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Wonder Punter NBA Power Rankings- Week 3

NBA_PowerRankings

With just about 3 full weeks of NBA action in the books after the conclusion of Tuesday night’s games… let’s take a look the latest Power Rankings as some teams continue to surprise and others continue to fall. Indiana, the last of the unbeatens suffered their first loss at the hands of the Chicago Bulls.

 

San Antonio and Indiana are playing like the two best teams in the league while early top 10 Philadelphia is falling fast.

 

Teams 1-30 with records and last weeks rankings in parentheses are as followed:

 

1 Indiana Pacers (9-1 LW 1)- They lost to Bulls on the second of a back-to-back. Danny Granger expected back soon.

 

2 San Antonio Spurs (9-1 LW 2)- The Spurs have won 7 straight while Tim Duncan is averaging career-lows of 12 points and 39.4 percent shooting.

 

3 Miami Heat (7-3 LW 5)- LeBron James is averaging 34 points per game during the Heat’s three game win streak.

 

4 Los Angeles Clippers (7-3 LW 7)- The Clippers have won four straight while Blake Griffin is averaging a double-double with 22.9 points and 10.9 boards.

 

5 Golden State Warriors (7-3 LW 8)- Warriors have won three straight while suffering through injuries.

 

6 Minnesota Timberwolves (7-4 LW 4)- Kevin Love and Kevin Martin have formed the league’s highest scoring-duo in the season’s opening month.

 

7 Portland Trailblazers (8-2 LW 13)- One of the league’s early surprises…. the Blazers have won six straight.

 

8 Oklahoma City Thunder (6-3 LW 3)- Thunder will be looking for revenge against the Clippers on Thursday night.

 

9 Houston Rockets (7-4 LW 10)- Back up center Omer Asik wants out of Houston and has been benched the last two games since his request.

 

10 Chicago Bulls (5-3 LW 12)- Derrick Rose hits six 3’s in their big win against Indiana on Saturday night.

 

11 Dallas Mavericks (6-4 LW 11)- Mavs look to get back on track when Dwight Howard and the Rockets visit Wednesday night.

 

12 Phoenix Suns (5-4 LW 6)- Suns have dropped three straight by an average 2 points.

 

13 Atlanta Hawks (6-4 LW 17) Another early surprise team is getting it done with Al Horford, Ronnie Millsap and the return of Lou Williams.

 

14 Memphis Grizzles (5-5 LW 9)- They continue to struggle and have the Clippers and Warriors on the road coming up.

 

15 Charlotte Bobcats (5-5 LW 16)- Continue to surprise with Al Jefferson still nursing a bad ankle. Have five of their next six games at home.

 

16 Philadelphia 76ers (5-6 LW 14)- Back to losing but still in first place in a bad Atlantic Division.

 

17 Denver Nuggets (4-5 LW 28)- Have won of four but have OKC, Chicago and back-to-back against Dallas coming up.

 

18 New Orleans Pelicans (4-6 LW 15)- Ryan Anderson lit it up with six 3’s against the Sixers… can he continue?

 

19 Los Angeles Lakers (5-7 LW 19)- Steve Nash is still out… but good news is Kobe Bryant has begun practicing.

 

20 Cleveland Cavaliers (4-7 LW 20) As Kyrie Irving goes, so do the Cavs. Averaging 27.5 in wins and 17.7 in losses.

 

21 Orlando Magic (4-7, LW 25)- Will Aaron Afflalo be traded? He’s averaging 21.7 points per game and playing well.

 

22 Toronto Raptors (4-7 LW 24)- Have lost three of four and still only getting scoring from Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan.

 

23 Brooklyn Nets (3-6)- Too much talent to be struggling but dealing with various injuries.

 

24 New York Knicks (3-6 LW 23)- Disappointing start and Carmelo Anthony is unhappy.

 

25 Boston Celtics (4-7 LW 26)- Started 0-4, won four in a row now has lost three straight.

 

26 Washington Wizards (2-7 LW 22)- Turning into a major disappointment early on… not was expected.

 

27 Detroit Pistons (3-6 LW 18)- Josh Smith makes his return to Atlanta on Wednesday night.

 

28 Milwaukee Bucks (2-7 LW 27)- No Brandon Knight, no Caron Butler… now have lost five straight.

 

29 Sacramento Kings (2-7 LW 29)- Only one win in November and three of next four is on the road.

 

30 Utah Jazz (1-10 LW 30)- Avoided tying their worst start in franchise history by beating the Pelicans.

 

 

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

 

 

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Iguodala’s late shot lifts Warriors over OKC

Warriors Win Thriller Over Thunder At Buzzer

 

OAKLAND, Calif. – Silence one second, pandemonium the subsequent.

In 2.3 seconds, Andre Iguodala flipped the script on the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder by hitting the largest shot of his Golden State Warriors tenure.

Iguodala made a baseline fadeaway as time expired to lift the Warriors to an exciting 116-one hundred fifteen victory over the Thunder on Thursday night, capping a back-and-forth recreation between two teams anticipated to contend for the Western Convention title.

“Those are the moments when your mind is just racing,” mentioned Iguodala, who completed with 14 factors and nine assists. “When Klay (Thompson) threw the pass, I used to be considering I might get to the basket. As soon because the ball hit my hands, my toes have been set simply to catch, flip around and shoot – something I labored on a lot throughout my profession. The state of affairs was there and the whole lot simply labored out.”

Russell Westbrook’s three-pointer with 2.3 seconds remaining put the Thunder forward after they trailed by 14 factors early in the fourth quarter. Warriors coach Mark Jackson referred to as a timeout, drawing up a play that gave Iguodala an option to shoot or go, saying he thought the Thunder would simply switch if Stephen Curry obtained the ball.

Iguodala took the inbounds pass from Thompson and rose up against Thabo Sefolosha for the successful sixteen-footer, sending the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 into a frenzy. Iguodala sprinted toward half court and was mobbed by teammates.

“That final timeout, it was pretty darkish in that huddle,” Jackson said. “You lookup and also you say, `How did they climb all the way in which back? How?’ You begin beating yourself up. That’s when you have a second. They looked at each other and realized there is still time left and we can execute as a result of we work on it day by day.”

Golden State trailed for just 23 seconds combined in its first three home games. The Warriors held a lead in each game – towards the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons – of at the very least 27 factors and received by double digits.

Not on this evening.

The sport began with an outpouring of offense and energy and by no means relented over forty eight minutes.

There have been sixteen lead adjustments, 9 ties and numerous cannot-believe-he-just-made-that shots. Neither team led by greater than seven until the Warriors started to drag away late within the third quarter.

Or so it seemed.

Westbrook’s three set off the Thunder’s celebration simply seconds earlier than Iguodala’s shot. Westbrook kissed his hand and was bumped by teammate Kevin Durant as each flashed grins close to the scorer’s desk.

“It was enjoyable until the final shot,” Durant stated.

“I don’t even know what happened,” Westbrook added. “I used to be guarding Curry down in the corner, so I’m not precisely positive.”

Thompson scored 27 points and Curry had 22 factors and 9 assists for a Warriors team that made 14 of 23 shots from three-level range.

Nevertheless it was Iguodala’s tough midrange jumper that stole the spotlight – the very purpose Golden State signed the free agent away from Denver this offseason with a four-12 months, $forty eight million contract.

“He is precisely who we thought he was,” Jackson said. “We’re so lucky to have him on this basketball crew.”

Oklahoma Metropolis outrebounded Golden State 48 to 31, however could not put collectively enough stops to match a powerful offensive effort from its three big stars.

Westbrook finished with 31 points, nine rebounds and 5 assists, Serge Ibaka had 27 factors and thirteen rebounds and Durant had 20 points, eight assists and 7 rebounds as the Thunder lost for the second straight night time to a high Western Convention staff. Oklahoma Metropolis fell at the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday evening.

The Thunder made six of their first seven from lengthy range, taking pictures greater than 70 p.c overall halfway by way of the second quarter below the direction of Durant and Westbrook. However 19 turnovers cost Oklahoma Metropolis more than something, handing the Warriors extra alternatives to do what they do finest: shoot.

Reserve Draymond Inexperienced gave Golden State a one hundred-86 lead early in the fourth quarter, twisting his method for a layup after taking a pointy pass from Thompson. The Warriors still had to hold off a furious last push from the Thunder to earn by far their biggest win this young season.

“That was an important NBA sport,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks mentioned. “Playoff depth in November. Great crowd, nice environment. They’re a terrific staff. Couldn’t ask for a greater sport. Unfortunately, any person had to lose.”

Sport notes

Durant was called for a technical foul within the remaining seconds of the first half after shoving Warriors C

Andrew Bogut

… Thunder C

Kendrick Perkins

wasn’t with the team for the second straight recreation after his grandfather died Monday. He was raised by his grandparents in Beaumont, Texas… The Thunder fell to 33-eight following a loss for the reason that begin of the 2011-12 season, one of the best report within the NBA throughout that span. Oklahoma Metropolis was 17-4 after a loss last season.

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NBA Power Rankings 2013

NBA_PowerRankings

 

Week 3 Power Rankings for the NBA

 

With Week 3 of the NBA starting on Tuesday night, let’s take a look at this week’s Power Rankings for all 30 teams.

 

1. Indiana Pacers (7-0)- Paul George is leading the Pacers to their best start in franchise history. The team to beat right now.

 

2. San Antonio Spurs (6-1)- With Philadelphia, Washington, Utah and Boston coming up, they can distance themselves from the pack.

 

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (5-1)- With Russell Westbrook back in the fold, things are looking up.

 

4. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-2)- Having a healthy Kevin Love does wonders for a team.

 

5. Miami Heat (4-3)- A sore back is slowing down LeBron as they work out their chemistry issues.

 

6. Phoenix Suns (5-2)- Eric Bledsoe is leading this week’s NBA’s surprise team as they have won all four of their home games.

 

7. Los Angeles Clippers (4-3)- Big road win at Houston as they are still trying to find their way under coach Doc Rivers.

 

8. Golden State Warriors (4-3)- Warriors have four different players averaging at least 15 points per game.

 

9. Memphis Grizzles (3-3)- Coming off a big home win against the Warriors may jump-start them.

 

10. Houston Rockets (4-3)- They hit the road after dropping their last three-games.

 

11. Dallas Mavericks (4-3)- Monte Ellis leads the team in scoring averaging 23 points a game.

 

12. Chicago Bulls (2-4)- Derrick Rose and the Bulls have a showdown with the Pacers this week as they look to get back to winning and avenge an earlier loss.

 

13. Portland Trailblazers (4-2)- Two of their four wins came against Sacramento with more winnable games coming up against the East.

 

14. Philadelphia 76ers (4-3)- Went 1-3 last week after starting 3-0… is the clock getting ready to strike midnight?

 

15. New Orleans Pelicans (3-4) Big win at home against the Lakers on Friday night, can they repeat that performance on Tuesday night in L.A.?

 

16. Charlotte Bobcats (3-3)- Another early surprise team in the NBA so far.

 

17. Atlanta Hawks (3-3)- Ronnie Millsap is off to a big year for the Hawks so far with 20.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

 

18. Detroit Pistons (2-3)- Josh Smith is fitting in nicely with his new team leading them 18.8 points per game.

 

19. Los Angeles Lakers (3-5)- As Kobe Bryant is still working his way back, Steve Nash is suffering from back pain once again limiting his play.

 

20. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-4)- Kyrie Irving is heating up having scored 25 or more in two of his last three games.

 

21. Brooklyn Nets (2-4)- Nets need more production from K.G who is only averaging six points per game and 6.7 rebounds a game.

 

22. Washington Wizards (2-4)- Still a better team them their record indicates but must finish games.

 

23. New York Knicks (2-4)- Can the return of J.R. Smith give them the shot in the arm they need?

 

24. Toronto Raptors (3-4)- Expect Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan to get their shooting touch back after struggling in the early season.

 

25. Orlando Magic (3-4)- Center Nikola Vucevic is averaging a double-double to begin the season with 15.7 points and 12.1 rebounds.

 

26. Boston Celtics (3-4)- The Celtics have won three straight including a win over the Miami Heat.

 

27. Milwaukee Bucks (2-3)- Their three losses have been by eight points or less.

 

28. Denver Nuggets (1-4)- Rough start under new head coach Brian Shaw as they are off to their worst start since 2004.

 

29. Sacramento Kings (1-5)- DeMarcus Cousins is a one-man show, but it will take more then that as they have dropped five in a row.

 

30. Utah Jazz (0-7)- Jazz are off to their worst start since going 0-11 in their first season in the league.

 

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

Sportsbetting

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NBA Friday Night Games- Previews/Picks

nba-picks

NBA Free Picks and Predictions for games of 8th November 2013

Friday night in the NBA usually means one thing… a full schedule of games at your disposal to lay your money on. With odds constantly changing, I will give you my straight-up picks on all Friday night games, but be sure to get in on the betting line early to secure the best odds. Whether you like to play the points, over/under or straight-up… you can find it right here at Wonder Punter.

 

Brooklyn Nets (2-2) @ Washington Wizards (1-3) 11/08- 7:00PM EST

 

The Wizards look to win back-to-back games as they take on the Nets.

 

PICK: Brooklyn Nets

 

Cleveland Cavaliers (2-3) @ Philadelphia 76ers (3-2) 11/08- 7:00PM EST

 

The Sixers have now lost two in a row after being a Cinderella team for the first three games. Cavs coming off a big win vs. Minnesota

 

PICK: Cleveland

 

Boston Celtics (1-4) @ Orlando Magic (3-2) 11/08- 7:00PM EST

 

The Celtics got their first win against winless Utah, but the Magic just beat a good Clipper team on Wednesday night.

 

PICK: Orlando

 

New York Knicks (1-3) @ Charlotte Bobcats (3-2) 11/08- 7:00PM EST

 

Trouble in the Big Apple with their beloved Knicks… Charlotte is an early surprise. I like the odds of the Bobcats winning.

 

PICK: Charlotte

 

Toronto Raptors (2-3) @ Indiana Pacers (5-0) 11/08- 7:00PM EST

 

Clearly, the Pacers are the team to beat right now. Impressive win against the Bulls on Wednesday night.

 

PICK: Indiana

 

Oklahoma Thunder (3-1) @ Detroit Pistons (2-2) 11/08- 7:30PM EST

 

With PG Russell Westbrook back, expect the Thunder to start making a run. My bet is on OKC.

 

PICK: Oklahoma City

 

Los Angeles Lakers (2-3) @ New Orleans Pelicans (2-3) 11/08- 8:00PM EST

 

The Los Angeles Lakers will be playing the second of a back-to-back. Have to like the odds New Orleans winning plus they blew out Memphis on the road Wednesday night.

 

PICK: New Orleans

 

Utah Jazz (0-5) @ Chicago Bulls (1-3) 11/08- 8:00PM EST

 

Just what the underachieving Bulls needed, a winless Jazz team to come into town. Easy pick on this one.

 

PICK: Chicago

 

Dallas Mavericks (3-2) @ Minnesota Timberwolves (3-2) 11/08- 8:00PM EST

 

The Mavs will look to avoid two straight road losses after dropping one to Oklahoma City Wednesday night. Should be another tough battle for both teams, but see the T’Wolves as the favorite.

 

PICK: Minnesota

 

Golden State Warriors (4-1) @ San Antonio Spurs (4-1) 11/08- 8:30PM EST

 

All the oddsmakers have to be going crazy with this marquee matchup of two teams who are expected to light it up. Watch for the latest betting line here on Wonder Punter, but for a straight-up pick I like the Warriors on the road.

 

PICK: Golden State

 

Denver Nuggets (0-3) @ Phoenix Suns ( 3-2) 11/08- 9:00PM EST

 

With Phoenix coming off a tough road loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, I like the odds of keeping the visiting Denver Nuggets winless on the young season.

 

PICK: Phoenix

 

Sacramento Kings (1-3) @ Portland Trailblazers (2-2) 11/08- 10:00PM EST

 

Portland is always tough at home… safe pick with Trailblazers.

 

PICK: Portland

 

12 full games to chose from on a Friday night. Check the latest up to the minute betting lines here at Wonder Punter and good luck with your picks!

 By Mario Martinez – WonderPunter

Sportsbetting

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Wonder Punter NBA Power Rankings 2013-14

Wonder Punter NBA Power Rankings 2013-14

 

With the 2013/14 NBA season upon us starting Tuesday night…. Let’s take a look at the Power Rankings of all 30 teams to begin the season.

 

1. Miami Heat- The defending champion Heat will be looking to three-peat with Lebron James in the final year of his contract.

 

2. San Antonio Spurs- With all the pieces still intact, the Western Conference champs are still the team to beat out west.

 

3. Chicago Bulls- After sitting out all of last season… Derrick Rose is back and ready to lead his team to challenge the Heat.

 

4. Indiana Pacers- Last years team was good, now with Danny Granger back and the addition of Luis Scola… they will be even better.

 

5. Los Angeles Clippers- Can new coach Doc Rivers instill the mental and physical toughness that has been lacking with the Clippers in seasons past?

 

6. Houston Rockets- Can the tag team of Dwight Howard/James Harden co-exist and get them to the promise land?

 

7. Golden State Warriors- Will one more year of experience under their belt make up for the lack of depth at the point guard and center positions? Key addition with Andre Iguodala.

 

8. Oklahoma City Thunder- Still no Russell Westbrook until December… until then, can they keep it together?

 

9. Memphis Grizzles- The addition of Mike Miller should help with a team depleted with shooters.

 

10. Brooklyn Nets- Can an aging Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce be the difference that Deron Williams and new coach Jason Kidd need to contend?

 

11. New York Knicks- J.R Smith is still on the shelve and Amar’e and Kenyon Martin are not quite ready for back-to-backs yet.

 

12. Minnesota Timberwolves- A full year of a healthy Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio can finally make the Wolves a playoff contender after a drought of nine seasons.

 

13. Denver Nuggets- Andre Iguodala is now with Golden State and no Danilo Gallinari until at least December.

 

14. Washington Wizards- Key addition with Marcin Gortat to fill in a true center position and move Nene to his natural forward position.

 

15. New Orleans Pelicans- New team nickname and two nice additions will help the Pelicans improve… Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans.

 

16. Dallas Mavericks- Monte Ellis was added to help give Dirk Nowitski an offensive boost… but it’s the defense I’m worried about.

 

17. Portland Trailblazers- LaMarcus Aldridge vows this years Blazers team will make the playoffs.

 

18. Detroit Pistons- Two big additions with the face of the franchise now Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.

 

19. Los Angeles Lakers- Much more athletic team then last year’s team, however their season still rides on the shoulders of Kobe Bryant’s return.

 

20. Cleveland Cavaliers- When will Andrew Bynum play? Oh yeah #1 pick Anthony Bennett has a sleeping disorder.

 

21. Atlanta Hawks- No Josh Smith… it’s Al Horford’s team now.

 

22. Toronto Raptors- Andrea Bargnani is now a Knick.

 

23. Charlotte Bobcats- Should improve in the win column with new center Al Jefferson.

 

24. Sacramento Kings- Will DeMarcus Cousins live up to hype of a max-contract deal.

 

25. Utah Jazz- Young talent is nice, but no quality point guard to dish the rock.

 

26. Milwaukee Bucks- Can new coach Larry Drew keep the rebuilding Bucks together?

 

27. Boston Celtics- New coach, new faces and no Rajon Rondo.

 

28. Orlando Magic- Another rebuilding year.. looking towards the 2014 NBA Draft.

 

29. Phoenix Suns- Traded away their best player Marcin Gortat.

 

30. Philadelphia 76ers- Many are predicting the Sixers to challenge for the all-time worst record of 9-73 (1972-73 Sixers).

For more NCAA NBA MLB NFL, Scores, Reviews, Previews, and Picks & Predictions,  feel free to check out our sections from the tabs on top of the page where I will be updating on a daily basis

Would you like to show off your writing skills? opinions? for the sports world to see? If so feel free to contribute and we will publish your stories and reviews Info@wonder-punter.net

By Mario Martinez – WonderPunter

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Ex-Celt player, Lakers coach Sharman dies

Hall of Famer Bill Sharman, a member of three Celtics championships as a player who then coached the Lakers to their first championship in Los Angeles, died Friday at age 87, his spouse informed the Los Angeles Occasions.

Sharman had suffered a stroke last week and died at his home in Redondo Beach, Calif., Joyce Sharman mentioned.

Bill SharmanBill Sharman constructed a Hall of Fame taking part in profession with the Celtics earlier than turning into a profitable coach and then common manager.

An eight-time All-Star with the Celtics, Sharman averaged 17.8 points in an eleven-year taking part in profession.

He was on the 1958-59 Celtics crew that won the primary title of an eventual eight in a row. He stopped taking part in after the 1960-sixty one season at the age of 34.

“The Boston Celtics group was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Invoice Sharman as we speak,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in an announcement. “Invoice was one among a handful of individuals which have been enshrined in the Corridor of Fame as a player for his exploits on the court and for his guidance in teaching from the sidelines. Invoice mixed with Bob Cousy to kind one of many dominant backcourts of their era successful four championships collectively. The Celtic family has misplaced an ideal buddy at present.”

Sharman started teaching the Lakers in 1971. The Lakers had misplaced six occasions to the Celtics in the Finals between 1962 and 1970.

But every thing clicked with that staff. Led by Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Gail Goodrich, the Lakers received a record 33 video games in a row through the common season. They beat Walt Frazier and the Knicks in the Finals, 4-1.

West, now an govt board member with the Golden State Warriors, stated in a statement that news of Sharman’s loss of life was “a really unhappy day for me.”

“Invoice Sharman was, indisputably, one of many best human beings I’ve ever met and certainly one of my all-time favorite individuals, both as a competitor and as a pal,” West stated.

“He was the epitome of sophistication and dignity and, I can guarantee you, we discover few males of his character in this world. I prolong my deepest sympathy to his spouse, Joyce, and his kids. We are going to miss him.”

After teaching the Lakers for four more seasons, Sharman grew to become general supervisor and later staff president. He was GM until 1982 and was liable for drafting Magic Johnson and winning titles in 1980 and ’82.

Sharman was inducted into the Corridor of Fame as a player in 1976 and as a coach in 2004.

In a statement from the Lakers, group president Jeanie Buss stated: “Regardless of his greatness as a participant, coach and government, Bill was one of the sweetest, nicest and most humble individuals I’ve ever identified. He was truly considered one of a kind.”

Lakers general supervisor Mitch Kupchak additionally praised Sharman.

“Invoice Sharman was a terrific man, and I beloved him dearly,” Kupchak mentioned in the statement. “From the time I signed with the workforce as a free agent in 1981 when Bill was General Manager, he’s been a mentor, a work collaborator, and most significantly, a pal.”

The Lakers observed a second of silence for Sharman earlier than Friday evening’s preseason game against the visiting Utah Jazz.

“Just a great ambassador for the game,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said earlier than the game. “Nice participant, great coach, great particular person. It is one thing you hate to see. It’s inevitable, but he led an ideal life and left us very rich for it.”

Info from ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin was used in this report.

For more NCAA NBA MLB NFL, Scores, Reviews, Previews, and Picks & Predictions,  feel free to check out our sections from the tabs on top of the page where I will be updating on a daily basis

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Source: Kobe in germany for work on his knee

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Kobe Bryant is in Germany and can endure the platelet-rich plasma treatment often called Orthokine on his right knee, a source confirmed to ESPNLosAngeles.com on Thursday.

Bryant underwent the same remedy on his right knee in Germany in 2011.

Yahoo! Sports activities earlier reported that the Los Angeles Lakers star was touring to Germany for the treatment.

The Lakers stated Thursday that Bryant had left the country Wednesday night to endure an undisclosed medical process not related to the torn Achilles he suffered in April. The team stated it expects him again early subsequent week.

Kobe BryantJayne Kamin-Oncea/USA AS WE SPEAK Sports activitiesKobe Bryant, pictured with the Lakers for media day last weekend, is anticipated to return to the staff early next week.

Bryant, 35, did not speak with Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni prior to this departure. He did go over his plans with Lakers coach Gary Vitti, who then informed D’Antoni.

“I do not assume it’s a surprise,” D’Antoni stated Thursday of Bryant’s procedure. “I think he had it programmed, and simply the way in which it was, he knew he had time as a result of he’s not getting on the court yet. So I don’t assume it’s a big deal, and I don’t suppose it caught him unexpectedly. As a substitute of doing it in August, he is doing it now.

“There isn’t any concern in any respect.”

A spokesman for Bryant declined comment. Rob Pelinka, Bryant’s agent, could not instantly be reached for remark.

D’Antoni estimated Bryant could be gone from the group for a few days.

Leaving the United States for medical attention is nothing new for the star guard. He traveled to Germany twice in 2011 – once in the summertime and once within the fall – to undergo platelet-rich plasma remedy on his left ankle and proper knee.

Kobe’s procedure involves removing blood from the affected space and spinning it in a centrifuge. Molecules that trigger inflammatory responses are then removed to create a serum that is injected back into the affected area.

“It labored out properly,” Lakers forward Pau Gasol stated when asked about Bryant’s earlier journey to Germany. “He mentioned he was a brand new man with a brand-new knee. He mentioned it felt lots better. I suppose that’s why he’s going back, to get another boost.”

Bryant’s docs have stated the remedy is like a tune-as much as his knee, one which should be maintained.

Bryant had deliberate to return to Germany in the summer of 2012 for the same procedure on his right knee but decided against it. He received a gold medal while taking part in for Crew USA that summer in London.

“No,” Bryant said throughout coaching camp last 12 months when requested if he visited Dr. Peter Wehling, the physician accountable for the innovative blood manipulation approach, once more. “I used to be slightly busy.”

Bryant did some light jogging and set capturing previous to follow Wednesday, his first on-court docket participation in training camp because it opened final weekend.

The Lakers haven’t supplied a timetable on Bryant’s return from the Achilles damage apart from saying in April that he can be back in six to 9 months.

The Lakers scrimmaged Thursday with Jodie Meeks taking part in taking pictures guard with the first unit as a result of Nick Young sprained his ankle. Young is day-to-day and is not expected to play in the crew’s preseason opener Saturday against the Golden State Warriors.

Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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The NBA, A-through-Z: ‘X,’ or, ‘players entering their tenth season.’

Dwight Howard, 10-12 months NBA veteran (Getty Photographs)

The free brokers have nearly all been signed up. The NBA is right down to a collection of Instagram photographs from moving yachts and crossed fingers from worried groups hoping their gamers stay protected in the summertime off. There’s nothing happening, save for that clock on the wall that’s ticking down to the 2013-14 season.

And it’s transferring SO SLOWLY.

This is why we’ve determined to choose 26 things we’re wanting forward to in 2013-14. Or, on the very least, 26 things that intrigue us as we wait out an offseason that feels prefer it has 1000’s of miles left to cross earlier than we will get to Halloween and opening week. As a result of there are 26 letters within the alphabet – you guessed, NBA A-by-Z.

We proceed with ‘X,’ or, ‘players entering their tenth season.’

Dwight Howard – The Superstar

Because of the quickness of his explicit resolution and, some would say, bravery of his alternative in deciding on the Houston Rockets as a free agent suitor, Howard’s repute took in a much-needed shot in the arm in early July. Even whereas debilitated by again and shoulder pain final season, and dealing with an ever-altering array in ball-dominating cohorts in Los Angeles (underneath a coach that didn’t also have a training camp), Howard nonetheless obtained 17 votes for All-NBA First Group, even if he didn’t deal with himself all that effectively professionally. With one more solely new system to adapt to in Houston, Howard would be the most ardently-adopted new face within the NBA in 2013-14. We hope he’s prepared for one more wholesome serving of exterior stress.

Emeka Okafor – The Respected Veteran

Passed over, in a shock to many that’s too-often forgotten practically a decade later, for Howard as the highest general choose within the 2004 draft, Okafor is on his third NBA staff, and looking to make up for his disastrous lone playoff showing from 2011. Emeka was one of the main lights for a Washington Wizards crew that break up its last 50 video games after a 4-28 begin to the 2012-13 season, serving to anchoring one of the league’s best defenses. Okafor has remained consistent, if unspectacular over the last four seasons, however he’s additionally nearing 31, and the Wizards aren’t exactly a lock for the East’s playoff bracket in 2013-14.

Shaun Livingston – The Survivor

It was Livingston – not Howard, and definitely not Okafor – that grew to become a darling of the NBA League Pass set throughout his temporary stretches of play during his first two seasons. His dimension, combined with a loping handle and sound inside court vision, made him a should-watch straight out of high school. Livingston wasn’t precisely slated for stardom halfway by means of his third season, but was anticipated to be a key cog in an up and coming Los Angeles Clippers crew before his crippling knee injury in 2007. The Brooklyn Nets backup is now on his seventh group (not counting second stints in Charlotte and Washington), and at age 27 Livingston managed to post the best Player Efficiency Ranking of his profession in 2012-thirteen. Coming into his prime, that is as good as comebacks get.

Josh Smith – The Enigma

For years, the wonder behind Josh Smith’s up and down play for the Atlanta Hawks at all times came all the way down to the setting. Was his inconsistency and at-occasions iffy shot selection a product of only realizing one system (mainly, unfold out over two head coaches), one workforce, and one city? Or was he to stay a project-type deep into his 30s? On a unique staff for the first time in his career, one that’s stuffed with players which have their very own mitigating criticisms, Smith now has a chance to show that those 20-footers were always someone else’s fault. Enjoy the ride, Detroit.

All coronary heart, grit, and grind. (Getty Pictures) Tony Allen – The Goofball

Some 4 and a half years ago, Allen ranked as public enemy number one by Boston Celtics followers. Tony played a skittish model of ball in the crew’s first round win over the Chicago Bulls, reportedly fearful over retribution for a Chicago-area taking pictures that occurred in 2005 for which Allen was round for, but not implicated in. Sent to Memphis to resurrect his career, he’s responded by turning into one of the league’s top defenders and … nicely, he’s nonetheless type of a large number on offense. Still, Allen’s effusive persona and hilarious Twitter web page have endeared him to local fans, and earned him a new free agent deal in 2013.

Kevin Martin – The Employed Gun

Martin’s ascension came at a time when a whole new era of NBA followers began to pay attention to issues like per-minute statistics, and general effectivity, which helped us recognize that the man who averaged simply 10.eight factors per recreation in his second 12 months might in some unspecified time in the future be able to a lot more. Like, “nearly two and a half times”-more, as evidenced by his 24.6 factors per contest for the Sacramento Kings in 2007-08. Dealt to Houston and then Oklahoma Metropolis to help shore up their offenses in the years since, Martin has now latched on in Minnesota, re-uniting with Rick Adelman – the coach that guided him during these adolescence.

Andris Biedrins – The Reclamation Project

After he practically averaged a double-double in only 27 minutes per sport at age 21 in 2007-08, main the NBA in shooting proportion alongside the way in which, Biedrins regarded like an actual comer for his Golden State Warriors. He performed just as well the following season, but completely misplaced religion in his always-awkward free throw stroke in the years since. Teams responded by fouling deliberately, and Biedrins started to play a timid fashion of ball, all while working on a boo-inducing six-year, $54 million contract. Traded to Utah over the summer season as a draft pick-gaining asset, and fewer of a enjoying asset, Biedrins will attempt to re-find the boldness that led him to change into one of many NBA’s greatest younger centers. With just 19 free throws made in seventy eight total tries since 2009, he has a long way to go.

Al Jefferson – The Go-To Guy

The low post demon has served as a force down low for a rebuilding Boston Celtics crew, a rebuilding Minnesota Timberwolves workforce, and a mediocre Utah Jazz staff over the previous couple of years, all the time getting as many touches as he may handle with teams that were desperate for his scoring. Just 28, he’ll be requested to work in his prime for a suitably-desperate Charlotte Bobcats squad, one which finished 28th in offense final 12 months before throwing three years and over $forty million at Massive Al. One problem with that? Someway, the Bobcats fared even worse defensively last year, ranking last in the league, and Jefferson is more than conscious that he owns a reasonably poor status as a defender.

Andre Iguodala – The Respected One

Even although Iguodala doesn’t have the offensive juice needed to guide a team deep into the playoffs (Philadelphia’s 2012 trip, over a Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah-less Bulls squad and in opposition to an ancient Boston Celtics team, doesn’t rely), that doesn’t imply he isn’t one of the NBA’s most coveted throughout skills. Denver badly needed Dre before buying and selling for him last yr, and Golden State normal manager Bob Myers drove himself batty trying to clear cap area to put Iguodala on the Warriors this summer. Golden State has its offense in place, now they’re anticipating the defensive-minded Iguodala to put them excessive.

Kris Humphries – The Punchline

Known mostly for his sham of a marriage to a actuality tv present participant, his low (or, “least”) likability, and numerous d-baggy exploits, Kris Humphries will try and extricate himself from his persona and re-set up himself as a basketball player-first with the Boston Celtics this yr. At age 28, Humphries in all probability sees Boston as one final attempt to LOL I can’t even write this with a straight face. Sorry Boston followers, you deserve higher.

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The Golden State Warriors are now worth $800 million, $350 million more than their 2010 sale

Joe Lacob celebrates his success (Rocky Widner/ Getty).

During the 2010 lockout, many NBA homeowners had been quick to complain about the fee at which they had been losing money. While the obtainable proof backed up their claims, the argument misplaced some credibility given the exorbitant prices at which franchises bought once they went in the marketplace. Even when teams lost an excessive amount of money in any consecutive seasons, the difference between owners’ buy and sale charges would web a substantial revenue. Considered as an entire, the enterprise enterprise could be a sensible one.

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The fee at which franchises admire in value can nonetheless be a bit of startling. Take, as an illustration, the case of the Golden State Warriors, bought in 2010 by Joe Lacob, Peter Guber, and various different partners for $450 million. When one-time minority owner Vivek Ranadive bought the Sacramento Kings, he needed to put his portion of the Warriors up on the market. He has a buyer, and the value puts the Warriors in the higher echelon of NBA franchise values. From Darren Rovell for ESPN.com:

Less than three years after the 2 agreed to pay the very best worth ever for an NBA franchise, the workforce is now valued at $800 million, in line with a source with data of the phrases.

The new valuation comes from the worth Silicon Valley venture capitalist Mark Stevens agreed to pay for a share of the crew that was made available when former accomplice Vivek Ranadive needed to promote it to purchase the Sacramento Kings in Might.

In a manner, Ranadive’s agreement to pay about $550 million for 72 percent of the Kings and their existing enviornment helped his outdated partners sell their stake for much more. The $800 million number is still shocking, on condition that Forbes magazine valued the Warriors in January at $555 million. Warriors spokesman Raymond Ridder declined to touch upon the new valuation or the proportion that Stevens bought.

Stevens, the managing partner of S-Cubed Capital in Menlo Park, Calif., was presumably not only paying for the current, but in addition for the long run. Final 12 months, the group introduced its intention to build a privately funded area in San Francisco, which is still going by the mandatory approvals. If all goes effectively, the ownership group hopes to have it open in time for the 2017-18 season.

That Forbes valuation ranked the Warriors as the seventh most useful franchise in the NBA. Based mostly on these figures, Golden State would now be tied for the third-most beneficial with the Chicago Bulls, behind solely the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks. That’s an enormous achievement for a staff used to selecting in the course of the lottery. Apparently Stevens seemed fondly upon the Warriors’ 2012-thirteen performance, Lacob’s enhancements to the franchise, and the planned enviornment on the San Francisco waterfront.

Of course, this worth did not rise in a vacuum — as Rovell notes, it’s linked to the value Ranadive paid for the Kings. Nevertheless, that $550 million valuation was inspired partially by the $625 million marked by the Seattle-based mostly ownership group led by investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, which had no problems sweetening their preliminary supply of $500 million once Sacramento received severe about protecting their workforce. The pretty uncommon circumstances of the Seattle/Sacramento fight ended up driving up the value of the Kings’ closest NBA neighbor, and Lacob is probably going fairly pleased about it.

Yet, if the Kings’ sale impacted the Warriors’ value in part because of their geographical proximity, it is not hard to see how the sale of Ranadive’s minority stake may have a extra widespread impact on NBA values. The Warriors are a special case because of the immense wealth and high way of life within the San Francisco Bay Space, but they had been also a poorly run franchise prior to Lacob’s ownership. This $800 million valuation probably will not change into a new normal, but it does set a special sort of baseline for franchises. It doesn’t matter what, this valuation will drive up the common value of NBA ownership, as a result of it’s a relative market. The Warriors are now value $800 million because related examples recommend that they’re — it’s not as if Stevens agreed to this figure simply because he had enough cash at his disposal. Like most businessmen, he wants a deal on smart terms.

Still, a 78 p.c rise in valuation over lower than three years is jarring, an explosion extra commonly associated with tech startups than with the more static markets of sports activities franchises. In a broader market, it would look a lot like a symptom of a bubble. Alternatively, NBA possession stakes go available on the market hardly ever sufficient that these valuations can doubtless rise for quite a while (until the inevitable plateau) — there only needs to be one particular person keen to pay for every spot for it to persist. From the homeowners’ perspective, it is a sustainable system.

But that doesn’t mean it is a good thing for everyone involved with the NBA. Franchise values may continue to rise, however the homeowners will stay centered on getting each potential concession they can from the players’ union at collective bargaining talks. Until annual losses become much larger, homeowners will still have the more and more welcoming safety net of franchise value to interrupt their falls. If that looming revenue runs concurrent with lockouts, then we might be looking at a future through which players and administration are continuous adversaries quite than equal partners no matter the well being of the league. It is a recipe for volatility, even if the funds look better than ever.

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The 10-man rotation, starring Blake Griffin accepting that the Clippers’ hopes rest on him

The ball’s in Blake Griffin’s court docket now. (Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Pictures)

A look around the league and the Internet that covers it. It is also important to notice that the rotation order and beginning nods aren’t always listed so as of importance. That’s for you, expensive reader, to figure out.

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C: ESPN Los Angeles. In a current interview, Chris Paul said the Los Angeles Clippers will only go as far as power forward Blake Griffin — already a a number of-time All-Star at age 24, but with multiple holes nonetheless remaining in his sport — can take them. Griffin responds to his level guard’s feedback, and sounds able to take duty for L.A. making it previous the second round of the playoffs this coming season.

PF: RealGM. With 2010 No. 1 overall decide John Wall fresh off inking a max extension and several other classmates (Paul George, Larry Sanders, perhaps DeMarcus Cousins) looking more likely to be part of him, Jonathan Tjarks appears at seven ’10 draftees who find themselves with out an NBA employer as 2013 training camp approaches and tries to figure out where each went astray.

SF: SB Nation. Really sharp work from Scott Schroeder on the current historical past of “American draft-and-stash gamers” — those who have been drafted into the NBA within the second round out of high school, faculty or the D-League, who actually made their pro debuts abroad — and their considerably scattershot success rate, and what meaning for ’13 draftees Colton Iverson, Mike Muscala, Pierre Jackson, Erick Green, James Ennis, DeShaun Thomas and Alex Oriakhi, all of whom will start their pro careers outdoors the NBA this yr.

SG: The Two Man Recreation, in four parts. I dug Bryan Gutierrez’s fast-hit word-association breakdown of the complete Dallas Mavericks roster, summing up the roles gamers will be expected to play, the crew’s transferring and shaking this offseason, the challenges to be confronted in the season ahead and far more.

PG: HoopChalk. Jacob Frankel takes a look at how new head coach Mike Malone would possibly look to tighten up the Sacramento Kings’ league-worst choose-and-roll protection by using some of the techniques that helped the Golden State Warriors rise from the bottom of the NBA to the center of the pack over the past two seasons.

6th: Pro Hoops Historical past. Curtis Harris highlights Paul Johnson, “a very terrifying offensive drive” who led the NBA in scoring for 3 straight years in the mid-nineteen fifties but whom nobody remembers as a result of his peak fell between the eras of Mikan and Russell. I like how Harris puts it: “Dynasties get the glory, interregnums gets a shoulder shrug.”

7th: Grantland. Shea Serrano’s Textual content Messages to Dwight Howard might be the funniest running bit within the NBA writing game right now. I burst out laughing not less than once each installment.

8th: A Wolf Among Wolves. Steve McPherson teases out one strand from Jonathan Abrams’ nice profile on Jonny Flynn — which Our Fearless Leader mentioned earlier — into a longer meditation on how much it sucks when shifting from passion to occupation sucks the joy out of the thing you love. It is one thing to which I feel loads of us can relate, it doesn’t matter what our jobs or hobbies.

9th: r/NBA. These eight-bit headshots of five players from each NBA team are simply improbable.

10th: Scorching Hot Hoops. The Miami Warmth as soon as again look loaded and ready to make a run for a fourth straight NBA finals look and third consecutive championship, however given his shaky playoff performance and amid the slight shifts of their roster makeup — out goes Mike Miller, in comes Greg Oden — what sort of position can we count on Udonis Haslem to play this season?

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The NBA, A-through-Z: Competitive balance

LeBron James and Roy Hibbert ply their trade (Getty Images)

The free brokers have nearly all been signed up. The NBA is down to a sequence of Instagram pictures from transferring yachts and crossed fingers from nervous teams hoping their gamers keep protected in the summertime off. There’s nothing happening, save for that clock on the wall that’s ticking all the way down to the 2013-14 season.

And it’s shifting SO SLOWLY.

This is why we’ve determined to select 26 issues we’re trying ahead to in 2013-14. Or, on the very least, 26 issues that intrigue us as we wait out an offseason that feels prefer it has hundreds of miles left to cross earlier than we will get to Halloween and opening week. As a result of there are 26 letters within the alphabet – you guessed, NBA A-by way of-Z.

We proceed with competitive steadiness.

Some would well argue that the idea of “aggressive stability” within the NBA is a laughable one, and that may be a soundly prepared sizzling sports activities take. We’re yet to absorb the total breadth of what the 2011 lockout and eventual NBA collective bargaining settlement has given the league, even after an clever summer, but what we do know is that a goodly chunk of NBA teams have run screaming away from the posh tax, while a number of seem to be barely bothered by paying it. That’s not exactly the fiscal outlook the NBA was looking for.

If they had been ever honestly looking for it, that’s. On Monday, Denver Stiffs’ Jeffrey Morton published a incredible column wanting at the new and partially hid Great Divide that the NBA has created:

I have mentioned repeatedly since 2011 that the NBA lockout had much less to do with aggressive balance than it did extracting a bit more cash from the NBPA. Whereas it is more durable for super teams, such as the one in Miami to form (as a result of new commerce restrictions for tax paying teams) it does not stop giant market groups who’re prepared to pay a bit greater than they did before to bring an excellent group collectively. The luxurious tax won’t prevent large market teams from going in to the tax threshold, they only should be barely extra artistic than earlier than.

It’s not that the massive-to-enormous market teams are attempting to completely dodge the luxury tax. As a substitute, they’re attempting to miss out on the repeater tax, something that comes from consecutive tax-paying years, resulting in stiffer penalties for every time that toe is dipped into the $seventy two million-plus water. This doesn’t essentially mean teams are shedding for this summer season, they’re just prepping to re-instrument in 2014 across the similar excessive-priced talent, miss the tax, and plunge right in soon after.

Meanwhile, you have got a team within the Denver Nuggets – one which prints money with its Wal-Mart funding – avoiding the tax at all prices. You may have the sellout-incomes Oklahoma City Thunder dumping James Harden to then not contend for Kevin Martin during free agency before deciding not to pay Kendrick Perkins to not play basketball for him, while tossing out the untested Jeremy Lamb and a center picked within the lower part of the lottery as its “LOOK OUT MIAMI!”-fearsome 2013-14 unit. Whew.

And the Bulls will waive Carlos Boozer next year despite a quarter-century of through-the-roof profits. And the Indiana Pacers must mind each penny. And the beat goes on …

With that in place, lower than two years and just three technical offseasons into the brand new CBA, we nonetheless don’t know how it will all shake out. Possibly this league will function a litany of baseball-styled top-heavy and decrease-rung payrolls. Then again, possibly the house owners deserve what they’re getting after over a decade of silly spending and poor planning within the years following the 1998-99 lockout.

The followers, of course, deserve none of this.

In the place of that frustration, though, comes the 2013-14 campaign. One that could produce a ridiculously-entertaining common and postseason – even if it ends with the identical end result, and LeBron James hoisting the trophy for the third straight June.

In his convention alone the Indiana Pacers have considerably upgraded their roster in ways that don’t even factor former All-Star Danny Granger’s attainable presence. The Chicago Bulls have gotten severe once more, and will add a playmaker and shooter in Mike Dunleavy Jr. to, oh yeah, associate with the return of 2010-eleven NBA MVP Derrick Rose. The Knicks, for all of the laughs we’ve had at their expense, might genuinely improve on the play (if not the document) of the crew’s fifty four-win season from final 12 months. And for a team loaded with gamers we’ve seen play hundreds of instances, the Brooklyn Nets stay an interesting and unpredictable wild card.

Meanwhile, the Thunder still boast two of the league’s greatest players, children that also improving year by yr. The San Antonio Spurs aren’t going anyplace, the Golden State Warriors have loaded up on more wing expertise and must be wholesome by October, the Memphis Grizzlies still don’t like it when you rating on them, the Los Angeles Clippers have an actual (profitable! Not to denigrate!) coach now, and the Houston Rockets simply added Dwight Howard.

(And the Lakers will probably be on national TELEVISION 25 times subsequent year!)

This remains to be going to be a wildly entertaining year, because as fun as 2012-13 turned out to be, it didn’t feature anyplace close to the amount of championship-stage threats as 2013-14 ought to. Well being-prepared, and tankers-forgotten, this should develop into one thing particular.

Now we’ll just need to see how much the homeowners will destroy things between now and the next lockout.

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10 other intriguing, noteworthy games worth watching on the 2013-14 NBA schedule

Sacramento Kings followers will have many reasons to cheer once they tip off this season. (Rocky Widner/Getty)

When the NBA launched the full 2013-14 regular-season schedule on Tuesday evening, intrepid Yahoo! Sports activities NBA columnist Marc J. Spears immediately made his picks for the ten must-see matchups of the forthcoming season, giving hoop fans the dates he believes most merit circling on the brand new NBA calendar. While we would by no means presume to contradict our colleague, in a slate this huge, there’s bound to be a slew of different video games value keeping track of, so why not dig a bit deeper?

Eric Freeman has discovered 10 he liked in each of the past two seasons, and this 12 months, he is invited Dan Devine along to pick a number of he is keen to look at. Here’s what they came up with:

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Denver Nuggets at Sacramento Kings: Oct. 30. When the Kings final played in mid-April, their future was unsure, with the NBA’s Board of Governors but to weigh in on their potential sale to the Seattle-based ownership group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. Might’s decision and subsequent sale to the local group headed by Vivek Ranadivé has saved the group in Sacramento, as well as given your complete franchise new hope after several years of subpar management from Joe and Gavin Maloof. It is a new day for the team and its fans.

The last few years have seen passionate assist from devoted Kings followers on game nights when it appeared as if the franchise was close to relocation. This season’s residence opener can be a different, an event outlined not a lot by desperation as the pride and optimism that comes with a fresh begin. It will likely be a starting, not the potential finish of a protracted journey. — Eric Freeman

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder: Nov. 1. As I wrote earlier this offseason, I am not totally sure that bringing in/again Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger, Corey Brewer and first-spherical choose Shabazz Muhammad (especially while subtracting Andrei Kirilenko) will make the Wolves a demonstrably better basketball team this season. I do, nonetheless, assume those acquisitions will assist make Minnesota a greater offensive workforce, especially when mixed with a completely healthy (fingers crossed) Kevin Love, a version of Ricky Rubio who’s had a full NBA offseason with out rehabbing from a catastrophic knee injury and (provided this glacial contract course of ultimately culminates in a re-signing) a healthy, rested and paid Nikola Pekovic.

I think that Minnesota team will be, if not glorious, then not less than immensely watchable on a night-to-evening foundation because of improved outdoors capturing, punishing inside-out play from Love and Pekovic, the always-appointment-viewing passing of Rubio and a new slew of active wings capable of activating offense in Rick Adelman’s nook scheme. I’m additionally willing to consider the chance that they will be better than I anticipate defensively, as they were in 2011-12 earlier than Rubio’s torn ACL despatched the team careening off the trail. At worst, they’re going to be fun; at greatest, they could be a risk. So let’s line them up against perhaps one of the best team within the Western Conference — a group led by Love’s Team USA buddy, Kevin Durant, and whose second-in-command, Russell Westbrook, is on observe to be back from the knee injury he suffered through the playoffs — and see which path these Wolves are on.

Also, I bear in mind this happening:

… and, seeing the prospect of early-season well being for all involved, I am very amped. — Dan Devine

Detroit Pistons vs. Washington Wizards: Oct. 30 (Opening Night), Dec. 28, Dec. 30, Jan. 18. At first look, this is the kind of mid-profile sport that pops up on the NBA schedule each night time, a nondescript contest between two playoff hopefuls with comparatively small margins of error (and injury). But, from one other vantage, it is a matchup that makes League Go the most effective bargains in your cable company’s order form.

This offseason, the Pistons dedicated themselves to watchability after several seasons within the aesthetic doldrums, acquiring level guard Brandon Jennings and mercurial ahead Josh Smith to affix man-youngster Andre Drummond and the skilled Greg Monroe. The Wizards, alternatively, have probably the most promising younger trios within the league in max-level point guard John Wall, capturing guard Bradley Beal, and rookie ahead Otto Porter. Their 4 matchups this season could not qualify as main games between contenders, however they provide startling potential for the random leisure that makes the NBA so watchable on a nightly basis. — EF

Andrew Bynum’s return to Philly must be fascinating. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Photographs) Philadelphia 76ers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nov. 8 and Nov. 9. A home-and-residence, back-to-back, Friday-and-Saturday pair that includes the staff that simply signed growth/bust lottery ticket Andrew Bynum and the group whose new CEO just needed to apologize for the previous regime buying and selling for him feels like a pretty closely emotional and compelling set. Plus, the double-dip takes place early sufficient in the season that Philadelphia can neither be mathematically eliminated from anything yet or do too much harm to their tanking strategy by winning, so they may find some compelling incentive to attempt to win. Sincere(ish) competition!

If Bynum is, as planned, able to go for training camp and capable of stay upright/cellular by way of the beginning of the season — hey, it’s nonetheless the offseason, let’s stay optimistic — this might represent the first opportunity for Sixers fans to really see the 7-foot center play stay skilled basketball, which the Wells Fargo Heart devoted will likely reward with either polite applause or hurled hunks of jagged, flaming particles. It is unlikely that eventual centerpiece/2013 lottery choose Nerlens Noel can have returned from rehabbing his torn ACL in time to do something more than watch this one from the sidelines, however even when that is all he does, as we discovered last year, there’s fun available simply watching an apparently coiffed big man trip the pine for Philly.

Also, in on-courtroom terms, it ought to be fun to see which weapons All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving brings out to combat Sixers rookie Michael Carter-Williams, whose 6-foot-6 body and quickness suggest an intriguing defensive prospect. My guess? Whichever weapons Kyrie desires, early, typically and repeatedly, persevering with a brutal starting to the Syracuse product’s NBA career that will see him face the Miami Heat, then need to examine Irving twice, John Wall twice, Derrick Rose (hopefully), Stephen Curry and Tony Parker inside his first two weeks as a professional. Welcome to the NBA, younger fella. — DD

Houston Rockets at Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder: Dec. 29. The James Harden trade is certain to define any matchup between these teams for the following a number of seasons, or a minimum of so long as it represents the moment at which the Thunder inadvertently turned a rival right into a contender while concurrently hurting their very own possibilities at a title. Despite no matter occasions received them up to now, though, these two groups figure to be two of the West’s top groups for the foreseeable future, longer than the aging (if also ageless) San Antonio Spurs, the Chris Paul-dependent Los Angeles Clippers, and the more tenuously successful Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies. Each rosters function young-ish stars with room to develop (or, in the case of Dwight Howard, return to prominence), and their general managers appear to have sufficient flexibility to improve their groups when vital.

The Harden trade, then, is nearly a distraction from the instant pleasure of watching two exciting, superb groups play each other several instances per season. The season’s first matchup ought to remind us that each one our chatter about storylines exists to organize us for what really issues: the video games. — EF

Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors: Dec. thirteen. Two seasons in the past, these teams finished in the draft lottery. Final season, they climbed up into the Western Convention’s top eight behind the electrical guard play of James Harden and Stephen Curry, with Houston giving the (shorthanded) Thunder a rough go of it in Spherical 1 and the Dubs turning into postseason individuals’s champs by knocking off the Denver Nuggets and scaring the daylights out of the San Antonio Spurs. This season, they’ve made arguably the 2 largest pickups of the offseason, particularly on the defensive finish, with the Rockets landing All-Star heart Dwight Howard to anchor the interior and the Warriors executing a 3-group sign-and-trade to import Andre Iguodala to lock down the perimeter. (And lest we overlook, the Warriors had been one of many few teams granted a free-agent audience with Howard, who reportedly came away very impressed with Golden State’s workers and group.)

Both ranked in the prime five in possessions per game last season, so they like to rise up and down the ground. Both ranked within the prime 11 in points per possession, too, in order that they know what to do with the ball as soon as they cross half-courtroom. They both seem to have improved across the board, supplementing their major acquisitions with smart lower-key add-ons that seem to have bolstered their benches and neatly fleshed out their rotations. And their 4 conferences last season were bookended by Houston hanging 140 on the Warriors earlier than Mark Jackson ordered intentional fouls to keep the Rockets from setting an NBA record for made three-pointers, and Curry going off for 29 points and eleven dimes as Golden State blew Houston out by 30. Draymond Green says he doesn’t like the Rockets; the sensation, we’re certain, is mutual, and I’m betting Howard hasn’t forgotten that stray elbow from Golden State energy forward David Lee while Dwight was carrying purple and gold.

Add up the scoring, the speed, the sparks that have flown between the two groups and the inimitable spirit of the Oracle followers, and I am betting that Friday night matchup’s going to be value staying house to catch. — DD

Expect Andrew Wiggins to be a significant matter of dialog in 2014. (Sam Forencich/Getty)

Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic: March 2. Although much is subject to alter over the subsequent 10 months, the 2014 NBA draft seems to be the strongest on the prime since Greg Oden and Kevin Durant entered the league in 2007. It figures, then, that the league’s worst teams will interact in a similar rush to the underside to increase their lottery odds, all in the hopes of nabbing a future famous person in June.

The Sixers and Magic aren’t certain to end up as the NBA’s backside two squads in 2013-14, however they’re likely to challenge for the league’s dunce cap. As such, their closing matchup in March may have a big impact on the lottery, and by extension the next decade of basketball. (Or, you understand, possibly the team with the second decide will find yourself with the far better participant.) — EF

New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Path Blazers: Dec. 21. If not for the Pistons, the Pelicans might need entered the season as the league’s most intriguing group. A lottery squad in each of the final two seasons after Chris Paul’s departure, the Pelicans elected to make a push for respectability next 12 months by trading its prime picks in 2013 (which wound up being Kentucky middle Noel) and 2014 (a high-5 protected choice) to the 76ers for All-Star level guard Jrue Holiday. They then engineered a 3-team deal to import former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, with visions of versatile wing lineups featuring some mixture of these two, reportedly-now-healthy maxed-out shooting guard Eric Gordon and 2012 first-rounder Austin Rivers making issues occur on the perimeter, opening up opportunities for emerging beast Anthony Davis and flooring-stretching marksman Ryan Anderson.. offered, in fact, all of it comes collectively.

Quiet as it’s saved, though, the Blazers (who’ve also missed the playoffs in each of the final two seasons) have made an identical push toward relevance, drafting exciting small-faculty combo guard C.J. McCollum to both pair with and again up reigning Rookie of the Yr Damian Lillard, and making a number of shrewd strikes (signing swingman Dorell Wright, snaring 2011 lottery choose Thomas Robinson for a pair of second-round picks, landing middle Robin Lopez within the three-teamer that despatched Evans to New Orleans) that seem to have fortified what was arguably the league’s worst bench final season.. supplied, in fact, it all comes collectively.

By the time these teams meet at the Rose Backyard, Portland will have performed 27 games and New Orleans could have performed 24. They will have had nearly three months because the begin of coaching camp to have labored out rotations, began to develop chemistry amongst all the brand new and current items, and have had the opportunity to figure out whether their respective pushes towards capital-m Mattering in the NBA playoff conversation seem ready to take off or have stalled, which is interesting sufficient in a macro sense. And from an instantaneous run-of-play perspective, the sheer array of interesting combine-and-match talents on the ground — Davis’ awkward-yet-easy apositional frontcourt box-checking, LaMarcus Aldridge’s considerably Boshian 4/5 bristling, extra ball-dealing with guards who can play the nominal one or two than you would shake a stick at, outsized threes/small-ball fours Nicolas Batum and Al-Farouq Aminu, and so forth. — to make this a enjoyable watch in and of itself that might wind up telling us one thing more about the Western playoff picture.

And if all that does not tickle your fancy, I’ve acquired 4 words for you: Robin Lopez Revenge Sport. — DD

Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks: April 16. The final evening of the 2012-13 season featured an excessive amount of excitement, with Stephen Curry setting a brand new file for 3-pointers in a season, the Los Angeles Lakers avoiding embarrassment and clinching a playoff berth, and Sacramento Kings fans doubtlessly watching their workforce for the final time. Solely time will tell what 2013-14’s finale brings, but we can bet it’s going to be magical.

One thing we do know, not less than as of this writing, is that a national TELEVISION viewers will get to benefit from the season-closing tilt between the Hawks and Bucks on ESPN. It appears as though the Worldwide Chief has banked on these squads battling for a playoff spot, and it sure looks like a doozy. Will Jeff Teague rating 20 points and switch the tide in a number of fantasy leagues? Will Ersan Ilyasova take a nap in the course of the third quarter? Will Al Horford and Paul Millsap even have to play? Keep tuned for “SportsCenter!” — EF

When Rudy returns to Memphis, neither he nor Z-Bo figure to be smiling. (Joe Murphy/NBA/Getty Photographs) Toronto Raptors at Memphis Grizzlies: Nov. thirteen. The Raptors and Grizzlies faced off once last season after the trade that despatched Rudy Gay north of the border, but the meeting took place at the Air Canada Centre — Homosexual scored 13 points on 15 pictures, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph scored 17 apiece and the Grizzlies earned a six-level highway win. It will symbolize Homosexual’s first journey to FedEx Forum as a visitor after 6 half of seasons and more than 8,500 factors scored in a Grizzlies uniform.. and yet, you surprise if Memphians really miss his iso-heavy, accuracy-light, volume-taking pictures wing sport as much as his prior level of productivity would seem to dictate.

As I’ve written prior to now, Memphis improved on each ends of the floor after the three-workforce deal that despatched Homosexual to the Raptors, redistributing the possessions beforehand utilized by the athletic swingman to more environment friendly gamers like Conley, Randolph and (most notably) Marc Gasol whereas persevering with to lock down on the defensive end en route to a visit to the Western Convention finals — a level of success they by no means reached with Homosexual playing a pivotal role. However would that method — ditch shot-jacking, unfold responsibility around, emphasize elevated participant and ball motion, operate extra via the 2 huge guys and rating just enough to let your clamp-down D take you residence — be lauded fairly as a lot as it has been if Memphis is not successful?

What if the Grizzlies — who look robust again after re-upping perimeter defending ace Tony Allen, snaring amnestied shooter Mike Miller and trading for regular backup huge man Kosta Koufos — get off to a slow begin in opposition to a troublesome slate that includes the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, revamped Pistons, reloaded Warriors and Jap Conference doppelganger Indiana Pacers? What if Gay — his jumper instantly scorching after long-overdue offseason vision correction surgery — gets off to a sizzling begin and has Toronto wanting like they may compete for one of many East’s lower-tier playoff spots? Might those few lingering voices that take a look at Memphis and say, “It would be good to have someone who may reliably create his personal shot,” find some extra pals? Or has the Grindhouse come far enough to rest on what it is aware of about its group’s id, salute Rudy for his service and return concerning the business of not bluffing?

I suspect I do know the reply to that question, however like every part else we’re talking about right now, we won’t actually know for positive until the season gets getting in earnest; then, all of the questions we pore over during the summer time will likely be changed by entire new units of quandaries that we’ll spend the subsequent eight months attempting to solve. It’s going to be great. — DD

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Best USA Basketball Showcase highlight: Coast-to-coast ‘Brow, Wall’s putback, Barnes-on-Anderson or Kyrie’s everything? (Videos)

Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis shined in Thursday’s Showcase. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Photos)

USA Basketball’s four-day summer season mini-camp in Las Vegas closed up store Thursday evening with an intra-squad scrimmage that cut up the 28 young gamers vying for a slot on the U.S. men’s nationwide basketball crew and gave them a possibility to state their cases for inclusion on America’s 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup roster. The White crew beat the Blue crew 128-106 to win the 2013 USA Basketball Showcase in a recreation that hardly ever featured a lot structure or cohesion (par for the course when coping with players who’ve hardly ever performed together) but did function quite a few thrilling performs and feats of athleticism (par for the course when dealing with some of the greatest young expertise in the NBA, and likewise Creighton’s Doug McDermott).

In case you missed the sport — I am unable to believe you weren’t glued to NBA TV at 9 p.m. ET on a Thursday night in late July, slacker — here’s the top of the pops from the scrimmage. We start with Anthony Davis — who’s entering only his second NBA season with the New Orleans Pelicans however was also the one player in Vegas who’d really suited up for Workforce USA (when he remembered his jersey, not less than) — showcasing his all-court docket ability-set by turning eye-popping protection into thunderous offense:

Next up, presumably-soon-to-be-$80-million-man John Wall of the Washington Wizards getting as much as clean up a miss off the offensive glass:

The loudest individual moment of the sport, although, probably got here when Golden State Warriors swingman Harrison Barnes elected to remind Pelicans head coach and Team USA assistant Monty Williams why he is pretty uncomfortable with the concept of asking Ryan Anderson to protect fast dudes on the perimeter:

But probably the most consistently sensible factor on display Thursday was Cleveland Cavaliers level guard Kyrie Irving, who celebrated the announcement that he’ll appear on the duvet of “NBA Stay 14″ by exhibiting that he was the most effective participant on the floor, scoring 23 factors and dishing seven assists in just 19 minutes of motion to pace the White crew to the win:

Sure, that is a set of performs rather than one individual spotlight, however you possibly can make an argument that any of a number of the 21-yr-outdated triggerman’s shake-and-bake strikes — I’m pretty partial to the best-to-left crossover at :sixteen that leaves Damian Lillard and results in a finish over the laborious-foulin’ Greg Monroe, the break up of the decide-and-roll at finish at around the 50-second mark and the Shammgod at round 1:10 — go toe-to-toe with any of the dunks, I think.

So which one’s your favorite, and which gamers from Thursday’s scrimmage would you most wish to see don the pink, white and blue in Spain subsequent summer? Tell us in the comments below, on Fb or on Twitter.

(The real answer, after all, is Secret Possibility E: U.S. Air Pressure service member Nathaniel Mills throwing down a windmill in fatigues and boots. As soon as that occurred, all people — even Kyrie — was enjoying for second.)

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The Las Vegas Summer League’s new tournament format generated very little additional interest

The Golden State Warriors celebrate their first championship since 1975 (Garrett Ellwood/ Getty).

The NBA’s annual Las Vegas Summer League came to a conclusion on Monday night with the Golden State Warriors defeating the Phoenix Suns 91-77. It was an entertaining game in the form we’ve come to expect from these late-July contests: a little loose, featuring only a handful of notable players, but mostly enjoyable simply because it had one of the highest levels of talent in the world of basketball.

Monday’s finale was different, though, in that it was an honest-to-goodness championship game. The Warriors’ victory, in which non-roster invitee Ian Clark hit 7-of-10 shots from beyond the arc for 33 points and Championship Game MVP honors, gave them a real trophy, “Victory in Vegas” Adidas-branded title shirts, and the satisfaction of knowing they’d accomplished a goal. (It also solidified the team’s reputation as a Summer League dynasty whose dominance had been proven only unofficially in previous years.) It’s unclear how meaningful the accomplishment is, but it still gives the Warriors another positive moment to build on for the future.

However, this new eight-team tournament format (announced in March) didn’t necessarily drive any more public interest in Summer League. While it still holds value for teams looking to find potential training camp participants and teach rookies their systems, only the most diehard fans seem to derive any special pleasure from Summer League. The tournament has lent structure to the event, but its premiere these past few weeks didn’t necessarily do much to make the games more exciting. Now that we’ve experienced the tournament, does it have any special purpose?

We have to consider that it might not. Summer League is not a major event — it takes place in relatively small gyms for a select group of motivated fans, and only participation by genuine stars and more prominent TV slots could turn it into a bigger deal. Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, the most anticipated rookies since 2003, couldn’t do much to get people to watch NBA TV during their Summer League appearances in 2007. It’s possible that the seemingly loaded, Andrew Wiggins-centric draft class of 2014 could change things, but Summer League contains very little to interest casual fans.

To put it another way, the tournament may only be valuable to the extent it makes these games more watchable for the fans who already invest their time in Summer League. Those of us who do watch the games certainly didn’t find them any less entertaining than usual — it was the usual Summer League, just with the added drama of potentially not getting to watch certain players past the moment their team was eliminated. It was pleasant and kind of cool, if also clearly something unlikely to appeal to a critical mass of fans.

And that’s probably fine. There’s a tendency in sports fandom and analysis to confront a league’s inability to become as large and focus-intensive as possible as a failure in need of a fix. But some games can be enjoyable specifically because they’re mostly inconsequential. In these formats, it can be fun to kick back and watch the artistry on display devoid of any overbearing context apart from the possibility that a player will find a job where there previously wasn’t one or catch his coaches’ attention before training camp. It’s more or less a diversion, and sometimes sports don’t have to be anything more.

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Andre Iguodala was apparently an hour away from becoming a member of the Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki gives Andre Iguodala the Ol’ Mountain Man (Getty Images)

When their season ended in the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs, few thought that the Golden State Warriors would have the necessities needed to become major players in the 2013 offseason. The team was already capped-out, with cornerstones Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut on their second contracts, and rookie deals for various helpers set to be extended into big boy deals in the coming years. It’s true that the team had a series of expiring contracts that could be used as trade bait, but over the last few years most NBA teams have stopped biting on the allure of the expiring deal.

Then Utah stepped up, and was able to pull a batch of draft picks merely for rising up to the NBA’s minimum salary and taking on Golden State’s crew of Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, and Brandon Rush in return. In a clever move for both sides, the Warriors were now devoid of draft help, but rife with cap space – and a shot at do-it-all swingman Andre Iguodala.

And the Dallas Mavericks? Bridesmaids, once again. It appears as if Dre was just an hour away from signing with the Mavericks before the Warriors swooped in, all full of space to sign Iguodala to a four-year, $48 million contract. Rusty Simmons at the San Francisco Chronicle recently detailed Warrior general manager Bob Myers’ frantic attempts to both clear space, and pounce on his new centerpiece:

Myers told Iguodala’s agent, Rob Pelinka, “Don’t tease me with a player like Andre Iguodala.” Myers said he repeatedly walked into his house after 15- or 16-hour days and told his wife that a deal wasn’t going to happen.

“There were 25 moments of panic,” said Myers, who was still unshaved and admittedly exhausted. “… This thing was on life support 15 times.

“It was a very unlikely scenario that actually played out for us.”

[…]

Finally, an hour before Iguodala was to sign with the Mavericks, the Warriors made two concessions in the deal with Utah and were able to send Jefferson, Biedrins and Brandon Rush – along with two first-round picks and two seconds.

A day later, Denver wanted to be part of the deal, and the Warriors gave up a third second-round pick to the Nuggets in order to make it a sign-and-trade deal that afforded them use of the full mid-level and bi-annual exceptions and granted traded-player exceptions for $11 million and $4 million.

The Warriors used the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions to sign three free agents – forward Marreese Speights, center Jermaine O’Neal and guard Toney Douglas. Myers said the team hopes to use the traded-player exceptions to recoup a draft pick and add a player closer to the trade deadline.

That last part, like the Utah trade, involves an instance of each team getting its particular back scratched. Because of various machinations that teams engage in to work around salary cap laws, the Warriors were able to have the best of both worlds – grabbing a high end free agent with cap space, while working with the sort of exceptions that are meant to be utilized by teams that are over the cap. All while rebuilding teams like Utah and Denver get picks and flexibility to work with on their end of things.

And in the end of things, the only team to come away with nothing was the Dallas Mavericks. And this time it was for Andre Iguodala – a damn good player, but certainly not the one to guarantee the sort of rebirth that would be topped off next year with the Mavs signing yet another max-salaried stud.

That this is how bad it is. A 29-year old swingman making eight figures a year, coming off of his worst season in years and probably not a perfect fit nor someone to guarantee a return to the playoffs for Dallas, still couldn’t be lassoed into becoming a Maverick. Even ‘Plan B’ is falling short.

Again, as we’ve stated throughout this rebuilding process for Dallas, the Mavericks haven’t had great timing or luck on their side; though we do understand the front office’s approach. The most oft-heard complaint regarding the team is its refusal to compete with New York’s free agent offer for Tyson Chandler in December of 2011, but while we respect Tyson as a player and person to no end, he’s battled injuries for most of his career, he was clearly hampered by several maladies during the 2013 playoffs, and he still has nearly $28.7 million left on his contract with the Knicks.

Another complaint points to Mark Cuban passing on a face to face meeting with Deron Williams one year ago in the attempt to bring the point guard to Dallas, but was Williams going to leave more money on the table in Brooklyn (especially after the team swung a deal for Joe Johnson, a player other NBA players inexplicably swoon over) to come to Dallas just because Cuban pressed the flesh?

There is, of course, time. Because the Mavericks have so much flexibility under the cap, the team can still either act as a go-between in a three-team deal (picking up more space and/or picks, along with contributors), or it can still swing a massive deal to bring in the hoped-for second head on the three-tiered monster the team hoped to finish off in 2014. The chaos of the initial first few days of the 2013 offseason delude us into thinking that these trading periods die out by the third week of July, and that’s just not the case.

Teams can get desperate, and they can talk themselves into things – like a straight salary dump with Dallas. And then there are the various training camp scenarios that will pop up in the fall, when teams attempt to extend their youngsters on rookie contracts, and sometimes fall short and freak out – as the Oklahoma City Thunder did last year with James Harden.

That’s Dallas’ hope, at least. We’ll be watching.