Category Archives: NBA

Historical Context for Zion Williamson with CBSR

A holistic approach to talent evaluation involves qualitative and quantitative analysis. However, a few times in every generation a talent shines so bright that all it really takes is the good old “eye test” to take notice. It only took a few minutes of watching Zion Williamson in a Duke uniform to see the obvious – he is something special that we haven’t really seen in college basketball before. The intellectually curious urge is to contextualize his play against the other top NBA prospects from recent drafts. But how do we do that without establishing a metric or baseline for comparative purposes? With Zion’s impact this college basketball season serving as convenient inspiration, my goal was simple – create a statistical profile or rating system that can be reasonably used to compare production amongst college basketball players across different seasons. This College Basketball Statistical Rating (CBSR) doesn’t exactly have an acronym that rolls off the tongue so all name suggestions are very welcome.

Otto Porter reflects on time with Wizards, while embracing Bulls

Category : NBA , Wizards

MEMPHIS — There is no question that this season did not go as plan for the Washington Wizards. Granted, that could be said about years prior, too, but the 2018-19 season brought more adversity than the usual self-inflicting woes. Fans have become accustomed to it, but it was still not any less frustrating: playing down to their competition, selfish play, and turmoil within the locker room that Porter was a role in.
The Wizards lost their five-time All-Star point guard, again. This time for the foreseeable future as John Wall ruptured his left Achilles tendon, which will keep him out until January 2020 at the earliest. More likely is that Wall does not play a meaningful game until the 2020-21 season. Before the rupture and with the expectation that Wall would return for the 2019-20 season, forward Otto Porter Jr. was told by ownership and the front office that he would not be dealt despite the trade deadline looming.
That all changed on February 6 less than an hour before tip-off against the Bucks in Milwaukee, Porter was traded to the Chicago Bulls ending his five years playing for Washington. He said things changed so quickly, he was not able to process it all.
“It happened so fast,” Porter said after the Bulls defeated the Grizzlies on Wednesday night. “So, I didn’t really get a chance to digest what happened. Everything happened so fast, with John’s injury and then the re-injury. It just happened so fast.”
Porter recalls the conversation he had with management about not being on the trading block, but then said things changed once news of Wall’s injury surfaced. Nevertheless, he mentioned that he understood that this is a business and the Wizards’ front office had to make decisions based on what was going on at the time.
During his stint in Washington, many would agree that Porter never played up to his full potential. The 6-foot-8, forward, was picked third overall in the 2013 draft and recently signed a four-year, $106.5 million contract prior to last season. He averaged 14.7 points that year, and while wearing a Wizards jersey, he and his team never got past the second round of the playoffs. Despite the highs and lows, Porter said he enjoyed and appreciated his time in Washington, especially during his time at Georgetown.
“Just an amazing time in D.C.,” Porter said. “Growing a lot and learned a lot. It’s home for me. That’s like my second home. I pretty much grew up and became the person I am today, D.C. influenced. My college is still there. Just the city, they showed me so much love. D.C. is an all-around great city, great fans, and a great location to be at.”
One of the biggest gripes people had with this Wizards team is their defense or lack thereof. Porter agrees that not locking up their opponents night in and night out as well as failing to play team basketball were their biggest flaws.
“The defense, just [not playing] the playoff defense [in the regular season] and just being consistent,” Porter said. “Learning the concepts and just playing for each other.”
Since being traded, Porter said he has not spoken with the team brass, but has kept in touch with former teammates like Jeff Green, Ian Mahinmi, and Tomas Satoransky. He won’t openly say it but he seems happier to no longer clash with Wall as multiple people have told Hoop District of mutual distaste between the two. With a fresh start in Chicago, Porter is focusing on his own growth and bonding with his new teammates.
“I don’t think nobody’s is happy when they get traded,” Porter said. “But you definitely have to move on. You have to move on from that situation and look forward to the new opportunities. It’s business, so you can’t hold too much of a personal grudge or anything like that. But right now, when you get traded, you got to look at it as a new opportunity to improve yourself, the game, and your team.”
Porter is doing just that. On Tuesday night, he had 20 points in the win against the Grizzlies. It is also worth noting that he is averaging 18.1 points so far since playing in Chicago in seven games. During that short time, he has already set a new career-high with 37 points. He was embraced by Bulls’ guard Zach Lavine after the win in Memphis as Lavine joked that their success is steaming from Porter’s presence. The Bulls have won five of their last eight games and even Chicago’s head coach Jim Boylen praised Porter for his leadership.
“Another thing I said to the team [after the game], is he settles us down,” Boylen said. “He’s poised. He makes the big shot when we need it. … So, we’re thankful for him.”

Pacers fans taunt JaVale McGee, Brandon Ingram with funny chant during game (Video)

Category : Lakers , NBA , pacers , Trending Now

The Pacers absolutely destroyed the Lakers on Tuesday night, clearly sending a message to the team that has been doing its best to pull off a power move for Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, spearheaded by LeBron James and superagent Rich Paul.
James only played 30 minutes in the game, as he and his teammates found themselves down 23 points at halftime. It was a blowout no matter how you slice it, and there was plenty of trolling by Pacers fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
At one point, just minutes into the game, fans began chanting “LeBron’s gonna trade you” at Brandon Ingram, when he was at the line to attempt a pair of free throws.

Brandon Ingram steps to line as “LeBron’s gonna trade you” chants rain upon him
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) February 6, 2019

JaVale McGee got similar treatment, except it was the opposite message.
“Not worth trading!” they yelled

…Pacers fans were ruthless tonight.
(: @FSIndiana)
— theScore (@theScore) February 6, 2019


Did The Timberwolves Salvage Their Season By Beating The Grizzlies?

Dear Timberwolves fans,
You know what happened on Wednesday…

Time to face the facts: You saw it!
You saw what the Timberwolves did to win that game against the Grizzlies.
99-97! On a game-winning shot by Karl-Anthony Towns.
1 2 3 …4

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Joel Embiid joins Steph Curry for dinner ahead of Thursday's matchup

Category : 76ers , NBA , Philadelphia 76ers , Sixers

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has dinner with the enemy late on Wednesday night.
If Philadelphia 76ers superstar center Joel Embiid was on a contract year, his recent dinner date might stir up some speculation. Who are we kidding? This is an era that’s full of speculation. Even though Embiid has made it very clear that he loves Philly, and wants to spend the entirety of his career with the Sixers, there are still some fans out there who believe that the seven-footer could be poached from Philly.
Embiid isn’t the most liked guy in the league, considering his trash talking ways on and off the court. However, there are many stars around the league, who have seemed to befriend Embiid over the years. Add Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry to the list of those who actually enjoy Embiid’s company. I mean, after all, it’s hard to hate on others when your team is consistently winning the championship.
On Wednesday night, Embiid and Curry met up for dinner at International Smoke in San Francisco. The restaurant just so happens to be owned by Curry’s wife, Ayesha. So maybe Steph isn’t trying to get Embiid on the Warriors, but he’s definitely trying to promote his wife’s restaurant.
Curry and Embiid make a scene

Steph Curry and Joel Embiid dine together at Ayesha Curry’s restaurant International Smoke in SF ahead of the Warriors/Sixers game today.
— TheWarriorsTalk (@TheWarriorsTalk) January 31, 2019

Quite the scene going there at International Smoke. Imagine having a nice late dinner at Ayesha Curry’s joint, just to find Curry and Embiid walking in to have a friendly meal ahead of their matchup on Thursday against the Golden State Warriors. Fortunately for the Sixers, Embiid is going to be alright and will play during Thursday’s game after visibly feeling pain in his back just the other night.
The Warriors are favored to win at home on Thursday, but the Sixers haven’t been backing down from their tough battles during this challenging stretch of games. Seeing as though they should be mostly healthy, the Sixers should put up a good fight against the Warriors.

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Bradley Beal leads by example on defense as Wizards beat 76ers

Category : NBA , Wizards

Wizards 123
76ers 106
January 9, 2019 | Capital One Arena | Washington, D.C.
A lot can change in just 24 hours time. The Washington Wizards had just lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in pretty embarrassing fashion by 17 points on Tuesday night, but they perfectly flipped the script when returning home on Wednesday by earning a 17-point win. In a game where Washington led by as many as 26 points, they earned another impressive win over a top team in the NBA, their second in three games. The 2017-18 Wizards seem to have resurfaced this season with their ability to come up with a surprising win. “You can say we have,” Scott Brooks commented when asked if the team is finally playing their best basketball. For Trevor Ariza, it was all about being more aggressive.
Without the services of John Wall, Washington’s success or lack thereof will start and end with how Bradley Beal plays. In the midst of his second straight All-Star season, the guard put together an efficient offensive clinic to the tune of 34 points on 13-of-21 shooting including 6-of-11 from deep. He did have a handful of bad turnovers where he had the right intention of getting his teammates involved, but when he is scoring the way he did, including 14 in the final quarter to put things away, you cannot complain. Entering the second half of the season, Beal was shooting just 33.9 percent from beyond the arc, far below his career average and expectations, but a former coach and now front office member Ed Tapscott once told him, “either you’re hot or you’re due.”
Otto Porter Jr. continues to come off of the bench but seems to be close to returning to the starting lineup as he has all but shed any minutes restriction. In 33 minutes of action, the forward scored 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting including a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line, which he struggles to get to. Porter admits that he still is not all the way back to where he wants his legs under him, but is getting there.
It was a popular question from a reporter or two to ask the players if Porter seemed more comfortable coming off the bench because he is finally able to take enough shots to satisfy his coach, which he had struggled to before. I would disagree, it is simply that the player that typically has the ball in his hand the most is not out there anymore and that creates more opportunities for everyone else. That is not to say that Wall is the issue, but that is one less mouth to feed. I doubt that Porter enjoys coming off the bench since he shared it prevents you from having a rhythm to start the game, but staggering his minutes so that he plays more with the second unit once returning to the starting lineup would be wise.
Even though the Wizards got 57 points from their two best healthy players, they won the game with their defensive effort. Sure, Joel Embiid got his to the tune of 35 points thanks to 14 free throw attempts to complement his usual work in the paint, but the home team did a decent job in limiting his teammates. Jimmy Butler had 23, but on 18 shot attempts, while Ben Simmons had 15 on 15 shot attempts. It also helps when they do not let Landry Shamet go off for a career-high 29 points and eight three-pointers as Washington held the rookie to just five points on 2-of-7 shooting on Wednesday. The Wizards forced 24 turnovers and the 76ers were shooting below 40 percent for much of the game unit same late garbage time buckets. 9 times out of 10 whether Washington wins a particular game or not will come down to how well they did or did not play defensively and everyone around the team knows it.
“It’s just extra effort,” Beal explained about the improved defense. “I think it’s kind of that mentality of ‘don’t let it be you.’ Don’t be that guy that’s relaxing on defense, don’t be that guy that’s getting beat on the backside or anything like that. That’s kind of the motto and the mental approach we’ve been having. It’s a good one to have. It keeps everybody in check and holds us accountable. We preach defense first, which is even better.”
The play that probably best highlighted the stellar defensive effort from Washington on Wednesday night was Beal stepping in front of Joel Embiid in the paint to take a charge on the listed 260 pounder. The collision between Drew Hanlen and Pure Sweat buddies had Beal saying a prayer or two before, during, and after drawing the offensive foul. No one on the team is naïve and they all (well maybe not Tomas Satoransky) took notice that their best player put his body on the line to make a defensive play.
The brutal schedule continues on Friday when Washington hosts Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. We will have to wait and see what version of the Wizards show up for that matchup.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo drills James Harden with ball (Video)

Category : NBA , Rockets , Trending Now

One of the strongest players in the NBA beaned one of the best offensive players in league history during Wednesday’s Bucks-Rockets game, and you can watch it happen, in case you missed it.
It happened in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game, and happened to be completely inadvertent. Regardless, Giannis Antetokounmpo was backing a defender down, when he tried to sling a no-look pass all the way to the corner.
Unfortunately for James Harden, he was in the passing lane, and the ball drilled him — knocking him to the court.
Ouch. This serves as further proof that The Greek Freak is a destroyer of worlds.

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Vince Carter gets video tribute, standing ovation from Nets fans

Category : NBA , Nets

Hawks’ journeyman forward Vince Carter has played for a number of NBA teams throughout his career, and he was honored by one of them before and during Wednesday’s game against the Nets at Barclays Center.
The 42-year-old Carter played for the Nets for five seasons, and he’s still well-respected by fans, apparently. He returned to Brooklyn for what could be the final time in his 23-year career, and the Nets played a tribute video to honor him. Not only that, fans showered him with praise, in the form of a standing ovation.
Tribute videos are all the rage these days. Carter got one from the Raptors on Tuesday, and the Nets on Wednesday. It’s good to be VC.

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Wizards get reality check of their standing in the Eastern Conference against 76ers

Category : NBA , Wizards

76ers 132
Wizards 115
January 8, 2019 | Wells Fargo Center | Philadelphia, PA
Entering action on Tuesday night, the Washington Wizards were just two games back in the loss column of the No. 8 seed Brooklyn Nets. Honestly, the larger the margin is before the February 7 trade deadline for them to become sellers, the better for the future of the organization, in my opinion. In a matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, one of five true contenders in the East, the Wizards got a wake-up call of how much of a gap there is between their current state and actually making any noise should they reach the postseason.
Frequent turnovers
After winning three of their last four games, it became a popular take to say the Wizards are better without John Wall. I would argue they might not even be better without an injury John Wall (but it is certainly a coin flip when he is not healthy). One of the glaring pitfalls for Washington without their All-Star point guard is their inability to protect the basketball. In the first half alone, the Wizards had 13 turnovers, including multiple careless ones from Bradley Beal, that directly led to 18 points for the 76ers. Washington would clean things up a bit in the second half, but still finished with 17 miscues for 22 Philadelphia points.
One big three shows out
Wall, Beal, and Porter were supposed to take Washington to the promise land (or at least the Eastern Conference Finals). That was the goal after giving Porter a max contract two summers ago. Now one just underwent (successful) heel surgery, his second surgery in as many seasons and third in the Scott Brooks era, and Porter still does not seem worthy of $26 million a year. Beal did his thing with 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting, but got little help from the rest of his teammates. On the other side, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, and Joel Embiid combined for 57 points, 20 rebounds, 16 assists, and five steals without even playing the fourth quarter (besides 15 seconds for Embiid).
Polar opposite rookie production
The Wizards have not given Troy Brown Jr. much of a chance to show what he can do in the NBA despite taking him with the No. 15 pick in the 2018 draft. That is partially on him for not showing the coaching staff what they need to see in practice and probably more on the coaching staff for not giving him more chances since he has looked decent in limited playing time. With Scott Brooks playing a full five-man bench lineup and then plenty of garbage time in the fourth quarter, Brown saw 18 minutes of actions but missed all four of his shots from the field. He finished with two points, three, rebounds, and two assists. On the flip side, 76ers rookie Landry Shamet, drafted with the No. 26 overall pick, had a career-high 29 points and eight three-pointers. For his career, Brown has 44 points and three three-pointers.
Next Game: Washington will travel back to D.C. to complete the home-and-home series with the 76ers on Wednesday night.

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Vince Carter draws huge ovation from Raptors fans in final game in Toronto (Video)

Category : NBA , raptors , Trending Now

Ageless wonder Vince Carter spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Raptors, and fans at Scotiabank Arena clearly did not forget about that.
The 42-year-old Hawks forward traveled to Toronto for what could be the final time in his NBA career, and Raptors fans showed plenty of love — giving him a standing ovation when he entered the game for the first time in the first quarter (to which he responded by draining a three-pointer).
This is Carter’s 23rd season in the league, although it’s unclear if it’ll be his last. He appears to be leaning that way, but has yet to make a definitive statement on it. Either way, what a career for VC.
A special ovation for a special player.

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