Luka Doncic’s breakout EuroBasket performance helped solidify his case to be the next No. 1 overall pick, argues Trevor Magnotti (Tuomas Vitikainen/Creative Commons).
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Led by tournament MVP Goran Dragic and impressive 18-year-old Luka Doncic, Slovenia upset the perennial favorite, Spain, on its way to a EuroBasket Gold, the first medal of any kind in the tournament for the small country of only about 2 million people. Trevor Magnotti, who covers all things EuroLeague at The Step Back, joins Aaron to break down the most important takeaways from EuroBasket, including the draft implications of Doncic’s performance and the possibility of new young powerhouses in Latvia, Slovenia and Finland replacing the longtime European mainstays of Spain and France. Of course, Aaron also gets Trevor’s viewpoint on how some of this season’s European rookies, such as the Clippers’ Milos Teodosic and the Cavaliers’ Cedi Osman, may fare in their transition into the NBA. Tour through the episode with these excerpts below:
6:51-7:35: “[Lauri] Markkanen came in on this [Finnish] team, and he immediately took charge of the situation. He was a massive part of their success, basically single-handedly beat[ing] France in the group stage in that big overtime upset that was by far the game of the tournament to me…He both kind of helped his team to a lot of success and also helped himself a little bit. I think that he’s a guy that I’m now much more excited to see at the NBA level, whereas I wasn’t really before, because he didn’t look as solid as we had hoped in his one year of college.”
13:23-15:11: “The fact that he [Luka Doncic] is 18 and he’s playing this big of a role on a team in this tournament, which is basically like the second tier below the Olympics in terms of international basketball, that’s never really happened before. Really the only player that I can think of who has played this big of a role on a EuroBasket team at his age is Pau Gasol, and that’s no small comparison. Continue reading
Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies are enjoying a six-game winning streak and a nine-slot jump in these power rankings below (Verse Photography/Creative Commons).
Our three panelists, Loren Lee Chen, Aaron Fischman and Joshua Fischman, independently ranked the league’s 30 teams from top to bottom. Their averaged rankings produced this 1-30 list and took into account all NBA regular-season games up until and including Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016. There were no contests on Thursday, the 24th.
Biggest Jumps: New York Knicks (+10), New Orleans Pelicans (+10), Memphis Grizzlies (+9), Boston Celtics (+8)
Biggest Drops: Miami Heat (-7), Brooklyn Nets (-6), Portland Trail Blazers (-6), Oklahoma City Thunder (-6)
- Golden State Warriors (13-2, Previous Rank: 3) – The Warriors nab our top spot from the Clippers after rattling off nine straight wins, most in blowout fashion. Golden State scored 149 points in its last game, sinking the Lakers, one of only two teams that have beaten the Warriors this season, by 43. Klay Thompson has shot the lights out and averaged 27 points over the team’s past four games, and Draymond Green again looks like Defensive Player of the Year material. Continue reading
In the debut of On the NBA Beat’s biweekly (the every-other-week kind) NBA power rankings feature, Doc Rivers’ Los Angeles Clippers lead the field, four Eastern Conference teams rank in the top seven spots, Los Angeles’ other team cracks the top half, the “no-longer-tanking” 76ers occupy the last spot, and so much more.
Our three panelists, Loren Lee Chen, Aaron Fischman and Joshua Fischman, independently ranked the league’s 30 teams from top to bottom. Their averaged rankings produced this 1-30 list and took into account all NBA regular-season games up until and including Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. Therefore, the results of Thursday’s four games will not be reflected in these rankings, but the blurbs and team records will be completely up-to-date. Future editions will also include each team’s net change from the previous rankings.
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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Although the Memphis Grizzlies find themselves better than .500, they’ve struggled to beat the league’s upper-echelon teams. Grizzlies radio play-by-play announcer Eric Hasseltine joins the show to discuss Memphis’ early struggles, caused primarily by uncharacteristically poor defense and a lack of perimeter shooting. With Zach Randolph really showing his age and Mike Conley Jr. starting slow, Eric believes Marc Gasol needs to consistently be aggressive for this team to succeed. Many other fascinating topics are discussed, including Mario Chalmers’ impact, these juicy bites below and much more:
6:40-8:00: On why the Grizzlies have struggled: “They feel like their defense can get better. They’ve certainly faced some of the elite teams right off the bat. They’ve played Golden State twice, San Antonio twice, Dallas twice, Oklahoma City twice, the Clippers and the Rockets twice. They haven’t faced the teams that you’d think you can pile up wins on. Nonetheless, they’ve got to do a better job against the good teams. They’re not trusting each other the way they used to. Their offensive sets are not crisp…not solid when they’re moving the ball, so they don’t get a bucket, and then they give up a bucket. Next thing you know, you’re down six, eight points. Now you’re gonna press offensively…and that puts a lot of pressure on the defensive end.”
9:45-10:35: On the need for Marc Gasol’s leadership: “Some nights, he is uber-aggressive and wants to be the lead dog…other nights he’s so team-oriented that he feels like he needs to get other guys involved. When Marc catches, turns, and shoots from 17, 18 feet…it’s hard to stop him. When he does that on a regular basis, it makes teams have to come out on him. But Marc is so basketball savvy and team-oriented that he doesn’t want it to be all about him. The problem is (Memphis has) paid him to be one of those guys…He’s learning how to be that guy, because he’s never been in his career. It’s always been a 1-2-3 punch of Randolph, Gasol and Conley sharing those duties. Now it’s a lot more on Marc’s shoulders. I think he’s ready and willing to take that on.”