Most Improved Player Rankings: Jimmy Butler returns to the NBA

New Jordan Stern

Jimmy Butler shaved his head and wore No. 45 in his return with the Bulls last week. (We think). Last time we were all together in this space, I announced that Jimmy Butler was dead. That was evidently erroneous and inaccurate reporting. I apologize for that. I was just trying to honor a veteran. I know now that Jimmy is not dead. In fact, he only missed 11 games for the Chicago Bulls, then returned triumphantly last week against the

Read more...

Schayes: Jazz playing spoilers like it’s Patrick Ewing poster night

spolier

The season is winding down. The excitement of the race for the final spots and playoff positioning is starting to get real, for a majority of teams, that is. But what about those who are out of it with more than a dozen games still to go. Do you mail it in? Play for draft position? While no player wants to be in that position, there can still be plenty of motivation of things to play for. After all, only the GMs care about draft

Read more...

Tweet of the Night: Matt Harpring has a bold hunch about the Jazz and Timberwolves

220px-Matt_Harpring_vs_Lakers_2009

Monday’s contest between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz featured two teams who have been in the bottom of the pack in the West for quite a number of years. The Jazz have been trying to find a way to re-identify themselves since trading away Deron Williams in 2011. The Timberwolves have essentially failed to recover since trading away Kevin Garnett in 2007, although their downfall began even with Garnett on the team.It was a bit of a surprise, then, to

Read more...

Bernucca: Gimme Shelter: Fallout from Durant injury will reach Near and Far

kevin-durant-signs-with-roc-nation-sports-1

The last 12 months represent by far the least amount of basketball Kevin Durant has played in his eight-year NBA career. In a sadly ironic twist, it also represents a time when he has had more intrigue swirling around him than ever before. In the last year, Durant has won NBA MVP and given a moving acceptance speech; quit as the new face of Team USA; created a bidding war between apparel companies in the mid nine figures; become the beacon of

Read more...

Most Improved Player Rankings: Life without Jimmy Butler

Hassan Whiteside

James H. Butler III 1989-2015 Hello everyone. Please take your seats. I’d like to start this column off with a moment of silence for our friend, Jimmy Butler. (Silence). Thank you. Ahem…god, this is tough…ahem. Ahem. Sorry. What can you say about a guy like Jimmy Butler? Jimmy was more than just a basketball player to most of us. He was maybe the most improved basketball player of the 2014-15 NBA season. His life was short, indeed, but in such a short time, he touched so many others. Colossians 1:17

Read more...

Most Improved Player Rankings: Can Injured Jimmy Butler Still Win?

Jimmy Butler

Devastating. That’s how most basketball fans would describe this past week, particularly ones in the Lake Michigan area. First came the news that former MVP Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls was hurt again, the victim of a torn meniscus in his right knee. And now, All-Stra teammate and Most Improved Player candidate Jimmy Butler is out 3-6 weeks after hyperextending his left elbow. Bulls fans, and the NBA in general, have taken one giant, James Harden-sized kick to the man region.

Read more...

NBA Most Improved Player Rankings: Oscars Edition

Klay & Steph

The Oscars are over, and since I once again didn’t watch them or see any of the nominated movies, let’s get this Oscar-themed edition of the Most Improved Player Rankings under way! Because nothing says “entertaining column” like a bunch of misinformed pop culture references! As always, these awards are for the players in the “Rankings Academy” only, meaning they have to be in consideration for our table. The envelopes, please … Best Supporting Actor: Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors. I mean, come on.

Read more...

Rookie Rankings, Week 15: Sizing Up the Sophomores

Michael-Carter-Williams

Once a year, we take a break from evaluating rookies and examine how second-year players are doing. This seemed like a good week to do that. Because our Rookie Rankings run every Friday, this week’s cycle saw just two actual games played due to the extended All-Star break. And no rookies from our most recent rankings played in those games. Yes, we knew the trading deadline also was this week. But we didn’t think that would impact our rankings of sophomores. I mean,

Read more...