Beck/Bucher: What Happens If the Miami Heat’s Big Three Splits Up This Summer?

Not one…not two…but three big-name NBA free agents met up in South Beach in the summer of 2010 to form the Miami Heat‘s “Big Three,” but could we see some more movement from these same players this summer?

We asked Howard Beck and Ric Bucher what would happen if the Heat’s core splits up this summer. You can check out what they have to say in the video above!

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Duke Basketball: What Happens When Whack-a-Mole Goes Wrong?

Duke has five players capable of leading the team in scoring on any given night.

Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood are the obvious offensive threats. Andre Dawkins’ three-point shooting means that he can explode for huge numbers. Rasheed Sulaimon uses a more workmanlike approach to accumulate impressive point totals. Even the mercurial Quinn Cook has had games where he led the Blue Devils in scoring.

The multitude of scorers means that opposing defenses can’t key on one player. Trying to stop penetration gives the Blue Devils space on the perimeter for open looks at threes. Focusing on perimeter defense allows Duke to utilize penetration. It’s a Whack-a-Mole type of problem for opponents. As soon as you plug up one hole, a new problem pops up somewhere else.

This approach has been highly effective for the Blue Devils. Duke leads the nation with a historically good offensive efficiency rating. They’re averaging 81.7 points-per-game and shooting 47 percent for the season.

The only problem that hampers the Blue Devils offensively is when the Whack-A-Mole strategy goes wrong.

Duke edged out Maryland for a 69-67 win. Even though there were plenty of positives to take away from that game, it highlighted one large negative: Duke doesn’t have a go-to guy.

The Blue Devils shot 33.3 percent against Maryland and no one on the floor looked particularly good on offense for Duke. In dire need of points, Rodney Hood repeatedly tried to stem the Terrapin tide by driving the lane or launching threes.

Against Syracuse, it was Rasheed Sulaimon that forced overtime with a buzzer-beater. He also had a critical three-pointer in the win over Virginia and was the best player down the stretch in the loss to Kansas.

Jabari Parker, meanwhile, was instrumental in some early contests, including the nail-biter with Vermont. On the other hand he was almost non-existent late in the game versus Notre Dame.

And of course, who could forget all the Quinn Cook shots at critical points in the Clemson game?

The point is that Duke doesn’t have one player that sticks out as the person who needs the ball in his hand when the game is on the line. Instead, Duke has a variety of players than can all score and they just take their opportunities as they come.

Throughout the game each of these players might take over for stretches. Alternatively, they may all just take a kind of heat check, determine who has the hot hand and then spend the rest of the game letting that player repeatedly put up shots. When it works, that strategy is hard to beat. When it doesn’t, the Blue Devils are left scrambling to find someone to step up during crucial moments.

The Maryland game highlighted this problem. Rodney Hood was having a horrible shooting night, but he seemed to be the de facto alpha dog. As good as he is, defending Hood mostly amounts to getting good help defense in order to stop his penetration. His three-point shooting is good, but not so great that you’d expect him to make a clutch three – and that’s especially true if he’s having an off shooting night like he was against the Terps.

Sulaimon is more versatile than Hood off penetration, but is similarly predictable. The result is that when Duke most needed points, they ran some motion offense and then let either Hood or Sulaimon drive. Everyone in the gym knew what was coming and Marylandwho is not a very good defensive team – was able to keep Duke for scoring time and time again.

It’d be easy to write off what I’m saying as nitpicking. After all, there are countless articles on Duke’s deficiencies in rebounding and defense, but everyone agrees that the offense is a juggernaut. Yet the lack of a sure-fire, go-to guy in the waning minutes of a tight game is something that could ultimately hamper Duke when it matters most.

When everything is loose and fluid, Duke’s offense is a thing of beauty. Points can come from just about any player from any spot on the floor. When things tighten up and the game is on the line, however, the Blue Devils need to be able to single out someone that score from a piece of set offense.

Ideally that’d mean getting the ball to Parker in the post. If the freshman isn’t up to that or if Duke can’t get away from the Whack-a-Mole approach in late-game situations, then the Blue Devils will find themselves in a hole they can’t dig out of.

https://twitter.com/DantzlerSmith

Read more College Basketball news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – College Basketball

#TheReturn finally happens for Derrick Rose

I heard about Derrick Rose’s knee on the way to my hotel in Chicago. I remember vividly, driving up Interstate 695 through the rural-ness of Indiana and hearing the ESPN Radio Sportscenter update guy giving the news about how Rose and Iman Shumpert of the New York Knicks had both gone down with knee injuries just a short amount of time apart from each other. I was on my way to Chicago with my family to celebrate my dad’s birthday. I remember getting to the hotel in the O’Hare area, and immediately racing to the TV. I remember flipping through the local news channels and watching the coverage; every channel was all over it and the tone of the reports was akin to a terrible tragedy. You know those moments where you remember exactly where you were when something went down? This was one of those for me.
Most of all, I remember thinking one thing to myself.
What now?
Well now, it’s over.
The wait. The Adidas campaigns. The rehab updates. The stories from practice. The heavy sweating in p…

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

Doc to Clippers finally happens

Tweet Shortly after it was reported that the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics had reached an agreement for compensation for head coach Doc Rivers, Y! Sports reports that the Clippers and Rivers have agreed in principle to a three-year contract: Rivers has agreed to a three-year, $21 million deal with the Clippers, league sources [...]

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

What happens to Miami Heat in playoff fourth quarters?

The Heat had no problem finishing games all season, but the playoffs have been different.

View full post on USATODAY.com Feed

What happens now for Nerlens Noel, Kentucky after unlucky twist?

The issues related to Nerlens Noel’s knee injury are reverberating in many directions.

View full post on USATODAY.com Feed

NBA Trade Rumors: Lakers More Likely to Land Dwight Howard If Deal Happens Soon

As much as the Orlando Magic would like to see a resolution to Dwight Howard‘s never-ending search for a new home, Los Angeles Lakers fans may be just as eager.

Waiting and wondering which superstar center you get to cheer on this season can’t be easy.

All that waiting and wondering just might be coming to an end if you believe what Fox Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico is hearing:

With Dwight Howard reiterating his wish to be traded, multiple league sources predict  the Orlando Magic will again step up efforts to find their All-Star center a new team. 

Several of those sources told FOX Sports Ohio on Saturday they believe Howard could be traded by the end of next week.

If those sources are indeed correct, that could be very good news for the Lakers.

We know the Orlando Magic engaged the Brooklyn Nets in talks earlier this summer, but those broke down before a mutually agreeable arrangement could be made. Because the Nets went on to re-sign center Brook Lopez, the Magic wouldn’t be able to seriously re-engage Brooklyn until January.

Lopez would be an integral piece to any deal for Howard, but league rules require that he remain with Brooklyn until then.

Though the Houston Rockets have reportedly shown significant interest in acquiring Howard directly, he’s far more likely to re-sign with the Lakers, and Houston knows it. The Rockets would functionally be shipping their most valued assets away in exchange for a one-year rental.

The Lakers, on the other hand, could keep this guy in the fold thanks to the organization’s championship culture and the lucrative opportunities that await superstars in Los Angeles.

Though Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, insists his client will still evaluate his options in free agency next summer, it’s hard to imagine D12 finding a better opportunity outside Los Angeles, especially among the organizations who can actually afford to sign him.

There’s another interesting wrinkle that might bode well for the Lakers, but it requires a bit of speculation.

According to the Los Angeles TimesBen Bolch, Andrew Bynum‘s agent, David Lee, has been in touch with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, and they weren’t talking about an extension:

“I saw the report,” Lee said of media accounts in which Kupchak said last week that the Lakers had begun discussions about an extension. “I think Mitch’s comment was that we had ‘a cordial and productive’ conversation. It was cordial and it was productive, but it had nothing to do with an extension.”

It doesn’t require an especially paranoid reader to wonder what in the world that could mean. What might they be having a productive conversation about, if not getting an extension done?

Perhaps it was something innocuous enough, like how the Lakers’ shift to the Princeton offense could impact Bynum’s role.

But maybe, just maybe, there’s something more to it.

After all, Bynum likely wouldn’t be heading to Orlando in the event of a deal sending Howard to L.A. Instead, as ESPN’s Ric Bucher explains, he’d probably probably wind up with the Houston Rockets or Cleveland Cavaliers, teams that could send the Magic their preferred package of draft picks and youth.

Could Kupchak have been consulting Lee about which team his client would prefer?

Lee did in fact suggest that Bynum should be consulted before being moved to a team given his impending free agency. Perhaps the Lakers front office is merely obliging.

Again, this part of the equation requires some speculation.

What doesn’t require much guesswork, though, is that the Lakers are in an ideal position to land Howard precisely because he’s the guy who holds all the cards. No one will touch him with a 10-foot pole unless there’s a reasonable belief he’ll be sticking around.

Merely mortal organizations are in no position to make such assumptions.

The Lakers are another story, and for good reason.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Carmelo Anthony: ‘Anything that happens in New York they blame me’

Looks like Carmelo Anthony is playing the “woe is me” card again.
There has been speculation that Melo did not want Jeremy Lin back with the Knicks and that that is one of the reasons the team didn’t match Houston’s offer sheet for the point guard. Speaking from London on Friday, Anthony denied that is the case.
“Believe it or not, I was one of the true supporters of Jeremy Lin,’’ Anthony said, according to the New York Post’s Marc Berman. “Whether it was staying or going to Houston. That’s not something I go out and brag and broadcast about. After he signed with Houston, I talked to him. He texted me, It was a great text. What he sent me meant a lot.
“Money talks, at the end of the day,’’ Anthony said, per the Post. “Houston threw something out there that he couldn’t refuse. The Knicks organization didn’t feel like they had to match it. I’m proud of him, happy for him. Just to s…

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

Tell us: What happens now in NBA Finals?

And so it goes. The NBA Finals look so different after Game 2.



View full post on USATODAY.com Feed

What happens now in east finals?

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. What happens now that the Celtics have been hit?



View full post on USATODAY.com Feed

Next Page »