There will be plenty of great storylines to keep an eye on this upcoming NBA season, but today we’ll take a look at some of the players who could potentially be their team’s X-Factor in the 2016-17 campaign. While there are a ton of young talents like Devin Booker (Suns), D’Angelo Russell (Lakers) and Ben Simmons (Sixers) who will be eventually be asked to lead their respective teams in their ongoing rebuild efforts, today’s list features players who are either expected to take that next step forward, entering a new locker room or simply being asked to shoulder a larger portion of the basketball burden for teams with title or playoff aspirations.
Here are the players who could ultimately serve as lightning rods for their each of their respective teams:
#7 – Dennis Schröder – Atlanta Hawks
Schröder is set to take over the starting duties in Atlanta now that Jeff Teague is a member of the Indiana Pacers. He started just six times last season and only 16 times in his career. Head coach Mike Budenholzer must be very comfortable with the idea of placing the added responsibilities on Schröder, but the 22-year-old German-born player has yet to average more than the 20.4 minutes per contest he played in 2015-16 for the Hawks.
His per-100-possession stats (above) look pretty good, but Schröder will have to step up as Atlanta’s floor general as he attempts to also work center Dwight Howard into the action. Regardless of whether you feel Howard is worthy of such considerations at this stage in his career, the 30-year-old big man was clearly brought in to be a key figure and Schröder could go a long way toward controlling the team by keeping Howard and returning big man Paul Millsap as happy as possible. The two of them should balance each other out relatively well, but it will be left to the coaching staff and Schröder (by on-court extension) to make those parts fit as nicely as possible.
#6 – Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks
To paraphrase the character Bodie Broadus from HBO’s The Wire, “The Greek Freak… he’s a problem.” Although we can’t necessarily fault you if you’ve failed to keep a close eye on the state of Milwaukee Bucks basketball over the last couple seasons, that won’t stop us from telling you you’re missing out on one of the league’s more intriguing and unique young talents in Antetokounmpo. Below are his stats per-100-possessions:
Antetokounmpo still isn’t where he needs to be when shooting from distance, but he was the 20th-ranked player in the NBA in terms of overall efficiency in 2015-16, according to TeamRankings.com. As you can see from the video above, Antetokounmpo is an absolute nightmare in transition or the open court, and he appears to be growing more comfortable facing up and attacking in the halfcourt set. His shift to a point forward role after the All-Star game earlier this spring seems to have helped with said comfort; the 21-year-old averaged nearly 19 points, 8.8 rebounds and seven assists while blocking 1.9 shots and swiping 1.4 steals per contest over a 29-game stretch to end the year. Head coach Jason Kidd has already declared him the team’s point guard heading into next season.
The timing of the decision is somewhat of a surprise since the team also has Michael Carter-Williams and the recently acquired Matthew Dellavedova, but the move makes sense if you’re Kidd and trying to maximize every position on the court. The Eastern Conference has improved and the path to the postseason certainly won’t be as clear as it was a couple seasons ago, but a strong year from Antetokounmpo could put them back into the discussion.
#5 – Andrew Wiggins – Minnesota Timberwolves
It may surprise some to see Wiggins on this list with Karl-Anthony Towns already being the team’s best player – and one of the league’s more versatile, young big men in general – but newly hired head coach Tom Thibodeau will absolutely need Wiggins to take the next step on both ends of the court and continue to develop into the transformative talent many anticipated him being at this level. At 6’8 and about as rangy as they come, Wiggins has the prototypical swingman’s build for today’s game. You’d like to see him continue to extend his range and get that three-point percentage (30.4 percent for his career) to at least somewhere in the mid-30s, but the real challenge for Thibodeau will be extracting the best defensive player possible out of Wiggins.
Showing flashes of defensive prowess at times, Wiggins has yet to find a way to maintain a balance of intensity and focus on that end as of yet. Those are areas you wouldn’t expect to be issues on a Thibodeau-coached team, so the hope would be that guys like Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Ricky Rubio (if he’s around) will embrace the challenge of being asked to compete on the defensive end on a nightly basis. The Wolves are expected to be an improved lot, but for them to truly compete for a playoff spot in this Western Conference mix, they’ll obviously need a each of those players to collectively progress. However, they’ll specifically need Wiggins to cause match-up issues for opposing teams all while being a problem solver on the perimeter in a conference full of wings scorers.
For anyone concerned about Wiggins’ durability since Thibodeau often asks a lot of his players, the 21-year-old has already averaged 35.7 minutes per contest and has played in 163 of a possible 164 games.
#4 – Aaron Gordon – Orlando Magic
After a few years of aiming for (and missing) the postseason in the East, it appears the Magic have finally added the right blend of talent to make that a realistic possibility. Along with the shift toward newly hired head coach Frank Vogel’s preferred style of play, the frontcourt positions were each bolstered by the additions of Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo (to backup Nikola Vucevic).
Gordon was already reportedly slated for the small forward position in the starting lineup, but he spent the summer continuing to work on his shooting and playmaking and sounds as confident as ever about the idea of attacking and slashing from the wing.
The one area where Gordon can be instantly more impactful is on the defensive end. At 6’9 and in the best shape of his career, Gordon possesses the athleticism and natural defensive instincts to defend as many as four positions at a highly effective level. His per-100-possession stats (seen above) project to be impressive. He should earn additional playing time under Vogel, and there’s a feeling that he could really excel playing alongside Ibaka. If Gordon can fully tap into his ability to be a flat-out disruptive force on the defensive end, then it should provide him enough opportunities to make an impact in the open court and semi-transition, especially as he continues to adjust to life at the three and attacking primarily from the wing in the halfcourt set.
For Orlando to stand a chance at improving enough in year one of Vogel’s tenure to truly get into an improved East’s playoff race, Gordon will need to play a huge part of that progression in a jack-of-all-trades role not unlike the one Shawn Marion played for the Phoenix Suns about a decade ago.
#3 – Rodney Hood – Utah Jazz
After a strong finish to 2014-15 followed by just narrowly missing the 2015-16 postseason, the Utah Jazz now find themselves not only poised to break through and return to playing beyond the regular season for the first time since 2012, but maybe even in position to challenge for a top-six spot that would allow them to avoid the top two seeds in the opening round. While we won’t get ahead of ourselves by predicting any playoff openers from Salt Lake just yet, one player who could really be a determining factor for their overall success could be Hood. Gordon Hayward remains the team’s “go-to” guy on most nights, while Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert are the anchors below the basket, but the up-and-coming shooting guard could be the guy who puts them over the top if he’s able to somehow duplicate last season’s rate of progress.
Playing alongside dozens of the league’s best players and sharpening his craft as a member of USA’s Select Team certainly shouldn’t hurt, as younger guys have consistently shown progress and growth after participating in the workouts and training camps. Here are his per-100-possession numbers throughout his career:
Even with the addition of veteran Joe Johnson over the offseason, there should be enough minutes between the shooting guard and small forward positions so all the swingmen are kept heavily in the mix. He nearly doubled his output in certain areas (and increased or improved in just about every aspect) from year one to his sophomore campaign.
Upgrading the point guard position with a defensive presence like George Hill and a healthy Dante Exum looking to return to the fold was key for Utah. But to truly compete this postseason, it will come from continuing to strengthen from within. Hood presents their most promising prospect of a player who can ascend to an even higher level of play in a relatively short period of time.
#2 – Derrick Rose – New York Knicks
Rose was mocked for his assertion that the Knicks could be one of the league’s upcoming “super teams,” and while health will obviously play a considerable role in such a proclamation coming to fruition, we can’t necessarily fault the seven-year veteran for expressing confidence in his new surroundings. When you consider that the 2015-16 season was about as strong and consistent a year as we’ve seen from Rose in at least four seasons, and it’s easy to see why he’s feeling optimistic again. His 66 games played were by far the most he’s been healthy for in a single season since his MVP campaign back in 2010-11.
Rose may no longer be the blazing fast and freakishly athletic guard that would routinely get to the rim and finish in fantastic fashion, but he is starting to look more comfortable taking his man off the dribble and at least finishing in or around traffic. If the Knicks are able to limit the burden he places on his body by divvying up playmaking duties while limiting his on-court time to right around the 31.8 minutes per contest he played for the Bulls in his final year in Chicago, then Rose could really see a resurgence and even an improvement in his game from an efficiency standpoint.
Having a capable backup in Brandon Jennings will help, but being paired in the backcourt with Lee – a guy who can defend the opposing team’s top guards and shot 37.8 percent from deep last year – while suddenly having offensive firepower like Carmelo Anthony and even Kristaps Porzingis at his disposal should make life easier for Rose as a scorer himself. Rose is in a contract year, on a big stage and looks as good physically as he has in years. If ever there were a perfect confluence of circumstances for a player to come out and prove he is still a star (and worthy of star money next summer), this could be it.
# 1 – Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder
While some may have placed shooting guard Victor Oladipo on this list, the shift in the franchise’s priority list and the huge burden on Westbrook were too much to pass over. The reality is that we are about to see a ton of Westbrook this season, and he’ll be asked to carry the Thunder.
We’re 18 months removed from that 2014-15 season that featured about a 50-game sample size of what Westbrook-centered basketball can look like, and OKC fans should take solace in the fact that the 27-year-old has continued to show progress over that stretch. He’ll likely wind up in the top five of both the PER and Usage Rate categories when all is said and done, but Westbrook also has a nice selection of weapons to help with some of the responsibilities. The pairing with Oladipo should be exciting since they’re probably the most athletic backcourt in the NBA, while Steven Adams and Enes Kanter each progressed to a level that head coach Billy Donovan was able to rely on lineups with both big men playing (and they were effective even against small-ball units).
The addition of power forward Domantas Sabonis makes the roster even more intriguing, since the No. 11 overall pick seems like a good fit for OKC if he can transition well to this level. We can probably hold off on the legitimate MVP contender talk until we see that OKC is at least able to compete for a top-five seed in a crowded Western Conference, but that doesn’t mean Westbrook will not have done absolutely everything in his power along the way. The league’s single-season record for triple-doubles was the great Oscar Robertson’s 1961-62 year that featured 41 of them.
Westbrook may not eclipse such a seemingly ridiculous total, but is it beyond the realm of possibility that he could accomplish the feat as many as 30 times in 2016-17? Keep in mind, he had 18 of them while quasi-sharing the load with Durant last year. The ultimate question will be, can he take that next step of dominating the league while winning a majority of OKC’s games? He’s undoubtedly going to try, and that’s why we love him.
Honorable Mention X-Factor Players:
Al Horford, Clint Capela, Myles Turner
Is LeBron Enough For Cavs To Get Through The East?
Cleveland’s offense has struggled through the first two games of the playoffs. Can the four-time MVP consistently bail them out? Spencer Davies writes.
After a less-than-encouraging series opener versus the Indiana Pacers, LeBron James responded emphatically and led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a bounce back 100-97 victory to even things up at one game apiece.
Scoring the first 13 points of the game itself, The King was a one-man wrecking crew out of the gate and carried that momentum throughout all four quarters of Game 2. His 46 points were James’ second-highest scoring mark between the regular season and the playoffs. In addition, he shot above 70 percent from the field for the sixth time this year.
The four-time MVP pulled down 12 rebounds total, and but all but one of those boards were defensive—the most he’s had since Saint Patrick’s Day in Chicago a month ago.
What James did was another classic instance where LeBron reminds us that through all the injuries, drama, and on-court issues, whatever team he’s on always has a chance to go all the way. But having said all of that—can the Cavaliers realistically depend on that kind of spectacular effort for the rest of the postseason? It’s a fair question.
Kevin Love is a solid secondary go-to guy, but he’s struggled to find his rhythm in the first two games. He’s done a solid job defensively between both, but he’s getting banged up and is dealing with knocked knees and a reported torn thumb ligament in the same hand he broke earlier in the season.
Love has admitted that he’d like more post touches instead of strictly hanging out on the perimeter, but it’s on him to demand the ball more and he knows it. But finding that flow can be challenging when James has it going and is in all-out attack mode.
Kyle Korver came to the rescue for Cleveland as the only shooter that consistently converted on open looks. Outside of those three, and maybe J.R. Smith, really, there hasn’t been a tangible threat that’s a part of the offense during this series.
We all pondered whether or not the “new guys” would be able to step up when their respective numbers were called. So far, that hasn’t been the case for the most part.
Jordan Clarkson looks rushed with tunnel vision. Rodney Hood has had good body language out there, but seems reluctant to shoot off dribble hand-offs and is second-guessing what he wants to do. The hustle and effort from Larry Nance Jr. is obvious, but he’s also a good bet to get into foul trouble. Plus, he’s had some struggles on an island against Pacer guards.
As for George Hill, the good news is the impact on the floor just based on his mere presence on both ends (game-high +16 on Wednesday), but he hasn’t really done any scoring and fouled out of Game 2.
Maybe these things change on the road, who knows. But those four, the rest of the rotation, absolutely have to step up in order for the Cavaliers to win this series and fend off this hungry Indiana group, which brings us to another point.
Let’s not forget, the offensive issues aren’t simply because of themselves. After all, the Cavs were a team that had little trouble scoring the basketball in the regular season, so give a ton of credit to the Pacers’ scheme and McMillan’s teachings to play hard-nosed.
Unlike many teams in the league, the strategy for them is to pressure the ball and avoid switches as much as possible on screens. The more they go over the pick and stick on their assignments, the better chance they have of forcing a bad shot or a turnover. That’s what happened in Game 1 and in the majority of the second half of Game 2.
Cleveland has also somewhat surprisingly brought the fight on defense as well. In the first two contests of the series, they’ve allowed under 100 points. Lue’s said multiple times that they’re willing to give up the interior buckets in order to secure the outside, and it’s worked. It doesn’t seem smart when there’s a yellow-colored layup line going on at times, but it certainly paid off by only allowing 34 percent of Indiana’s threes to go down.
Still, looking ahead to what the Cavaliers can do in the playoffs as a whole, it doesn’t bode well. They’re not only locked in a tug-of-war with Indiana, but if they get past them, they could have a Toronto Raptors group chomping at the bit for revenge.
If they’re having this much trouble in the first round, what should make us believe they can barrel through the Eastern Conference as they’ve done in the past?
It’s not quite as obvious or as bad as Cleveland’s 2007 version of James and the rest, but it feels eerily similar for as much as he’s put the team on his back so far. The organization better hope improvement comes fast from his supporting cast, or else it could be a longer summer than they’d hoped for.
2017-18 NBA Report Card: Third-Year Players
Among the third-year players a few budding superstars have emerged, along with some role players who are helping their teams in the 2017-18 NBA Playoffs.
The 2015 NBA Draft has provided the league with a limited quantity of talent so far. After Terry Rozier (at 16th), it’s unlikely that anyone remaining has All-Star potential. Despite the lack of depth, the highest draft slot traded was at number 15, when the Atlanta Hawks moved down to enable the Washington Wizards to select Kelly Oubre Jr.
But placing a definitive “boom” or “bust” label on these athletes might be premature as the rookie contract is standardized at four seasons with an option for a fifth. If their employers are given a fourth year to decide whether a draftee is worth keeping, it seems reasonable to earmark the NBA Juniors’ progress for now and see how they’ve fared after next season’s campaign before making their letter grades official.
The Top Dogs
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves: Given the dearth of premier choices and their glaring need up front, it’s hard to envision the T-Wolves drafting anyone but KAT if they had to do it again. Although his scoring average is down from last season (21.3 vs. 25.1 PPG), that trend could be explained by the addition of Jimmy Butler and the team’s deliberate pace (24th out of 30 teams).
To his credit, Towns had career highs in three-point percentage (42.1 percent) and free throws (85.8 percent), while finishing second overall in offensive rating (126.7). His continued improvement in these areas could explain why the Timberwolves ended their 14-year playoff drought.
Nikola Jokić, Denver Nuggets: Although he was a 2014 draft pick, Jokić’s NBA debut was delayed due to his last year of commitment to the Adriatic League. His productivity as a rookie was limited by both foul trouble and a logjam at the center position, but he still managed 10.0 PPG.
With Joffrey Lauvergne and Jusuf Nurkic off the depth chart, Jokić became the clear-cut starter this season and rewarded Denver’s confidence by averaging 18.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. And by chipping in 6.1 APG, he provides rare value as a center with triple-double potential.
Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks: Although he has never played a full season since joining the league, Porzingis has provided enough evidence that he can be a force when healthy. Before his junior campaign was derailed, the Latvian was enjoying career highs of 22.7 PPG and 39.5 percent shooting from behind the arc.
Unfortunately, the Knicks haven’t provided much support at point guard to help with Porzingis’ development. Trey Burke looked impressive down the stretch in Zinger’s absence, but that was in a score-first capacity. Meanwhile, both Frank Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay have underwhelmed. On the plus side, Porzingis’ outside ability paired nicely in the frontcourt with Enes Kanter, who prefers to bully his way underneath.
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns: Like Porzingis, Booker’s third year in the NBA was cut short by injuries, but that didn’t stop him from achieving career highs in points (24.9 per game), assists (4.7) and three-pointers (38.3 percent) on an otherwise moribund Suns team. Indeed, cracking the 40-point barrier three times in 54 contests was an achievement in and of itself.
While his short-term prospects would’ve been far better on a team like the Philadelphia Sixers (who might have taken him instead of Jahlil Okafor in a re-draft), Booker can still become a franchise cornerstone for the Suns if they are able to build around a young core that also includes T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson.
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers: Despite an inconsistent freshman season at Texas, Turner has become a stabilizing influence at center for the Pacers, whose blueprint consists of surrounding a go-to scorer with role players. While he hasn’t shown drastic improvement in any particular area, he has produced double-digit PPG averages all three years as a pro.
Although Turner’s shot-blocking ability fuels his reputation as a defensive maven, the reality is his 104.8 defensive rating (which is just OK) was skewed by his 110.9 d-rating in losses (it was 100.8 in wins). In order to merit consideration for the NBA’s all-defensive team, he will need to bridge the gap in this discrepancy and impact his team’s ability to win more games in the process.
D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets: Following their respective trades, Russell has fared better in the Big Apple than his 2015 lottery counterpart Emmanuel Mudiay, as the Los Angeles Lakers were forced to cut bait to draft Lonzo Ball. While Ball has shown promise as a rookie, the Lakers’ perception of Russell may have been premature, as the former Buckeye has stabilized a Nets backcourt that had been characterized more by athleticism than consistency.
Despite missing a significant stretch of mid-season games, Russell provided similar numbers for Brooklyn to that of his sophomore season; but without a pick until number 29 in the upcoming NBA Draft, the Nets will have to bank on improved production from DLo and his raw teammates to contend for the eight-seed in the East.
Terry Rozier, Boston Celtics: Injuries have paved the way for Rozier to showcase his talent, most recently with a 23-point, 8-assist effort in game two against the Milwaukee Bucks. But Rozier was already making headlines as a fill-in for Kyrie Irving whenever he was injured. Now that the starting point guard reins have been handed to the former mid-round pick, he has become one of the more pleasant surprises of the 2017-18 NBA season.
The biggest impediment to Rozier’s success might be the regression to limited playing time once Irving returns. While the Celtics could “sell high” and trade Rozier on the basis of his recent performances, they may opt to retain him as insurance while he is still cap-friendly.
Best of the Rest
Larry Nance Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers: Following the trade deadline, Nance has provided a spark for a Cavs frontcourt that has been bereft of viable options aside from Kevin Love.
Josh Richardson, Miami HEAT: A jack-of-all-trades at the small forward position, Richardson has evolved into a three-and-D player that has meshed well with the HEAT’s shut-down focus.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento Kings: Thrust into the starting center role after the trade of DeMarcus Cousins, WCS has provided serviceable (albeit unspectacular) play as the next man up.
Delon Wright, Toronto Raptors: A key contributor for the East’s top seed, Wright was instrumental in the Raptors’ game one victory over the Washington Wizards with 18 points off the bench.
Bobby Portis, Chicago Bulls: The former Razorback has flashed double-double potential, but playing time at his true position (power forward) has been limited by the emergence of rookie Lauri Markkanen.
NBA Daily: Looking At The 2018 Draft Class By Tiers
The NBA Draft is a hard thing to predict, especially when it comes to draft order and individual team needs, Basketball Insiders publisher Steve Kyler takes a look at how this draft looks in tiers.
Looking At The 2018 Draft In Tiers
While Mock Drafts are an easy way to look at how the NBA Draft might play out, what they do no do is give a sense of what a specific player might be as a player at the next level. With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at how some of the notable NBA draft prospects project.
It’s important to point out that situation and circumstance often impact how a player develops, even more so than almost any other variable.
So while the goal here is to give a sense of how some NBA teams and insiders see a draft prospect’s likely potential, it is by no means meant to suggest that a player can’t break out of his projection and become more or sometimes less than his he was thought to be.
Every draft class has examples of players projected to be one thing that turns out to be something else entirely, so these projections are not meant to be some kind of final empirical judgment or to imply a specific draft position, as each team may value prospects differently.
So, with that in mind, let’s look at the 2018 NBA Draft in Tiers.
The Potential Future All-Stars
DeAndre Ayton – Arizona – C – 7’0″ – 245 lbs – 20 yrs
Luka Doncic – Real Madrid – SG – 6’7″ – 218 lbs – 19 yrs
Michael Porter Jr – Missouri – SF/PF – 6’10” – 216 lbs – 20 yrs
Maybe Stars, But Likely High-Level Starters
Jaren Jackson Jr. – Michigan State – PF – 6’10” – 225 lbs – 19 yrs
Marvin Bagley III – Duke – PF – 6’11” – 220 lbs – 19 yrs
Wendell Carter – Duke – PF – 6’10” – 257 lbs – 19 yrs
Mohamed Bamba – Texas – C – 7’0″ – 216 lbs – 20 yrs
Collin Sexton – Alabama – PG – 6’2″ – 184 lbs – 19 yrs
Mikal Bridges – Villanova – SG/SF – 6’7″ – 210 lbs – 22 yrs
Robert Williams – Texas A&M – C – 6’9″ – 235 lbs – 21 yrs
Miles Bridges – Michigan State – SF/PF – 6’7″ – 230 lbs – 20 yrs
Dzanan Musa – Cedevita – SF – 6′ 9″ – 195 lbs – 19 yrs
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Kentucky – SG – 6′ 6″ – 181 lbs – 20 yrs
Trae Young – Oklahoma – PG – 6’2″ – 180 lbs – 20 yrs
Maybe Starters, But Surely Rotation Players
Kevin Knox – Kentucky – SF – 6’9″ – 206 lbs – 19 yrs
Troy Brown – Oregon – SG – 6’6″ – 210 lbs – 19 yrs
Khyri Thomas – Creighton – SG – 6′ 3″ – 210 lbs – 22 yrs
Zhaire Smith – Texas Tech – SG – 6′ 5″ – 195 lbs – 19 yrs
Rodions Kurucs – FC Barcelona B – SF – 6′ 9″ – 220 lbs – 20 yrs
Aaron Holiday – UCLA – PG – 6′ 1″ – 185 lbs – 22 yrs
Jacob Evans – Cincinnati – SF – 6′ 6″ – 210 lbs – 21 yrs
De’Anthony Melton – USC – PG – 6’4″ – 190 lbs – 20 yrs
The Swing For The Fence Prospects – AKA Boom-Or-Bust
Lonnie Walker – Miami – SG – 6’4″ – 206 lbs – 20 yrs
Mitchell Robinson – Chalmette HS – C – 7′ 0″ – 223 lbs – 20 yrs
Anfernee Simons – IMG Academy – SG – 6′ 5″ – 177 lbs – 19 yrs
Jontay Porter – Missouri – C – 6′ 11″ – 240 lbs – 19 yrs
Lindell Wigginton – Iowa State – PG – 6′ 2″ – 185 lbs – 20 yrs
Bruce Brown – Miami – SG – 6’5″ – 191 lbs – 22 yrs
Isaac Bonga – Skyliners (Germany) – SF/SG – 6’9″ – 203 lbs – 19 yrs
Hamidou Diallo – Kentucky – SG – 6’5″ – 197 lbs – 20 yrs
Players not listed are simply draft prospects that could be drafted, but don’t project clearly into any of these tiers.
If you are looking for a specific player, check out the Basketball Insiders Top 100 Prospects list, this listing is updated weekly.
More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @BuddyGrizzard, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, @mike_yaffe, @MattJohnNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau.