Basketball Wiretap

Warriors Have Largest Regular Season Net Rating Edge In Finals History

May 26, 2017 12:54 PM

The Golden State Warriors enter The Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers with the biggest advantage in regular season Net Rating since 1980.

The Warriors had a Net Rating of +11.6 during the regular season compared to +3.3 for the Cavaliers, which is a difference of 8.3.

The next highest differential came in the lockout shortened 1999 season when the San Antonio Spurs had a +9.0 Net Rating compared to +1.2 for the New York Knicks. The Boston Celtics in 1986, Orlando Magic in 1995 and Celtics in 1981 had the next three biggest advantages. The Magic were swept 4-0 by the Houston Rockets in 1995. 

The Warriors/Cavaliers matchup also ranks as the sixth (2015) and ninth (2016) biggest discrepancies since 1980.

While the Cavaliers were on a different level in the regular season, they have been dominant in the playoffs in losing just one game with a Net Rating of 14.3. The Warriors enter The Finals undefeated with a Net Rating of 16.3.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ, NBA Playoffs

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Mike Brown Encouraging Steve Kerr To Play More 'Mismatch Basketball'

May 23, 2017 10:26 AM

The Golden State Warriors' pick and roll combo of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have perhaps more potential than any other duo in the NBA.

The Warriors haven't used it with much frequency unlike the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

"Steve (Kerr) isn't really into this much," Mike Brown said. "He's more about spacing and movement -- and that's fantastic. I love Steve, and wherever I might go, I'm going to incorporate a lot of stuff he does. But in the playoffs, sometimes you have to attack a mismatch. When I need a bucket, that's what I'm going to do."

Kerr says the two coaches have talked recently about playing mismatch basketball in the right doses. "Mike is right about me, but I also recognize the need to do it more as defenses get tougher," Kerr says. "It's about finding the right balance between isolating when we need to, and keeping the flow that makes us who we are."

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Tags: Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ, NBA Playoffs

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Brad Stevens: Cavs Have 'Perfect Roster' Around LeBron James

May 18, 2017 3:45 AM

Brad Stevens acknowledged the strength of the how the Cleveland Cavaliers built their roster around LeBron James following the Boston Celtics' Game 1 loss.

"This is a perfect roster with regard to how many predicaments they can put you in with all the shooting around (LeBron James)," Stevens said.

Cleveland has surrounded James with excellent perimeter shooters over his three years back with the franchise.

The Cavaliers have yet to lose in the postseason.

"You never want to double when you have that much shooting because eventually... they're going to find a good shot," Stevens said. "If not, they're going to get the rebound. How do you not pay extra close attention to the best player in the world (James)? With the way Kyrie has scored the ball on the biggest stage, and over and over and over with his ability, there's another one you have to react to over and over. So, there's all kinds of issues with defending them."

Cleveland general manager David Griffin, who assembled the roster, is without a contract next season.

Joe Vardon/Cleveland Plain Dealer

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

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Cavs Want Kevin Love To Have Bigger Role Within Offense

May 12, 2017 3:50 AM

The Cleveland Cavaliers want Kevin Love to have a bigger role within their offense.

Love has averaged 13.8 points on 9.9 shots per game in the postseason, which are career lows for him.

"Some of it's my fault because we haven't really featured him a lot because of the matchups we had on other teams," Tyronn Lue said after practice Thursday. "(Love has) been great. His whole mindset is winning and that's what it's all about in the playoffs. In this next series, we have some matchups he can definitely take advantage of and it's on me to make sure we do that."

The Cavaliers are undefeated in the playoffs, which makes it easier for Love to accept and understand.

"I told him, 'We're 8-0. I don't mind it,'" Love said. "If I get five or six shots, if I get 15 shots, it don't matter to me, as long as we win. I've been in this position before, we're having success so I'm happy. Feel good."

Lue feels as though Love is contributing despite the drop in offense.

"Just because (he's) not scoring the basketball or whatever, defensively and rebounding the basketball he's been great," Lue said. "That's why they went out and got Ibaka and those guys, to try and slow Kevin down. Maybe we didn't feature Kevin enough against Toronto, maybe we showed 'em too much respect and that's on me. But next round I've got to do a better job of really getting Kevin involved and really establishing Kevin."

Joe Vardon/Cleveland Plain Dealer

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

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Exec: Some Owners Lurk On RealGM, Reddit To Gauge Fan Reaction On Pending Moves

May 9, 2017 1:21 PM

The involvement of ownership on player personnel moves varies widely throughout the NBA. Some allow their general managers to make decisions entirely on their own, while others offer their input on a regular basis.

Ownership will also consider the reactions from fans before signing off certain moves.

"One NBA executive told me a few years ago that he’s heard of owners lurking on RealGM and Reddit to take the temperature of their fan bases before finalizing trades," writes Kevin O'Connor.

Certain trade rumors and articles suggesting a course of action for a team are often posted on RealGM and Reddit forums where a discussion then begins on its merits amongst fans.

Kevin O'Connor/The Ringer

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

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Masai Ujiri: Raptors Need A Culture Reset

May 9, 2017 1:12 PM

The Toronto Raptors will readdress the state of their team following their four-game sweep by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"After that performance [against the Cavaliers], we need a culture reset here," Masai Ujiri said at an end-of-season news conference Tuesday.

"We've tried what we've done so many times and it hasn't worked," he said. "We have to go a different direction, do something different. I don't know now what it is."

While Ujiri said changing all of the players isn't the answer, he feels they need to move the ball more on offense.

Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, PJ Tucker and Patrick Patterson will be free agents.

Ujiri said it's "not realistic" that the Raptors will be able to bring back all of their free agents.

Toronto does want to re-sign Lowry.

"We know what we have with him, with him at his best," Ujiri said. "The last couple months we saw without him, we didn't jell."

Ujiri said he's willing to do whatever it takes to improve the team.

"We're trying to be progressive thinkers here," he said. "This business is all about risk-taking, too. You have to put yourself on the line there. Honestly, I'm not afraid of that."

ESPN

Tags: Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Masai Ujiri: We're Trying To Keep Up With The Big Boys

May 8, 2017 2:31 PM

The Toronto Raptors will have another key offseason in 2017 with Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Patrick Patterson and PJ Tucker becoming free agents.

Last offseason, the Raptors re-signed DeMar DeRozan to a five-year contract worth nearly the max.

"The summer is huge," Masai Ujiri said on Sunday to ESPN after the Raptors were eliminated. "But every summer is huge. We are trying to keep up with the big boys."

After taking the Cleveland Cavaliers to six games in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016, they were swept by them in the second round.

Beyond the questions of re-signing those free agents, the Raptors could like to trade some combination of Jonas Valanciunas, Cory Joseph and DeMarre Carroll.

The Raptors' decisions will likely pivot on what Lowry decides to do.

DeRozan wants Lowry back, but won't lobby him, he told ESPN on Sunday. "I didn't call or pressure him the first time, and he didn't do that to me," DeRozan said. "I'm just gonna be there for him as a friend."

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Tags: Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Al Horford: 'Biggest Thing Was Danny Ainge' In Picking Celtics

May 5, 2017 1:20 PM

Al Horford chose to sign with the Boston Celtics last offseason over rival playoff teams like the Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets.

“The biggest thing was Danny Ainge,” said Horford of the Celtics president. “Right before I signed here one of the things he said to me was, ‘I want you to be who you are and the player that you are - the competitor, the winner. Don’t worry about the numbers. Just play hard and help us win.’ He was very clear from the beginning, and that really took the pressure off me. Obviously, there were all of these expectations – the big contract - but he and coach Stevens put me at peace and allowed me to play my game.’’

Horford averaged role player stats despite his max salary.

“You don’t take a guy that’s averaging 14 points a game and expect him to average 25,’’ Ainge said. “You don’t take a .270, 20-home-run guy and expect that he’s going to hit .330 and 40 home runs. We knew what Al was, and I think he’s even been better than what we thought.’’

Ian Thomsen/NBA.com

Tags: Al Horford, Boston Celtics, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Bulls Not Looking To Trade Jimmy Butler

May 4, 2017 3:24 PM

The Chicago Bulls "are not looking to trade Jimmy Butler" even though the franchise hasn't defined their direction yet, according to John Paxson in an interview.

The Bulls would like to pair Butler with a downhill point guard.

Butler is a ball dominant wing, which has made him an awkward fit at times for the style Fred Hoiberg would prefer to play despite his status as one of the game's best players.

Chicago received trade interest in Butler at this year's deadline and last year's draft.

K.C. Johnson/Chicago Tribune

Tags: Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Doc Rivers: Clippers Need Length, Two-Way Players

May 3, 2017 7:12 PM

The Los Angeles Clippers face an uncertain offseason with the free agencies of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. The Clippers have struggled with both injuries and a less than adequate supporting cast.

"I don't know. I think they deserve a chance to win. They have built this legacy. I do believe that," Rivers said Wednesday. "Whether that's what we decide to do that or not. There's a big part of me that believes (in them). These guys are responsible for the birth of our franchise in a lot of ways. They consider themselves Clippers. ... I would love them to shepherd that through. Whether that happens or not, it's too early to make all those decisions or they'll make them for us. But I do have a strong believe in that."

Rivers talked about the needs the Clippers have to improve their roster.

"We need length," Rivers said. "We need more length and two-way players. Again, that's easy to say. Little harder to do with the way our contracts are. We may continue to do what we've done or we may decide to change our contracts and have more flexibility."

Rivers is looking forward to shifting towards the front office aspects of his job.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Rivers said. "I'm a driven human being. I can tell you I do this for one reason and that is to be the winner. I decided a while ago I no longer want to be in the party I want to be the party. Like I tell my players, when you set yourself up that way, you're going to have a ton of disappointment. I told them that four years ago. Unfortunately, so far I've been right. It's the only way to go, as far as I'm concerned."

Jill Painter Lopez/Associated Press

Tags: Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Kobe Bryant Advising Isaiah Thomas During Playoffs
Kobe Bryant has been giving Isaiah Thomas detailed feedback during the playoffs.

Chase Hughes/CSN Mid-Atlantic

Stephen Curry 'Catered To Whole Theme Of Pleasing' This Season
Stephen Curry deferred to Kevin Durant on the floor and perhaps played his best basketball when Durant was injured.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss/ESPN

NBA Playoffs: Conference Semifinals Efficiency Capsules
The infographics show the Net Rating, Offensive Rating and Defensive Rating for all eight teams in the Conference Semifinals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs.

RealGM Staff Report

Record 88 Players Make NBA Debut During 16-17 Season
There were 88 players who made their NBA debut this season, which is the highest total in modern league history.

Kevin Pelton/ESPN