Most Improved Player Rankings: A Tribute to Ish Smith

Ish-Smith

This man’s greatness inspired a poem. I’d like to start this column off by paying tribute to a true basketball hero. I couldn’t express his greatness in column form, so I wrote a poem. I hope you’ll oblige. Dim the lights please. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhem. Ahhhem. Ahhhhh. Here we go: (Bongos playing) Dreary. Locker room smell. Sweaty socks. He walks in, authoritative. A Pelican no more. Scored 14 points in first game back. Tripled win total. There’s now hope where the bell tolls. Hope, and hoagies. (Bongos stop) Thank you. [Read more…]

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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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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,

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Tweet of the Night: Tony Wroten reacts to being released by the Philadelphia 76ers on Christmas Eve

Oct 29, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Tony Wroten (8) brings the ball up court against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

For Ish Smith, it may have been music to his ears to hear that he was getting traded back to the Philadelphia 76ers on the day before Christmas. With Jrue Holiday on a minutes restriction and other important players on the roster such as Tyreke Evans and Norris Cole out of commission to begin the season, Smith had been very productive with the New Orleans Pelicans in the month of November. Those players are now active, making Smith a seldom-used player. A move

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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: 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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Marks: Larry Brown’s Forgettable, Sad 2015

coaches-larry-brown

PHILADELPHIA—No one will probably be happier than Larry Brown when the calendar flips to 2016 in a couple of weeks. After all, 2015 has been a year he’d simply rather forget.  It wasn’t a brutal year for Brown just because the 75-year-old fourth-year coach of SMU is still serving a nine-game NCAA-imposed suspension for what’s been termed “academic fraud” and “unethical conduct” while his Mustangs have been banned from post-season play this season. That came months after the American Athletic Conference

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Hubbard: Colangelo Brings Common Sense to 76ers

220px-Colangelo wide

For the last three years, the Philadelphia 76ers have embraced the philosophy that one way to win big is to lose big. So it makes perfect sense that on Monday, their youth movement continued with the addition of a 76-year-old man. It is significant that Jerry Colangelo showed up in Philadelphia less than three weeks before Santa Claus. That likely answered the Christmas wish of many Sixers fans, because Colangelo no doubt arrives bearing the gift of common sense. Since becoming general

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