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Brad Hurt
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Memphis Grizzlies Preseason Report 2014 posted by Grizzlies Fan

Memphis Grizzlies had a shaky start in 2013-14 season with 10-15, but performed much better later. They fought back impressively in the West the second time, and managed to be seventh seed. Marc Gasol made a difference, when he returned after his injury, and new acquisitions during midseason such as Courtney Lee and James Johnson gave the team a better look. Memphis was a strong team in the playoffs but Reggie Jackson from Oklahoma City Thunder managed an explosive performance that defeated the Grizzlies.

For 2014-2015 season, the Grizzlies may not be the favorites, but they are a serious contender to the title. Bringing in Zach Randolph was a costly move, but it could pay off, as he is quite formidable in PF position, and also the team's top player. In the draft, Jordan Adams was picked in the first round and hence there is not much possibility of further help. Adams is not considered athletic, as there are special provisions in his contract for keeping his fat low. In the second round, the team managed to acquire Jarnell Stokes, who even though undersized, has a long reach. Since Ed Davis, the PF backup has left; Stokes might be more in play compared to Adams.

The C position will be held by Marc Gasol to provide the required defense and toughness, while assisting Randolph. Tayshawn Prince and Tony Allen could be holding the SF and SG positions. Combining Prince with Allen is a good strategy, and adding Gasol in the starting lineup would provide Grizzlies with a formidable defense. Memphis Grizzlies have also picked up veteran Vince Carter who could provide a good offense, and Quincy Pondexter could contribute considerably, if he remains uninjured. Lastly, David Joerger, the head coach, who managed 50-32 record for the team last season, could take the team to the finals this season.

Continue reading "Memphis Grizzlies Preseason Report 2014"

Brad Hurt

Gasol out indefinitely with MCL sprain posted by Brad Hurt

An MRI on Marc Gasol's left knee, which he injured in the first half of the Grizzlies' loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night, revealed a Grade 2 sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL).  The injury, similar to one suffered two years ago by Zach Randolph, will keep Gasol out of action indefinitely but will not require surgery.  Kosta Koufos will start in his place.  This is a huge blow for the team, both in terms of production and morale.  The injury has been called "non-contact", although there could have been some contact as it occurred while the Spurs' Danny Green posted up against Gasol and backed into him.  Even so, it's still a freakish, unfortunate injury.Continue reading "Gasol out indefinitely with MCL sprain"

Brad Hurt

Gasol leaves loss with knee sprain posted by Brad Hurt

The Grizzlies had reason to be proud as they returned home Friday to face the perennially tough San Antonio Spurs.  They had just finished the most successful West Coast road trip in a decade.  Now they would have the FedEx Forum crowd behind them to urge them to victory.  Unfortunately, the Spurs would have none of that, playing the role of the rude houseguests with a 102-86 victory.

Potentially far worse for the home team, however, is the fact that center Marc Gasol left the game after suffering a non-contact injury to his left knee early in the second quarter and did not return.  The team is calling it a sprain, and Gasol will undergo an MRI today.  Losing Gasol for any extended period of time would be a crushing blow to the team.  He is currently averaging 16 points and more than 7 rebounds per game, teaming up with Zach Randolph to form an imposing post duo.  Randolph has been putting up monster numbers in his own right, but losing Gasol would undoubtedly change the way teams choose to defend Randolph, enabling more double-and-triple teams.  The Grizzlies currently have the 23rd-ranked offensive output in the league, averaging 94.1 points per game.  Ideally, they would like to see that number increase as they work toward a return to the playoffs come April.  Gasol is also a great veteran leader for the team, and intangibles are difficult to replace.  So let's hope the sprain isn't too severe and Gasol can return to action soon.

Continue reading "Gasol leaves loss with knee sprain"

Brad Hurt

Close call: Grizzlies rally for sweep posted by Brad Hurt

It was anything but easy, but the Memphis Grizzlies outlasted the Golden State Warriors, 88-81 in overtime on Wednesday night to complete a perfect West Coast road trip.

The comeback happened largely thanks to the team's Grit N Grind mentality.  After spotting the home team a double-digit lead in the opening quarter, the Grizzlies (7-5) relied on strong defense to get back into the game.  They had to overcome a 12-point deficit in the second half to escape with their 11th consecutive head-to-head win over the 8-4 Warriors.  They won the third quarter 25-13 behind a 17-2 run led by Zach Randolph's eight points in the period.  Randolph finished with another double-double of a team-high 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Ball control played a huge part in the win as the Grizzlies turned the ball over only seven times.

The Grizzlies shot only 38 percent for the game, led by Marc Gasol's 6-of-14 effort.  Gasol added 11 rebounds to his 18 points to join Randolph with a double-double.  His pair of free throws with 2:02 left in the fourth quarter forced the game into overtime.  Mike Conley also finished in double figures scoring for the Grizzlies, scoring 19 points and draining the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime.  The Grizzlies' bench came up large, outscoring the Warriors' reserves 16-7.  Kosta Koufos led the Grizzlies subs with seven points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Andrew Bogut led the Warriors with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

This trip proved the Grizzlies can compete with some of the top teams in the West.  It is never easy to win away from home, and putting together a streak like this shows the character and fight this team has.

Continue reading "Close call: Grizzlies rally for sweep"

Brad Hurt

Grizzlies seek first road sweep since '04 posted by Brad Hurt

The Grizzlies have reeled off three straight wins on the road since falling at home to Toronto last Wednesday.  West Coast trips are usually daunting, but the Grizzlies have found ways to win to this point.  Their current trip reaches its conclusion tonight in Oakland as the Grizzlies (6-5) take on the Pacific-leading Golden State Warriors (8-3), winners of four straight.  So someone will see a streak end.  If the Grizz get the win, they will have their first road sweep of at least four games since March 2004.  The Warriors are 5-0 at home this season, a mark the Clippers also had before falling to the Grizzlies on Monday.

The Warriors boast five players averaging double figures in scoring at this point in the season, led by Klay Thompson's 20.5 points per game.  Sensational guard Stephen Curry is a close second with 19.9 points per game.  Curry, who usually gets top billing as the team's superstar leader, will miss Wednesday's game with a concussion.

The Grizzlies have seen good balance offensively.  Mike Conley is off to a good start, scoring 18.7 points and dishing out around six assists per game.  As he has gone over the past few years, so have gone the Grizzlies.  He seems to be over the confidence issues and inconsistency that plagued him a couple of years ago, when trade rumors surrounded him.  Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have been key for the Grizzlies, continuing to comprise one of the biggest post tandem threats in the league.  Gasol is putting up 17 points and seven rebounds per game on the season.  However, on this trip he is scoring over 20 points per game with 8+ rebounds and 8+ assists.  Randolph is leading the team with 9.2 rebounds per game while scoring 16.1 points per contest on a career-high 55 percent shooting clip.

Continue reading "Grizzlies seek first road sweep since '04"

Brad Hurt

Tony Allen Receives Dubious Suspension posted by Brad Hurt

The NBA has announced that Tony Allen will be forced to sit out the Grizzlies' game at Golden State on Wednesday as he serves a one-game suspension for his actions on Monday. Allen was assessed a Flagrant 2 Foul and ejected from Monday night's 106-102 road win over the Los Angeles Clippers for kicking Chris Paul in the face.  The kick in my opinion was clearly inadvertent as Allen jumped and kicked his legs out in a defensive move against the driving Paul.  Such a move is a fairly common part of today's NBA game and is a natural reaction.  Players want to do all they can to impede the progress of the ballhandler and get the ball free.  I don't think Tony said, "Hmmm...I think I'll kick Chris Paul in the face."  Tony is one of the best defenders in the league and doesn't need to resort to cheap shots to get the job done.  It was just a case of bad timing and an unfortunate accident.  Paul is among the shortest players in the league.  That is the only reason the blow landed where it did and made this an issue.  I can see calling a Flagrant 1 because it's not an everyday occurrence, regardless of alleged intent, but a suspension seems a bit heavy-handed to me.  Save that for thrown punches.

Continue reading "Tony Allen Receives Dubious Suspension"

Brad Hurt

Grizzlies Adjusting to Changes posted by Brad Hurt

It was an eventful offseason for the Memphis Grizzlies, centering around the drama that comes with a regime change.  Following the franchise's first-ever appearance in the Western Conference Finals, a 4-0 sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, new owner Robert Pera made his presence known by allowing the expiration of head coach Lionel Hollins' contract.  While stunning in the wake of a string of postseason appearances and a new milestone, this move came as no real shock from a business perspective.  Anytime someone new takes over a team, he is going to want to surround himself with people who fit into his vision for the franchise.  Very few coaches in sports survive changes at the top of an organization for very long.  Displeased by pending changes in the team's philosophy, Hollins made his frustration publicly known, and that did not help any chance he may have had of returning to the bench for the 2013-14 season.

With lead assistant Dave Joerger getting the front office's support as the new head man, the Grizzlies have gotten off to an uneven start, but that is to be expected as the players adjust to the change.  I think bringing in a total stranger would have made the transition more daunting.

So far the biggest asset for the Grizzlies as they try to establish the type of team they are going to be this season has been Zach Randolph.  Z-Bo proved to be very valuable down the stretch last season, and he continues to be a crucial factor in establishing the Grizzlies as a powerful post team.  If Zach continues to be on top of his game and the guards knock down perimeter shots, the Grizzlies will be back contending for a spot in the finals at the end of the season.

Continue reading "Grizzlies Adjusting to Changes"

Andy Charles

Grizzlies give Thabeet some time posted by Andy Charles

The Memphis Grizzlies will be hopeful that the NBA D-League lives up to its name after they sent 2009 No 2 draft pick Hasheem Thabeet down to the North Dakota Wizards and made just a little bit of history in the process.

Thabeet, who was expected to be a fairly raw rookie anyway, has had little or no success since the Grizzlies drafted him out of Connecticut last summer, and he is the highest draft pick yet to be sent down to the Developmental League, the NBA’s own version of the minors.

The 7ft 3in giant, who has only really had any success as a shot-blocker and often looked lost out on the court against more seasoned professionals, will be working mainly on his shooting according to NBA Tips, after averaging less than three points per game.

Thabeet has been on court in 50 Memphis games this season, but only logged an average of 10 minutes, scoring in double figures just once against Phoenix in early January.

Although the Grizzlies knew he was going to be something of a project, much of the trouble has come for the right reasons; Memphis are only a couple of games out of the playoff picture and felt less need to risk their prized rookie in key moments.

Seasoning may well prove to be all he needs, although adding a few pounds to a fairly wiry frame would help as well, but shooting was a problem for him in his college days as well and is something that could well prove to be a concern through his career if it is not dealt with sooner rather than later.

Thankfully Grizzlies officials appear to have learned from previous picks, though, as they are finally showing a little in the way of patience. It is doubtful that they will see Thabeet in a Memphis jersey again this season, but it could well be to their benefit by the time next season rolls around.

Continue reading "Grizzlies give Thabeet some time"

john howard

Utah is making financial moves posted by john howard

Utah is trying to stay within their financial means and stay competitive at the same time. They traded Ronnie Brewer to Memphis for a future pick.  They have depth at that position and can absorb the loss.  Brewer is a restricted free agent and Utah may not be able to match any offers.  So, they gain a pick for him now.  Not bad I guess.

Memphis is trying to make the playoffs now and giving up a future pick for something now makes sense.  Brewer will improve them and I think he was worth the first round pick.  I don't know that he gets them there, but he will be better than what they could have drafted for.

Continue reading "Utah is making financial moves"

Scott Shepherd

The End of the Grizzlies? Let's Hope So. posted by Scott Shepherd

Officially, attendance was listed for the Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis Grizzlies game last night at 10,012.

The only way that number was over 10,000 is if you took every person in the arena, counted every person whose number was stored in their cell phone, and multiplied it by two.

At one point in the first quarter, the game was going from right to left on the TV. I paused it during the possession and counted eleven people in the stands on the far side of the floor. The game shifted back down to the right side of the floor. I counted roughly the same amount of people.

They were the best seats in the house, and I had a tough time finding 30 people who were sitting in them.

What a joke of a franchise the Grizzlies have become.

They signed Allen Iverson this offseason, clearly in an effort to sell tickets, and it actually had the reverse effect. They botched the Iverson situation less than five games into the season, and the fans (if this is even possible) are actually less interested in Grizzlies basketball than ever before.

If I were a Grizzlies fan, I wouldn’t be interested in them either. At some point, you have to say enough is enough.

A quick stop at shows that the Grizz are dead last in attendance. They are 3-8 this season, and their wins have come against the Raptors, Timberwolves, and Clippers.

What’s the incentive to go see this team play?

They have no star power at all. Rudy Gay has the potential to be the third or fourth best player on an elite level team. O.J. Mayo is good, but he still hasn’t figured out a way to make anyone else good. I wouldn’t root for Zach Randolph under any circumstance.

Continue reading "The End of the Grizzlies? Let's Hope So."

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BDL's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: Phoenix Suns (Ball Don't Lie)

The Arizona desert turned up a UFO crash in 1953, purple alien eggs just last year and Lord knows what else in the 60 years between. It’s only natural the Phoenix Suns add another wrinkle to their own weird science experiment, turning a two-headed snake into a three-headed monster in the backcourt. In a strange summer, general manager Ryan McDonough agreed to  a four-year, $27 million contract with Sacramento Kings dynamo Isaiah Thomas on the day the NBA’s moratorium lifted, seemingly signaling the end of fellow restricted free agent point guard Eric Bledsoe’s fun in the Arizona sun. But the NBA Executive of the Year runner-up doubled down, inking Mini LeBron to a five-year, $70 million deal some two months later. With All-NBA Third Team selection Goran Dragic also in the Phoenix mix, McDonough effectively created the league’s most dangerous polycephalous point guard. So, the Suns will roll the dice with a troika of All-Star-caliber guards, identified flying object Gerald Green and a mysterious frontcourt in an attempt to recreate last year’s bizarre 48-34 record, which tied the 2007-08 Golden State Warriors for the best season by a team that didn't make the playoffs since the NBA switched to the 16-team playoff format in 1984. Under NBA Coach of the Year runner-up (noticing a trend here) Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix played at a top-10 pace in his first season at the helm, and the Suns will run again, even faster if possible. Only, they’ll have to do so without Channing Frye, whose floor-stretching capacity from the power forward position translated into 8.3 additional points per 100 possessions in his 28.2 minutes a night on the floor, according to . Out of the Frye pan and into the fire will be Markieff Morris, whose own breakout 2013-14 season (2,153 minutes, 13.8 points, six rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, 56.4 True Shooting percentage, 18.4 Player Efficiency Rating) earned him a four-year, $52 million deal to split unevenly with his twin brother, Marcus Morris. Sharpshooting veteran free agent forward Anthony Tolliver (41.3 percent on a career-high 247 3-point tries for Charlotte last year) and young center projects Miles Plumlee and Alex Len round out a bigs mess. Add a pair of potential mid-first-round steals in T.J. Warren and Tyler Ennis, another Dragic named Zoran and a post- “super extreme” DUI suspension P.J. Tucker, and it should be another supernatural season for the 2013-14 League Pass legends. Last year taught us this much about the Suns: They are here. 2013-14 season in 140 characters or less: What the Ish is this? The weirdest collection of awesome under the Suns. Did the summer help at all? The Suns let their most productive big walk , spent the money Frye got in Orlando on a third point guard , handed one contract to a pair of twins , signed their best player’s brother and drafted one half of Bojan and Bogdan Bogdanovic — all as their starting small forward spent a no expenses paid three-day vacation in county jail . So … just yourtypical NBA offseason? Seriously, that’s freaky, even by their standards. Go-to offseason acquisition: Had Thomas not stood just 69 inches tall, he would have commanded far more than $27 million over four years in free agency. After all, the Sactown sparkplug was one of six players to average 20 points and six assists while posting a PER above 20 this past season. The others: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook. Those dudes aren’t so bad. Thomas comes with another caveat, though, since Sacramento’s fast-paced offense and non-existent defense over the past decade has produced plenty of padded stats that haven’t translated elsewhere. In the past 10 years, Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, Mike Bibby and Peja Stojakovic combined for one 20-point-per-game season upon leaving the Kings. At the very least, Thomas allows Hornacek to keep some combo of Bledsoe, Dragic and Thomas on the floor for the majority of the game, strumming that double-necked point-guard guitar all night long. The fact that Thomas’ per-minute averages have remained steady as both a starter and reserve in his three-year career is an encouraging sign that the Suns will be able to keep making the same sweet music they did last season. Glaring weakness: The Suns don’t quite have a black hole in the middle, but it’s an awful dark mass in the space-time continuum. Plumlee and Len are expected to receive the bulk of those minutes, and that duo (mostly Plumlee, due to the multiple injuries that scuttled Len's rookie season) anchored the NBA’s fourth-worst efficiency differential at the position last season, according to (minus-3.8). Plumlee’s minutes plunged throughout 2013-14 as Hornacek got more comfortable playing Markieff Morris and the since-departed Frye in smaller, more offensively potent lineups. As a result, though, Phoenix allowed 42.2 points in the paint per game , also the league’s fourth-worst group. Not even highly regarded defensive assistant coach Mike Longabardi could help the Suns rise above the middle of the pack in points allowed per possession. Plumlee is still their best bet to clog the middle on defense, even if he does the same on offense. Contributor with something to prove: Following his client’s second knee surgery in three years, Bledsoe's agent spent the offseason demanding a max contract for a player who has started all of 78 NBA games. McDonough, who reportedly offered four years and $48 million, entered a summer-long staring contest with Rich Paul, and the two sides met closer to Bledsoe's demands. To say the 24-year-old has something to prove is an understatement. For chunks of last season, Bledsoe replicated what so many projected for Chris Paul's former backup. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound brick of muscle averaged 17.7 points (57.8 TS%), 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds while generally tormenting opposing backcourts alongside Dragic in 43 games. That's encouraging for a fourth-year point guard on his rookie contract; now it's expected from an eight-figure-salaried franchise player. Potential breakout stud: Double ankle surgeries stunted Year 1 of The Alex Len Project, presenting a built-in excuse for the No. 5 overall pick’s PER (7.3), true shooting percentage (46.9) and statistical averages over 42 games (two points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in 8.6 minutes per game). Now, double finger fractures — on the same right pinkie, mind you — offer another easy excuse for the 7-foot-1 Ukrainian to start slow out of the gate. Yet Len made huge strides from his freshman to sophomore seasons at Maryland, and the 21-year-old has the potential to take a similar step forward after one year under Hornacek and Longabardi. He added the customary 15 pounds of muscle, and then collected six points, six boards and a pair of blocks before breaking his finger 25 minutes into Summer League. The re-broken finger is a setback for a player in desperate need of preseason practice, but he’ll still start the regular season healthy, and the minutes will be there for him to demonstrate his improvement, especially if he develops a mid-range jumper. Best-case scenario: It won’t be easy for Dragic to repeat his breakout All-NBA season, Green to shoot 3’s at a 40 percent clip again and Tolliver to replace Frye’s 2,312 minutes, but some combo of Bledsoe’s health, the addition of Thomas and the improvements of the Morris twins, Plumlee and/or Len should help the Suns recreate the magic that made them the NBA darlings of 2013-14. Even then, they’ll still be navigating a crowded Western Conference playoff picture that may also include Anthony Davis’ New Orleans Pelicans — all for the right to face the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers or San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Them’s the breaks for a franchise on the rise. If everything falls apart: Even if the science experiment takes a turn for the worse and the Suns just miss the postseason for a second straight year, McDonough will still have a pair of lottery picks at his disposal. Phoenix still owns a top-five protected pick from the Steve Nash trade, so barring a bit of Los Angeles Lakers luck, the worst-case scenario — a couple of mid-round picks — isn’t the worst consolation prize. Unless, of course, the team’s talented young core undergoes an abduction of sorts. Stranger things have happened in the Arizona desert. The Suns are on standing on the edge of an event horizon. Strap in for another weird, wild ride. Kelly Dwyer’s Best Guess at a Record: Phoenix will finish 47-35, eighth in the Western Conference. Read all of Ball Don't Lie's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews (links added as they're published): EASTERN CONFERENCE Atlanta Hawks • Boston Celtics • Brooklyn Nets • Charlotte Hornets • Chicago Bulls • Cleveland Cavaliers • Detroit Pistons • Indiana Pacers • Miami Heat • Milwaukee Bucks • New York Knicks • Orlando Magic • Philadelphia 76ers • Toronto Raptors • Washington Wizards WESTERN CONFERENCE Dallas Mavericks • Denver Nuggets • Golden State Warriors • Houston Rockets • Los Angeles Clippers • Los Angeles Lakers • Memphis Grizzlies • Minnesota Timberwolves • New Orleans Pelicans • Oklahoma City Thunder • Phoenix Suns • Portland Trail Blazers • Sacramento Kings • San Antonio Spurs • Utah Jazz - - - - - - - Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don't Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach [read full article]

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Rookie Patric Young seals Pelicans win over Mavs (Yahoo Sports)

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Gasol leads Grizzlies past Cavaliers, 96-92 (Yahoo Sports)

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Byron Scott wants his Lakers to shoot fewer three-pointers, which makes sense to Byron Scott (Ba

Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant hated Mike D’Antoni . Hated him. Absolutely despised what they saw as his opposition to bootstrap-pullin’, all out old school basketball, what with his runnin’ and gunnin’ and attempting to do whatever he could to pry a competitive unit out of a lacking Los Angeles Lakers roster. D’Antoniwas not the best coach for the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster over the last two seasons, but no coach could have done significantly better with those rotations. New Lakers coach Byron Scott was a teammate of Magic’s in his prime, and a teammate of Kobe’s during Dr. Bryant’s rookie year, and in a lot of ways (in his fourth coaching spot) his new gig could be classified as a legacy hire. Several NBA teams have made coaching switches since Scott was let go in Cleveland in the spring of 2013, and while Byron is a former NBA Coach of the Year, franchises weren’t exactly banging down his door to bring him in for an interview. So while Scott would do well to ingratiate himself with his two former teammates, and Laker legends, it’s probably more likely that he thinks along their lines when it comes to anti-D’Antoni fanaticism. This is why Scott, in a move that would fly in the face of modern NBA thinking, had this to say about his team’s 2014-15 use of the three-point shot : "Our game plan is really to get to that basket," said Scott after practice Tuesday.  "I like the fact that we only shot 10 threes.  If we shoot between 10 and 15, I think that's a good mixture of getting to that basket and shooting threes. "I don't want us to be coming down, forcing up a bunch of threes.  I really want us to attack the basket." OK, you’re the anti-D’Antoni. That’s the talking point, here. We get it. It’s true that the common October trope in the NBA from coaches and executives alike has to do with the same tired optimistic take – “we want to defend and rebound, and push the ball on the other end.” Yes, everyone wants to be like the 1984 Lakers, the 1986 Celtics, and the 1992 Bulls. And of course, by the time the snow starts falling, everyone’s back to running pick and roll sets and letting the coach call plays out of a defensive rebound. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with relentlessly attacking the basket, because as former Lakers assistant coach Tex Winter will tell you, good things come from penetrating the defense – whether that be in the preferable form of a pass, or a drive, or shot. If you’re talented at getting to the rim, you will get both high percentage looks at the rim, and free throw attempts. Those are two of the three acknowledged facets to sound offensive basketball, at this level. You know what the third is? Three-point shooting. And your team will get fantastic three-point looks if you attack the basket, and look for three point shooters. And lest we forget …   Someone tell Byron Scott that 1.14 is bigger than .90 — Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) October 8, 2014 … three points are more than two points. Now, the Lakers aren’t rife with shooters, but they’re not full of devastating drivers either. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash’s games just aren’t at that level some 18 years after those two were drafted, and Jeremy Lin sometimes has his troubles finishing in the paint. Though the Lakers were third in three-point shooting last season, the team’s two best three-point shooters from 2013-14, Jodie Meeks and Jordan Farmar, have moved on to the Pistons and Clippers. Lin is a downgrade in the three-point shooting department in comparison to the departed Kendall Marshall. Even with D’Antoni’s urging and offense-first characteristics, the Lakers still finished 21st in offensive efficiency last season. This was not a good team, despite its playing to its lone strength – three-point shooting. The disparity between the team’s high-ranking three-point percentage and low-ranked offense (don’t pay attention to raw points per game, the Lakers had the second-fastest pace of any NBA team last season) might drive some to conclude that all this long-range stuff is overrated. After all, few teams come more analytics-driven than the Memphis Grizzlies, and they limited themselves to a league-low in three-point attempts last season. Still … no. It was just a throwaway comment, but Scott’s message (and the actual ranking of how many treys he wants his team to shoot) is telling. There’s a reason Larry Brown and Doug Collins were far from successful in their last NBA turns as head coaches, and Gregg Popovich is thriving in spite of his repeatedly-stated distaste for the shot. Coach Pop draws up endless plays for three-pointers in both transition and the half-court, mindful of the fact that the league is evolving, and that he has to move with it. The Lakers should shoot fewer three-pointers this year, and with Nash and Kobe (hopefully) in the backcourt fold they should dive way down in the possessions per game standings. Kobe needs to work from the post, Nash needs to run a drawn-out pick and roll. This should appropriately knock fewer three-point attempts in both raw and per-minute numbers off the team’s ledger, and because of the absence of Meeks and Farmar, the percentages will drop. That’s just fine, in what figures to be a rough season. Posturing like this from Scott makes him look out of touch, though. When the Lakers eventually do get a new cast of contributors, if Byron is around, we hope he adapts to their talents. There’s a reason why Gregg Popovich has all those championships as coach, and Magic Johnson is currently just rooting at baseball games. Excuse me, was rooting at baseball games . - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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