Tuesday, September 27, 2022

NBA launches reimagined app

 NBA launches reimagined app, a destination for NBA fans of every team

New app will provide content from every game with personalized experiences, social-style vertical video, behind-the-scenes access to players and teams and more.

The NBA today announced the launch of the reimagined global NBA App, the all-in-one destination for NBA fans of every team. With entirely new personalization features, the NBA App will provide wall-to-wall content from every NBA game and feature social-style vertical video, unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to players and teams, new and existing shows and series, and access to the NBA vault for free. The NBA App – a product of NBA Digital, the league's joint venture with Turner Sports – is free to download.

NBA launches reimagined app
 NBA launches reimagined app

Additionally, the NBA has launched NBA ID, the league's new global membership program offering fans benefits and rewards from the league, teams and its partners. NBA ID, which is free to join, will link a fan's experiences across existing products like NBA League Pass and NBA Pick'Em. Throughout the season, NBA ID members will get access to new original content and fan favorites from the NBA vault. Additionally, there will be enhanced members-only experiences from NBA partners, ticket promotions, prizes through predictive and sweepstakes-style NBA Pick'Em fantasy games, voting campaigns and other rewards.

The NBA App is powered by the NBA's new integrated digital platform, which was built in partnership with Microsoft, the NBA's official cloud and AI partner. The NBA App now includes a sleek new design and a first-of-its-kind “For You” experience, with content recommendations based on fan preferences and personalization powered by Microsoft Azure and Azure AI. Within the app's “For You” page, fans can tap into a social-like vertical video experience – with vertical scrolling – that features real-time highlights of all NBA games in progress.

The league's direct-to-consumer subscription offerings – NBA League Pass and NBA TV – will be integrated into the NBA App, giving fans the ability to watch live games and highlights and check scores, statistics and standings, all in one place. For NBA League Pass subscribers, the live streams will feature higher video quality, lower streaming latency and a seamless user experience for consuming live NBA content.

NBA League Pass returns this season with a new bundle and at its lowest pricing ever. For a limited time, the standard package is now available for $14.99 per month ($99.99 for full season) and the premium package for $19.99 per month ($129.99 for full season). Subscribers will automatically receive the NBA TV direct-to-consumer offering as part of the new bundle.

"Launching our new NBA App and digital platform is a major milestone as we continue to build and strengthen our direct-to-consumer offerings," said Chris Benyarko, NBA Executive Vice President, Direct-to-Consumer. “We are thrilled to deliver a reimagined product that will enhance and personalize the way NBA fans engage with the league on a daily basis.”

Content highlights on the NBA App include:

Live Programming and Social-Style Content

  • Gameday Experience – Fans will be immersed in game-day content all day long and, for the first time, get live access to streams of all pregame and postgame NBA press conferences and media days from every major event. In addition, NBA ID members will have access to teams' pregame shows for NBA League Pass games. 
  • Lifestyle – Social-style content series looking at the lifestyle, culture, fashion, music and more around the game and off the court, including NBA Kicks, NBA Fits, Jersey Drop, Ride Along, Celebrity Row and NBA Ink, among others. 
  • “CrunchTime” – A free weekly whiparound show taking fans live to crucial moments of each game and providing real-time updates and analysis, produced by NBA TV and hosted by Jared Greenberg. 
  • “NBABet stream” – A weekly stream produced by NBA TV with betting expert Tim Doyle and a selection of top contributors to provide the latest betting information during live game coverage. 
  • Live NBA League Pass Programming – In addition to 24/7 NBA TV programming and out-of-market live games, NBA League Pass subscribers will have access to expanded options for personalized viewing experiences through a wide variety of alternate streams, including additional camera angles , betting-focused streams, influencer-led and analytics-driven options, and in-language feeds with commentary in three languages ​​(Spanish, Portuguese and Korean). “NBA HooperVision” returns for its second season with former NBA players and hosts Nate Robinson and Quentin Richardson.

External Content Contributors

  •  All-Access Directly from Teams – Behind-the-scenes storytelling from teams' social and digital channels. 
  • Partner Content – ​​Content produced by popular basketball and sports-highlight creators, including Turner Sports, featuring content from the hosts of “Inside the NBA”, Grant Hill and Greg Anthony, as well as FanDuel, DraftKings, Action Network, Bleacher Report and more . 
  • Influencers – Influencer-created content from popular creators including Thinking Basketball's Ben Taylor, Jesser, Kris London, Lethal Shooter, Devin Williams, Tristan Jass, and more focused on fashion, lifestyle and NBA culture both on and off the court.

Exclusive Original Programming

  • “Gold Blooded” – A new seven-episode docuseries telling the story of the Golden State Warriors’ journey to the 2022 NBA championship. Narrated by Andre Iguodala, the series features never-before-seen footage and new interviews with team executives and players, including Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The first episode is available on the NBA App today.
  • “Pass the Rock” – Fans will get an exclusive look at the league's next generation of stars and their lives on and off the court throughout the 2022-23 season. The multi-part series is slated to begin in late November. 
  • “Inside the App” – An exclusive weekly segment from TNT's “Inside the NBA” team that will spotlight the hottest storylines and most topical events from around the league.
  •  “NBA Real Training Camp” with the Philadelphia Sixers (Sept. 29) and Dallas Mavericks (Sept. 30) – A special all-access show produced by NBA TV during the opening week of preseason providing exclusive look-ins at the teams' practices and interviews with players, coaches and front office personnel.

NBA Vault

  • Archived Games – Fans will have access to archival footage from the NBA vault, including 500 of the best classic games in NBA history. Every NBA Finals game since 2000 will also be available, with more Finals and popular games being released throughout the season. 
  • Archived Series – Documentaries and all-access series from NBA Entertainment's archives will be available on-demand, including “Dream Team”, “The Doctor”, “Wilt 100”, “The Association”, “Unscripted”, “Inside Stuff” and more.


  • NBA's International Games – The NBA App will be the go-to destination for fans to engage with and watch The NBA Japan Games 2022 Presented by Rakuten & Nissan (Golden State Warriors vs. Washington Wizards on Friday, Sept. 30 at 6 a.m. ET and Sunday, Oct. 2 at 1 a.m. ET) and The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 (Milwaukee Bucks vs. Atlanta Hawks on Thursday, Oct. 6 at noon ET and Saturday, Oct. 8 at noon ET).
  • “Hoop Cities” – An eight-part, in-language documentation produced by the NBA's Europe and Middle East team that explores the local culture, history and basketball communities surrounding the game throughout the following European cities: Belgrade (Serbia), Bologna (Italy) ), Cologne & Leverkusen (Germany), Istanbul (Turkey), Kaunas (Lithuania), Paris (France), Seville (Spain) and Thessaloniki (Greece).

Additional content series and other enhanced features on the NBA App will be announced throughout the season.

LeBron James chase for the NBA scoring title and other milestones

 Following yet another defeat in the middle of a lost season, LeBron James was asked a question at Miami's FTX Arena that invited him to escape the losing moment to broaden and brighten his view.

What did James think about being within striking distance of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's heralded all-time NBA scoring record of 38,387 points?

LeBron James chase for the NBA scoring title and other milestones
LeBron James

"As I've continued to climb the ranks, it's natural, human, to look at it and see where you are and see if it's even possible," the Los Angeles Lakers star said in January. "We'll see what happens. I've never chased a record in my life. I've never sat down and said, 'OK, let me see if I can get this record, let me see if I can get that record .' ...

"It's one of those things that you never think could possibly happen."

Abdul-Jabbar has held the torch as the league's top scorer since April 5, 1984 -- nearly nine months before James, who will turn 38 in December, came into the world.

In other words, even though James says he never imagined he would pile up more points than The Captain, maybe he was born to do this.

While James' march toward the scoring crown will attract the biggest spotlight in his 20th season, there will be plenty of other ways he can elevate his place in the NBA record books.

Here's a look at all the statistical superlatives James is approaching in 2022-23:

The big one

James comes into the season with 37,062 career points, needing 1,326 points to pass Abdul-Jabbar's mark.

If he averages 27.1 points per game -- his career average -- and doesn't miss any games, James would set the record in the Lakers' 49th game on Jan. 25 at home against the San Antonio Spurs.

Adding time for rest or the inevitable injury or two considering how the past several seasons have gone for James -- plus an expected dip in his scoring average with Anthony Davis back healthy -- it's more feasible that James would catch Abdul-Jabbar later in the campaigns. 

If he averages a more modest 24 points per game and misses 15% to 20% of the season, James would be nearing the plateau somewhere in the range of Game Nos. 65 to 68.

That coincides with a homestand in early March when the Lakers host the Golden State Warriors (March 5), Memphis Grizzlies (March 7), Toronto Raptors (March 10) and the New York Knicks (March 12).

The question is, can James reach the apex in a win? James eclipsed the past four scoring legends on the all-time list -- Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone -- during losses by the Lakers, putting a damper on the individual accomplishment.

James also can pass Wilt Chamberlain for the second-most 30-point games in league history by topping 30 seven times to bring his career total to 515. Jordan has the most with 562.

Longevity looms

As the No. 1 pick straight out of high school in 2003, James' career achievements were often accompanied by the youngest ever to do so. As his time in the league approaches two decades, that has flipped. He often is the oldest to reach these feats.

"I literally try to prepare my mind and my body and my soul on how I can stay young in a young man's game," James said last season. "The people that's always trying to chase you or people that kind of say that you're too old to be at this [level] still. So, it's just always a daily reminder, and sometimes you do have to remind people that you can still do what you do at a high level."

James can continue to climb the ladder in two accumulation categories this season. He entered the campaign third all time in minutes played with 52,139, needing 2,714 more to pass Malone for second. He would have to be in the lineup for around 75 games to do that. Abdul-Jabbar tops the list with 57,446 minutes.

Speaking of games played, he is 14th on the all-time list with 1,366. If he plays in 59 contests this season, he would move up to eighth, passing Clifford Robinson, Reggie Miller, Jason Kidd, Tim Duncan, Jason Terry and Kevin Willis.

Another Lakers legend in sight

James' game has often been compared to Magic Johnson's because of his potent combination of size and court vision. And all of James' pinpoint passing over the years has him in position to pass Johnson on the all-time assists list.

James is seventh with 10.045, just 97 assists behind Johnson for sixth.

Already the only player in league history to rank in the top 10 in total points and assists, James would become the only player to rank in the top five in those categories with 291 assists to move him past Mark Jackson in fifth place and Steve Nash in fourths.

3s and frees

James averaged 30.3 points last season -- the second-highest scoring average of his career -- thanks in large part to his contributions on the stripe and beyond the arc.

His 75.6% mark from the free throw line was his best clip since 2011-12, and his 161 3-pointers were the most he has ever made in a season.

He is fourth on the all-time freebies list with 7,836 and needs 543 more to pass Bryant for third, which will likely take a couple of more seasons considering he had 254 makes from the line in 2021-22.

James could move past Paul Pierce for No. 10 on the all-time 3s list as soon as opening night on Oct. 18, as he is just four behind his longtime on-court rival.

If he hits 151 3s on the season, James would also pass Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry and Vince Carter on the all-time list.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Improved communication will be key to Hawks' success in 2022-23

 Coach Nate McMillan wants his star guard Trae Young to claim more of a leadership role with Atlanta this season.

The Atlanta Hawks are heading into training camp looking for a bit of a reboot.

First up: improving the communication between coach Nate McMillan and star guard Trae Young.

McMillan already got the ball rolling after the Hawks were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs, a bitter comedown from their run to the Eastern Conference final in 2021.

Improved communication will be key to Hawks' success in 2022-23

In June, the coach hopped on a flight to visit Young at his Oklahoma City home, wanting to make sure everyone was on the same page when camp began Saturday.

"One of the big areas that I feel we need to improve on is the connection between the two of us," McMillan said. "I think we need to be better at communicating with each other and what we want to do and how we want to go about doing it."

The coach also wants Young, who turned 24 less than a week ago, to claim more of a leadership role, both on the court and in the locker room.

“He’s the face of the franchise and it’s something that he has just inherited,” McMillan said. “He will have to work at it and become better.”

Young brushed off any attempt to suggest a rift between the coach and his biggest star.

“I think you’re trying to reach for something that isn’t there. The relationship isn’t rocky,” Young said. “We can all be better in areas. We’re all trying to get better. We’re not trying to stay the same”

While there was plenty of speculation that the Hawks were headed for a major overhaul after their playoff flop, they decided to keep much of the roster intact.

The big move was a trade that landed All-Star guard Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs for three first-round draft picks

Murray provides the Hawks with another ballhandling guard who can play the point, giving Young a chance to work more without the ball.

That is an element that McMillan wants to develop after watching the Miami Heat stifle Young in the playoffs, giving the Hawks few other options to get the offense rolling.

Murray also should help improve an atrocious defense that was perhaps the most significant factor in the team failing to live up to expectations. He led the league in steals a season ago and was a second-team member of the NBA's all-defensive team in 2018.

While everyone was all smiles during a photo shoot and interview session, it will be intriguing to see how Young — only the second player in NBA history to lead the league in both total points and total assists — adapts to Murray assuming some of the playmaking duties.

McMillan said the team was in constant contact with Young as the trade unfolded.

"As I told him, 'We're bringing in another guard, and an All-Star guard. Do you know what that means for you? You'll be playing without the ball more than you probably ever have,'" McMillan recounted. "He was really excited about the opportunity to play off the ball, learn to play off the ball, and play with Murray."

Murray expects it to be a productive relationship, though it may take a while to really click.

"I'm not trying to step on any toes," he said. "They have a great thing going here. Trae earned the rights of who he is with this organization. I'm coming to help."

McMillan wants his entire team to recapture some of the camaraderie that was clearly there during the unexpected playoff run two seasons ago.

To that end, the Hawks are taking an extended trip to Abu Dhabi, where are they scheduled to play a pair of preseason games against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Atlanta will depart next Friday and spend nine days in Middle East before returning to the States for their final two preseason contests.

"It's a great opportunity for our guys to bond. We are looking at trying to put them in position for that to happen," McMillan said "We want our guys to spend that time together."

It should also give Young a chance to begin flexing his leadership qualities.

"I've always been a leader by example," he said. "I'm still learning how to be a leader vocally. It's not that I don't do it; it's just how can I be better at it. I think that's what Nate is talking about."

"Our relationship is great,′ Young added. " My teammates love me, I love my teammates. Now we're going to try to win this championship."

Celtics: Ime Udoka suspended for 'multiple' policy violations

 The suspension runs through June 30, 2023, and assistant Joe Mazzulla will lead the team as interim coach for the 2022-23 season.

The reigning Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics suspended coach Ime Udoka after a months-long investigation by an outside law firm that found multiple violations of team policies but did not point to a larger cultural problem of sexual misconduct, owner Wyc Grousbeck said Friday.

Celtics: Ime Udoka suspended for 'multiple' policy violations
“We go to great lengths … to run the organization with the central core value of respect and freedom in the workplace from harassment or any unwelcome attention,” Grousbeck said at a news conference. “This feels very much, to me, like one of a kind. That’s my personal belief. But I’ll have to verify that.”

Neither Grousbeck nor president of basketball operations Brad Stevens would elaborate on the specifics of the violations or the private report that was delivered to the team two days ago. But a person with knowledge of the matter, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the details were not made public, told The Associated Press that it involved an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the organization.

Udoka's multiple violations involved one woman, a Celtics spokesman said Friday. No one else in the organization is facing discipline, Grousbeck said, adding that the team will be vigilant to make sure that Udoka's actions aren't a signal that there is a larger problem.

“I personally don’t believe that they’re a deeper signal,” Grousbeck said. “But we will be — I will be, personally — talking to members of the organization to make sure that that’s the case.”

A first-year coach who is three months removed from a trip to the NBA Finals, Udoka was suspended less than a week before training camp was to open for a team considered among the favorites to win it all this season. Assistant Joe Mazzulla was elevated to interim coach through June 30, 2023; the Celtics say they have not decided about Udoka’s future beyond then.

Stevens grew emotional when discussing the effect the scandal has had on the team — especially the women who were singled out on social media as possibly being involved. The team reached out to employees to offer support.

"We have a lot of talented women in our organization. I thought yesterday was really hard on them," Stevens said. "Nobody can control Twitter speculation, rampant [expletive], but I do think that we as an organization have a responsibility to make sure we're there to support them now. Because a lot of people were dragged unfairly into that."

Grousbeck said the team learned of the problem earlier this summer and immediately brought in an outside law firm to investigate. After receiving the report, Grousbeck met with Udoka and he expressed "acceptance and appreciation for how this has been handled."

Grousbeck would not say whether the suspension was unpaid but confirmed that it comes with a "significant financial penalty." A year-long suspension is uncommon but not unprecedented for a professional sports coach, but the lack of public detail about Udoka's behavior has led some to question whether it was too severe.

Grousbeck disagreed and noted that Udoka accepted the punishment and apologized.

"I personally feel that this is well-warranted and appropriate, backed by substantial research and evidence and facts," the owner said. "It was clear that something substantial needed to be done. And it was."

Mazzulla, 34, led West Virginia to a victory in the 2007 NIT tournament and an upset over ninth-ranked Duke in the next year’s NCAA’s. His only head coaching experience was a two-year stint from 2017-19 at Division II Fairmont State in West Virginia.

“Joe’s going to be in charge. It’s not easy timing for him or the rest of the staff, but he’s an exceptionally sharp and talented person,” said Stevens, who added that he gave no serious thought to stepping back onto the bench himself. “This will be an unbelievable challenge, but I’m really confident in the team and the coaching staff that’s going to take the court on Tuesday. It’s not what we expected to happen, but I’m very confident in them.”

* * *

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report.

Friday, September 23, 2022

The Pivotal Presence of the Las Vegas Aces Rookies

 When Teresa Weatherspoon nailed one of the most iconic shots in basketball history, a contested half-court heave coming up the right side of the floor to win Game Two of the 1999 WNBA Finals, you might have forgotten that Becky Hammon was on the court as well. She was the first player to pile onto Weatherspoon as she sat on the floor in euphoria.

She played just over 200 minutes that season, her rookie year, a small role on a deep playoff team.

The Las Vegas Aces won their first title in franchise history, willed on by Hammon at the helm, rostering three rookies; Iliana Rupert, Aisha Sheppard, and Kierstan Bell.

The Pivotal Presence of the Las Vegas Aces Rookies

Rupert actually played slightly more than Hammon did her rookie season, but all three first-year players had deep roots on the bench on a team with five All-Star caliber starters. Yet, they played a pivotal part in the best season in franchise history, even if it didn't manifest in extensive playing time.

Throughout the season, the rookies were extremely visible as a vital part of the team; check Instagram Live, Tik Tok, or Sydney Colson's Twitter feed. The Aces' season was defined by their all-encompassing chemistry as much as their success on the hardwood.

“Everybody enjoys everybody's company,” says Bell.

“There's no beef, no drama on the team. Everybody gets along. The vets help us out a lot, we ask them questions, and they're willing to step aside and help us out. Everybody gels together."

Bell had the highest usage rate in the NCAA last season (38%). Sheppard started at Virginia Tech in her previous three seasons and was a prolific shooter on high volume. Rupert led her French Club, Tango Bourges, in points and rebounds per game. Coming into an already established playoff team was a significant adjustment for all three.

There's already difficulty in acclimating to the pro game. Finding your way in a different and smaller role than you've been accustomed to for most of your playing career brings an added hurdle to work through. Sheppard harped on that sentiment but also pointed out how the Aces as a whole smoothed the transition.

“Bell and I talked a lot about how Natalie (Nakase) would always text us after games or even during training camp and check in to see how we were doing just so that we weren't falling behind and feeling left out. It always felt like family and home. It was really nice to understand that our coaches and people cared.”

Hammon herself went undrafted. She has a unique understanding of how hard it is to make the league and solidify your spot, which I'm elements many other Hall of Famers possess.

“I've been in their shoes. I was the last person on the Liberty roster my first year,” says Hammon.

“It's really important to keep everyone engaged. We're a unit. We're a team. Whether you're A'ja Wilson or Aisha Sheppard, I try to be fair with everybody. Equal doesn't always mean fair, but I will be fair with everybody,” says Hammon as she closes out with a laugh.

Even from the start of training camp, the rookies were never treated like rookies or like they “didn't belong,” as Sheppard puts it. It’s a family-like atmosphere, something Hammon has repeatedly echoed throughout the year about how she wants it to be in Las Vegas. She wants it to become a special place that means something more to players. The winning is important, but that buy-in and togetherness are a large part of why the Aces made it to and won the Finals.

Tyler Marsh, an Aces assistant coach and the head of player development, paints the picture of that environment that Hammon has wanted to create since she first took the job. All of the veterans on the team play a role in leadership. Whether that's emotional, vocal, or by example depends on the individual.

“Credit to our rookies for being in tune to that,” says Marsh.

“Mimicking the stuff that they've seen from the vets who have been around and done it at a high level. That helps each and every day in practice and then builds a competitive environment across the board.”

Rupert, a native of France (you can catch her playing at the FIBA World Cup the next week) and the only foreign player on the team, didn't experience a culture shock coming over to the Aces for her first pro season (she was drafted in 2021). Her personality meshed with the team instantly, and the staff helped her transition to the W seamlessly.

However, her eyes were opened to ways she could improve her work ethic, something Sheppard and Bell agreed with.

Seeing how the Aces' vets cared for their bodies around the clock, handled themselves with rest and recovery, and practiced routines upped the rookies' learning curve.

“I was working before, but coming to the league made me realize you need to work your….” Rupert trailed off before pausing and apologizing for almost swearing, getting a raucous laugh out of myself, Bell, and Sheppard.

“It made me think about how I'm going to work in the next few months to prepare for the next season. It's the biggest thing I took away this year."

Sheppard jumped in and spoke on the weirdness of having so much free time. In college, everything was planned out. There wasn't much downtime outside of school, practice, and traveling for games.

“I've learned how to be a pro watching them (the Vets) on and off the floor…Now we've learned that you lift on your own, you eat the right things, stuff like that didn't come naturally at school ,” says Sheppard.

Bell believes she's grown most this season in patience.

“I've always been the type to rush. This year really settled me down and made me think a lot more, letting things come naturally.”

The trio regaled in a trip Hammon took them to in Dallas, a dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse. Any and everything that could be imaginably grilled made it out to their table during a multi-course meal.

“That was fun because she (Hammon) just wanted to do that out of the kindness of her heart. She does a lot of stuff like that. But, that was just a memory that was cool for us,” says Sheppard.

Rupert can't pick out a single memory, but she loves practice. She knows she will always laugh and have fun while still getting her work in. She hasn't had that same experience with other teams, having had squads where it was very much a slog to go to practice and deal with an unenjoyable environment.

The team doesn't really spend tons of time together off the court, says Bell, but in some ways, that seems to strengthen them when they're together. When they're together, they're locked in. She feels the locker room led to some of their best moments as a team this season.

“We got Syd posted up just cloning,” says Bell.

And while Colson's humor is what tends to be a focal point, her veteran presence can't be undersold, something the rookies highlight.

Drafted by the Sun and then traded to the Liberty in 2011, Colson was in a similar position to where Sheppard, Bell, and Rupert were this season. She didn't see much court time on a veteran-laden team that made the playoffs. Essence Carson, Kia Vaughn, and Kara Braxton were just a few of the vets who helped instill some of those same mentalities and perspective shifts that Colson has brought to these rookies in turn.

“It was a great group of vets, even though they weren't hype people like that, that's something I've just always had and brought when I've played, but they showed me work ethic and how to be a professional in the WNBA," says Colson.

The bench stood out routinely if you watched the Aces at any point this season. Colson and any number of other players on the bench, but particularly the rookies, were active and energetic in celebrating made basketballs, defensive stops, and highlight plays of any form. While I can't speak to the inherent impact of winning off an engaged and uplifting bench, the team did just win a title!

“Every team I'm on, I'm always about making sure the bench is never going to look like you feel a way about not playing or being out there. We're going to compete when we're in practice against the other team, and then when we're out there for games, we're their biggest fans and vice versa. When we're in the game, they cheer for us like that too. They've (the rookies) come in and done that. You've seen our bench, our antics. It's because we like each other, we love each other, and we wanna see one another do well.”

The future isn't secure for Bell, Sheppard, and Rupert, but the present is guaranteed. While the 2022 Las Vegas Aces will be remembered for their title, the magical run of Chelsea Gray in the postseason, A'ja Wilson's award-studded year, and a plethora of other reasons, it's worth noting how important this bench and these rookies were to this title run.

Their impact can't be found on Her Hoop Stats or Basketball Reference. It wasn't always seen in games. As much as this team was analyzed and noted as lacking depth on the court, it was largely unseen how important that the mesh of personalities was to the Aces' overall ethos, which can't be undersold.


Saturday, September 17, 2022

Lakers advantage take dennis schroder

 Dennis Schroder's career is like a roller coaster in the 2021-2022 season. Because, after rejecting the contract extension offer from the Los Angeles Lakers, he was even threatened with not playing in the NBA. Luckily there was the Boston Celtics who accepted it. Although in the end, the Celtics didn't really want a Schroder. But now, Schroder is about to start a new chapter with the Lakers. Forgetting disputes, and trying to rise from the slump. 

When reading the story about Schroder's contract extension offered by the Lakers, it was as if the player was the wrong one. Because he refused US$84 million worth of money for four years, just because Schroder felt that he could get a high contract from other teams. It turned out to be just an empty patch, which was not proven. 

On the contrary, the Lakers can also be said to regret not keeping Schroder. Because after that, they actually fell into a slump in the 2021-2022 season. So it can be said that both of them have suffered losses. Schroder's return to the Lakers, however, will give the Lakers an advantage. There are three things that are the core discussion. 

First, Schroder did not put the Lakers' finances at risk. This means that this one-year contract will not burden the Lakers at the end of the 2022-2023 season. Because at the end of the season, Schroder's status will be a "free agent" again, and he has no player options. 

Schroder will not ask for a salary increase in the next season. So that the Lakers don't have to worry about their finances. If Schroder plays well, it is obviously very profitable for the Lakers. On the contrary, if he plays poorly, then there are still Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn, or Austin Reaves. There is no need to be ashamed to put Schroder on the bench, because he is a player who is "cheap". 

Speaking of the "price" or value of this contract, the Lakers were stuck with the word last season. Of course, in this discussion, it has something to do with Dennis Schroder. 

Last season, Russell Westbrook's presence on the court made the Lakers' statistical record always negative in some aspects. Westbrook's ability to play the ball is not good, making the Lakers' turnover rate the highest in the NBA. Especially in the fourth quarter. On the other hand, Westbrook has a high ego in playing. 

Ironically, because Westbrook was hit by a player with a "high price", then the Lakers had no other choice. It's a bit embarrassed for the Lakers to make a player with a salary of US$44.2 million a year sit on the bench. The Lakers had to miss Out on Rajon Rondo, Isaiah Thomas, D.J. Augustin, Darren Collins and a string of other major guards in the transfer market, simply for retaining Russell Westbrook. 

Schroder's presence will make the Lakers feel safe game-wise. So if they have to lose Russell Westbrook, then they could be replaced by Schroder or Patrick Beverley. The right strategy for the Lakers, although they have to find a profitable deal. Because there are indications that the player swap scheme involving Westbrook will not be profitable for the Lakers. 

The third thing that the Lakers gain is from the defense side. The Lakers were already careless by releasing Alex Caruso. Though he is a good defensive player in the perimeter area, as well as a player who can bring the bench to life. The contract value is only US$15 million for two years. The Lakers instead gathered veteran players who probably wouldn't like to defend. They prefer to show the ability to attack and enter points. This is what makes the Lakers' defense drop drastically.

Therefore, the inclusion of Dennis Schroder will provide a change from the defensive side. In terms of age and play, Schroder can prove that he is capable of strengthening the Lakers' defense. Meanwhile, in terms of attack, Schroder is no less good. there was a 2019-2020 season, Schroder was able to give up 343 shots (166 two-pointers and 177 three-pointers). Then while playing on the Lakers, he fired 283 shots in four minutes per game

So it can be concluded that The return of Dennis Schroder to the Lakers will provide many advantages for the team. On the other hand, Schroder will play all out to prove that he is worthy of a long-term contract with the Lakers. (*)

Photo: Silver Screen and Roll

Dennis schroder returns to lakers

 The Los Angeles Lakers announced the return of the main guard Dennis Schroder. The German player will receive a one-year contract with a value of US$2.6 million. Schroder's return makes Russell Westbrook's fate on the Lakers even more unclear.

"We are thrilled to welcome Dennis Schroder back to the Lakers," Rob Pelinka, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Lakers General Manager told ESPN. "Dennis and coach (Darvin) Ham don't just have a historical bond, they can build a new story on the Lakers next season. 

Schroder played for the Lakers in the 2020-2021 season. He averaged 13.5 points, 4.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 28.7 minutes per game. But Schroder moved away from the Lakers because of his own mistakes. It should be that he received a contract extension from the Lakers worth US$87 million for four years. But he opted out, and was left out of the "free agent" player exchange. Until finally the Boston Celtics wanted to give him a chance, and then exchanged to the Houston Rockets. 

"Dennis will add depth and an on-ball defensive presence to our core in the main guard position. He's also a good points scorer and playmaker. We are very happy that Dennis can return to camp and return to work in Los Angeles after his great game with the German national team at EuroBasket," Pelinka added.

Meanwhile, Schroder's return, coupled with the signing of Patrick Beverley, makes Russell Westbrook's future with the Lakers even more uncertain. Westbrook is still on the Lakers' shortlist. It's just that, no team has dared to take it away yet. (*)

Photo: Lakers Daily