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

Read more...

Scotto: 2016 NBA New Year’s Resolutions

New Year's Resolution Calendar

The Golden State Warriors’ historic start, led by Stephen Curry’s MVP campaign, and Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour have captured the headlines so far this season. We saw LaMarcus Aldridge become the biggest free agent to change teams and Kevin McHale became the first coach to get fired in Houston. Will Kevin Durant leave the Thunder this summer? Will Jeff Hornacek become the first coach fired in 2016? That’s just the tip of the iceberg. A new calendar year will bring more coaching changes,

Read more...

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

Read more...

Hubbard: Warriors Done Chasing Records, Ready to Chase Championship

Luke Walton big

OAKLAND – During Golden State’s otherworldly 24-0 start, interim coach Luke Walton was asked how it felt to get no official credit for the victories. NBA policy is that only the permanent coach can accumulate wins and losses, so those victories went to Steve Kerr, who has yet to coach this season while recovering from back surgery. The winning streak, which set an all-time pro sports record for consecutive victories to open a season, ended Saturday with a 108-95 loss to

Read more...

Bernucca: Skiles Working His Defensive Magic in Orlando

Magic pregame huddle

As an NBA coach, Scott Skiles has always had a definitive modus operandi. In his three previous jobs, Skiles has dramatically improved his team’s defense, in some cases taking it from near the bottom of the league to near the top. That improvement helps the team become an absolute pain in the neck to play and make a quantum leap from the lottery to the playoffs. Then at some point, Skiles and his hypercompetitive nature become a bit overbearing for some players,

Read more...

Rookie Rankings, Edition II: But I Am a Rookie, Really

Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker and Julius Randle have several things in common. Both were lottery picks in the 2014 NBA draft – Parker going second to the Milwaukee Bucks, Randle going seventh to the Los Angeles Lakers. Both were one-and-done college stars from powerhouse programs – Parker from Duke, Randle from Kentucky. Both were supposed to be among the legitimate contenders for Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, both suffered serious injuries that ended their rookie seasons shortly after they began and put them on

Read more...