D-League to introduce new basketball design, makes change for the sake of change

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One of the D-League’s many benefits to the NBA is the opportunity to test-drive new rules and policies. The minors essentially provide a real, basketball laboratory in which changes can be test-driven in a professional basketball setting before NBA implementation, in order to more accurately assess impacts that have been potentially overlooked.

Now though, things are just getting silly. According to Utah Flash president Drew Sellers (via Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside), the D-League will use a new ball next season, with no immediately apparent reason other than to switch things up. There’s nothing wrong with changing the design of the basketball, though I have to ask: what’s the point? Maybe the ball is another experiment in alternative materials, such as the synthetic design the NBA dabbled with a few years back. Or maybe it really is exactly what it looks like: a ball with a different groove design, and no other significantly different features.

There’s nothing wrong with it. It looks fine. The only question is: why? Why make all the players transition to a new feel? Why throw out all of the already existing balls in favor of something new that isn’t really any better? Change is great for improvement’s sake, but when the cosmetic reasons aren’t even all that compelling, it just comes off as a bit odd.

Robin Lopez pushes short floater over backboard (video)

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Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.

This miss was all on him.

Dwyane Wade plays the laziest defense you’ll ever see (video)

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Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.

But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.

Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.

Video Breakdown: Clippers use JJ Redick in split cut to fool Jazz at 3-point line

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The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.

One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.

We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.

Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.

If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.

For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.

John Wall wears cape to postgame press conference (video)

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John Wall has been super, averaging 27 points and 11 assists while leading the Wizards to a 3-2 lead over the Hawks in the first-round.