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Basketball Insiders Week in Review 11/8

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

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Andre Drummond Is For Real

By Moke Hamilton

When people think of the island of Jamaica, a few things may immediately come to mind: Bob Marley and reggae music, Usain Bolt, Rastafarians, beautiful beaches and (if you’re fortunate enough to have had the experience) delicious food.

One thing that is slowly but surely becoming synonymous with Jamaica and Jamaican immigrants, however, is basketball and NBA-level contributors.

Out in Detroit, slowly but surely, Andre Drummond has become the latest example.

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Deadline for Options & Extensions; D-League Draft

By Eric Pincus

Monday is the NBA’s deadline for teams to pick up the third or fourth-year options for players on rookie-scale contracts.

Most options, for those drafted in 2013 or 2014, have already been taken — though a handful are still waiting for their respective team’s decision.

The Brooklyn Nets have yet to commit to Sergey Karasev and his $2.5 million salary for 2016-17.

The Charlotte Hornets have to decide on P.J. Hairston ($1.3 million) and Cody Zeller ($5.3 million).

Client Capela would seem to be a lock to get his $1.3 million option picked up by the Houston Rockets.

The Indiana Pacers have yet to commit to Solomon Hill at $2.3 million.

Given that the NBA’s salary cap is expected to jump to nearly $90 million next season, up from this year’s $70 million, it’s no surprise that teams are almost uniformly choosing to take their rookie-scale options.

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New York Knicks May Exceed Expectations

By Alex Kennedy

The New York Knicks are currently 2-1, with wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards – two teams that were expected to contend in the Eastern Conference. After an offseason in which many people laughed at the Knicks and criticized the organization for missing on marquee free agents, New York has stormed out of the gate and looks much better than last year’s squad that won an Eastern-Conference-worst 17 games.

After New York’s win over Washington on Saturday, All-Star point guard John Wall pointed out that the 2015-16 Knicks are playing much better this year in large part thanks to their new-look offense.

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No Deal, But No Worries

By Steve Kyler

The deadline for NBA teams to reach rookie-scale contract extensions with the 2012 class expires today, and while there has been a lot of talk about possible deadline deals, it seems the only one that is getting done at the wire is Jeremy Lamb reaching terms on a a three-year, $21 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets.

On the surface, $21 million for Lamb seems a bit high. However, when you consider that Charlotte has $34 million in firm salary cap commitments next season, and a likely cap of closer to $40-$45 million depending on which options they keep, the Hornets are looking at the possibility of less cap room than most – especially if they hold on to the cap holds of Al Jefferson ($20.250 million) and Nic Batum $19.687 million).

While the Hornets did reach a deal, most of the other notables did not and that’s not altogether surprising.

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Shabazz Napier Out of LeBron James’ Shadow

By Joel Brigham

For a while last summer, it looked Shabazz Napier might be the guy who kept LeBron James parked in South Beach, especially after Miami pulled off a draft-day trade for the standout guard apparently at the request of James himself.

There were rumors such a thing might happen in the days leading up to the draft, that by bringing in a rookie whom James publicly lauded during the previous year’s NCAA tournament – won by Napier’s UConn Huskies – Pat Riley might slightly improve his chances of keeping the greatest player alive in Florida.

Everybody knows how that worked out, but whether Napier had played alongside James or not, the expectations still would have been mighty in a rookie season after having received the four-time MVP’s stamp of approval in the year following a national championship in college.

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NBA Early Returns: What is Sustainable?

By Ben Dowsett

“It’s too early to take anything seriously.”

Some variation of that statement makes the rounds on various social media platforms roughly 500 times a day for the first couple weeks of a given NBA season. Similar discourses tend to ensue surrounding events like NBA Summer League and the preseason.

The sentiments aren’t without merit in many areas, of course, particularly for offseason play. For one, sample sizes for most useful statistics are unsustainably small; it’s tough to get excited about a guy shooting 50 percent from deep if he’s only taken eight attempts. It also takes time for elements of the game to stabilize beyond statistics: things like rotations, players getting into full game shape and chemistry between new teammates.

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Teams That Are In Early Trouble

By Eric Saar

The regular season is here, which means we have actual basketball to analyze. In recent days, we wrote about some notable players who have struggled early in the season. Today, we’re going to focus on some teams that seem to be in trouble.

While a handful of games is a very small sample size, it’s still possible to spot some concerning signs that point toward trouble. Early on, it seems these teams may not be as talented (or as healthy) as they need to be in order to live up to expectations for their team. It may be not be time to hit the panic button, but there’s certainly some sweating around these organizations.

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Diaw Has Unlikely Pupil in Biyombo

By Jessica Camerato

They call it the “French Connection.”

Five years after meeting as teammates in Charlotte, Bismack Biyombo and Boris Diaw have created a relationship so strong that they consider it a brotherhood and it has withstood changes of scenery that moved them hundreds of miles apart.

Biyombo had been eyeing the transition to the NBA for years. He moved from his home country of Congo to Spain to play professional basketball with the goal of making it to the world’s most competitive league. At 19 years old, he entered the 2011 NBA Draft and was selected seventh overall by the Sacramento Kings. However, he was traded shortly after to the Charlotte Bobcats as part of a three-team deal, making North Carolina his new home.

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Metta World Peace Defends Kobe Bryant

By Lang Greene

It doesn’t matter the sport: Father Time is and will always remain undefeated. Even the most dominant stars are routinely reduced to old wily veterans who are forced to utilize their guile in place of eroding athleticism.

Future Hall of Fame guard Kobe Bryant is just the latest casualty. Bryant hasn’t appeared in a playoff game since May 21, 2012. The Los Angeles Lakers have posted a dreadful 93-157 (.372) regular season mark since that time. To put things in perspective, Bryant has appeared in just 123 out of those 250 contests mainly due to injuries.

The end of an era is rapidly approaching and, with that, comes critics who were forced to bite their tongues in years past when Bryant was at the top of his craft.

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Blake Griffin Keeps Getting Better

By Jesse Blancarte

Stephen Curry has been the focus of attention through the first week and a half of the NBA season. He somehow looks even better than last season and is again filling up the stat sheet, draining contested step-back three-pointers, dishing out highlight assists and leading the Golden State Warriors to blowout victories. If voters had to cast their ballot for MVP today (I know, the NBA season isn’t even two weeks old yet), Curry would unanimously win MVP and no one would argue against it.

However, Curry’s play has overshadowed the all-around excellent play of Blake Griffin, who has also picked up from right where he left off last season. Through five games, Griffin is averaging 28.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and four assists and has an impressive true shooting percentage of 63.1 percent from the field. He is third in the NBA in scoring, has a 31.8 Player Efficiency Rating and through four games is second in the NBA in Kevin Ferrigan’s Daily RAPM Estimate (DRE) at +7.93 (behind, you guessed it, Stephen Curry).

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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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