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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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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Sprung: The Analytics of Stephen Curry’s Improvement

Curry1

After winning the MVP last season and leading his Golden State Warriors to an NBA championship, Stephen Curry has been even better over the first quarter of this 2015-2016 season. Like a lot better, to the point where his offensive wizardry and shot-making mastery has become unfair to opposing defenses that are seemingly rendered helpless by his abilities. The Warriors are now 22-0 after blowing past the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night, the best start to an American professional sports season after

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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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The importance of a fast start

NBA logo Jerry West silhouette

In the NBA, a fast start is essential for a playoff run. Over the last 10 seasons, I looked at the 300 team seasons and how a team’s record over its first 10 games is correlated to its chances of making the postseason. Does how you start impact how you finish?     [Read more…]

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Five Things To Watch: Toronto Raptors

Raptors claw

There is no way to sum up the 2014-15 season for the Toronto Raptors without including the word disappointment. You can debate the extent of it, of course – the team did win a franchise-record 49 games and saw point guard Kyle Lowry start in the All-Star Game – but the basic conclusion remains the same. Touted as a new power in the Eastern Conference, the Raptors exploded into last season borne on a wave of “We the North” expectation. This

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