NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Monday, August 3, 2015

Daily Dunks: 8/3-8/9/15

                                                  (Credit: Andy Melton. Click here for source)

     This is my Daily Dunks page for August 3, 2015 through August 9, 2015. Throughout the week, this page will be updated with news from across the NBA until a new Daily Dunks page is created for the following week.

Monday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. LeBron James will report to Team USA minicamp but leave early (Click here for details).

#2. The Nuggets aren't planning to wave Kostas Papanikolaou. At least not now (Click here for details).

#3. The Heat officially signed Josh Richardson (Click here for details).

#4. The Timberwolves officially signed Andre Miller (Click here for details).

#5. Ray Allen may play in the NBA next season (Click here for details).

#6. Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson's mom has passed away (Click here for details).

#7. The Nets will waive forward Earl Clark (Click here for details).

#8. Paul George will attend Team USA minicamp but not play (Click here for details).

#9. Salah Mejri's contract with the Mavericks is full guaranteed (Click here for details).

#10. Adidas is offering James Harden $200M (Click here for details).

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord and like my Facebook page NBA Lord Nation for NBA news 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Eurostep Sunday: The NBA Africa game was way more than just a game

     On Saturday, the NBA held its very first exhibition game on African soil in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two teams facing each other were "Team World" and "Team Africa". After getting down by a lot of points, "Team World", which was captained by Chris Paul, found a way to get the win by the final score of 101-97. Bradley Beal of the Wizards was the leading scorer for "Team World" with 18 points. 

     But given the fact that this was an exhibition game, anybody who focuses squarely on what happened on the hardwood misses the whole significance of this game. What makes this game significant is that it is the first NBA exhibition game to ever be played on African soil. After years of having to watch NBA games from afar and seeing their best players leave to play in the NBA, African fans finally had the NBA come to them. It was the biggest step the NBA has made to let African fans know that they are appreciated and valued. 

     During the summer of 2007, I had the opportunity to visit three African countries: South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. I went on several safaris, visited communities, and saw some of the most breathtaking wonders of nature, namely Victoria Falls. 

     While it is a continent with a lot of struggles and issues, Africa at the same time is a beautiful place with beautiful people. Everybody I met there was really kind, humble, and authentic to who they are. In a world where so many people are exactly the opposite, it was refreshing to be around people who radiated such positive qualities. 

     With that in mind, I am glad that the NBA is making an effort to reach out to the wonderful people of Africa. They are not a group of people who will take this kind of outreach for granted. There were so many fans who got the biggest kick out of seeing Hakeem Olajuwon do the "Dream Shake" on their home soil and when Dikembe Mutombo checked into the game, countless other fans were smiling as well. 

     It's amazing how much good 40 minutes of basketball can do and that's not including the days leading up to the game, which were filled with basketball camps for kids and other activities. All in all, the NBA Africa game was so much more than just a game. It served as a symbol of hope and optimism for a wonderful group of people. 

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for NBA news 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Saturday Slam: The NBA should reward division winning teams

     The NBA should reward teams for winning a division. The current proposal to seed playoff teams 1-8 based on overall record sounds more fair, but in all reality, it hurts the NBA by making the regular season utterly meaningless. Without any sort of advantage to winning your division, NBA teams will become less incentivized to play well down the stretch of the regular season, which will make the regular season way less interesting.

     The NBA acts as if they want the regular season to go away, but in all reality, the regular season is still the largest portion of their schedule and they have to do whatever they can to make it as interesting and entertaining as possible. By eliminating divisions, the NBA creates two playoff races (one in each conference) as opposed to six playoff races (three divisional races in each conference). Less races means less on the line for each team and it means less entertainment for the fans. Further, this totally eliminates divisional rivalries, which means less important games for fans to circle on their calendars.

     Rather than making divisions meaningless, the NBA should make them even more meaningful. They should make teams play everybody in their division six times as opposed to four and subsequently guarantee a division winning team with a top-three seed and home court advantage. Such a system would create more excitement and meaning in the regular season since teams' playoff positioning would largely depend on how they did against a small pocket of teams that they faced on a regular basis.

     The NBA's biggest problem is keeping fans engaged in the months of January, February, and March. With no divisional races to follow and only overall records by conference, fans won't have as much to follow since the playoff picture will pretty much have taken shape by that point. The top four seeds will be close to locked in with only the bottom playoff seeds still up for grabs.

     Under the system that I would like the NBA to adopt, fans would be glued to their seats all the way until the end of the regular season since winning a division vaults their team to a top three seed in the conference with home court advantage. Fans would get extra amped up for games against teams in their division since winning a division would have such a high reward. In essence, the regular season would turn into baseball's regular season, which is filled with several important divisional races towards the end of the season.

     These races make baseball way more exciting and interesting for fans. Especially fans who don't follow the sport all that closely. The casual fan probably gets intimated by conference standings which feature 15 teams, but a 5 team race they can handle, knowing that winning the division guarantees home court advantage and a top three seed in the playoffs.

     In addition to my proposed system being a good thing for fans, it's also a good thing for players and coaches by reducing travel. If each team played everybody in their division six times as opposed to four times, the amount of travel for each team would reduce substantially and less demanding back-to-backs could be scheduled.

     The NBA wants to make things less grueling for players so that the quality of basketball night in and night out is better. If the NBA isn't willing to reduce the number of games, then making teams play teams in their division more often is the best alternative. E.g. As opposed to having to make an extra flight to Minnesota, the Phoenix Suns would have two extra trips to Los Angeles, which is a much shorter flight.

     All in all, the NBA is making a big mistake by eliminating the value of divisions. Divisions exist for travel purposes and creating excitement for fans. By making divisions more important, the NBA would be making things better for everybody involved in the NBA whether it be fans, players, coaches, or owners.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for NBA news 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday Windmill: The Eastern Conference needs to wake up

     The Eastern Conference needs to wake up. Ever since Michael Jordan retired, the entire conference has gone into a coma and it hasn't yet woken up. The 2004 Pistons, 2006 Heat, 2008 Celtics, 2012 Heat, and 2013 Heat didn't wake up the conference. These teams merely won titles while competing in a pathetic conference.

     What's sad is that year after year, all we talk about is how exciting the Western Conference is going to be and how boring the Eastern Conference is going to be. It's the same chatter every season. The Western Conference has 6-8 teams every year that could win the NBA championship and the Eastern Conference has one or two teams in the mix. It's pathetic.

     As a matter of fact, we already know that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win the Eastern Conference in 2016 so long as the team doesn't die in a plane crash or get infected with bird flu. Everybody wants to argue a case for why the Bulls and Hawks can come out of the Eastern Conference, but in all reality, neither of these two teams has what it takes to actually take out the Cavaliers. It's sad, but true.

     What's even sadder is the drop off from the Bulls and Hawks. The Wizards and Raptors are nice little teams, but they don't pack the punch needed to give the Cavaliers a real scare. As for the remaining teams in the conference, they are all trash.

     So, doesn't this all mean the NBA should eliminate conferences and just send the top 16 teams to the playoffs? In my opinion, the answer is no. The NBA needs to preserve conferences for television ratings and travel purposes. As a matter of fact, I'm all for giving division winners a top three seed in the playoffs with home court advantage. I'm old school that way.

     What I want to see instead is the teams in the Eastern Conference to simply get better. I want to see teams like the Hornets, Bucks, 76ers, Pacers, and Celtics rise up and no longer let teams like the Jazz, Timberwolves, and Pelicans be the up and coming teams of the league. Even though all the teams I root for play in the Western Conference, as one who blogs about the NBA in its entirety, I would love to see the Eastern Conference wake up and create a buzz similar to what's been happening out West.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord to keep up with the NBA 


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bear Territory Tuesday: Will Jordan Mathews have room to "breakout"?

     One of the more interesting things to think about when it comes to the 2015-16 Cal men's basketball team is how much room there is for all the players to showcase their abilities. Tyrone Wallace is the senior point guard trying to prove he's worthy of a first round pick in the 2016 NBA draft, Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb both are hoping to be lottery picks in the 2016 NBA draft, Jabari Bird is hoping to prove that he still belongs in the NBA discussion, etc. 

     With all of these players looking to shine while simultaneously having to play together, it stands to reason that somebody is going to have to make a sacrifice or at least not produce as much as they could.    Out of all the players on the team, that "somebody" projects to be Jordan Mathews, a junior shooting guard who averaged 13.6 points per game last season. If it wasn't for the amazing recruiting class that Cal has had, it would stand to reason that Jordan Mathews would take a big step forward and become the next star of the team in the 2015-16 season.

     But with Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown coming to Berkeley, that is longer realistic. As a matter of fact, it's not even clear if Jordan Mathews is in the starting lineup depending on how things shake out in the frontcourt. Going back to my opening paragraph, with all of these big name players suiting up for Cal, there are only so many shots and possessions to go around for each player. Tyrone Wallace is still the leader of the team and Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb are the most talented. The unfortunate reality for Jordan Mathews is that he isn't likely to have as a big of a role as he probably anticipated and that could be somewhat disheartening for him. 

     On the flip side, Mathews is still going to be a key part of the team and thanks to this monster recruiting class, he gets a chance to be on a team that gets a lot of national attention. If Mathews has the right attitude, as I'm sure he will, this could all work to his benefit in terms of his NBA draft stock. NBA scouts do value players who have the humility to be role players and in the NBA, a role player is what Jordan Mathews projects to be at best. 

     So, while it's unlikely that Jordan Mathews has a "breakout" season in terms of leading the team in scoring, he still has a great opportunity to showcase his abilities in the 2015-16 season. It's just that he won't be showcasing his abilities in the way that he probably was expecting before the signings of Rabb and Brown.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for Cal basketball news 


Daily Dunks: 7/27-8/2/15

                                                   (Credit: Andy Melton. Click here for source). 

Here is my Daily Dunks page for July 27, 2015 through August 2, 2015. Throughout the week this page will be updated with news from across the NBA until a new Daily Dunks page is created for the following week.

Monday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Celtics officially re-signed Jae Crowder (Click here for details).

#2. The Heat waived forward Henry "Bill" Walker (Click here for details).

#3. The Cavaliers re-signed Matthew Dellavedova (Click here for details).

#4. The Warriors officially traded David Lee to the Celtics for Gerald Wallace (Click here for details).

#5. James Ennis has restructured his contract with the Heat such that they don't have to guarantee his contract until opening night (Click here for details).

#6. Kobe Bryant will likely play some power forward for the Lakers this season (Click here for details).

#7. The Heat traded guard Zoran Dragic to the Celtics. The Celtics will waive Dragic (Click here for details).

#8. The Warriors signed guard Ian Clark (Click here for details).

#9. The Hornets signed guard Elliot Williams for training camp (Click here for details).

#10. Former Warriors center Ognjen Kuzmic has signed in Greece with Panathinaikos B.C. (Click here for details).

Tuesday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Nuggets have officially signed center Nikola Jokic to a multi-year deal (Click here for details).

#2. The Pelicans have officially signed center Kendrick Perkins (Click here for details).

#3. Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer has plead guilty to the DUI he committed before last season (Click here for details).

#4. Fenerbahce √úlker of the Euroleague will play a couple of preseason games in the USA against NBA teams (Click here for details).

#5. Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka is not yet cleared to play (Click here for details)

#6. The Heat signed second round pick Josh Richardson (Click here for details).

#7. There was a rumor going around that Nicolas Batum wanted to play in Toronto with the Raptors. Batum has dismissed it (Click here for details).

#8. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is undergoing back surgery. He should be fine by training camp (Click here for details).

#9. The Wisconsin State Assembly has passed the Bucks arena deal (Click here for details).

#10. Karl-Anthony Towns wants Kevin Garnett to teach him how to be a champion. Towns also had a 4.0 GPA at Kentucky (Click here and here for details).

Tuesday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Fever 75 Sun 73. Mercury 89 Sky 87 (OT). Fever forward Tamika Catchings had 15 points and became #2 all-time on the WNBA's scoring list.

Wednesday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Raptors have hired three new assistant coaches including Jerry Stackhouse (Click here for details).

#2. The Warriors have announced their coaching staff for this season (Click here for details).

#3. The Kings waived forward Eric Moreland (Click here for details).

#4. The Bucks officially signed small forward Chris Copeland (Click here for details).

#5. The Rockets signed center Chuck Hayes to a one-year veteran minimum deal (Click here for details).

#6. The Timberwolves signed point guard Andre Miller to a one-year contract for the veteran's minimum (Click here for details).

#7. The 76ers have signed second round pick Richaun Holmes (Click here for details).

#8. The Knicks, Lakers, and Wizards are interested in Kevin Seraphin (Click here for details).

#9. Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore combined for 51 points for the Lynx.

#10. In her season debut, Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker had 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists.

Wednesday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Mystics 87 Storm 74. Fever 84 Liberty 72. Lynx 82 Sparks 76. Stars 102 Dream 85.

Thursday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Trail Blazers waived center Brendan Haywood (Click here for details).

#2. The Mavericks signed center Salah Mejri (Click here for details).

#3. The Knicks waived guard Ricky Ledo (Click here for details).

#4. Earl Watson is officially an assistant coach on the Suns (Click here for details).

#5. The Knicks re-signed power forward Lou Amundson to a one-year contract (Click here for details).

#6. The Knicks have officially signed their first round draft picks Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant (Click here for details).

#7. Hawks forward Mike Scott has been arrested on drug charges (Click here for details).

#8. Clippers forward Josh Smith clarifies his "harder on me" comments (Click here for details).

#9. Flip Saunders says Kevin Garnett will be a starter for the Timberwolves (Click here for details).

#10. The Thunder have signed 2014 draft pick Josh Huestis to a four-year rookie scale contract (Click here for details).

Thursday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Mercury 78 Shock 66. Mercury forward DeWanna Bonner had 24 points and 9 rebounds.

Friday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Warriors traded Gerald Wallace to the 76ers for Jason Thompson (Click here for details).

#2. The Kings hired hall of famer Nancy Lieberman and others as assistant coaches (Click here for details).

#3. The Pelicans waived guard Toney Douglas (Click here for details).

#4. Small forward Jeremy Evans has officially signed with the Mavericks (Click here for details).

#5. The Knicks have signed guard Sasha Vujacic to a one-year, $1.35M deal (Click here for details).

#6. Small forward J.P. Tokoto from North Carolina plans to join the 76ers for training camp (Click here for details).

#7. The Kings are interested in reuniting with Hedo Turkoglu (Click here for details).

#8. Pacers forward Jordan Hill has been arrested for speeding and reckless driving (Click here for details).

#9. Allen Crabbe's contract with the Trail Blazers will be guaranteed for next season (Click here for details).

#10. Danilo Gallinari has officially signed his contract extension with the Nuggets (Click here for details).

Friday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Sun 67 Storm 66. Lynx 86 Dream 70. Mystics 88 Stars 53. Sparks 88 Sky 77.

Saturday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. Mavericks first round pick Justin Anderson has signed his rookie contract (Click here for details).

#2. The Clippers waived forward Jordan Hamilton (Click here for details).

#3. In the NBA Africa Game, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo played. Hakeem hit a shot (Click here for footage and details).

#4. Bulls point guard Derrick Rose is uncertain about whether or not to attend Team USA minicamp (Click here for details).

#5. The Nuggets waived forward Kostas Papanikolaou (Click here for details).

#6. Clippers point guard Chris Paul will attend Team USA minicamp (Click here for details).

#7. The Pacers plan to purchase the Fort Wayne Mad Ants to make them their single-affilate D-League team (Click here for details).

#8. Rockets center Dwight Howard will attend Team USA minicamp (Click here for details).

#9. The Hawks hired Michael Blackstone as assistant GM and made a couple of other front office changes (Click here for details).

#10. The NBAPA will file a grievance over the Kings' voiding of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's contract (Click here for details).

Saturday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Lynx 86 Shock 80. Lynx small forward Maya Moore had 20 points.

Saturday's NBA Africa Game results: 

Team World 101 Team Africa 97. Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal led Team World with 18 points.

Sunday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Magic have guaranteed center Dewayne Dedmon's contract for the 2015-16 season (Click here for details).

#2. Due to Nikola Pekovic's health, Karl-Anthony Towns or Gorgui Dieng likely starts in the front court for the Timberwolves with Kevin Garnett (Click here for details).

#3. 76ers center Jahlil Okafor hopes to win rookie of the year (Click here for details).

#4. Former NBA all-star Bob Kauffman has died at the age of 69 (Click here for details).

#5. By waving Ricky Ledo, the Knicks are expected to sign Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Click here for details).

#6. Jordan McRae will join the 76ers for training camp (Click here for details).

#7. Becky Hammon has joined the New York Liberty's ring of honor (Click here for details).

Sunday's WNBA Final Scores: 

Liberty 78 Storm 62. Mercury 71 Dream 68. Sparks 80 Stars 78. Fever 83 Sun 70. Sky 71 Mystics 68. Sky forward Elena Delle Donne had 22 points and 7 rebounds.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord and like my Facebook page NBA Lord Nation for NBA and other basketball related news 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Eurostep Sunday: What does Nick Calathes bring to Panathinaikos B.C.?

(Note: I wrote this article for  the Greek newspaper Prasini published by Xristos Barounis. Follow Xristos on twitter @CBarounis. For an original link to the article in Greek, click here). 

      Nick Calathes, who spent the last two seasons in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies, has signed a three-year, $7M deal with Panathinaikos. This is not the first time the Greek-American has played for Panathinaikos. Before joining the Memphis Grizzlies, he played for Panathinaikos from 2009-2012 and helped lead them to a Euroleague title in 2011. 

     The purpose of this article is for me to explain what Nick Calathes will bring to Panathinaikos after his two years with the Grizzlies. I have been asked to write this article because I cover the Memphis Grizzlies for and have followed Calathes’ game closely during his time in Memphis. I have a good sense of what he can bring to the table and why he is a great addition to Panathinaikos.

     Probably the number one thing that Calathes will bring Panathinaikos is great play on both ends of the floor. Per 36 minutes, Calathes averaged 10.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 2.7 steals per game with the Grizzlies last season. His shooting percentages weren’t very good, but he was able to contribute in other areas besides scoring the basketball. He did a good job at creating plays for others while also playing good defense.

     The second thing he brings to Panathinaikos is an upgrade at the point guard position. Outside of Dimitris Diamantidis, Panathinaikos didn’t really have a point guard who could consistently create offense for others last season. Diamantidis averaged a solid 8.0 points and 5.9 assists per game last season in Euroleague play, but nobody else on the team was able to average more than 3 assists per game. With Nick Calathes now on the roster, Panathinaikos will have two really good playmakers on the floor, which should make the offense flow much more smoothly than it did last season.

     The third thing that Nick Calathes brings to Panathinaikos is playoff experience. During his time with the Memphis Grizzlies, Nick Calathes played in some really important NBA playoff games. He got to play point guard behind Mike Conley, who is one of the best point guards in the NBA and one of the best performers in the playoffs. Panathinaikos certainly could have used Calathes’ playoff toughness in their Euroleague playoff series against CSKA Moscow last season, a series that CSKA Moscow would win in four games.

     In conclusion, Nick Calathes is a great addition to Panathinaikos because he plays well on both ends of the floor, provides an upgrade at the point guard position, and he also brings playoff experience from the NBA. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see him lead Panathinaikos to a Euroleague title in 2016.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for NBA and Euroleague news