Sprung: Patience, Patented Defense Has Pacers in Playoff Picture

PacersPlane

Indiana’s win in New York on Saturday night epitomized the current trajectory of the team’s season. It was a slow and ugly start, but the team persevered through strong defense and playoff-tested experience. The team’s slow and ugly start began actually began nearly eight months earlier, on a sultry Friday July evening in Las Vegas with Paul George’s horrendously gruesome leg injury. The bad luck and misery continued when rotation stalwarts David West, George Hill and C.J. Watson missed the beginning of the season with

Read more...

Bernucca: Westbrook is Awesome, But Not Hardenesque in MVP Race

Westbrook Curry resize 1

Let’s get something out of the way here. Russell Westbrook is awesome. Westbrook is one of the game’s top five players, and I’ve felt that way for a couple of years. He may not be a better conventional point guard than Chris Paul or Tony Parker or Stephen Curry. But if any of those guys even dream about being a better player than Westbrook, they better wake up and get back to reality. I also love watching Westbrook play. I cannot recall

Read more...

Bernucca: Who’s Getting Maximum Production From Minimum Veterans?

Leandro Barbosa

In today’s NBA, the formula for winning in recent years was simple: Accumulate as many maximum-salary stars as you can without breaking the bank. But when you start piling up eight-figure salaries against the luxury tax, the bank breaks pretty quickly. So teams fill out their rosters with minimum-salary veterans. And if you look at the top of the NBA standings right now, many teams are getting very productive seasons from veterans signed to minimum-salary deals. The Chicago Bulls added Pau Gasol to Jimmy

Read more...

Three-Man Weave: Cavs and Have-Nots

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Philadelphia 76ers

We now know that the deal sending Kevin Love to Cleveland will go down Saturday. Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Miami’s 2015 first-round draft pick will go to Minnesota, and in a side deal Thaddeus Young will be sent from the Sixers to the Wolves for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved. Minnesota comes out with the last two overall No. 1 picks, Philadelphia comes out with an even worse team than before, and Cleveland comes out with …. In

Read more...

Durant Heads 2016 Free Agency Class That Will Be Best Ever

durantUSAB

In an interview in April 2013, Kevin Durant told Sports Illustrated he was tired of finishing second. Durant was the second player taken in the 2007 draft. He lost in the NBA Finals in 2012. He finished second in MVP voting four times. This past season, Durant took a huge step forward when he won his first MVP award, finally emerging from the shadow cast by LeBron James. But if he doesn’t win an NBA championship in the next two years with

Read more...

Has the Indiana Pacers’ championship window closed?

Pacers starting five

Have the Indiana Pacers already gone as far as they can go with this roster? It’s a question overlooked with all the big moves being made this offseason in the Eastern Conference, and the Central Division in particular. A quick synopsis, for those who watched the World Cup and forgot about basketball since the Finals ended:Cleveland signed LeBron James, drafted Andrew Wiggins and could trade Wiggins to Minnesota in a blockbuster deal for Kevin Love. Chicago got rid of Carlos Boozer and

Read more...

Pistons hire Jeff Bower as general manager, look to escape mediocrity

Bower

The Detroit Pistons named Jeff Bower as Stan Van Gundy’s new general manager, the team announced Tuesday afternoon. Bower served as the Charlotte/New Orleans/OKC Hornets’ GM from 2001 to 2003 and 2005 to 2010 and comes to Detroit after a stint as head coach of Marist College. Bower will report to Van Gundy, who will make the final decisions for Detroit, and his experience as a player personnel guru, talent evaluator and head coach will help ease Van Gundy’s transition into

Read more...