NBA Playoffs: The Sun also rises

1 Comment

Thumbnail image for nash_game.jpgWell, well, well, look who’s back from the dead. 

The Suns are the… ahem… I apologize for this in advance… hottest teams in the playoffs. Shooting the lights out, causing turnovers, blocking shots, the works. Steve Nash is leading the league in assists, again. He’s shooting 50-40-90, again. Amar’e Stoudemire is back to dominating, and they have a core of young bigs who can defend, rebound, and hit from the outside, causing matchup problems. So how are they going to make a playoffs run? 
1. Punish the punishers: A favorite tactic teams have emulated from the Spurs against Nash is to have the defending guard go under the screen, then grab Nash’s wrist, just for a minute. It’s so slight, it avoids a call, but not only slows down Nash, but tweaks his back at the same time. The Suns need to counter this with a significant screen. Send a message. You mess with Nash, you reap the whirlwind. 
2. Get Amar’e in space: Stoudemire is deadly from 15 feet, especially right now. In addition to the pick and roll, the Suns should send their forwards low to draw defenders low which will open up Stoudemire from range. 
3. Get the Boy Wonder Healthy: Robin Lopez has a bulging disc in his back and his status for the playoffs is uncertain. If the Suns’ magical trainer team can speed the young man back to health, that will help them out to a huge degree. Though their draw means they won’t be facing teams stacked with big, tough defenders, they still need help in controlling the glass and attacking low. And Lopez’ presence helps to take emphasis off Stoudemire. 

Jaylen Brown’s #drivebydunkchallenge video is awesome

Leave a comment

I love the drive by dunk challenge (if you prefer, the #drivebydunkchallenge), it would be the best thing on NBA Twitter this summer, if it wasn’t for Kyrie Irving.

But the best one yet comes from Boston’s Jaylen Brown.

He steals the ball, and the best part is the guy who comes over like he’s going to stop Brown from throwing it down.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
3 Comments

The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.

 

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.