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


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,


Bernucca: Rockets Have Been Sputtering Since Liftoff


Talk is cheap. Just ask the slumping Houston Rockets, whose locker room is starting to resemble a presidential candidates’ debate. “We’ve been talking,” slumping superstar James Harden said. “We’ve been doing too much talking.” “We’ve had a lot of heart-to-hearts,” coach Kevin McHale said. “As a matter of fact, we talk too much. Talking doesn’t win basketball games.” Last season, the Rockets surprised more than a few folks by crashing the Western Conference finals, a spot thought to be reserved for the San


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


Bernucca: Extensions Prove That Everybody Will Get Paid


If you take a quick look at the contract extensions given to the 2012 NBA draft class, nothing seems extraordinary. Eight eligible players received extensions. While collusion conspiracy theorists might point out that it’s two less than the 2011 class, it also is one more than the 2010 class and the same number as the 2009 class. As in previous seasons, the top pick got a five-year max deal and at least one other lottery pick also received a max deal of


Bernucca: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of the 2014-15 NBA Season

good bad ugly image

You could say I’ve been following the NBA for a while. The first game I ever attended was Game 3 of the 1972 NBA Finals, which featured seven members of the 50 Greatest Players – Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Walt Frazier, Jerry Lucas, Earl Monroe, Dave DeBusschere and Willis Reed, who was injured. It also featured Pat Riley and Phil Jackson, two of the 10 Greatest Coaches. I grew up in Brooklyn, which wasn’t wired for cable. You could watch whatever the


Bernucca: My annual NBA award picks

Coach of the Year

I write this column every year two days before the regular season ends, and I usually get right to the point. But this year I am going to start a little differently. So let me get one item off my chest and out of the way: Michele Roberts is way off base. The new executive director of the NBA Players Association tried to reinvent the wheel this week when it was reported that she is instituting the Players Choice Awards, which will


Bernucca: Leonard Giving the Spurs a Big Bang

Kawhi Leonard

What do James Harden, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James have in common? They’re all legitimate MVP candidates, of course. But what else does that Awesome Foursome have in common? In a potential playoff series against the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, they can all expect to see an individual matchup with Kawhi Leonard. In case you’ve been transfixed by March Madness, the Spurs are looking like a championship contender. Again. If you want some perspective, my son Andrew was born


Bernucca: Scoreboard Watching, Lottery Style

NBALottery-ping pong

Teams in the NBA playoff races aren’t the only ones watching scoreboards this time of year. Take the Philadelphia 76ers, for example. The Sixers lost their first 17 games, were mathematically eliminated from the playoff race nearly a month ago and almost certainly will lose 60-plus games for the second straight season. But GM Sam Hinkie and the rest of the Sixers’ front office are tracking the results of other games almost as closely as their own. That’s because Philadelphia could have