Top International Studs to Watch in 2015 NBA Global Games

October 2nd, 2015 by Jonathan Wasserman No comments »
The Global Games take place outside the United States and Canada and consist of preseason matchups between NBA teams and international clubs.  This year's slate features the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Charlotte Hornets, as well as Real Madrid, Olimpia Milano and Flamengo.  There will be a handful of international players worth watching, including a few from overseas with whom NBA fans may be unfamiliar—even though they've been previously drafted.  Below is the Global Games schedule, which kicks off October 6 in Milan: October 6: Boston Celtics vs. Olimpia Milano (Milan, Italy) October 8: Boston Celtics vs. Real Madrid (Madrid, Spain) October 11: Charlotte Hornets vs. L.A. Clippers (Shenzhen, China)  October 14: Charlotte Hornets vs. L.A. Clippers (Shanghai, China) October 17: Orlando Magic vs. Flamengo (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)Begin Slideshow

The First Face of the Grizzlies Franchise and a Big Country

October 2nd, 2015 by Zach Buckley No comments »
The Memphis Grizzlies weren't always masters of the NBA's grit-and-grind game. They weren't even always Bluff City residents. Their first home base was Vancouver, British Columbia (one of two Canadian markets the league established 20 years ago, along with the Toronto Raptors), and the Grizzlies' first franchise face was a player better known by his nickname than his legal one. Bryant "Big Country" Reeves, a two-time Big Eight Player of the Year at Oklahoma State, was the NBA's first player drafted by a Canadian team. The Grizzlies grabbed the burly 7-footer with the sixth overall selection of the 1995 draft. By 2002, both Reeves and Vancouver had been wiped off the NBA map. Though unfortunately brief, their shared journey produced tales that could live on for decades. With Vancouver back on basketball's radar as the site of Sunday's Raptors-Los Angeles Clippers preseason tilt, this is a perfect time to relive those stories.   The Birth of Big Country Reeves' ...

Lakers News: Latest on Kevin Durant’s Free Agency, Kobe Bryant’s Move to SF

October 2nd, 2015 by Alec Nathan No comments »
After losing a franchise-worst 61 games last season, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking for reasons to remain optimistic entering the 2015-16 campaign.   Fortunately for the Purple and Gold, two pieces of news could have their stock trending up. One revolves around the team's long-term outlook for 2016 and beyond, while the other centers on L.A.'s tactical approach with some new faces in the fold.  So with training camp underway and fresh storylines emerging, here's a rundown of the latest happenings in Hollywood.    Durant Eyeing L.A. as a Free-Agency Destination?  It's never too early to start thinking about free agency, and when it comes to the class of 2016, one name stands out above the rest: Kevin Durant.  According to Black Sports Online's Glenn Erby, Stephen A. Smith appeared on an episode of First Take on Sept. 29 and, citing sources, relayed information regarding Durant's interest in joining the Lakers next summer. "Regardless of how senseless it ...

John Henson, Bucks Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

October 2nd, 2015 by Timothy Rapp No comments »
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Milwaukee Bucks and power forward John Henson have agreed to a four-year, $44 million contract extension that could inflate to $48 million based on incentives.   Henson, 24, averaged 7.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks last season in 18.3 minutes per game. He's a solid option coming off of the bench behind a talented frontcourt that includes center Greg Monroe, power forward Jabari Parker and small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Henson is an excellent defender and shot-blocker in the paint, and he also provides the Bucks with a dangerous option off of the ball, per Synergy Sports Technology on Twitter: The Bucks have one of the better young cores in the NBA, so locking down Henson on a relative discount was a smart move. He certainly isn't the flashiest player around, but he'll come off of the bench and give the team an important defensive presence, making him ...

LeBron James Comments on Cleveland-Area Drive-by Shooting

October 2nd, 2015 by Tim Daniels No comments »
Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James spoke out against violence Thursday night after a string of shootings in the Cleveland area, including one that killed a five-month-old girl.   WKYC reports the child was struck in the chest during a drive-by shooting in Cleveland Thursday. Earlier this week, Kara Sutyak and Brittany Harris of Fox Cleveland reported two teenagers were shot in a store parking lot. Kaily Cunningham of Fox Cleveland also reported a 10-year-old boy was shot last month. James took to social media to make a public plea for change: James followed up those tweets with more thoughts, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin: "I know what I see. I know how I feel. Obviously you're not going to be able to take every gun out, I don't know how you can do that. There's so many around now, today. But if there's some stipulations behind it or some penalties, some big-time penalties or rules or ...

Twin Towers Redux? Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah Aim to Turn Back Clock in Chicago

October 2nd, 2015 by Kevin Ding No comments »
CHICAGO — A most fascinating and complex experiment is beginning to unfold, and the beauty of it is that the participants are intelligent and mature enough to understand it. Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah are established greats in this game. They hold each other in the highest esteem and are great team guys. It would be hard to find two more respectable, upstanding, thoughtful men in all of basketball. But… Each is hellbent not to sell himself short this season. For soulful, personal reasons, they were kind enough to share—and with the reality check of looming free agency—each is determined to have a big year. The only viable way for them to achieve all they intend this season with the Chicago Bulls is together. The 7'0" Gasol and 6'11" Noah as twin towers in today's minimized NBA? It's heresy. "I'm excited," Noah told Bleacher Report. "I think it can work. Last year I wasn't healthy. I feel a ...

NBA Preseason 2015: Potential Breakout Players to Watch on Exhibition Schedule

October 2nd, 2015 by Tyler Conway No comments »
Results of NBA preseason games mean nothing. There is little reason to pay attention to the final box score in any game. Extended minutes are given to players who won't even be on rosters in a few weeks, and players run vanilla sets meant to merely get them into game shape before the regular season. However, that doesn't mean we should write off the preseason as a worthless endeavor. First of all, it's basketball. We don't know about you, but these last few months have been torture. Second of all, the NBA preseason product represents its regular-season form more than any other major professional sport. Don't believe it? Take a look at the top scorers from last year. That's a lot of awesome players...and Jamal Crawford. The story is similar as you look in all the other major categories; great players can't help but to be great, even in the preseason. In some ...

NHL 500: Ranking the Top 75 Right Defensemen

October 1st, 2015 by Jonathan Willis No comments »
We recently introduced a new project, the NHL 500, by looking at the game’s top 50 goaltenders. Today, we shift our focus just a little bit forward, taking in the game’s 75 best right-side defencemen. For the most part, these will be right-shooting defencemen, though a number of left-shot players who primarily appeared on the right side in 2014-15 will also be included. What are we looking for here? We can explain it in one question: Taking into account the available evidence, what would a reasonable person expect from every player in the league in this coming year? Our analysis is primarily rooted in major-league work, which means we’re omitting new rookies. We don’t care about contracts or long-term trade value. We don’t care about what happened last year, except insofar as it predicts what will happen in the coming year. Our process leans heavily on analytics, and involves creating a 100-point ...

LeBron James Comments on Kevin Love’s Role in Cavaliers Offense

October 1st, 2015 by Alec Nathan No comments »
Kevin Love experienced statistical regression during his first season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but LeBron James believes the three-time All-Star is primed to return to form after he signed a five-year, $110 million deal to stay in Northeast Ohio.  "I just think he's more comfortable in the situation that he's in," James said Wednesday, according to's Dave McMenamin. "He's got a year under his belt; he knows what he expects out of himself and what his teammates expect out of him. I expect big things from him this year with a year up under his belt." Last season, Love averaged 16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds while shooting 36.7 percent from three, numbers that would have been superb for most stretch big men. However, those figures represented a dip from Love's days in Minnesota, when he thrived as the centerpiece of less prolific Timberwolves teams.  During the 2013-14 season, Love averaged a whopping ...

2015-16 NHL Predictions: Preview and Picks for Metropolitan Division

October 1st, 2015 by Allan Mitchell No comments »
The distance from the top to the bottom of the Metropolitan Division was 42 points—but we'll likely see tremendous movement this coming year. The power teams have tweaked their rosters and recovered from free-agent losses, but the bottom feeders are going to be more difficult to overwhelm in 2015-16.  Last year the New York Rangers won the division and made it all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Washington Capitals and New York Islanders made things interesting and have improved, while the Pittsburgh Penguins made the marquee move of the summer by acquiring Phil Kessel. Also-rans like the Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes have also stepped up their game, and the New Jersey Devils had a quietly effective summer.  As we edge nearer to opening night for 2015-16, here's a preview of the Metropolitan Division and the big stories we'll see this winter—along with the predicted standings. Begin Slideshow