Summary of “Andre Iguodala Is What Makes the Warriors Truly Unstoppable”

Golden State is unbeatable when he is on his game; that’s the version of Iguodala the Warriors will need to beat the Rockets in the Western Conference finals.
He’s no longer quite as fast as he was in his prime, but he makes up for it with an astounding basketball IQ. Iguodala is almost always in the right position.
There’s nothing flashy about his game: Iguodala is a patient player who understands his role, reads the floor, and makes the simple play.
My favorite Iguodala play from this year’s playoffs happened during Game 4 against New Orleans, a sequence that topped off a 17-4 opening run that put the Warriors firmly back in control of the series.
Iguodala caught a glimpse of the future in 2013 during a playoff series against the Warriors as a part of a 57-win Nuggets team.
When Iguodala hit free agency that offseason, he recruited the Warriors as much as they recruited him.
“We said, ‘Do we have to sell you on anything?’ He said, ‘Look, I feel like this is the place I want to play.’ He was looking at a team that was financially strapped with arguably no way to get him.” Iguodala waited out Dwight Howard, whom the Warriors were also pursuing, refusing offers for more money as they figured out how to clear cap space to sign him.
The best version of Iguodala makes his stars better and the other team’s stars worse.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Who Is Entering the NBA Trade Zone?”

Kawhi Leonard Spurs coach Gregg Popovich wants Leonard kept away from the team, according to Peter Vecsey’s sources.
The latest rumor is that the reports of Leonard’s mangled rehabilitation and the team forcing an early comeback were a ploy by Kawhi’s camp so Leonard would have an out to join another franchise.
The franchise is a non-topic without Leonard.
C.J. McCollum After a strong end to the regular season, these playoffs were supposed to be different for the Blazers.
“The opportunity to potentially have [Russell] Westbrook, Paul George, and Steven Adams,” he said Wednesday, “All three of those guys in their prime years, is extremely exciting for us.”
Multiple reports have already surfaced that George is “Gone” and wants to be Playoff P somewhere else.
If George goes, Billy Donovan will have a similar issue on his hands as he did during Westbrook’s MVP season: Russ will be the only star on the team.
So the past season of disappointment with Wiggins might not be enough for the team to alter its course.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Biggest Surprises and Disappointments of the NBA Season”

Which player is the biggest surprise of the regular season? Justin Verrier: Victor Oladipo.
An unlucky face contusion at the hands of Markelle Fultz may sideline Embiid for the rest of the regular season, but Embiid staying injury-free from the neck down and playing at an All-Star level for 63 games is shocking given his injury-filled past.
The Raptors’ bench has been one of the best stories of the season, and he’s been the captain of it.
Which player is the biggest disappointment of the regular season? Gonzalez: Isaiah Thomas has had an awful run.
Wall’s playoff performance last year had him on a short list for the top players in the East, but his age-27 season ended up being a lost one.
Which team is the biggest surprise of the regular season? Tjarks: The Blazers have emerged out of the pack in the middle of the West and look like the third-best team in the conference heading into the postseason.
Which team is the biggest disappointment of the regular season? Gonzalez: Detroit.
There weren’t a lot of expectations surrounding the Pistons coming into the season, but given that they went all in on this season twice it wasn’t unreasonable to expect them to snatch one of the playoff spots at the bottom of the Eastern Conference-or at least make the race competitive into the final week of the season.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Zach Lowe on DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors”

As DeMar DeRozan finished practice on Dec. 19, he noticed one Toronto Raptors higher-up after another – Bobby Webster, the team’s GM, and its three highest-ranked coaches – file into team president Masai Ujiri’s office.
Ujiri told DeRozan he could be Toronto’s Kobe – a lifetime player who defines a franchise and, maybe, brings it championship glory.
To get there – to push this live-wire Toronto team to its full potential – DeRozan had to start shooting more 3-pointers.
Two nights later in Philly, he drained 6-of-9 – a performance so stunning, the shots flying off his fingertips so fast, you had to check to make sure it was actually DeMar DeRozan, king of the midrange.
“I still don’t really know,” jokes Kyle Lowry, the symbol – along with DeRozan – of a star-driven offense that sputtered in April and May. Ujiri didn’t fire anyone, even though he had the political capital to do anything he wanted.
They stretched their playmaking skills, and that was the point: When opponents keyed on DeRozan and Lowry, these guys – these unknown kiddos – would have to do something.
Teams struggle to generate spacing, and downsize; questioning Valanciunas’ starter status has become one of Toronto’s rites of spring, along with losing Game 1s. It seemed a fait accompli that their crunch-time playoff lineup would feature Ibaka at center, Anunoby at power forward, and a rotating fifth guy alongside DeRozan and Lowry.
The worst-case scenario is that dissonance translating into a prideful attempt by Lowry and DeRozan to win the old way.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Crystal Small Ball: Predicting the NBA’s Second Half”

Which team will make the biggest push in the second half? Danny Chau: The Sixers.
The Heat are mostly an anonymous team, but they do feature a player you’re bound to hear about over the next few years.
O’Connor: It’s the same team as it was before the season: Houston.
Who will get left out of the West playoffs: Clippers, New Orleans, Portland, and/or Utah? O’Connor: New Orleans is at a severe disadvantage without DeMarcus Cousins, but the Pelicans still have the best player of any of the four teams on the bubble, so it’s hard to pick against them.
Tjarks: The good people at Denver Stiffs did a nice breakdown of the schedule for all of these teams, and the one that stands out is Utah, which plays 11 games against non-playoff contenders who don’t have much incentive to win.
It’s hard to top the existential dread induced by your owner telling Dr. J that your team is a loser, but the Kings recently started a lineup in which the oldest player was Bogdanovic, a 25-year-old rookie.
O’Connor: Mark Cuban said the best option for the Mavericks is to lose, which is certainly true, but it’s largely fascinating because the statement could either suck the life out of the team or motivate it more than ever to close the season strong.
Which team will finish first in the East standings? O’Connor: The Raptors are the deepest team in the East, and they seem to be getting better and better as the season progresses.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Playoff Gambling Manifesto 5.0”

1-ranked DVOA team made only one Super Bowl; the 1-seeds met in only one Super Bowl; seven played-in-all-four-rounds teams made the Super Bowl; and three teams won the Super Bowl without a home playoff game.
From 2007 through 2011, a team beat a playoff opponent that won four-plus games more than it did an astonishing seven times, as captured in Jason Hehir’s unforgettable 30 for 30 documentary, Seven Teasers From Hell.
No wonder the Manifesto never worked: that eight-year stretch was more messed up than the marriage in Phantom Thread. WERE YOU SENT HERE TO RUIN MY EVENING AND POSSIBLY MY ENTIRE LIFE??? My favorite 2005-to-2012 fact is that the following QBs won a Round 2 and/or Round 3 playoff game: Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler, Alex Smith, Matt Hasselbeck, Rex Grossman, Colin Kaepernick, and Mark Sanchez.
Screw it, let’s go! It’s time for Playoff Gambling Manifesto 5.0! Please heed these rules wading into Round 1 and beyond.
RULE NO. 4: Beware of any team that might use a major off-field distraction as a galvanizing force leading up to a big playoff game.
I loved Buffalo breaking its playoff drought; I loved Andy Dalton finally making someone else’s playoff dreams come true; I loved Baltimore getting screwed over by strength of schedule because Cleveland won zero games; I loved Kyle Williams’s kids; I loved all the awesome locker-room celebration videos; and I even loved celebrity Bills fans that I’ve never heard of taking their media victory laps.
RULE NO. 14: Before every playoff game, rate the coaches and quarterbacks from 1 to 10, add up their scores, then make sure you’re OK backing a team with said score.
My case included tidbits like “Could Adam Gase put himself on the map as this year’s Hot New Coach?” and “Could [Matt] Moore manage the game, avoid turnovers and make a couple of big throws?” before I ultimately and hilariously decided, “I’m grabbing the 10 points even if it violates about four different Playoff Manifesto rules.” The Dolphins lost 30-12.

The orginal article.

Summary of “NFL Week 17 Recap: The Playoff Field Is Set, and the Chaos Has Begun”

The NFL’s decision to cram more than half of its Week 17 games into the Sunday afternoon time slot created the potential for chaos, and the final week of the regular season did not disappoint.
The 12-team playoff field is now set, and the results from this slate could have ripple effects that extend far beyond just wild-card weekend.
The end of the Bills’ playoff drought is a terrific story, but it also sets up what may be the least intriguing AFC wild-card matchups imaginable.
Not to steal any joy away from Buffalo or Tennessee fans, but this group of playoff teams all but guarantees that we’re due a lot of chalk in the AFC. Jacksonville’s offense looked uninspiring for the second straight week in a 15-10 loss to Tennessee, although at least this time the Jaguars had reason to come out flat.
If the Chargers or Ravens had snuck into the AFC field, the potential for a run by a low-seeded wild-card team would’ve felt possible.
While the AFC had a handful of teams vying for wild-card berths entering Week 17, there was far less uncertainty in the back end of the NFC race.
Atlanta securing the sixth seed throws a wrench into the playoff picture in a way the depleted Seahawks making the field would not have.
Coming into Week 17, it seemed as if a Falcons win would set up a rivalry rubber match with New Orleans in the wild-card round, a notion that gave me chills just thinking about it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Sorting through wild NFC playoff field through Week 10 of 2017 NFL season”

It’s a shame that the NFC can’t lend its fellow conference a playoff team, because it’s going to leave a worthwhile contender at home.
On last week’s episode of my podcast, Will Brinson of CBS pointed out that there were essentially six good teams in the NFC competing for five playoff spots, leaving out the Vikings and their comfortable lead atop the NFC North as an essential lock.
There are nine teams realistically competing for six playoff spots in the NFC. While there are four AFC teams that the Football Power Index assigns at least a 97 percent shot of making the playoffs, the Eagles are the only team in those rarefied heights in the NFC. It’s wide open.
The Cowboys haven’t been the same defense with Lee off the field this season; former Notre Dame star Jaylon Smith has been an inspiring story in returning from a serious knee injury, but teams have taken advantage of him in the passing game.
Next week, the most meaningful – and important – game of Dallas’ season will come against a much-improved Philadelphia team on Sunday night.
The Seahawks basically turned into a different team after Thomas broke his leg last season, and it’s fair to wonder if the same thing will happen now that Sherman, a future Hall of Fame cornerback, is done for the season.
The Vikings are in the middle of an NFC contender battle royal and might have thrown Washington out of the ring by winning at FedEx Field on Sunday, given that Jay Gruden’s team now has just a 4.4 percent chance of making the playoffs.
One of the strange ironies of this bizarre 2017 season is that the Saints look like one of the best teams in the league in a year in which Drew Brees is shouldering less of the workload than ever before.

The orginal article.