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Tag: Memphis Grizzlies (page 1 of 2)

Ward-Henninger (Western Conference Preview): OKC Has “Operation Shutdown Potential”

Russell Westbrook will be looking to follow up on his MVP season alongside the Thunder’s two high-profile offseason acquisitions, but guest Colin Ward-Henninger foresees chemistry challenges ahead (Keith Allison/Flickr).

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Colin Ward-Henninger of CBSSports.com helps preview the talent-loaded Western Conference after an action-packed offseason replete with key player movement.

8:54-9:52: “Paul George actually had a higher usage rate and more touches than Melo last year, and we all know what Russ [Westbrook] does on the court. And he had a hard enough time playing with Durant, and then when Durant left, we saw the madness that happened last year with just the NBA record usage rate of like 40 percent or something like that, which is insane, and it’s hard to just turn that off. I think it’s going to take a while…I think it’s going to be very difficult. I think that Paul George is going to have the hardest time adjusting, because I think he’s going to be the one who’s expected to take fewer shots. Melo, we hope at this stage in his career understands that he’s not the No. 1 guy or even the No. 2 guy in this case, but you never know. And these are two guys that can opt out of their contracts, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. So if they get 20 games into the season and they don’t like playing with Russ, there’s some Operation Shutdown potential there.” Continue reading

Bulls, Grizzlies Slide as Minny’s Momentum Continues (Power Rankings: March 15, 2017 Edition)

Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls halted their five-game losing streak by defeating Charlotte Monday night (Jacob Gaertner/Creative Commons).

A particularly tumultuous period sees the Warriors and Cavaliers dropping to their lowest positions of the season. Meanwhile, every other team has moved up or down at least one spot except for the Clippers and Hawks, who remained at No. 8 and 12, respectively. A handful of sub-.500 squads are recognized for their strong recent play, as the Grizzlies and Bulls are punished for their sluggish performances over the past two weeks. One final fun fact: Last edition, Chicago came in at No. 15, a full 10 spots ahead of the Hornets. This time around, Chicago clings to a single-spot lead over Charlotte after edging the Hornets Monday night.

Biggest Jumps: Milwaukee Bucks (+6), Minnesota Timberwolves (+5), Washington Wizards (+4)

Biggest Falls: Chicago Bulls (-6), Memphis Grizzlies (-5), Dallas Mavericks (-4), Indiana Pacers (-4), Toronto Raptors, (-4) Continue reading

Wizards Cast Spell, Climb 10 Spots (Power Rankings: Dec. 23, 2016 Edition)

23-year-old shooting guard Bradley Beal has nearly equaled his age in points per game, as the Wizards continue their stellar play (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

While nine teams held the same ranking from our previous edition, six squads rose or dropped at least six spots. Leading the way among most improved from last edition, the Washington Wizards jumped from 22nd to 12th. Thanks to lethal 3-point shooting, the Rockets continued their ascent to fourth even as starting center Clint Capela will be sidelined for the next month at the very least. The Nuggets also impressed the panel, playing extremely well in their first stretch as a completely healthy unit. The returns of Danilo Gallinari and Gary Harris have Denver fans feeling as high as their city’s altitude. The Lakers, however, continue their slide and can no longer use injury as the lone excuse for dropping 11 of their last 12 games. Since our second edition, which was published four weeks ago, the Lakers have dropped from 13th to 27th or seven spots every two weeks.

Biggest Jumps: Washington Wizards (+10), Denver Nuggets (+7), Dallas Mavericks (+6)

Biggest Falls: Los Angeles Lakers (-7), Portland Trail Blazers (-7), Detroit Pistons (-7) Continue reading

Chris Reichert: NBA Teams “Looking for Rotational Role Players” in D-League

Pierre Jackson of the Texas Legends is one of many D-League stars hoping that an NBA contract is in his future. (Eurofan88/Wikimedia Commons)

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Chris Reichert of FanSided Network’s The Step Back visits to tell us everything we need to know about the D-League. The league expert explains the expected impact of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement on the NBA’s official minor-league basketball organization, the league’s top prospects and how it has served as a laboratory for testing potential NBA rule changes. Also, what is an ambitious basketball coach’s best friend? Not a dog, bur rather a coaching stint in the D-League. Reichert is teeming with fascinating material, including how wing Jonathon Simmons went from paying $150 to try out for a D-League team to earning a key role playing for one of the greatest organizations in all of professional sports, the San Antonio Spurs. Check out some of Reichert’s rubies below:

1:34-3:28 Reichert on how the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will affect the D-League players: “They’re adding two roster spots to every NBA team and those are going to be two-way contracts, probably for fringe [NBA] players…they want to keep their rights but they really want to develop them in the D-League. Those players are going to be paid a little more. They’ll get 50,00 to 75,000. It opens up 60 additional roster spots for players, which is another great thing for D-League guys, fringe guys looking to make rosters and get an opportunity…The NBA minimums have come up 45 to 50 percent…which is going to help D-League players, because the 10-day contracts come January are based off the minimum salaries for however many years a player has in the NBA…They helped about a fifth of them, which I guess is a start, but hopefully, eventually we’ll get higher contracts across the board in the D-League.”

5:39-6:32 on the D-League as a test lab for the NBA: “I think it’s really smart. It’s a good way to gauge…what kind of effect these changes are going to have on overall gameplay and fan experience. They have a coach’s challenge in the D-League that can be used in the fourth quarter or overtime. That’s something the NBA does not have and they’ve been experimenting with it. This is the second season…They used to also use the FIBA goaltending rule, where you can hit the ball off the rim…Another thing that might actually get implemented in the NBA that they’re using this year is on offensive rebounds, the shot clock goes to 14…It keeps the game flow going, forces the offense to maybe make a faster decision on their second possession.”

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Hawks Grounded, While Giannis and the Bucks Soar (Power Rankings: Dec. 9, 2016 Edition)

The Hawks earned a 13-spot demotion by struggling mightily after storming out of the gates with a 9-2 start (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

Due to stellar play from the Rockets, Jazz, Thunder and Celtics, the red-hot Grizzlies actually dropped a couple slots. The panel was indeed impressed by Memphis’ ability to win five of its last six games without Mike Conley Jr. on the court; it’s just those other teams were deemed to be even better. On the other side of the coin, the Hawks have been dreadful for nearly three weeks now and are paying for it by falling precipitously in this edition. Their 13-place drop on our list may be awfully difficult for teams to “beat” in future rankings.

Biggest Jumps: Milwaukee Bucks (+8), Orlando Magic (+7), Oklahoma City Thunder (+6)

Biggest Drops: Atlanta Hawks (-13), Chicago Bulls (-10), Denver Nuggets (-9), New Orleans Pelicans (-7), Los Angeles Lakers (-7)

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Knicks, Pelicans, Grizzlies and Celtics Vault Up the List (Power Rankings: Nov. 25, 2016 Edition)

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)

  1. 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

The Clippers’ Suffocating Defense Earns Top Spot (Power Rankings: Nov. 11, 2016 Edition)

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.

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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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Hasseltine: Amid Randolph Decline, a “Lot More on Marc Gasol’s Shoulders”

Hasseltine

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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.”

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Best Rookies, Portland’s Surprise Start and the Enigmatic Derrick Rose

Andre Drummond's improvement has been key to the surprising Pistons (Erik Drost/Creative Commons)

Andre Drummond’s improvement has been key to the surprising Pistons (Erik Drost/Creative Commons)

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On today’s episode, the A-A-Ron Block is devoted to continued discussion of the Chicago Bulls. This intriguing-yet-perplexing team has defeated the Cavaliers and Thunder, while also surrendering 130 points to the Hornets. Its starting point guard is an enigma, too, going three straight games with single-digit scoring before erupting for 29 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds against the Thunder Thursday. Following Derrick Rose’s strong individual performance, the guys debate the validity of the latest trade rumors swirling around him. They also touch on frontcourt rotations, the pros and cons of starting Doug McDermott and more.

Later, LLC Incorporated breaks down the best rookies so far — Karl-Anthony Towns is the twins’ consensus pick — and the league’s most pleasant surprises and early disappointments. While the Blazers and Pistons have impressed Aaron so far, Joshua is particularly irked by the Grizzlies’ sluggish start. Finally, who’s currently the worst team in the league? The guys disagree.

Music: “Who Likes To Party” by Kevin MacLeod

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