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Tag: LaMarcus Aldridge

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

Jeff Garcia: Kawhi Leonard “Lurking in the Shadows” of MVP Race

Jeff, a longtime Spurs reporter, discusses Gregg Popovich’s dominant, yet under-appreciated, squad in this exhilarating episode.

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Amid all the talk of a potential third straight Cavaliers-Warriors Finals matchup and a statistically historic MVP race between Russell Westbrook and James Harden, the San Antonio Spurs have quietly continued their dominance, on pace for 64 wins in the first season of the post-Tim Duncan era. Jeff Garcia, lead Spurs writer for News 4 San Antonio and Fox 29 San Antonio, as well as the host of the Locked on Spurs podcast, joins us to explain why the Spurs, as always, are perfectly content to stay below the national radar until the playoffs, and how their quiet, humble star, Kawhi Leonard, embodies that mentality. He also takes us through how, in recent years, the team has been able to transition seamlessly from a slow, grinding offense to the faster-paced, efficient one we’re seeing now. Among additional fascinating topics, Jeff tackles impressive backup point guard Patrick Mills’ impending unrestricted free agency. Particularly, will the Spurs pay to keep Mills in town and/or make him the starter over Tony Parker? Read more for our favorite excerpts from Jeff:

3:31-4:35Despite their recent success, the Spurs are perennially ignored by the national media. Jeff explains why and if it matters:

“They just get the job done, and that can get boring at times. It’s like they say: ‘death, taxes, and Spurs’…They’re sitting at 32-9. They are a defensive animal. They’re an offensive animal. But yet, overlooked…Does it really matter? Because as long as this team is jiving at the right point [and] is heading into the postseason on the right foot, has a good rhythm, they’re going to get their national media attention, and hopefully that’s going to come late June when they’re hoisting up another trophy.”

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Can Mavericks Forward Harrison Barnes Become an NBA Star (Featuring Jason Gallagher, Andy Liu)?

Now a member of an injury-ravaged Mavericks squad, Barnes is often expected to carry the bulk of his team's scoring load (Matthew Addie/Creative Commons).

Now a member of an injury-ravaged Mavericks squad, Barnes is often expected to carry the bulk of his team’s scoring load (Matthew Addie/Creative Commons).

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This special Harrison Barnes-themed episode draws upon the perspectives of Dallas Mavericks fan Jason Gallagher, who currently serves as a multimedia editor at The Ringer, as well as Andy Liu of Warriors World, to try to determine Barnes’ ultimate potential in the NBA. After four years with the Golden State Warriors, including the final two that resulted in NBA Finals appearances, the 24-year-old forward signed a four-year max contract with the Dallas Mavericks. While Kevin Durant has taken his starting spot on the league’s most dominant team, Barnes has been tasked with carrying the injury-riddled Mavericks on his shoulders. So far, the individual results have been mixed, while the team has struggled badly. Without further ado, enjoy the show, and check out some excerpts from the episode if you’d like:

Jason Gallagher at 3:57-4:12: “They’re kind of playing in a nothing-to-lose sort of mentality at this point, and so I think that him learning to develop these skills of leading a team without the pressure of having to win games is good for a young player.”

6:17-6:44: “I really like Harrison on defense…and specifically Harrison when he plays the 4 he’s found a lot of success as well, especially on defense, in exploiting bigger players. He’s showing himself to be a versatile guy, and you really have to start thinking that way with Dirk [Nowitzki] on his last legs.” Continue reading

Dane Carbaugh: Blazers’ Lillard Has “Biggest Chip on His Shoulder Ever”

Under the leadership of Coach Terry Stotts (pictured), the Portland Trailblazers have exceeded expectations and are vying for the playoffs. (Wikimedia Commons)

Under the leadership of Coach Terry Stotts (pictured), the Portland Trail Blazers have exceeded expectations and are vying for the playoffs. (Wikimedia Commons)

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After a summer of roster upheaval, highlighted by the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge, the Portland Trail Blazers have been finding their way on the fly. Since falling to the Warriors by 20 on Jan. 8, they’ve caught fire, winning 15 of 18 games, including a blowout of those same Warriors. The knowledgeable Dane Carbaugh hangs with the guys to explain Portland’s scorching play, C.J. McCollum’s emergence, Damian Lillard’s excellence and so much more. Located in the City of Roses, Carbaugh has worked for SB Nation and Sporting News, among other outlets. He’s a skilled NBA video analyst for Vox, Blazer’s Edge, Hardwood Paroxysm and FloHoops. The Renaissance man, whose videos appear here also has his own podcast with Yu Miyagawa called “Between Me and Yu,” which can be found on iTunes.

Some particularly noteworthy clips can be found below:

7:15 – 8:10 on Damian Lillard’s underdog mentality: “(The underdog mentality) is definitely a part of his process… and what has happened to him by choice… He has the loyalty factor. He wants to put on for the city. He got MVP chants while he was at the free-throw line the other day.”

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Stephen Anderson “Likes [the Spurs’] Chances Against Golden State”

Stephen Anderson, second from left, interviewing Manu Ginobili

Stephen Anderson, second from left, interviewing Manu Ginobili

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While the Warriors are grabbing all the headlines, thanks to a perfect 16-0 start, the reliable San Antonio Spurs are quietly succeeding at a high level on both ends of the court. They are led by 24-year-old phenom and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard, but as with all Gregg Popovich-led Spurs teams over the years, individual accolades are not what it’s about. Stephen Anderson of Project Spurs graciously came on the show to discuss the Spurs’ scalding start, Leonard’s two-way dominance, the addition of LaMarcus Aldridge and plenty more.  

Additional highlights include:

11:15-11:35 From an offensive standpoint, Stephen believes that integrating Aldridge will be a process. However, he’s already very impressed with his understanding of the team’s defensive principles: “His defense is a seamless transition for him. We’ve seen him defend. We’ve seen him and Tim Duncan in the paint together, which gives me flashbacks of David Robinson. LaMarcus Aldridge is not like David Robinson in that way, but defense-wise he really is proving to be a very good asset.”

16:30-16:45 On how Tim Duncan would approach his final season, which may or may not be 2015-16: “I don’t see Tim Duncan having a farewell tour. All of us journalists, all of us writers, have a running joke that if the Spurs win the championship, in his presser, post-game, he’ll say, ‘Alright guys, I’m done,’ and that’s the last time you’ll see him.”

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Down Goes Durant, the Combustible Kings and Kawhi Wait for Superstardom

This season, Kawhi Leonard has shouldered much of the Spurs' scoring load in addition to playing tenacious defense (Mark Runyon/BasketballSchedule.net)

This season, Kawhi Leonard has shouldered much of the Spurs’ scoring load in addition to playing tenacious defense (Mark Runyon/BasketballSchedule.net)

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In this action-packed episode, the guys reflect on the state of the Oklahoma City Thunder, particularly given Kevin Durant’s hamstring strain. Later, the trio celebrates the emergence of 24-year-old Kawhi Leonard as a bona fide offensive star and explores what in the hell is going on in Sacramento these days. Should George Karl lose his job this early in the season? Can the damage be undone? The OTNB boys are on the case.   

Music: “Who Likes To Party” by Kevin MacLeod

Traversing the Loaded West With Alex Kennedy

AKandLillard

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Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy helps us navigate the 2015-16 Western Conference, a collection of teams featuring various contenders who made key offseason additions and the defending champion Golden State Warriors, a dominant team that largely stood pat. In addition to the uber-competitive West, Alex discusses Anthony Davis’ ample room for improvement, young players primed to break out this season, Jamal Crawford’s complicated fit with the Clippers, the enigma that is Jeremy Lin’s hair and so much more.

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod 
Introduction by Jonathan Santiago

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