Basketball Wiretap

Markieff Morris To Be 'Main Focus' Of Suns' Offense, Devin Booker Second Option

Feb 3, 2016 12:35 PM

Markieff Morris has been the subject of trade rumors due to his displeasure with the Phoenix Suns' organization but he's set to play a key role in Earl Watson's offense.

Morris had a season-high 30 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in Tuesday's game.

"He is the main focus of our offense moving forward, we know that," Watson said of Morris, who'd spent more time on the bench than on the floor all year. "That's part of talking about your role with this team, he went out there every play and that was his role, to lead us. He accepted that."

The Suns traded his brother, Marcus Morris, to the Detroit Pistons in the offseason.

"It's a tough situation for him," Watson continued. "But as the coach and the teacher of the team, I love him. So I love him, we nurture him, we embrace him, we help him grow even while he is here no matter what and the thing about when you lead teams, it becomes lifelong relationships so it's bigger than basketball for me."

"I think I heard over 20 times today how much faith he had in me," Morris said of Watson.

Watson will use Devin Booker as the Suns' second option.

"I told him he is going to be our second option," Watson said of Booker. "And he needed to step up and he came and he stepped up. He hit some big shots, took some big shots, took some questionable shots, but that's the evolution of Devin Booker."


Booker had 27 points, 18 of which came on three-pointers.

Dave King/Bright Side Of The Sun

Tags: Markieff Morris, Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Kevin Love Enjoying Continuity Of Touches In Post, Elbow

Jan 31, 2016 4:04 PM

The Cleveland Cavaliers featured Kevin Love early during their win on Saturday over the San Antonio Spurs due to the absence of Tim Duncan.

Love had 14 points in the first 10 minutes of the game and finished with 21 overall.

"Ever since I was young I was one of the big guys," Love said. "At my position I'm not the tallest guy in the world but I've always played inside/out. When I get to the free-throw line or get those post touches it helps me have continuity and feel a little bit of a flow and involved in the offense. That definitely helps me and makes the hoop bigger in a lot of ways just getting those easy touches."

"Yeah, yeah, he's played some good ball over the last year and a half that we've had him," LeBron James said of Love's recent stretch with three straight 20-plus scoring nights. "I think right now he's finally getting comfortable in his role. I think coach (Tyronn) Lue has done a great job clearing the air with what he expects out of all of us, including Kev, and he's a big focal point of our team. When he's playing locked in like this, it's great for us."

Chris Fedor/Cleveland Plain Dealer

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

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CJ McCollum Has Become One Of NBA's Best Midrange Shooters

Jan 30, 2016 4:47 PM

CJ McCollum has become one of the NBA's best midrange shooters.

"It's been a part of my game for life. It's tougher to finish in the lane so you've got to find different areas to score efficiently and the mid-range contested shot is a shot a lot of teams will live with," McCollum says. "And it's a shot I'm willing to live with as well just because I've gotten so many shots at it and I'm comfortable with it."

McCollum is shooting 46.6 percent on mid-range shots season, according to He's attempted the 12th most mid-range shots in the league and has the highest field goal percentage of anyone in the NBA who has taken at least 250 such shots. 

Mike Richman/Oregonian

Tags: C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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LeBron James Believes Faster Pace Will Help Cavs In Long Run

Jan 25, 2016 2:36 PM

LeBron James has never played on a team ranked higher than 13th in the NBA in possessions per 48 minutes.

Dating back to James' first season in Miami, in 2010, James' offenses ranked 21st, 15th, 23rd, 27th, and 25th, and this year Cleveland is 28th in the NBA with 94.93 possessions per 48 minutes.

James was asked about the Cavaliers playing at a faster pace under Tyronn Lue.

"I've played at a slow pace and I've played at a fast pace before in my career and I definitely know the difference."


The Golden State Warriors lead the NBA in scoring efficiency and are second in pace.

"This is what coach wants," James said. "This is what coach wants to do and this is what we're going to do. This isn't a LeBron thing. I'm talking out of IQ of the game, but this is what coach wants to do, so this is what we're going to do."

The Cavaliers are fifth in offensive efficiency this season.

"I just think it opens up the floor for a lot of our guys," James said. "Some of the games that we've lost, even though we've had some success, it's come from our pace being very, very slow. I think in order for us to be successful, playing at a higher pace will help us out in the long run."

Joe Vardon/Cleveland Plain Dealer

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

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Kevin Durant: We Can Achieve Same Result As Spurs Without Tons Of Passing

Jan 25, 2016 2:31 PM

Kevin Durant spoke about the differences between the Oklahoma City Thunder offense and the ball movement of the San Antonio Spurs.

"Look, we're not the San Antonio Spurs. We're not going to make 30 passes in a possession. We're not that," said Durant. "Of course people want us to be that. That's great basketball, don't get me wrong, but we're not that. We've got guys that can score. we've got two guys on this team that can get a bucket. There's going to be times we gotta ISO. There's going to be times we gotta be aggressive to look for our shot or make a play.

"But basketball is simple, when you got a guy that can get into the paint, that's what San Antonio wants to do, but they've got guys, multiple guys that'll pass, pass, dribble, get to the paint. But we've got guys, Russell, myself, Dion, Cameron Payne, we can get into the paint, kick out or dump down for a layup. That's ultimately what you want, get the defense off balance, drive, kick, make the right play. Simple basketball, but we just don't make five or six passes before we do it sometimes. And that's not a knock against us I don't think. We've got dynamic guys that can play and do different things on the floor, I think that's to your advantage."

Royce Young/Oklahoman

Tags: Kevin Durant, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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NBA Efficiency Differential Rankings: Spurs, Warriors Double Up All Except OKC

Jan 25, 2016 1:11 PM

The San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors finally meet on Monday for the first time this season, which can see a real shift in Efficiency Differential.

After the Warriors' fast start to the season, the Spurs caught them in this category in mid-December.

Both the Spurs and Warriors have an Efficiency Differential twice as good as every team in the NBA except the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Week 13 Rankings

1. San Antonio: 15.4
2. Golden State: 12.1
3. Oklahoma City: 8.4
4. Cleveland: 5.6
5. Toronto: 4.8
6. L.A. Clippers: 3.5
7. Boston: 3.5
8. Indiana: 2.5
9. Atlanta: 2.4
10. Detroit: 1.6
11. Charlotte: 0.9
12. Chicago: 0.7
13. Utah: 0.2
14. Dallas: -0.3
15. Miami: -0.4
16. Orlando: -0.5
17. Houston: -0.8
18. Portland: -1.1
19. Sacramento: -1.1
20. New York: -1.7
21. Washington: -1.7
22. Memphis: -2.6
23. New Orleans: -2.7
24. Minnesota: -3.9
25. Denver: -4.1
26. Milwaukee: -5.2
27. Phoenix: -5.2
28. Brooklyn: -8.0
29. L.A. Lakers: -10.5
30. Philadelphia: -10.9

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: NBA, NBA Rankings, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Tyronn Lue To Use Kevin Love At Elbow

Jan 24, 2016 4:27 PM

Tyronn Lue want Kevin Love to run pick-and-rolls and spread the floor when he's on the floor with LeBron James and Irving, while he wants Love at the elbow when he's out there without them.

Opposing scouts and coaches have wondered aloud for over a year why the Cavaliers didn't use Love at the elbow.

“I think it’s putting me in a place where I’m definitely comfortable,” Love said. “A lot of people get caught up in I guess me shooting the ball. But one thing I know I can do is pass, especially in the half court and especially at those elbows. It’s going to take a little bit of time but just getting back into that sort of rhythm and being able to find guys is going to be fun.”

Jason Lloyd/Akron Beacon Journal

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

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Van Gundy: Andre Drummond Can Shoot 70 Percent On Free Throws In Practice

Jan 24, 2016 3:39 PM

Andre Drummond is shooting 35.8 percent from the free throw line this season, leaving the Detroit Pistons vulnerable to the Hack-a-Drummond approach.

“In the gym, he’s made a lot of progress,” Stan Van Gundy said. “You can see the work and practice sessions where he’s gotten a lot better. But in games, it’s actually gotten worse.

“There’s clearly a psychological component to it and something that he’s got to continue to work through in terms of his mental practice and his routines to get to the point that it will translate into games.”

Van Gundy said Drummond’s technique is improving.

“He can get in the gym and is shooting the ball a lot better,” Van Gundy said. “But I’m not going to say he’s shooting 90 percent in the gym. He’s not. But he can go in the gym every day and shoot 70 percent-plus. And right now it hasn’t been able to translate into the game, and we’re working on that.”

Gary Washburn/Boston Globe

Tags: Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Kobe Bryant: AAU 'Absolutely Horrible' For Basketball

Jan 24, 2016 3:20 PM

Kobe Bryant continues to be an outspoken critic of how AAU basketball has impacted the modern game.

"I hate it because it doesn't teach our players how to play the right way, how to think the game, how to play in combinations of threes," said Bryant.

"I think everything is a reward system. I think the coaches who are teaching the game are getting rewarded in one fashion or another. It's just a showcase. I think it's absolutely horrible for the game."

Bryant believes younger players lack certain fundamentals.

"Yeah, but I think that is just by luck in the generation that I grew up in," he said. "My generation is when AAU basketball really started becoming s---. I got lucky because I grew up in Europe and everything there was still fundamental, so I learned all the basics."

Baxter Holmes/ESPN

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

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Source: David Blatt Was Hired To Coach Young, Developmental Team

Jan 23, 2016 7:13 PM

The Cleveland Cavaliers had no clue LeBron James was serious about returning in 2014, which was part of the reason why they hired David Blatt.

James' reps were surprised by the Cavaliers' decision to hire Blatt and also hadn't waited to see if James would have input.

The Cavaliers also didn't have enough cap space initially to offer James a max contract.

The Cavaliers had drafted Andrew Wiggins and Blatt was expecting to try to improve a young team built around Kyrie Irving.

"David was hired to coach a developmental team and young players who would've wanted to please him," one team source said. "He ended up coaching a finished product where the players expected him to please them."

Blatt was also offended by being treated as a rookie coach. Blatt had been a coach for years in Europe but he had no NBA experience.

"I've been a head coach for 22 years. People overlook that too easily and, I think, unfairly," Blatt said last season. "I am not now, nor have I have been for quite some time, a rookie coach."

Brian Windhorst, Dave McMenamin/ESPN

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

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Tyronn Lue Wants To Establish Consistent Second Unit
Tyronn Lue wants to consistently play 10 players at until the playoffs start.

Chris Haynes/Cleveland Plain Dealer

Pelicans Have Scored 110+ Points Per 100 In Five Straight Games
The Pelicans are 4-1 in their past five games and have been outstanding on offense, scoring 110 or more points per 100 possessions in each of those games.

RealGM Staff Report

Jahlil Okafor Has TS% Of 58.5 Percent Since Ish Smith Trade
Jahlil Okafor has now scored 20 or more points in three straight games and four of his past five.

Derek Bodner/Philly Mag

How Much Separation In Efficiency At Halfway Point Of Season (Infographic)
While we know the Spurs, Warriors, Thunder, Cavs and Hawks are in the top-10 in both Offense and Defense, it is nice to see how far away from the pack those teams actually are.

RealGM Staff Report

Spurs, Warriors, Thunder, Cavs, Hawks In Top-10 On Both Offense, Defense
We're roughly at the midway point of the season and there are now five teams who are in the top-10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

RealGM Staff Report

NBA Efficiency Differential Rankings: Raptors Move Into Top-5
While the gap between the Spurs and Warriors in Efficiency Differential widened, the Raptors entered the top-5.

RealGM Staff Report

Warriors Score Season High 139.2 Points Per 100 Poss. Against Cavs
During last year's Finals, the Warriors scored 105.8 points per 100 possessions.

RealGM Staff Report

Jabari Parker Asked To Defend Opposing Team's Wings
Jabari Parker has recently received the difficult defensive assignments for the Bucks against scoring wings like Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins and Kawhi Leonard.

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Olshey: Our Player Development Allows Us To 'Optimize Asset Value' Of Players
A big part of how the Blazers have been successful under Neil Olshey and Terry Stotts has been player development.

Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Cousins: Rondo's Intentions Are Same As Mine
Rajon Rondo has become the veteran mentor for DeMarcus Cousins the way Kevin Garnett was earlier in his career with the Celtics.

David Aldridge/

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