Without their reigning Defensive Player of the Year, the Grizzlies were a subpar 10-13 and many around the league began to wonder if they would even make it back to the playoffs in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
The National Basketball Association is entertaining new ideas for the draft to combat the problem of teams tanking (purposefully failing to compete for wins) to gain a greater chance at a high lottery pick.
If you haven’t heard this already, you may be late to the party… However, considering that nothing will likely happen with this information, tardiness is a relative concept.
The idea being entertained, as was first reported by Zach Lowe of Grantland and summarized here by our own Brett Poirier, centers around a wheel [pictured above] consisting of the 30 picks (representative of the 30 teams in the NBA). The numbers on the wheel are arranged according to complicated mathematical algorithms that allow for each team to have a fair shot at draft picks over a 30-year span.
[Brett Poirier: NBA Reportedly Pondering New Method for Draft “Lottery”]
With the holidays in full swing, the wheel story seems to have gone under the radar among NBA players on Twitter. However, the Christmas season has not kept the media from chiming in.
Time flies, the Portland Trail Blazers are for real, critical injuries can derail any team, and the Eastern Conference may never have been worse.
After another impressive 111-104 home win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, the Blazers are a conference-best 16-3 – something no expert or fortune teller could have predicted coming into the season. They are easily one of the biggest surprises of the season, but it’s also worth noting that their schedule has been awfully friendly as well. Through their first 10 road games, only two of them – Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets – currently have a winning record. It’s something to keep in mind, as tough teams at home await their chance to see what these Blazers can do against better competition on the road. At home, they have had some impressive wins against Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls.
It was a big night for college basketball and general managers around the NBA, as Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins – two of the biggest prizes for the upcoming summer’s draft – went head to head against each other in a much anticipated contest between Kansas and Duke on Tuesday.
With expectations sky high, the two made sure no one left disappointed.
Parker scored 19 points in the first half, including this impressive dunk, to capture much of the attention and finished with 27 points, nine rebounds and four steals. It would be Wiggins, though, that took over in the second half, scoring 16 of his 22 points to go with 10 rebounds to help his team to a 94-83 victory.
You know the regular season is upon us when the TNT crew starts sharing their thoughts on who is primed to succeed and what teams will be most relevant in the upcoming season. Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Kerr and others had plenty to say about a number of topics with USA Today, and that’s where we’ll kick things off in today’s blog.
Story of the day:
Which team is good enough to take on the Heat this season? Barkley shared his thoughts on the matter with Sam Amick of USA Today:
“There’s a very short list of teams that can actually win the championship. I think Brooklyn is interesting. You have to wonder how much Paul (Pierce) and Kevin (Garnett) have left in the tank. I think that’s going to be a great story line to watch. I think the Pacers — the Pacers are legit. The Pacers are flat out legit. I think you’ve got to figure out how well (Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell) Westbrook is going to come back to see what Oklahoma City has. But I think the big question marks — what we’re talking about — to me is going to go down to the Dwight (Howard) story, which is fascinating, but the big key to me is going to be the Blake Griffin/DeAndre Jordan (story line) and how they got better as players. (The Clippers have) all the other pieces, they just don’t have inside guys who can get their own shots and dominate. That’s all they’re missing.”
Perhaps not too surprisingly, Kerr is going with the Chicago Bulls as the favorites to overthrow the Heat. Here is his logic:
Kerr: ”It kind of feels like it’s all teed up for this to be (the Bulls’) year, with Derrick (Rose) coming back (from the ACL tear that kept him out all last season) and then they’ve got Luol Deng in the last year of his deal. (With) he and Jimmy Butler on the wings, you have two guys who can really guard. Guarding (Miami’s Dwyane) Wade and LeBron (James), you’ve got to have a couple of good defenders, and the Bulls definitely do. And they’ve just always given Miami trouble, just with their style of play.”