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Les Leonard

Big Daddy Rides Brees’ Avalanche to the Bottom posted by Les Leonard

     What emotion described your mood after Sunday’s Superdome debacle? Did you feel disappointed, humiliated, angry, or betrayed? Big Daddy felt so humiliated by the Saints half-hearted effort. Only Brett Farve understood Saints fans embarrassment after his wood-stroking photos surfaced on the internet. Several of Big Daddy’s co-workers revisited the Madden Curse theory, citing Drew Brees’ God-awful performance in which 2 of his 4 interceptions resulted in pick-sixes. Others wondered if Cleveland Head Coach Eric Mangini instructed former Saints Scott Fujita and Mike Bell (two integral pieces to last year’s Super Bowl Championship team) to hire a Voodoo priestess to cast an Early Halloween spell on Drew. One thing is certain, the Browns’ coach unleashed his bag of tricks on the Crescent City, soundly out coaching Sean Payton all afternoon. Saints fans can only pray that the Black ’n’ Gold will collect tons of treats come Halloween night when Pittsburgh comes to town. In this edition of the Section 645 Saints Beat, Big Daddy tailgates in Champions Square, reports live from Section 645, recaps the Cleveland game, watches the New Orleans Hornets season opener, attends legendary Martinque chef Nat Carrier’s Birthday Bash, and releases his World Famous Pregame Information.

     Saints fans had Champions Square jam packed by 10 am. Some listened to the pregame concert, while others watched CBS’s coverage of the NFL Today on the big screen. No matter which option the Who Dat Army soldiers choose, they all munched down funnel cakes, hot dogs, and pretzels, watching down their tailgating eats with semi-cold $5.00 draught beers prior to entering the Superdome, where buying drinks smarts worse than a nun’s 3-sided ruler in parochial school. Once Big Daddy’s posse temporarily quenched their thirst, our group huddled around WWL’s Saints radio broadcast outside Gate C to catch some of Bobby Hebert’s, Deke Bellavia’s, and Mike Detillier’s pregame thoughts before ascending to hallowed Section 645 grounds near the summit of the Big Easy’s coolest man made mountain.

Continue reading "Big Daddy Rides Brees’ Avalanche to the Bottom"


john howard

Bucks trade Gadzuric, Bell for Maggette posted by john howard

The Milwaukee Bucks traded Charlie Bell and Dan Gadzurik to the Golden State Warrios for Corey Magette.

 This is a good move for both teams and potentially a great move for Milwuakee.

Golden State is changing ownership and wants to get a younger nucleus to build around.  The Trade of Magette rids the team of $31 million for the next  3 years. 

As far as the Bucks go, this was a good move for a couple of reasons. One, if John Salmons leaves, then they have his replacement.  But, if they can resign Salmons, there is a lot more firepower for this team.  The Bucks made the playoffs and had a good showing without their top inside threat in Andrew Bogut. 

Small news, but could be a big deal.

Continue reading "Bucks trade Gadzuric, Bell for Maggette"


Scott Shepherd

Fun With Box Scores posted by Scott Shepherd

Every Monday, with the assistance of the good people over at www.basketball-reference.com, I like to take a look deep into the statistics of teams and players from around the league in a little post I like to call “Fun with Box Scores”.

Some of the gems I came across this week:

-Quinten Richardson has gone 9 games, 275 minutes played, without taking a single free throw this season.

-Even more remarkably, Jason Kidd has taken just 2 free throws in 347 minutes this season.

 

-73% of Daniel Gibson’s shots this season have been from beyond the three point line, by far the highest percentage of any player in the league with at least 50 shots taken.

 

-Since 1986, the record for most 40+ point games before December 1st is 14. Brandon Jennings’ 55 point outburst on Saturday was the 14th time that someone has scored at least 40 this season, tying the record, and we’ve still got 15 days left in the month.

 

-Speaking of Jennings, since 1986, no player has had a better three point field goal percentage during a 50-point game than he did on Saturday (minimum 3 attempts).

 

-In that same time span, Jennings is the youngest player ever to shoot at least 34 shots in a game.

 

-Nazr Mohammed led the Bobcats in scoring on Wednesday with a whopping 13 points. In nine games this season, the Cat’s have failed to have a player reach 20 points in five of them, by far the most in the league.

 

-Golden State has given up at least 100 points in every game this season. They are the only team in the league to do so this season.

Continue reading "Fun With Box Scores"


Chad

The NBA, Where Desperation Happens posted by Chad

So, things aren't looking good for the NBA right now.  There are a lot of reasons, the economy, it struggles compared to the other sports anyway, superstar bailout calls, the "thug" image, and mainly the fact the refs don't really know how to call the game.  I have a hard time watching somebody get 4 steps through the lane and a 4 second later continuation call; sorry, but that's not basketball.  Toss in the fact that these refs that don't apparently enforce the rules are going to go on strike and they also gamble on basketball.. things aren't looking good.  Teams are desperate to pack the stands.

Don't worry fans!  The Nets have an amazing, really incredible, inspiration, and entirely chaotic way to get fans in teh stands.  Only good things can happen here, and that's a promise.  If you fork out 25g's for 10 games of the team's best seats you can put in a list of players that you want to come hang out with you for an hour.  You can have them at home, a birthday party, the office, or anywhere else you'd like to go.  No word on bachelor parties, hanging out at their house, or even the Gold Club all the guys love so much down in the ATL.  Patrick Ewing knows what I'm talking about.  So, lets say you have the cash and the desire to do this.. you really need to consider your options.  I'll help you take a look at the Nets top guys:

1.  Yi.  How could he not be #1?  The possibilities are endless!  Does a translator come with or do you just have to akwardly try to teach him English in that hour?  Where would you go with the guy.. the zoo?  Your crib?  What if you want to drive somewhere, does that mean you get to ride in his car since he can't fit in yours?  Does you have a lazyboy at home?  If so, you might be able to tape him going one on one against it.  My money says put it on Yi; it wouldn't be the first time he's knocked a chair to the ground in victory.  I'd love to see it.

Continue reading "The NBA, Where Desperation Happens"


ucatchtrout

Breaking down the Blazers....Part Five posted by ucatchtrout

The center position is one of the strongest spots on the Blazers roster.  And if you combine last seasons stats for Joel Pryzbilla and Greg Oden the numbers look pretty good. 13.4 pts, 15.7 rbs, 2.3 bks.  What team wouldn't be happy with that? 

Last season began with the Trailblazers annointing Greg as their starter at the 5 spot.  It was and up and down year for the youngster from Ohio State.  He started 39 games for Portland, had a career-high 24 points and 15 rebounds in a win against the Milwaukee Bucks on January 19.  If he'd been able to average 36 minutes per game his PER would have been 14.8 pts, 11.6 rbs, and 1.9 bks.  The season also had its low points for Oden.  Not only did he have trouble staying in games due to foul trouble, ( his PER for fouls if he'd averaged 36 min was 6.5) he had physical problems as well and suffered an injury to his foot during his first game against the Lakers, and fractured his kneecap in February during a collision with Corey Magette and missed three weeks. 

"Greg

Much was made of the fact that Greg was only able to play in 61 games last season.  But if you compare that with Joel Pryzbillas 11 year NBA career, there were only 4 seasons in which Joel was able to play more than 61 games.  And it was only the second time in his five years in Portland that he was able to do so.  Fortunately for the Blazers, last season the grizzly veteran was a bit of an iron man and played in all 82 games for the first time in his career.
Continue reading "Breaking down the Blazers....Part Five"


Chad

Milwaukee Bucks: Where Are They Going? posted by Chad

The 2009-2010 Milwaukee Bucks roster is not yet set, but that doesn't mean we don't know where they are heading.  We do know where they are heading though, and that is straight down.  They are dumpster diving for young "talent" to try to turn themselves into a young, exciting squad.  Unfortunately, the young pieces that they have are either:  raw or simply not talented enough to make an impact, and this is going to be a long season in Milwaukee. 

PG:  Brandon Jennings, Luke Ridnour, Ramon Sessions (FA)
Jennings is getting a lot of hype around Milwaukee and from the coaching staff because of his speed and ability to get to the rim.  He is an extremely quick guard that can get end to end in a flash, but his jumpshot, experience, and cockiness all had NBA teams sour on him at the draft.  He could be a good player, but he is going to experience a lot of growing pains and spend a lot of time trying to defend bigger PG's on the block. 
Ridnour has been around the block and carries a hefty price tag, as he averaged 9.6 points and over 5 assists a game last year.  Those aren't bad numbers, but he isn't a great defender either.  I think you'll see Ridnour stay a Buck if Sessions signs elsewhere.  If Sessions re-signs in Milwaukee, then I think Ridnour will be traded for a pick, cap relief, and/or a young player.
Sessions is a young PG that put up pretty good numbers in Milwaukee, but apparently he isn't "exciting" enough for the Milwaukee brass.  He averaged over 12 points and 5.7 assists per game only playing 27 minutes a night.  His 3-point shooting, however, was atrocious at 17%.  Regardless, he did drop over 20 dimes in a game and also finished his NBA season with games of 10 points/9 assists, 19 points/7 assits, and 9 points/12 assists.  At his age and with his ability to see the floor, I am shocked the Bucks went with Jennings in the NBA draft and have not re-signed Sessions.  He might not be a potential Buck much longer, and that is disheartening to the Milwaukee fans.

Continue reading "Milwaukee Bucks: Where Are They Going?"


john howard

Summer league--July 11 posted by john howard

Summer league is a time for development.  The Lakers are still deciding on what to do with Lamar Odom.  But, in the meantime, Adam Morrison is making the most of summer time.  He had 24 points 5 rebounds, 3 assist, and 1 turnover in his summer league debut.  Then, he had 22 points and hit 4 three pointers in his second game. Great numbers and improvement.  If Morrison can contribute off the bench, it will provide much needed insurance for if/when Ron Artest melts down.

The Milwaukee Bukcs are rebuilding and Joe Alexander had 14 points and 7 rebounds in his summer league debut.  Brenden Jennings had 10 points and Meeks had 14. 

Continue reading "Summer league--July 11"


z

News Review posted by z

The Vince Carter Trade:  Ok, getting Vince Carter is good.  But losing Courtney Lee and forcing Turkoglu out of town as a result of it isn't good.  I would rather have Lee and Turkoglu than Carter.  So, to me, Orlando is now worse.  This is a downgrade.  New Jersey's still not a very good team.

The Richard Jefferson Trade:  Plain and simple, this was a steal for the Spurs.  They got younger, and now have 4 guys who can fill it up.  The Spurs are very close to being able to win another title.  They need to add one more quality center.  They don't have enough height on their roster right now.  The Bucks just wanted to save money.

The Shaq Trade:  Great trade for the Cavs.  Shaq can slow down Dwight Howard if the Cavs meet the Magic again in the playoffs.  Shaq can get a bucket on his own, and take pressure off LeBron.  Shaq even still commands a double team, at times.  There's no serious commitment to Shaq either, because he only has 1 year left on his deal.  Awesome trade for Cleveland.  The Suns also just wanted to save money.

Minnesota drafting Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn:  I don't like it.  You can't piss off your young point guard with tons of potential by drafting another point guard immediately after him.  I bet Rubio would be happy right now if he was the clear cut point guard on the team.  Minny clearly should've drafted Curry or DeRozan, both of whom could play shooting guard.

Continue reading "News Review"


john howard

Milwaukee Bucks posted by john howard

The Milwaukee Bucks had a dissappointing year.  After trading for Richard Jefferson and having Michael Redd, it looked as if a serious move was going to happen.  Andrew Bogut and Redd played for less than half the season.  And that made all the difference.  This is a crucial time for the Bucks.  Keith Bogans and Damon Jones are both free agents. Charlie Vllanueva had a break out year and is a restricted free agent.  And, to top things off, Jefferson and Redd both could opt out of their contracts next summer.  If things don't go well this year, that could happen. Also, Ramon Sessions was a nice surprise. He is also a restricted free agent.

They have a nice starting lineup: PG-RAMON SESSIONS SG-REDD SF-JEFFERSON PF-VILLANUEVA C-BOGUT.

And the bench will have Luke Ridnour backing up the point and Charlie Bell with starting experience at the other guard.  Joe Alexander did nicely as a rookie last year. Help inside off the bench would be nice.  There are many good point guards in this year's draft and many mock drafts have the Bucks taking one.  This would make sense if they plan not to match offers on Sessions.  Or if they plan on more trades.  The Bucks have the 10th and 41st picks of the draft.  The 10th pick in the past 14 years has produced 2 all-stars and 7 starters and 6 bench players.  So, it figures that they will get a quality player.  The 41st pick has produced one starter and 2 bench players during the same span. The Bucks could be a viable threat this year if they stay signed and healthy.

Continue reading "Milwaukee Bucks"


Chris

Bucks Draft posted by Chris

Only being a couple weeks away from the draft, you look at what can the bucks do in the draft to take a step in the direction of at least having a winning season? Is there someone out there who can contribute instantly and make us a better team at pick 10? I would like to think so the bucks are slim at PF but there is no one that really wows you at 10 at PF, the bucks also have a huge need at PG with Luke being on his last year and Ramon being a free agent. This years draft is especially deep at PGs with Steph Curry, Ty Lawson, Johnny flynn all who could be available at 10. I truly believe one of the these guys could really make an impact I hate the last few years of decisions we have made starting back with getting rid of our talent every year Allen for Mason and half a season of Grandaddy Gary Payton, Tj ford, Sam Cassell Glenn Robinson, and the list continues. Also we have had horrible luck in the draft with the exception of Andrew Bogut, which if you look at it that draft that draft was the worst possible draft to have the number one pick, we could have gotten bogut at 5 any other year he would have come out. Yi was and will be terrible, Joe alexander is athletic and thats it, he will never start, the other year we didnt even have a first round thanks to the ray allen trade. This franchise is due to start winning and i love the moves we made last season but it is going to take a lot to undo all that has been done to us ( the organization, the fans, the nba) I believe a good franchise PG could be exactlty what we need and i believe we can get that at 10.

Continue reading "Bucks Draft"

Milwaukee Bucks News

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The 10-man rotation, starring Kobe Bryant and what comes next (Ball Don't Lie)

A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : Sports Illustrated Longform . Chris Ballard's full feature on Kobe Bryant transitioning into the end stages of his career went live today, so enjoy spending your weekend poring over it. PF : Bucksketball . Giannis Antetokounmpo's two-dribble dunk for Greece earned headlines on Thursday, but as K.L. Chouinard notes, this isn't exactly a new trick for the Milwaukee Bucks' rising sophomore; in fact, Giannis does this sort of thing pretty frequently. SF : Canis Hoopus . Good stuff from Key Dae on the state of Andrew Wiggins' game as he enters the NBA, where he figures to be able to make an impact early and where he's got to do an awful lot of work if he's to become the sort of franchise-leading superstar that the Minnesota Timberwolves hope he will be. SG : Bright Side of the Sun . A very thorough tape breakdown by Kellan Olson of just how good Eric Bledsoe looked when slotted in alongside Goran Dragic for the Phoenix Suns last season. PG : Chicago Tribune . David Haugh on the relative calm with which the Chicago Bulls, USA Basketball and the NBA —everyone but Bulls fans, really —took Derrick Rose's soreness-induced rest earlier this week. (Rose is expected to be in the lineup with Team USA takes on Puerto Rico in an exhibition at Madison Square Garden on Friday.) 6th : Hang Time . And yet, while coach Mike Krzyzewski made clear after Wednesday's exhibition win over the Dominican Republic that he's not worried about Rose, John Schuhmann wonders whether the U.S. can afford not to take an extra point guard given the uncertainty surrounding him, and what that might mean for the rest of Team USA's roster configuration. 7th : Silver Screen and Roll . James Lamar on what Julius Randle should be looking to take from Carlos Boozer as the rookie and veteran share reps in the Los Angeles Lakers' frontcourt. 8th : Liberty Ballers . Jake Fischer bids farewell to the soon-to-be newest member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and one of the few bright spots in a dim era of Philadelphia 76ers basketball: "…throughout that constant drab, Thaddeus Young was the perennial glimmer of hope, the workhorse that refused to give in to the status quo." 9th : SB Nation . James Dator chats with Roger Huang, the sculptor who gave us "Achilles," or, as it's been referred to colloquially, "That Sculpture of a Naked Kobe Fighting A Snake." 10th : Statitudes . A fun thought experiment from Justin Kubatko: If pros had been allowed to represent their countries in the Olympics before 1992, who would have made up the 1964 U.S. "Dream Team?" - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Check out the 10 can't-miss games of the upcoming NBA season (NBC on Yahoo Sports)

The NBA regular season schedule came out Wednesday, all 1,230 games. Even with live streaming and an empty DVR ready to be filled up, I’m not going to watch all of them. Nobody will watch all of them. That said, there are some great games coming up. Homecomings and rivalries, plus just matchups of great basketball teams. You can’t watch them all but there are some you can’t miss. Here are my 10 can’t miss games of the NBA season. Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers, Oct. 28 There are sub-plots to watch here, Jeremy Lin playing against his old team and Dwight Howard getting booed again by Lakers fans…but that’s not why any of us will be watching. Kobe Bryant will be back on the court for the Los Angeles Lakers and any time he steps on the court we watch. Right now we will be watching because we’re not sure what Kobe we will see, how much he has left in the tank, but we will watch. He is one of the all-time greats. Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls, Oct. 31 You could argue that the first games for these teams are bigger —LeBron James ’first game at home in Cleveland, Derrick Rose ’s return to the NBA comes in Madison Square Garden —but this is the first of four meetings between the two best teams in the Eastern Conference (on paper) and that is worth seeing. Cleveland has more talent but the Bulls have an identity and players that fit it. To be fair, this game will not mean much if/when these two teams meet in the Eastern Conference Finals, but it’s our first glimpse into what could be one of the best rivalries of the next five years in the NBA. Cleveland Cavaliers at San Antonio Spurs, Nov. 19 LeBron’s last team got smoked by Tim Duncan , Tony Parker , Kawhi Leonard and the gang in San Antonio, so LeBron went out and got some new teammates like Kyrie Irving and soon Kevin Love . This should be interesting, although the Spurs will play their same system and know exactly how to execute it while it’s going to take the Cavaliers some time to figure it out. Milwaukee Bucks at Minnesota Timberwolves, Nov. 26 Once the Kevin Love trade goes down (and it will), this game becomes the first between No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins and No. 2 pick Jabari Parker . Both rookies are in situations where they should get a lot of minutes and plenty of touches. Both are going to get the chance to grow in the spotlight Cavaliers at Thunder at Oklahoma City, Dec. 11 LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant . The two best players on the planet go head-to-head and the best part about these match ups is they often guard each other. It is a true head-to-head matchup. Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat, Dec. 25 LeBron returns to Miami for the first time in a Cavs uniform (this time around, anyway). You can expect he will get a warmer reception than the vitriol thrown at him four years ago when LeBron in a Heat uniform came to play the Cavaliers. Now all of that is forgotten. Miami is going to be a pretty good team and one that wants to keep playing the space and pace offense. We’ll see how LeBron does against it. Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers, December 25 This is the game to watch on your new 60-inch smart TV you just got for Christmas. This if the final of five games on the Christmas Day slate and it should be a very entertaining one. There will be lobs, dunks and rainbow threes. Stephen Curry vs Chris Paul . David Lee vs. Blake Griffin . Klay Thompson vs. J.J. Redick . This is the game Santa is bringing die hard NBA fans. Cleveland Cavaliers at Minnesota Timberwolves, Jan. 31 Kevin Love returns home to Minnesota. It will be interesting to see how he is received —it won’t be exactly with open arms and a dozen roses, but I doubt the booing will last all game, either. Also in this game, Andrew Wiggins gets a shot at LeBron. Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs, March 25 Well done by the schedule makers putting these two teams against each other a couple times late in the season (they also face off April 7). These might be your two favorites to win the NBA title (not what the bookmakers say, the actual favorites), they were the two best teams in basketball at the end of last season. The interesting question is who Gregg Popovich sits for both of these games. Los Angeles Lakers at Toronto Raptors, March 27 I just hope Steve Nash can play one last game in Canada. Nash is one of the great point guards of all time and the best Canadian player ever, I hope his body lets him play one last game in his home country. -- Kurt Helin, ProBasketballTalk.com [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


National Basketball Association roundup (Reuters)

(The Sports Xchange) - The New York Knicks willadd Jim Cleamons to new coach Derek Fisher's staff, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. Cleamons, a longtime NBA assistant, served on former Milwaukee Bucks coach Larry Drew's staff last season. Knicks president Phil Jackson and Cleamons have a long history of working together - first with the Chicago Bulls and then with the Los Angeles Lakers. Cleamons was on Jackson's coaching staff for numerous NBA titles. ... [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


The 10-man rotation, starring NBA jerseys reimagined as soccer kits (Ball Don't Lie)

A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : Behance Gallery . Sleeved jerseys are here, and advertisements on them are all but inevitable . Maybe if what the NBA and Adidas came up with looked a bit less like crummy T-shirts and a bit more like the soccer-inspired designs dreamed up by Jesse Nuñez, basketball fans wouldn't mind quite as much. (Now let's see some with the existing logos replaced by football-style crests , too.) PF : Slate . Amanda Hess: "When it comes to women in professional sports, the NBA often seems to be the only men’s league eager to make historic choices." That reputation only got burnished on Tuesday . (Kate Perkins also has a nice piece on Becky Hammon's historic hire for Self magazine's Flash blog , noting that "doing the right thing is indistinguishable, in the [San Antonio] Spurs organization, from doing basketball right.") SF : TrueHoop . Justin Verrier on the Los Angeles Lakers' "delusional" but "a bit endearing" refusal to acknowledge that the West has passed them by, a fate largely sealed with a $48.5 million salute last winter. SG : A Wolf Among Wolves . If a Kevin Love-for-Andrew Wiggins trade is indeed coming in just a few weeks' time , Steve McPherson thinks the Minnesota Timberwolves would do well to see if they can loop the Philadelphia 76ers into the deal and come away with Thaddeus Young. (Andrew Unterberger considers the prospect of a Young trade from a Sixers fan's perspective at The 700 Level .) PG : Hardwood Paroxysm . Jeremy Conlin wonders whether Bradley Beal is better than Dion Waiters, how wide the gulf between the two shooting guards is, and whether said gulf is more a matter of context than hard-and-fast talent differential. 6th : SLAM . Brendan Bowers profiles Waiters, who says he spoke with LeBron James before the Cleveland deal got done: "He called me and just told me to be ready. Be ready. I talked to him four or five days before he made his decision. He just got on the phone and said, 'I haven’t made my mind up yet but be ready.' I told him that I’m already working hard. I’ll be ready. And he said, 'I know, I know you are.' Then a few days later I read the letter." 7th : Grantland . Zach Lowe considers the ways in which the evolution of NBA offenses and defenses has changed the market for big men who aren't floor-spacers or rim protectors. 8th : Eye on Basketball and Bucksketball . Zach Harper on the need for new head coach Jason Kidd to once again get weird with the Milwaukee Bucks' fun and awkward roster this season, and Nick Whalen on whether O.J. Mayo can bounce back enough from a dismal first year in Wisconsin to be an effective part of the weirdness. 9th : Derek Bodner . An argument that the reported potential adjustments to the NBA draft lottery system don't actually address the supposed scourge of tanking, but rather the perception problem the league faces in an environment where the 76ers aren't pretending to be ashamed of losing now to win later. 10th : The Classical . A fun read from John Wilmes on how Joel Embiid's irrepressible Twitter persona helps provide a counterbalance to the Sixers' (and, increasingly, many other NBA teams') contextually cold approach to roster-building: "Here is a Personnel Asset that refuses to stop acting like a goofy human being." - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


The 2014 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot featured lots of sweet dunking, trick-shot-making challenges (Vi

The NBA's annual Rookie Photo Shoot would be wonderful enough if all it gave us was awkward still shots of each year's Kelly Olynyk . In recent years, though, the photo opp has turned into an impromptu dunk contest , with members of the rookie class strutting their stuff, showcasing their springs and instantly sharing the fruits of their labors via social media. The rooks added an extra wrinkle to this summer's mid-shoot exhibition —a bit of a "can you top this?" competition featuring direct Twitter challenges. It all seems to have started with Minnesota Timberwolves second-rounder Glenn Robinson III calling out his new teammate , lottery-pick high-flyer Zach LaVine, to top this 360-degree windmill dunk: As you might expect, given the UCLA product's résumé, LaVine accepted, pulling off this off-the-wall, through-the-legs righty throwdown: ... before paying the challenge forward to No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, rocking ( for now , at least) the wine and gold of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The former Kansas standout responded in kind, making the act of getting airborne, spinning, switching hands behind your back and finishing look entirely too easy: Here's another look at that from the baseline: Wiggins kicked the challenge over to fellow Canadian and Phoenix Suns point guard Tyler Ennis, who ... well, took things in a different direction. (More on that in a sec.) The dunking displays didn't stop, though, with Sacramento Kings guard Nik Stauskas getting creative on the floor before getting in the air: ... and Boston Celtics point man Marcus Smart showing some power with the off-the-bounce double-pump reverse: ... and Charlotte Hornets power forward Noah Vonleh looking awful springy in those super-cool purple-and-teal duds : ... and Toronto Raptors mystery man Bruno Caboclo displaying his remarkable wingspan with a through-the-legs reverse: There was also quite a bit of teamwork at the shoot, with multiple freshmen-to-be showing off their love of the extra pass to set up a fellow rook for a furious finish. The young Wolves who lit the candle on the competition showed their love of sharing, with Robinson III setting up LaVine: ... and LaVine returning the favor: Celtics draftee Smart set aside future Atlantic Division beef to set up Brooklyn Nets second-rounder Markel Brown, his former Oklahoma State teammate, for a whirling slam: Atlanta Hawks big man Adreian Payne got to be the beneficiary of multi-pass work on a couple of occasions, with Orlando Magic point guard Elfrid Payton and Los Angeles Lakers power forward Julius Randle doing the honors once: ... and a handful of fellow rooks —Payton, New York Knicks wing Cleanthony Early, Celtics swingman James Young, Randle and Magic forward Aaron Gordon —setting him up for another: The crispest three-way dance came courtesy of former Michigan men Stauskas, Oklahoma City Thunder big man Mitch McGary and Robinson III: McGary proved to be quite a nimble facilitator for a 6-foot-10, 255-pounder, offering a soccer-inspired feed to fellow OKC draft pick and future D-Leaguer Josh Huestis: McGary's most triumphant work, however, came in this unparalleled feat of athleticism and acrobatics: Not to be outdone, the Magic's Gordon showcased the brand of panache that leaves children's ankles pulverized with this off-the-wall homage to Michael Finley : I'm not sure that tops McGary's flawless floor work, but it's an admirable attempt, if nothing else. Back to the aforementioned Ennis: Since the Suns point guard couldn't match his north-of-the-border-bro Wiggins in feats of aerial assault, he decided to introduce H-O-R-S-E style shot-making into the proceedings: Ennis' trip behind the basket opened the door for some of the not-quite-as-high-flying members of the Class of 2014 to get in on the fun. Rodney Hood of the Utah Jazz checked in from the not-so-short corner: Chicago Bulls sharpshooter Doug McDermott offered his spin on Kobe Bryant's favorite H-O-R-S-E shot : The San Antonio Spurs' Kyle Anderson got a little trickier (and, to be fair, a little closer, too) with his take: Jabari Parker, the No. 2 overall pick of the Milwaukee Bucks, went behind the back: ... and Miami Heat point guard Shabazz Napier topped him by making Parker's short shot from long distance (albeit on his sixth try ): And last, but certainly not least, here's recuperating Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, walking boot and all, taking a page out of the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's book: Hi, Rihanna . My personal quick picks for best of the bunch: the Smart-to-Brown Oklahoma State connection, the Michigan three-man weave, Napier's behind-the-back heave and, of course, McGary's tumble. Feel free to share yours in the comments below. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

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