A Reminder About Paul George
By Moke Hamilton
For the past five years, it is LeBron James who has had a monopoly on the NBA Finals—at least from the Eastern Conference’s perspective.
And truly, the only players who consistently showed an ability to push him to his limits were a pair of Pauls—Paul Pierce and Paul George.
Amazingly, as we peruse the roster that the Indiana Pacers will trod out this coming season, only three players remain from the team that we saw take the HEAT to six games in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. That was the second consecutive season that the Pacers did battle with the HEAT for the right to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals, and it was a year where Paul George proved himself, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to be worthy of mention amongst the NBA’s superstars.
What’s Next For The D-League?
By Steve Kyler
Last week the Indiana Pacers bought control of the last remaining “independent” D-League team, putting all 19 teams under direct operation control of a parent NBA team.
There are currently two types of controls in the D-League; direct ownership where the parent club owns everything and what’s dubbed as a hybrid arrangement, where the parent NBA teams controls and funds the basketball operations of the team, while another owner controls the business side.
There are currently eight teams involved in a hybrid arrangement: the Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws), Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive), Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers), Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy), Miami HEAT (Sioux Falls Skyforce), Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks), Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam) and Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns).
Gordon Remains New Orleans’ Mystery Man
By Lang Greene
The New Orleans Pelicans are an intriguing team heading into training camp. The squad boasts All-Star Anthony Davis and talented core members such as Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson. The problem has been that the team has been decimated by injuries the past two seasons and even though the squad reached the playoffs in 2015, on-court chemistry is still a work in progress.
Despite the rash of injuries, the Pelicans flirted with 50 victories last season. But in order for the team to take the next step they’ll need someone to emerge as the true No. 2 guy behind Davis in the rotation. Perhaps the best player suited for that role is Gordon, an explosive scoring guard when healthy.
Washburn’s Unique Path to Hornets
By Jessica Camerato
Jason Washburn’s path to an NBA training camp invitation is not uncommon. After going undrafted out of the University of Utah in 2013, the 6’10 center has spent the past two seasons playing professional basketball overseas prior to signing with the Charlotte Hornets this week.
What makes Washburn’s journey unique is before he was invited, he was told he had to leave. Not because he had been traded or was waived; Washburn could not stay on his former team in Ukraine because political unrest made it unsafe to do so.
Washburn didn’t have cause for concern when he signed with the Cherkaski Monkeys of the Ukrainian Superleague for the 2013-14 season. Toward the end of November, though, Washburn began hearing of tensions between Ukraine and Russia in Kiev, located approximately two hours away. Cherkaski had a mid-December road game in the city against Budivelnyk. It was then that Washburn got a firsthand glimpse into the situation.
C.J. McCollum is Ready for a Big Role
By Alex Kennedy
The last time we saw Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard C.J. McCollum, he was lighting up the Memphis Grizzlies in the postseason.
In Game 5 of the Blazers’ playoff series against the Grizzlies, McCollum scored a career-high 33 points, shooting 12-of-20 from the field and 7-of-11 from three-point range.
In the final three games of that Blazers-Grizzlies series, he scored 77 points (despite coming off of the bench in two of those three contests). The 23-year-old was remarkably efficient as well, shooting 60.9 percent from the field and 64.7 percent from three-point range.
What Should the Clippers do with Crawford?
By Jesse Blancarte
There are a lot of necessary ingredients for putting together a championship team. A championship contender typically needs a good mix of talented big men and wing players, at least two All-Star caliber players, solid coaching, chemistry, shooting, rebounding, defense, playmaking and depth.
Reasonable people can debate which ingredients are more important than others. Many people believe one such ingredient is having an elite scorer off the bench, a player that can check into a game and immediately put some points on the board. This must be an important role considering that out of the last 10 recipients of the Sixth Man of the Year award, nine were either a shooting guard or combo guard whose primary skill was scoring the basketball.
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