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NBA Saturday: Who Has The NBA’s Best Starting Backcourt?

Who has the NBA’s best starting backcourt? … NBA may soon reform the Lottery?

Jesse Blancarte

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During Media Day, Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards made a bold proclamation that he and teammate John Wall comprised the best backcourt in the NBA. When told about Beal’s claim, Cleveland shooting guard Dion Waiters unequivocally disagreed with Beal.

It’s easy to appreciate Beal’s and Waiter’s confidence, but there are a lot of talented starting backcourts in the NBA today that have a claim to being one of the best starting backcourts in the league heading into the upcoming season. Here, we take a look at some of the best backcourts in the NBA, using last season’s performances as the most significant factor, along with other factors like age, likelihood of improvement, health and overall impact on team success, among others:

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors

Lowry (age 28). 79 games played. 17.9 points, 7.4 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 38.0 3P%.
DeMar DeRozan (age 25). 79 games played. 22.7 points, four assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 30.5 3P%.

The Toronto Raptors were one of the surprise teams of last season and were one Paul Pierce blocked shot away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs. A big part of the Raptors’ success came from Lowry’s career best averages in points and assists. Lowry is a physical player that does just about everything well. He can score, shoot from distance, make plays and rebound well for a point guard. There are no real weaknesses in Lowry’s game at this point in his career and he has established himself as one of the better point guards in a league saturated with talented point guards.

Lowry arguably should have been named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team, but was snubbed in favor of Joe Johnson. But Lowry’s play on the court earned him a new four-year, $48 million contract with the Raptors, which is a nice payday for one of most overlooked point guards in the league.

DeMar DeRozan is no slouch either. Like Lowry, DeRozan had a career year last season, averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. After the Raptors traded away Rudy Gay, DeRozan became the go-to-scorer for the Raptors, and ultimately finished tenth in the league in points scored per game. But beyond scoring, DeRozan showed significant improvement as a playmaker, jumping his per game assists averages from 2.5 to four last season. However, moving forward DeRozan will need to improve his three-point shooting. DeRozan’s three-point percentage has risen virtually every season, but he still shot just 30.5 percent from range last season. If and when DeRozan starts hitting from distance at or around 35 percent, he will have a valid claim to being the best shooting guard in the NBA.

Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers

Irving (age 22): 71 games played. 20.8 points, 6.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 35.8 3P%.
Waiters (age 22): 70 games played. 15.9 points, three assists, 2.8 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 36.8 3P%.

This may not be where Dion Waiters thinks he and Kyrie Irving should be ranked, but it’s still a pretty good ranking for one of the youngest starting backcourts in the league. In fact, Lowry and DeRozan have a strong case for being ranked ahead of the Irving and Waiters based on last season’s performance, especially since they led the Raptors to the playoffs. But this ranking takes into consideration projected improvement for the upcoming season, and Irving and Waiters benefit from being so young, and from the return of LeBron James.

With James, Irving can now dial back his focus on being a scorer, and become more of a traditional playmaker for his teammates. Of course, James will handle the ball and initiate the offense at times as well, but with James and Kevin Love on the roster, Irving has the opportunity to jump his assists average into the Chris Paul, Ty Lawson and John Wall range. That, and with James taking over as the team’s unquestioned leader, Irving will likely be held to a higher standard of defensive effort. If Irving can build off his summer with Team USA, focus more on making plays for others, and become a positive factor defensively, he has a chance to compete for best overall point guard in the league. A lot of things need to go right, but Irving has the talent, and now the teammates, to make the leap.

Waiters stands to gain as much from James as Irving does. Waiters can now focus his game on spreading the court with his three-point shooting and focusing on defense. Waiters may not like taking on more of a 3-and-D type of role, but it’s the role he needs to embrace on what is arguably the most talented team in the league. Knocking down three-pointers, swinging the ball to teammates for better shots and trying to lock down opposing wing players is where Waiters can really help his team. It may not be glamorous, but if Waiters is effective in this role, he will be praised for sacrificing part of his game for the betterment of his team.

Irving and Waiters are not the best backcourt in the league, but with James back in Cleveland, they have a shot to be one of the two or three best moving forward. Whether that happens depends on how willing they are to embrace different roles this upcoming season.

Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns

Dragic (age 28): 76 games played. 20.3 points, 5.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 40.8 3P%.
Bledsoe (age 24): 43 games played. 17.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 35.7 3P%.

For most of the offseason Eric Bledsoe’s contract situation threatened to break up one of the most entertaining, and effective, starting backcourts in the NBA. Fortunately for NBA fans, Bledsoe and the Suns recently agreed to a five-year, $70 million contract.

Dragic had a career year last season under head coach Jeff Hornacek and could be even better this upcoming season if Bledsoe can stay healthy. When Bledsoe injured his knee last season, Dragic took sole control of the team and almost led them to the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference. Even though teams were loading up defensively to stop Dragic, he still scored over 20 points a game, was a solid playmaker and shot 40.8 percent from beyond the arc. Dragic may not take another major statistical leap moving forward like he did last season, but with Bledsoe sharing point guard duties, he will have more room to operate against opposing defenses.

As for Bledsoe, he is a freak athlete and has the potential to be one of the best two-way point guards in the league. Bledsoe’s strength, length, and commitment to defense allows Hornacek to run Dragic and Bledsoe together, which is a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. Both players can score and make plays for teammates, and both can push the ball in transition effectively. Health is the major issue with Bledsoe, but with a little luck and another season under Hornacek, Bledsoe may be due for a big jump in overall production.

John Wall and Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

Wall (age 24): 82 games played. 19.3 points, 8.8 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 35.1 3P%.
Beal (age 21): 73 games played. 17.1 points, 3.3 assists, 3.7 rebounds, one steal, 40.2 3P%

Waiter’s called Bradley Beal’s claim “nonsense,” but Beal really isn’t too far off.

Last season, John Wall had a standout season. He tied with Ty Lawson for second most assists per game, and significantly improved his three-point shooting (26.7 percent on 45 attempts to 35.1 percent on 308). Wall is another freak athlete who can push the ball in transition better than just about anyone else in the league. His length and athleticism make him a tough a matchup for anyone, and at age 24 he still has room to get much better.

As for Beal, at age 21, he is already one of the best shooting guards in the entire league. He is a knockdown shooter with great size and athleticism for the two guard position and is also a pretty decent playmaker as he averaged 3.3 assists per game last season. Beal’s stats from last season are slightly better than Eric Gordon’s stats when he was 21 years old (16.9 points, three assists, 2.6 rebounds and one steal per game). In his third season, and at age 22, Gordon’s production took a big leap forward. If Beal takes a similar kind of leap, he will challenge Klay Thompson. James Harden and DeMar DeRozan for title of best shooting guard in the league as early as next season.

Also, being one of Charles Barkley’s favorite players in the entire league counts for something, right?

Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers

Paul (age 29): 62 games played. 19.1 points, 10.7 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 36.8 3P%.
Redick (age 30): 35 games played. 15.2 points. 2.2 assists, 2.2 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 39.5 3P%.

Chris Paul is still the best point guard in the league, although Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook may change that this upcoming season. But for now, Paul holds the mantle for being the best playmaker in the league, a good scorer, and committing himself to defense as well. Paul is getting older, and is not the athlete he once was, but no other point guard impacts the game as much as he does.

Anytime you have arguably the best point guard in the league, you likely have one of the best overall backcourts in the league. But J.J. Redick is no scrub himself. In fact, with Redick in the lineup, the Los Angeles Clipper’s league best offense goes from great to elite. Under Rivers, Redick plays Ray Allen’s old role of constantly moving off of screens and knocking down open jump shots. And like Paul, Redick commits himself to defense as well. He may not be a lockdown player, but his effort and attention to team defense makes him a net positive in that regard.

Unfortunately, both Paul and Redick missed significant time last season due to injuries. But with another season under head coach Doc Rivers, and one of the deepest rosters in the league, Paul and Redick project to be one of, if not the best backcourt in the NBA this upcoming season.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

Curry (age 26): 78 games played. 24 points, 8.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 42.4 3P%.
Thompson (age 24): 81 games played. 18.4 points, 2.2 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 41.7 3P%.

The Splash Brothers were at risk of being broken apart this offseason as the Golden State Warriors considered moving Klay Thompson to acquire star power forward Kevin Love. Ultimately, the Warriors opted to keep Thompson and move forward with last season’s best backcourt.

Stephen Curry has elevated his game from a top-scorer to all-around superstar. With Curry, three-point shooting has always been his main weapon. Curry knocked down more three-pointers than anyone last season (261) and did so at a blistering 42.4 percentage. But, perhaps even more important than three-point shooting, Curry has made the jump into a legitimate, full-time point guard. In 2012-13, Curry averaged 6.9 assists per game, which increased to 8.5 last season. However, Curry does turnover the ball more than you would hope for from your star point guard. Nevertheless, Curry is a threat from everywhere on the court, and that includes passing the ball now too, not just shooting.

Like Curry, Thompson’s main weapon is his three-point shooting as Thompson made the second most three-pointers in the NBA last season (223). But unlike Curry, Thompson has not become a great playmaker up to this point in his career. But where Thompson lacks playmaking, he makes up for it with defense. When the Warriors need to shut down an opposing wing, Thompson has just as good of a shot as noted defender Andre Iguodala, which is saying something.

Honorable Mentions:

Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews, Portland Trailblazers

Lillard (age 24): 82 games played. 20.7 points, 5.6 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 39.4 3P%.
Matthews (age 27): 82 games played. 16.4 points, 2.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 39.3 3P%.

If Curry and Thompson are the Splash Brothers, then it wouldn’t be too far off to call Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews the Splash Brothers Light. Lillard finished last season with the third most made three-pointers in the league (218), while Matthews finished fifth (201).

Like Curry, Lillard is the star player in the backcourt, but stands to improve defensively. And like Thompson, Matthews takes defensive assignments as seriously as he takes his offensive game.  Lillard and Matthews may have been left off the top-6 here, but figure to be even better this upcoming season and in the discussion as one of the league’s best backcourts again.

Ultimately, it turns out neither Beal nor Waiters was right. While both are part of some of the best backcourts in the league, Curry and Thompson edge out the competition. Lillard and Matthews, like a few other starting backcourts, have a valid claim that they should be included in the top-6, but just barely missed the cut here.

Which team do you think has the NBA’s best backcourt? Let us know in the comments section below!

 Lottery Reform Coming Soon?

Zach Lowe of Grantland reported in July that the NBA is considering reforming its current lottery system to provide less incentive for teams to tank. The push for reform is in direct response to the Philadelphia 76ers who have blatantly tanked the last two seasons under general manager Sam Hinkie.

After it is approved, the proposed reform will go into effect immediately. On Friday, 76ers managing owner Josh Harris spoke to the media about the proposal, acknowledging it could hurt his team in the short term.

“A change that flattens the Lottery system would be a little bit worse for Philadelphia in the short run,” Harris said.

However, Harris believes that the proposed changes will ultimately help his team in the long run.

“But long run, since we expect to be a consistent playoff or deep playoff-caliber team, it’s actually better for us.”

Harris is right about this, especially considering that Philadelphia is a big market that does well in attracting free agents. However, this assessment is only accurate if players like Michael Carter Williams, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric turn out to be as good draft picks.

Some may view this move as punishment for teams that are simply following the league’s rules. But the 76ers have taken the tanking strategy to a level that has angered team executives around the league. Hopefully the proposed changes can effectively deter teams from tanking moving forward. Tanking may be a good strategy for teams, but at its extremes it is harmful to the league.

Jesse Blancarte is a Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders. He is also an Attorney and a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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NBA PM: Hornets Rookies May Become Key Contributors

Some key injuries may force Charlotte’s rookies into becoming effective role players earlier than expected, writes James Blancarte.

James Blancarte

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As the NBA finally gets underway tomorrow evening, the 2017 rookie draft class will get their first taste of regular season action. Teams reliant on young rookie talent might produce an exciting brand of basketball but that rarely translates into a winning formula. Having rookies play a key role for a team hoping to make the playoffs can be a risky endeavor.

Out West, the Los Angeles Lakers are relying on both Lonzo Ball as well as Kyle Kuzma, who may have worked his way into the rotation with his surprising preseason play. However, the Lakers are, at this point, not realistic contenders in the competitive Western Conference. In the East, the Philadelphia 76ers have more realistic playoff hopes. The team is relying on this year’s top overall draft pick, Markelle Fultz, and 2016’s top pick, Ben Simmons, for meaningful production. Although Simmons has been in the league for over a year, he is still classified as a rookie for this season since he didn’t play last season.

The Charlotte Hornets are looking to return to the playoffs after narrowly missing the cut this past season. The team will likely feature not one, but two true rookies as a part of their regular rotation. Like the Lakers, the Hornets feature a highly touted rookie with the talent and poise to contribute right away in Malik Monk. The team also features Dwayne Bacon, a rookie that has flashed scoring potential as well as maturity — key attributes that will allow him to quickly contribute to the team.

Both players will be given the opportunity to contribute as a result of the unfortunate and untimely injury to forward Nicolas Batum. Batum tore a ligament in his left elbow in an October 4 preseason game against the Detroit Pistons. Initial speculation was that the injury would require surgery. However, it was announced on October 10 that surgery would not be necessary, and that he is projected to return in six to eight weeks. Assuming that there are no setbacks in Batum’s recovery, the Hornets will be looking to replace his perimeter scoring, playmaking abilities and perimeter defense. Enter Monk and Bacon.

Monk and Bacon have both shown the ability to score the ball, which is not exactly a common trait in Hornets rookies. Bacon, the 40th pick in the 2017 NBA draft, has made it a point to look for his shot from the outside, averaging 7.8 three-point shots per game while knocking down 33.3 percent of his attempts. As Bacon gains more experience, he presumably will learn how to get cleaner looks at the basket within the flow of the team’s offense. Doing so should help him increase his shooting percentage from beyond the arc, which would turn him into an even more effective contributor for Charlotte.

Bacon spoke to reporters after a recent preseason game against the Boston Celtics. Bacon was placed in the starting lineup and went 4-4 from three-point range in 34 minutes of action.

When asked what are some of the things he wanted to work on, Bacon focused on one end of the court in particular.

“Definitely defense. I’m trying to perfect the defensive side, I want to be one of the best two-way players to ever play the game,” Bacon stated. “I feel like I got the offensive side so just keep getting better on defense, I’ll be fine.”

Lack of consistency and defense are key factors that prevent many rookies from playing and being successful on winning teams right away. Based on Bacon’s size (6-foot-6, 221 pounds with a long wingspan) and physicality, he has the physical tools necessary to play passable defense. Combine that with his ability to score (he led the team in scoring in three of its five preseason games) and the unfortunate injury to Batum, it’s apparent that Bacon will get an opportunity to make the rotation and contribute.

Reliable two-way players on the wing are crucially important, but are not always readily available and are even less common on cheap contracts. The Los Angeles Clippers went through the entire Chris Paul/Blake Griffin era swapping small forwards on a nearly annual basis, struggling to find this kind of contribution from the wing. With little cap flexibility, the Clippers were unable to acquire a forward that could effectively and consistently play both end of the court, which caused issues over the years. As a second round pick, Bacon is set to make $815,615 in his first year. If Bacon is able to contribute at even a league average level, that will be a major boost for the shorthanded Hornets. Bacon is smart to focus on improving as a defender as Steve Clifford is a defensive-minded coach who will leave talented players on the bench if they aren’t making a positive impact on the defensive end of the court.

In fact, Clifford offered some strong simultaneous praise and criticism of Monk when it came to his scoring and defense.

“He can score, he can score, he can score [speaking of Monk],” Clifford stated. “I think his defense will come because he’s willing, he’s a good guy. I think that being a good player is very important to him.”

It’s apparent in Clifford’s comment that he values scoring, but that defense is also extremely important and essential to any player that wants to be a “good player.”

“He knows and understands that the way he has played in the past [in college], he can’t play in this league if he wants to be a good player,” Clifford said about Monk. “The big thing is, I told him, when people say, ‘he’s a talented offensive player’ that is a lot different than somebody saying, ‘he’s a talented NBA player.’”

Point guard Michael Carter-Williams also suffered an injury (bone bruise in his left knee), which received less attention than Batum’s injury. While Carter-Williams is not the same caliber of player as Batum, the Hornets are alarmingly thing at backup point guard. Without Carter-Williams, the team was going to lean on Batum to act as a playmaker more than he has in the past, which would have, at least in part, addressed the lack of an established backup point guard. But with Batum sidelined, Coach Clifford has given Monk time at the point guard position. If Monk proves capable of playing both guard positions and playing alongside Walker, that could go a long way towards mitigating the loss of Batum and Carter-Williams. It’s not reasonable to expect Monk (or Bacon) to produce as consistently as a seasoned veteran, but having them contribute at a league average level would constitute a big win for a Charlotte team with serious playoff aspirations.

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Teams Refuse To Back Down To Stacked Warriors

Golden State got better over the summer, but that didn’t stop others from trying to stop them from repeating as champions

Spencer Davies

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Opening week is finally upon us.

Appropriately enough, the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics will kick off the 2017-18 NBA season tomorrow night, as will the defending champion Golden State Warriors when they host the improved Houston Rockets.

The clear-cut favorites to win the league title are the ones who have done so two out of the past three years, and rightfully so. Warriors general manager Bob Myers has done a masterful job of assembling a juggernaut. They’ve kept their insanely talented core intact and—aside from Ian Clark and Matt Barnes—haven’t lost any of their key bench pieces to free agency.

In fact, Golden State has added to that dangerous second unit. Jordan Bell was bought from the Chicago Bulls and will bring another Draymond Green-esque impact almost immediately. Nick Young and Omri Casspi were brought in to fill the void of backup wings, which is an improvement at the position anyway. With the same roster as last year and better reserves to give the starters a breather, there’s no reason Steve Kerr and company can’t repeat if they stay healthy.

Knowing what the Warriors are capable of and how well they are set up to truly be a dynasty, there are some league executives out there who are hesitant to make significant moves that could potentially flop against such a powerhouse.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported back in middle June that select teams don’t want to risk a big play because of it. What that basically translates into is: We’re throwing in the white towel until that ball club disbands.

But luckily for fans and for parity’s sake, there was a handful of general managers that refused to take that path. Just looking down the list in the Western Conference, there were organizations that swung for the fences this summer.

The aforementioned Rockets are one of them.Daryl Morey pieced together multiple trades to allow him to land Chris Paul to play next to James Harden and form a dynamic backcourt tandem. Houston also signed a pair of veteran two-way players in Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker to provide depth and defense.

What about the Oklahoma City Thunder? Just when we thought Russell Westbrook’s MVP season was enough to maybe build off, the unthinkable happened. Sam Presti unloaded Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana after just one season with the team to add All-Star forward Paul George, who is in a contract year.

That blockbuster move was followed up with another two months later, as Presti decided to deal fan favorite Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott to the Knicks in exchange for Carmelo Anthony. The creation of a Westbrook-George-Anthony big three forms an elite trio that is determined to prove championship worthiness.

Top tier Eastern Conference counterparts did their due diligence as well. The Cavaliers and Celtics are essentially rivals and became trade partners in an attempt to re-tool their respective rosters, in addition to gaining important pieces outside of that.

Boston inked Gordon Hayward to a maximum contract to create a bolstered starting unit alongside Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Al Horford until madness happened.

Firstly, Bradley got moved in a swap with the Detroit Pistons for Marcus Morris to address the hole at power forward. After that—with reports of Kyrie Irving’s unhappiness in Cleveland swirling around the basketball universe—Celtics general manager Danny Ainge acted immediately and swung a deal for the All-Star point guard in exchange for his All-Star point guard, a vital member of his team in Jae Crowder and the coveted Brooklyn Nets first-round pick.

It’s almost a brand new squad, but Brad Stevens has a versatile group to work with to try and finally dethrone the conference champions of the last three years.

As for the East’s cream of the crop, the Cavaliers moves are well known because wherever LeBron James goes the spotlight follows. Thomas and Crowder were huge gets for first-time general manager Koby Altman, especially after the outside growing doubt in the franchise’s front office. The rookie executive was also instrumental in signing Derrick Rose, Jeff Green, and Dwyane Wade to veteran minimum contracts.

Rose and Green have plenty of motivation because their critics think they’re washed up, meaning Tyronn Lue won’t have to give them a reason to play their hearts out. Wade simply made the decision to come to Cleveland because he can play with his best friend and potentially add to his collection of championship rings.

Ante Zizic, Cedi Osman, and Jose Calderon are also now a part of the roster that all-of-a-sudden is now deep at almost every position. It’s a new flavor for a team that may have only one year left to compete for a title with James’ pending free agency next summer.

Those four teams feel great about their chances to get in the way of the Warriors. It doesn’t stop there though. The West in general loaded up.

The Minnesota Timberwolves executed the first big move of the year when they traded for Jimmy Butler. The Denver Nuggets signed Paul Millsap to provide leadership and a veteran voice in a young locker room full of talent. The San Antonio Spurs lost Jonathan Simmons but brought in a very capable Rudy Gay under-the-radar as Kawhi Leonard’s backup.

Nobody expected the league to completely fold and hand Golden State another championship, but it was surprising (and relieving) to see so many teams have the fortitude to pull off the moves that they did. There was definitely risk involved for some of them, however, one thing is for certain.

The Warriors will not have a cakewalk to the NBA Finals. They will have to go through a rigorous set of teams in the West throughout the regular season and the playoffs.

If any team is up to the task, it’s Golden State. But we’ll see how it plays out starting about 24 hours from now.

See you at tip-off.

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NBA League Pass Debuts for 2017-18 Season

NBA League Pass has launched for the 2017-18 season. Basketball Insiders has the details.

Ben Dowsett

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The NBA and Turner Sports have launched NBA League Pass for the 2017-18 season, with several new features and pricing options available. NBA League Pass, a subscription-based service, will be available to users across 19 different platforms, from television and broadband to tablets, mobile and a plethora of connected devices.

In addition, an important note: As of Monday, NBA League Pass subscribers who have already purchased their access through a TV provider (Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, etc.) are now able to link their account to the NBA’s streaming service at no additional charge. The link to do this can be found here.

Basketball Insiders has you covered with a breakdown of all the new details immediately available. We will also be bringing you a detailed breakdown of certain important technological areas later in the week.

Features

New or improved features of NBA League Pass include:

  • Improved video quality for streaming League Pass content developed by iStreamPlanet, a high-level video streaming entity working in partnership with NBA Digital. Included among these improvements are faster delivery time for live feeds, reducing notable lag time present in previous versions. More detail on these video quality improvements will be featured in our breakdown later this week.
  • A new premium package that includes continuous in-arena coverage, even during commercials. This allows fans to view team huddles, live entertainment and other venue features that make them feel closer to the experience.
  • A season-long virtual reality subscription package via NBA Digital and NextVR, available to all premium and traditional NBA League Pass subscribers (also available to international subscribers and single-game purchasers beginning in week two of the NBA season). Access will be available across Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream and Windows Mixed Reality.
  • Coverage of pre-game warmups and other in-arena events.
  • Spanish-language video coverage for select games, as well as Spanish-language audio continuing for select games.
  • NBA Mobile view will contain a zoomed-in, tighter shot of game action that’s optimized for mobile devices.

Pricing

Pricing for NBA League Pass has not changed for traditional access, and will remain at $199.99 for the full season. New monthly-based subscriptions are now also available, both for the full package and for individual teams. Full pricing will be as follows:

  • Traditional NBA League Pass (full league): $199.99
  • Premium NBA League Pass: $249.99
  • NBA Team Pass: $119.99
  • Single Game Pass: $6.99
  • Virtual Reality package: $49.99
  • Premium monthly subscription: $39.99
  • Traditional League Pass monthly subscription: $28.99
  • NBA Team Pass monthly subscription: $17.99

Notes

As previously reported by Basketball Insiders, upgrades are also expected on the TV side of NBA League Pass, particularly through Comcast, which has had the largest share of customer issues for this product in recent years. While only a single nightly HD channel was available via Comcast XFINITY League Pass previously, sources tell Basketball Insiders that all games will be available in HD through Comcast’s Beta channel package by the end of November (or earlier).

This Beta package does have limitations, however, including users’ inability to record, pause or rewind games. The package that was available in previous season will continue to be available until (and after) the Beta package is active, and subscribers will get access to both for no additional charge.

Check back with Basketball Insiders later in the week for a full rundown of the technological improvements being made to NBA League Pass.

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