Basketball Insiders Week in Review 7/3

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

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Buddy Hield, Defying The Odds

By Moke Hamilton

As he sat in the greenroom, his palms, no doubt, were a bit sweatier than usual.

Sure, in terms of basketball, Buddy Hield had been there and done that. The accolades had been a bit too numerous to comfortably fit on a single sheet of paper and last season’s Final Four run with his Oklahoma Sooners had its pressure packed moments.

Yet still, nothing could have prepared Hield for the night he had been dreaming of for as long as he can remember.

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Grading Each Team’s 2016 NBA Draft

By Steve Kyler

Grading the NBA Draft is an annual tradition that virtually every media outlet does. For years, we have taken a somewhat different approach to grading the draft, mainly because a drafted player’s results aren’t truly known for years. While it’s easy to say, ‘This guys is a surefire star,’ there is no way to really know that for several years.

With that in mind I tend to apply a bit of a different value structure to my draft grades. I base my grades on the following:

a.) Did the team draft the best possible talent on the board?

b.) Did the team solve an immediate roster need?

c.) Can the selected player contribute right away?

Let’s jump into it:

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Harshest NBA Free Agency Burns

By Joel Brigham

Kevin Durant is a free agent this summer, in case you haven’t heard, and while most experts seem to agree that Oklahoma City is still the front-runner to hold onto the former MVP, that doesn’t mean much once the recruiting process gets underway. Just about every NBA player ever interviewed about free agency and trades has said something to the effect of, “The NBA is a business first and foremost,” because they understand that it’s extremely unlikely that a player will spend his entire career in one city. A lot of these guys don’t even buy houses until after they’ve retired.

While the players understand and appreciate the business aspect of the game, fans don’t always take free agency quite so well. Occasionally, a player burns his former city so badly by leaving that it takes years for fans to forgive them, if they ever do. Hell hath no fury like a fan base scorned. We don’t always take breakups well.

Knowing that, here are five of the worst breakups in the history of free agency:

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Top 10 NBA Free Agents of Summer 2016

By Tommy Beer

With the salary cap set to spike to approximately $94 million this summer, there will be many marginal players getting overpaid. However, considering the constrictions on maximum allowable salaries allowed by the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, it could easily be argued that the very best players in the NBA are relatively underpaid.

Today, let’s take a look at the cream of this summer’s free agent crop:

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Warriors To Pursue Joakim Noah

By Lang Greene

After rolling through the NBA regular season with a record-setting 73 wins, the Golden State Warriors finished just five points short of hoisting their second straight championship trophy. There’s no reason why the Warriors, who have the majority of their core group under contract, shouldn’t be considered favorites to emerge out of the Western Conference for the third straight season in 2017.

Heading into free agency, reports are running rampant that the Warriors will be focused on luring former league MVP Kevin Durant to town.  In fact, the Warriors are reportedly on the short list of six teams that Durant will listen to pitches from once free agency begins.

While the potential to add a player of Durant’s caliber is intriguing, the Warriors aren’t a team full of weaknesses or in desperate need of adding the high-scoring small forward.

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The Next Tier of 2016 NBA Free Agents

By Jabari Davis

Yesterday, our Tommy Beer broke down the top 10 NBA free agents who are available this summer. Today, we continue our look at this free agency class with a breakdown of the next tier of notable players who are sure to garner interest. Let’s pick up where Tommy left off, with player No. 11.

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Willie Reed May Be a Free Agency Steal

By Alex Kennedy

The NBA’s free agency period gets underway tonight after midnight, and Willie Reed is free to sign wherever he wants. The Brooklyn Nets decided not to extend a qualifying offer to the 26-year-old big man, making him an unrestricted free agent who should have no shortage of options.

This past season in Brooklyn, Reed averaged 4.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and .8 blocks in 39 games while shooting an efficient 57.1 percent from the field. These numbers may not jump off of the page, but that’s because Reed was playing just 10.9 minutes per game. His per-100-possession numbers were terrific: 21.5 points, 14.4 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. It wasn’t uncommon to see Reed score in double figures with a handful of rebounds and blocks despite playing just a few minutes.

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Utah’s Pursuit And Capture of Premium Versatility

By Ben Dowsett

Among the only truly valid criticisms of the Utah Jazz front office under GM Dennis Lindsey has been an overly conservative approach to team-building. They punted big cap space a year ago, the last summer in which that money was an advantage 25 other teams wouldn’t simultaneously enjoy, and the move followed a general trend of erring cautiously. “Skip No Steps” has been the Utahn’s version of “Trust The Process.”

The first couple weeks of the 2016 offseason have signaled a shift, one carefully designed in Lindsey-an fashion not to threaten the future his patient approach has laid the groundwork for. Joe Johnson’s reported signing is the second major move to address a specific area of need, and the two-year deal with a relatively tame dollar figure (given the insane market this year) keeps Utah’s core extension timetable on track. Along with a pre-draft trade for George Hill, the move indicates a clear commitment to a depth and, more importantly, a versatility they’ve long coveted under this management group.

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