him Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick next summer as part of the 2013 trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

However, Hinkie – the man who puts the “tank” in tanking – has the early lead in the Ben Simmons sweepstakes with the 76ers at a league-worst 0-16, two shy of the NBA record. The Sixers also own the top pick of the Los Angeles Lakers (2-12), provided it does not land in the top three.

Ben SimmonsThe LSU freshman forward stole the show at the Legends Classic with 21 points, 20 rebounds, seven assists and two steals against Marquette on Monday. On Tuesday, Simmons proved he affects a game without scoring with 14 rebounds, 10 assists and three blocks as North Carolina State packed the paint and limited him to four points.

Another heralded recruit, Marquette freshman forward Henry Ellenson, also shared the spotlight with Simmons. Ellenson, a potential first-round pick, averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in the Legends Classic.

In the 2K Classic, Duke sophomore guard Grayson Allen lit up the Garden like Times Square on New Year’s Eve by averaging 31 points. Allen shot 67 percent (18-of-27) from the field and 64 percent (9-of-14) from the arc.

Allen stole the spotlight from teammate Brandon Ingram, a top-three recruit according to ESPN and Scout. Ingram underwhelmed by averaging 6.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in the 2K Classic while struggling from the field at 29 percent (4-of-14) and the foul line at 38 percent (5-of-13).

In addition, Georgetown’s future looks promising thanks to sophomore forward Isaac Copeland and freshman center Jessie Govan. Copeland had his best offensive game of the season against fifth-ranked Duke on Sunday with 21 points on 7-for-14 shooting, including three 3-pointers. Govan showed his all-around potential with 13 points, five rebounds, three blocks and three assists in just 26 minutes against Wisconsin on Friday.

With that in mind, here is a detailed breakdown of those players mentioned:

Ben Simmons, LSU, F, 6-10, 240 pounds, freshman

Ben SimmonsSimmons plays point forward like LeBron James and has even been compared to Magic Johnson. His offensive versatility also reminds scouts of Lamar Odom.

“He’s a very difficult matchup,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said Monday. “Obviously he’s a very unique player; he’s a very talented player. Because of his size, athleticism and his ability to handle the ball, he’s unique. He’s a unique matchup.”

In transition, Simmons is a freight train when he attacks the rim and can switch hands mid-air while dunking. Or he can thread the needle with a one-handed bounce pass between two defenders on the break, as he did Tuesday to Antonio Blakeney. Heck, his outlet passes would make Kevin Love nod in approval.

“I thought in the open floor Ben did a great job of getting the guys and putting them on their heels,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said Monday. “He was able to push the basketball and get inside their defense, get to the rim and made plays. He actually got fouled enough tonight to shoot 11 free throws.”

After watching Simmons attack the paint relentlessly against Marquette, North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried had a plan to slow down the heralded freshman on Tuesday.

“Our plan was really to crowd the lane, flood the lane and put everybody to sink and clog it up and not let him get going with his penetration,” Gottfried said. “What happened was he’s so tall and he’s such a great passer that a lot of times he skipped it to the corners and they made some threes. It’s almost like you’ve got to pick your poison a little bit.”

Despite being limited to four points, Simmons became the only freshman in the last 20 seasons – and 13th overall – with 10 assists and 15 rebounds in a single game. A reluctant shooter, Simmons did not take a jumper beyond the foul line despite making several 3-pointers in warmups.

“I think Ben has a really great basketball IQ,” Jones said. “I think he played the game the way it’s supposed to be played. He doesn’t force action. I think he’s always very aggressive and he looks for opportunities for his teammates.”

Sound familiar? These were similar criticisms of James early in his career, too. His teammates were the recipients of crisp passes every time they were open. Simmons totaled 17 assists in the two games but easily could have had 30 if his teammates converted the open looks.

Henry Ellenson, Marquette, F, 6-11, 245, freshman

Henry EllensonEllenson going head-to-head with Simmons was the headline matchup of the Legends Classic and it lived up to the hype.

Ellenson showed some versatility offensively by hitting a turnaround jumper over Simmons, dribbling to the edge of the foul line and converting on a floater in the lane, hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key and moving the ball quickly when doubled in the post, where he prefers to play with his back to the basket. At times, Ellenson struggled to get deep position in the post against LSU but was able to do so against Arizona State.

On defense, Ellenson struggled to stay in front of Simmons, who blew by him on almost every isolation possession. Despite the daunting challenge, Ellenson didn’t back down. After struggling with foul trouble in the first half, Ellenson adjusted and was able to remain on the floor in the second half to help propel Marquette to victory.

Some scouts have compared Ellenson to a young Kevin Love.

Brandon Ingram, Duke, F, 6-9, 190, freshman

Brandon IngramDespite struggling from the field, Ingram showed enough flashes of potential to capture the eye of one Western Conference scout.

“I couldn’t take my eyes off him,” the scout told SheridanHoops. “He does so many things in a variety of ways and I was pleased to see the weight he gained since the McDonald’s All-American Game.”

One of the reasons the scout couldn’t take his eyes off Ingram was due to the freshman’s wingspan. There were also flashes of his ability to get to the rim and finish with the finger roll if needed.

Due to his skinny frame, Ingram has struggled to adjust to the physicality of the college game. On defense, Ingram must learn to become a better on-ball defender and get lower in his defensive stance when switched on smaller players.

Guys like Russell Westbrook and Andrew Wiggins struggled mightily at times during their freshman seasons in college but have gone on to make a significant impact at the pro level. Conversely, players such as Wesley Johnson and Jimmer Fredette thrived in college but couldn’t translate their games to the pro level.

Generally, scouts are looking for those “it” factors that translate to the NBA. Ingram’s wingspan is something that can’t be taught. As he fills out his frame, he will eventually be able to show what made him a top-three recruit.

Grayson Allen, Duke, G, 6-5, 205, sophomore

Grayson AllenAfter coming up big in the 2015 national championship, Allen has become the go-to player and leader for the Blue Devils. With Allen averaging 24.4 points while shooting 52 percent from the field and 54 percent from distance, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski admitted he will ride the sophomore to victory.

“As much as I can,” Coach K said. “I’ve leaned on my great players my whole career. It’s not about coaching — it’s about allowing your great players to be great, putting them in position to do things you can’t orchestrate.”

Allen was able to get to the rim at will against VCU, including an in-and-out dribble that had his defender falling out of his shoes, and was able to finish in traffic.

Looking forward, Allen’s ability to penetrate will be the key to Duke’s offensive success and any hope of repeating as champions. After putting himself on the map with NBA executives last season, Allen is picking up right where he left off.

Isaac Copeland, Georgetown, F, 6-9, 220, sophomore

Isaac CopelandWith the league coveting stretch forwards more than ever, Copeland is a guy who is starting to register on the radar of NBA executives. Copeland stretched the field during the tournament from the wings and top of the key without hesitation. On the season, Copeland is shooting 55 percent from the field and 47 percent from the arc.

On defense, Copeland was able to rebound well in traffic and played particularly solid on-ball defense against Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes during the 2K Classic.

“I think the main thing is he worked very hard in the offseason,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “He worked extremely hard in the weight room and in the gym. If I had to point to one thing, I think his understanding of what I want and what we’re doing. Freshman year, you’re trying to figure out what’s going on and ‘What am I supposed to do here? What’s he want from me?’ Now I think he understands and he’s just playing. Once he’s settled into a feel for what we want, he’s not thinking as much. He’s just going out there playing and he’s getting a chance to see a small glimpse of what Isaac can bring to the table.”

After making the Big East All-Rookie Team and averaging 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds off the bench, Copeland has become a full-time starter, averaging 15 points and 5.8 boards.

Jessie Govan, Georgetown, C, 6-10, 270, freshman

Jessie GovanAgainst Wisconsin, Govan’s full arsenal was on display. On offense, he hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, made a hook shot from the edge of the paint on the right side of the lane and made two impressive assists – one from the high post to a cutter backdoor and the other to an open shooter across the court with a lightning pass out of the post.

On defense, Govan routinely boxed out his man whenever the ball went in the air for a potential rebound and contested any shots near the rim.

“He’s settling in,” Thompson said. “He came back home playing in the Garden and he showed up. He played very well. He showed just a glimpse of what you guys are going to see from him. It was a small glimpse of what’s coming from big Jessie.”

Could Govan be the next great center in the lineage of Georgetown big men? That was one of his goals as he told SheridanHoops back at the Jordan Brand Classic in April.

Michael Scotto is an NBA columnist for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeAScotto.

]]> 0
Fantasy Spin: Friday Contests Now Open; Superstars At Every Position Thu, 26 Nov 2015 16:59:31 +0000

KentHappy Thanksgiving! The NBA takes a back seat to football today and makes up for it on Dec. 25. What did we learn on a busy Wednesday? It was “Drake Night” in Toronto and Kyle Lowry looked fabulous in the OVO jersey as the Raptors surprised Cleveland.

Gerald Green $3300 started for Luol Deng $4200 (hamstring) and Heat lost all four quarters to the Pistons. The 76ers gave Boston a scare and will win one eventually. Robert Covington $5100 and Isaiah Canaan $3900 are DFS bargains even when they lose.

Russell Westbrook $11300 and Kevin Durant $9600 combined for a confident home victory, while James Harden $10100 scored 40 in a losing cause; he could go crazy tomorrow against the Sixers. Anthony Davis $10800 taking on Blake Griffin $9100 is another highlight of Friday’s 12-game schedule, with Chris Paul $8400 and DeAndre Jordan $7200 also solid value in that clash.

Plays of the Day

Friday contests that close at 7:00 ET and span all 12 games are open at DraftKings. In addition there are Turbo pools, which close at 8:00 Eastern and cover just five games. The Turbo $30K Sharpshooter is a $3 buy-in (FREE to new depositors) that pays the top 2,302 finishers from up to 11,495 teams. First place wins $2,000. Enter now and you can make unlimited lineup changes until each player’s game begins tomorrow.

lineup-11-26All eyes will be on the Warriors, heavily favored to stay unbeaten. Stephen Curry $10900 and Draymond Green $7500 are often worth the money. If Eric Bledsoe $8400 (knee) isn’t 100%, Brandon Knight $8200 could have another huge night. Jon Leuer $3200 came out of nowhere with 20 points and 12 boards in 25 minutes, while Mirza Teletovic $3300 has hit 20 3-pointers in his last eight games.

The Spurs should win big in Denver. Kawhi Leonard $8400 is the #1 option, Tony Parker $5300 remains a great price — he gave us 37.5 FP last night — and LaMarcus Aldridge $6800 is healthy. Danilo Gallinari $7000 grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds on Tuesday and scored 20 points. Until Kenneth Faried $5800 (ankle) returns, Darrell Arthur $4000 and Nikola Jokic $4600 are starting for the Nuggets.

Minnesota at Sacramento is reasonably priced, especially if DeMarcus Cousins $10600 (back) doesn’t play. Rudy Gay $7200 scored 36 in Milwaukee, Rajon Rondo $9300 continues to play well and Darren Collison $4400 appears to be heating up. While the matchup between Karl-Anthony Towns $7300 and Kentucky teammate Willie Cauley-Stein $3500 may be interesting, Kosta Koufos $4500 has value while Boogie sits and Gorgui Dieng $3700 is fresh off a double-double with three blocks. Zach LaVine $4800 will get heavy minutes if Ricky Rubio $6900 (ankle) can’t go.

All of the above key games for me, though DFS bargains can come from anywhere. With a $50K salary cap, if you take more than two Premium players, you are forced to go ultra-cheap at multiple positions.  Even Kawhi and Blake are compromise choices based on affordability.

This is a very early look at the player pool and only one of many possible lineups. Injury reports, lineup changes and other news will affect multiple players between now and Friday evening.

Pos Premium Midrange Bargain
PG Russell Westbrook $11100 Tony Parker $5300 Isaiah Canaan $3900
SG James Harden $10100 Jimmy Butler $8200 Gerald Green $3300
SF Paul George $10200 Kawhi Leonard $8400 Robert Covington $5100
PF Anthony Davis $10800 Blake Griffin $9100 Jon Leuer $3200
C Andre Drummond $9100 Marcin Gortat $5400 Gorgui Dieng $3700

The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.

]]> 0
Tweet of the Night: Rudy Gobert clarifies what really happened while guarding Chris Paul Thu, 26 Nov 2015 07:14:59 +0000

Rudy Gobert fullParkRudy Gobert is defining himself as a force on the defensive end of the floor for the Utah Jazz this season. In doing so, he’s starting to end up on the wrong end of highlight clips.

It started exactly a week ago when he went up to block DeMar DeRozan’s dunk attempt. That didn’t go so well, although he did a marvelous job at burning a Toronto Raptors fan on twitter after that game.

On Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers, Gobert ended up on Chris Paul at the top of the arc after a switch on a screen (you can already guess where this is headed). Nothing really good happens for the center after that, as you can see below:

To the naked eye, it looks like Paul had the hesitation move of the year. Gobert, however, knows the truth behind what happened and he let one photo do all the talking for him after an impressive 102-91 victory over the Clippers on the road:

Jim Park is a blogger and Tweet of the Night author of Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on twitter @SheridanBlog.

]]> 2
NBA Daily Links: 11.26.15 Thu, 26 Nov 2015 06:54:53 +0000


“You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it.”

-Dr. Robert Anthony





Players who are extra thankful this holiday


Allen Iverson and the NBA’s sleeve revolution


Who would win, 2015-16 Warriors or 1995-95 Bulls?



Is Ben Simmons the next NBA superstar?


Ben Simmons already turning heads



NCAA clears players, then absolves itself



Sixers face towering dilemma


Sixers tie record for consecutive losses


Sixers fans’ crowd-funding relaxation package for Brett Brown


The lonely burden of Jahlil Okafor



Bucks fail to take advantage of DeMarcus Cousins’ absence


Kidd ejected for slapping the ball out of referee’s hands


Jabari Parker hires new agent



Despite 9-4 mark, offensive woes remain


Mike Dunleavy inching toward a return, but won’t be pressured



LeBron says back feels better than a year ago


Iman Shumpert sprinting on the comeback trail


Cavs road woes continue in loss to Raptors


LeBron passes Reggie Miller on all-time scoring list


LeBron’s right-hand man, Maverick Carter, follows him to LA area



Celtics avoid shameful loss


Brad Stevens turns page after scolding Celtics


Turner on delivering Crowder’s game winner: I thought about MJ passing to Kerr


Fan pours drink on Celtics draft pick during game in Australia



Wesley Johnson shows how he adds up in the starting equation


Clippers fall to the Jazz



Grizzlies blow by Rockets



There’s no looking back for the Hawks


Hawks-Wolves report card


Observations from Hawks loss to Wolves



Wade held to 2 points as Pistons three-point barrage sinks Heat


Bosh, Heat thankful for a lot after a trying year


Hamstring finally takes Deng out of Heat lineup



Steve Clifford getting multi-year contract extension


A 25-0 run gives Hornets a win over the Wizards


Lamb taking full advantage of opportunity



Young Jazz hope whistles start going their way


Fan shows life-long loyalty to Jazz – all the way from Israel


Jazz beat Clippers, get back to .500



George Karl and his many disciples


Gay’s big night helps Kings end trip with win


Rondo continues to grow


Karl open to trying new defensive scheme



How the Knicks fast-tracked the rise of Porzingis


Brick-shooting Knicks no match for Magic, fall to .500


Kevin Garnett’s memorable advice to Porzingis



Kobe’s possible farewell tour hits a new low


Byron Scott says a struggling Kobe Bryant can still play in the NBA


Byron Scott hasn’t considered reducing Kobe’s role or minutes


Kobe Bryant’s train wreck farewell season hits new low

The Lakers must protect Kobe from himself


Frustrating times


Nance Jr. quietly forging his own path



In new role, Oladipo helps Magic beat Knicks


Magic change lineup, move Oladipo to bench



Winless road trip shows Mavs how far they still have to go


Barea suffers sprained ankle, could potentially miss time



Young showcasing new offensive skills


Durant, Westbrook dominate as Nets fall to Thunder



Paul George the NBA’s best two-way player? Frank Vogel may be right



Balanced scoring among key numbers in Pelicans win over Suns


Pelicans get first road victory


Tyreke Evans’ season debut put on hold



Drummond, Pistons extinguish Heat


Pistons not the only improved team in the East



Kyle Lowry leads Raptors to victory over Cavs


Raptors continue to embrace relationship with Drake


Carroll thwarts LeBron in win



Dwight Howard ready to try out back-to-backs


Grizzlies send Rockets to 7th loss in 8 games


Beverley returns to rotation


Dekker returns to team after back surgery



Aldridge returns after two-game hiatus


LaMarcus Aldridge: Tonight, I was myself


Leonard leads the way again as Spurs take down Mavs



Suns can’t get past Pelicans in home loss


Suns sign Bryce Cotton



Durant, Westbrook too much for Nets


McGary fine after Monday’s ankle sprain



The cruel tutelage of the Wolves Kevin Garnett


Rudez plays unlikely hero in win over Hawks



Damian Lillard evolving into one of game’s best facilitators



Balance, shooting and Steph


Stephen Curry goes global in unusual interview session


Q&A with Klay Thompson


What do the Warriors mean when they talk about confidence?


Kobe thinks Warriors can make a run at 33 in a row



John Wall disagrees with coaching decision in 4th quarter collapse


Wizards disappear in 4th quarter against Hornets



Peter Newmann is an analyst and writer who spent 10 years at ESPN, 8 as the NBA senior researcher working 24/7 on the league. He wrote game notes for crews, articles for, analysis for studio shows, and regularly assisted reporters and writers. Follow him on Twitter, and check out his Web site,

]]> 0