11 free agents NBA teams probably regret signing last summer
Players on the list include Evan Turner, Joakim Noah, Festus Ezeli, Rajon Rondo, Chandler Parsons, Miles Plumlee and... our very own Boban Marjanovic.
The Utah Jazz are quietly disrupting the NBA
The Jazz are 18-10 and winners of eight of their last 10. They may have finally started their arrival as a team to watch out for. During a recent DBB on 3, for a question regarding Russell Westbrook and his triple-double mastery, I added that the Thunder would win the Northwest Division by a game over the Jazz. Ugh. Looking like a silly take. Shut up, me.
Here’s more on the disruptive Jazz, read the entire article if you can. It’s a fine one.
While everyone was transitioning to a guard-based league, (GM) Dennis Lindsey saw an opportunity. He wanted to create a long, defensive group of players, who would play the game to their strengths, even though a defensive group who grinds down their opponent is not very valued in the NBA right now (would the NBA rather broadcast UTA vs. MEM or GSW vs. HOU?).
Yet, what is often lost in Golden State’s historically good shooting is their defense. Klay Thompson is very underrated on defense. Dray and Iggy are top notch. Shaun Livingston can guard 1 through 3. With their death lineup, they switched repeatedly and made offenses pay.
What Dennis and Quin did was to take the lineup of death and seek to make it work for 48 minutes.
Just like disruptive innovators, the Jazz began to assemble talent. When Utah started building the team, nobody noticed. I would argue that Jazz management first realized the opportunity after they drafted Rudy Gobert. They saw what Gobert was capable of and already had a defensive stud in Derrick Favors.
David Aldridge’s NBA top 15 rankings
Detroit and Chicago dropped out of the top 15 — shocker! And here’s a blurb on the Bucks:
11) Milwaukee Bucks (2-1) [NR]: It’s a measure of how mediocre the Eastern Conference is so far this season that the Bucks can vault into the top 15 by throttling the Bulls in back-to-back wins.
In the new CBA — NBA will push stars even harder to stay with their teams
From Tom Ziller at SBNation:
The NBA has always tried to encourage players to stick around, but the incentives are usually fairly weak. Players can receive an extra year on their contracts if they re-sign, and the annual raises are slightly larger. For some — typically the lower-level stars, the Michael Redds of the league — this works. For others — typically the MVPs, like LeBron and Durant — it doesn’t. The incentives need to be stronger.
With this new collective bargaining agreement reached last week, the incentives are there. Based on reports, teams will be able to offer longer-term extensions to eligible star players before their contracts are up. The full details still haven’t been revealed, but the idea is that under the new system, the Thunder would have been able to offer Durant a lucrative long-term extension in 2015, after an injury-riddled season of foot surgeries. Would he have taken it knowing he could almost assuredly get a shorter max from a better team in 2016? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s a better carrot that what existed before.
Mike North: NBA's resting trend has to stop
I’ve highlighted at least once in the past the resting trend (LeBron’s resting) and the way it negatively rubs fans and media types. Here’s another opinion from nearly a week back, via the Chicago Daily Herald:
The Cleveland Cavaliers played the Grizzlies on Wednesday night and not only did Kevin Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving not play in the game, they didn't even make the trip to Memphis.
I'm sorry, but that's more than rest when you can't even attend a scheduled event.
So if you're a dad in Memphis who purchased expensive tickets to take your kid to see LeBron, a player he loves, the least these guys can do is show up in street clothes and wave to the crowd. Is that too much to ask for their million dollar contracts?
And here’s more: (the baseball example rears its head again — unless it is a catcher playing every day just please don’t compare the basketball grind to the baseball grind)
These guys are only in their 20s (with the exception of LeBron at 31), so shouldn't they be out on the court entertaining the fans and earning their money?
Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, played almost every game because he always knew what he meant to the fans.
Baseball legend Joe DiMaggio once was asked how he got up for every game, and he said someone might be seeing him for the first time and he didn't want to disappoint them.
I think I need to mention vegetables at the end of links posts again, because the Pistons sure played better when I routinely did so.
Vegetables! Vegetables! Eat them! Now!