On The NBA Beat

Attentively bringing the National Basketball Association to you

Matt Hill on His Projects, Lonzo Ball Fascination

Lonzo Ball has reeled our guest Matt Hill back into being a full-fledged Lakers fan (TonytheTiger/Wikimedia Commons).

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The creative Matt Hill, Super Hoopers cofounder and cohost, graces us with his presence, as we discuss a wide selection of topics, ranging from his viral animated comedy web series “Spurs Special Forces” to Lonzo Ball, bandwagon fans and so much more. A trio of excerpts can be found below:

6:50-7:06: Matt discusses longtime friend Randall Park [actor-comedian]’s unique contributions to “Spurs Special Forces.” 

“He’s just an old friend. So I was doing the Spurs [Special Forces video], and I thought it’d be funny to have him even though he knows nothing about basketball. He has no idea who Manu Ginobili is. Basically his impression of Manu Ginobili is almost like half-Scarface. It’s like a high-pitched Scarface.” Continue reading

Celebrating the 100th Show

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For this special episode, your hosts will break precedent and not write too much below the audio player. Most importantly, we sincerely appreciate the myriad contributions to our project and made this episode to help spell those out. It’s a long episode, but one which we hope you’ll find well worth your while.

Interview Timestamps:

13:25-23:52: Lang Whitaker

44:24-51:52: Andy Liu

52:40-57:40: Justin Faudree

58:50-1:06:16: Josh Baumgard

1:06:41-1:13:40: Dan Feldman

1:14:52-1:22:15: Nick Denning

1:24:17-1:29:16: Adena Jones (formerly Andrews)

1:30:41-1:41:12: Michael Pina

1:42:15-1:51:30: Chris Axmann

A few other notable features:

23:52-26:59: Fun Fact Montage

27:10-44:24: Andy Liu Montage


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Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

Oliver Maroney: Big3 Players Really “Looking to Prove Something”

Jason “White Chocolate” Williams was playing for former teammate Gary Payton’s 3-Headed Monsters team before he went down with injury in Week 1 of the Big3 (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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Oliver Maroney, basketball writer for Dime on Uproxx and host of The Big3 Show, calls in to discuss the Big3 tour just as it concludes its regular season and prepares for Sunday’s semifinal round in Seattle. Maroney gets into the business and marketing side of things, while also, of course, delving into the basketball issues at play. For instance, we’ll find out which team is most likely to challenge the undefeated Trilogy squad and whom he favors to take home the inaugural MVP trophy. Just a one-year novelty experiment? Oliver thinks not. He argues that this league has staying power. Listen to find out why that is.

3:24-3:41: “Obviously there’s nostalgia involved, but I think people are just overlooking the fact that this is a competitive basketball league and not just something where retired players go to play. This is something a little bit more than that. They’ve got camaraderie, all the players enjoy each other, and it’s just very different from your normal NBA atmosphere.”

12:10-13:57: “The players love it because that’s the 1990s way. [In] 1980s, 1990s NBA basketball, hand-checking wasn’t allowed and there was more physical play allowed, and now you get to this day and age where players are paid $200 million-plus over five or six years, and teams want to keep their guys healthy, so the only way to kind of eliminate injuries is by just making it a non-contact sport, which it’s almost essentially become…This league, it’s completely the opposite…They’ve tried to take it back a little bit. They’ve tried to make it more physical, and I think you can tell on the floor. When you’re standing there or at the game, you can tell. It’s just so much more physical. It’s a cross between kind of like a boxing match and an NBA game from the 1990s, just because players are really going at it, they’re yelling at each other, the arguing’s there. The competitive nature of these players is still all intact, and they don’t hold back.”

Continue reading

Sue Favor: The WNBA Must Increase Its Visibility, Start Growing Again

Leading 2017 MVP contender Sylvia Fowles boxes out reigning MVP Nneka Ogwumike in the 2016 Finals as Maya Moore looks on (Susan Lesch/Creative Commons).

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Ahead of Friday night’s matchup between the top two teams in the WNBA, the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks, Sue Favor joins the podcast to talk about the league. Sue, a devoted women’s hoops writer at Women’s Hoops World and her “They’re Playing Basketball” blog, handicaps the MVP race, details the Sparks’ winning formula and more broadly discusses the league’s most important storylines, on and off the court. Wonderful WNBA wisdom can be sampled below:

Sue argues Candace Parker is not declining. Far from it:

5:22-6:04: “It seems like the minute a player turns 30 everybody’s asking her when she’s gonna retire, whatever. Even Candace, herself, got that question a few weeks ago, and she was saying, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. Why are you asking me this right now?’ She’s still one of the best players in the world. She can take over a game, and she’s actually done that several times in the last month especially. She’s at the top of the league in statistics right now, and I don’t see her slowing down at all really. So I guess that’s why I wouldn’t even say that she’s trying to pass the baton to anybody right now. She and Nneka are friends off the court, and they work really well together on the court. They’re interchangeable. If one of them is having a slightly off game, the other one steps up. They both work together in tandem really well.” Continue reading

Tim Faklis: Timberwolves Primed for Playoffs as 5 or 6 Seed

Andrew Wiggins, just 22, has been mentioned in Kyrie Irving trade rumors, but Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor says he wants him in town for the long haul (Jose Garcia/Creative Commons).

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The Minnesota Timberwolves have missed the playoffs in each of the past 13 seasons, while finishing with more losses than wins over the last 12. However, the tide is about to turn, according to our guest, Tim Faklis, who contributes to A Wolf Among Wolves, Wolves Wired and FanSided’s The Step Back. He argues that the team’s active offseason, highlighted by the blockbuster trade with Chicago that landed Jimmy Butler, has placed it firmly in win-now mode. Tim touches upon a wide assortment of topics, including the Timberwolves’ expected improvement and whether or not they should try to trade for the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving. Let’s see if these excerpts leave you howling at the moon:

3:20-4:02: “He [Butler] is not a dynamite perimeter shooter, but pretty much every other aspect of his game is something that they’ve missed, especially defensively. They were the worst defensive team in the NBA by a lot of measures last year. And Butler brings in that defensive toughness that [coach Tom] Thibodeau’s been looking for since he joined the team really… I think part of Thibodeau’s plan is to have Butler teach the both of them [Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins], especially Wiggins, how to work on that end.”

12:02-12:39: “Jeff Teague has been up and down from season to season in terms of his 3-point shooting. The hope is that he’ll be up in Minnesota with guys like Butler, guys like Wiggins, guys like Towns there to initiate most of the offense and him just to kind of bring the ball up and then play. Continue reading

Joe Morgan on Pro Scout School and “Belief in the (Kings’) Future”

A commitment to the youth movement and De’Aaron Fox’s impressive summer league performance give Joe Morgan optimism for the Kings’ future (Photo: Joe Morgan).

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The NBA world has taken over Las Vegas for the last two weeks, and while the main attraction has obviously been Las Vegas Summer League, where teams test out and try to develop their new talent, with so much of the top brass in one city, there are bound to be auxiliary events as well. One such event is TPG Sport Group’s Pro Scout School, which our guest, Joe Morgan, was able to attend this week. He details the highlights of what he learned there, from experts like Fran Fraschilla, Bobby Marks, Tony Ronzone, Drew Hanlen and more. Of course, Joe is also co-host of The Kings Court and covers the Kings for SacKingsNation.com, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t also get his views on Sacramento’s eventful offseason so far. Scout out these royal excerpts below:

7:15-8:11 Joe speaks on gaining an insider’s perspective from front-office personnel and other experts: “They talk to you more openly than they would during the season when they’re busy. They give you that insider’s view of ‘Why did this move happen?’ …I could not figure out why Oladipo went to Indiana, and somebody made the point in the class that he’s a Hoosier alumnus. So do you think that helps them sell tickets for the team that was 22nd in attendance last year?… Basketball teams only convene to do two things: win games and make money. As a fan and even on the commentating side of it, generally, you only look at the game-winning side of it. We forget to add in that this is a business.”

11:26-12:20 On how modern teams are able to use both advanced analytics and traditional scouting in conjunction for player evaluation: “In the class, one of my favorite sentences that came out of the whole thing was: ‘Analytics is just evidence-based decision making.’ A guy has to pass the eye-test; you can’t watch a guy and think he’s horrible and then want him on your team. But analytics gives you something that helps you watch for specific patterns… It gives you another way to fine-tune what you’re looking for. A lot of these guys, you only get to watch once or twice… so if you have an analytics team give you some notes beforehand, it really helps you out as a scout.”

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Jovan Buha: Blake Griffin Will “Surpass Paul as Best & Most Important Clipper Ever”

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ESPN.com’s Jovan Buha joins the podcast to analyze the Los Angeles Clippers’ tumultuous 2017 offseason, highlighted by the departure of Chris Paul and the re-signing of Blake Griffin. Developments from the last couple weeks have raised so many questions. Fortunately, Jovan can reliably provide compelling answers.

Enjoy these clips (pun intended; puns are always intended here):

4:14-5:03: “He [Paul] obviously wants to win a championship, wants to make the conference finals, get that monkey off his back, and I think for him, surveying the scene, I think Houston and San Antonio both had more upside. The Clippers, with their cap situation, were most likely going to lose J.J. Redick no matter what and still might end up losing Luc Mbah a Moute, who actually ended up being a bargain signing for them with the bi-annual exception. So I think just looking at it from that perspective, the Clippers were basically going to return the same team as last year minus their two starting wings. And if I’m Chris Paul and we just won 51 games and lost in the first round, that’s not very attractive to me.”

28:57-30:20: “I thought they added depth, they added versatility, they added some youth, and they added assets. At the worst, Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley can both be flipped easily if you want to flip those guys…In the macro sense, the Clippers lost the trade because they lost a top-10 player and they went from a fringe contender to a playoff hopeful.” Continue reading

Keith Smith: Clippers Face “No-Win Situation,” Celtics Target Hayward

Chris Paul’s exit further complicates the Clippers’ and Blake Griffin’s looming decision of how to handle his unrestricted free agency (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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Though the free agency period does not officially begin until July 1, the landscape of the NBA has already shifted dramatically after the draft, a few franchise-altering trades and a couple front-office shake-ups. To help us sort through all the madness of the last week and predict the remaining changes to come, we’ve brought on Keith Smith, who covers the NBA for Real GM and Fan Rag Sports, and has been presenting detailed analyses of each team’s offseason plans on his show, NBA Front Office. With Keith, we break down the ramifications of the blockbuster trades that sent Chris Paul to Houston and Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, discuss the fallout of the Knicks and the Cavaliers severing ties with executives Phil Jackson and David Griffin, respectively, and, of course, try to forecast the eventual landing spots for Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Blake Griffin, George Hill, Paul Millsap and all of the other high-profile free agents and likely movers this offseason.

7:03-7:30: “One of the things that’s really funny about the Blake Griffin question is you can see it going one of two ways. You can see Blake Griffin saying, ‘Forget it. We can’t replace CP3. I’m not gonna be able to win here now. I want to move on. I want to get out of here and go somewhere else.’ Or you could see Blake Griffin saying, ‘Finally, it’s my team. I have it to myself. I don’t have to deal with this guy yapping at me all the time, and we didn’t necessarily get along great.’ So that’s where it becomes really tricky.”

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Sean Derenthal: Lonzo Ball Could Be Draft’s “Best Player or Basically Unplayable”

Smoke screens aside, guest Javier Pesquera retains “99.9 percent” confidence that the Lakers will select Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick (TonyTheTiger/Creative Commons).

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With the draft fast approaching – it’s scheduled for Thursday, June 22, – we’re joined by a pair of men who closely and passionately follow the NBA draft and its potential prospects year-round. Ode to Oden’s Sean Derenthal and Javier Pesquera of What’s on Draft lend their time and expertise to the show, discussing a wide range of issues, including but not limited to Markelle Fultz’s top billing, the Lonzo Ball phenomenon, the strengths and weaknesses of Josh Jackson’s and Dennis Smith Jr.’s games and the nature of this year’s international class. You won’t want to miss this one, especially if, like your hosts, you’ve been fixated on the NBA all season.

Sean Derenthal: 9:28-9:43:

“Lonzo Ball is super-, super-interesting. If you told me like five years from now that he was the best player out of this draft, I wouldn’t be surprised. If you told me that he was basically unplayable, I also wouldn’t be too surprised honestly.”

SD: 16:48-18:16:

“The problem with Josh Jackson, while he does bring all of that [defensive versatility], the reason that you wouldn’t take him is, well, one, there’s some off-court issues…Offensively, his shot is the big issue. So in the Finals, I think we saw that one-way players, it’s difficult to play these guys, Continue reading

The Golden State Warriors’ Pursuit of Playoff Perfection

LeBron James’ otherworldly series has not translated into a Cleveland win thus far (Erik Drost/Flickr).


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With just over three minutes left in a thrilling Game 3, the Cleveland Cavaliers held a three-point lead and looked to be on their way to handing the Golden State Warriors their first loss since April 10. Not to be deterred, the Warriors finished the game with 11 straight points, sealing the victory and continuing their quest for an undefeated 16-0 playoff run. Aaron and Loren team up to discuss that heartbreaking Cavaliers loss, what’s gone right and wrong for each team in the series and what the Warriors’ dominance means for the future of the NBA.


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Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

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