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Basketball Wiretap
Basketball news gathered from around the net.

John Wall Leads NBA In Corner-3 Assists By Wide Margin

Corner three-pointers are one of the best value propositions in the NBA as the league makes almost 40 percent of them as a whole.

More than 95 percent of made corner 3s this season have been assisted, the highest such number anywhere on the court.

John Wall leads the NBA in corner three-point assists with 109, followed by LeBron James with 89 and Goran Dragic with 66. Kyle Lowry and Chris Paul rank fourth and fifth.

In the drive-and-dish NBA, five of the most talented playmakers lead the league in corner 3 assists.

Via Kirk Goldsberry/Grantland

Amar'e: Knicks Might Be Best Team In NBA On Paper

The New York Knicks won't make the playoffs for the first time since Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were acquired.

“They should have been a little bit higher, if you ask me. On paper we might be the best team, in the league,” Stoudemire said. “We’ve got great players on this team who accomplished so much. We just couldn’t put it together.”

Anthony has never missed the playoffs during his career.

“It’s not even real for me right now,” Anthony said. “We still have two games left, but it hasn’t set in yet, not at all. It’s hard to accept that. It’s hard to be happy in these times. It’s just a hard situation right now.”

James Dolan told Mike Woodson he believed the Knicks were capable of winning the championship before the season began.

Via Peter Botte/New York Daily News

Thibodeau: Carmelo Doesn't Get Enough Credit As A Very Good Passer

Tom Thibodeau praised the abilities of Carmelo Anthony after the Chicago Bulls' morning shootaround.

"He can score so many different ways," Thibodeau said. "He can post up. He can catch-and-shoot. He can isolate. He can be the screener in a pick-and-roll. He can be the ball-handler in a pick-and-roll. He gets to the free-throw line. He’s a great offensive rebounder. If you overcommit your help, he probably doesn’t get enough credit for being a very good passer, particularly to the weakside corner. He can hurt you a lot of different ways. He can score the ball very easily. It doesn’t take him much to get going."

Thibodeau agreed that his reputation as a selfish ballstopper is overstated.

"It’s interesting because with USA Basketball, they talk about him being a playmaker," he said. "He scores and if a guy is open, he passes the ball. I think oftentimes it’s who he plays with.

"It’s interesting, a lot of the things that you hear about him, I heard about Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce before they came together and won it. That changes perception. Carmelo has been one of the elite scorers in the league for a long, long time."

Via K.C. Johnson/Chicago Tribune

Anthony Praises Thibodeau's Coaching, Compares System To Popovich

Carmelo Anthony has reportedly inquired a Chicago Bulls' player about what it is like to play for Tom Thibodeau, and the New York Knicks' star praised Thibodeau ahead of Sunday's matchup.

Anthony was asked how the Bulls are consistently competitive despite losing key players in Derrick Rose and Luol Deng.

“I have no clue. Thibs is a great coach, his system kind of reminds me of Gregg Popovich’s system," Anthony said.

“You put anybody in that system and it’s going to work. That’s what they’ve been doing. They’ve had guys sitting out all season long, guys that’s been in and out of the lineups and they seem to get it done.”

The Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be potential suitors for Anthony, who has said he hopes to remain with the Knicks.

Via Frank Isola/New York Daily News

Thunder Join Spurs In Securing Homecourt In Finals

The Oklahoma City Thunder have joined the San Antonio Spurs in securing homecourt advantage in The Finals should they make it.

The Thunder are guaranteed to have a better record than both the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat with their win on Friday.

Via Anthony Slate/Oklahoman

Durant Compared To Len Bias By Monty Williams

Monty Williams compared the style of Kevin Durant to Len Bias, who was the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft out of Maryland.

“(Durant)’s a very unique player, reminds me of what Len Bias would have been if he played in the league,” Williams explained. “(At) 6-8, 6-9, can shoot it and run, can dunk and defend, play many positions. I’m just impressed by the way he gets better every year and his passion for the game.”

Williams also added two more players to the Bias comparison.

“I think he’s the most unique guy I’ve seen, like Alex English, Glen Rice, Len Bias, all these guys all in one,” Williams said of Durant. “He does everything. You just can’t recall a guy that long who can do what he does every single night. Shooting from 30 feet on the floor with confidence, then driving to the basket and dunking on guys and then go post up. To top it off, he’s a great teammate and a good kid.”

Via Anthony Slater/Oklahoman

Russell Westbrook: Knee Injury Made Me Even More Mean

Russell Westbrook has played with an increased chip on his shoulder since returning from his latest knee injury.

"For anybody who gets hurt, you come back with a bigger shovel," Westbrook said. "You want to compete, come back better and compete at the level before you got hurt.

"It's made me even more meaner. But that's normal for me."

Westbrook and his teammates believe the point guard was able to learn from sitting and watching the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"He looks like he is more explosive and he's making good decisions," Kevin Durant said. "It looks like he learned a lot just sitting there watching. You think the game more just sitting and watching.

"He always plays with a chip on his shoulder," Durant said. "Angry could be good and bad. But it's on the good side for Russ. He doesn't like anybody he is playing against. He plays with that edge and he plays at a high level."

"Just watch his court awareness. He's very selective about his shot selection now," Kendrick Perkins added. "He is still being aggressive, but he is picking and choosing when to be aggressive, which is helping us."

Via Marc J. Spears/Yahoo! Sports

Shumpert Forcing Turnover On 18.5 Percent Of Opponent ISOs

Iman Shumpert has bounced back in his first full season back from a torn ACL, particularly on the defensive end.

The New York Knicks have a defensive rating of 102.5 with Shumpert on the floor compared to 111 without him.

Shumpert is forcing a turnover on 18.5 percent of his opponent's isolation possessions. 

Via Christian Baber/Posting & Toasting

Exec: Surprised Knicks Didn't Do More Homework On Bargnani

The New York Knicks' trade last offseason for Andrea Bargnani is widely considered one of the worst of the past year.

“Getting anything for him was a surprise,’’ a Western Conference executive said. “But you get desperate. The guy has talent, a 7-footer, mobile, his first few years he made shots. But I question his love for the game and mental makeup. I’m surprised the Knicks didn’t do more homework on him.’’

“We wanted to give opportunity to our younger players and also for Andrea to find a better fit since it wasn’t working out here,” Masai Ujiri wrote in an email.

Bargnani is averaging 13.3 points on 44.2 percent shooting, but his defense and rebounding are a liability. Bargnani is shooting 27.8 percent from three-point range.

“They got him as a stretch 4, but he hasn’t been a stretch 4 for years,’’ an NBA scout said.

Via Marc Berman/New York Post

18 Of Past 23 GM Hires Weren't Former NBA Players Or Coaches

Of the 23 general managers NBA teams have hired in the last four offseasons, 18 neither played nor coached in the NBA.

In the 15 years prior, non-coaches and non-players comprised only 33 of the 81 GM hires. 

GMs who were former players or coaches tend to have shorter tenures than GM who were neither.

GMs who never played in the NBA are slightly worse in improving winning percentage, but they inherit better teams. GMs who were players or coaches have inherited teams with an average winning percentage of .410; GMs who are outsiders started working for teams with a .490 winning percentage. 

More outsiders' teams made the playoffs (63 percent vs. 48 percent) in their third year.

Via John Ezekowitz/Five Thirty Eight

LeBron Concedes Durant Has Performed 'Most Consistent' For MVP Award

LeBron James praised Kevin Durant as the most deserving candidate for the MVP award.

David Lee Doesn't Pay Attention To Criticsm Warriors Better Without Him

David Lee was asked how he felt about the suggestion that the Warriors might be better with a lineup consisting of Draymond Green at power forward instead of him.

Pacers To Sit Entire Starting Lineup Against Bucks

Frank Vogel is trying to prescribe rest to his Pacers' starters.

Brett Brown Has Had Analytics 'Capture Imagination'

Brett Brown has enjoyed working with Lance Pearson, who was hired for advanced analytics and statistical scouting.

Irving, Waiters Insist No Issues Exist Between Them

Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters addressed the media together on Monday amid reports of more disharmony.

Frank Vogel Believes Pacers' Starting Lineup 'Looks Worn Down'

Roy Hibbert was benched for the entire second half of Sunday's game after playing over nine minutes in the first half.

Kyrie Irving Scores Career-High 44 Points In Cavs' Loss

Kyrie Irving's strong came on the same day when he expressed frustration about reports suggesting he wants to leave the Cavaliers.

Study Finds Isiah Thomas As Best Drafting GM Since 1989

Isiah Thomas had a Net Expected Wins Average of +1.7 per pick, with Tracy McGrady, David Lee and Trevor Ariza standing out.

NBA Admits Referees Should Have Called Goaltend On Jermaine O'Neal's Late Block Of Monta Ellis On Tuesday

The loss to the Warriors pushed the Mavericks out of the top eight in the Western Conference playoff picture.

Oddsmakers Expect Heat To Secure Top Seed In East

The Pacers are 6-10 over their past 16 games to open the door for the Heat.

Parsons Wants To Successfully Guard One Through Four

Chandler Parsons has prioritized his versatility on defense as the biggest skill to improve upon.

NBA Surpasses Last Season's Total For Games Missed Due To Injury

The NBA has already surpassed last season's total for games missed due to injury, while being on pace to also surpass the previous three seasons as well.

Anthony Davis Has 'Some Dirk, KG, Hakeem' In His Game

Anthony Davis has had such a strong second and unique season in the NBA that comparisons to former players have almost entirely stopped.

Scalabrine Had Issue With Jackson's Lack Of Attention For Detail

Brian Scalabrine played for Tom Thibodeau during his playing career and viewed his style as a better way of coaching than Mark Jackson's looser style.

Pistons To Give More Time To Young Players

John Loyer suggested the playing rotation could change some in April as official playoff elimination draws near for the Pistons.

LeBron Gives Up Worrying About Miami's Rhythm Entering Playoffs

LeBron James wanted the Heat to find a consistent rhythm before the playoffs, but now his goal is for the team to simply be as healthy as possible.

Hawks Pleased With Direction Of Team, Admit Playoffs 'Not Our Goal'

Danny Ferry is happy about the Hawks roster's progress and the job of Mike Budenholzer.

NBA Pace Has Increased By Two Percent Compared To Last Season

Eleven of the 14 teams with new head coaches for this season are in the top half in year-over-year pace increase.

Drew: Bucks Not Trying To Tank

The Bucks (14-59) are ahead of the 76ers (16-57) for the worst record in the NBA.

Ainge: Analytics Sometimes Leads To Shortcuts

The NBA is currently undergoing a transition in which advanced analytics are being more heavily involved in decision-making, but most agree that it can't replace the human element of actual scouting.
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