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: 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,

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Scotto: NBA Season’s First Quarter Observations

quarterpole1

We’re a quarter of the way through the regular season and the NBA landscape has shifted dramatically. Kobe Bryant is retiring after this season and wants to be remembered as a “talented overachiever” when it’s all said and done. Meanwhile, Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers (3-15) trail only the Philadelphia 76ers (1-19) for the league’s worst record. With every loss, the Lakers grow closer to keeping their top-three protected draft pick and potentially land top prospect Ben Simmons. On the flip side, the Golden

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Bernucca: For Hinkie & Sickly Sixers, It’s Time For “Process” To Begin

Brando

In the classic war movie Apocalypse Now, Marlon Brando plays a decorated American colonel who has abandoned the war in Vietnam to set up his own dystopian military conclave in Cambodia that features random missions, animal sacrifices and human beheadings. Martin Sheen plays an American captain sent on a classified mission to assassinate the colonel. When Sheen arrives at the camp, he is asked if he believes the colonel’s methods are unsound. And Sheen replies, “I don’t see any method at all,

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Sprung: Pelicans’ Ish Smith Making Most of Unexpected Opportunity

Ish-Smith

On Saturday, Oct. 24, three days before the start of the NBA regular season, 27-year-old guard Ish Smith was finishing up the Washington Wizards’ final preseason practice as he and his teammates prepared for Wednesday’s season opener in Orlando. Then, like he had five times before in his career, Smith got cut. Smith was one of five players on non-guaranteed contracts waived by Washington that day, an all-too-familiar occurrence for a player who spent his previous five seasons on eight different NBA

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Bernucca: Van Gundy Working His Magic In Detroit

Andre Drummond

As a personnel man, Stan Van Gundy has broken a lot of the so-called contemporary rules. Since being lured back to the NBA by Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores in May 2014, Van Gundy has not exactly followed the usual NBA blueprint in rebuilding the once-proud franchise, which has not been to the playoffs in six years. Van Gundy has flat-out waived four veterans with fully guaranteed contracts, accumulating nearly $32 million in dead money to be paid over the next five

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Five Things To Watch: Orlando Magic

Magic Rob Hennigan Mario Hezonja

It has been three seasons since the Orlando Magic have had to change their franchise’s future and goals by trading Dwight Howard. Three seasons since GM Rob Hennigan was installed and broke everything down, sold off everything that was not bolted down and committed to a long rebuilding process centered on the draft and sustainability. And so here the Magic sit, three years after that fateful decision. And with what? The Magic professed that 2015 would be the season the team showed

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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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