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Jazz fans once again under scrutiny for bad behavior

The NBA playoffs will be headed back to Salt Lake City again, and once again we find ourselves scrutinizing one of the most passionate fan bases in not just the NBA, but in all of sports. A fan base that has been on the roller-coaster of all sports roller-coasters since April of 2017. A fan base, that is as loyal as it is passionate and the envy of the league with how loud it can get. But also, a fan base which is equally reviled for its antics, and racists actions.

I have been a Jazz fan since at least 1986. I was just a small child but I fondly remember going to the games and watching Ricky Green and Adrian Dantley. My childhood growing up in Salt Lake City was dominated by the Jazz and the NBA. Growing up all my friends and I wanted to be Jordan, Olajuwon or Stockton and Malone. My first fight I remember as a kid was because my friend said Andy Toolson was a better point guard than Delaney Rudd. As I hit my early teen years the Jazz seen unprecedented team success with their two NBA finals runs. My early college years was watching the team rebuild, and as I became an adult I watched the Jazz make new inroads in the NBA with Boozer and D-will. Now firmly an adult with a career and family, I am treated to nostalgia as I watch this new Jazz team kindle old memories of a bygone Jazz era. As I have grown, I have grown with the Utah Jazz.

Yet, despite all these great memories I have some dark ones which cloud my happy times. Like the time I seen several men accost another young man who they accused of being underage and drinking, and instead of waiting for security took it upon themselves to beat him up. He was 21, and was detained by Salt Lake City police while his attackers were free to go.

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The best shooter in the NBA: stats and facts

There are many skills that a top NBA player needs to master, but being a consistent, reliable shooter is one aspect that can guarantee them a spot in the starting line-up of any NBA side. Shooters now rule the game. Where it was once the big men in the paint who grabbed the headlines, now shooting is the most in-demand skill in the league.

Traditionally, shooting has meant three-point attempts, though the wider definition of shooting can encompass any kind of shot from a reasonable distance. Still, three-point shots are still the gold standard when it comes to weighing up a shooter’s merit, and the number of three-pointers has increased steadily in recent years. San Antonio, Cleveland, and Golden State have all built their success on dead-eyed shooting from distance.

Many of the upcoming games between the big names of the NBA, such as the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors, have become spectacles for the shooting purists.

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Will Deandre Jordan and Lou Williams remain in Lob City?

The faucette is wide open and the NBA Trade Deadline is coming down the pipe!

We’ve already seen some huge shake-ups, most notably the Blake trade. The Los Angeles Clippers showed that they might just go into full-on rebuild mode when they shipped their franchise star over to the Motor City for a 2018 first-round pick, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, and Tobias Harris.

Breaking Down the Griffin Trade

The long-time Celtic, short-term Piston, Bradley is averaging just under 32 minutes, 15 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. At 27, he is still in his prime and will be a reliable scorer -averaging 15 points or more for the last three seasons. As for Marjanovic, I don’t see a whole lot of value in either the short-term or long-run for the Clippers organization other than a fairly low-cost backup big-man to play a few minutes per game.

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Fun facts to you get you in the mood for NBA 2018!

With the 2017-2018 season underway, the action is already heating up. Basketball fans across the world are standing by and waiting to see which team will sail to victory in 2018. But how much do you really know about your favorite game? We have compiled a list of some of the craziest, wackiest, funniest facts out there for you to entertain your buddies with when the next game is on.

•1. Back in 2000, a young Canadian chap had only the grand total of $70,000 USD to his name. So, what did he decide to do? He put the whole lot on the Los Angeles Lakers in the hope of winning that season’s NBA championships. Thankfully he won and went on to become one of the most successful NBA betters in history. Whilst we don’t recommend putting your life savings on a game

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Injuries having an affect on the 17-18 NBA Season

Few factors affect the game of basketball more then injuries. Injuries can make a favorite to win the NBA title fall to the lottery, and had a role in nearly every single NBA season to date and this year is going to be no different.

The 2017-18 NBA season was barely 5 minutes old when the first major injury changed the season. With 7 minutes to go in their game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics high profile free agent All-star signing Gordon Hayward went down for the season with a broken leg. In the game following that game the Houston Rockets lost their high profile off-season acquisition Chris Paul to an injury.

The Rockets eventually got Paul back, but the Celtics will lose Hayward for the season. Though both teams seem to have weathered the storm of losing an all-star, but mostly because both teams have the depth to cover their absence, not every team is so lucky. The Utah Jazz, Hayward's old team, lost All-NBA center Rudy Gobert and have since been in a tailspin.

Smaller nagging injuries also affect the game and they can be harder to spot. For example, several members of the Cleveland Cavaliers where nursing injuries through-out the playoffs last season and this several y impacted their performance against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals.

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Top 10 Greatest NBA Players of All Time

Being great at what you do is one thing, but there’s a whole different set of criteria for those who earn their place in history books. The Association has had no shortage of outstanding talents throughout the years, but those few who have managed to show durability, game intelligence, strategic skills and pure talent are sure to stand out. The issue of selecting the crème de la crème among NBA ranks has sparked arguments among many fans. In this regard, based on criteria similar to those above, following is an objective ranking of the all-time greatest.

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Ball Adapting to Life in the Big Leagues

There haven't been many rookies who have arrived in the NBA with as much hype and pressure as Lonzo Ball, and the Los Angeles Lakers' point guard has already experienced his fair share of highs and lows in his first season in the league. With his now infamous father LaVar providing a one-man hype machine for his son, Ball has been a marked man by opponents during the opening stages of the new season. While that has seen the rookie struggle to produce the sort of scoring form he might have wanted, the 20-year old has shown another side to his game: an ability to mix it with experienced veterans.

Playing in a Lakers team that have undergone some significant changes in recent years, Ball has been tipped as the man to replace Kobe Bryant and lead the franchise back to the big time. That's certainly a lot of pressure for a rookie, and his early-season performances might have highlighted the need for patience from not only the Lakers fans but also the league as a whole.

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Leo Ferris: The man who saved the NBA

The early days of basketball often seen slow fan-unfriendly low scoring matches that often left spectators bored. Games often only got into the 40s and many of the best players averaged less than 15 points a game. Many early basketball games looked more like a glorified version of the childrens game of keep-away than an action packed professional sport. This style of play culminated in a game between Minneapolis and Fort Wayne, where the Pistons of Fort Wayne held the ball most of the second half nursing a 1 point lead over the Lakers. The Pistons would win 19-18 in the lowest scoring game in NBA history. Prior to that the fewest points ever score 33 points, just 4 fewer than both teams scored, and that game was one the opening night of the NBA, or BAA as it was called back then.

This place pace bored fans, many of whom where promised an action packed fun experience and attendance and interest in the new league had begun to dip. The NBA needed a solution and needed it fast. The solution was an ingenious one and one that would revolutionize the game as we know it. A simple clock, with just 24 seconds on it would forever change the game.

The clock was the brain child of Syracuse Nationals general manager Leo Ferris, a man that the NBA has long forgotten in one of the biggest travesties in the games history. Ferris, is as important to the early days of the NBA as anyone and one could argue that without Ferris there would be no NBA today; and there definitely would be no Atlanta Hawks, or Philadelphia 76ers. The NBA would look much different today without Ferris's input all those years ago.

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Connie Hawkins fight against the NBA

On October sixth, the NBA lost one of the great pioneers in league history. Connie Hawkins was a four time NBA all-star and former ABA MVP, who's legal battle with the ABA and NBA helped change the landscape of professional basketball.

Few athletes in American history have ever been as victimized by the system as Hawkins was. In 1961, while Hawkins was a freshman at Iowa and ineligible to play on the Hawkeyes varsity team due to NCAA regulations at the time, a humongous college betting scandal erupted and Hawkins was kicked out of school.

The scandal involved 22 different schools and 37 players, but Hawkins was not implicated. The scandal mostly focused on players associated with Jack Molinas, who had escaped the CCNY betting scandal a decade and a half earlier. Hawkins, growing up in New York City, knew many of the players involved and had borrowed $2,000 for school expenses from Jack Molinas, but Hawkins brother had paid Molinas back before the scandal erupted.

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History of point shaving in basketball

Point shaving is arguably the biggest cardinal sin in the basketball world. While there has been several cases of it involving college basketball, the NBA has had relatively few incidents of point shaving, that is not to say that the scandals have not affected the NBA, quite the contrary. Of the four major leagues in the US the NBA has been the most ardent opponent of betting on games, especially during its early years. The league has soften its stance in later years, but is still waging a fight against the state of New Jersey over online betting.

Point shaving is when a bookie or better convinces a player or official to help a favored team not make the spread. For example, if a team is favored to win by 10 points, the player or players involved make sure that the team wins by fewer than 10 points. This is accomplished by intentionally missing shots, committing turnovers or fouls, or in the case of a corrupt official making bad calls.

Basketball is an extremely easy sport to manipulate because of the tempo of the game and the affect just one player can have on the game. The NCAA is much more susceptible to point shaving than the NBA because of the NCAA's strict emphasis on amateurism. NCAA players do not make any money and are often struggling college students, while the NBA players are making millions of dollars. It is much easier for a bookie to convince a poor college student to miss a few shots for a few hundred dollars than it is to convince a millionaire NBA player to do the same thing.

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Bulls Bobby Portis Fractures Nikola Mirotic's Face

The 2017-18 NBA season has just barely begun and already the Chicago Bulls have suffered a devastating loss. Bulls forward Bobby Portis punched forward Nikola Mirotic – breaking bones in Mirotic's face. This is a double whammy for a team who was trying to find an identity after breaking apart their roster from last year.

Mirotic, who had fallen out of the rotation last year, has figured to be a key part of the new look Bulls. Last season he averaged 10 points in 70 games and 24 minutes last year. The Montenegro center was a restricted free agent who re-signed with the Bulls in the off-season

The Bulls will also surely lose Bobby Portis, who they had hoped would finally be a contributor to the team. Portis averaged 7 points a game in both his NBA season in spot minutes.

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Adidas NCAA Scandal

There are very few things you can always bet will happen during college basketball. That an underdog will stun a powerhouse in the tourney; that student fans will take wins and losses harder than the athletes themselves; and that the game will be rocked by scandal every few years.

Once again, sadly, it's scandal time for college basketball and this one has already cost one of the greatest coaches in the game his career and likely a chance for the hall-of-fame, and it appears that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

In a few short hours the FBI did something that the NCAA never could do in decades of existence, reign in all the rouge elements of college basketball.

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Oklahoma City's Big 3

The 2016 off-season for the Oklahoma City Thunder started out quite possibly the worst way imaginable; they lost their MVP superstar Kevin Durant. But oh, what a difference a year makes. The 2017 Thunder off-season was arguably the greatest in NBA history.

First, days before free agency started the Thunder landed Paul George from the Indiana Pacers, and as the off-season drew to a close they managed to swing another blockbuster trade and land Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks. In between that, the Thunder also managed to add a lot of depth to an already established playoff team.

The price for landing Paul George was an extremely small one by NBA standards. The four-time all-star costs the Thunder only 2nd year Domantas Sabonis and veteran Victor Oladipo. Both Sabonis and Oladipo where valuable contributors but neither of them will produce what George can.

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Tough Cuts Coming For All 30 Teams

With the NBA preseason winding down many teams have a lot of tough choices to make to get their rosters to the required 15 players. All 30 teams must wind down their rosters to 15 before the October 14th deadline, but some teams have tougher choices than others.

Every October the NBA sees this, massive amounts of players getting released, but this year is different in that so many teams signed players to guaranteed contracts over the summer to try and woo their services away from other teams. Other teams acquired guaranteed contracts in 3-for-1 or 2-for-1 trades over the summer.

The defending eastern champion Cleveland Cavaliers have some of the toughest cuts to make. Right now they are sitting at 19 players on their roster after signing Dwayne Wade and trading Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas and others. The Cavs must release 4 players and almost all of them are solid veterans. The one easy move that they'll have will be releasing Kendrick Perkins. The vet just doesn't fit their scheme and has looked lost in the preseason. The Cavaliers will also most likely waive 2nd year man Kay Fielder and 3rd year center Edy Tavares. This is where the cuts will be most difficult, the Cavs would than need to either release Richard Jefferson or Channing Frye.

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Another season ending injury threatens Dante Exum's career

With a hard thud in Fridays win over the Phoenix Suns, the Utah Jazz hard season got even harder. Just a few minutes into the second quarter Jazz guard Dante Exum's night had ended before it even started, and now it looks like for the second time in four seasons Exum's season with the Jazz will end before it started.

Exum was diagnosed with a separated shoulder with ligament damage. The news comes at a time when the Jazz were just starting to get their hopes high on the former #5 pick who missed all of the 2015-16 season with a torn ACL. It also comes at a bad time for Exum who will be a free agent at the end of the year and this is an injury that could cost him millions.

The Jazz have had a rough time of things lately after losing star forward Gordon Hayward to Boston, and the team was hoping that Exum could rise to his #5 pick status this season.

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Last Tuesday's NBA league-shaking trade between the Cavs and Boston Celtic is definitely one of or perhaps the craziest deal in the history of the super league. The surreal switch of Irving from the Cavaliers to Celtic in exchange for Crowder, Thomas, and Zizic looks ridiculous as it sounds. And with Cleveland jumping around the streets over their newest player, the question that seems to be on everyone's mind is how Irving will fit with the Celtics.

Of course, we all know Irving is an all-star, and all-stars do play anywhere. But the thought of seeing our own big man playing for a conference rival team like Boston Celtic is definitely something none of us saw coming. As much as we hate to admit, the move is already a done deal and there's no stopping it now. Right now, we want to picture the Cleveland Cavaliers star playing in a Celtic jersey and see if he really fit into any puzzle in his new team.

The whole situation still looks like a dream; one that many of us (especially Cleveland's supporters) wouldn't like to wake up from. But facing reality, it looks like the conference rivals had it planned with Irving all along and we could say they've been doing a lot behind the scenes. No doubt, they've got the perfect blockbuster, but it still remains unclear how they will fit in together.

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Utah Jazz vs Sydney Kings

The National Basketball League of Australia is Australia's biggest and best league, but it is a far cry for the glitz and the glamor of the NBA. But on October the Sydney Kings of the NBL got to experience first hand what the NBA was all about as they traveled to Salt Lake City to take on the NBA's Utah Jazz.

The Kings have one of the NBL's better rosters complete with former NBA player Travis Leslie, Perry Ellis and Brad Newley. None of the Kings trio really had standout NBA careers. Of the three, Leslie has the best NBA pedigree having played a season for the LA Clippers, and was a one time member of the Utah Jazz. Leslie never played for the Jazz, but he was a member of the team along with Rudy Gobert.

The best two Australian players on the court did not even play for the Kings, they were Jazz guards Joe Ingels and Dante Exum.. Ingles a fan favorite who re-signed with the Jazz in the off-season started while former #5 overall picks Exum came off the bench for the Jazz.

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NBA Rookie Preview

The NBA season is just around the corner, and every season some of the most high profile and impactful new players on most teams are rookies, and this year will be no different. This year holds to have more rookies than any other year in NBA history. So what rookies will be most impactful for their new teams?

Traditionally, the rookies who have the biggest impact for their teams have been those draft high in the draft. Of the last 20 rookie of the year winners, six have been the number one overall pick, and all except last years winner Malcon Brogden have been drafted with the first 10 picks of the draft.

So which of the top 10 will have the biggest impact? The easy obvious choices will be the #1 and #2 overall picks in last years draft: Philadelphia's Markell Fultz and Los Angeles' Lonzo Ball. And while both will have huge impacts this year, they are both going to be handicapped by their respective teams. Fultz will play alongside some of the best young talent in the league in Philadelphia, and Ball will need another year or two of fine tuning before he reaches his full potential.

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History of the Westward Expansion of Basketball

Basketball's early roots on the east coast are well document, from that cold December day in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 when the game first formed to the present, we know the stories, the players and the histories. What is less known is how the game developed out west. While at the time of basketball's founding the east was pretty much an established mega-industrial center catering to the worlds needs. The west, it was still wild and untamed.

When James Naismith invented basketball in 1891 the United States states had just 44 states and Wyoming and Idaho had just joined the Union. Three states that would join the union after the founding of basketball, Utah, Oklahoma and Arizona, now contain NBA teams. The battle of Wounded Knee, the last great battle between the United States Army and the Native American's had happened just shy of a year before the game of basketball was invented. And the infamous gun fight at the OK Corral had happened just a decade before. In fact, the early days of basketball are closer in time to the French Revolution than they are to today.

It is easy to see why basketball's roots began in the east and why it has stuck and become such an integral part of the urban landscape. The east had the infrastructure and had young men with free time to play the game and form leagues. In contrast, the west lacked the roads, rails, and metropolitan areas to give rise to the infrastructure that is required to play basketball.

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Wade and LeBron Reunited

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been particularly busy during the offseason but they still had time to add another new face to their roster ahead of the new season. Having cleared NBA waivers, 12-time All-Star Dwayne Wade agreed to a one-year deal with the Cavs, where he will link back up with LeBron James - who he won two NBA Championships during the pair's time with the Miami Heat. The deal, worth $2.3 million, will see the guard join a star-studded team, and one widely-expected to again be one of the strongest in the league this year.

A host of franchises were interested in signing the 35-year old, and the Cavaliers had to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and the Heat in the pursuit of Wade, with the veteran's relationship with James rumored to have played a key role in his decision.

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2017-18 NBA Predictions

After a long off-season, which seen the west once again get stronger at the expense of the east, it is finally time for NBA training camp. With the NBA preseason being shorter this year, most teams will report to camp in the next couple of weeks.

A lot has changed in the last 3 and a half months since the Warriors held up the O'Brien trophy. The Warriors got better. The Cavs swapped all-star point guards with the Celtics. The Celtics added Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. The Thunder added Paul George. And the Atlanta Hawks 10 year playoff streak looks to be coming to an end.

But who is the odds on favorite to win the NBA title?

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Mutombo Sustains Basketball Awareness in Africa

Spending his childhood in Congo, South Africa almost 40 years ago, Dikembe Mutombo never owned a fancy basketball to train with. Heck, he didn’t have any ball to play at all.

The program for global development association had not been initiated back then, but somehow Mutombo managed to find a way to the game of basketball. And then one fine day, akin to Hakeem Olajuwon, he made his way to the Basket Hall of Fame. These two NBA champions became immensely popular in the U.S. but unfortunately could not revive the love of basketball in their own homeland. More than a few kids in South Africa do not know much about the game and targeted soccer or cricket more - here is when Dikenbe took matters in his own hands.

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Trevor Gleeson Gloomy since Wildcats won't Play NBA Allies

If you have heard about Melbourne United, Brisbane Bullets or even the Sydney Kings, you could be feeling bad because of sour memories down the lane. Well, all three teams of the NBL (Aussie Basketball League) are lined up to engage in matches in The USA; even though their subsistence is not likely to have an effect on the betting of for subsequent NBA games. Worth the Wait for Fans

The notion of NBL groups competing against NBA squads in the pre-season could be thrilling news for everybody. NBL enthusiasts apparently wish to ascertain how successfully their home boys can perform against the legends of NBA. Moreover, NBA fans will delight in the chances to establish that the NBA is mightier than all other basketball associations.

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Paul George Says Kevin Durant Encouraged Him To Go To Oklahoma City

Interestingly, George likely wouldn’t have been interested in playing for the Thunder if it wasn’t for former Thunder star and current pariah Kevin Durant, whose exit from the team during the 2016 offseason left a bitter taste in the mouth of Thunder fans.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, George said Durant told him Oklahoma City was the place to be because the city’s hospitality would blow him away. George added that Durant told him the Thunder could offer him something else other teams couldn’t in terms of facilities, preparation, and fans.

Durant was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics who moved to Oklahoma City the next season. In his nine years with the Thunder, Durant led the team to the NBA Finals in 2012, and was a game away from making it back to the Finals before the Thunder blew a 3-1 lead to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

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What will the Utah Jazz do in Free Agency in 2017

After years of rebuilding following the Deron Williams trade, the Utah Jazz finally seen their efforts payoff in a spectacular 2017 campaign that seen the Jazz win 51 games, and win a seven game series vs the Los Angeles Clippers. But for all their efforts the past 7 year, they may be back at square one if things do not fall just right for them.

The Jazz have a lot of very important free agents, and the most important of them all will be Gordon Hayward. Hayward's rise to stardom has been the culmination of years of patience for the Utah Jazz and their fan base. The Jazz selected Hayward with the 10th pick in 2010, but the pick was originally acquired way back in 2003. The pick originally belonged to the New York Knicks, who traded it to the Phoenix Suns in a deal for Stephan Marbury. The Suns quickly traded that pick along with several others in a trade deadline salary cap dump to the Jazz. The pick was lottery protected and the Knicks never even sniffed the post season and for 7 years it languished until the protections ran out in 2010.

Hayward had a rough rise to finally becoming an all-star. His rookie year he played so poorly at times that Deron Williams threw the ball at his head, and he was inactive for a few games.

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Could Toronto Raptors be next season’s big team? .

As we count down to the NBA Finals on June 1, many people are already speculating on which teams could feature big in the 2017/18 season.

Whilst we’d expect teams like Boston, Cleveland, Golden State and San Antonio to once again put in some strong performances, it’s clear that the Toronto Raptors could be a good outside bet.

The Canadian side were no match for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers when they were dumped out of the Eastern Conference semi-finals earlier this month. But the Raptors have shown a good fighting spirit that suggests that Dwayne Casey’s team could be ones to watch in the new season.

Although many people have said that it’s time for the head coach to go, it’s clear that Dwane Casey had a massive part to play in helping the side win their first playoff series since 2001.

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Gobert Becomes First D-League Player to Make All-NBA Team

When the NBA announced the 2016-17 All-NBA team there was a little D-league history that was made as well. Beyond the fanfare of NBA superstars Lebron James, James Harden, and Steph Curry stood Jazz bigman Rudy Gobert, who made his first All-NBA team when he was named on the All-NBA second team. Gobert quietly became the first player to play in the D-league and then make an All-NBA team.

Gobert's stints with the Bakersfiled Jam in 2013 and 2014 raised few eyebrows when they happened, and have pretty much been forgotten. The rookie center played just 8 games with the Jam

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Cavs sign Derrick Williams

The Cleveland Cavaliers have announced the signing of Derrick Williams to a second 10-day contract, with the 2010 Pac-10 freshman of the year set to earn $67,000 during this period. After which, head coach Tyronn Lue will make a decision as to whether to sign the former New York Knicks and Miami Heat forward for the remainder of the 2016-17 season.

Williams has certainly demonstrated his credentials with the Wine and Gold to date, averaging 9.8 points, three rebounds and 0.3 steals on 60% shooting from the field, including 37.5% shooting from three.

With such statistics helping the Cavaliers to the top of the standings in the Eastern Conference, and the favorites for the NBA title in the sports betting as a result, Cleveland would be wise to keep hold of a player with such talents, despite the 25-year-old featuring for just 91 minutes on the court.

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The Collapse of the PBLA and the end of multi-league basketball in America

Following World War II many Americans were looking for some sort of entertainment outlet, and sports quickly became one of the most popular outlets. Basketball was still in its infancy but would soon see epic growth as war weary Americans needed more and more entertainment outlets.

In 1946 there were three major American basketball leagues in the US. The oldest, the ABL had been around in some from since the 1920s but had spotty attendance and fans and players alike had a hard time figuring out what teams were actually in the league. The newest of the leagues was the BAA, which had just formed an 11 team league on the eastern seaboard with a couple of teams as far west as Chicago and Detroit. The most successful of the leagues was the NBL, which was entering its 11th season and had the best players in the world.

The NBL and ABL had little direct competition as the ABL stuck around mostly New York City, Philadelphia and Washington and the NBL was primarily focused in Ohio, Indiana and the Great Lakes regions. The inclusion of a third league which directly competed with both leagues worried both leagues ownerships and started to bring about instability to both leagues.

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The Bad Attitude Choke Artists of Chicago

The 1970s were a difficult time for the NBA and for America in general. The Bill Russell lead Celtics dynasty which had dominated the 1960s had come and gone. Wilt Chamberlain was a shell of the man who once scored 100 points in a game. Cocaine and drug abuse was a serious problem in the league. The Summer of Love had descended into Helter Skelter. The US had ended its involvement in Vietnam The people did not trust their own government because of the Watergate scandal. Than there was the circus sideshow known as the Chicago Bulls.

Even with the difficulties of the era the Bulls had seen some success on the court. The team made the playoffs eight times in their first decade and had even made a few serious deep playoff runs. But the Bulls still struggled to bring in the big bucks, despite playing in the third largest market in the US. Fans in Chicago would rather watch the Bears in the fall and winter and the Cubs and Whitesox in the spring. This forced the Bulls to get creative with their ways to get fans in the seats.

Pat Williams is widely considered to be one of the best general managers the NBA has ever seen, he has rebuilt team after team after team, but in the early 1970s he was just starting out in the NBA and had the unfortunate task of saving the Chicago Bulls.

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Turkish BSL Round 16 Betting Preview

There's a full round of games upcoming over the next several days. Two of the Round 16 games are on Monday and we are going to provide our betting tips for both of those games in this betting preview.

Istanbul BB vs. AnadoluEfes Preview

AnadoluEfes (13-2) are first place in the Turkish BSL, but Fenerbahce is gaining ground. AnadoluEfes are going to be huge betting favourites on Monday, as they host the struggling Istanbul BB (6-9).

Istanbul BB are coming off a heartbreaking loss against Gaziantep (62-61) by a single point. It's going to be tough for them to bounce back quickly after the loss in Round 15, especially against the league's top team.

Here's all you really need to know about this match-up. Istanbul BB are 1-7 in road games, while AnadoluEfes are a perfect 7-0 in home games. The more important question is whether or not AnadoluEfes will cover the handicap.

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2017 NBA All Star Game Preview.

The 2017 NBA All-Star game is right around the corner. Originally scheduled to take place in North Carolina, the weekend will now be hosted by New Orleans and the Smoothie King Center. The game is scheduled for Sunday, February 19.

Before we get there (and to the Slam Dunk Contest and Three-Point Contest), we first have to set the rosters. Fan voting for the all-star rosters, as well as player and media voting, is currently going on and will end on January 16. On January 19, we will know the official lineups. Until then, it is time to speculate.

We have some early returns on fan voting results as of 1/12, according to NBA.com. Fan voting counts for 50 percent of the determination in naming the 10 starters for the contest.

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Turkish BSL Round 15 Betting Preview

Round 15 of the Turkish BSL begins January 21st 2017. Anadolu Efes (12-2) and Fenerbahce (12-2) are both coming off of big victories in Round 14 and lead the standings, although the fight for first place is still very tight.

Fenerbahce have won five games in a row and are the hottest team in the BSL. Fenerbahce and Anadolu Efes are also the only two teams left in the league that remain undefeated when playing at home.

I won't spend much time discussing Fenerbahce's upcoming match against TED Kolejliler (0-14). TED Kolejliler still haven't won a game this season and that won't change against one of the best teams in the league.

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Who will win the NBA championship this season?

The current NBA basketball season is now in full swing after opening last October. As the games are played out, certain teams are emerging as early favorites to win the championship.

Golden State Warriors

The current favorites to be champions, the Warriors had a great season last year but couldn’t pull it out, only earning the second top spot. With a record setting 73 wins last year,

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LeBron James Sets Sights on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Watching LeBron James finish up his high school career on EPSN, no one imagined that he would eventually set his eyes on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the greatest NBA scorer; and, looking at the NBA lines, it is difficult to tell whether LeBron will achieve this feat.

James is hardly the first young player to transition from high school basketball to the NBA; many other youngsters came before him, and many more will come after.

You would think that players who enter the NBA at the age of 18 have more chances of making it big; however, most youngsters struggle to acclimate to the NBA system, so much so that they rarely achieve in the NBA what they achieved in high school.

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History of early professional basketball in Indiana

Before the Indiana Pacers joined the ABA and eventually the NBA, the state of Indiana was the hot bed of professional basketball. From 1935 until 1953 the state hosted no less than 11 different teams in the major professional basketball leagues. Unfortunately, almost all of them would end and leave the state with no professional basketball teams for nearly two decades.

Indiana is synonymy with the game of basketball. The University of Indiana is one of the most storied programs in all of college basketball winning 5 NCAA titles, but it was Purdue who would bring the state its first NCAA basketball title in 1932.

Through out the early years of basketball a lot of fly by night leagues and teams called Indiana home, in fact Indiana even had its own semi-pro league of teams completely made up of teams in the Indianapolis region. It was not until 1935 when the Midwest Basketball Conference formed did the state of Indiana start seeing regular professional basketball at the highest levels and quality

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Kevin Durant: A Worthwhile Catch for the Warriors

There is a reason everyone is talking about the 3-1 lead this late into 2016. It is a record that made so many memories for basketball fans.

If you are unfamiliar with the goings-on of the NBA last Spring, the Oklahoma Thunder had a 3-1 lead which they blew in a game against the Golden State Warriors (Western Conference).

The Warriors were, themselves, defeated in the NBA finals by the Cavaliers after they blew a 3-1 lead. And in looking at both those games, and the 3-1 lead that connects them, one cannot help but give Kevin Durant a closer look.

Durant left the Thunder and joined the warriors because the Thunder had nothing more to offer him

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NBA to expand to Seattle or Las Vegas or St Louis

The NBA and the NBAPA will be meeting in very soon to work out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement or CBA, and all indications is that the previous talks have gone very well and there is a high likelihood that the league and the players will work something out to prevent another lockout.

The issue at hand is the new TV contracts which just came into effect this season and caused the massively inflated contracts we seen handed out over the summer. The new TV deals also have a clause for expansion and increased money if the NBA does expand. This clause will likely lead to the NBA adding at least a couple more teams before 2025.

Before the NBA expands it needs to thoroughly look at the problems it already has with teams and location and address them. For the most part the NBA is stable in that it does not have teams actively searching for new arenas and the league has few arena's older than 30 years old.

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Can James Harden Become a Team-First Player?

A lot of people today would rank the likes of Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson higher than James Harden, primarily because they each have impressive game-changing abilities; however, that doesn’t make James Harden any less talented or popular.

Considering all the talk about Mike D'Antoni going to Houston, there is a chance that Harden could transform into the best point guard in the league, working alongside D'Antoni to win the Western Conference Playoff Race.

Everyone was sure that Dwight Howard’s decision to join the Rockets would make him and Harden an unstoppable force for years to come. The Rockets won a lot of games but only because of Harden’s offensive abilities.

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Wat Misaka broke the color barrier years before Jackie Robinson

he was the first non-Caucasian to ever play in the NBA, or as it was known at that time the BAA or Basketball Association of America. Watura Misaka, the second generation son of Japanese immigrants, grew up on Ogden's 25th street in the back of a barber shop and would often find him and his family the victim of rampant racial discrimination. Yet despite this Misaka was able to find a love of basketball and was allowed on the Ogden High Schools basketball team, where in 1940 he lead them to the state title.

In 1942 he began attending college at Weber College, which is now Weber State University. This was a dangerous time to be Japanese-American as president Roosevelt had recently signed Executive Order 9066 which required that Japanese-American's in the western United State be placed into interment camps. It remains one of the darkest chapters in American history and one of, if not the most, egregious violation of Human and Civil Rights in the 20th century.

Misaka was allowed to get an exemption to continue his studies at Weber and play basketball. He only played two seasons at Weber College but would lead the Wildcats to the Junior College championship both season.

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NBA Coaches Discuss Potential Rule Tweaks and Changes

The NBA’s competition committee spent most of Wednesday’s session talking about all the little differences of FIBA basketball they noticed during the Rio Olympics. All talk about NBA predictions was sidelined in favor of conversations about possible rule changes.

Alvin Gentry lingered on the so-called ‘hack-a’ fouls compromise, already legislated into the 2016-2017 NBA season. The NBA intends to extend its protocols to encompass all four quarters (instead of just the last two) with the aim of discouraging the intentional fouling of players struggling at the free throw line.

Teams on the receiving end of such fouls (away from the ball) can look forward to being awarded a free throw and ball possession. According to Commissioner Adam Silver, this rule was crafted primarily in response to fans who have complained about the monopoly of the tactic and stoppages of play.

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Vince Carter doesn’t have the record that Duncan has garnered over the years, let alone the star power of a legend like Kobe. None the less, he is one of basketball’s most impressive figures from his era.

That being said, Carter isn’t quite ready to go the way of Duncan and Kobe quite yet. Even with 18 seasons in the NBA under his belt, Carter is determined to keep pushing forward.

NBA fans will see Carter return for his 19th season. His contract with the Memphis Grizzlies still has a year left. By the time this season wraps, Carter will be 40-years-old, which says a lot about the breadth of his career.

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Why the US struggled vs Australia and why it will continue to do so

For the first time in 12 years the US Mens National Basketball team trailed at the half of an Olympic basketball game. 2004 was also the last time the US lost a game in Olympic competition. The US ended up pulling out a victory vs Australia, but why did the US struggle to begin with?

The US has always been built on athleticism. The US has the luxury of picking from the deepest pool of talent in the world and a plethora of stars. This is where the US goes wrong. This is where the US went wrong from 2000 until 2008 and this is where the US will likely go wrong in the future and why the US struggled vs Australia.

The Australian team is made up of very few stars.

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Tim Duncan calls it a career

In 1997 Bill Clinton was entering his 5th year as president of the United States, the Chicago Bulls had just won 69 games en route to their 5th NBA title ; Karl Malone was the leagues MVP; The Golden State Warriors were in the middle of their 14 year playoff less streak; Brett Farve had just lead the Green Bay Packers to their third franchise Super-bowl; and the San Antonio Spurs failed to make the NBA playoff. 19 years is a very long time and in sports it is an eternity, but that season 19 years ago would shape the Spurs franchise and the NBA for the next two decades. For their futility the Spurs ended up winning the #1 draft pick in the 1997 NBA draft and selected Wake Forrest product Tim Duncan. Duncan would go on to dominate the forward position in the NBA like few have ever done before him and likely few will do after him. As a second year player, teamed with NBA hall-of-famer David Robinson, Duncan was able to help guide the Spurs to their first ever NBA title.

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United States 2016 Olympic Squad Unveiled

When the United States unveiled its official 12-man basketball team for the 2016 Olympics, there was very little in the way of surprises. Most basketball expert picks had mentioned the six Olympic and FIBA World Cup gold Medalists named for the team somewhere on their lists, though that didn’t make the unveiling any less exciting.

With names like Harrison Barnes, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson, the U.S Olympic Men’s basketball team features a rather diverse offering of players.

Already approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors, the team is attracting excitement from all the right people, this including Jerry Colangelo

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3 Video Game Qualities That You Can't Live Without

Even before Michael Jordan and his commercials with the catchy "Like Mike" jingle, kids around the world have wondered what it would be like to be a sports superstar. They've fantasized about the hearing the roar of the crowd and of hitting the final shot. Although it isn't quite the same as hitting the big leagues, basketball video games do provide a legitimate opportunity to experience the highs of hitting that championship-winner all from the comfort of home.

Why a Basketball Video Game?

The thing about watching basketball games is that even if you're cheering for a particular team, you're still watching other people sweat for those baskets on the court. For those who are less athletically-inclined, a basketball video game offers a different experience because point depends on you and your skill level.

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Cleveland's missery

The long wait for the city of Cleveland is over, after half a century the city will celebrate its first championship. The Cavs, The Browns, and the Indians have broken the hearts of many Ohioans. But now after half a century of missery-bliss.

The last championship the city of Cleveland won was the in 1964 when the Cleveland Browns won the NFL championship, since then it has been a very hard time in C-town. The Cavs have been the victims of many of Cleveland mishaps. The Cavs began as an NBA franchise in 1970 and immediately began experience the curse of Cleveland.

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The Merger that formed the NBA: How and why it happened

When the Basketball Association of America (BAA) merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) in 1949 it was the culmination of two great basketball leagues that would give us one final and polished product; the National Basketball Association (NBA). A league, that in 1949, looked much different that the product we see today. Today we have 30 teams nestled in mega arenas in 28 cities across the United States and Canada and income in the Billions of dollars.

The 17 team league would be a mixture of big east coast cities, small Midwest farming communities, and one lone enclave in the Rocky Mountains. From the start problems started to arise with the disparity between the former NBL teams and the BAA teams. One of the biggest was income disparity as the BAA teams had a lot more money than did the NBL teams, the one thing that the NBL teams did have an advantage over the BAA is that the NBL tended to have the bigger stars.

One of the major factors in the merging of the two leagues was that the BAA, after three years of existence, was finally able to start not only plucking the top stars away from the NBL but also the NBL's top teams as well. Two seasons after its existence in 1947, the BAA was able to lure the Minneapolis Lakers away from the NBL along with the Rochester Royals, Fort Wayne Pistons and Indianapolis Jets.

Adding the Lakers to the BAA gave them the games biggest star in George Mikan

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Lebron James makes history by making 6th NBA finals in a row

For all their accolades in NBA history and the NBA finals in particular; Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant nor Magic Johnson never accomplished a feat that Lebron James has recently just accomplished. This finals vs the Golden State Warriors marks James sixth straight NBA finals. A feat that is incredible rare in sports, and yet despite this success, James success at getting his team to the finals is often disregarded when talking about his greatness.

The first of these six straight finals appearances came in his first year of the Miami Heat's big three of James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The Heat were the favorites to win the title that year and cruised through the later half of the season and were the odds on favorite to win the NBA title. But in a shocking turn of events the Dirk Nowitzki lead Dallas Mavericks stunned the Heat to capture Dallas's first NBA title.

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Bad Biyombo: Suspension due to too many flagrant fouls

Bismack Biyombo, the Toronto Raptor’s star center player, has unfortunately found himself in some trouble this past week. He has been suspended from the opening game of th1 ’16-’17 season due to an accumulation of too many flagrant fouls throughout the Playoffs.

Biyombo will now have some extra time on his hands as he will not be playing in that very important first game of the season. He also loses out on earning from that match that he would have been in

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Kobe Bryant's career retrospective

The illustrious career of one of the most polarizing players in NBA history has come to a dramatic and fitting end. Kobe Bryant played his final game of his first ballot Hall of Fame career last Wednesday night and finished with a fitting 60 points. Kobe's last game is a microcosm of his career. He scored a lot of points, but the points were of little value and he did so on many shots and a poor shooting percentage.

Without a doubt Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest NBA players of all-time and arguably a top 20 greatest of all-time. But this is where things get murky. He had a lot of success winning five NBA championships, but controversy and question marks have followed every one of those titles.

The first three titles where not really Kobe's doing

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Prospect watch for the NBA Draft 2016

The 2016 NBA Draft is now less than four months away and there are a clutch of new college stars and freshmen that are waiting in the wings ready to be picked by the 30 teams from the National Basketball Association.

Ben Simmons, PF, LSU

6-foot-9 Simmons has been touted as the number one prospect due to his impressive all round skills. Simmons has been ranked as the best high school player by the majority of scouts and is a gifted forward who now plays for LSU Tigers after moving from his home town of Melbourne to Montverde, Florida in 2013. The 19-year-old possesses excellent ball handling skills and moves seamlessly in the open court.

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March Madness Upsets and Predictions

The one thing that you can predict in March Madness is unpredictability. Every year some unknown school comes out of no where to spoil the big dance for a favorite. With the one and done system that most major schools have these days with their best talent playing a season before going to the NBA, these upsets are getting more and more frequent. Since its expansion to 64 teams in the 1980s no #16 seed has ever knocked off a #1 seed, and this should hold true again this year. Kansas, North Carolina, Virginia or Oregon have nothing to fear, and all four will be in the round of 32. Occassionally a #16 seed gives a #1 a run for their money, but the committee seems to take special care in preventing this from happening.

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Warriors Overshadow Dominating Performances by Spurs, Raptors

As the NBA season enters the home stretch, the Golden State Warriors have emerged as clear favorites to repeat as NBA champions. Led by reigning MVP Steph Curry, who recent topped the NBA record he set last year for the most three-pointers scored in a season, the Warriors' torrid pace has made them the fastest team ever to reach the 50-win mark in a season, clinching a playoff spot before the end of February. But while all eyes have been on the Dubs, a number of rival squads have also put together impressive campaigns, that are worthy of attention from basketball fans.

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The NBA 2015-2016 MVP Race

Much of the sports media sites like to talk about the MVP race, and often list a few players. And while there are a number of fantastic players having MVP-caliber seasons, it is rather silly to suggest that anyone other than Steph Curry can be in the MVP discussion.

Before we reveal his stats, let’s quickly list a few players whose names have been tossed around the MVP discussion: Steph Curry, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant.

While it is true that all 6 of those players are playing very well, none come close to the historic excellence of Curry’s seasons. Check out his stats: 29.8 points per game, 6.5 assists, and 5.3 rebounds.

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"Bad News" Marvin Barnes

Fans today think that the problem of players getting into trouble is a modern issue and that players of the past were more gentlemanly. Most players of yesteryear and today are actually pretty nice guys, even the ones who get into trouble. Very few players have been truly terrible human beings, they just end up with problems and are unable to cope with them in a socially acceptable way so they end up acting out, or they get addicted to drugs.

One such player who had their career cut short by acting out and drugs was Marvin Barnes. Barnes is one of the saddest yet most interesting stories in NBA history, yet it is one with a glimmer of hope. Barnes had the nickname “Bad News Marvin” because of his off the court issues.

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Loyola Ramblers Vs. Wichita State Shockers

It’s not very often that we get to see the Missouri Valley Conference on national television, but the Wichita State Shockers are changing that, and are making a lot of people sit up and take notice.

It has not been a particularly memorable year for Loyola of Chicago (9-11, 2-6), as they have mostly been unimpressive from the opening day of the season. They are showing some signs of life, though, and have picked up 2 wins in their last 3 games. While they are not exactly setting the world on fire, it’s amazing how a couple of wins, particularly a hard fought one like they had in their last game versus Drake, can help build the confidence on a fragile team. The problem here is that Loyola have yet to face a ranked team, and the wins that they have picked up recently have been against fellow strugglers in the MVC. They are going to find things to be a good deal more difficult versus the Shockers. Loyola of Chicago are averaging 62.6 PPG, and are giving up 62.8 PPG

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The Transformation of the Thunder

Back in December, the Miami Heat knocked off Oklahoma City, 97-95. The Thunder sat at 11-8 after that loss, on the fringe of the playoffs in the Western Conference. When the two teams met again this week, the Thunder rolled to a 99-75 rout, taking their 30th win of the season against just a dozen losses.

That's right -- the Thunder have gone 19-4 since that loss to the Heat and are now firmly in the conversation when it comes to contenders to take the Western Conference this year (and have the unenviable prospect of facing an even more determined Cavaliers crew in the NBA finals this summer). So how have they gone from mediocre to elite?

One change has been the return of a healthy Kevin Durant, of course. As the career of such big men as Bill Walton and Sam Bowie showed, and Joel Embiid seems to be showing now, if you can't put foot problems in your rear view mirror, your career will suffer. He is back from his foot issues and is playing well on both ends of the floor.

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NBA Pioneer Dolph Schayes Passes Away at Age 87

Schayes was a star big man in his basketball career for the Syracuse Nationals, the precursor to the Philadelphia 76ers. Thought, unlike, other bigs of his era, Schayes possessed the ball handling skills of a guard. His ball handling and passing ability made him nearly unstoppable and ranks him second in the early NBA era of big men behind only George Mikan.

He was drafted by the Knicks of the BAA and by the Waterloo Hawks of the NBL, but the Hawks sold his rights to the Syracuse Nationals. The Nationals offered Schayes more money than the Knicks, so high signed there instead of joining the bigger market Knicks.

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Stephen Curry's Encore Performance

When the Golden States Warriors walked off with the 2014-2015 NBA Championship last June, conjecture immediately began regarding the future prospects for the team and its star players, league MVP point guard Stephen Curry and shooting guard Klay Thompson. Only three games into the 2015-2016 season, some of those questions are being emphatically answered.

To begin with, the Warriors have served notice that they intend to go undefeated through the entire season. Of course, that isn't going to happen, but decisive victories over the New Orleans Pelicans (111-95), Houston Rockets in Houston (112-92) and again over the Pelicans in New Orleans (134-120) has to have other teams in the league wondering. If it's possible for a team that finished 62-20 to come back the following season and be significantly better, than the rest of the league is surely in trouble and playing for runner-up status.

As for Curry, his performances this year have been nothing short of spectacular. The truth is he has turned the NBA into his own personal playground and he owns the ball. On the season, he is averaging 39.3 PPG (hello Wilt Chamberlain). He is shooting 58.8% from the field (mostly perimeter shots), 48.6% from beyond the 3-point line, and 95.5% from the charity stripe. As if that isn't a big enough contribution, he has also contributed 7.3 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. At this point in time, he has no rival to which he can be compared.

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Forrest "Phog" Allen: The Father of Basketball coaching

Most people know the origins of basketball; how in the winter of 1891 James Naismith invented the game to keep students active in the winter. But what most people do not know is how coaching the game of basketball got started. In the early days of basketball most teams did not have a coach as there was very little strategy to the game - most players relied on their athletic prowess rather than their brains to score. Even the games inventor, James Naismith, did not believe that basketball needed coaching. In his word you "Just play the game". But as the game got more popular players started figuring out how to manipulate the outcome of the game by doing things to prevent the other team from scoring; such as zone defenses.

There were many early attempts at coaching in basketball, even the games inventor was coaching, but the most impactful early coaching advocate was Forrest "Phog" Allen. Allen was a multi-sport star athlete - who was mentored by Naismith at the University of Kansas. After graduating from Kansas, Allen took a few years off of basketball to become a doctor

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