The late 1990s sucked. Not just because Smash Mouth and Rickey Martin had hits — although that did suck — but also because NBA basketball became a dirge.
In the 1980s everybody ran — the Larry Bird Celtics of 1985 played at a faster pace than any team in the NBA this season. The average team scored 110.8 points per game that year. NBA basketball was entertaining.
Then in the mid-1990s a breed of coaches came along — emulating the Detroit Bad Boys teams — that slowed the pace, promoted physical defense to see how many fouls they could get away with, how they could control the game. The result was isolation basketball, lots of pick-and-roll late in the shot clock, and less scoring. The 1994-95 season the last season that he average NBA team scored over 100 points per game.
Until this year.
Bradford Doolittle over at Basketball Prospectus ran the numbers and found that so far this season teams are averaging 100.2 points per game. There are a few reasons — some seven-seconds-or-less teams are pushing the pace, and shooting is just flat out better.
But what matters is that scoring is back up. And that’s a good thing for a league that is, in the end, entertainment.
The Chicago Bulls are one of the teams getting a D-League affiliate franchise this season. The Windy City Bulls will play in the suburb of Hoffman Estates, and now they have a head coach: North Carolina State assistant Bobby Lutz.
Via Upside & Motor‘s Chris Reichert:
Lutz was previously linked to the Bulls’ D-League job in July but there was confusion as to whether he would actually get the job. Now, it appears he has. And he has familiarity with the coaching staff, having served as an assistant coach at Iowa State under Fred Hoiberg in 2010-11, prior to going to NC State.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.