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- Thompson scores 35 points, Warriors beat Nuggets (The Associated Press) October 25, 2014Klay Thompson is ready for the regular season. Thompson scored 35 points in nearly 36 minutes to help the Golden State Warriors beat the Denver Nuggets 119-112 on Friday night in the preseason finale for both teams. ''Our offense is going good and tonight is a good indication of what we can do,'' Thompson said. ''After eight preseason games we are all ready for the real thing.'' Thompson was 13 of 26 from the field.
- BDL's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: Sacramento Kings (Ball Don't Lie) October 24, 2014
- Brief profiles of Western Conference teams (Reuters) October 24, 2014(Reuters) - Following are brief profiles of the 15 teams in the National Basketball Association's Western Conference ahead of the2014-15 season. NORTHWEST DIVISION DENVER NUGGETS Founded: 1967 NBA titles: None Head coach: Brian Shaw 2013-14 record: 36-46 (Finished fourth in division, did not make playoffs) After missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2003, the Nuggets are hoping to take a step forward with second-year coach Brian Shaw and some key acquisitions. ...
- Western Conference, defending champs tough as ever (The Associated Press) October 24, 2014Calling it the Wild West just doesn't do it justice anymore.
- BDL's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: Phoenix Suns (Ball Don't Lie) October 24, 2014The 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 Basketball-Reference.com . 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 your typical 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 HoopsStats.com (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: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach
- Denver’s Hamster Wheel of Mediocrity October 24, 2014To be fair to Denver, nobody really knows how to assign value to contract extensions right now. Some teams, like Phoenix, are engaged in a mad dash to get their talent locked up now, before the 2016 salary boom. That’s how the Suns managed to secure the Morris twins and Eric Bledsoe to incredibly favorable long-term deals. The idea is that by offering long-term security, they can sign their players to contracts that will be well below market value when the cap explodes, giving them undervalued assets in their prime while other teams need to pay far more for the same value. Other teams, like Phoenix, have played hardball with their extension-eligible young players, holding firm that no above-average player would dare risk an injury on a qualifying offer rather than take the guaranteed money, which is why they played chicken with Bledsoe on a four-year, $48 million offer that stayed on the table until Minnesota drove up his market value. But enough about Phoenix and their lack of lon...
- Denver Nuggets: Four burning questions for the 2014-15 season October 24, 2014The countdown until the 2014-15 NBA season has officially gone under a week, and the sound of squeaky shoes as a man blows by his defender is oh-so close. The Denver Nuggets begin their season at the Pepsi Center against the Detroit Pistons on October 29th. The Nuggets are predicted by most experts and GMs to remain in the worst place an organization can be in the NBA, in purgatory or limbo. Limbo meaning that a team isn’t good enough to make the playoffs, yet they aren’t bad enough to get a good lottery draft pick. Last year the Nuggets fell right in place of purgatory picking outside of the top ten in the draft and were on the outside looking in on the playoff action. This year the Nuggets are looking to advance from this forsaken stage and hopefully move in the upward direction of making the playoffs. Returning to the playoffs has become a major storyline in the mile high city. Let’s take a look at four other storylines surrounding the Denver Nuggets. 1. Can this team remain healthy? Ty Lawson,
- Nuggets continue to trim down roster October 23, 2014The Denver Nuggets waived forwards Jerrelle Benimon and Marcus Williams team General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced Wednesday. The moves mean that the Nuggets have 16 players on their roster. The team has to get it’s roster down to 15 by next Wednesday. RECAP: McGee returns in loss to Portland Benimon averaged 2.0 points in 8.1 minutes per-game during the preseason. Williams, who last appeared in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs during the 2008-09 season, averaged 3.3 points in 9.0 minutes per-game this preseason for the Nuggets. Coupled with the news that the Nuggets are looking to either trade or release forward Quincy Miller, the Wednesday’s announcement should finalize Denver’s opening day roster. The group should look pretty familiar – besides newcomers Aaron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee (who seems to have secured a roster spot thanks to a strong training camp), the only other new additions are rookies Jusuf Nurkic, Gary Harris, and Erick...
- Nuggets Waive Jerrelle Benimon, Marcus Williams October 22, 2014The Denver Nuggets have waived forward Jerrelle Benimon and forward Marcus Williams. Benimon appeared in six preseason games for the Nuggets, averaging 2.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 8.1 minutes per game. He also appeared in three games for the Nuggets Summer League team in Las Vegas. Williams appeared in six preseason games with Denver, averaging 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds in 9.0 minutes per game. Williams was drafted by San Antonio with the 33rd pick of the 2007 NBA Draft.
- Nuggets think they can find success with their up tempo style and offseason pickups October 22, 2014There are a lot of really good teams in the Western Conference, which makes it very hard for those second-tier teams — right below the established Thunder, Spurs and Clippers to name a few — to jump up into contending status. The Denver Nuggets are one of those second-tier teams. The Nuggets were bad last season in coach Brian Shaw‘s first year at the helm, winning just 36 games and coming in 11th place in the West. Defense (rather a lack of it) did Denver in, as the Nuggets allowed the third most points in the NBA (106.5 ppg). They were ninth in scoring, but when you give up as many points as they did, it is hard to win. Additionally, injuries to a bunch of top players really limited how good the Nuggets could be and kept them well short of their 11th straight Playoff appearance. Danilo Gallinari, who averaged 16.2 points in the 2012-13 season, did not play a single game last year due to a debilitating knee injury that required surgery. The former Knick was expected to be one of th...
- Nuggets’ J.J. Hickson Is Suspended September 18, 2014J. J. Hickson, a center and forward for the Denver Nuggets, was suspended for five games without pay by the N.B.A. for violating the terms of its antidrug program.
- Suns Mount Comeback to Overcome Love’s 36 March 24, 2014Phoenix trailed by 22 in the first half but shot a season-high 57 percent from the floor to overcome Kevin Love’s 36 points and 14 rebounds.
- Late Charge By Wizards’ Gooden Dooms Nets March 16, 2014Washington erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to move ahead of the Nets for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
- Knicks Can’t Win, Even if They Play to Lose March 5, 2014Because they owe their first-round draft pick to the Denver Nuggets, the Knicks cannot even benefit from additional losses that would set them up for a favorable draft position.
- George Karl Sees a Talent Adrift as Carmelo Anthony’s Knicks Fade March 2, 2014Karl, Anthony’s former coach in Denver, believes the Knicks’ star is missing “mental toughness” around him.