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Basketball Insiders Week in Review 8/2

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

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Better Off Without DeAndre?

By Moke Hamilton

It was a mere 48 hours since DeAndre Jordan had spurned his Dallas Mavericks and did an about-face by re-signing with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Mark Cuban—who was no stranger to the limelight—found himself with the cameras on him and the recorders rolling.

“I pick my nose at the table,” Cuban said to the crowd that had appeared around him in an impromptu media session at Cox Pavilion during the 2015 NBA Summer League.

“I don’t give a [f***] about etiquette,” he said.

“Etiquette” was the word that was used during a discussion that focused—albeit for only a few minutes—on DeAndre Jordan.

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Ranking the Western Conference’s Second Units

By Eric Saar

The NBA is a league driven by star power. It’s what many fans care about. That’s how it’s marketed to the masses, and usually fans are more interested in teams with one or more established superstars.

But that’s not how basketball is played. While only five guys are on the court at a time, each team is afforded 15 roster spots for a reason. Basketball is a team game, and it’s important that teammates work together in a cohesive and effective way. It is true that superstars can take a team to the next level and even play more as the playoffs roll around, but depth is very important too. In a 48-minute game, the starters usually play around 32 minutes each (with superstars sometimes averaging a bit more) and that even bumps up a few minutes by the postseason. But those 16 extra minutes can easily be the difference in a game, and can have a cumulative effect throughout the grueling 82-game regular season.

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It Was All About Luxury Tax

By Steve Kyler

The Miami HEAT have agreed to send point guard Shabazz Napier to the Orlando Magic in exchange for a highly protected second round pick. That deal should become official today.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have reached a deal to send the non-guaranteed contract of Brendan Haywood along with swingman Mike Miller and two second-round picks to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for cash.

If you are scratching your head about the basketball logic of both moves, there is none. The deals were strictly about managing the salary cap and avoiding luxury tax.

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Top of the Class: Point Guards

By Joel Brigham

Starting this week, the Basketball Insiders team is going to look at the best players at each position heading into the 2015-16 NBA season and rate them based on how they look at the midway point of the offseason. We start, of course, with point guards. This is a position experiencing such a glut of talent at the moment that a player named MVP of the league just five years ago didn’t even make the top 10.

Considering that embarrassment of riches, here’s a look at the top point guards in the NBA heading into the upcoming season:

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Notable Unsigned Free Agents

By Alex Kennedy

Entering the final week of July, many of the big-name NBA free agents have been signed. Tristan Thompson is the best player remaining on the market, but that’s because he’s a restricted free agent and those negotiations can take some time. It seems like a lock that Thompson will return to the Cleveland Cavaliers next year, either on a long-term deal or the one-year qualifying offer.

Still, there are still other quality players remaining in the free-agent pool. Free agency coverage has died down, but sometimes the best signings are the bargain players who are added later on in the free agency period. Plenty of the players who remain unsigned now could go on to become a significant contributor in the 2015-16 season. That happens quite often.

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Record-Setting High School Scorer Carter Still Chasing NBA Dream

By Jessica Camerato

287 treys.

7,457 points.

Tweety Carter set the records for most most three-point shots made in a single season and points scored by a U.S. high school player over his varsity career. Nearly 10 years later, with those accolades behind him, Carter is still chasing a mark he has yet to reach – becoming an NBA player.

Growing up, the buckets dropped effortlessly for Carter. He attended the Reserve Christian School in Louisiana. The establishment was K-12, which afforded Carter the opportunity to begin playing varsity basketball earlier than the traditional freshman year format. He estimates there were 100 students in the entire school and only 18 in his senior class.

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Playoffs or Bust For the Magic

By Cody Taylor

The Orlando Magic are approaching the fourth year in the post-Dwight Howard era. Since Howard departed Central Florida, the team has posted a 68-178 record and have stockpiled first-round draft picks and young talent.

The team has brought in a number of different players as they try to find their core. They’ve had three different head coaches (including interim head coach James Borrego) since parting ways with Stan Van Gundy three years ago.

Rob Hennigan was hired at that time to steer the Magic in the right direction and one day return to the top of the Eastern Conference. There was no question that when the team traded away Howard they’d be taking a step back. Hennigan admitted as much, but added that the team would be “taking a step back with a vision.”

That vision has led us to where we are today.

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2015-16 Breakthrough Candidates

By Lang Greene

Each NBA season routinely produces a new set of surprises. Some players’ production dramatically falls off the cliff while others rise to the occasion seemingly out of nowhere. Some are fueled by contract years. Others are beneficiaries of being dealt to a new environment. A few have improved supporting casts and willingly prosper in a leadership role.

Whatever the case, here are some guys who could be poised for a breakthrough season in 2015-16:

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Young Bucks on the Rise

By Jesse Blancarte

The list of contenders entering the 2015-16 NBA season remains roughly the same as last season. After this year’s Draft and the opening of free agency, the top contenders for next season, at this point, are the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies. In addition, the Oklahoma City Thunder should also be back in the mix after they were derailed last season because of injuries (though that is largely based on whether Kevin Durant returns 100 percent healthy or not).

One team that doesn’t appear on this list, however, is the Milwaukee Bucks. There are plenty of reasons for their omission. The team went 41-41 last season in the Eastern Conference, was ranked 25th in offensive efficiency, and was knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by the Chicago Bulls. Nothing about that description of Milwaukee’s 2014-15 campaign suggests that this is a team to watch out for next season. However, that description ignores that this team went just 15-67 in the 2013-14 season and last season’s squad featured a slew of players under 25 years old and was in its first year under a new head coach.

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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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