Derrick Rose saved his best for the best defenses

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We get it, you don’t need to remind us Chicago — Derrick Rose is a stud. An MVP. One of the new faces of the game.

On top of all that, last season he played his best against the best defenses in the league.

Every summer over at Basketball-Reference Neil Paine does an interesting analysis — breaking out which players perform the best against the better than average defenses in the league? (With that, who fattens up their stats on the weak sisters of the league?) I won’t drag you into the math, but he uses advanced statistics to figure out the best defenses in the league, then uses a weighted plus/minus system to see who performs the best against the best.

This year Rose performed better than anyone against the best defenses (and he came out No. 5 against the worst defenses, too). It’s another testament to the best season Chicago has seen since that guy with the statue retired — while there are other guys who can score on the Bulls roster it was Rose who had to create a lot of those shots for himself and others. He carried as much or more weight for the team’s offense as anyone in the NBA. And he did it well.

Rounding out the top five against the best defenses are Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. LeBron was the other guy in the top five against worst defenses as well, basically he gets his against everyone.

The worst players against good defenses? Jonny Flynn (something to note, Rockets fans) and then two Clippers — Eric Bledsoe and Al-Farouq Aminu. To be fair, Aminu struggled against everyone, good and bad. Bledsoe showed promise, but this reminds everyone that to key rookies to the Clippers future have a long way to go. (Rounding out the top five worst against the best are Kendrick Perkins and Stephen Graham, two guys nobody expects offense out of anyway.)

Who got fat on the low hanging fruit? Who did the best against the worst defenses?

The top five are Steve Nash, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, LeBron and Rose. As we said, Rose and LeBron were in the top five in both. Kobe was No. 11 in the league against the best defenses, Wade No. 12 — while they got some points against the softies, they played well against everyone (although Paine notes that Kobe’s gap is increasing, he’s not done as well the last couple seasons against good defenses).

As for Nash, would it be different if he still had Stoudemire and other elite scorers around him? Or is this a sign of age? The answer likely sits somewhere in the middle of those two statements.

Report: Duke guard Frank Jackson undergoes foot surgery before NBA draft

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Duke guard Frank Jackson declared for the 2017 NBA draft with an outside shot of going in the first round and a likelihood of getting picked in the second-round.

This won’t help his stock.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Duke’s Frank Jackson, a well-regarded point guard in the 2017 NBA draft class, underwent right foot surgery and is expected to be fully recovered sometime in July.

When Jackson recovers will determine whether he plays in summer league, and that can affect transition to the pros as a rookie.

The bigger questions: Will this hinder his athleticism long-term? Does this put him at greater injury risk?

Jackson, a 6-foot-4 scoring guard, relies on a strong first step to attack the basket and high elevation on his jumper.

Report: 76ers, with No. 3 pick in NBA draft, like PGs De’Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr.

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If there’s consensus on the top prospects in the 2017 NBA draft, it’s:

1. Markelle Fultz

2. Lonzo Ball

3. Josh Jackson

That squares nicely with the Celtics picking Fultz No. 1 and the Lakers taking Ball No. 2.

But what about the 76ers, who pick No. 3? They already have a playmaking forward with a shaky jumper in Ben Simmons. Jackson isn’t the cleanest fit. Even if they plan to deploy Simmons at point guard, they could still use a traditional point guard for support/insurance.

Enter De'Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr.

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

https://twitter.com/SBondyNYDN/status/867526157184491521

The 76ers could also get a workout with Ball. There will be point guard options.

I’m just unsure any of them, assuming Ball is off the board, trump Jackson.

Philadelphia’s starting small forward is Robert Covington – a nice player, but not someone who should influence draft decisions. We can lightly pencil Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons into the 76ers’ starting lineup the next time the team gets good, but the rest of the lineup is open. Pondering Jackson’s fit into a half-blank canvass is overthinking. Embiid is an excellent outside shooter for a center, and Philadelphia’s eventual guards (or shooting guard and power forward if Simmons plays point guard) could be good shooters.

The 76ers’ should draft the best prospect available. If that’s Jackson, so be it. They should consider Fox’s and Smith’s fit only if those point guards are in the same tier as Jackson.

That said, don’t rule out the possibility of Fox and Smith working their way into that level. They’re intriguing players.

Thunder’s Enes Kanter: ‘I don’t like Golden State, so I want Cleveland to win the championship’

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When Kevin Durant left the Thunder for the Warriors, Oklahoma City center Enes Kanter jumped fully on board the pro-Russell Westbrook, anti-Durant bandwagon.

That ride doesn’t stop with his former teammate facing the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

Kanter, via Fox Sports Radio:

I don’t like Golden State, so I want Cleveland to win the championship.

Kanter never misses an opportunity to take a shot at the Warriors – except when Zaza Pachulia laid out Westbrook and stood over him.

Dwane Casey: Masai Ujiri assured me I’ll return as Raptors coach

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Raptors president Masai Ujiri didn’t mince words at his season-ending press conference: Toronto’s playing style had become unacceptable.

It sounded as if he might have been planting the seed for firing Dwane Casey.

But the coach says Ujiri assured him he’d return next season.

Casey on TSN (hat tip: Blake Murphy of Raptors Republic):

I think people mistook Masai’s comments for that. We had a good meeting before that meeting, and we’ve had meeting since then – with all the coaches – as far as plans for next year and the culture reset, which I think every corporation and every team should do periodically to get the culture back in focus and that type of thing. It’s not like we’re in total chaos or anything like that. It’s just good to have roles defined, things we can do better in each of our roles.

We’re doing some good things and some things we can do much better with. And that’s what we’ll plan on doing this summer and also this fall, when we go to training camp.

The Raptors’ offensive rating has dropped from regular season to the playoffs by 8.5, 7.2 and 11.7 the last three years. Their isolation-heavy style is just easier to stop when defenses see it in consecutive games.

The big question: What does Toronto do about that?

It’d be difficult to move on from the two players most responsible for the style, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. DeRozan is signed long-term, and if the Raptors don’t re-sign Lowry, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, they won’t have the cap space to land a comparable replacement.

The best bet is probably changing schemes from the bench and hoping the players can adjust – and maybe Casey can handle that responsibility. Hiring a new coach obviously would been the clearest path to a shake up, but maybe Casey can evolve. I’d want to see a plan from him before committing to keeping him, but maybe Ujiri got that.

Casey has played a key role in Toronto’s improvement, it’s nice to give him an opportunity to coach differently before hiring a different coach.