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Category: Podcast (page 1 of 10)

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

2017 NBA Finals Preview With Brendan Bowers, Andy Liu

Despite having just surpassed Michael Jordan to become the all-time leader in playoff points, LeBron James may be facing the largest challenge of his career against the Golden State Warriors in the 2017 NBA Finals. (Keith Allison/Flickr)

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The 2017 NBA Finals are finally here. And no surprise…the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are set to face off an NBA-record third straight time. These behemoths come in a combined 24-1 this postseason. The Warriors have won at least 67 games each of the last three regular seasons, whereas the defending champion Cavaliers boast a league-leading 120.7 Offensive Rating these playoffs. As if that weren’t enough, the second LeBron James-Kevin Durant Finals meeting will also be a key component, among a slew of fascinating storylines. To help us preview this highly anticipated rubber series, New York Times bestselling author Brendan Bowers and Warriors World’s Andy Liu team up to provide elite insight on these historic teams.

Brendan Bowers 5:57-7:14: “I think LeBron’s in his prime right now. And I’m not saying that prime’s gonna last X number of years. I don’t know how long it’s gonna last…If I was to guess one thing [as to] why is it the prime now: I think part of [it is] getting that championship for Cleveland, breaking the six-decade streak of no championships, doing it for his hometown, completing the redemption story. I think now that that whole thing is off his back, he’s just playing basketball, and he is, I think, playing it better than he ever has despite the athleticism that he had at 22, at 23, at 24. Continue reading

Jim Park: If Warriors Fall Short, Disappointment Would Be the “Understatement of the Century”

Jim Park most looks forward to Stephen Curry proving he can perform at his best on the grandest stage of all (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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In advance of the NBA Finals, Aaron catches up with former Sheridan Hoops writer Jim Park about the Golden State Warriors’ dominance, Steve Kerr’s health-related absence and what, if anything, can slow down these rolling Warriors.

A season after winning an NBA-record 73 games and falling one win shy of their second straight championship, the Golden State Warriors are back to the Finals with a vengeance. There, they’ll be meeting a familiar foe in the form of the Cleveland Cavaliers, setting the stage for the third consecutive NBA Finals matchup between the teams. Storylines abound, including Kevin Durant’s long-awaited rematch with LeBron James on the biggest stage imaginable, but these teams’ recent dominance makes it all even more intriguing. Carrying over from the regular season, the Dubs have won 27 of their last 28 games, including a perfect 12 for 12 this postseason. For their part, the Cavaliers are enjoying a league-best 120.7 Offensive Rating these playoffs and, of course, have only been defeated once, a three-point loss to the Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. Each team’s 2017 playoff Net Rating tops +16 points per 100 possessions.

Golden excerpts can be found below:

Jim Park 3:55-4:03: “Curry really found himself [basketball-wise] while KD was gone, and he really hasn’t looked back even when KD did come back.”

12:20-13:04: “They don’t let teams come back. It’s set up in such a way where other teams have trouble coming back, because, to start the fourth quarter, they have Curry sitting and they’ll have KD starting the game in the fourth quarter, and usually he’s eating. The second-unit guys can’t stop KD, let alone first guys usually, so that’s a tall order for most teams to try to overcome, especially when they’re down. So you really have to play perfectly and try to get out ahead of the Warriors in order to have any kind of chance. Because if you get down, forget it. No chance.” Continue reading

Missing Kawhi, “Peak Powers” LeBron With Paul Garcia, Tas Melas

Kawhi Leonard | San Antonio Spurs

Kawhi Leonard’s ankle injury has sadly removed any remaining suspense as to whether or not the Warriors are likely to coast into the Conference Finals (Mark Runyon/Creative Commons).

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In this two-part episode, The StartersTas Melas joins us to discuss the league’s biggest storylines, such as the highly anticipated third straight Warriors-Cavaliers Finals matchup, the Celtics’ rapid and robust rebuild and Paul George and Gordon Hayward not qualifying for max extensions. But first, Paul Garcia of Project Spurs and Analyzing the League stops by to detail the incredible impact Kawhi Leonard’s injury has had and will continue to have on San Antonio’s prospects of upsetting the mighty Warriors. If you need to get in the mood, peep a handful of excerpted quotes below:

Paul Garcia: 8:45-9:28: “If there’s one lineup I think that can work, it’s [Dewayne] Dedmon at the 5. The only problem with that, which is why Pop hasn’t really been playing him, is that he slows down the ship on offense. He can’t shoot from the outside, he’s obviously just a rim runner, but defenses are good enough in the playoffs are good enough to take that away… They can try to go small… but they don’t have a team built to play small. They have a team built to play big, so that’s something they have trouble with. And the Warriors haven’t even thrown out their best stuff yet.” Continue reading

Wizards Must Overcome Road Woes to Advance, Featuring Chase Hughes & Michael Pina

The Celtics and Wizards won’t be friends any time soon, but they certainly have produced one memorable postseason series (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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Chase Hughes of Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and Vice SportsMichael Pina (also host of The Big Three Podcast) deliver back-to-back interviews in which they delve deeply into the captivating Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics. While the Celtics lead 3-2, the home team has won every single game of the series. No love between the teams has been lost either.

Wednesday was a crazy day for D.C. sports fans as the Washington Capitals hosted a Game 7 in which they fell to the Penguins, sending the Caps home early for yet another summer. Also in the nation’s capital, the talented Nationals roared back from four runs down to defeat the Beltway rival Orioles on a walk-off single. That same night, the Wizards lost a one-sided road Game 5 to the Celtics. As the series shifts back to D.C., the Wizards hope to keep their home magic alive just long enough to get one more crack at that elusive road victory in a decisive Game 7. Our guests expertly detail what to look for the remainder of the series, beginning with Chase Hughes who is followed by Michael Pina in the final segment. Continue reading

Flipping the Switch, IT’s Legendary Night, Rockets-Spurs Breakdown

In his historic game 2 performance, the diminutive Isaiah Thomas put the Boston Celtics on his back, scoring 29 points during the 4th quarter and overtime. (Keith Allison/Flickr)

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Did they just “flip the switch?” Following Cleveland’s middling post-All-Star break stretch, Loren and Aaron begin by discussing the Cavaliers’ dominant first two games against the Raptors. Also on tap: Diminutive Celtics star Isaiah Thomas’ historic Game 2 performance in what figures to be a long, competitive series with the Wizards and what to look for the remainder of the intriguing, intrastate battle between the Spurs and Rockets.

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

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