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Basketball Insiders Week in Review 11/16

Basketball Insiders looks back at some of the articles from last week in case you missed any the first time around.

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Steve Kerr’s Warriors Rising

By Moke Hamilton

As Steve Kerr stood on the stage with flashing lights and eyeballs aplenty on him, he beamed.

The seat was hot, the questions were cold and the reception was lukewarm.

A five-year contract for a first-time head coach was almost unheard of, much less one to the tune of $25 million. What made matters even worse for Kerr, was that his predecessor, Mark Jackson, had helped lead the franchise to forgotten success.

He left big shoes to fill, despite being unceremoniously fired.

But Kerr will look at the examples set by Larry Brown in Detroit and Rick Carlisle in Dallas and know what he is attempting to do is quite possible.

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The Other Side of Injuries in the NBA

By Jessica Camerato

There are multiple perspectives to an in-game injury: the player who is hurt, teammates and opponents on the court and, in the case of a contact injury, the other player involved.

Indiana Pacers forward Lavoy Allen knows that well in only his fourth NBA season. On Friday, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart stepped on Allen’s foot driving to the basket. Smart fell to the ground in pain and was carted off in a stretcher. He suffered a left ankle sprain with bone bruising and is expected to miss two-to-three weeks.

“It was a fast break,” Allen recounted. “I was on the side of him, A.J. (Price) ran in front of him. He tried to split us and then he ended up stepping on my foot. I saw him go down and grab his ankle.”

Allen immediately felt concern for Smart. Given Smart’s reaction, however, Allen removed himself from the area as teammates and staff surrounded the rookie.

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Vučević Living NBA Dream After Unusual Journey

By Mary Stevens

Nikola Vučević recently signed a four-year extension worth $53.4 million with the Orlando Magic, which was the culmination of an unusual eight-year journey that required him to make many sacrifices.

Vučević, a native Montenegrin, moved to Southern California for his senior year of high school to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA. He knew attending a college in the United States gave him his best chance of getting drafted into the NBA, so he left Montenegro and settled in Simi Valley.

“I wanted to play college basketball,” Vucevic told Basketball Insiders. “I felt like that was a good way for me to go to improve, to get better and achieve my dream of making it to the NBA because most guys in the NBA come from college.”

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The Philadelphia 76ers’ Master Plan

By Steve Kyler

Sometimes in sports, the media generates an idea. That idea resonates with the fan base and however unrealistic that idea might be, it becomes fact or at least fact in the eyes of the general public.

It happens with trade rumors. It happens with rumored fights in the locker room, coaches on the hot seat – you name the speculative topic and as soon as it gains an ounce of support from the fans, that’s how it is. True or not.

The Philadelphia 76ers are tanking. They are deliberately losing games. Really?

Is that really what’s happening in Philadelphia or is that simply the narrative that makes the most sense to those on the outside?

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Waiters Accepts Bench Role, Tunes Out Critics

By Alex Kennedy

The Cleveland Cavaliers will obviously take time to jell and realize their full potential as a team. Everyone knew this entering the season and it’s evident five games into the campaign.

However, with the Cavs struggling early on, people are looking for someone to blame. Many have pointed at Dion Waiters – who was recently moved from the starting lineup to a sixth man role – and that’s perfectly fine with the 22-year-old. Waiters is essentially Cleveland’s Mario Chalmers since he’s the top player outside of the Big Three, he’s young and extremely confident, and he’s an easy target for criticism when things go wrong.

“They got to find somebody to point the finger at,” Waiters said with a smile. “I’ve been getting fingers pointed at me all my life, but I find ways to rise up above it and just go out there and play my game.

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2014-15 NBA Defensive Player Watch: Davis Dominating

By Cody Taylor

As players and teams across the league start to settle in on their seasons, there has been plenty to talk about. By now, the rust has been knocked off from the offseason and players are starting to show just what we can expect from them this season. In just a couple of weeks of action there has already been plenty of great defensive performances as well as highlight-reel worthy blocks and steals.

Every week during the season, we’ll keep track of the top candidates for awards. We started by taking releasing our MVP Watch and Rookie of the Year Watch. Today, we’ll look at the frontrunners for Defensive Player of the Year:

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How Can The Cavaliers Improve Their Roster?

By Nate Duncan

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been the league’s most newsworthy team in the first two weeks of the season, sputtering to a 1-3 start before their offense regrouped to lead the team to back-to-back wins against the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans. Nevertheless, the first two weeks have removed any hope that this team would play passable defense out of the gate, and cast doubt on their ability to do so even in the long-term with a roster that that is missing a shot-blocker and adequate defenders in the backcourt.

With this backdrop, we turn to four key transactions the Cavaliers have made since the acquisition of Kevin Love.

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10 Players Who Have Raised Their Game

By Lang Greene

While it’s still early in the 2014-15 campaign, there have been a variety of guys who have stepped up their respective games and are headed toward career years. Every season we see guys move into the next tier and likewise we see players fall into a category below their established standard. Some are in different environments, others playing under a new head coach and others who are motivated by securing a new contract.

Whatever the case, here are some guys that are earning respect this season due to their strong play:

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NBA Rookie Of The Year Watch: Parker Still On Top

By Jesse Blancarte

With the second week of the NBA season in the books, Jabari Parker holds onto the number one spot in Basketball Insiders’ weekly Rookie of the Year Watch.

There are some notable shifts from last week’s rankings.  One main reason for that is injuries to Nerlens Noel and Marcus Smart, who have both been sidelined for several games after suffering ankle sprains last week.   Another reason is inconsistent playing time.  One such example of this is Nikola Mirotic, who has seen a significant drop in his minutes and consequently has fallen out of the top-10 for this week.

With that said, let’s jump into this week’s rankings:

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Six Overseas Draft Picks Who Could Contribute in NBA

By David Pick

Contrary to what some fans may believe, there is competitive basketball being played outside of the NBA. The mere fact that a bunch of NBA rotation-caliber players have tested the

overseas waters in China and Europe proves this to be true.

In an era when the roster for the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs features nine non-U.S. born players, foreign talent is becoming highly coveted. Which begs the question, who are the next overseas prospects who will make the jump to the NBA?

Basketball Insiders has decided to focus on six former NBA draftees whose rights are owned by teams across the league, looking at whether these prospects could contribute in the league now and whether they should receive a call-up to the NBA in the near future.

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NBPA, Commissioner Exchange Barbs

By Yannis Koutroupis

The NBA’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement runs through the 2016-17 season, after which both the owners and players have the ability to opt out. It’s become a foregone conclusion that the players will call for the opt out due to the significant increase in the league’s profitability. For those who are hoping for no lockout, 2017 can’t get here slow enough because Michele Roberts, the NBPA’s new director, is already calling for significant changes to be made.

“Why don’t we have the owners play half the games?” Roberts said to ESPN The Magazine. “There would be no money if not for the players. Let’s call it what it is. There. Would. Be. No. Money. Thirty more owners can come in, and nothing will change. These guys [the players] go? The game will change. So let’s stop pretending.

“I don’t know of any space other than the world of sports where there’s this notion that we will artificially deflate what someone’s able to make, just because, it’s incredibly un-American. My DNA is offended by it.”

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Too Early for Many NBA Players to be Traded

By Eric Pincus

NBA franchises typically like to see how their team performs over the first 20 games of the season before making personnel changes.

The trade market starts to move in late December, although deals are sporadic through January and typically heating up as the February 19 trade deadline nears.

Players who were signed over the summer cannot be dealt until December 15, unless they received at least a 20 percent raise (and their team was over the cap upon signing), which creates a trade restriction until January 15.  Additionally, players signed after September 15 cannot be dealt until 90 days from their contract date — and those claimed off waivers must wait until 30 days into the season to be traded.

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Fantasy Hoops: Top Daily Value Plays for 11/14/2014

By Tommy Beer

When compiling a lineup for Daily Fantasy sports contests, the winning combination usually includes a mix of under-priced “fringe” players, solid “mid-tier” producers and a superstar or two rounding out the squad. To play in today’s Draft Kings league with a $40,000 prize pool, click here.

Today, we’ll take a look around the league in an attempt to uncover the best all-around, economical values at each position for tonight’s action. Each player’s Draft King price will be listed next to their name…

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Best Starts in NBA History

By Joel Brigham

The Houston Rockets (9-1) and Memphis Grizzlies (8-1) are off to very hot starts this season, posting the two best overall records in the NBA while playing in the league’s most challenging division. There’s no question that these starts are good ones, but they aren’t anywhere close to the best starts in NBA history.

The easiest way to assemble a list like this would simply to be as a list rattling off the top five winning streaks to start a season. However, the competition and style of play in professional basketball when the 1948-1949 Washington Capitols set the season-starting undefeated record at 15-0 doesn’t really put them in a place to be rated among the better teams on this list.

So, to make it work, we will consider a few different things:

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NBA MVP Watch 11/14/14

By Jabari Davis

We continue our weekly NBA MVP discussion with an updated list that includes some familiar names, but some surprising inclusions as well. As a reminder, this is a season-long, fluid discussion that is not based upon which players we believe are the league’s “best players” or “biggest stars,” but rather which players are producing at the highest level and having the greatest impact on their individual team’s overall success.

 

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Kyle Cape-Lindelin is based out of Portland, OR covering the NBA while being one of the newsline editors and contributor to "Out of Bounds."

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