Most Improved Player Rankings: Jimmy Butler returns to the NBA

New Jordan Stern

Jimmy Butler shaved his head and wore No. 45 in his return with the Bulls last week. (We think). Last time we were all together in this space, I announced that Jimmy Butler was dead. That was evidently erroneous and inaccurate reporting. I apologize for that. I was just trying to honor a veteran. I know now that Jimmy is not dead. In fact, he only missed 11 games for the Chicago Bulls, then returned triumphantly last week against the


Bernucca: Scoreboard Watching, Lottery Style

NBALottery-ping pong

Teams in the NBA playoff races aren’t the only ones watching scoreboards this time of year. Take the Philadelphia 76ers, for example. The Sixers lost their first 17 games, were mathematically eliminated from the playoff race nearly a month ago and almost certainly will lose 60-plus games for the second straight season. But GM Sam Hinkie and the rest of the Sixers’ front office are tracking the results of other games almost as closely as their own. That’s because Philadelphia could have


SH Blog: Warriors Clinch Division; LeBron Responds to Love’s MVP Vote; Khris Middleton Has ‘Horry Moment’

Warriors Stephen Curry

Warriors Clinch Division Title 39 years is a long time for anything. It’s especially long when it is the amount of time since a team last won its division title. The Golden State Warriors, who have been buried behind the greatness of many teams in the Pacific Division — the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics (both previously members of the Pacific Division), even the historically bad Los Angeles Clippers in recent years — are


PODCAST: Can We Please Have D-Wade vs. LeBron in NBA Playoffs?


Dwyane Wade leads the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring. His team has defeated LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers twice during the regular season when the Cavs have traveled to Miami. If there is one potential matchup that is going to make the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs interesting, it is Heat vs. Cavaliers. As the standings look now, a 2 vs. 7 matchup between the teams could take place. But Miami could still fall to No. 8 or rise


SH Blog: Dwight Howard closes in on return to Rockets; Cavs balance health vs. race for No. 2

Harden & Howard

Dwight Howard is finally closing in on a return to the Houston Rockets after missing the last 22 games with swelling in his troublesome right knee. Howard, now 29 years old, participated in parts of Houston’s practice on Monday (video), and both star guard James Harden and head coach Kevin McHale said they were pleased with what they saw from the franchise’s star big man. Howard has been traveling with the team, working out and participating in two-on-two drills for some


SH Blog: Wade rips Whiteside after latest ejection; Former NBA executive foresees Durant trade

Whiteside Dunk

Monday night represented the second time in four games that Miami big man Hassan Whiteside found himself ejected from a game for an unnecessary cheap shot. On Tuesday, the NBA added to his troubles with a one-game suspension without pay for an “elbow to the back of Kelly Olynyk’s neck”. With Whiteside only playing 22 minutes, the Heat (28-35) lost a game that was, on paper, a very winnable home matchup against the Celtics (26-36). And because of that, the Heat now


Most Improved Player Rankings: Life without Jimmy Butler

Hassan Whiteside

James H. Butler III 1989-2015 Hello everyone. Please take your seats. I’d like to start this column off with a moment of silence for our friend, Jimmy Butler. (Silence). Thank you. Ahem…god, this is tough…ahem. Ahem. Sorry. What can you say about a guy like Jimmy Butler? Jimmy was more than just a basketball player to most of us. He was maybe the most improved basketball player of the 2014-15 NBA season. His life was short, indeed, but in such a short time, he touched so many others. Colossians 1:17


Most Improved Player Rankings: Can Injured Jimmy Butler Still Win?

Jimmy Butler

Devastating. That’s how most basketball fans would describe this past week, particularly ones in the Lake Michigan area. First came the news that former MVP Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls was hurt again, the victim of a torn meniscus in his right knee. And now, All-Stra teammate and Most Improved Player candidate Jimmy Butler is out 3-6 weeks after hyperextending his left elbow. Bulls fans, and the NBA in general, have taken one giant, James Harden-sized kick to the man region.