Report: NBA nearly eliminates four-games-in-five-nights in draft of 2015-16 schedule

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver made reducing the number of four-games-in-five-nights a priority.

Barring some late revisions, he has succeeded.

Zach Lowe of Grantland:

Here’s a history of four-in-fives since the NBA began:

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Year Team games 4 in 5s Percentage of team games that are 4 in 5s
2015 2460 70 2.8%
2014 2460 64 2.6%
2013 2458 76 3.1%
2012 1980 218 11.0%
2011 2460 68 2.8%
2010 2460 80 3.3%
2009 2460 72 2.9%
2008 2460 78 3.2%
2007 2460 90 3.7%
2006 2460 81 3.3%
2005 2460 90 3.7%
2004 2378 88 3.7%
2003 2378 102 4.3%
2002 2378 106 4.5%
2001 2378 101 4.2%
2000 2378 101 4.2%
1999 1450 218 15.0%
1998 2378 75 3.2%
1997 2378 91 3.8%
1996 2378 90 3.8%
1995 2214 99 4.5%
1994 2214 87 3.9%
1993 2214 103 4.7%
1992 2214 120 5.4%
1991 2214 120 5.4%
1990 2214 119 5.4%
1989 2050 122 6.0%
1988 1886 87 4.6%
1987 1886 100 5.3%
1986 1886 123 6.5%
1985 1886 131 6.9%
1984 1886 137 7.3%
1983 1886 149 7.9%
1982 1886 137 7.3%
1981 1886 182 9.7%
1980 1804 175 9.7%
1979 1804 168 9.3%
1978 1804 183 10.1%
1977 1804 218 12.1%
1976 1476 172 11.7%
1975 1476 173 11.7%
1974 1394 213 15.3%
1973 1394 215 15.4%
1972 1394 251 18.0%
1971 1394 292 20.9%
1970 1148 258 22.5%
1969 1148 273 23.8%
1968 984 251 25.5%
1967 810 208 25.7%
1966 720 177 24.6%
1965 720 184 25.6%
1964 720 212 29.4%
1963 720 197 27.4%
1962 720 246 34.2%
1961 632 209 33.1%
1960 600 194 32.3%
1959 576 161 28.0%
1958 576 151 26.2%
1957 576 154 26.7%
1956 576 207 35.9%
1955 576 212 36.8%
1954 648 183 28.2%
1953 702 164 23.4%
1952 660 104 15.8%
1951 708 103 14.5%
1950 1122 211 18.8%
1949 720 62 8.6%
1948 384 16 4.2%
1947 662 26 3.9%

Those two spikes were due to lockouts in 1999 and 2011, the NBA trying to cram as many games into a shorter window as possible. Otherwise, the league has done a good job reducing the number of four-in-fives.

But 70 four-in-fives in a season is still too many if it can be avoided. Those rough stretches tire players, put them at greater risk of injury and therefore worsen the product. Fans don’t want to watch their favorite players rest, sit out injured or play sluggishly.

If this schedule draft gets approved, that would prove this issue was solvable. It probably should have been fixed sooner.

Kudos to Silver, though, for – nearly – getting it done. Now, it’s time to finalize the solution.

Next: Reducing the number of back-to-backs – or at least giving all teams a similar number.

Arizona State leading scoring Remy Martin declares for 2020 NBA Draft

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Arizona State junior Remy Martin has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft:

The six-foot point guard took on more of scoring role in his third season with the Sun Devils than he had in his first two seasons. Martin averaged 19.1 points per game on 43.2% shooting from the field. Martin also dished out 4.1 assists per game, after averaging 5.0 assists as a sophomore.

Arizona State’s leading scoring may just be testing the waters, as he’s expected to go undrafted. NBA scouts have concerns over Martin’s size at the NBA level. One concern is his ability to hold up defensively, as NBA point guards are trending bigger and bigger in recent years.

As a smaller guard, Martin was one of the players who could have benefited from the traditional pre-draft process. With in-person workouts on hold, and potentially cancelled entirely, players have limited opportunities to improve their draft stock. Teams may be drafting off previous in-person scouting and off of tape.

NBA players reportedly to take part in televised NBA 2K tournament Friday

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If we can’t watch NBA players on the court, at least we can watch them control their digital selves and teammates in a live basketball tournament.

ESPN plans to broadcast an NBA 2K tournament with only NBA players at the controllers, a story broken by Chris Haynes at Yahoo Sports. The hope is to have it air Friday, with the players competing from their homes around the country.

The NBA is planning a players-only NBA 2K tournament that will feature the league’s sharpest video gamers and it will be broadcast on ESPN, league sources told Yahoo Sports…

Players competing against their peers in the comfort of their own homes could offer a distraction for fans who are missing the game and a little competition.

Esports are incredibly popular and growing as a spectator sport, both in person and on Twitch and other platforms. With there being a pent-up demand for sports programming, this seems a smart attempt to draw eyeballs. Even people who are non-esports viewers could tune in just to check it out, because it’s that or rewatching Tiger King.

You can bet that if it works, we will see a lot more of it in the future.

(Inside baseball note: I would love to see the emails/texts flying around ESPN about Yahoo breaking a story about what is coming in their network.)

 

Shaquille O’Neal: I had no idea what was happening with Joe Exotic of Tiger King

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On a recent episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq” former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal said that “he had no idea” what was happening at the zoo run by Joe Exotic. Joe Exotic was recently made famous through the popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness”.

Footage of O’Neal appeared in the first episode of the show and was shown taking photographs with the animals.

The documentary also showed a cut of O’Neal on TNT saying “Shoutout to Exotic Joe. I got two more tigers.”

On his podcast, O’Neal explained:

“So we go in there, and it’s a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe. We’re there and I dropped some donations for the tigers’ foods and all that. We take pictures with (the) tigers. We went back a couple times. Then we go back another time and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going.”

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being found guilty of 19 different charges. Those charges included murder-for-hire plot, illegally selling endangered species and other animal-related offenses.

O’Neal clarified that he never bought any animals, but often donates to charities that help animals. He also made it clear that he’s not friends with Joe Exotic, nor anyone involved in the trade of endangered species.

“I don’t harm tigers,” O’Neal said. “I love tigers. I love white tigers. Do I put donations to these zoos to help these tigers out? I do it all the time. Do I own tigers personally at my house? No. But I love tigers. Listen, people are going to make their own opinions, but, again, I was just a visitor. I met this guy — not my friend. Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”

Report: Brooklyn Nets looking to hire a blue-chip head coach

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When the Brooklyn Nets and Kenny Atkinson parted ways in early-March, the team installed Jacque Vaughn as the interim head coach.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that’s a short-term appointment. On his podcast “Brian Windhorst and The Hoop Collective”, the reporter said the Nets are looking to hire a coach with a track record of NBA success.

“One of the things that has been expressed sort of the grapevine, that’s the way I’m going to say it to protect myself from the aggregators, is that Durant and Irving would like a blue-chip coach. I don’t know what this says about the way they thought about Atkinson, but they want a big-name coach.”

Names linked to the Brooklyn opening are Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson, and both Jeff and Stan Van Gundy.

Atkinson leaving Brooklyn was a surprise, considering he had led the Nets back to the playoffs in 2019. That success came after a three-year rebuild. That process was kicked off when general manager Sean Marks hired Atkinson to lead the on-court development. Under Marks and Atkinson, the Nets developed several players who had been given up on by other teams.

Brooklyn was 28-34 when Atkinson was let go. The Nets had gone 2-0 under Vaughn before the NBA suspended play in mid-March.