Oct 19, 2014 10:23 PM EDT
Steven Adams returned to the Oklahoma City Thunder this season as a much improved offensive player.
Adams' production on offense was inconsistent and limited last season.
“I think he’s just settling down,” Kevin Durant said. “Getting more comfortable.”
“I thought he made a leap last year in the playoffs,” Russell Westbrook said. “I think that’s when the leap started. If you kind of watch the games and see the different things he was doing in the playoffs, you could tell it was going to lead into the summertime and now into the preseason and now to the regular season.”
Oct 19, 2014 4:00 PM EDT
Carmelo Anthony finished second among the NBA's scoring leaders last season to Kevin Durant, but he does not foresee another title under Phil Jackson's and Derek Fisher's triangle system.
“I don’t think, especially in this system now, I don’t think I’ll be scoring champion,” Anthony said. “Especially with this system and the way we’re playing. The way that it’s going to be, well balanced, the style of play we’re going to have, I don’t think I’ll have to lead the league in scoring this year.
“I think shots will be fewer. I think it will be more effective shots. If that means taking fewer shots then that’s what will happen. But I don’t really know. We’ve been playing the preseason. It’s still early. It’s not until you really get into the flow of the game (that) you start knowing the minutes you’re going to play. (You don’t know) until you know who you’re going to be out there with most of the time, until you find that rhythm.”
Michael Jordan won seven scoring titles under Jackson, while Kobe Bryant led the league in scoring twice and Shaquille O’Neal once.
Anthony has averaged 25.3 points over his career, including a career-best 28.9 points per game with Denver in 2006-07.
Oct 18, 2014 12:57 PM EDT
Dion Waiters has shot a total of 54 times in this preseason, the most of any Cleveland Cavalier player in five games. Each game he has been the leading shot-taker.
Waiters shot four-of-15 on Friday night, when Kyrie Irving scored 23 points on two less shots.
David Blatt chose his words carefully when responding to Waiters' rapid field goal attempts.
"I was thinking about that at halftime, actually," Blatt said. "Remember that we didn't play with a full roster tonight and our normal rotation was not what it will be. The way that Dallas played led to a lot of open perimeter shots, which Dion is going to take because that's what he does.
"I don't think he should lead the team in shots. On the other hand I don't really care. I just want us to take good shots and make them. But we'll look at it. It's something we really should look at it and we will."
The Cavaliers appear concerned with Waiters' ill-advised shots and are challenging him and others to adjust to a balanced roster.
Oct 18, 2014 12:45 AM EDT
Byron Scott discussed the high rate of three-point shot attempts taken by NBA teams and admitted he is not a believer in the system.
“You’ve got a lot of teams that just live and die by it,” Scott said Friday. “Teams, general managers, coaches, they kind of draft that way to try to space the floor as much as possible. But you have to have shooters like that; you also have to have guys that can penetrate and get to the basket, because that opens up the floor.”
When asked whether he buys into the style, Scott said: “I don’t believe it wins championships. (It) gets you to the playoffs.”
Through four exhibition games, the Los Angeles Lakers are averaging about seven 3-point attempts and have made just six of 29.
Seven of the last eight NBA champions led all playoff teams in 3-point attempts and makes.
Oct 17, 2014 12:45 AM EDT
Doug McDermott has looked comfortable with both units for the Chicago Bulls while Mike Dunleavy Jr. has filled a reserve and starting role in his two seasons with the team.
The Bulls are undecided on the permanent starter at small forward.
"Mike has shot the ball extremely well, so I think he helps that first unit function very well," Thibodeau said. "I'm not locked into it, but Mike's team defense is outstanding and I don't want to overlook that either.
"That's the great value in Mike, that he's comfortable in both roles. He doesn't need a long time to warm up. But I liked the way he played as a starter, so I don't want to make that decision yet."
Oct 16, 2014 11:57 AM EDT
Quincy Acy has emerged as the leading candidate to start at power forward for the New York Knicks.
Acy gives the Knicks more defense at the position than Amar'e Stoudemire or Andrea Bargnani would provide.
Bargnani started the first preseason game for the Knicks, but he's since been out with a hamstring strain.
“No I didn’t plan on coming here to start,’’ Acy told The Post with a chuckle. “I planned on coming here and playing hard to earn minutes. I guess I impressed enough with my defense to earn a spot. I don’t know what coach got going if I’m starting or coming off the bench or not playing, but I’ll be happy.’’
Jose Calderon, Carmelo Anthony and Samuel Dalembert have locked up the starting point guard, small forward and center positions, respectively. Iman Shumpert appears to have staked his claim to the starting shooting guard job.
“It’s important to have guys like Iman and [Acy] because there’s certain types of intensity and mind-set that’s contagious within the team,’’ Derek Fisher said. “That high motor. Teammates enjoy feeding off it. Right now we have some guys born that way.’’
Oct 15, 2014 11:57 AM EDT
Scott Brooks hasn't staggered the minutes of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook during his tenure as head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Durant will miss several weeks to begin the 14-15 season due to a foot fracture.
Westbrook has played 94 percent of his minutes over the past five seasons with Durant also on the floor.
Oct 15, 2014 11:29 AM EDT
Derrick Rose isn't upset with Tom Thibodeau's criticism of the Chicago Bulls, but he also doesn't agree with it.
“Not at all,’’ Rose said. “Everybody has their own opinion. As a coach, his standards are going to be high, very high, just knowing who he is. For the team, all we can do is get better every day, get the most out of every day and try to get better individually.’’
Asked if Thibodeau’s push for perfection year after year gets tiresome, Rose said, “No, I’m numb to it now. I’m used to it. Like [Tuesday], we didn’t even speak about it. We know what we have to do. It’s only one goal, and we can’t let anything get in the way of that goal.’’
Thibodeau said one major concern was not letting the Bulls fall into the trap of assuming they can just flip the switch on at the start of the regular season and make reservations for the Eastern Conference finals.
“I don’t want them to fool themselves,’’ Thibodeau said. “To me, the big thing is understanding what goes into winning and how you practice and prepare and the work that’s necessary to put into it to get yourself in great shape.
“That’s something you do every day. When you shortcut that process — I’ve been around a long time — I know it doesn’t work. I’ve tried to make that clear. When you watch film, it tells you a lot. For the team to function well, everyone has to do their part.
“I’m looking at everything. Who is taking plays off? Who is doing their job? Who is making multiple effort? Who is in great shape? Who is in poor shape? Why are we not functioning well? The regular season will be here before we know it. We have to be ready.’’
Oct 14, 2014 2:51 PM EDT
Zach Randolph insinuated that the Oklahoma City Thunder and Steven Adams baited him into a suspension in last season's first round playoff series.
Adams already has a reputation around the league as he enters his second NBA season. Some say he is a dirty player.
Randolph was suspended one game for throwing a punch toward Adams in Game 6 of the Thunder's series with the Memphis Grizzlies.
“I mean, seven players have gotten suspended because of him. You've got to look into that,” Randolph said. “Why are players getting into it with this particular guy?
“Honestly, I feel like that was his whole plan and I fell for it. I take responsibility. I’m too old for that...to get me off of my game and I went for it. It bothered me all summer. That was their plan.”
Adams shot down Randolph's claim on Tuesday.
“No, not at all,” Adams said. "I was just playing hard. I mean, it’s unfortunate that it happened. Honestly, I was just focusing on the game.”
“I probably just say aggressive,” Adams added, when asked how to describe his style of play. “Coach tells me to do one thing then I’ll just go do it. It’s pretty simple. Just go rebound or something simple like that. I just do the best I can. Just hustle. I don’t know. I mean, I know that it comes with the game, because I get frustrated, too, in the game. But I just show it in a different way. So frustration obviously comes with it, and people react in different ways.”
Oct 14, 2014 12:55 PM EDT
Carmelo Anthony plans to unveil a fade-away off the wrong foot this season, similar to one of Dirk Nowitzki's most effective moves.
“Well, I had to,” said Anthony. “Over the years, just playing against kind of the same guys over and over — guys watch film and study and scout just the way that I do. So I’m pretty sure that they go back to the drawing board and see what can we do to stop a move here and there.”
Carmelo Anthony remains committed to making the Triangle offense work.
Tom Thibodeau singled out Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
Jeff Bower consults daily with Stan Van Gundy about ways in which the Pistons can improve their roster.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will start with Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker on the wings, Ersan Ilyasova at power forward and Zaza Pachulia at center.
The Timberwolves' coaching staff has been encouraging Andrew Wiggins to push himself and stop trying to blend in.
Oct 12, 2014 | Ian Begley/ESPN
Under the direction of Phil Jackson, the Knicks have hired an expert to teach "mindfulness training" to the team.
The 76ers finished 13-14 with the second worse record in the NBA and are expected to struggle again to produce wins this season.
The Bulls won't have Pau Gasol guarding "stretch four" forwards on the perimeter and will allow him to use his length to defend the rim
Boris Diaw has a weight clause in his contract with the Spurs in which he will earn bonuses of as much as $500,000.
Chris Bosh went from first option with the Raptors to third option with the Heat, which was a difficult transition as an offensive player.
The USA Today conducted an anonymous poll of 27 NBA executives on who would be their first pick if they were starting a team from scratch.
Byron Scott wants the Lakers to shoot between 10 and 15 three-pointers per game.
The Heat agreed upon just two contracts that run past the 2016 offseason with their deals for Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts.
The Suns have a good portion of their core under contract already, which could give them cap space when it escalates in the coming seasons.
The Thunder and Scott Brooks have said the entire team must sacrafice to accomplish their championship goals.
Andrew Bogut agreed with Steve Kerr that the team has been flinging passes around, calling them "bad habits."
Rudy Gay dropped 15 pounds that he gained before last season.
The Hornets signed Marvin Williams as a free agent due to his abilities on both ends of the floor.
Josh Smith has been praised for his efforts during training camp for the Pistons.
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Harrison Barnes dedicated his offseason work to simplifying his game at the request of Steve Kerr.
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