With the season about a month away, NBA dealings are starting to rev up again. A lot of it is noise— on a scale from 1 to clickbait, how much does Kevin Durant hate Dwyane Wade‘ stuff—but a good bit is relevant to authentic enthusiasts. Let XN be your filter.
Below you’ll find a helping of the NBA-Z: a weekly roundup of digestible analysis, news and beyond. Only what you want, when you want it.
Avery Bradley At The 1; Celtics Tanking Continues – Brad Stevens has found an interim point guard: defensive prodigy Avery Bradley. Though the combo guard can bulldog opposing floor managers he’s not exactly a good conductor of offense himself. Late last season proved as much when he took on point duties for injured Rajon Rondo. Granted, there’s not a better candidate for the job on the Celtics roster but he isn’t someone to help develop the blossoming talents of MarShon Brooks, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. Tanking is in session.
Black Magic In Washington: Otto Porter Next Injured Starter – Wizards starting center Emeka Okafor is out indefinitely. And now would-be star Otto Porter Jr. is listed day-to-day. The rookie injured his right hip flexor while riding a stationary bike. Black magic strikes again at a Wizards pre-season camp.
Dark Cloud Looms In Sacramento – 62 reasons why the DeMarcus Cousins near-max extension in Sacramento was a bad idea. (In millions not ways).
Howard Looking Somber In Red – A lack of cheery disposition is no indication of championship pedigree, but it’s a start. Remember when LeBron “got serious” in Boston?
In a recent interview with NBA’s Craig Sager, Dwight Howard maintains a professional demeanor for what might be a new world record. Learning the folly of his ways—treating an NBA career as more than a guest appearance on SNL—is what his reputation and a championship-hungry Houston team expects from him. Question is: Is the new face of Dwight Howard sustainable?
Knickelodeon – There’s a reason New York is the media capital of the world: they know drama. The Knicks organization, though, has been playing out more like a cartoon of late as the GM ousting of Glen Grunwald shows. Here at XN, we got some flak for announcing that Knicks brass might be unintentionally driving Carmelo Anthony out of the Big Apple. Were we wrong?
Not Even Mamba Knows When He’ll Be Back – Kobe Bryant has quite the footwork. The dizzying, back-and-forth ballet of when he’ll be back proves as much. The latest confession states that there’s no “particular timetable” on his return to a Lakers court.
Spo’ More Years – Erik Spoelstra is a journeyman. Not someone fresh off completing an apprenticeship or, as it applies to the NBA, a player who bounces around teams like a bad cold. He has worked his way up the Miami Heat pecking order over the course of two decades. Yes, he’s flanked by generational talent, but he’s made the moving parts work to maximum perfection; the Heat were one of the most efficient teams to ever suit up last year.
The Heat organization knows this and will be giving the man a much-deserved contract extension. Spo’ more years.