Amidst A Tire Fire In Memphis, Tyreke Evans Is Balling Out

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Tyreke Evans winds up for one of his six threes against the Clippers last night (Screenshot taken from YouTube user “DownToBuck”‘s highlight reel.

By: Scott Levine

Tyreke Evans’ performance against Phoenix on Thursday night was an accurate snapshot of his season as the lone creator with Mike Conley sidelined. He scored 21 points on 8-20 shooting, propped up the team on offense, had a plus/minus of +9, and his team lost by two. He took the last shot: a contested three that bricked off the far side of the rim. His shot was not falling tonight.

Despite his team’s abysmal record, he is having his best season to date. He is averaging 22.1 points per 36 minutes, the highest mark of his career, is shooting 46.8% from the field, and 41.2% from three. He is shooting a career best five attempts from three a game. His efficiency has taken a hit without Conley. According to Basketball Reference, without Conley in the lineup, he has shot a humdrum 43.7% from the field, but has hit 39.3% of his threes.

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All I Want For Christmas (Is Disrespectful Basketball)

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Thanks to stars such as Russell Westbrook, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo the NBA is enjoying a pettiness renaissance (Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons).

By: Brian Kane

On Saturday, December 9th, the Milwaukee Bucks hosted the Utah Jazz for a game of basketball. That game of basketball proceeded, and with 25 seconds left the Bucks found themselves up by 17 points. It was nearly impossible to imagine a Utah Jazz comeback, which is what made what followed so remarkable, and disrespectful: Giannis Antetokounmpo of the host Bucks dribbled the ball on the right wing out past the three point line as time wound down. The standard move there would have been for the leading (and home) team to take the 24 second violation, walk down the court to storming applause and accept victory graciously. Which is why it was so appalling when Giannis went up and forgot his damn manners.

 

If there’s one thing we know about Giannis it’s that, like all great showmen, he loves his stage and his audience. Nowhere in his idea of a good performance is there room for a shot clock violation where there could be a sick double crossover on a capable defender and a head-caving hammer on a league-best shot blocker. He’s here to astound, not read your stupid rule book. And like a great performer going off script to deliver a timeless ad-lib, he’s delightful to watch break the rules. I’m here for it. In fact, I’m here for all manner of disrespect this holiday season. Let’s run through a Christmas list of hypothetical follow-ups to Giannis’ rule-breaking antics.

Jahlil Okafor Dunking on Joel Embiid Like Shaq Did on Chris Dudley

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Eric Bledsoe Will Help The Bucks, But He’s Not The Solution

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Jason Kidd is on a different wavelength, but not in the good way. (Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons)

By: Scott Levine

The Bucks are currently 9-9, just outside of the playoff picture. While that may seem fine for a team incorporating a new piece, their advanced metrics are more ominous. They are in the bottom half of the league in both offensive rating and defensive rating. Per Cleaning The Glass, their net rating is -3.8, good for 25th in the league. Based on these marks, they are actually overachieving by reaching .500.

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A Look at Jahlil Okafor’s Last Three Minutes as a Sixer

By: Ethan Giles

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He can roll out of bed and get 20 and 10. (Ed via Wikimedia Commons)

The second Jahlil Okafor was selected with the third pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, it was clear he was only going to be in Philadelphia temporarily, as his skill set did not mesh with hopeful franchise cornerstone Joel Embiid.

That temporary stay will max out at three years. He will not return to the team next year thanks to his declined rookie option. He’s currently on the trade block as the team refuses to buy him out, and many people are wondering which team will give up the assets to attain him. To try to find an answer to this question I examined his latest three minutes of game film on Tuesday, November 6 against the Utah Jazz, with the hopes of finding a perfect NBA landing spot for the former Duke big man.

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The Eastern Conference Playoff Snail Race

By: Scott Levine

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No team captures this race better than the Magic, who are incredibly flawed, yet exciting. (Michael Tipton via Flickr)

When Paul George, and Jimmy Butler were traded, and Paul Millsap left for Denver, the Eastern Conference grew even weaker. There are now five teams that I watch in the East and feel as though they are a safe bet to make the playoffs: Cleveland, Boston, Washington, Toronto, and Milwaukee. There are eight playoff spots.

The remaining ten teams in the conference all have major questions holding them back from being a shoo-in. It shouldn’t be this interesting to watch a gaggle of mediocre teams fall ass backwards into the playoffs. But so far it has been, partially because a few have exceeded expectations.

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The NBA After Two Weeks

By: Brian Kane

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Who else would be the feature photo? (Erik Drost via Wikimedia Commons)

Wow. What a way to start the season. After the most turbulent offseason NBA fans have ever witnessed (maybe … I’m only 24), featuring the most acclaimed draft class since ‘03, stars being traded mercifully (Melo) or demanding greener pastures (Kyrie), and a silent undercurrent of nihilism because, you know, Warriors, the first two weeks have still managed to deliver complete and utter chaos.

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Unpacking Dennis Smith’s NBA Debut

By: Scott Levine

There is speculation that Dennis Smith will do enough boneheaded rookie things for Carlisle to sporadically bench him out of frustration. I think he will start all year. Rick Carlisle is not going to be the same guy who called Darren Collison “a career backup.” He knows what he has in Smith, and is taking a more patient approach to success after enduring his first losing season in Dallas.

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Podcast: Season Preview (Part 1)

https://contestedlongtwos.bandcamp.com/track/season-preview-part-1

Stream it, download it, do whatever you need to do to get some informative and entertaining content in your earholes.

Part two coming soon!

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DeMarcus Cousins May Shoulder the Largest Workload in the League

By: Scott Levine

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I call this piece, “Sisyphus in Sneakers”.

When New Orleans traded for DeMarcus Cousins, they signed away their license to small ball. Their offense and defense would now center around two behemoths in Cousins and Anthony Davis.

The team endured a losing streak in late February as it adjusted to playing with the newly acquired Cousins, and packed it in come April once out of the playoff race. But the Pelicans went 10-6 in March and boasted the third best defensive rating in the league.

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Podcast: Kyrie Irving Trade

Recorded 8/23: Scott and Brian discuss their immediate reactions to the trade between the Celtics and Cavs, and discuss what it means for the Celtics next season and onward.

Listen here: https://vocaroo.com/i/s0Vku8rvGK7v

I’ve been trying to get stuff on iTunes but the RSS feed stuff is a little tricky. It will probably take a few days, so I just wanted to get this out here now.

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