Basketball Wiretap

Josh Harris: Drafting Joel Embiid Was 'Reasoned, Smart Risk'

Oct 2, 2015 12:37 PM

The Philadelphia 76ers don't regret drafting Joel Embiid in 2014 as he continues to be plagued by foot issues.

“An elite big man is very hard to come by in this league,” managing owner Josh Harris said. “I think when we drafted Joel , I think it was a reasoned risk, a smart risk.”

Embiid had another surgery in August and will miss the entire 15-16 season.

“His progress looked very promising up until very late when we thought he was going to play in summer league and then all of a sudden we had a setback," Harris said. "I was disappointed, It took me like a week to pick myself up off the floor.

“But what we done since then … [is have] a very high quality process to get him the best medical care for the surgery and since the surgery making sure that he and we are doing everything possible to position him to be an elite NBA player.”

Keith Pompey/Philadelphia Inqurier

Tags: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Kidd: Giannis Has The Total Package

Oct 1, 2015 9:01 PM

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been working on his perimeter shot and he hopes the Milwaukee Bucks allow him to shoot it more often this season.

"Giannis has the total package," Jason Kidd said. "He doesn't have to be a guy who just shoots perimeter jump shots. He can get to the basket, get to the free throw line and make plays for his teammates.

"It's just a matter of him understanding what can take place because of all the skill sets he has."

Kidd said the time Antetokounmpo spent with his national team was productive.

"Minutes on the floor; the more he plays basketball the better he's going to get," Kidd said. "He shot the ball extremely well on the perimeter, no matter if it was a three or a two.

"And he rebounded the ball. He'll let us know that he had 17 rebounds (vs. Spain)."

Charles F. Gardner/Journal Sentinel

Tags: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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76ers' Owner Wishes Rebuild Was Faster But Happy With Progress

Oct 1, 2015 4:15 PM

Josh Harris remains optimistic that the Philadelphia 76ers are on their way to becoming title contenders as they begin Year 3 of their rebuild with Sam Hinkie in charge.

“I think we are making progress,” Harris said Thursday during his preseason state-of-the-franchise press conference.  “I’m an impatient person at heart. I would rather get to the end point as fast as possible.

“But at the same time, the goal is still the same goal to be an elite extremely competitive team that goes deep in the playoffs.”

The 76ers aren't expected to contend for a playoff spot this season.

“But at the same time there aren’t shortcuts to it,” Harris said. “So you have to react to the realities on the crowd. I certainty wish it was going faster. But at the same time, I’m happy with the progress."

Keith Pompey/Philadelphia Inquirer

Tags: Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Lakers Considering Playing Kobe Bryant At Small Forward

Oct 1, 2015 2:18 PM

Byron Scott is considering playing Kobe Bryant at small forward in order to get him on the court at the same time as D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson.

During a five-on-five scrimmage, those three backcourt players were joined by Julius Randle and Roy Hibbert.

“I think the more those guys can play together, the better,” Scott said. “I’m going to try that out this first week, see how it goes and then I’ll start mixing and matching a little bit more. It looked good.”

Putting Bryant on the floor with Russell and Clarkson makes his job easier.

“I don’t have to handle the ball really at all,” Bryant said. “Gives me more time to catch and shoot.”

Bill Oram/Orange County Register

Tags: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Ty Lawson Believes He Could Be Difference-Maker Against Curry, Warriors

Sep 30, 2015 6:58 PM

Ty Lawson believes he could make a big difference for the Houston Rockets if they play the Golden State Warriors again in the playoffs.

“Steph Curry needed someone to go back at him,” Lawson told Yahoo Sports. “I thought Steph was just chillin’ on defense – and then going crazy on offense. He looked like he was just putting shots up and not working so much on the defensive end. He would just come down and hit three or four 3s. He can shoot when he’s got his legs under him.”

The Rockets primarily had Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni at point guard as Curry's defensive assignment.


“I’m not saying, ‘Oh, I’m going to stop Steph,' but just make him work harder at the other end. I saw that in the Cavs series too.

“He wasn’t really working at the other end.”

Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Tags: Ty Lawson, Houston Rockets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Cavaliers To Increase Kevin Love's Usage

Sep 30, 2015 4:47 PM

The Cleveland Cavaliers plan on using Kevin Love more prominently in his second season with the team.

"I just think he's more comfortable in the situation that he's in," LeBron James said after practice Wednesday. "He's got a year under his belt; he knows what he expects out of himself and what his teammates expect out of him. I expect big things from him this year with a year up under his belt."

Using Love more would also allow James to rest more than he has in the past.

Love's numbers took a noticeable hit last season, as he averaged just 16.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while often appearing an ill fit for coach David Blatt's schemes. Love's usage rate dropped from 27.7 in his last season with the Timberwolves, second among all power forwards, to 20.4 in his first season with the Cavs, 20th among all power forwards.

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Tags: Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Damian Lillard Spent Offseason Working On Handle Inspired By Curry

Sep 29, 2015 4:54 PM

Damian Lillard was asked on media day how he's worked on expanding his individual game in the offseason.

"The first thing I did this summer was find different things that I could do for my body. Instead of when they say ‘take time off after the long season,’ and you go get out of shape and you don’t do any activities, this summer was different for me. I started swimming. That’s all I did for, like, two and a half months is swim. I did core exercises. You know, just did a lot of stuff to help my body so I could recover from the season but I could also be training at the same time. I think that was a huge thing for me. The way I ate was a huge thing for me; just working on things to challenge myself.

"A lot of the things I did on the floor had to do with my balance because a lot of the shots that I’ve gotten over the first three years of my career have been tough shots, and I can make tough shots, but if I can get my balance down when I get to certain spots and get put in certain positions, if I can be a more efficient shooter then I can be a better player.

"I did a lot of ball handling. I did a lot of passing. You look at the leaps that Steph Curry made over three years, and a lot of it had to do with how well he began to handle the ball, how well he began to pass the ball, and that affects everything. Being able to do that affects how well you shoot the ball and your playmaking ability and your ability to break down defenses. So that’s basically what my summer was based on."

David MacKay/Blazers Edge

Tags: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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D'Angelo Russell: Kobe Told Me He Likes To Shoot

Sep 29, 2015 1:54 PM

D'Angelo Russell has been assigned the locker next to Kobe Bryant in his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I don’t know how much longer he’s going to be around,” said Russell, who will first practice with Bryant on Tuesday in Honolulu. “So to have the opportunity to pick his brain a little bit every day, I don’t have to make it weird by walking to his locker. I’ll just look to my right and there he is.”

“He has a good head on his shoulders,” Bryant said of Russell. “My responsibility is going to help him just not to lose sight of what’s most important, which is the game.”

Russell was asked about his first assist to Bryant.

"He told me he likes to shoot the ball so If I get it to him, it’s his job to finish it,” said Russell.

Mark Medina/Los Angeles Daily News

Tags: D'Angelo Russell, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Kerr: Harrison Barnes' Versatility Is What NBA Is All About Now

Sep 29, 2015 12:20 PM

Harrison Barnes turned down a contract extension with the Golden State Warriors worth $16 million per season.

Barnes is just 23 and can play multiple positions though he hasn't proven himself capable of scoring at the type of level one assumes you are getting with a contract that significant.

“It just may not be in the cards for me to create more here,” Barnes says, “but I can do it, and maybe this season there will be more opportunities.”

Barnes uses only about 15 percent of Golden State's possessions.

“His versatility is what the league is all about now,” Kerr said.

Zach Lowe/Grantland

Tags: Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Kristaps Porzingis Studying Usain Bolt To Improve Running Technique

Sep 25, 2015 12:33 PM

Kristaps Porzingis has been studying film of Usain Bolt in order to improve his running technique.

Porzingis was the New York Knicks' first round pick at No. 4 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Tim Bontemps/New York Post

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Paul George Remains Concerned About Playing Heavy Minutes At Power Forward
The Pacers want to play small with Paul George receiving significant minutes at power forward, but he's skeptical.

Sam Amick/USA Today

LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs Both Expect To Adjust Style
LaMarcus Aldridge isn't a perfect fit for the Spurs' existing offense predicated on quick ball movement, but they figure to make adjustments on both sides.

Zach Lowe/Grantland

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