The NBA Bubble
At some point, you have probably asked yourself why a team made a particular move or decision, or why a team seemed to not know about something that seemed so glaringly obvious. The truth of the matter is life in the NBA is really a big bubble. Teams go from game to game, city to city. Game to practice, practice to shootaround and unless someone really wants to know, it’s very easy to get lost in the chaos that is the NBA season.
From a player’s perspective, there is a lot more going on in a given NBA day than just the game and for many players, staying out of the noise is the only way to survive the grind.
To sort of paint the example, a player’s day at home usually starts around 9 a.m. They have to be at shootaround, which is an informal sort of walk through that includes getting some shots up, working with coaches, possibly reviewing game film. This usually lasts about 90 minutes. As the season grinds on, treatment for injury or nagging wear and tear consumes the next part of the day. From there, players usually get some lunch, then try to get in a nap before the game. Most players need to be in the building at 4:30-5 p.m. for a 7 p.m. start. There are routines here too. Sometimes it’s more treatment. Most players have a pretty intense pre-game shooting and practice routine that starts roughly two hours prior to a game. After that routine there is a little down-time that includes media availability and an informal Chapel service for those that want it.
Coaches address the team about 45 minutes prior to tip off, that’s when the game plan and the details are discussed and then players take the floor about 20 minutes prior to tip off.
After the game guys shower, get treatment for injuries and for those that do not play, many have to log a certain amount of cardio work to keep them in game shape.
After players address the media, most are usually headed to the airport to get on a plane to fly to the next game in the next city. A lot of flights get in around 1:00am and it’s a night in the hotel.
Rinse and repeat.
There are not a lot of off-days in the NBA schedule, some teams have gotten more generous with off-days, understanding the recovery process matters more and more as the season drags on.
The NBA regular schedule is 170 days long, and for most of that time players and coaches are pretty isolated from the outside world. It’s not at all uncommon for a player not to know about a major trade or change on another team because of the focus required on the task in front of them.
Coaches are even worse than players, because not only are they keeping the same hours the players do, they have work to prepare both before and after games that the players don’t take part in.
It’s easy to believe that in the 24-hour digital news world that players and coaches would be exposed to more, the truth is the grind of the NBA season keeps most guys in a very insolated bubble.
So the next time you wonder why a player, a coach or a team didn’t seem to know something so glaringly obvious, keep in mind the task at hand each day is a bit overwhelming and if you want to be really good in the NBA, you do have to keep your eye on the ball.
Buy It or Build It
If you think about how some of the elite teams in the NBA right now were constructed, the question surfaces: is it better to build a team or to buy a team?
In the case of the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs – the unquestioned two best teams in basketball, those teams were grown together. Sure they were augmented with a few good free agent signings, but the core of those teams have been together for some time. They have fought the battles together. They have learned to play together and to be a unit. That’s what’s made them great.
Conversely, the Cleveland Cavaliers were not grown together, they were thrown together and when you watch them play, there isn’t that same connection that the grown together teams have. Maybe that comes in time, but in the case of the Cavs their issues have a lot to do with the fact that parts were assembled together and not all of them work great every game.
The Cavs have won 50 games, so the thrown together model isn’t all bad, but for the other teams that are trying to get where the Cavs, Warriors and Spurs are the question becomes is it better to be patient and grow your team, or is it smarter to go all in and try and buy your team through trades and free agency?
The Portland Trail Blazers have been a bright spot this year because they opted to try and grow something together, and while a lot of their roster was brought in in free agency, there is something special brewing because of how close those guys are in age and experience.
Like many teams the Blazers will be looking at a mountain of free agent money this summer. Is it smarter for the Blazers to stay the course and seek out those like aged players to keep growing or is it time to go big game hunting and try and land a major player?
Conventional wisdom says go get the talent when you can get the talent, but if what’s happened in the West is an indicator, growing up together might be the better answer long-term. The problem with growing up together is that it can be a painfully slow process.
Thing change so quickly in basketball, it’s easy to get caught up in the desire for instant gratification, but isn’t sustainability a better long-term goal than a run through the post-season once or twice?
The other part in trying to buy a team, is its generally the worst value for the salary cap dollar. Free agents tend to run on the expensive side and usually have chewed up a large chunk of their career getting to the point where they can be free to choose. If you factor in that older players are more likely to see injury is buying the best answer?
There is no question that the Warriors owe their 2015 NBA Championship to the play of Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, who was a free agent signing. LaMarcus Aldridge is going to be a big part of the Spurs future, and he too was a free agent signing.
So at some point even the best grown situations require some free agent talent.
Which brings back the original question – is it better to build a good core together and augment it slightly through free agency, or is it better to load up in free agency and hope it gels together?
Both philosophies will be on display this post-season and how these teams come together when the games matter much more will be telling in a league that is very copy-cat in its process.
Right now the smart money says grow your team and build a sustainable winner, but that’s not always as easy as it seems especially if you can buy a shiny new part in July.
Grown together. Thrown together.
The playoffs may tell us which way is really better.
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PODCAST: The Futures Of LeBron, PG13, Kawhi and More
Basketball Insiders publisher Steve Kyler and NBA writer David Yapkowitz talk about the future of LeBron James in Cleveland, the Paul George situation, Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs, the future of the Blazers and the Basketball 101 program that’s part of the Professional Basketball Combine.
NBA Announces 2018 NBA Draft Early Entry Candidates
The NBA announced the 2018 NBA Draft Early Entry list, including 181 players from colleges and post-graduate institutions and 55 international players.
NEW YORK, April 24, 2018 – The National Basketball Association announced today that 236 players — 181 players from colleges and post-graduate institutions and 55 international players — have filed as early entry candidates for the 2018 NBA Draft presented by State Farm.
Players wishing to enter the 2018 NBA Draft were required to submit a letter to the NBA to be received no later than Sunday, April 22. Players who have applied for early entry have the right to withdraw their names from consideration for the Draft by notifying the NBA of their decision in writing no later than 5 p.m. ET on Monday, June 11. Under NCAA rules, in order to retain college basketball eligibility, underclassmen who have entered the 2018 Draft must withdraw by Wednesday, May 30.
Following is the list of players from colleges and post-graduate institutions who have applied for early entry into the 2018 NBA Draft, which will be held Thursday, June 21 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
EARLY ENTRY CANDIDATES FOR 2018 NBA DRAFT
|Admon Gilder||Texas A&M||6-4||Junior|
|Anfernee Simons||IMG Academy||6-4||Post-Graduate|
|Barry Brown Jr.||Kansas State||6-3||Junior|
|Brian Bowen II||South Carolina||6-7||Freshman|
|Bruce Brown Jr.||Miami||6-5||Sophomore|
|Bryant Crawford||Wake Forest||6-3||Junior|
|Chris Silva||South Carolina||6-9||Junior|
|Christian Keeling||Charleston Southern||6-4||Sophomore|
|Christian Mekowulu||Tennessee State||6-9||Junior|
|DeAngelo Isby||Utah State||6-5||Junior|
|Demajeo Wiggins||Bowling Green||6-10||Junior|
|Deshon Taylor||Fresno State||6-2||Junior|
|Devonte Klines||Montana State||6-0||Junior|
|Dextor Foster||ASA College (FL)||6-5||Junior|
|DJ Hogg||Texas A&M||6-9||Junior|
|Dominic Magee||Southern Mississippi||6-4||Junior|
|Doral Moore||Wake Forest||7-1||Junior|
|Drew Eubanks||Oregon State||6-10||Junior|
|Eric Davis Jr.||Texas||6-3||Junior|
|Esa Ahmad||West Virginia||6-8||Junior|
|Eugene German||Northern Illinois||6-0||Sophomore|
|Fred Sims Jr.||Chicago State||6-4||Junior|
|Gary Trent Jr.||Duke||6-6||Freshman|
|Isaac Copeland Jr.||Nebraska||6-9||Junior|
|Ismaila Kane||Atlanta Metropolitan||6-9||Freshman|
|Jalen McDaniels||San Diego State||6-10||Freshman|
|Jalon Pipkins||Cal State-Northridge||6-4||Freshman|
|James Palmer Jr.||Nebraska||6-6||Junior|
|Jaren Jackson Jr.||Michigan State||6-11||Freshman|
|Jaylin Walker||Kent State||6-1||Junior|
|Jerome Robinson||Boston College||6-6||Junior|
|Jordan Brangers||South Plains College (TX)||6-2 S||ophomore|
|Jordan Davis||Northern Colorado||6-2||Junior|
|Jordan Murdock||Friends University||6-4||Junior|
|Josh Okogie||Georgia Tech||6-4||Sophomore|
|Kalob Ledoux||McNeese State||6-3||Sophomore|
|Keanu Peters||Salt Lake CC (UT)||6-2||Sophomore|
|Keita Bates-Diop||Ohio State||6-7||Junior|
|Kerwin Roach II||Texas||6-4||Junior|
|Ky Bowman||Boston College||6-1||Sophomore|
|Lamar Peters||Mississippi State||6-0||Sophomore|
|Lamonte Bearden||Western Kentucky||6-3||Junior|
|Landry Shamet||Wichita State||6-4||Sophomore|
|Lindell Wigginton||Iowa State||6-2||Freshman|
|Luke Maye||North Carolina||6-8||Junior|
|Makinde London||Tennessee-Chattanooga||6-10 Juni||or|
|Malik Martin||South Florida||6-11||Junior|
|Markis McDuffie||Wichita State||6-8||Junior|
|Marvin Bagley III||Duke||6-11||Freshman|
|Max Montana||San Diego State||6-9||Junior|
|Melvin Frazier Jr.||Tulane||6-6||Junior|
|Michael Porter Jr.||Missouri||6-10||Freshman|
|Mike Amius||Western Carolina||6-7||Junior|
|Mike Daum||South Dakota State||6-9||Junior|
|Miles Bridges||Michigan State||6-7||Sophomore|
|Mitchell Robinson||Western Kentucky||7-0||Freshman|
|Nick Ward||Michigan State||6-8||Sophomore|
|Quinndary Weatherspoon||Mississippi State||6-4||Junior|
|Ray Ona Embo||Tulane||6-5||Sophomore|
|Robert Franks Jr.||Washington State||6-7||Junior|
|Robert Williams III||Texas A&M||6-10||Sophomore|
|Ronshad Shabazz||Appalachian State||6-5||Junior|
|Sagaba Konate||West Virginia||6-8||Sophomore|
|Shamorie Ponds||St. John痴||6-1||Sophomore|
|Tashawn Berry||Dakota College (ND)||6-3||Sophomore|
|Tavarius Shine||Oklahoma State||6-6||Junior|
|Tony Carr||Penn State||6-5||Sophomore|
|Torin Dorn||North Carolina State||6-5||Junior|
|Tramaine Isabell Jr.||Drexel||6-1||Junior|
|Tremaine Fraiser||Westchester CC (NY)||6-3||Sophomore|
|Troy Brown Jr.||Oregon||6-7||Freshman|
|Tyler Davis||Texas A&M||6-10||Junior|
|Tyler Hall||Montana State||6-4||Junior|
|Victor Lewis II||West Texas A&M||6-3||Junior|
|Wendell Carter Jr.||Duke||6-10||Freshman|
|Yankuba Sima||Oklahoma State||6-11||Junior|
|Zach Hankins||Ferris State||6-10||Junior|
|Zhaire Smith||Texas Tech||6-5||Freshman|
The following is the list of international players who have applied for early entry into the 2018 NBA Draft:
|Player||Team/Country of Team||Height||Status|
|Adam Mokoka||Gravelines (France)||6-4||1998 DOB|
|Aleksander Dziewa||Slask Wroclaw (Poland)||6-9||1997 DOB|
|Amine Noua||ASVEL (France)||6-8||1997 DOB|
|Antonios Koniaris||PAOK (Greece)||6-4||1997 DOB|
|Arnoldas Kulboka||Capo d丹rlando (Italy)||6-10||1998 DOB|
|Berkan Durmaz||Tofas (Turkey)||6-9||1997 DOB|
|Berke Atar||Bandirma Kirmizi (Turkey)||6-11||1999 DOB|
|Blaz Mesicek||Brindisi (Italy)||6-6||1997 DOB|
|Darel Poirier||Charleville (France)||6-9||1997 DOB|
|Dzanan Musa||Cedevita (Croatia)||6-8||1999 DOB|
|Elie Okobo||Pau Orthez (France)||6-2||1997 DOB|
|Emanuel Cate||Prat (Spain)||6-9||1997 DOB|
|Erxhan Osmani||Bandirma Kirmizi (Turkey)||6-9||1998 DOB|
|Etienne Ca||Chalon (France)||6-11||1997 DOB|
|Filip Zagrajski||Beli Manastir (Croatia)||6-4||1997 DOB|
|Gabriel Galvanini||Bauru (Brazil)||6-8||1998 DOB|
|Georgios Kalaitzakis||Panathinaikos (Greece)||6-6||1999 DOB|
|Goga Bitadze||Mega Bemax (Serbia)||6-11||1999 DOB|
|Ibrahima Faye||Poitiers (France)||6-10||1997 DOB|
|Isaac Bonga||Fraport Skyliners (Germany)||6-9||1999 DOB|
|Issuf Sanon||Olimpija (Slovenia)||6-3||1999 DOB|
|Jean-Marc Pansa||Nanterre (France)||6-10||1997 DOB|
|Karim Jallow||Bayern Munich (Germany)||6-7||1997 DOB|
|Laurynas Beliauskas||Neptunas (Lithuania)||6-4||1997 DOB|
|Laurynas Birutis||Siauliai (Lithuania)||7-0||1997 DOB|
|Leon Kratzer||Wuerzburg (Germany)||6-11||1997 DOB|
|Leonardo Tote||Verona (Italy)||6-10||1997 DOB|
|LiAngelo Ball||UCLA/Vytautas (Lithuania)||6-5||1998 DOB|
|Louis Olinde||Brose Baskets (Germany)||6-9||1998 DOB|
|Luka Doncic||Real Madrid (Spain)||6-7||1999 DOB|
|Marcel Ponitka||Asseco (Poland)||6-5||1997 DOB|
|Martynas Echodas||Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)||6-9||1997 DOB|
|Martynas Varnas||Pieno Zvaigzdes (Lithuania)||6-5||1997 DOB|
|Matas Jogela||Zalgiris II (Lithuania)||6-6||1998 DOB|
|Matur Maker||CIBA (Canada)||6-11||1998 DOB|
|Melvyn Govindy||Cholet (France)||7-0||1997 DOB|
|Michael Uchendu||Bauru (Brazil)||6-9||1998 DOB|
|Michal Kolenda||Trefl Sopot (Poland)||6-7||1997 DOB|
|Muhaymin Mustafa||Anadolu Efes (Turkey)||6-5||1999 DOB|
|Rihards Berzins||Liepaja (Latvia)||6-11||1997 DOB|
|Rodions Kurucs||Barcelona (Spain)||6-9||1998 DOB|
|Romaric Belemene||Oviedo (Spain)||6-9||1997 DOB|
|Shekinah Munanga||Monaco (France)||6-7||1997 DOB|
|Sigfredo Casero-Ortiz||GET Vosges (France)||6-1||1997 DOB|
|Stephane Gombauld||Lille Metropole (France)||6-9||1997 DOB|
|Tadas Sedekerskis||Nevezis (Lithuania)||6-8||1998 DOB|
|Tryggvi Hlinason||Valencia (Spain)||7-1||1997 DOB|
|Vanja Marinkovic||Partizan (Serbia)||6-6||1997 DOB|
|Vasileios Charalampopoulos P||AOK (Greece)||6-9||1997 DOB|
|Viny Okouo||Unicaja (Spain)||7-1||1997 DOB|
|William McDowell-White B||aunach (Germany) 6||-5||1998 DOB|
|Williams Narace||Nancy (France)||6-8||1997 DOB|
|Xabier Lopez-Arostegui||Joventut Badalona (Spain)||6-6||1997 DOB|
|Yago Dos Santos||Paulistano (Brazil)||5-10||1999 DOB|
|Yoan Granvorka||Monthey (Switzerland)||6-7||1997 DOB|
Check out the latest Basketball Insiders Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects.
NBA Daily: Deep Bench Stays Ready for the Pelicans
Though out of the rotation, DeAndre Liggins and Jordan Crawford are staying ready to step up and contribute for New Orleans, writes David Yapkowitz.
As DeAndre Liggins is standing by his locker talking about what his next move might be in terms of free agency, he gets a ringing endorsement from the New Orleans Pelicans’ franchise guy, Anthony Davis.
“He ain’t going nowhere,” Davis shouts from across the locker room. “He ain’t going nowhere.”
Liggins pauses for a moment, lets out a laugh and then turns back.
“I don’t know, I’ll have to talk to Dell [Demps],” Liggins told Basketball Insiders with a grin.
With the NBA playoffs in full swing, there are always those guys on the fringe — players who may not always know when they’ll have a chance to get into a game. It can be tough sitting on the bench and watching the rest of the team partake in the postseason.
For players like Liggins, however, they’re just as much a part of the team as the guys in the rotation. They do bring value to the team. And they patiently await their turn, however long that may take. Even if he doesn’t get to play in an actual playoff game, Liggins believes he understands the atmosphere.
“It started off in Orlando, a playoff team. OKC was a playoff team. I’ve been in the playoffs twice,” Liggins told Basketball Insiders. “I haven’t experienced playing minutes, but I know what the feeling is like, I know what the vibe is like. It’ll be great going into the playoffs, we’ll be ready.”
Liggins has never spent more than one season with any team. He’s spent the past seven years shuffling between the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami HEAT, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks and now New Orleans.
He had a bit of a breakthrough with Cleveland where he emerged as one of the better perimeter defenders on the team. He started 19 games for the Cavaliers last season and shot 37.8 percent from the three-point line. It’s been that 3 and D calling card that’s allowed him to latch on from team to team despite never really playing major minutes.
“Just bringing that defensive energy. I do all the little things like take charges, all the intangibles,” Liggins told Basketball Insiders. “I was the same way at Kentucky. You got to stick to what you know, what you do, and play a role. Especially when you’re in the league and being on this type of team.”
Liggins has a non-guaranteed contract for next season. It’s too early to know what the Pelicans front office will decide to do. He isn’t focused on that right now though. Right now, the focus is helping New Orleans make a deep playoff run even if he isn’t on the court that much.
He joined the Pelicans around mid-season after being cut by the Bucks. Although he hasn’t been on the team for very long, he’s already noticed the competitiveness and togetherness of this group. They rallied around each other following the season ending injury to DeMarcus Cousins.
“We just clicked and gelled when [Cousins] went down,” Liggins told Basketball Insiders. “I think we lost three or four in a row then after that we just started changing the way we play.”
Aside from Liggins, the Pelicans also feature Jordan Crawford who is in a similar situation right now. Their career beginnings may be a bit different, Crawford was a regular rotation player for playoff teams in the past, but as playoff rotations have tightened up, Crawford has also found himself on the outside looking in.
He was on the Pelicans roster to begin the season but was cut in favor of Jameer Nelson when an injury to Rajon Rondo precipitated the need for point guard help. He had been a key player in the rotation but upon his return near the end of the season, he found himself mostly glued to the bench.
Crawford initially was a bench scorer for the Pelicans, capable of getting hot quickly and putting up a flurry of points on the board. He was nicknamed ‘Instant Grits’ by Cousins due to his penchant for scoring. He’s a little bit unsure though of what he’s going to be asked to do this time around.
“I have no clue. I’m going to try to find out,” Crawford told Basketball Insiders. “I’m going to work my way through, do what I got to do to make the coaches happy and stuff like that. But I don’t know my role yet.”
When Crawford signed with the Pelicans earlier this month, his contract was only for the duration of the regular season and playoffs. He too will be entering free agency this summer, and due to his lack of postseason playing time, he might have to rely on past performances to secure that next contract.
He also isn’t too concerned about that right now. While he is anticipating the summertime, he’s just thrilled to be back with a familiar team, even if the playing time is scarce right now.
“I’m looking forward to the summer, definitely looking forward to the offseason,” Crawford told Basketball Insiders. “I’m happy I accomplished getting back on the team for the season. That’s good right now, I’m satisfied with that for right now.”
Although he was cut despite having initially carved out an important role on the team, Crawford always remained positive and believed things would eventually fall into place. He wasn’t sure if that place would be New Orleans, but he’s glad that it was them who came calling once again.
“I didn’t think I’d be back here. They did stay kind of connected with me, talked to me,” Crawford told Basketball Insiders. “I did have a good time while I was here, so it wasn’t no bad attitude, hard feelings or nothing. It always could’ve worked and by not having a bad attitude it allowed it to work again. It’s been a blessing.”
They stayed in contact with him and made him feel like a part of the team again. And for players like Crawford and Liggins, players who may not know who their next contract is coming from or when their next minute on the court might be, sometimes that makes all the difference