Rookie Rankings, Week 1: Will Elfrid Payton Wreck the Ferrari?

Orlando Magic players

This is the third season of Rookie Rankings at SheridanHoops. In each of the first two seasons, a highly trusting coach has given a point guard the keys to the Ferrari and these instructions: “Try not to wreck the thing, OK, kid?” Two years ago, it was Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, who became the first rookie to lead the NBA in minutes played since Elvin Hayes in 1970. Last year, it was Michael Carter-Williams of the tanking rebuilding Philadelphia

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Five Things To Watch: Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic players

Despite the Orlando Magic becoming a better and deeper squad this offseason, a playoff push in the 2014-15 campaign still seems a step too far, even in the weaker Eastern Conference. GM Rob Hennigan has done a good job of moving on from Dwight Howard, creating a manageable payroll and rebuilding the Magic with young, exciting and athletic players. Orlando has 10 players on their rookie contracts, several of whom have already established themselves as legitimate NBA players. For now, those players

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SH Blog: J.R. Smith says Knicks were a confused bunch, Cousins says Rondo is the best point guard

JR Smith

After coming off one of his best seasons ever and winning the Sixth Man of the Year award over Jamal Crawford in 2013, J.R. Smith spiraled down in the wrong direction last season. Due to off-season knee surgery, Smith had no time to work on his game or stay in shape. Consequently, he started the 2013-2014 season comically bad, scoring 11.7 points on just 32.8 percent shooting in November and 12.4 points on 36.8 percent shooting in December.  To be fair, Smith

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SH Blog: Completed and failed trades on Thursday, Big Baby bought out by Magic

granger

If you were hoping for a blockbuster, “Woj Bomb” type of trade on Thursday, you were out of luck. The trade deadline came and went on Thursday without any real stars packing their bags, but plenty of teams made relevant moves throughout the day to bolster their franchises in some way. Our Chris Sheridan has the trade analysis of all the deals, but you can find more on everything that went down and everything else that fell through below.

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Five Things to Watch: Milwaukee Bucks

OJ Mayo

Capping off a mediocrity-defining three-year stretch that saw them finish ninth, ninth and eighth in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks should have entered the summer of 2013 with change as the most obvious mandate. As in change everything. Despite a return to the playoffs and encouraging progress from big men Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova and John Henson, the Bucks had little to show for their efforts last season, as coaching upheaval and a dysfunctional locker room motivated GM John Hammond to take a

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StatBox Free Agency Breakdown: Bucks, Mavs, Pelicans had most puzzling offseasons

question-mark-95X95

Did your NBA team confuse you this offseason? Were moves made that left you asking questions? Scratching your head? Leaving you angry and befuddled? This column is for many of you. It discusses the three teams with the most puzzling offseasons. After a lot of thought and consideration, there were three teams that really stood out and left this writer really question their thought processes. The first is easily the Milwaukee Bucks. After trading an interesting long-term asset in Tobias Harris for

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StatBox Free Agency Breakdown: Hawks win, Bucks, Mavs and Jennings lose in point guard derby

Monta Ellis

As free agency and summer league wind down and the steamy, sultry dog days of summer commence, there is still at least one valuable free agent still on the board — Brandon Jennings. While Chris Paul, Jeff Teague and most other point guards went off the market in this annual game of monetary musical chairs, there are two notable parties that lost out in a big way: Jennings, and the Dallas Mavericks.

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