On the NBA Beat

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A show bringing you nuanced perspectives on the NBA's most important stories, hosted by USC alums Aaron Fischman, Joshua Jonah Fischman and Loren Lee Chen. Find us on our website at OnTheNBABeat.com or our Twitter page (@OnTheNBABeat).

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    • Nov 22, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
    • every other week NEW EPISODES
    • 37m AVG DURATION
    • 168 EPISODES

    Listeners of On the NBA Beat that love the show mention: nba coverage, say yes, nba podcast, nba fans, great nba, fantastic guests, basketball, guys know, biased, league, love the content, rapport, know their stuff, terrific, great guests, none, great interviews, what's, great insight, analysis.



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    Latest episodes from On the NBA Beat

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 168: Zach Weiss: Sexton's Injury a “Mega, Mega Issue” for Cavs

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 40:13

    The Cleveland Cavaliers outperformed everyone's expectations during a blistering start that saw them near the top of the Eastern Conference standings and rookie Evan Mobley as the odds-on favorite to win the Rookie of the Year Award. Recently though, they've fallen on harder times with six of their top eight scorers, including four of their opening day starters and the aforementioned Mobley, missing time with injury. During the recording of this episode, we received even more bad news for the Cavs, that fourth-year guard Collin Sexton would be undergoing season-ending surgery on his torn meniscus. We brought on Zach Weiss, host of the Across the Cavs podcast, for this episode to help us weigh the good and the bad for Cleveland so far this season and provide his insight on where this young team can go from here. 3:35-4:02: “It's clear they made the right decision to draft Evan Mobley and to pay Jarrett Allen. I think they can very much coexist. … Yes, [Mobley]'s hurt right now. He'll be back. … When [Lauri] Markkanen, who should be back very, very soon, once they're all together again, that three-7-footer lineup, I think it's special. You don't see other teams even willing to try that.” 5:04-5:24: “It's important to kinda be realistic and say that there's no chance the Cavs will be a top-six team by the time the year's over. And so that being said, I think it's all about the play-in. It's about just trying to win as much as you can. There's no more draft picks they need. You can only have so many young guys.” 8:09-8:55: “It was the Knicks game for me that stood out for Mobley. He had 26, nine and five… But Mobley was smooth, he was hitting clutch 3s, he was getting all the rebounds. He was taking one dribble from the corner, beyond the arc, and getting right to the basket. When you look at his averages of 15, 8, 2.5 assists, a steal, 1.6 blocks, the assist, steal and blocks numbers are kinda like a young Giannis. And he's not Giannis. He'll never be Giannis. There's only one Giannis. But impacting the game as a 20-year-old defensively is not something many players do. That alone is impressive. I think the shot is a lot better than we expected it to be at this point.” 14:16-14:42: “For [Collin Sexton]'s career, I think this is the best thing, but for the Cavs, this is a mega, mega issue because while he's been out, they've really struggled to replace his value. [Ricky] Rubio as a starter has not quite been the same player as Rubio, the backup. They're gonna have to sign somebody or do something if they really want to compete this year because Denzel Valentine is not that guy.” 24:53-25:15: Coming in last year when we drafted [Isaac Okoro], it was only a year ago. Remember how weird last year was? And he came in with these expectations – lockdown defender who will figure out his shot. Surprisingly, Deni Avdija of the Wizards is pretty much a slightly more developed Okoro, is what it looks like right now.” 31:10-31:31: “Once players get back and everyone can get a defined role again, I think we'll understand what they have. But it's gonna be six or seven weeks before we actually know good the Cavs are. Whatever their record is, whatever their rotation looks like, if everyone that's on the roster now is still there, there's a lot that we're gonna learn about them with No. 2 [Sexton] not playing again this year.” 38:32-39:00: “I think [head coach J.B. Bickerstaff] trusts his team, which is a great sign; not all coaches do. That being said, the fact that he can count on the five guys on the court at a given time to fix their own mistakes means that they have a good off-court relationship that they can kinda have that unspoken trust. I think he's gonna be a great coach. He will be the coach that gets them their next playoff series win. Whenever that is, it's gonna be J.B. Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 167: Nick Denning: LaMelo's Hornets "Worth the Price of Admission"

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 43:17

    In Year 2 of 20-year-old point guard LaMelo Ball's NBA career, the Charlotte Hornets are playing with one of the league's fastest paces while managing to score efficiently. Their successful high-octane offense has provided a breath of fresh air, although their defense ranks among the league worst and they've been plagued by long scoring droughts as well as other types of inconsistency. As a result, despite notable improvement from Ball and forward Miles Bridges and a healthy start from Gordon Hayward (not to mention his reliable production), the Hornets sit just a game above .500. Nick Denning, former editor at SB Nation's At the Hive, breaks down what to expect from this enigmatic team that began 4-1 with three road wins, then dropped six of seven and has since won three straight, including a Sunday night victory over the then-11-1 Warriors. What can we make of this team? Nick will guide us through as we aim to determine that.   7:25-8:07: “Their offense, that's why people watch them. It's just how good they are offensively, it's all the weapons they have, it's the instinctiveness that LaMelo and others play with. He starts it, but everybody feeds off it, and head coach [James] Borrego really allows that instinctiveness. That's what's gonna keep them in games, and then those nights when they can play well enough defensively are gonna be the nights where they can pull off some wins and maybe beat some teams that they don't really have any business beating.” 13:26-14:02: “You're aware of just how underwhelming the Hornets have been for much of their existence, so to have a player like [Ball], just for what he does alone, it's worth the price of admission. It's worth planning your evenings around watching him because you know you're gonna get a couple plays that just, they make me shake my head, and they make me just think that everything that's come before this, all the missed draft picks, all the bad free agency decisions, maybe it was worth it if I can get a decade or more of watching this kid play for us and do these special things.'”    21:40-22:17: “The role [Miles Bridges] has this year was actually orchestrated at the end of last season. Basically, Borrego said, ‘Hey, we like what you did this year, but you've gotta take the next step, and that step comes with ball-handling. We want you to isolate more, we want you to be able take on defenders more yourself.' … I think [he's such an integral part of Charlotte's success] because the coaching staff looked at the roster and said, ‘Look, for us to improve next year or take the next step, Miles has to take the next step himself.' He obviously bought into that. He attacks the hoop much more effectively than I've ever seen him do before.” 32:38-32:48: “It's not flashy, and that's probably why [Gordon Hayward] doesn't get the attention that Bridges and LaMelo get, but he kinda holds things together.” 36:50-37:00: “I've come to realize through 14 games that this is who [Kelly Oubre Jr.] is gonna be. You just have to accept it and ride with it. No pun intended, but ride the wave.” 38:51-40:00: “Up until this point and probably for at least another season, [Borrego] is being evaluated on player development, at least primarily on player development. … Maybe not this year but definitely next year, that expectation is gonna shift from player development to winning, to making the playoffs and to competing in the playoffs.” Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 166: Andy Liu on Warriors: “It's Safe Now to Love Steph" Curry

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 35:48

    The Golden State Warriors have made their triumphant return to the upper echelon of the Western Conference behind an MVP-caliber start of the season from their star, Steph Curry. On this episode, Andy Liu of the Light Years podcast has made a similarly triumphant return to this podcast to discuss his expectations for the team this season. 2:55-4:16: "I think they could make the Western Conference Finals. I think that's their upside, and, you know, when you're in that one series to get into the NBA finals, anything can happen, especially if you have Steph Curry.… I think the worst-case scenario is just Steph Curry being hurt and if that happens, I mean, all right, here comes another lottery pick, right? But other than that, I think this team is bare minimum what that team was last season. They're an eighth-seed, seventh-seed at the very least, and then they have the upside to be a Western Conference Finals team." 5:06-4:30: "The amount of love Steph got when the Warriors went 15 and 5 at the end of last season with no chance of actually winning anything, it was incredible. It felt like everybody loved him and he never got that same love when he was winning titles.… Steph is not a different player than he was in 2018 when they beat the Cavs.… He's the same guy, but because the Warriors in the last few seasons, especially the last one, didn't have a chance to win a championship, I think people are coming out the woodwork and saying, 'All right, it's safe now to love Steph.'" 13:02-13:41: "I think Jordan Poole has proved that he has a lot of talent, especially you saw at the end of last season. He has a lot of talent and he's the only guy on this team, even if Klay comes back, he's the only guy on this team that can get to the hole consistently. It's basically Steph, Jordan Poole, and maybe Andrew Wiggins depending on what he ate for breakfast that day.… If he's bad now, that's okay, you got to let him play through it. It's more about what he looks like in March at the end of the season when they're gearing up for a playoff run." 16:25-17:18: "[Wiseman] was put in a position to fail last season. Just quite honestly he was thrown into the fire and he wasn't given much to actually succeed.… They also had him running Steve Kerr's system where they were doing split cuts and intricate passing designs. When the hell has a 19-year-old ever been able to do that? That made no sense, and so he failed. He failed in those moments and I don't blame the kid. Now what I think was successful near the end of the season, they started to put him in pick-and-roll and have them just run to the rim and dunk the ball. That's it. He was getting more comfortable and then he tore his meniscus." 24:15-24:32: "They picked up guys [Otto Porter, Nemanja Bjelica, and Andre Iguodala] that knew their role, knew how to play basketball and weren't going to make mistakes and I think that's really what makes life a lot easier and what made Warriors basketball so much fun to watch and they're bringing that back this season." 29:05-31:28: "I don't think at any point Steve Kerr should be fired. I think Steve Kerr should be the coach of this team as long as he wants to be the coach of this team because he doesn't do anything that that really derails the team. He's not actively making the team worse, but he hasn't also made the team better these last few years.… This season, they put a very veteran-laden coaching staff around him. Kenny Atkinson was an incredible coach for the Nets, he's on the staff now. Ron Adams is still there. They brought in a couple of player development coaches, [DeJan] Milojević and another one from Toronto, Jama Mahlalela. I think that with those guys, it's made his life a lot easier." Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 165: "Built to Lose" Book Special With Jake Fischer

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2021 36:06

    Enjoy Aaron's one-on-one conversation with Bleacher Report writer Jake Fischer on his debut book, "Built to Lose: How the NBA's Tanking Era Changed the League Forever." 4:47-5:23: “There was a long Google doc of probably 600 names of people that were this player and his agent and the player's college coach and every single guy who was ever rostered by that team, guys who were in training camp. And then as you get on the phone with other people, you start to ask also, like, ‘Hey, now that we've talked for 20, 30, 40 minutes, and you kind of know who I am a little bit, know the work I'm trying to do, and just the honest conversation I'm trying to have, anybody you think you could put me in touch with that would help me further understand, add another perspective?' Sometimes I'll even ask for specific people.”     14:38-15:47: “For me, before I got into this more newsy space at Bleacher Report, at Sports Illustrated, I was working on “Built to Lose” for a long portion of my time there. I kinda developed a niche at SI of being someone who covered left-of-center stories, like I got coffee with Mike D'Antoni ‘cuz he's obsessed with Starbucks. And my last thing I ever wrote for SI was a profile on Red Panda, so stuff like that. I realized from [those], I don't really cover basketball that much. I kinda cover the people who work in basketball and things about the business of basketball and the ecosystem of the NBA. So it's always been difficult, I think at times, to throw like a random question to somebody, but there's a way to do it in a way that is interesting to them versus, ‘Here's this total left-field subject.' If you go at it kind of with humility and laughing at yourself…”     18:24-19:00: “I really do believe that every page has some type of new information that didn't come out before, whether it was furthering a story that had come out previously or just bringing out a new story altogether. That's a big goal of mine any time I write. I had a really great journalism adviser in high school named Greg Gagliardi, who I shout out all the time, who's one of the people the book's dedicated to. And he taught me back in my junior year of high school, maybe even my freshman year, if you don't have something new, then you don't have a story.”  30:11-30:50: “I really wanted to include the Lakers being that they're the independent variable in all this, where they were the worst team in the league during the five-year stretch in which we cover in the book. And it didn't matter. LeBron still signed there in free agency in 2018, Anthony Davis came soon after, they won a title. So I think that's exactly why tanking does exist in these smaller markets. If you're Utah with Donovan Mitchell, if you're Orlando when they had Dwight Howard, Milwaukee with Giannis, Portland with Dame [Lillard], you've gotta get these guys through the draft and do everything you can to build a contender around them or else you've got no shot.”   35:01-35:11: “The worst team in the NBA was creating some of the biggest storylines and the most interest in its product, so I don't see how it could've been viewed as a bad thing.” Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 164: Sarah Todd on Jazz: “It's Not About the Regular Season Anymore”

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2021 39:26

    Sarah Todd, Utah Jazz beat reporter for the Deseret News and host of the Unsalvageable podcast, sheds light on last season's best regular-season team. How can the Jazz take their pre-playoff success and parlay it into a deep postseason run? 4:48-6:28: “I think it all has to do with versatility and health. Because if Mike Conley is healthy through the Clippers series, if Donovan Mitchell doesn't have a bum ankle, then maybe the Clippers' offense isn't able to break the point of attack as easily as it was able to, which then causes problems on the switch, which is what caused so many problems for Gobert on the defensive side. It wasn't that he wasn't good; it was just that the perimeter gave him too much to deal with because they weren't holding guys out. … Other teams have been exploiting that flaw of the Jazz's for years. … As far as versatility goes, that's what they tried to address in the offseason. They got Rudy Gay and Eric Paschall, both guys that can play small-ball 5 and can switch 1 through 5, are versatile defenders.” 12:50-13:06: “They saw firsthand last season how important health is once you are in the postseason and how much it can change things in a really drastic way. And so, in talking with some of these players over the last couple of weeks, they are more open to the idea of resting.” 14:42-15:10: “These are elite athletes. You've got two max players that the Jazz have completely built their roster around in Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. They want to be the best in their lane, and if there wasn't any tension between them at all, I think that I would be really surprised. That's not just for the Jazz; that's on all 30 NBA rosters. There's not an NBA roster out there where there aren't quibbles among teammates, and I think that's what this is.” 20:25-20:55: “His last season in Cleveland, some of the coaches started working with him on finding more efficient ways to play. They started trying to take and cut out some of his midrange game. And then when he came to the Jazz, they completely expedited that, and they say, ‘OK, let's almost nearly eliminate the midrange game. You can shoot absolutely as much as you want.' Jordan Clarkson wants to get buckets, he can get ‘em all he wants as long they're from the 3-point line or at the rim. And so, they just let him loose.”   28:24-28:51: “When you have a season like they did last year, I think that pressure is eased a little bit because the front office is able to look at the health of the team and say, 'What was Quin [Snyder] supposed to do when he's got injured players?' If something like that were to happen again this year, again I think the pressure will be off, but if the Jazz go into the postseason completely healthy, basically no excuses, I think that raises the pressure a lot because then you start looking at the fact that he's been here eight years and they haven't been able to get past the second round.”   36:33-37:38: “The fact that [Jared Butler] dropped to 40 and they were able to get him, that was like Christmas morning for the Jazz. …His handle and his decision-making with the ball in his hands seem incredibly advanced for a guy coming in to his rookie NBA season. I've been really impressed with that. … He's also just a pure shooter. He has just a beautiful shot, and he has amazing range.” Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 163: Paul Garcia: The Young Spurs “Finally Get the Keys to the Car”

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2021 38:41

    Gregg Popovich finds himself in an unfamiliar position after a quarter-century of coaching the San Antonio Spurs. For the first time, he'll be tasked with leading a youthful group packed with promising but largely unproven players – a group projected by most to miss the playoffs by a landslide. In the offseason, the franchise parted with veteran mainstays DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills and Rudy Gay, and months earlier, it bought out LaMarcus Aldridge's contract. As a result, the youth movement is firmly here. And Popovich, 72, appears energized for his new challenge, expecting to lead a fast-paced team where playing time will be spread around generously. Project Spurs' Paul Garcia, who also hosts the Spurscast and writes for Analyzing the League, spoke with OTNB to help preview the young team's season and further describe the new dynamic. Discussing the youngsters, with special emphasis on Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell and Josh Primo, Paul gets us ready for San Antonio's season to tip off in T-minus three weeks.     3:01-3:29: "This is a new thing for the city here in San Antonio and for the fan base, and it's kind of exciting…that it's a lot of young players and a lot of these players, they're gonna finally get the keys to the car. … Now all of a sudden it's up to Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker, all of these young players. It's their opportunity now to basically see how far can they go, what kind of level can they get to." 7:40-8:22: "(Popovich)'s excited because I think that for him it's a new challenge in the sense of he's never been in this situation, (at least) in a very long time where the expectations aren't there to become a playoff team or become a championship (team) like the expectations have always been for San Antonio. But instead it's learning, 'How can I help these young guys develop? Who might turn into a star down the road here?' … He's also gonna change his approach. He already said because they're young, because they're quick, they're gonna try to play fast.” 15:27-15:34: “Now that DeRozan's actually gone off this team, they're gonna have better, more athletic, more energetic type of defenders.” 26:51-27:21: “The date that I'm watching right now – and we're all watching here in San Antonio – is October 18. Right now, the Spurs have 17 players on guaranteed contracts. So by October 18, they have to get their roster down to 15 players on guaranteed contracts. So they're gonna have to either waive or trade two players. And when you look at this roster, you see a bunch of young players, and then you see those two veterans. We're kind of watching in these next few weeks here before the season starts, ‘Is (Thaddeus) Young still on the team? Is (Al-Farouq) Aminu still on the team?'             32:17-32:53: “What you really saw from (Devin Vassell) was on the defensive end, just how good he is in anticipating passes incoming to an opponent, and he could get those steals, just really good about reading and providing help defense. … Now what was interesting to watch was how the team purposely wanted to see how he runs pick-and-roll in summer league, and so he got his opportunity – he played in like five games – and he did very well.”     36:02-36:26: "Whenever I get asked this question about who's gonna be the successor to Pop, I always say basically, in my opinion, that if Becky (Hammon) is not hired by anybody else, I think that she would take over as the next head coach whenever Pop decides to retire. … I really feel like she is the strongest candidate to get the job here." Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 162: Keith Parish: "There's a Lot Riding on Jaren Jackson Jr.”

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2021 39:36


    The Memphis Grizzlies, particularly outside of franchise cornerstone Ja Morant, haven't received much national attention in recent years, but they increasingly should. They're a fascinating youthful team that's kept quite busy this offseason. According to Keith Parish, host of Grind City Media's Fastbreak Breakfast and Grits and Grinds podcasts, Memphis' flurry of moves were designed to enhance the quality of the young core around Morant and power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., who missed all but 11 games with injury last season. But even though the front office's eyes are trained on the future, Keith doesn't expect a “big step back” this year. He touches upon the expected impact of the Jonas Valanciunas trade, why so much is riding on Jackson's upcoming season, the gamble Memphis is making with regard to rookie Ziaire Williams and the team's pair of promising 23-year-old shooting guards, among other timely Grizzlies topics. 3:50-4:37: “It was perceived that Valanciunas was kind of like a bridge. We traded Marc Gasol for him, and then he was gonna be this bridge into the future where eventually Jaren Jackson Jr. maybe bulked up enough to play the 5. But then last season, Jaren Jackson essentially misses the whole year, and the Grizzlies are competitive and good and he's putting up these career-high numbers…and everyone's like, ‘This is one of our building blocks.' … The front office I don't think ever thought this is a long-term piece. The ideal form of Jaren and Ja together probably doesn't include Jonas at the 5. So when they had an opportunity to move him to pick up a future first-round pick and to move up in the draft to get the guy they wanted, they jumped at it.”    12:45-13:06: “I think he [Steven Adams] could fit really well alongside Jaren Jackson Jr. in a frontcourt. And I don't think the Grizzlies are gonna take a big step back because even if Adams isn't a big part of the plans, just opening more time for Xavier Tillman, who came on really strong last season, and then Brandon Clarke. I think this team is going to be competitive once again.” 16:45-17:29: “Ja was the Grizzlies essentially, and we've seen it now both of the last two years, and the postseason and the play-in games last year; this guy scores 30 points per game when it matters. … I guess a question for Grizzlies fans: Is that something he needs to do more? Does he need to be more aggressive? Does he need to take on more of the offensive load? Dillon Brooks still leads the team in shots.” 23:19-24:30: “He [Brooks] is a bizarre, unique player, and he proved this season that he is an unbelievable defender. He's an actual lockdown defender. … He hit his stride as a defender, which is what everyone was hoping for. … You don't want him to be your No. 2 scorer. He's been playing above his head because there's been no one else. He's the best guy at creating his shot in the halfcourt, and that's a problem of roster construction. Ja is not that great in the halfcourt yet. Everyone else, it was like, ‘Alright, do we post up Jonas Valanciunas in the halfcourt or just basically let someone miss the shot and hope Jonas gets the rebound?”   29:17-29:33: “That's the balancing act this team has been trying to do the last couple seasons. … ‘We want to be competitive but also be building toward a point where we are a contender.'” 34:41-35:28: “As long as you get some answers and some clarity about the young guys on your roster, if you identify which ones you're gonna use going forward…I think that would be a successful season. You want to gain as much information as you can about the young guys and then based on that have a plan for what Year 4 of Ja is gonna look like and how you're gonna use your resources and assets to bring in maybe another even better player and then really go for it once Ja heads into his extension.”  Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 161: "From Hang Time to Prime Time" Book Special With Pete Croatto

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2021 55:19

    Author Pete Croatto, whose work has appeared in the New York Times, GQ and SportsIllustrated.com, among other places, discusses his debut book, "From Hang Time to Prime Time: Business, Entertainment, and the Birth of the Modern-Day NBA." Check out some of the highlights below: 5:13-5:45: “You know, I've been doing this for a long time – I've been a professional writer for 23 years; I've been a freelance writer for about 15. And one thing I've learned is that this is a job, and I don't really have time to get wrapped up in the theatrics of writing. … I just have to go and just do it. It was almost like being shot out of a cannon, where you're kind of like, ‘Alright, I'm just doing this.'” 11:33-12:03: “We assume that it's always been this way. We assume that games have been available with a click of a button. We assume that we can find our favorite teams' gear or favorite players' shoes so easily. But that wasn't [always] the case. It was a long, hard struggle to get to relevance, and as times goes on and the NBA gets bigger and bigger and the players become bigger stars, we're gonna forget that. And we're already forgetting that.” 20:28-20:52: “It's always about the people, and I think that's the one thing about sports books that I think people who aren't familiar with them get bogged down. ‘Well, I'm not interested in the '27 Yankees or the '73 Lakers' or whatever. But if you're interested in people and their problems and their desires, then that book is as useful or as enlightening as any book you're going to read.” 28:56-29:22: “That is, to me, the beauty of the NBA is that it is never going to stand on its laurels or do the same old, same old, because they're gonna update it for the audience that has the most disposable income, which is teenagers, folks in their 20s, and that, to me, is the beautiful part of it. So yeah, they're gonna be flexible with the rules, they're gonna be flexible with how they organize the seasons and things like that.”  33:52-34:29: “The NBA is all about reinvention. It's all about trying to make it relevant for the cool kids. But they don't do that at the expense of the game. … It's still the best athletes in the world trying to get a basketball into a 10-foot high post. The essence of the game is never going to change. The things around that are gonna change to attract new viewers, to attract new fans.”    48:23-49:02: “The book is the triumph. The sales are gonna be what they are. The factors that affected publication or consumption are what they are, but nothing can dispute the fact that I wrote a book, I published it, it's out there. … That I was able to write a book when 10 years ago, 15 years ago, I didn't think I'd even be in writing, that, to me, is the triumph. Anything else after that is immaterial.” Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 160: Blake Murphy: "There's a Million Things to Say" About Kyle Lowry's Raptors Impact

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2021 44:31

    Blake Murphy of The Athletic joins the show to delve into the performance of the Toronto Raptors during Las Vegas Summer League, especially regarding the newly drafted Scottie Barnes. Additionally, we discuss the Kyle Lowry trade, what he meant to the city and the Raptors franchise, and how they will move forward next season and beyond. 9:10-10:08: "[For Scottie Barnes], the playmaking on the move is real. … Barnes' defense is gonna be his calling card early on. I think he's been pretty good on that end. The processing speed there is really high level and they've had him picking up full court, they've had him guarding across positions. So I think he's going to be a real player from day one defensively as hard as that is as a rookie, but the offensive game is gonna take a little bit of time." 18:48-20:20: "The Raptors haven't had a lot of guys stick around nine years. They haven't had a lot of guys win a lot in Toronto also. So I think the fact that Lowry's […] ascension kind of parallels the franchise's own rise to being a more legitimate franchise in the NBA, and being a pretty consistently good team and eventually a championship contender. The growth of Lowry and the growth of the team as a whole are kind of hand in hand. … Lowry has always really fit kind of what Raptors fans are about. And what I mean by that is, you know, the "We The North" campaign from back in 2013-2014 kind of tried to get at this like: 'Hey, there's an entire country here that's obsessed with hockey, but, hey, pay attention, there's a bunch of us basketball fans too.' And hey, there's 30 markets in the NBA, and 29 of them get what Raptors fans feel like is preferred attention. … They kinda had this level of othering with the fan base where you could kinda get people to buy in more by pointing out that they were...underdogs too. And I think that Lowry really represented that with his career path and his general attitude and the chip on his shoulder." 27:30-28:18: "Even with the COVID and the shoulder injury and the clutch struggles, I thought [Pascal Siakam] improved. I thought he improved as a playmaker, he improved his shooting from every area of the court inside the arc, so that's an important consideration. … Having said all that, he needs to keep going. He got paid, not the full supermax, but the 28 percent kicker on his max deal, and he needs to continue to improve to deliver on that. He's not that level of player yet.” 40:27-41:06: "If you tier out the Eastern Conference, they're probably in the 6-10 or 7-11 range. They're certainly not a team that is for sure going to avoid a play-in game. They're not a team that for sure is gonna make a playoff run necessarily. But I think a lot would have to go wrong for them to be bad. You look at last year, displaced from home, COVID outbreak wipes out half the team and half the coaching staff, including three starters, and even then, after all that, they still had to intentionally bench guys down the stretch to make sure that they didn't make the play-in game and could get a better lottery spot." Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 159: Schroeder Recaps Draft: "Evan Mobley Is Like Water"

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 2, 2021 38:19


    A couple days after the 2021 NBA Draft, independent draft analyst Brian Schroeder brought his insight and expertise as he ran through the most notable storylines surrounding this year's class. Among a slew of other topics, he addressed why Sharife Cooper fell precipitously, what makes the Cavaliers' Evan Mobley so adaptable defensively and why Brian's the "only person on the internet who likes and defends" a particular pick. 7:25-8:18: “[Scottie Barnes is] just cool. He's a really, really likable person. That's not to say that Jalen Suggs is not likable or somehow teams don't like him. I think [the Raptors] just fell in love with Scottie as the ‘guy.' I understand the rationale. The Raptors, maybe arrogantly, really believe in their ability to develop people. They developed [Pascal] Siakam, they've developed OG Anunoby. … They really think they can teach the kind of player that Scottie is to be more scoring-oriented. … He just does not look to score at this point, He's a defender. He's an excellent passer. But the frame and just the makeup, I think, are what they fell for.” 8:43-9:37: “I would have taken Mobley, but that's more because I think his skill-set at his size and position is just rarer. There are not five 7-footers who move like he does and can play defense like he does. … The way I've been referring to Mobley lately is he's like water – he conforms to the surface of whatever you put him in. Any possible defensive situation you put in, he will figure out how to excel in it. The question for Mobley…is he going to be your lead scorer? And it's like, ‘Well, probably not, at least not for a while.' And [Jalen] Green, I think, could probably do that immediately and is an elite athlete and hard worker.” 13:06-13:45: “I think it's probably reasonable to think to assume that, let's say they went to Duke, and [coach Mike] Krzyzewski has his system. He's not the most rigid coach in the world, but he's not gonna tear apart his system every year to fit two guys who are gonna be there for six months. I feel like the G league…I think it's fair to say that they catered directly to their skill-sets more, training and play-calling and all that.” 17:51-19:10: “This is the fifth draft I've done full-time stuff on. [Cooper] is the best passer I have seen, pretty significantly. Creating advantages, hammering them open, just like the technique of throwing passes, he's just completely sublime at it. And he was putting up 22 and eight in the SEC, the strongest, most physical conference after missing half the season and not being allowed to practice with his team. … I think teams were just, they didn't really know what to think of him or they had a point guard already or they just were scared off by the shot. … It's more than likely some teams didn't, for some reason, think that a 6-foot-1 point guard can succeed despite the playoff run that Trae Young just had and Chris Paul's entire career. It is true that for that size guy, there's a very high bar, but I think Sharife can clear that bar." 21:42-21:50: “I am not a [Jonathan] Kuminga believer, but he is a pretty great athlete, he's young, he plays hard, so there's reason to buy in.” 34:14-36:02: “I seem to be the only person on the internet who likes the pick and defends it: Santi Aldama at 30 to the Grizzlies. … More than any other team, they are very, very good at zeroing in on the guys they want to be their role players. And they cut Jontay Porter recently, which tells me that…they want to bring this guy over and have him be their backup center.”


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 158: Madden: “Still Pinching Myself” After Bucks' Title Feat. Jewell Graham

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 25, 2021 37:42

    In honor of the Milwaukee Bucks' 2020-21 NBA championship, the franchise's first in 50 years, two longtime Bucks fans share their joyous feelings and thrilling experiences from the past week. First, Frank Madden, host of Locked on Bucks, details his long journey as a fan, including what it meant to witness his very first title alongside the man who introduced him to the Bucks 29 years earlier, his father. Then, Jewell Graham of Gimme a Buck podcast goes through his unforgettable time at the Bucks' championship parade.      Frank Madden at 4:41-5:03: “For me, having a chance to be in the building and watch the Bucks clinch an NBA title with an historic performance by Giannis, it was pretty much the absolute fantasy of what I've always dreamed could be possible. I mean, basically if you had had me write up a script, I wouldn't even have had the guts to be so bold as to write out what happened in this series and in that last game.” 11:11-12:04: “The day before, my mom had actually texted me, ‘Hey, I don't know if he's gonna be able to go ‘cuz big crowds, his balance and going up stairs in a stadium may not be ideal.' But then on Tuesday, I talked to him. I was just like, ‘Hey, whatever we have to do – if you need to take me by the arm to feel comfortable, whatever we need to – let's do it. We've gotta see this game together.' And he said ‘Alright, let's do it.' …I paid more money for worse seats than we've ever had at any other game, and we could not have been happier just to be in the building and experiencing that with all the other people there.    16:27-16:49: “I think back to, in particular, the Giannis block on Ayton that sealed Game 4. That play, I'll never forget. The Jrue steal and alley-oop to Giannis, I'll never forget. I feel like I'll always remember the TV call as well. Those two plays I think will always stand out the most.” Jewell Graham at 21:28-22:07: “Our mascot, Bango, comes through first, and the fire truck. You could see just a see of people on both sides. The music is going, and they've got confetti that pops out. Bango is throwing T-shirts to the crowd. Everyone's yelling. It is a great time. And then they had more buses come. … It's nothing like I've ever experienced. Just everybody's so happy and just living in the moment.” 23:01-23:14: “My favorite from the parade had to be P.J. Tucker. PJ Tucker was the livest guy on the team.” 27:27-28:13: “After the announcer's like, ‘Yo, wait, wait, wait,' it's Ben – he's our guy that sung the national anthem game for us every home playoff game – singing “We Are the Champions.” It was like picture perfect. And as he's singing that, we get fireworks coming from up top of the Fiserv Forum.”        34:08-34:28: “Giannis is 26 years old, and he has pretty much every individual accolade. Like, what's next for…? I just hope he doesn't lose that hunger. I still need that mean mug, and I need him to want more and more and more.”   Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 157: Frank Madden: Bucks Should “Use Their Size” in NBA Finals

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 11, 2021 41:12

    Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Greek Freak, led his Milwaukee Bucks to the franchise's first NBA Finals in 47 years. Along the way, he received critical help from talented teammates Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez, among others. But through the first two Finals games, the supporting cast hasn't done enough. With the Bucks trailing the Phoenix Suns 2-0 and the series shifting to Milwaukee, Frank Madden of Locked on Bucks explores what must change as the team hopes to win four of its next five in pursuit of the 2020-21 title.   7:05-8:03: “You're tied in the Eastern Conference finals, you have the more talented team, you really should be advancing to the Finals, and then to see your superstar, two-time MVP, a guy who's been remarkably durable, just suffer this horrible-looking injury. You know, I kind of half-jokingly referred to it as like from a fan perspective, it was like a near-death experience. Basically, those 24 hours thinking that ‘Geez, I have to be prepared that he's blown out everything in his knee and next year is gone too' to then, the next day hearing no structural damage and we'll see what happens here over the next couple weeks. … To win those two games the way they did to close out the Hawks series was incredible to know that Giannis still had a chance to come back at some point in the playoffs. It just felt like a new lease on life, I think for Bucks fans, just that we had a chance at that. And then for him to come back and actually play at a high level has just been incredible.” 15:27-16:07: “Now you've got to win four out of five, so they [Middleton and Holiday] can't afford to have three off games out of five. They've gotta pretty much be good to great more or less every game from here on out. Certainly, they can't both be bad, as we saw in Game 2, shooting the ball. It's just really tough. And again, I mean, I think we've seen those guys when they have their game, they're really valuable two-way guys. They can both create for others as well as themselves. But you know, that's the difference between a top 5-10 player and a top 30-35 player. I think those two guys are both in that latter category, and they're just not going to be able to give you 25-30 points every night in the playoffs.” 19:06-19:26: “Part of the issue is just the Suns are really good. You kinda have to pick your poison. Are you gonna give Booker and Paul the looks that they want from midrange or are you going to try to put more pressure on them, try to turn them over more, but at the risk of letting those wings and those role players get open looks for themselves?” 28:16-28:43: “I think they do need to lean in a little more on Lopez, use their size, try to beat them up on the offensive glass. Interestingly, the offensive glass has been sort of their savior throughout the playoffs and kind of in many ways been the antidote to that poor 3-point shooting that I mentioned. And so whether it's just religiously zone-dropping in or at times switching him, I think he's kind of underrated in terms of his ability to kinda hang in switches.”   37:27-37:34: “That's the challenge for the Bucks right now. This is probably their best chance ever to win a championship. There's really no guarantee that they're gonna be able to get back.”  Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 156: Espo: “There's No Asterisk” on Suns' Finals Berth

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 3, 2021 49:57


    The Phoenix Suns are headed to the 2021 NBA Finals, and there absolutely should be no asterisk attached to their stellar run, according to guest Greg "Espo" Esposito, host of the Solar Panel Podcast. And why should there be? Phoenix bounced back from a 2-1 deficit to dethrone the defending champions before sweeping the MVP Jokic-led Nuggets. Then, the Suns took down a deep and resilient Clippers squad in a gritty series that could have gone either way. Espo breaks down how the Suns just keep on winning and provides a brief glimpse into their forthcoming Finals appearance against either the Bucks or Hawks. 8:27-9:18: “Having grown up a big Charles Barkley fan, I've always taken issue with the ‘If a guy doesn't win a championship, you have to kind of pooh-pooh his career and his legacy.' … Basketball is a team sport. Individuals can have big games, but what you're seeing with the Suns is proof yet again that nobody wins alone. This team is truly a team, and the thought that Chris Paul's legacy or his career wasn't impressive until Year 16 when he finally made it to the Finals just seems somewhat laughable.” 16:14-17:06: "A win's a win. Doesn't matter if it's pretty, if it's ugly, if it's one point, if it's 90 points. In the playoffs, a win is a win. I think the Suns proved in the series against the Clippers they can win any way possible. They can win when the refs seemingly are against them like they did in Game 2 where they won on what's dubbed as the ‘Valley Oop.' … They found a way. Defensive slugfest where nobody's scoring the basketball, the Suns found a way. Just explosive offensive night, the Suns had that too. This team can win anyway, anyhow, anywhere." 24:41-25:41: "Boo-freaking-hoo. There's no asterisk. Does Toronto have an asterisk because Golden State was hurt? No, people don't think about that, they just go, ‘Oh, Toronto was the champions that year.' Last year because it was played in a bubble, do the Lakers have an asterisk? No, they pound their chests just like anybody. …The Suns have beaten everybody that they faced. Hands down, they've done what they've been asked to do. They can't control who's there. And Chris Paul had his shoulder injured against the Lakers and was out with COVID, Devin Booker as a broken nose. Things happen, and things have happened to the Suns. And in the past, the Suns over the last 50 plus years have been one of the most unlucky franchises in NBA history. I could not care less what the path was to get to a title." 31:33-32:27: “My daughter's four, so this has been kind of the first time she's really been into basketball, and they rush right to see the end of [Game 2]. And my daughter was just as excited as I was for it and that [the ‘Valley Oop'] is the kind of thing that makes a fan for life. It's those kind of moments that solidify it, and that's what made it so cool for me was I knew there was a generation, like my daughter and a little older than my daughter, that were like me during the '93 run, that that will be seared in their memory forever. That that may be the moment that they just decided I'm gonna love basketball irrationally well into my 30s and 40s and 50s because I saw something that was unbelievable in the moment. That's why we all watch sports and that's what I loved so much about that play.” 46:15-46:41: “Whether it's Atlanta or Milwaukee, that's going to be the biggest vulnerability for the Suns is can they mentally stay locked in to win four games? I think they can, I think they've proven it, but they have to work hard. And like I said, I mentioned this quote that Monty Williams says: ‘Do not get happy on the farm.' Because, and I add this part, if you get happy on the farm, that's when you're gonna get slaughtered.” Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 155: Dan Morgan: “Ben Simmons” Will Be “the Guy Blamed" for 76ers' Exit

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 25, 2021 52:51


    Dan Morgan of the Process Potables podcast joins Loren and Aaron to break down the Philadelphia 76ers' heartbreaking Game 7 defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks. From Ben Simmons' offensive disappearing act to Joel Embiid playing through injury to Dan's faith (or lack thereof) in head coach Doc Rivers to President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey's offseason task ahead, this episode has everything. Enjoy some excerpts below: 15:02-16:26: “‘Can they [co]exist, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid?' Well, that's been the question for a long time. They did enough to be the No. 1 seed in an improved East this year, so there's something to be said for that. I still don't know that you can say, ‘No, it absolutely can't work.' But the problem is year after year, the conversation happens, and of all of Ben Simmons' shortcomings, this was the worst, and I don't think it's close at all. This was far and away one of the most atrocious things I've ever seen. … The one lesson that I think I've already learned and I'm not gonna get fooled again is believing that Ben Simmons is gonna add something offensively this offseason.”       23:53-24:15: “It's not people overreacting at this point because the argument has been ‘every other part of his [Simmons'] game is there.' But in this series, in fourth quarters, in second rounds of the postseason, it hasn't been. … There's been a lot of other gaping holes, and that is where the concern lies with this franchise.”  26:59-29:21: “Ben Simmons is gonna be the guy that is blamed for this, so Doc Rivers is gonna get a pass because he wanted the chance to make them work. I think you just realize he can't do it either. And now Ben Simmons will be the scapegoat. Next season, Rivers won't have the Ben Simmons excuse. … While I don't believe in Doc Rivers, and I'm pretty sure I don't believe in Ben Simmons anymore, I do believe in Daryl Morey. … Now it's time for him to prove why that's the case.”      32:13-32:30: “If you trade Ben Simmons, you really can't trade Matisse Thybulle because Matisse Thybulle made second-team All-Defense off the bench. That's how good he is on the defensive end. … You can't trade ‘em both.”    36:06-37:04: “The Sixers' third-most played lineup during the playoffs was George Hill, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris and Dwight Howard. … One starter and four bench guys, two of which cannot shoot a basketball at all. That lineup finished with a net rating of negative 16 points per 100 possessions, per Clean the Glass. That is an atrocity! … You've gotta play your horses.” 42:50-44:21: For all the Embiid turnovers and poor shooting nights, he's the only guy really on the team that was willing to be the person to go to. … After everything he did, playing on the injury, putting up the numbers he did, as soon as everything was done, he came out, said in his pressers, ‘I have to do better. I can be better. I'm gonna work on things' etc., etc. He went on social media. He said, ‘Philly, I love you. I'm sorry I let you down. I can do better.'  Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 154: Mike Singer: Stopping Phoenix an “Impossible Equation” for Nuggets

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 13, 2021 47:24


    Nikola Jokic earned 2020-21 MVP honors and was presented with his trophy before Denver's home Game 3 against the Phoenix Suns. But an epic individual performance from the skilled center was not enough for the team to avoid another double-digit loss, its third in as many games of the series. Facing a 3-0 hole, the Nuggets will need a miracle in order to make NBA history and become the first ever team to come back from such a series deficit. Our guest, Mike Singer of the Denver Post, breaks down how the Nuggets got to this point, with specific emphasis on Denver's ongoing quest to replace the scoring void left by Jamal Murray's season-ending knee injury and the team's inadequate defense against Phoenix's devastating pick-and-roll attack. Finally, Singer looks ahead to the most pressing offseason priorities looming ahead for the franchise.   8:08-8:33: “If Austin Rivers and Facu Campazzo are not giving you anything offensively, that means that you are not making Chris Paul and Devin Booker work on the defensive end. Therefore they're saving all their energy for the offensive end and just picking you to pieces. So, talent disparity, but more specifically if you zoom in, it's in the backcourt.”   14:21-15:05: “There is no doubt that he [Aaron Gordon] has not been the offensive piece that they need this series, and I don't know if that's fair to ask of him to be the third scoring option in this series. That's not really his game. He has kind of an inconsistent, unreliable 3-point shot. His midrange is iffy. I even think his touch around the basket is a little bit suspect. However, he is really good in transition, when he's cutting Nikola Jokic really makes the most of him and finds him, and he's really good in that dunker's spot. … But the reason why they got Aaron Gordon was for the defensive end, and I think he's been reliable.”   19:29-19:42: “So they can hit you from so many angles. They're a dynamic, three-level scoring team that also plays defense. I think people are starting to recognize the Suns may be legitimate title contenders.”  25:44-26:23: “I think maybe among the coolest things about his legacy is that it will change the perception of what people think about as an NBA superstar. When you think about NBA players, you think of freak athletes. You think Giannis, you think Russell Westbrook, obviously LeBron, those fast-twitch leapers who are just incredible physical players, and then you think about Nikola Jokic. … He has proven that you don't need to be a fast-twitch, high leaper to dominate the game like he did this year.” 37:42-38:07: “I don't think that they've tuned out [head coach Michael] Malone by any means. He's a sixth-year coach. I think that there's a lot of respect that runs up and down the roster for him. He could be quicker in certain adjustments. He could try to change up matchups a little bit. But the reality is the Nuggets are depleted right now, and there aren't a lot of giant changes to be made schematically or personnel-wise.” 41:38-41:50: “I'm not gonna be shocked if they come out fighting and somehow steal Game 4, but no, I do not expect them to make NBA history. I think this team is exhausted.” *The Bill Clinton-Mike Singer Youtube video referenced in the intro. Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 153: Pratik Patel: “This Is the Loosest the Bucks Have Been”

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 7, 2021 48:30

    Despite a dominant performance by reigning, two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nets star James Harden going down with a hamstring injury in the first minute of Game 1, the Milwaukee Bucks were not able to take advantage and secure the first victory in this highly anticipated second-round series. Pratik Patel of ESPN Wisconsin helps us digest that first game, the implications of the injury and what adjustments need to be made for the Bucks to advance. Specifically, he delves into how the Bucks can hope to slow down the supremely gifted Brooklyn offense, the leadership new addition Jrue Holiday provides and how Milwaukee's supporting cast must step up to support its stars. Finally, we discuss the possible consequences of another disappointing Bucks postseason, coming on the heels of early playoff exits in the prior two seasons as well. 8:30-8:52: “This is also kinda the loosest the Bucks have been the last couple postseasons. The last two years, they were really pressed. There was a lot looming, a lot of talk about championship window. There was all of the conversation surrounding Giannis' future and this year just felt different. The entire attitude of the team, the aura around them, the feeling in the locker room, was just different this year.” 15:01-15:37: “I think the Bucks are pretty happy with how they defended the stars, especially once they knew that James Harden was ruled out. … It's about the other guys and how you defend ‘em and what you're willing to sacrifice in order to potentially send extra help at the two stars for the Nets.” 31:04-31:22: “Last year or really the last two years, Giannis got really good as a passer, as a playmaker – and he's still getting better – but it really didn't matter. They didn't have the shooting around him that they do this year, especially from guys that you can trust out on the floor.”  35:22-36:04: “The biggest thing that they've done to help this offense is acquire Jrue Holiday. He's just a complete game-changer for this team, on offense and on defense. Offensively, it gives you another ball-handler and someone who can play-make, someone who can get the ball out of Giannis' hands and get him the ball on the run. It's a top-tier point guard in this league. I was an Eric Bledsoe guy. I was an apologist for quite some time, but ultimately he didn't show up in the playoffs, and you just felt the second you got to see Jrue start to jell with this team, ‘Okay, this is different.'”  45:35-46:06: “I think that if, let's say hypothetically, the Nets eliminate the Bucks and it's not a close seven-game series or whatever, let's say it's five or six, and then the front office decides its time for a coaching change, I don't know that you see much else in the way of changes. They're not in a position to blow up the roster by any means. I don't think that they try to move Khris [Middleton]. They're certainly not gonna try to move Jrue.” Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 152: Milholen: “Lethal” Nets Boast “Arguably Most Prolific Offense Ever”

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 1, 2021 42:30

    As soon as eight-time All-Star James Harden was acquired by the Brooklyn Nets in January, "title" flashed on everyone's minds. The addition paired the talented lefty with fellow superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, forming one of the most talented Big 3s in NBA history. Only, the trio were able to log just eight regular-season games since then. How much of a problem will this lack of reps pose for the Nets, or are they just too darn talented for it to matter? Chris Milholen of SB Nation's Nets Daily and the Wingspan Podcast addresses this key question and much more, as Brooklyn leads Boston 3-1 and sees a challenging matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks on the horizon. 1:44-2:16: “Obviously everyone knows the type of offensive presence and the gifted style of offense that the Nets can play with these three players. It’s arguably the most prolific offense the NBA has ever seen. But their defense has also held up pretty well ‘cuz that was one of the major concerns: outside of chemistry, how would their defense look? You just see what they’ve done throughout the Celtics [series] this whole time, especially with this Nets switching defense, they’ve really done a good job of kind of trapping Tatum and restricting the other two options, Fournier and Smart, and same thing with Thompson.”    9:59-10:13: “We know the history between the Celtics and the Nets, especially focused around Kyrie Irving. The Nets don’t want to return back to Boston for a Game 6; Kevin Durant said that yesterday. … You know that closing out the series is on their mind.” 22:25-23:25: "He [Griffin] wasn't brought in to be that star player; he was brought in to be a role player. … When he came in, just throughout this whole entire year, you see what his value really is and that's kinda just having that veteran leadership, but also mixed in with that physical play, and someone that kind of just has that versatility element where he transformed his game from what we all know him as, or used to know him as, as that high flyer, dunker on the Clippers, that highlight machine. Now he can shoot threes, he picks and pops. You see all these little stuff here and there, and that's kind of a perfect ingredient for this Nets offense to kind of absorb." 28:56- 29:10: "One thing about Joe's game that a lot of people kind of overlook is when his shooting isn't falling, especially from behind the arc, that he gets himself involved and makes cutting passes, makes layups, tries to find a rhythm inside the paint. Joe Harris is definitely an X-Factor." 32:38-34:07: "We all know that common experience makes a difference in the postseason. That's what really makes the difference between championship team playoff contenders is that common experience and that chemistry. And throughout the Celtics series, like I mentioned, the Nets have … been using that time to really just jell together as a unit, because in Game 1 of the series, that Big 3 lineup with Harris and Jeff [Green], that was the first time they played together. … With Giannis, it’s gonna be interesting to see how they defend him and how well they defend him, especially in certain moments where the momentum is gonna be on the Bucks’ side in away games and stuff like that. … I would have to go Milwaukee in six, and if it goes seven, I think the Nets get it." *Chris is also the author of Basketball Beyond Borders: The Globalization of the NBA Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 151: Law Murray: Clips Have “Not Enough Good” Options Vs. Doncic

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2021 54:27

    In an opening-round rematch from the 2020 playoffs, the Mavericks have stunned many by stealing the first two games in Los Angeles. As the Clippers scramble for answers as to how to slow down Luka Doncic and company’s electric offense, The Athletic’s Law Murray breaks it all down. Is the series all but over? If not, how can the Clippers give themselves a fighting chance? If the Mavs do eliminate them, what’s the likelihood that franchise cornerstone Kawhi Leonard will leave in the offseason? Murray tackles these and many other timely LAC topics.   14:35-15:08: “The Clippers chose a lot of this. They chose their opponent. They chose a lot of the narratives that went into how they got here. They chose health over whatever could have been gained by playing the last two regular-season games. They chose their path. Now they’re in a situation where things are as hard as they can be. Either the Clippers are gonna overcome it and it’s going to be like, ‘Wooh, well, you got through that.’ Or they’re not gonna be around after next weekend. That’s it!  27:10-27:46: “The Clippers need to play with a lead, and then they won’t have to do the crazy stuff that comes with these unorthodox lineups and unorthodox defenses. They’re doing it because they have to create events to regain some level of control when they’re running out of time. … That’s where the Clippers are in trouble. They’re playing a catch-up game against a team that you don’t wanna be playing catch-up against.” 28:02-28:12: “They’re not getting enough out of Zu. Honestly, that’s been the biggest concern. [Mavericks head coach] Rick Carlisle should get a lot of credit for taking Ivica Zubac out of this series.” 34:19-34:25: “The Clippers have a surplus of options [to defend Doncic]. It’s just that not enough of them are good right now.” 39:06-40:25: “Marcus [Morris] is a vet. Marcus is supposed to be the guy that exudes toughness, that’s supposed to be the third scorer, that’s supposed to be the shooter, that’s supposed to be the versatile defender, that’s supposed to be able to respond when the team needs a response, and Marcus has been really, really bad. … The impact Marcus has had on this series compared to Tim Hardaway Jr. is the difference in this series. … For Marcus to be a no-show right now, the Clippers aren’t winning this series. They’re not getting close with Marcus playing as poorly as he’s played.”    48:41-48:52: “This Dallas team game-planned to take away the things that hurt them last year, and it’s just tough beating a team two years in a row in the playoffs.” Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 150: Espo: Suns Registered a “Cinderella Story” Season

    Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2021 41:28


    The 2020-21 NBA regular season has officially come to a close, and one of the most pleasant surprises was the year the Phoenix Suns recorded. Suns fans already had reason for optimism after an 8-0 performance in last year's Orlando bubble, but rarely does a team make the jump so quickly from outside of the playoffs all the way to the No. 2 seed, especially in the crowded Western Conference. We're joined this episode by Greg "Espo" Esposito of The Solar Panel, who attributes this growth to the veteran leadership of new addition Chris Paul, the coaching of Monty Williams, and a cadre of supporting players who all have effectively filled their roles when their names have been called. Espo also takes us through a few potential playoff scenarios, including a possible first-round matchup with the defending champion Lakers. Note: This episode was recorded on Sunday, before the Suns were locked into the No. 2 seed and the full seeding in the play-in games was still yet to be determined. 4:54-5:23: “I had them going like 41-31. I thought a 5 or 6 seed was probably where they’d top out. I did not see this coming. And a big part of it was they’ve been healthier than most teams, but I just did not see them being a top two team in the West, finishing with 51 wins and an over .700 winning percentage. It was not in my wildest dreams.” 9:19-10:38: “His [Chris Paul’s] talent is undeniable, but what he brought to this young group was a mindset, an approach to the game. And they did not take any night for granted this year. … And every night, they came out and they played hard. Rarely did they lose back-to-back games. … That’s Chris Paul’s doing. It was like having a head coach on the floor that went completely along with Monty Williams’ philosophy as the coach off of it. And that’s what Chris Paul did for this team. He helped them grow up." 17:39-18:07: “I was with the team Devin Booker’s rookie year, and I have never met a guy that is built for stardom like I have with Devin Booker. The maturity, the mindset, the way he approached the game, everything he wanted to accomplish from Day 1, he has it. And I hope that the entire NBA gets to see and witness that evolution in the playoffs." 19:30-20:53: If he [DeAndre Ayton] is inconsistent, it’s going to be problematic. If he gets in foul trouble, it’s gonna be problematic. Because the one thing that James Jones didn’t do…the one place he didn’t build depth was at that backup center spot. … If he takes some large step in these playoffs, watch out. That could be the difference between a second-round or a Western Conference finals exit, and a championship. That’s how big you could see a swing if DeAndre Ayton does something special.” 31:07-32:03: “They have a very good chance and maybe even likelihood of beating the Lakers, just because they’re coming off of injuries, the Suns have played very well. Their style of play has been geared toward the way you play in the playoffs, plus the Suns are a deeper team. … But whenever you have two of the top five guys in the game on the court for your team, like the Lakers do, that’s scary. It should be scary for anybody in the first round.” 37:40-38:23: “That is one scrappy group. Steph [Curry] still can put up 50 in a game. I mean it would not shock me if he has a game in the playoffs where he drops 60, and we all just go, ‘Yeah, he is one of the best scorers we’ve ever seen.’ So that factor is always a bit unnerving, but if I had to pick between Portland, the Lakers and Golden State, give me Golden State out of that group. You can just wear them down. Sure, maybe they get two against you, maybe they get lucky and Steph has three unbelievable games, but I think the path to four wins against the Warriors is a lot easier.” *Here's Jared Dubin's 538 article on the Suns' X-factors referenced during the show. Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 149: Seth Rosenthal: Randle’s “Rare” Turnaround Fuels Knicks’ “Dream of a Season”

    Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2021 44:58


    Seth Rosenthal, video producer for SB Nation’s Secret Base, makes his triumphant return to discuss his beloved Knicks’ superb season in the face of extremely low expectations coming into the year. They’ve done it through seismic shooting improvements from Julius Randle and second-year guard RJ Barrett, Derrick Rose's inspired bench play, new head coach Tom Thibodeau’s seamless fit and much more highlighted in the show. Also included: A discussion of where the franchise is headed and where it stands with the playoffs just around the corner.         6:10-6:55: "As a fan of the team who has been stuck in his apartment for the last year, what a thing it's been to be able to depend on a player and a team like the Knicks to sort of cheer me up at the end of the night. I wasn't counting on that. And it's just the way Randle has turned his performance and his career around during this incredibly difficult year has been really inspiring, and it's meant a lot to me. And it's hard to fully describe. … I was searching around ESPN Trade Machine for ways to dump him for, like, Cory Joseph like four months ago, five months ago today. And now I'm ready to extend the dude. I've never seen anything like it as a Knicks fan, and the timing could not have been better." 7:58-8:10: “This is what we’ve been waiting for. This is why you take a gamble on a player. This is why you sign him to an initial sub-max contract. He’s 26 years old right now. Pay the dude.” 10:37-12:06: There is that sort of cultural fit. I think the characteristics that may have made Thibodeau a bad fit in some other places, some things that one might consider flaws, happen to vibe pretty nicely with the personalities of his best players or I guess the people who have become his best players, who weren't necessarily particularly good players coming into this season. … Thibodeau's rap has been: He overplays guys, he's an incredible hard-ass who will scream at you and will overwork you and just has this sort of military mindset. Turns out that someone of Julius Randle's experience and caliber and in RJ Barrett’s case, someone who came up with Coach K, and have these sort of gym rat reputations, they fit perfectly. They like that.” 18:46-19:09: “Coming into this season, I saw him [RJ Barrett] as someone who maybe should be traded because other teams still believed in him and I really didn’t. But I was pleasantly mistaken about that one, about as wrong as I’ve ever been about a Knicks player. He’s extremely important, and a lot of this remarkable season, this turnaround can be attributed to him improving immensely.”  23:25-23:49: “I think everyone understands that going forward with whatever draft pick the Knicks end up with, with the cap space they’re gonna have and the trade market, there’s a pretty clear path forward for this time to go from surprisingly OK to good to great, and it’s building the backcourt. The Knicks really need a good point guard, a star point guard, and I think there’s a good chance they’re gonna go get one.” 38:07-38:43: “Home-court advantage definitely matters, especially as I believe the state of New York is gonna dial up its capacity allowance for a place like Madison Square Garden right around the time the playoffs start. … MSG’s an important home-court advantage, and unless the players on the Knicks are gonna suddenly put their tails between their legs and shoot poorly with the Garden at 25 [percent] or half capacity, whatever it is, they need that.    38:48-41:33: “Erik Spoelstra has always ruined the Knicks. Linsanity, Spoelstra was the guy who just threw a wrench in that. He just really knows how to design a defense that can wreck the Knicks, and the Heat have destroyed the Knicks this season. … The Hawks are gonna be a tough matchup for the Knicks too, but I think not as much of a problem as the Heat would be.”    Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 148: Kevin Cottrell: “Ball Don’t Lie” Reporting “Felt Like Therapy"

    Play Episode Listen Later May 5, 2021 37:56

    NBA TV producer Kevin Cottrell Jr. joins the show to discuss his debut book, Ball Don’t Lie, a collection of detailed conversations with 10 legends of the game.   9:23-9:42: “I never wanted to be the forefront of the book. I wanted to be the writer, but I wanted to share other people’s stories that I thought were interesting. So I thought the quotes were very, very, very important. I didn’t want to really paraphrase anything. I wanted to you to feel what they feel. I wanted you to understand what they saw and how they thought.  13:06-13:40: “Did you know he [Vince Carter] was injured going into the dunk contest? Naw, yeah. So when I found out things like that, I was like, ‘OK, this a perfect story to tell because people might think one thing and they get another.’ Chris Webber, honestly, I don’t think the game we talked about ultimately, him playing for the Sixers, that’s not a game he wanted to even discuss. And I had to explain to him the reason why I wanted that game was ‘cuz people would forget A, that he got traded to the Sixers, and B, his first game was against the team that traded him. That’s just a crazy story.”      15:13-15:28: “What happened was it almost felt like a therapy session, like guys almost land on a couch, and I took them back to this moment in time and now they were expressing something that they never got to truly express. And then by the end of the interview, they’re like, ‘Man, nobody’s ever asked me such and such.’” 30:38-31:00: “Probably the most challenging aspect was just doing this whole thing independently. A lot of people didn’t trust or believe in my vision of the book because A, they didn’t think I could deliver those names, and B, they didn’t think those people would help promote the book. Being a writer is one thing; being a publisher is a whole ‘nother thing.”   35:11-37:03: “If it wasn’t for Sekou, I would’ve left journalism a long time ago. … I was just getting down. I wasn’t getting the opportunities that I wanted. … I was always like a day late, a step short on those opportunities. And one time, I’ll never forget, we went and met at Panera Bread, right by where we lived, and he just encouraged me to keep writing, keep creating and don’t give up. … He just always was somebody that if I had a question or questioned something about what I was doing, he’d be the first person I’d pick up the phone and call. Him and David Aldridge, the two best journalists I’ve ever had the chance to be around, work with and just pick their brains.”   Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 147: Sarah Spencer: Hawks Have “Caught Fire”

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 28, 2021 44:23

    Going into the 2020-21 season, the Atlanta Hawks revamped their roster, hoping a few high-profile veteran additions would help their talented young core finally make the playoffs. The plan didn’t exactly work out as intended, as the team incurred a slew of key injuries and fell to 14-20, which triggered the firing of its head coach, Lloyd Pierce. Under Nate McMillan, however, the Hawks have completely turned it around, playing high-quality basketball that’s put them in prime position to achieve a top-five playoff seed. And their veterans are excelling, including Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari and Clint Capela, who was acquired via trade last year. In the process, they’ve learned how to close games, most recently registering a 41-point fourth quarter to defeat the Greek Freak-led Bucks Sunday night, all without the services of a banged-up Trae Young. Joining Aaron to discuss this spirited group, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Sarah Spencer makes her first appearance on the pod. Near the end, she also touches upon what beloved Atlanta-based journalist Sekou Smith meant to her and her paper. 18:26-20:02: “The biggest factor for them has been [Clint] Capela. He’s been a good fit on both sides of the ball too because he gives Trae Young another rim-running target. … They needed someone to kind of organize and get things moving. I remember having a conversation with Kevin Huerter about this, and he said, ‘We want Trae to do that on offense; we want Clint to do that on defense.’ That’s what you need. You need guys to be vocal. And this was a pretty quiet team last year.” 26:02-26:28: “In the first half of the season, the Hawks were really pretty dreadful in the fourth quarter – that’s how they lost a lot of games. In the second half, in the fourth quarter, it’s pretty much been the exact opposite, which has been crazy how dramatic that turnaround has been. And I think Trae’s been a part of that. He’s had a few games where he’s come alive and been really steady in the fourth quarter, and that’s what you want to see out of a guy like that.” 32:28-33:06: “I think that the biggest thing with Nate [McMillan] has been his experience as a head coach over the years. This was Lloyd [Pierce]’s first head coaching gig, and it was a tough one. You take over a team that’s rebuilding, that’s very young, that’s banged up. But I think Nate’s experience has helped. Especially in the fourth quarter when things get dicey, it just seems like he’s managing things really well, and the Hawks are responding and you can see the results of that.” 38:09-38:59: “Before I could even send the email, he [Sekou Smith] had reached out to me. … And I just remember being blown away that this guy was taking time out of his day to do something like that. He didn’t have to do that. It was kind of on me to reach out, but that’s not how he saw it. He was just someone who was so happy to help and so earnest. My impression of him is that he was just an awesome guy who was always willing to give advice and talk through things.” *Link to the Twitter thread referenced in the introduction where Aaron pays tribute to the great Sekou Smith. Sponsor: Use code TBPN during sign-up at DraftKings.com to claim your free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 146: Jared Weiss: The Nets "Have a Giant Frickin' Laser Beam"

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 24, 2020 40:11

    Just in time for the start of the season, The Athletic’s Jared Weiss broke down the most striking storylines around the Eastern Conference with an emphasis on the Boston Celtics, whom he covers so closely. Among a slew of timely topics, Jared discusses his favorites to emerge out of the East, Jayson Tatum’s next expected leap, how good the Heat actually are and the new-and-improved Atlanta Hawks who seek to get back into the playoffs after a three-season absence.*Due to dynamic advertising, time stamps may vary - 5:14-5:40: “I think it was Ryan Ruocco. I’ll give him credit for putting them as…they’re basically like the Death Star. And the Death Star very famously had a major vulnerability that allowed you to blow it up. And so if somebody can nestle right in there between Kyrie and KD and make the chemistry fall apart, this team can really, really fall apart . But they’ve got a giant frickin’ laser beam basically when it comes to KD and Kyrie.” 21:51-22:20: “The big thing for him (Jayson Tatum) this year is now that he’s the big star, everybody knows it. The amount of attention he’s gonna get, the matchups he’s gonna get, the coverages that he’s gonna get, he’s gonna be getting a lot of traps, a lot of blitzes and double-teams, he’s gotta be able to handle it. He’s gotta be able to handle that defenders, that they know that the spotlight’s on them when they’re covering him, and they’re gonna be showing up with their A-game, and they’re gonna be playing way harder on him than they were playing last year. He’s gotta be ready for that.”35:52-36:25: “If they’re starting John Collins and they’re starting one of the wings that they signed this offseason, then their defense is in critical condition because obviously Trae (Young) is a turnstile and then who do you put at the 2? … There’s not really a correct answer for their starting lineup. Their starting lineup’s always gonna have some sort of defensive compromise, pretty much.”

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 145: Sekou Smith: “In the West, Everybody is Swinging for the Fences at All Times”

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 18, 2020 44:27

    Sekou Smith of NBA TV, NBA.com and the Hang Time Podcast returns to the show to survey the ultra-competitive West, a conference replete with fascinating storylines ahead of the season’s start. For instance, should the Lakers be considered heavy favorites, what’s going on in Houston, which teams are best primed to squeeze into the postseason and what can we expect from the Warriors following a lost '19-20 season? Sekou tackles all these Western Conference questions and more, plus he offers a bonus Giannis extension reaction and Aaron delivers a Spurs-themed Sexy Stats segment coming out of the break. *Due to dynamic advertising, time stamps may vary - 8:09-8:38: “To me, there’s a built in advantage for (head coach) T(yronn) Lue in familiarity that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. He’s the kind of human being – knowing him as well as I do – and kind of coach who’s going to be extremely beneficial to the Clippers as an organization. You’re talking about a guy who’s had experience with the pressures that come with a win-or-else proposition like he had with LeBron.”12:16-12:53: “They’ve changed the expectation for themselves in the postseason, which if you’ve built the way that they have – which I think is some of the best front-office work, roster building, player development we’ve seen in the past few years – then you’re right where you want to be. You’re in that conversation among the best teams in the Western Conference. You have young stars who are entering into their primes. You have even younger potential stars, like Michael Porter. Jr. – Bol Bol being an even bigger reach but certainly with an upside that is really incomparable when you think about his size and skill set.” 20:44-21:16: “Houston is such a difficult team to evaluate because we don’t know, is this the team they’re gonna carry throughout the season, is this the team that’s put together now with James (Harden) bought in or is James committed wholeheartedly at all to sticking around? When you strip all that away, if you start moving pieces and changing things up, then, to me, they fall out of the conversation of teams that are trying to make the playoffs.” 32:44-33:17: “I want to see him (Zion Williamson) play 30 minutes a night, just to see if he can sustain what we saw in glimpses during an injury-filled rookie season. He’s a mind-boggling talent when you look at his combination of size, heft and skill. And to me, that is the beauty of NBA seasons and the NBA in general, just watching talent evolve and seeing if it can reach its potential in a given situation.”

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 144: Melissa Isaacson on STATE: “We’re Gonna Remember This the Rest of Our Lives”

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2020 46:39

    Longtime journalist Melissa Isaacson, who spent years reporting at the Chicago Tribune and ESPN, among other outlets, appears On the NBA Beat for a discussion devoted to her third book, “State: A Team, a Triumph, a Transformation.” It’s an intensely personal tale documenting her and her team’s four years as bona fide high school basketball pioneers that culminated in a state title. Join Missy as she details the inspiring journey.*Due to dynamic advertising, time stamps may vary:9:14-10:17 - “I think that we’ve had our days of incremental progress. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with demanding change. … In the same ways that getting a uniform was a huge step and playing in the boys’ gym was a huge step, and we were patient and we did take each victory as the big thing that it was, I don’t know that patience is something that we should have (today). Not to get all political, but we’ve been waiting for the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) to pass for some time now, and patience hasn’t done us any good.” 15:42-16:10 - “I walked out into this bitterly, bitterly cold, cold, cold night back to the car with my friend Connie, and she said, ‘Miss, you’ve gotta tell our story.’ And it just hit me that I did. And it wasn’t mine to tell. It was our story to tell, but I was gonna be the one to have to tell it. And it was gonna be quite an undertaking, a responsibility, but I knew at that point that I had to tell the story.”28:54-30:26 - “It was her (Arlene Mulder’s) idea to stay away from us senior year because she wanted the new coach to bond with us. And then we won, and she got no credit, no thank you, no nothing, while the new coach got hallways and streets and awards named after him and was in the Hall of Fame and all these things. ...It took the reporting in the book to find out how unselfish she really was and how much a part of our victory she really was. … This is a woman that was really the heroine of the book, without question." 41:13-41:42 - “Books about girls are not generally put in the hands of boys. And so while I don’t in any way think this is a girls’ book – and I don’t – it’s probably not one that a lot of boys would naturally gravitate to unless they’re told to, and then I think they would find a lot of common themes and some inspiring themes to our story. So that’s the greatest thing that I heard.” 45:51-46:51 - “You really do remember the…holding up of the trophy in the middle of Assembly Hall in a court that we could never, ever, ever envision in our lives being allowed to stand on, much less play on. … I remember it vividly, and all just looking at each other, and we didn’t say one word. We just looked at each other and smiled, and it was like, ‘Damn, this is really just unbelievable. Who would have ever thought? We are gonna remember this the rest of our lives.’ You know what? We did! I did! I do!”

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 143: Drafting and Dynasties With Pesquera, Ibañez-Baldor

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2020 50:55

    Javier Pesquera, roving NBA draft analyst and occasional consultant for The Stepien, returns to break down the fast-approaching 2020 draft. Then, after the break, Agu Ibañez Baldor stops by to discuss his book, “Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Teams in NBA History.” *Due to dynamic advertising, time stamps may vary:Javier Pesquera at 7:28-7:39: “At No. 1, I do have LaMelo Ball in his own tier by himself, and I think LaMelo Ball is gonna go No. 1 unless Minnesota actually finds a trade that they like, which I don’t think is happening at this point.” 12:25-12:42 (JP): “I think there are a lot of doubters as well. I do like him [Obi Toppin]. He has as much potential as anybody in this class, and that’s related to his physical tools. … The comparison to Amar’e Stoudemire pops in your head right away because of the way he leaps off the floor and the way he finishes in transition. He has that type of ability.” 23:49-24:14 (JP): “I guess if Golden State surprises the world and takes somebody else other than [James] Wiseman or [Anthony] Edwards, that would also change things quite a bit. I don’t expect any trades in the top 10. I think the only one that could happen and it’s, more or less, the most possible one is if Charlotte actually trades up with Golden State and they give some sort of minor asset to secure themselves selecting Wiseman No. 2 instead of risking Golden State taking him.” Agu Ibañez-Baldor at 34:38-34:48: “I just wrote it the way I talk, honestly. I’m a bit sarcastic. I’m a bit opinionated. I’m a bit mean, but in a let’s get along kind of way.” 38:01-38:21 (AIB): “I think my favorite’s Pat Riley though. Pat Riley’s just an assassin. He’s a basketball assassin. He takes teams to the highest level and makes them win every single time. Even with the Knicks, he’s probably had the most competitive and successful rosters and teams since their championship days in the ‘70s.” 48:22-48:36 (AIB): “I put them [the Nuggets] down specifically because both [Nikola] Jokic and [Jamal] Murray recently signed long-term max contracts, so they have their two best players for the next five or six years locked down. And for that I think they have a very good chance, just for that continuity.”

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 142: "The Knicks of the Nineties" With Paul Knepper

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2020 39:13


    Author Paul Knepper takes us back to the 1990s, a time when the New York Knicks, led by Patrick Ewing, perennially made the playoffs and once came within a game of winning it all. Boasting a bruising, physical style that's long since disappeared from the league, these Knicks are remembered fondly by New Yorkers who pine for a respectable basketball team (the Nets obviously don't count for Knicks fans) again. In "The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers That Almost Won It All," Paul adeptly tells the story of these Knicks, and lucky for us, he's here to provide the highlights of the narrative. *Due to dynamic advertising, time stamps may vary:6:17-6:53: “You get so immersed in this topic. It’s like writing a dissertation. It’s all I thought about for a couple years, and I’m just so heavily involved in [it]. So there’s these little nuggets of information or details that I pick up that I find really fascinating maybe, but I have to question: Is someone who’s not immersed in this topic like I am, are they going to find this stuff interesting, these little details? And these little details, can I make them work within the flow of the book?” 18:17-18:59: “If you give me a choice between talking to Patrick Ewing – especially Patrick Ewing, who’s very guarded – and talking to five to 10 people who knew Patrick Ewing well about Patrick Ewing, I’ll take the five to 10 people any day. I think they offer different perspectives. I think they are probably more honest than Patrick might be. I just think they see him in a different light. … So you start to paint the picture through all those different sources.” 22:23-23:21: “There seemed to be greater intensity, and I think the physicality contributed to that. Every time down the floor, every possession felt like a battle, so that’s one. I also think there was more player continuity then. Certainly among stars, but even in general, the contracts are shorter now, so teams aren’t together for quite as long. … Patrick and the Knicks played Jordan and the Bulls in the playoffs five times from the late ‘80s to the mid-‘90s, they played the Heat four years in a row in the playoffs, they played the Pacers six times from ’93 to 2000. And it was the same guys. Reggie Miller was with Indiana the whole time. Patrick was with New York the whole time. Through the whole decade, you had less player movement.” 24:56-26:06: “It’s been brutal, and [Knicks executive James] Dolan gets a lot of the blame for it, and I believe deservedly. I think he’s been a big source of the problem. But I do believe it can turn, and I think it can turn quickly. It happens. Teams that have been really bad for a really long time, you get the right people in place and you get a little bit of luck, and all of a sudden you’re a great team…I would just say that things can turn around relatively quickly even when it feels like it’s been bad forever.”30:30-31:29: “I think Patrick gets a bad rap. People say he couldn’t get them over the hump, and he couldn’t beat [Michael] Jordan, and he lost to [Hakeem] Olajuwon in the Finals. And all those things are true. But nobody could beat Jordan then, and Olajuwon is, I think, at least top 15, possibly top 10 player ever. He was magnificent. And the other thing is look at his career, look at his teammates. He never played with another Hall of Fame player. … You typically need another great player, a Robin to your Batman to win it all, and Patrick never had that.”


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 141: Lakers-Nuggets With Harrison Faigen, Katy Winge

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2020 57:03


    Thanks to Anthony Davis' buzzer-beating 3, the Los Angeles Lakers narrowly escaped with a Game 2 win Sunday night to extend their series lead over the Denver Nuggets to 2-0. Just as the plot begins to thicken, Harrison Faigen of SB Nation's Silver Screen and Roll and Katy Winge of Altitude TV and Altitude Sports Radio join the show to discuss the series' most noteworthy and fascinating storylines. Harrison marvels at how seamlessly Davis and James' games have blended together, opines on the so-called #WashedKing, explains why Alex Caruso is a remora fish, and details the team's many defensive strengths, among other topics. For Katy's part, she illuminates Denver's impressive ability to roar back from large and late deficits again and again. She also breaks down how the Nuggets can realistically make this a series again. *Due to dynamic advertising, time stamps may vary:Faigen (29:50-30:09): “It’s almost Jordanesque in the way that they look for perceived slights, and I think honestly they’ve gotten a lot of them. They heard all the chatter before the Blazers series. ‘Oh, the Lakers don’t want to play this Blazers team. They’re really dangerous.’ And then they went out and stomped them. And then ‘Oh, the Rockets. I don’t know if the Lakers can keep up with them.’ And then went out and stomped them, too.” Winge (39:43-40:15): “This team has the mental toughness and the fortitude of no other team I’ve ever been around. And I think each guy just has this chip on his shoulder individually and as a member of the Nuggets team. And even head coach Michael Malone takes on that type of mentality as well, so you can see that kind of bleeding into his players and into the franchise. And it’s something that they’ve leaned into, especially when they’ve been on the stage during the playoffs and have gotten more attention than they’re used to. But they’ve been asking for respect for the last couple years.” KW (57:45-57:48): “This team just never dies. They never quit.”


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 140: Salman Ali: "(Lakers-Rockets) Is Big Ball Versus Micro Ball"

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2020 40:03

    With the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers tied at one win apiece, Rockets reporter Salman Ali lends his insight and analysis about the intriguing matchup that’s only just begun. A General NBA writer for Clutch Points, Salman also covers the Rockets for the Red Nation Hoops Podcast, ESPN’s Houston-based FM station, and his own new Substack newsletter called “State of the Rockets.” In the series, he argues, two styles are pitted against each other: Big Ball vs. Micro Ball. Which does he believe will prevail? Tune in to find out.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 139: Melissa Isaacson: Bulls' Title Run Was a "Magical, Magical Time"

    Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2020 37:53


    Melissa Isaacson, former sports reporter for the Chicago Tribune, relives covering the historically dominant Bulls teams of the early 1990s, as she breaks down The Last Dance, the popular docuseries in which she appears. She also discusses her latest book, State: A Team, a Triumph, A Transformation.Time stamps may vary due to dynamic advertising:4:25 - 5:40: "Over the years, he [Michael Jordan] really has been sort of portrayed as this egomaniac, and he's kind of helped along with that narrative. His Hall of Fame speech was taken in a way that I was sort of really shocked by. I actually really liked his Hall of Fame speech. It sounded to a lot of people like he was being selfish. … Hopefully the audience will see through the docuseries, those who maybe had one opinion of him, that the competitive side of him is crazy. No question. It's on a level that...is not even close [to most people] – it’s not a stereotype – but that is exactly what makes him who he is, what makes him as great as he is. So there's gonna be some eccentric qualities, but I would never ever call him an egomaniac, and I wouldn't call him a mean person regardless of some of the scraps we've seen him get into with his teammates.”9:43 – 10:44: "They [Bulls players] were all just really sensitive to me being pregnant. I have a lot of stories and a lot of memories of...guys interacting with me, Michael patting my stomach before he ran on the court every game when he came back [from his first retirement]. He'd look for me and pat my stomach for luck, I guess. Ordinarily you might be a little put off or uncomfortable, but, again, this is Michael Jordan. … It was just a magical, magical time. I felt blessed. I still feel blessed. A lot of people have asked, 'Were you aware of how great it was?' Oftentimes, it takes many years to look back and fully appreciate things. I fully appreciated it, I did, because it was clear that he was the best player in the world."25:56 - 26:26: “I think they [the filmmakers] were given this opportunity, and they were given this unbelievable amount of footage and so either you do it or you don't. They had to have the permission of Michael and the NBA. I'm glad it's out there, and you can argue if you want about every journalistic standard – was it adhered to? I feel it's a fair portrayal as someone who was there. I feel like it's been a very authentic and accurate portrayal."35:04 - 37:09 "As empowered as we were and as inspiring as I think our story was, I like to say, If you would have said to us 40 years ago while we were 17, 18-year-old girls that in 40 years you're gonna have hundreds of thousands of men, women and children fill up soccer stadiums and cheer for a women's team, what would you say? We'd be like, 'Well, yeah, of course. Are you kidding? We're gonna have a woman president, we're gonna have women GMs, we're gonna have women coaches, I'm gonna be the owner of the Bulls’... We would've thought anything was possible because of how far we had come in just that decade. And so then if you would have said to us, 'OK, but those hundreds of thousands of fans will also be chanting for equal pay for those same women athletes,’ we would have been devastated. … We have not 'come a long way, baby'... Overall, it's really a letdown to think of all the…especially women older than us that really paved the way who will die probably without seeing so many of the things they fought for."Check out Melissa's piece on her most poignant memories on the Bulls beat (http://www.melissaisaacson.com/bulls-blog/), which was referenced early in the interview.


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 138: Harrison Faigen: “There’s Genuine Dislike Between (Lakers and Clippers)”

    Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2020 45:46

    SB Nation's Silver Screen & Roll writer and editor-in-chief Harrison Faigen discusses the present state of the Los Angeles Lakers as uncertainty swirls around a potential NBA return this season. 7:56-9:03: "The only way to change this (mental health stigma) and have people be more comfortable talking about it is to have more people talk about it openly and have it not be that big of a deal. And so I want it to not be a big deal when I talk about being afraid to go outside or being afraid to go back to work. These are things we all feel on some level or another...We're all feeling that, and everyone who's struggling should be able to talk about that. One of the most insidious things, at least with my own mental illness, was it made me feel like I was weird and that there was something wrong with me and that you shouldn't talk about it because other people aren't going to be able to relate. What I've found through talking to other people...and the overwhelming feedback to the piece was that there a lot of other people going through these same things, and that appreciated that I was willing to talk about it.”14:18-15:38: "Nobody was seriously thinking that LeBron (James) was washed (up), but there were more doubts about him going into this season than there probably ever have been...He's mostly been a really important part of the Lakers defense, he's been basically their sole competent ball handler on offense, and for him to be doing that at 35 with the workload that he needs to take on and not really load-managing...I think it's probably as good of a 35-year-old season as anyone's ever had."20:49-22:17: "I'll put my hand up and fully admit that I was skeptical when the Lakers brought him back like I think almost everyone was. It was kinda like (Dion) Waiters, where you could look on paper at the fit and be like, ‘Yeah, they do need another big man. They need a guy who can take some center minutes.’ ... At the same time, we've been saying Dwight could be that guy for his last eight seasons in the league basically, and he just has never wanted to do those things or showed prolonged commitment to doing those things...Bottom line: I think he knew this was his last shot. If this didn't work out, you may not have seen a team sign Dwight Howard the next time around."26:05-26:17: "I just don't get the sense that they would have given up everything that they gave up if they were not getting strong indications from Anthony Davis and Rich Paul and LeBron that AD was going to stay for a while."32:19-32:28: "For someone who covers the Lakers, it's the best season that I've ever covered. It has also been easily the most exhausting."33:41-35:22: "The Clippers are...not only are they kind of the little brother team in the Staples Center building. I think sometimes a Lakers fan will (have an) 'Ah, no, I don't acknowledge (the Clippers) vibe, when really that's the Lakers' chief rival right now, whether you want to admit it or not. But there's this dismissiveness of it and this kind of animosity between the fan bases, but it's the most passive-aggressive rivalry I've ever seen. ... It seems like there's genuine dislike between the two teams as much as they've tried to downplay it throughout the year. Both teams know that they were constructed to beat the other one, and it really showed out there on the court. Those felt like playoff games."42:35-44:00: "The thing that I kept coming back to in the days after he passed was the last time that I saw him in person. … I remember we were walking around Disneyland, and I saw this really tall guy and I was like, "Wait a second. Is that Kobe?" He was just walking around with his kids. … He had the second-youngest on his shoulders, and he was bouncing her around, and he just looked really happy and just wandering around with his kids through Frontierland. It was cool to see him like that, and it was cool just to think back on that memory and how close he was with his daughters. It made it more sad in retrospect as well, but it's the one that I kept coming back to because it really emphasized, I think, who he became as he aged, and he really had committed to being a family man and being a #girldad and that was where his passion had went."Harrison's story on mental health: https://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2020/3/16/21181634/basketball-our-oasis-what-do-we-do-when-its-been-ripped-away-lakers-coronavirus-nba-season-suspended

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 137: Tomer Azarly on Clippers: "Still A Work in Progress"

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 27, 2020 39:03

    Tomer Azarly of Clutch Points joins the show to discuss the state of the Clippers just past the season's midway point. Enjoy these clips/Clips:6:04-6:42: I just think it's a work in progress. It’s a team last year that had an underdog mentality all season and now you add two superstars from two completely different programs in Kawhi and PG, and it just takes time to incorporate these guys. We haven't even talked about the fact that they have one game healthy all year. That was the Laker game on Christmas Day. The following game, Trez missed because of the flu, and then Pat went out with the wrist injury. So they've only really had one game healthy, one practice the day before that healthy. We’ve really yet to see what this team can be. So I don't think it's time to overreact yet, but this team is still a work in progress.14:47-15:46: Their numbers while [Ivica] Zubac is on the court have been pretty close to phenomenal. They've been a really good defensive team when Zubac on the court because he not only blocks shots, but he changes shots. He’s a really big guy inside. He takes up a lot of space. I’ve been saying this all year: play Zubac more. Get him more minutes. For whatever reason, the Clippers are not getting him more minutes right now. Maybe they're showcasing Trez more. Maybe they feel like they can outscore teams and sort of be OK defensively, with Trez on the court. But I do think a bit of their defense always comes back to Zubac and having him on the court because inside, statistically, like blocked shots, he hasn’t been a crazy force, but he's been a shot-changing force at the rim for the Clippers.17:50-18:24: I think the series honestly might just come down to health. The Clippers have shown that, they they can play the Lakers very well. They match up pretty well against them. You know, Kawhi is able to really put pressure on LeBron. LeBron does not want to guard Kawhi right now. I don't think he will in the playoffs either. I just look at it and say the Clippers have all the right pieces to slow down the Lakers; it's just a matter of can they be healthy when they play them. Can they have enough repetition under their belt together as a team to beat the Lakers?21:04-21:25: Home court matters, but they will be content being a 4 seed if they are a hundred percent healthy. If they have PG, Kawhi healthy, Pat's 100% or close to it, they've built some chemistry over time and they go on as a four seed, I can tell you they'll be very confident about their odds and their chances because that's just the kind of team this is. They're not really worried about seeding.36:50-37:00: I was the one that asked him [Harrell] about the vibe of the locker room. I didn't get a weird vibe before that, but once he started speaking, I wanted to know what the vibe of the locker room was.Subscribe to, rate and review On the NBA Beat on iTunes.Follow @OntheNBABeat and your hosts (@byAaronFisch, @JJTheJourno, @LorenLChen) on Twitter.Discover the rest of the Lineups Podcast Network at https://www.lineups.com/podcasts/ Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod.

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 136: Will & Grace's David Kohan: “I Think This Is the (Clippers') Year”

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 31, 2019 40:22


    David Kohan, along with his friend Max, created the long-running hit comedy series Will & Grace. But the Emmy Award winner is also one of the biggest Clippers fans we know, and boy was he excited to preview the upcoming season in Clipperland, one which he believes will be “the year.” Boasting the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and a deep supporting cast, the Clippers are primed for a breakthrough season. Coincidentally, Will & Grace just made a big announcement of its own: the show will be ending after one final season. Following the Clippers discussion, David touches upon that as well as his sister’s stellar TV series, Orange Is the New Black. Some special clips (Clips?) have been excerpted below:    4:15-4:26: “I thought for a second when Chris Paul was joining the team, ‘Well, this is about as good as it’s gonna get as a Clipper fan.’ But I was wrong. This is about as good as it gets.” 7:36-7:43: “Suddenly, it felt like we were frontrunners, and I’ve never felt that way as a Clipper fan before.” 11:40-12:07: “More than anything, If Jerry West is there, I feel like he’s a magician. There’s no greater architect of a team. There’s no one whose imprimatur means more than Jerry West. … His instincts are always right. It’s uncanny to me. So, it’s like, ‘In Jerry we trust,’ right?”   12:55-17:09: “Last year, as a fan, was my favorite year. It was my favorite year, I think, ever, in all the years of being a Clipper season-ticket holder. What Doc [Rivers] did with that group and just the character of that group, I loved that team. I really did. It was such a satisfying season to me. … You really got the sense, unlike years before, they all played for each other, that they genuinely cared about each other, that they enjoyed playing together, and that they were locked in defensively most of the time. … They really did seem to be giving their best effort, not caring who carried the scoring load, everybody had their roles which were clearly defined. There was energy and passion and intensity. … The Lob City teams, there always seemed to be more talent than cohesiveness.”    26:14-28:14: “People talk about the Clippers’ health and the health of their two superstars with Kawhi’s quad and Paul George’s shoulder, but the Lakers, I think, are in a much more perilous situation. … That team doesn’t quite make sense to me as currently composed. They don’t seem balanced.”    30:46-31:46: “Looking back [on Will & Grace’s run], I guess more than anything, [what stands out is] how special it is to work with those four actors, because I actually think they’re the best at what they do. … There’s a whole confluence of things that has to come together in order for something to work. But one of the things that I really appreciated during that gap between the first run and the second run was just how good I had it working with those four actors. I really feel like whatever you write, they elevate it. They make it better than you thought.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 135: Jovan Buha: Leonard, George "Can Be Best Perimeter Pairing Since Pippen, M.J."

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 11, 2019 44:02


    Last Friday night, Los Angeles residents, among people in others places such as Las Vegas, felt a 7.1-magnitude earthquake. Within nearly two and a half hours, the Clippers had pulled off an earth-shattering pair of moves that would bring both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to Los Angeles, not too far from where either superstar was born and raised. For the occasion, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha appears On the NBA Beat to discuss how the long-suffering franchise positioned itself for such a major offseason coup, how dominant these Clippers can truly be after the earth-Kawhiuake, the question marks surrounding Paul George’s shoulders and much, much more.  8:23-10:52: “I think for the Clippers to be able to get Doc [Rivers] to basically take a demotion and not have to fire him, not have him quit, I think that was huge, because Doc still has a lot of cachet around the league, he’s still regarded as a players’ coach, he’s still someone that people want to play for. … [They] completely revamped this front office, and that really changed things for the Clippers, because every single move they’ve made over these last two years has been so calculated and has really put them in this position to do what they just did.”     13:04-14:22: “The Clippers have just continued to flip players for more assets and more players, and then they just cashed in on this Paul George-Kawhi Leonard situation. It was a historic price, what they paid for Paul George…but I think the context you’ve gotta look at it in is it’s not like they traded for Paul George only; they traded for Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Had they not gotten Paul George, they would not have gotten Kawhi Leonard. … Yes, there is risk into the mid-2020s, but if the Clippers win a championship or make the Finals over the next two, three years, I think that’s clearly worth it.” 14:47-16:26: “I think they can be the best perimeter pairing we’ve seen since Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan, and that might sound like hyperbole, but I don’t think it’s that ridiculous. … Perimeter defense has arguably become the most important thing in the league outside of shooting.”   21:16-21:36: “I think Landry [Shamet]’s shooting is gonna unlock so much stuff with Kawhi and Paul George that to bench him is really gonna be a potential difference-maker offensively, just in terms of their spacing, their gravity, their ability to do things offensively. To me, Landry is a huge key.”    23:45-25:00: “Especially with the shoulder injury, that directly affects your shooting. I don’t know. That’s kind of the wild card. I think it [the Paul George injury] could swing the Clippers’ season from like a 47, 48-win to a 58-win team. … That’s kind of the one semi-dark cloud hanging over this whole thing.” 30:44-31:12: “The Clippers have never been the favorites. They’ve always been third, fourth, fifth, whatever, during the whole Lob City era. They were never No. 1, so I think there’s the pressure of that. But with this new development with the Kawhi Leonard contract, it does put pressure on them to really cater to what he wants over the next two years, to meet his expectations of what he thinks of the roster and what he thinks of the team and their potential.”  42:36-43:55: “The Blake Griffin trade and the Tobias Harris trade. … This guy, he just looks at things in such an objective, business-like, borderline ruthless approach. … And he deemed, and the front office deemed as an organization, that Blake wasn’t [and] the same thing with Tobias. Both of those moves scream Jerry West.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 134: Jake Fischer: Top-Tier Free Agents May Need to Wait for Kawhi

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2019 27:02

    Jake Fischer joins the show on the doorstep of the official beginning to the 2019 NBA free agency period. The Sports Illustrated reporter takes us through the likeliest scenarios involving superstars Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. He also explores the Los Angeles Clippers’ chances of finally landing a max free agent after years of coming away empty-handed and how their arena-mates plan to build around Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Jake’s thoughts on the 76ers’ approach to the offseason and the Rockets’ rumored interest in Jimmy Butler are featured as well, among other salient NBA storylines. Some highlights of an action-packed episode:   4:28-5:13: “While Durant might make his decision where he wants to go before Leonard, there might be teams that say, ‘We have to wait to hear what Kawhi says first.’ If I had to guess right now, I would still expect Kyrie and Kevin Durant to go to Brooklyn together. I’m not saying that’s gonna happen; that’s my guess at the moment. I just think with those two guys’ interests in playing together, the Nets’ aggressive moves to create two max cap spots, and their ability to afford patience with [Durant’s] recovery…they both end up in Brooklyn.” 9:24-10:15: “From Day 1, once that relationship in San Antonio soured, everyone that I’ve spoken to around Kawhi has specifically talked about his love of Southern California, how he is a man of simple tastes – all he wants to do is be with the people close to him, work hard, and compete – and the best place for him to do that is most likely Southern California, where he’s from, where he played college basketball. If he does leave Toronto, I would be very surprised if it’s anywhere but for the Clippers. I don’t buy that the Lakers are a viable option for him. I don’t think that Kawhi Leonard wants to play second or third fiddle to LeBron [James] and Anthony Davis.” 16:50-18:01: “Don’t get it twisted: the Lakers created max-salary space to go chase a max free agent. The public speculation about them instead using that money for role players is to put out the backup plan. That is not the plan. The plan is to go get a third star. I don’t agree with it. Look what happened with Golden State this season in the Finals. When you make a top-heavy roster like that, when you can have greater talent on the floor when healthy, it dramatically swings the odds of the game in your favor, but it also leaves you very susceptible; one injury can really derail an entire rotation. … I would personally take that salary and go after shooters and defenders, but the Lakers are a hundred percent going for a big-name guy, whether it be Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, D’Angelo Russell, Kawhi Leonard, you name it. They’re going after every single guy.” 25:37-26:29: “A lot of the word to come out has been about Houston’s interest and Houston’s efforts. We haven’t heard if it’s reciprocated on [Jimmy Butler’s] end. While he is friends with James Harden, and Harden has made a lot of recruiting efforts on the Rockets’ behalf, Jimmy Butler was an alpha dog in Philadelphia during the playoffs. In the fourth quarter, with the game and the season on the line, the ball was in his hands. That’s not gonna be the case in Houston. Jimmy Butler wants to be that guy, and I just don’t see him wanting to sacrifice that role for Houston. …As comprised following that trade, without Clint Capela, without Eric Gordon, without P.J. Tucker, I don’t know if they are the favorite in the Western Conference as they currently stand, if they swap those integral contributing pieces out for Jimmy Butler.”Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 133: Eric Nehm: With Bucks, "Is There Anything That Really Needs Fixing?"

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 4, 2019 40:22

    On the heels of a disappointing Eastern Conference finals exit at the hands of the Raptors, The Athletic’s Eric Nehm is here to talk all things Milwaukee Bucks, including Giannis Antetokounmpo’s MVP campaign, the Bucks’ spectacular season, Mike Budenholzer’s inaugural year at the helm, and the significant offseason looming ahead.Some noteworthy clips (Particular time stamps may vary due to dynamic advertising.): 9:02-9:15: “I guess a less mature 24-year-old would just be angry and not really thinking about exactly how he gets better, but here’s Giannis, two days later, saying, ‘You know, I gotta find a way to be more comfortable in the midrange.’” 14:58-17:04: “I think Khris [Middleton] just really understands Giannis, and Giannis really appreciates guys that play hard, show up every night and can go out and actually take care of business … Giannis can help out with some of the rim protection, Khris can switch a bunch of different things; he also can defend other team’s No. 1s. And because he can defend the league’s best wings, guys like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis can stay on the back side and just be the free safety and attempt to just wreak havoc essentially. So it all just kind of works, and then on top of it, there’s just no frills. Khris doesn’t really have an ego. He doesn’t really go out there and demand more shots or anything like that.”        25:07-25:54: “If Giannis is Giannis in that series, they win. If Fred VanVleet doesn’t turn into Steph Curry for the final [three] games of that series, the Bucks win. I know when you don’t make it to the Finals, there’s always the desire to be like, ‘Oh, man. You gotta figure out what was wrong and you gotta fix it.’ And it’s just like, ‘Well, is there anything that really needs fixing or could it just go a little bit better?’ So the reason they didn’t win this year is Giannis wasn’t Giannis in the Eastern Conference finals. If you give me the chance to bet on Giannis being Giannis or Giannis being even better next year, I will take that bet 10 out of 10 times.” 35:42-37:33: “He [coach Mike Budenholzer] entered this season with a very clear vision of how this team would play. On defense, they were going to take away the rim, they were not gonna foul, and they were gonna force teams to shoot above-the-break 3s. On offense, they were gonna spread the floor, they were gonna play five out, and they were gonna let Giannis try to get to the rim. And if you decide to take that away, they were gonna kick it out and shoot 3s, and he installed it successfully. That’s exactly what they did. That’s exactly how they won 60 games. … The question about him has always been: Can Bud make the adjustments he needs to make in the postseason or is he just gonna stay in the kind of style that he’s played throughout the regular season? ... I thought he answered that question, and it’s very clear that he is willing to adjust. Now, do the adjustments work? That is a fair question.”         Eric's Giannis feature referenced throughout the interview: https://theathletic.com/1001604/2019/05/30/giannis-antetokounmpo-unplugged-bucks-star-sounds-off-about-his-playoff-performance-and-teams-tough-finish/. Eric can also be heard co-hosting Locked On Bucks. Additionally, you can find his book on the Bucks right here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 132: Tom Westerholm: Giannis Will "Have to Work for Every Bucket" (Celtics-Bucks)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 2, 2019 31:14

    The Boston Celtics stole Game 1 in Milwaukee before the mighty Bucks answered Tuesday with a comfortable victory of their own. With the series all squared up and storylines aplenty, Tom Westerholm of MassLive delves into this fun matchup, which pits Milwaukee and Boston against each other for the second straight postseason. Only, this time, Milwaukee is coming off a 60-win season and the Celtics are able to suit up Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. The Celtics severely limited MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 1, but he responded with a strong performance in Game 2. How can Boston hope to corral the Greek Freak, and so many more questions answered inside.   Some noteworthy clips (Particular time stamps may vary due to dynamic advertising): 3:54-4:57: “This is a strategy that they’ve employed against Giannis, basically all through last year’s playoffs – let Al Horford guard him one-on-one and then everybody else can get out to shooters. It really hammers home how good Horford is at defending that he was able to do that and that he is able to do that, because every once in a while in this series you see Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, guys who are not small necessarily, get switched onto Giannis and he just blows by them and gets a dunk. It’s replicable just because the Celtics have a guy like Horford, who is as good at defending as he is and who is strong and able to meet his feet and able to stay in front…Giannis is going to have a difficult series. He’s gonna have to work for every bucket, every free throw he gets. As much as the Celtics can hope for a win in this series, that’s gonna be what it rests on.” 11:43-12:26: “One of the things to keep in mind with this Celtics team is they do sort of have these stretches, and then sometimes during the regular season that would lead toward finger-pointing, that would lead to guys kind of getting upset with one another, and then that would really snowball and then you’re talking about a few losses in a row and things can go badly at that point for them. I will say, though, in the locker room everybody was pretty accountable. There wasn’t a lot of, ‘Oh, the young guys needed to do this,’…It was more like Marcus Morris said they need to be setting better screens for Kyrie, and Kyrie said, ‘I need to be better at X, Y and Z.’”    14:12-14:53: “I think that he [Gordon Hayward] has really shown himself improving. He’s a lot better now than he was at the start of the season, a lot more consistent. At the start of the season, when Gordon Hayward would have a good game, it was because he started off making some 3s and then maybe some other stuff would open up. But basically, if he got hot from 3, the Celtics were gonna be OK, and he was gonna be OK. Now, he’s getting to the rim, he’s aggressive, he’s attacking mismatches, he’s operating out of the pick and roll, he’s defending well, he’s doing a lot of the things that made him good in Utah. He’s not there yet. He’s obviously not an All-Star yet, but you can definitely start to see him putting the pieces together.”     28:48-29:25: “Watching their development has been really fun. They’re both smart basketball players, they’re both definitely guys that the organization loves. They love their growth mentality, a thing Brad Stevens likes to talk about. I think both have really, really bright futures. Both of them will probably hear their names in trade rumors this summer, and we’ll see how that goes when we get to it, but for right now, for the Celtics, having two young guys like that who can really pitch in and who are starting to learn how to play alongside other stars is just really, really valuable.”   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 131: Tomer Azarly: The Clippers Want to "Build (Their) Own Identity"

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 7, 2019 49:09


    Tomer Azarly of Clutch Points goes in depth and breadth on the special 2018-19 Clippers team that has exceeded expectations despite significant player turnover. The Clippers are back in the playoffs, but whom should they hope to avoid in the first round? Tomer also touches upon what's made the Clippers so effective, including super-subs Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, "unstat-able" Pat Beverley, Landry Shamet's outside shot, reinvigorated coaching from Doc Rivers, clutch play and more. Obviously, the discussion closes with some Kawhi Leonard talk. Enjoy some noteworthy clips/Clips (*Due to dynamic advertising, excerpt time stamps may vary per listener):   10:30-11:15: “That [loss to the Lakers] complicates things a bit more, because they could certainly fall to the 8 seed and see the Warriors in the first round. I think right now Portland is probably the matchup they want to see…The Rockets, I think, are a matchup they really, really do not want to see…James Harden is in the midst of the greatest scoring season I’ve ever seen…The Denver Nuggets pose an interesting threat, but I think their lack of experience, and we’ve seen over the last couple weeks where they’ve struggled to sort of have consistency on both ends of the floor. We’ve seen Nikola Jokic’s lack of patience with the officials. Teams are really going at him and Jamal Murray in the pick and roll, which I think is a very exploitable scenario for the Clippers.” 22:08-22:50: “A lot has been made about his coaching being impressive more than years past, but when you lack that superstar, I think the team aspect of the game and the X’s and O’s show up just a little bit more. When you have a Chris Paul, when you have a Blake Griffin, you can throw them the ball and say, ‘Hey, get me a basket. Make something happen,’ and a lot of it is those guys wanting to do that as well. Whereas now, other than Lou and Gallinari, you really have to have a set offense and run plays and try to make things happen in the pick and roll. And that’s not even talking defensively, where the Clippers have really improved since the trade deadline.”   29:19-30:32: “Doc Rivers likes to call him [Patrick Beverley] ‘unstat-able,’ because there is no stat to define how important he is to your team. He holds guys accountable, he holds himself accountable, and he’s also very open to listening as well. Just his impact defensively…No offense to the Lakers, but if Patrick Beverley plays last night, I don’t think the Clippers lose that game because he’s just so locked in for all 48 minutes, and he holds guys accountable essentially every play…Doc Rivers earlier in the year touched on how he didn’t like sometimes that Beverley sort of gambled a little too often...but that’s just part of who he is. That’s who he is, and that’s what makes him special and ‘unstat-able,’ which is what the Clippers love.”  41:58-42:45: “I don’t think you can just pencil a guy like Kawhi Leonard in despite what Clippers fans have been doing. I do think that these playoffs will tell us a lot. For example, if the Raptors suffer some kind of surprising first-round exit, that could weigh heavily on what Kawhi wants to do. If they win a championship, that could weigh heavily on what Kawhi wants to do. I think all signs are pointing to it, just because, as we’ve seen, he doesn’t want to be the face of the biggest franchise, like the Lakers. So he’d be fine being the face of the Clippers, sort of the secondary team in LA, but one that really has a direction and is building some respectability. It’d be close to home.”    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 130: James Edwards III: Griffin, "Gritty, In Your Face, Bruising" Embodies Pistons' Identity

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 30, 2019 36:40


    The Athletic's James Edwards III informs on all things Detroit Pistons at this critical juncture for the franchise. *Due to dynamic advertising, excerpt time stamps may vary per listener:According to James, the Pistons are all in on Griffin, but that sentiment could change in a hurry (10:23-11:07):“They love him. The city loves him. I really, truly believe that he likes playing in Detroit. He likes this challenge of building an organization up and trying to get it to a height it wasn’t at before his arrival. But with that said, I would not be surprised if this team misses the playoffs…with those three guys [Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Griffin] being relatively healthy, I think that says a lot. And I would not be surprised if they capitalize on how good Blake has been, and they finally begin a rebuild and they try to trade him.” On how Blake Griffin’s stellar season has largely gone overlooked (13:45-14:22):“People just generally don’t tend to like the Pistons. I mean, it doesn’t help, too, that they haven’t been relevant in 10 years. And Blake Griffin is one of those superstars that because of his injury history was kind of…maybe passed up by some of the young guys that have come into the league in terms of national talking points and when you put together lists. So it’s kind of a perfect storm when you get a guy who’s reinvigorated his career, who’s stayed healthy, who’s showing how good of a player he can be and has been when he’s healthy, and now he’s on a team that not many people care about.”   On Stan Van Gundy’s most glaring problem with Detroit (15:16-15:40):“Stan’s issue in Detroit was that he was the team president. And I’ve written a couple times about that dilemma of having a guy who’s the head man on the sideline and the head man up top, and just kind of the balance of power that comes with that, whether it be looking down the bench and you want to win as a coach and then you go sign a guy to a lucrative deal that you think helps you win now but hurts you for the future.”  Twenty-two-year-old Luke Kennard’s potential is explored (25:30-26:30):“The one thing that hinders and kind of covers up… the love around [Luke Kennard] is that Donovan Mitchell went before him. That’s really the only beef you hear about Luke Kennard, and I think it’s unfair. Luke Kennard is a guy that potentially could shoot over 40 percent from 3 in his first two years as a pro. Donovan Mitchell’s a great player. He's a go-to scorer. Would he have been the same in Detroit…It's all about fit. I understand in hindsight what people can say and will say, but Luke Kennard to me has proven he could be a really good player in this league for a good amount of time. He's not just a shooter. Everyone wants to compare him to J. J. Redick and Kyle Korver because it's the easy thing to do, but I see a little bit more Goran Dragic in his game. He's a guy that can work the pick and roll.”On Ish Smith’s fit with Detroit, his first real NBA home (31:02-31:29):"His style is much different than Reggie Jackson. To be corny and cliché, it’s almost like thunder and lightning. Reggie Jackson, the knock on him is he dribbles the ball too much. He holds on to the ball too much… He's more of a meticulous player. Ish Smith is go, go, go, and I think it's exciting for the Pistons fans. On top of that, he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, always has a smile, win or loss." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 129: Joshua Recounts All-Star Weekend, Including His Joe Harris Exclusive

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 25, 2019 26:01

    Two years ago, the NBA moved the All-Star game away from Charlotte due to the passage of North Carolina's discriminatory House Bill 2. Within months, HB2 was repealed, and although many in the LGBTQ community are presently unsatisfied with the status quo, the league opted to allow Charlotte to host this season's festivities. Joshua Fischman interviewed Reggie Bullock, Stefanie Dolson, Jason Collins and others about that. He also got the chance to question Nets shooting guard Joe Harris, one day before the big event where he stunned the oddsmakers by taking down the Curry brothers, Devin Booker and the rest of the field. Right here, Josh shares the most interesting takeaways from his Charlotte experience.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 128: Howard Beck on Deadline Deals, AD & Superstars' Increasing Leverage

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 12, 2019 53:41

    Bleacher Report's Howard Beck has been covering the NBA full-time for the past couple decades, and he detects an unmistakable change in the way the league's superstars are increasingly dictating where they play. He discusses this phenomenon with regard to Anthony Davis' recent trade demand, Milwaukee's ongoing efforts to retain franchise cornerstone Giannis Antetokounmpo for the long term and how the trend impacted this season's awfully busy and entertaining trade deadline. Plus, the All-Star weekend is nearly upon us, providing an opportunity to touch on those festivities in Charlotte. *You can also find Howard hosting The Full 48 or appearing on NBA TV and NBA Radio as a wise and charismatic contributor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 127: Coral Lu: Consuming NBA Now “Part of Daily Life” in China

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 14, 2019 45:41


    From David Stern's visits to China in the '80s to every NBA Finals game being broadcast there live in 1994 to Yao Ming's thrilling rookie season with the Rockets in 2002 to LinSanity 10 years later to the explosion of social media and the league's recent rights deals (worth hundreds of millions of dollars) with Chinese tech giants, the NBA's influence in China has skyrocketed. The one and only Coral Lu of ESPN China brings her unique perspective to help break it all down for us.  Here are some highlights (*Due to dynamic advertising, time stamps may vary per listener):13:39-14:12: “I would say 90 percent or at least 85 percent of NBA fans from China are aged from 16 to 35 or late 30s, so that’s a really specific demographic. A lot of older Chinese people, they might like soccer, but they did not watch basketball [growing up]. But all the younger generation or the people around my age, we all kind of grew up with basketball, so it becomes part of our daily life.”  19:11-19:50: “I think it [Jeremy Lin’s massive popularity in China] is more about his story. So, Jeremy, we all know he is an underdog. We all know that he got cut by the Warriors, got waived by other teams, then you know he finally landed with the Knicks; he was about to get cut again. But he was coming from nowhere. An Asian kid, really, nobody knew him, and he was able to play at Madison Square [Garden], playing super-well, so that’s kind of leading to another hero type. The Chinese people, Chinese fans, they like underdogs. So, if you took a look right now, Steph Curry, he was an underdog too.    31:10-31:31: “All those [NBA] superstars, they all have Chinese Weibo. Steph Curry is very active on his social media. Sometimes he will even interact with some Chinese celebrity who follows him. Also, LeBron James, Chris Paul, James Harden, Damian Lillard, all of them, they all have Chinese social media.”  35:43-37:28:“We actually have a lot of talented basketball players, but they haven't been discovered yet. Because it's not like in the United States…So if you are really killing [it] or becoming a baller in middle school, then people start to recognize you [and] then they will keep following you in high school. Then, you go to an NCAA Division I school [and] you play for like Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, those great universities [and] then eventually you get drafted…Although a lot of people say, ‘Oh, there’s a lot of problems with NCAA athletes too,’ if you take a look, I think it’s already really nice, because each kid, each talented basketball player, they got that opportunity to show their talent in public. But in China, it’s not [like that]… You’re basically picking a bunch of kids who got permission from their parents, that are allowed to play basketball – that’s probably only five or six percent of those people. Then, you’re picking the talented players from that small pool, which is really difficult.” 38:19- 39:36: Stephon Marbury is a phenomenon in China. You’re not going to see [players like] him all the time. I think it’s going to be really rare. Not because there aren’t a lot of good basketball players playing in China; yes, there are… The rare thing for Stephon Marbury was that he was able to bring a championship to a team that everybody didn’t think was good. And he did not only bring one, he brought three. He brought a championship to the capital city of China [when] everybody thought, ‘That team sucks’ …It’s also kind of like the underdog story…That’s why all the capital people, they love him so much. That’s why they built a statue. Yao Ming did not get a statue, but he got one.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


    On the NBA Beat Ep. 126: Mares: Nikola Jokic Redefining ‘MVP’ in Today’s NBA

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 4, 2019 37:16

    The Denver Nuggets are on the upswing with a talented young core and six straight months of winning basketball. They also hold the Western Conference’s No. 1 spot, one and a half games ahead of the Thunder and Warriors, and are led by MVP candidate Nikola Jokic. Adam Mares of Denver Stiffs and Locked On Nuggets breaks down what makes Denver tick.   Here are some particularly golden nuggets (*Due to dynamic advertising, time stamps may vary per listener): 7:13-7:30: “You look at the 2015 Warriors. If I said, ‘Oh, take Steph Curry off that team,’ the offense all of a sudden doesn’t look good, and everybody would understand that. They’d say, ‘OK, well, yeah, of course you miss Steph Curry.’ We don’t think about this defensively. Paul Millsap is Denver’s Steph Curry on the defensive end. He has that type of impact.”  11:12-13:14: “Isaiah Thomas [is] allegedly looming somewhere on the horizon, and he’s the one guy who has never played on this roster and whose role on this roster, I think, is not very clear. So he’s one guy that, I don’t know if it’s just a matter of a week or two of it being rocky. It just might not be a good fit. Who knows?...There is, in theory, a role that he could play and play at a high level. The problem is the guy he’s replacing, Monte Morris, in his second season, has just been so good that it’s hard to imagine – and that second unit as a whole – that it’s hard to imagine it being better.”      16:10-16:20: “I tell people this all the time, and I don’t care how crazy it sounds: They are probably the second, third or fourth most talented team in the NBA just when you talk about their top 10 guys.” 18:13-18:27: “To me, I look at this time and I think, ‘If anything, all the indicators are that they have a much higher gear in them. Not only do they get guys back and healthy, but some of their best 3-point shooters have been in a season-long slump and they’ve still managed to win.’”    25:33-25:56: “For whatever reason, we think that an MVP has to look like James Harden, where the ball’s in their hand for the entire possession and they hit a step-back 3 at the buzzer, and that’s an MVP. What Jokic does, and, again, I don’t think he’s the MVP, but I think that he provides us an opportunity to talk about what’s actually valuable in basketball and what’s actually valuable in basketball in 2019.”  34:59-35:16: “Playing with Jokic just generates the best types of shots within the flow of the offense, especially from the 3-point line. They’re set shots, spot-up shots in rhythm, in the flow of the game. And I just don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many players have come here and had great years.”  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 125: James Ham: These Kings Are a “Breath of Fresh Air”

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2018 47:41

    The Sacramento Kings are off to a strong beginning after most expected them to finish at or near the conference's cellar. And second-year point guard De'Aaron Fox's seismic leap is a huge reason why. James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California stops by to break down the Kings' sizzling start, the organization's coach-executive drama and where the Kings go from here as they aim to get back into the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.     Here are some particularly regal clips (*Due to dynamic advertising, time stamps may vary per listener): 11:39-12:14: “He [De’Aaron Fox] is incredibly talented. The way that he’s able to change speed and change direction in traffic while people are all around him, his handles, everything else is just next level. The Kings saw it the second he stepped foot on the practice floor before training camp. He lost one game of pickup in like two or three weeks leading up to training camp. He was just dominant. And they were like, ‘Holy cow. This is a different player, a completely different player.’”    20:41-24:53: “They don’t have a 2019 draft pick, so they have no reason to lose…[Head coach Dave] Joerger has to balance winning with developing young players…Look, there’s a lot of drama, and it’s not healthy. It’s never healthy. But I think if this team can get out of its own way, they do have a shot to have a really fun and good season. And I hope that these issues go away, because they’re not fun to write about, not fun to talk about.”  32:37-33:00: “Long term, he [Bagley] is gonna be a beast! He’s gonna be sort of a transcendent player at the position, because I think he can do a lot at the 4, and we’re only gonna see him get better. We’re only gonna see him get more confident with his ball-handling, with his shooting from the perimeter, but he has all of the tools, and I expect him to be an All-Star-level player.”   38:40-39:55: “De’Aaron Fox has the same amount of blocked shots as him [Willie Cauley-Stein], Buddy Hield has one less, Nemanja Bjelica has one more; that’s not gonna work out. He [WCS] needs to be a defensive force…I think the Kings will allow him to set his value on the open market, and then they’ll make a decision on whether they retain him long term or not.”  44:11-46:05: “The idea that they would be a salary dump spot, where they might get a first-round pick and just eat up this cap space that they have, I think that that idea is starting to go out the window. I do know that they’re interested in a guy like Otto Porter…What they really need is a starting-level small forward – that’s not any disrespect to Iman Shumpert who I think has been actually really good and a really big surprise for the Kings this year, but he’s 6-foot-5; he’s really a shooting guard who’s being forced to play the small forward position.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 124: The Bucks Are Scoring 122 Points Per Game!

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2018 27:01

    Aaron reviews the first quarter of the 2018-19 season, focusing on overall offensive production compared to last year and the Milwaukee Bucks' considerable improvement. While scoring is way up, offensive efficiency remains about the same as last season. Aaron explains how. He explores Denver's defensive progression under Mike Malone, as well as the unexpected offensive declines of the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics. There's much more included, but we won't give it all away. Oh, and next week, we'll be back with a brand new interview.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 123: Brad Botkin Previews West: Spurs “Not Good Enough” for Playoffs

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 16, 2018 44:44

    Brad Botkin, senior NBA writer for CBS Sports and co-author of Olympic gold medalist Dan O' Brien's memoir, "Clearing Hurdles," has strong opinions about this season's Western Conference and he's unafraid to share them. Timing will vary due to dynamic advertising, but here are the approximate time stamps of some of our favorite clips (so many good ones to choose from):7:06-7:28: "I've heard a lot of people say, 'Well that's how Kobe led. That's how Jordan led. He forced the best out of his guys.' Listen, come talk to me when Jimmy Butler is Kobe or Jordan. Jimmy Butler is not the kind of guy that singlehandedly transforms your team. He certainly makes the Timberwolves better. They're in no way a championship contender with him, nor do I think any team is a championship contender with him as a best player."14:42-15:15: "All these big-picture numbers about the Rockets, they're going to look great on paper. Look, [in] playoff games, certainly against the Warriors, if they match up, or the Jazz, if they're in a Game 6 and there's three minutes left in the game, I don't care what you did all year long. The Warriors are going to isolate Carmelo Anthony every single possession, and he can't guard his lunch. And they're going to force the ball into his hands and take it out of Harden and Paul's hands on the other end, and he's not going to make enough shots to beat you in those situations. So, I do not think he's in any way the answer."23:08-23:35: "Everybody's just going to err on the side of 'Well, they're the Spurs. They always make it [the playoffs].' Well some year, they're not going to make it, and if you just wait until it happens before you say it, then you're not saying anything. I don't think they're going to make it. I'm ready to say that...I know it. I don't need any more time to know if the Spurs are going to the playoffs. They're not. They're not good enough. They don't have good enough players, period."31:19-31:37: "In terms of two-way players, it's hard to argue that Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis aren't the best two-way combo in the league. They're both elite on both sides of the floor. And by and large, that's what will determine what the Pelicans become this year: how far can their two best players take them."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 122: "It's a Terrible (Eastern) Conference" With Kelly Dwyer

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 15, 2018 31:17

    In the wake of LeBron James' departure, Kelly Dwyer discusses his Eastern favorites and why the conference is overall so bad. The online basketball writing pioneer who wrote for Yahoo!'s Ball Don't Lie blog for nearly a decade, among multiple notable gigs, is currently shining for The Second Arrangement, a project to which you can subscribe for as low as $5 per month.    Timing will vary due to dynamic advertising, but here are the approximate time stamps of some of our favorite clips (so many good ones to choose from):7:29-7:39 on the Boston Celtics' immense depth: “There’s so many arms on this monster that this could be something that lasts for a while, that really eases Kyrie [Irving] into his drop-off years.”9:49-10:08: “I think Leonard has to be more of a…he can’t be a let-the-game-come-to-him, 'look-at-me-how-sensible-and-savvy-I-am' guy. There’s got to be a whole bunch of ‘Kawhi Leonard’s looking to score this year’ stories happening. He’s gotta be the guy that turns them over.”17:18-17:26: “It’s a terrible conference. No one’s gonna surprise this year. We just want Joel Embiid to be on ice and Boston not to annoy us too much.”32:30-33:00 on Hawks rookie Trae Young: "He's fun and he's gonna bank in shots this year where he's not supposed to, and he's gonna be so tired that he can't get back on defense sometimes, and he's gonna have 10 times the responsibility of Collin Sexton. Young is gonna be an experiment; it's kind of like the lockout year...Young is sort of this ticket that you can buy on a lot of nights that gonna keep you entertained."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 121: "The (Clippers) Curse" Book Special With Mick Minas

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2018 56:36

    Mick Minas, author of "The Curse: The Colorful & Chaotic History of the LA Clippers," is here to discuss his comprehensive book that chronicles the wild history of the Clippers. Plagued by penny-pinching ownership, questionable management, terrible luck, and a well earned abysmal reputation, the franchise experiences so many low lows, but optimism is somehow rarely too far away. Even with a new era of Clippers basketball beginning, there is reason for hope. For those interested, Mick's book can be purchased on Amazon. For more information, visit the book's website or follow Mick on Twitter.     Enjoy some clips (The time stamps are approximate, given the presence of dynamic advertising):7:51-8:20: “So when the players are in that type of environment, it’s easy to see how the effort level would drop off, and I don’t think it takes a lot in a super-competitive environment like the NBA. If you’ve got players operating at 85, 80 percent effort level, that’s obviously gonna lead to terrible results and then the terrible results lead to a further drop in morale, and I think it’s just that sort of downward spiral.”     35:57-36:33: “In terms of the writing, the putting together the story, one of the things that made it hard was that there was this sort of perpetual failure. But I guess the thing that made that work was that every time around it would be something different that caused the wheels to fall off, so you could always have some fun with building suspense around what was gonna happen and then all of a sudden it would be something that was completely different from the previous five calamities…and that sort of, I think, kept it fresh and exciting.”   45:34-46:00: “I don’t think anybody was super-keen to take him on and force him out, especially whilst he was kind of in the background, which is what he was for most of the time. Until Blake Griffin arrived, no one really cared about the Clippers besides Clippers fans, so Donald Sterling was kind of an embarrassing sideshow in the background rather than being front and center. So the damage he did to the NBA brand was somewhat limited.”  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 120: LeBron's Lakers With Harrison Faigen, Eric Pincus

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 29, 2018 45:57

    Following a five-year playoff drought, come July, the Los Angeles Lakers and their fan base could exhale. That’s when they landed LeBron James, the most dominant and versatile player in today’s NBA. To discuss these Lakers, Aaron and Loren are joined by Harrison Faigen of SB Nation’s Silver Screen & Roll and Eric Pincus, Lakers reporter for Bleacher Report, cohost of the Hollywood Hoops Podcast and Capologist for Basketball Insiders and NBATV. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 119: Around the League in 80 Days Book Special With Bill, Gabe Allen

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 25, 2018 39:44

    A soon-to-be college graduate and his dad, a recently retired professor, set out on an 80-day journey around the NBA, stopping by all 29 arenas over a nearly three-month period. That's the backdrop for "Around the League in 80 Days," a 2015 memoir penned by William and Gabriel Allen. The father-son duo was gracious enough to join Aaron for a detailed, behind-the-scenes discussion on the book and their underlying adventure. If interested, the book can be purchased here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    On the NBA Beat Ep. 118: Harvey: “Which Rockets Team Will We See?"

    Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2018 33:18


    We’ve brought back Randy Harvey, former sports editor of the Houston Chronicle, to discuss the Houston Rockets’ Western Conference finals run. Since retiring on March 1st, Randy and his wife moved to Pasadena where he’s continued to follow the Rockets from afar. With the series tied at one, the Rockets stand three wins away from their first NBA Finals berth in 23 years. Standing in their way, the mighty Warriors who have won two of the past three titles. This season’s Rockets won a league-best 65 games after adding superstar point guard Chris Paul, who had never appeared in a conference final, along with 3-and-D wings P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. Of course, the team is centered around James Harden, whose MVP-caliber season has vaulted his team into this position. As the Western Conference finals has effectively turned into a best-of-five series, without further ado, let’s check in with Mr. Harvey for more on this heavyweight matchup.        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


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