Kevin Durant’s Feet Make His Legs Look Like Hockey Sticks

July 29th, 2014 by Jake Silver No comments »
This picture was taken of Kevin Durant after a long day of Team USA basketball practice, where many of the NBA's top players are readying themselves for the FIBA World Cup. In the photo, his lower half bears a striking resemblance to hockey sticks. [Getty]Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

Chicago Bulls’ Pressure to Win Is Squarely on Tom Thibodeau Now

July 29th, 2014 by John Wilmes No comments »
No one can say coach Tom Thibodeau doesn’t have the pieces he needs anymore. Derrick Rose is back. He came roaring out of the gates at Team USA practice, looking better than ever with his increased bulk and smooth jump shot.  "I've been preparing for this for a long time," he told reporters on the scene, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (subscription required). It's probably big for everyone else because they haven't seen me. It's kind of weird. People are kind of like in awe to even see me run down the floor, like I'm handicapped or something. This is only the beginning of a long journey. But my confidence level is through the roof. Rose looks like an uber-elite point guard again, in a point guard-driven league. And the Chicago Bulls have added considerable depth to buttress his offensive efforts by bringing in Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott and Aaron ...

Pittsburgh Penguins’ Most Improved Players for 2014

July 29th, 2014 by Joseph Sykes No comments »
The NHL offseason is a time when players, coaches and even writers get the chance to improve their skills before the next year of hockey action gets underway. The 2014-15 season will be a step forward for some players, but those who fell off the beaten path last year will have a great amount of pressure placed on them to regain their footing. The Pittsburgh Penguins have a few players who did not necessarily have atrocious seasons last year, but who didn't seem to play to their full ability or were limited by other factors such as injuries. As the upcoming season grows nearer and nearer, let’s take a look at three Penguins who will spring back from their performances of yesteryear.Begin Slideshow

The Biggest Questions for the Remainder of Los Angeles Kings’ 2014 Offseason

July 29th, 2014 by Eric McKelvie No comments »
The Los Angeles Kings' players and staff are in the midst of celebrating their Stanley Cup title, with the Cup making its way around the world to spend a day with each champion. Otherwise, the offseason has included just a few departures and signings. The Kings appear to be in great shape to defend their Stanley Cup, although many teams have looked up to the task in recent years only to fall short. The Kings will look to become the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998 to win back-to-back titles. First, however, there are still a few questions surrounding the rest of the offseason.Begin Slideshow

5 Young NBA Players with Shots at Stardom During 2014-15 Season

July 29th, 2014 by Josh Martin No comments »
Year after year, the leaves change, the seasons turn...and new names approach the star-studded stratosphere atop the NBA. Last season saw a slew of precocious youngsters take that all-important next step. John Wall, Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry all made their respective All-Star debuts in the same game that saw Kyrie Irving walk away as the MVP. Lillard and Curry played well enough over the duration of the 2013-14 campaign to earn All-NBA nods at its conclusion. The pipeline that carried these and other standouts into the limelight figures to flow just as fast and furiously into and through the 2014-15 season as well. It's already lifted many of them to Las Vegas for Team USA's training camp in Las Vegas, either as hopefuls to join the seniors at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain or as practice participants on the Select squad. Both of those outfits are ...

Best Potential 2014 Free-Agent Landing Spots for Michael Beasley

July 29th, 2014 by D.J. Foster No comments »
To say that Michael Beasley has gone down a bumpy road during his time in the NBA would be an understatement, but the journey probably isn't going to end here. Although Beasley is still out there as a free agent, it would be a bit of a surprise if he didn't land somewhere next season after a solid campaign with the Miami Heat. While Beasley's playing time was limited, he was pretty productive when he got on the floor and wasn't involved in any off-court predicaments.   Alex Kennedy of BasketballInsiders.com reported this on Twitter last week: Several teams have expressed interest in free agent Michael Beasley. Teams like the efficiency and maturity he showed last season in Miami. Beasley certainly won't be a marquee free-agent signing for any team, but he could theoretically help off the bench with his scoring ability as a small 4. Beasley's shooting percentages were almost all career bests across ...

NHL Rumors: Rounding Up Latest Buzz on Potential Trades and More

July 29th, 2014 by Chris Roling No comments »
Long after the global spotlight has turned away, the NHL rumor mill continues to churn out info. The offerings pale in comparison to the half a billion spent during the opening frenzy, but there are still nuggets of info and whispers in normally quiet corners of the league fans will want to pay attention to as contenders round out rosters. The names that follow are far from the most important. They will not sell tickets on their own, nor will they carry a team on their shoulders. What they are, is little pieces to a larger puzzle that combines to form the landscape of the league. Here is the latest.   The Joffrey Lupul Storyline We are to the point in the offseason when a name such as Joffrey Lupul becomes a hot commodity. The 30-year-old winger is quite the interesting story, as his contract is a bit costly—it pays him $5.25 million each of the next ...

Derrick Rose Entering Next Season as the Biggest Mystery in the NBA

July 29th, 2014 by Adam Fromal No comments »
Edgar Allen Poe. Agatha Christie. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Dashiell Hammett. Ian Fleming. Stieg Larsson.  Derrick Rose.  The Chicago Bulls point guard might not be penning any legendary pieces of fiction in the next few years, but he's still the author of the NBA's biggest mystery heading into the 2014-15 campaign. After missing nearly all of the last two seasons and suffering multiple major injuries to his knees, he's a complete unknown, more so than any other player in the Association.  Could he bear a striking resemblance to the ridiculously dominant floor general who was so much fun to watch a few years ago? Absolutely. Could he fail to make a sizable impact or even get hurt and miss the bulk of the season once more? Undoubtedly.  It's a mystery Poe, Christie and the rest of the authors listed up above would be proud of.    The Upside Let's not just brush Rose's resume off to the side.  To this day, ...

Stay or Go? Two Years Out, Kevin Durant Is Already Weighing His Options

July 29th, 2014 by Kevin Ding No comments »
LAS VEGAS — Kevin Durant was happy to talk about LeBron James' decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Legitimately happy. Durant called it "well thought out," described it as "classy" and raved about the respect he had for James making a move to serve his native community. Durant said he texted that sentiment to James directly. And Durant really liked the way James announced this one. Durant even reached his arms out to pretend-type with his fingers on a full keyboard to mimic James crafting his written declaration for SI.com. "Great move to do a letter," Durant said Tuesday after USA Basketball practice. "That was pretty cool." Then the topic shifted from James' done decision to Durant's future one. Free agency awaits Durant in 2016, with so many NBA franchises mapping their plans on the hope that he wants to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder then. Yes, Durant wonders whether he should've built opt-out ...

Are Houston Rockets Still a Top-4 Western Conference Team?

July 29th, 2014 by Dan Favale No comments »
Who are the Houston Rockets? As they continue to work through an NBA offseason that was once dressed in promise and optimism and grand ambitions but is now steeped in disappointment, it's a fair question. And it's a malleable inquiry at that, not one stringently limited to the scope of how it's phrased. With one question, we're asking a vast number of different things. Are the Rockets who they think they are? Is there a crater-sized chasm between where they are and where they're supposed to be? Can next season's Rockets team be as good as last year's squad, keeping itself inside the top half of the Western Conference, among elite title contenders, within striking distance of its own championship pursuit? Losses on Losses Last year's Rockets—the 54-win faction that ranked fourth in offensive efficiency—have been dismantled by scaling visions of peerless power. Call it ambition. Call it greed. Call it snobbery borne from two consecutive offseasons ...