Sixth Man Rankings: Tim Duncan would read this column

Tim Duncan

Allen Iverson once said he would rather retire than come off the bench. So, I guess he’s not reading this column. And while that certainly hurts (I loved you, A.I.), it’s not going to stop me from practicing my craft here. We talkin’ ’bout practice. PRAC—TICE. Something that you do to get better. Ah, forget it. It takes a special type of player to adapt to coming off the bench. Several guys, who we threw under the bus—er—uh, mentioned in our Most Improved Player Rankings

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Gambling Guru: ATS Surprises, NBA Finals Prediction, Harden Back in MVP Zone

gambling

Welcome to another Gambling Guru column. The last few weeks in the NBA have had plenty of intrigue, including the news out of Brooklyn that the Nets – my team – fired coach Lionel Hollins and re-assigned GM Billy King. Chris Sheridan wrote a depressingly accurate Billy King obituary chronicling all of the disastrous decisions he made during his Nets tenure. For the record, I’m not as mad with the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade as many fans, analysts and journalists were. It was aggressive and

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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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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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Bernucca: Paul George Isn’t The Same Player Anymore. He’s Way Better

Paul George

Do you remember what Paul George was like before his gruesome injury? Do you remember the 2013 playoffs, when he showed everyone how much better he was than supposed MVP candidate Carmelo Anthony? Do you remember how he accepted and met the challenge of defending LeBron James in those Pacers-Heat playoff wars? And how much respect James had for him? Well, Paul George isn’t that player anymore. He’s better. [Read more…]

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