Sprung: What Has Gone Right and Wrong for Eastern Conference Contenders

NBA-Eastern-Conference

For the first time in roughly two decades, the Eastern Conference is better than the Western Conference from top to bottom. Nine East teams are at .500 or better – nearly twice as many teams as last season, when sixth-seeded Milwaukee finished 41-41. And the East actually has a winning record against the West this season at 100-98 What changed so quickly from last season, when articles were written about how there was the greatest disparity in conference strength in recent memory? “I

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Bernucca: If Outspoken Butler Isn’t Leader of Bulls, Who Is?

Jimmy Butler

If you are like many Americans – middle-class, middle-aged males not unlike myself – and watched your first NBA games this season on Christmas, then you probably think the Chicago Bulls are just fine. If you have watched at any other time this season, then you know otherwise. On Christmas, the Bulls played perhaps their best game of the season. They went into Loud City without injured emotional leader Joakim Noah and never trailed against the Thunder, leaving with a convincing 105-96

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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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Bernucca: Extensions Prove That Everybody Will Get Paid

money

If you take a quick look at the contract extensions given to the 2012 NBA draft class, nothing seems extraordinary. Eight eligible players received extensions. While collusion conspiracy theorists might point out that it’s two less than the 2011 class, it also is one more than the 2010 class and the same number as the 2009 class. As in previous seasons, the top pick got a five-year max deal and at least one other lottery pick also received a max deal of

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Scotto: Sheridan Hoops Top 10 Centers

DeMarcus Cousins

Centers are considered a dying breed in today’s NBA. More teams are playing small ball than ever before with a focus on pushing the tempo and improving floor spacing. Heck, the league even removed the center position from the All-Star ballot in 2012. However, as you will see by the depth in our center rankings and the names not on the list, the demise of the position is a premature misconception. You won’t find two former All-Stars and Defensive Player of the

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Five Things To Watch: Toronto Raptors

Raptors claw

There is no way to sum up the 2014-15 season for the Toronto Raptors without including the word disappointment. You can debate the extent of it, of course – the team did win a franchise-record 49 games and saw point guard Kyle Lowry start in the All-Star Game – but the basic conclusion remains the same. Touted as a new power in the Eastern Conference, the Raptors exploded into last season borne on a wave of “We the North” expectation. This

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Mitnick: Eurobasket ’15 Quarterfinals Preview

eurobasket15

The quarterfinals are set for this year’s Eurobasket, as eight teams will play for two automatic bids to next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio. Of the eight remaining teams, seven will be preparing next summer for a chance to play in the Olympic games, as the 3rd through 7th place teams earn bids for next summer’s Olympic Qualifying tournament, in which 18 teams will be fighting  for the three remaining bids for Rio. Here is a look at the quarterfinal matchups that

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Levi: Top 5 impressive performers in EuroBasket so far

eurobasket15

You can complain all you want about FIBA’s way of doing things, you’d probably be right more often than not. Only two teams from Europe can earn berths to the Rio Olympics this summer, while there will be four teams from FIBA-Americas (USA, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina)? But if you are a fan of basketball, this EuroBasket Tournament is an overdose of fun after a long empty summer. The best national teams in Europe go at it day after day nonstop, with

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