Olympics Present Rare Opportunity For Kyrie Irving
By Moke Hamilton
With the clock ticking and Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals knotted at 89-89, J.R. Smith set the fateful screen on Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry switched out onto Kyrie Irving. The four men probably had no idea that they had just begun one of the most memorable plays in NBA history.
What happened next—Irving’s hitting what may have been the biggest shot in Cleveland’s basketball history—is something that will be overlooked for many years to come.
Sure, LeBron James had scratched, clawed and dragged the Cleveland Cavaliers to the point where they were a single made shot away from pulling off one of the most improbable upsets in quite some time, but he needed someone to step up and help him finish the job.
Curry’s Earning Potential Grows
By Joel Brigham
We hear a lot about what a celebrity endorsement darling Stephen Curry has become over the course of the last two NBA seasons, and it’s understandable considering how much he’s completely transformed the game of basketball with his boyish good looks and deep, deep shots from all over the floor.
That, predictably, has led to an increase in endorsement dollars for the two-time MVP, who as of earlier this year is officially the highest-rated active athlete according to Repucom’s Celebrity DBI metric, which ranks over 3,800 celebrities across a number of categories to nail down how positively consumers view them. Among all celebrities, not just athletes, Curry ranks ninth, ahead of pop culture juggernauts like Oprah Winfrey and Taylor Swift.
Head Coaches Feeling the Pressure
By Cody Taylor
Over the past couple of years, there has been a lot of turnover at the head coaching position in the NBA. When things begin to head south, it’s often easier to part ways with a head coach than to overhaul an entire roster.
Since the start of 2016, there have been 12 head coaches hired by NBA teams. Looking at things even further, there are only four head coaches who have been with their current teams for at least five seasons: Gregg Popovich, Erik Spoelstra, Rick Carlisle and Dwane Casey.
Heading into last season, for instance, there were a number of head coaches whowere said to be on the hot seat. Lionel Hollins, Byron Scott, George Karl, Randy Wittman and Dave Joerger were among those coaches on the hot seat. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that they were all among those whom were let go last season.
Ranking the NBA’s Eastern Conference
By Tommy Beer
Although the Eastern Conference is often mockingly referred to as the “JV” to the powerful Western Conference’s “Varsity” (or the “Leastern Conference”), the East can claim the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
And while the East may not contain another elite team, that’s part of what should make the conference so exciting and unpredictable next season. As detailed in the way-too-early rankings below, after the front-running Cavs, there is very little separation between the rest of the teams:
Myles Turner Poised for Breakout Year
By Alex Kennedy
Throughout Team USA’s recent training camp in Las Vegas, Paul George noticed that many of the NBA stars in attendance were impressed with his Indiana Pacers teammate Myles Turner, who was on Team USA’s Select Team.
“Myles looked really good,” George told Nate Taylor of the Indy Star. “I think the whole talk around that camp was, ‘Man, you got a good one.’ That’s coming from all the guys on the Olympic team. Everybody was just raving of how good Myles is. … He’s got the respect. He’s earned it from the veterans and he’s going to be good. He’s one of the best up-and-coming talents in the league.”
Turner played very well against some of league’s best players – even swatting one of George’s lay-up attempts out of bounds. In addition to receiving praise from fellow players, a number of the reporters in attendance spoke highly of his performance –with Marc Spears of ESPN going so far as to say that Turner looked like he belonged on the actual USA Basketball roster as opposed to the Select Team.
Bounce-Back, Redemption or Decline?
By Lang Greene
At the start of every NBA season, outside of the mainstream headlines there are always other storylines and subplots simmering below the surface. The 2016-17 campaign will be no different and throughout the season, there will be plenty of stories of individuals experiencing bounce-back campaigns, guys overcoming hurdles in search of redemption and players or teams inevitably facing a decline after years of success and productivity.
In today’s space, we’re going to evaluate some players and teams that potentially fit these narratives. Let’s get to it and, as always, leave your comments below if you have any other suggestions.
Could The Clippers Move Blake Griffin?
By Steve Kyler
With Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook agreeing to a renegotiated contract yesterday to remain with the Oklahoma City Thunder for at least two more seasons, the speculation about his immediate future and a possible trade will sort of fade out for a while.
However, with Westbrook on-board, there is a new rumor in Oklahoma City to watch and that is the Thunder’s potential pursuit of L.A. Clippers forward Blake Griffin.
On the surface it seems foolish and somewhat unlikely to believe that Griffin lands in Oklahoma City anytime soon. However, there are many in the NBA that believe if the Clippers cannot get over the top this season, there will be big changes made to ensure the Clippers do not lose star guard Chris Paul to free agency next summer.
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