Towns, Porzingis, Okafor lead most impactful rookie class in 5 years

NBADraft

If you’ve noticed that this year’s rookie class is being talked about and praised around the league and in the media, there’s good reason for that.  This year’s top five picks— Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, the Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell, Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis and Orlando’s Mario Hezonja— are making a larger early impact than any top-five group in at least a half decade. A detailed statistical analysis of top five picks over the last five years shows that over the first two

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Five Things To Watch: Oklahoma City Thunder

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One couldn’t have imagined a worse outcome for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2014-15 season. A massive plague of injuries kept the team below full strength for the entire campaign. Specifically, Kevin Durant missed 55 games, Serge Ibaka missed 18 games and Russell Westbrook missed 15 games. The other four rotation players who started and finished the season with OKC – Anthony Morrow, Steven Adams, Andre Roberson and Nick Collison – missed between eight and 16 games each. All those missed

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Bernucca: 2012 Draft Class Contract Extension Scoreboard

JonasValanciunasSH1

The silence following Jonas Valanciunas’ contract extension was deafening. When the Toronto Raptors gave a reported $64 million over four years to Valanciunas, there were no proclamations from pundits that the NBA’s financial sky was falling. Owners didn’t start forming plans of collusion. No one drew comparisons to Jim McIlvaine. On the other side, there have been no whispers that Raptors GM Masai Ujiri engineered another steal. Virtually no one has suggested that Valanciunas got fleeced. Agent Leon Rose – who days

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Bernucca: Gimme Shelter: Fallout from Durant injury will reach Near and Far

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The last 12 months represent by far the least amount of basketball Kevin Durant has played in his eight-year NBA career. In a sadly ironic twist, it also represents a time when he has had more intrigue swirling around him than ever before. In the last year, Durant has won NBA MVP and given a moving acceptance speech; quit as the new face of Team USA; created a bidding war between apparel companies in the mid nine figures; become the beacon of

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Eisenberg: Andre Roberson is Oklahoma City’s X-Factor. Yes, Really

Andre Roberson

How do you measure the value of a bad shot that wasn’t taken? In the NBA, where flash outweighs substance to the common fan, it’s proven to be an exceedingly difficult proposition. And that’s the easiest way to explain why Andre Roberson of the Oklahoma City Thunder has struggled to find consistent minutes on the most star-studded team in the NBA. Glutted into a rotation with three other offensive-minded wings — Dion Waiters, Reggie Jackson and Anthony Morrow — Roberson has consistently sat on the end

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Reggie Jackson’s next 36 games will determine his career path

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The next 36 games will likely determine point guard Reggie Jackson’s career trajectory. Jackson, 24, will become a restricted free agent after the season, assuming he doesn’t exercise a $3.4 million qualifying offer Oklahoma City will almost certainly extend him. How much a team will offer him and what his role will be for the foreseeable future will probably be decided over the duration of the regular season and in the postseason, if the 23-23 Thunder even reach the Western playoffs. Before

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Bernucca: Handing Out My Midseason Awards

James Harden

One of the biggest knocks against the NBA is that when the season starts, there are only five or six teams that can truly win the championship, making the regular season and the early playoff rounds interminably tedious. Not this season. As we reach the midway point – 18 teams have played at least 41 games, another nine have played 40 – there are no less than a dozen teams with legitimate title aspirations, including a handful that haven’t been in the

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