Time to Share the Blame
By Moke Hamilton
For as long as we can remember, head coaches and job security have become a combination seldom seen in today’s NBA. The likes of Terry Porter and Maurice Cheeks stand in rare company as coaches who were fired after less than one season on the job—Porter with the Phoenix Suns in 2009 and Cheeks with the Detroit Pistons in 2014. Since then, more head coaches have been hired and fired than one would ever want to count. For perspective, though, consider the following: once next season begins, at least 25 NBA teams will have changed coaches since 2013.
Said differently, across the entire league, only five head coaches have managed to last three or more seasons with their current team. The complete list is as follows: Gregg Popovich (1996), Erik Spoelstra (2008), Rick Carlisle (2008), Dwane Casey (2011) and Terry Stotts (2012).
Most Dominant Playoff Teams in NBA History
By Joel Brigham
The Cleveland Cavaliers are on a tear this postseason, having won their first eight games without a single loss and posing a real threat of running straight to the NBA Finals with an undefeated record.
If they were able to pull off such a feat (and when they’re averaging over 19 three-pointers a game over their last four contests at just shy of 51 percent, it’s certainly possible), they’d head into the Finals at 12-0 with an interesting opportunity to place themselves among some of the most dominant playoff teams in NBA history.
Time to Restart in Atlanta?
By Cody Taylor
For the second time in as many seasons, the Atlanta Hawks were eliminated from the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers — with both outcomes ending in a four-game sweep.
Last year’s defeat occurred in the Eastern Conference Finals, while this year’s result happened in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. However, it seemed like the Hawks were poised to avoid another four-game sweep this year after their performance in Game 1 last Monday.
Atlanta was down by as many as 18 points during that game and came back to eventually take an 88-87 lead with 4:28 left in the fourth quarter. However, Cleveland finished the game on a 17-5 run to win, coming up with clutch shots down the stretch. While the Hawks lost, they showed fight in that game and looked like they’d be able to make it a competitive series.
Time to Appreciate Paul Millsap
By Jesse Blancarte
When we talk about the best power forwards in the league, we often hear names like Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Love among others. However, one player is repeatedly overlooked (even though he was selected as an All-Star three times). That player is Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks.
To be clear, Millsap is recognized by many as being a solid or very good all around player. But that sells Millsap short of what he has turned himself into over the last few seasons. He has become one of the best two-way power forwards in the entire league and the best player on the Hawks.
Writing On The Wall For Jeff Teague
By Lang Greene
The Atlanta Hawks have reached the playoffs for the past nine seasons. While the club just has one Eastern Conference Finals appearance to show for their efforts during this time period, the franchise has been resilient when it comes to handling change. From head coaches – Mike Woodson, Larry Drew and Mike Budenholzer – to players such as Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Mike Bibby and Josh Smith, the Hawks’ winning ways have persisted through the years.
But this summer could be one of big changes for Atlanta’s core as we’ve come to know it. All-Star center Al Horford is headed to unrestricted free agency for the first time of his career. With the league’s salary cap set to rise exponentially, there will be plenty of executives with extra cash in the wallet who will want to be active in free agency.
Set-Off, Trade Exceptions and Camp Money
By Eric Pincus
Upon completion of the 2015-16 NBA regular season, a number of teams received minor salary savings in the form of “set-off.”
For franchises with the dead money of a waived or stretched player on their books, a portion may be set-off upon completion of the season, provided the provision was not waived in the buyout agreement.
The set-off formula is the player’s new salary minus the minimum for a player with one year’s experience in the year in which they were waived. The balance is then divided by two, the amount deducted from the original team’s obligation.
Why the Hate Toward Steph Curry’s Game?
By Jabari Davis
Can we stop these lazy and convenient arguments against greatness simply because it looks a bit different than what we are accustomed to seeing as basketball fans? Long before Stephen Curry won his well-deserved second consecutive Most Valuable Player award, the Golden State Warriors and Curry faced plenty of criticism from some fans, analysts and former NBA players. Backlash and even back-handed compliments are almost expected any time you perform at a level that challenges the record books and written history of the game. But with that said, the dismissive and almost passive-aggressive nature of the narrative just makes no sense when it comes from guys who have actually played in the league, guys who simply know better and should absolutely appreciate how effortless Curry makes extremely difficult acts look at times.
LeBron James Discusses Retirement
By Alex Kennedy
The Cleveland Cavaliers have yet to lose a game this postseason and the terrific play of superstar LeBron James is a big reason for the team’s success.
Through two rounds, James has averaged 23.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.4 steals – leading Cleveland to sweeps over the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks. The Cavaliers will face either the Toronto Raptors or Miami HEAT in the Conference Finals and they are the clear favorite to represent the East in the NBA Finals. If they advance as expected, James would make his sixth-straight Finals appearance.
Because James continues to be one of the NBA’s most dominant players and has never really missed a significant chunk of time due to injury, there is rarely talk about him retiring. He is obviously still in his prime and isn’t at the point where people typically wonder how many years he has left.
Jaylen Brown Leaping at His Sky-High Ceiling
By Ben Dowsett
Virtually no NBA draft pick ever knows his upcoming destination with any certainty, and California product Jaylen Brown is no different. General uncertainty surrounding the 2016 NBA draft class after consensus top two Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram plays a role, but Brown has an even wider range than many of his peers since he is one of this year’s more divisive prospects.
“I’ve heard a lot of things, from [pick] one through 10,” Brown said at the NBA combine.
The more visible public scouting tools agree generally, though none have quite touched the more favorable end of the range Brown offered for himself. He’s ranked fifth by both DraftExpress and CBS Sports as of this writing, checks in seventh on NBADraft.net and is as low as 10th on ESPN’s Chad Ford’s Big Board. Our own Basketball Insiders panel listed him anywhere from third to seventh in our first mock draft.
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