Basketball Wiretap

Exec: Number Of Big Men In NBA Could Be Cut In Half By 2020

Jan 17, 2018 11:58 AM

In an analytical piece about how the Golden State Warriors are using Jordan Bell as a small ball center, Jonathan Tjarks relays an anecdote about how the number of traditional bigs in the NBA will continue to decline.

"There’s a positive feedback loop happening with small ball: The more teams play it, the less valuable every traditional 5 in the league becomes," writes Tjarks. "I talked to one executive who thinks the number of big men in the NBA will be cut in half by 2020. Every team will soon be looking for its own version of Jordan Bell, if they aren’t already."

The Warriors acquired the draft rights to Bell from the Bulls, who fell to the second round. 

"The irony is that Bell is exactly the type of big man those teams need against Golden State," writes Tjarks. "He wouldn’t be as successful with less offensive talent around him, but a player with his skill set is inherently valuable."

The Warriors have a net rating of +14.9 when Bell has played this season, which is the fourth best mark on the team.

Jonathan Tjarks/The Ringer

Tags: Jordan Bell, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Kings To Sit At Least Two Veterans Per Game To Develop Younger Players

Jan 16, 2018 12:21 PM

The Sacramento Kings will sit at least two of their veterans for the remainder of the season as they begin to emphasize the development of their younger players. That list of veterans includes George Hill, Kosta Koufos, Garrett Temple, Vince Carter and Zach Randolph.

Dave Joerger said as many as three veterans could sit in some games.

“It’s not an easy conversation,” Joerger said. “They’re very professional, they’re competitive. All of them are rotation players on a playoff team. So to ask those guys to step aside at different times is not enjoyable for me. They handled it well, they’ve been pros.”

The Kings are prioritizing their long-term plans.

“I’m excited to see where De’Aaron Fox is 24 months from now,” Joerger said. “You get in the middle of his third season and you just keep plugging away. Sometimes fans just want to hear the short view. That’s the long view and that’s what we’re trying to do by doing this.”

Jason Jones/Sacramento Bee

Tags: Sacramento Kings, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

Karl-Anthony Towns: I Wanted To Be Able To Play Like Magic Johnson

Jan 8, 2018 9:44 AM

Karl-Anthony Towns was trained by his father to work on a guard's ballhandling and shooting work first before moving onto big man's footwork and post-up drills.

“When I was growing up everyone told me how they thought I should play the game of basketball, which was never the way I wanted to play it,” Towns said. “I played the game the way I wanted. Back to the basket, the traditional big man, I didn’t want to be that. I wanted to be able to play like Magic Johnson, who was 6-9, ran the court and shot like a point guard.”

With the Lakers drafting No. 2 behind Minnesota, John Calipari suggested he might be better off going to Los Angeles.

“You know what he said?” Calipari said. “He said, ‘I don’t care about L.A. I want to be the No. 1 pick. I’ll wear a coat. I’m good.’ That’s who he is.”

Towns has big goals both on and off the court.

“I want to win rings, I want to win multiple rings,” he said. “I want to do all these things, but I want to be able to say I used my platform and this game of basketball to help others and make their lives better. I want to be able to say I’ve done more off the court than I’ve done on the court, and if I’m able to do that when my career is over and I can look back with my kids someday, I’ll definitely say I’m proud of myself and proud of the way I left the game.”

Jerry Zgoda/Star Tribune

Tags: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Raptors Finding Success With A Lot Of Similar Talents With Different Skill Sets

Jan 4, 2018 9:53 AM

The Raptors continue to be one of the NBA's best success stories this season. Dwane Casey was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for December following an 11-3 record.

The Raptors have one of the deepest teams in the league.

“Guys understand their roles, they’re filling their roles,” Casey said before the game. “We've got a lot of guys who are similar talents but different skill sets. We can use them at different junctures of the game and that’s good to have. … A lot of (similarly talented) players, different skill sets.”

One element the Raptors use that is unique is effectively playing a pair of backup point guards on the floor together in Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet.

“You’ve got to give credit to the coaching staff to say it doesn’t have to be either/or,” VanVleet said.

“We’ve seen it since training camp, them two going out there playing together and the dynamic that they bring, the toughness that they bring,” added DeMar DeRozan. “It shows. We love it. We’ve got to come up with a nickname. I’m gonna come up with a nickname for Delon and Freddy, for sure.”

“It’s great. Fred brings you one element of toughness, physicality, I thought he was a good matchup the other night and then there’s nights when Delon comes in, his creativity with the basketball, his passing out of situations brings another,” Casey said. “At the end of the day, you still got to be a scorer. We’ve had some games where it’s been what, 14, 13, 16 (points) whatever in the fourth quarter. We still have to be able to score when the game is on the line.”

Eric Koreen/The Athletic

Tags: Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Magic Hired Becky Bonner By Showing Roadmap To Becoming NBA GM

Dec 27, 2017 10:42 AM

Becky Bonner is the director of player development and quality control for the Orlando Magic and may one day become the NBA's first female general manager.

"I just think she's got unlimited potential," said Jeff Weltman, who hired Bonner from the league office in June, with the promise of full involvement in basketball operations and the belief she could one day run a team of her own.

"I want to be a GM," said Bonner.

Many teams attempted to hire Bonner in recent years but Weltman was the first to explicitly offer a roadmap to becoming a GM. Weltman's mother, Arlene, was an early NBA trailblazer as one of Commissioner David Stern's top executives in the 1980s.

Bonner was a Division I player who worked in the league office for six years. Bonner is the sister of Matt Bonner and Luke Bonner.

As Kim Bohuny, the NBA's senior vice president of international basketball operations, and a longtime mentor, told Bonner in the spring, "You can be a pioneer."

"She could be the first female general manager," Bohuny recalls Weltman saying.

Bohuny's advice to Bonner was just as direct: "I said, 'Becky, you have all the intangibles to do this. You can be a pioneer. You've grown up on the game. ... If this is what you want, this could be an incredible opportunity for you, and you could pave the way for so many women.'"

There have been a number of female hires across the league in recent years. Amanda Green has been with the Thunder since 2012 and is a cap expert. Teresa Resch has been the Raptors since 2013 and she is now vice president of basketball operations and player development. Linda Luchetti has been vice president of player operations for Utah since 2015 after a decade with the franchise. Michelle Leftwich was hired away from the league office by the Hawks to be their cap expert. The Nets hired Natale Jay to be their contracts and salary cap specialist. 

Ariana Andonian has been a scout for the Rockets for three years and remains the only female scout in the NBA. Veteran scouts surveyed by BR Mag say they know of no others.

Howard Beck/Bleacher Report

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

Kevin Durant: Coming To Warriors Allowed Me To Unlock Parts Of My Game

Dec 26, 2017 11:22 AM

Kevin Durant has been emboldened to test his individual gifts during his second season with the Golden State Warriors.

“I’ve always been free, but coming here allowed me to unlock parts of my game,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “I knew I had certain abilities, but I wasn’t as confident in it. That’s why you play the game.

“Nothing’s changed, and it’s weird because all I’ve seen is emotional moments. … ‘Anything is possible,’ with KG. MJ on the floor crying, ’Bron crying after he won for Cleveland. KG waited [13] years to win. MJ’s father died before one of his championships, and he was crying. ’Bron cried after he brought one back to Cleveland, where he grew up and he left and came back. For me, I didn’t have the incentives coming into the championship. I had no incentives. It was strictly basketball.

“Once we got it done, I sat back and reflected and patted myself on my back a bit. I worked hard for this. I enjoyed seeing it all come to fruition and now I have to test my ceiling.”

Durant has become one of the NBA's better defensive players since joining the Warriors. Those close to Durant say that part of his game has been the product of self-introspection.

“He’s so locked in,” Quinn Cook, the Warriors’ two-way player, told Yahoo Sports. “I’ve never seen somebody so locked in at all times. I’m at his crib all day. He’ll have his headphones in just watching videos and highlights. We’ll watch full games together, no matter the hour of the day.”

“The defensive aspect has evolved because of me being a student of the game, wanting to be great at every part of it,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “I knew that was the next step. That was hard for me as a scorer in my career, focusing on defense every single possession. Nobody told me I need to work on my defense, but it was a matter of me thinking about it every possession.”

Shams Charania/Yahoo! Sports

Tags: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ