Tag Archives: NBA

4 Rule Changes the NBA D-League Should Consider Implementing

By: Zachary Bigger

            For the 2010-11 season, the NBA Development League tested out two new rules: making offensive goaltending legal and also shortening the overtime period from five to three minutes. Among other things they have experimented with in the D-League is the new synthetic game ball that was used briefly in the NBA for the 2006-2007 season. While some decisions have worked out and others have failed, here are a few ideas the NBA D-League should consider implementing:

1.)    Reducing Game Time From 48 to 40 Minutes

Why? Grantland writer Zach Lowe does a great job of summarizing the case for this rule change. To quickly sum up what he is discussing: NBA game times are nearing Major League Baseball game times of almost three hours. Basketball is a game of rhythms and flows, not meant to drone on by the seemingly 537 TV timeouts during the game. While D-League games are shorter in length, the D-League is also the first place that the NBA tests new rules. With this extreme of a rule change, it will be tested in the D-League and not just decided to be implemented immediately at the start of a new season.

Additionally, the reduced amount of game play will result in increased unpredictability, which is what any league wanting competitive parity wants. This increases the odds that any team can lose on any given night, and that nothing should be taken for granted. It will jam pack the action of a game and would require less of a time commitment for the fans, so they can enjoy the intensity of a game while not giving up an entire evening to view it.

2.)    One-and-One Free Throws

This idea was brought up by Kevin Arvonitz on his Truehoop video blog earlier this year, and I believe it is a great way to make every time someone touches the basketball, both sides have something to play for. NBA teams average 22.2 free throw attempts per game, about 11 per game by each side. Why not shorten this by rewarding good free throw shooters and punishing bad ones by make it one-and-one?

The incorporation of a one-and-one free throw system would mean that players would not be standing around waiting for the first free throw to be taken. Second, it means that there would be less stoppage time in a game, shortening the overall time the game takes to be played. Third, it eliminates the easiest shot in the game, a standing still 15 footer where no one contests the shot and only one player is involved instead of the potential for many on either side with an assist, steal, block, etc.

3.)    Strictly Enforce the Ten-Second Time Limit Between Free Throws

I believe this is necessary because today everyone has there free throw rituals, have to high five their teams, take a look at there friends, then finally take a shot. Lets try to speed the game up, not bog it down and ruin what makes basketball so special: a well flowing display of marksmanship and athleticism.

4.)    Expanding the Three-Point Line in the Corners from 22′ to 23′ 9”

The NBA three-point line unlike college (19′ 9”) and FIBA (22′ 1”) is not standard across the court, yet corner threes are worth the same amount of points. Three pointers continue to rise across the NBA as teams realize the value in them, with Miami attempting over 21 shots behind the arc per game. While teams nailing threes at high rates is great, why should the line in the corners be shorter than from the top of the arc?

I believe the D-League should experiment taking away the corner three, because it is the best points per shot value of any shot in basketball. It would force teams to drive and slash to the hoop more often to get the other high value shots such as layups and dunks. The results would I believe increased showcasing of the great level of improvisation and athleticism in the D-League and NBA.

Recap of the first two rounds of the Las Vegas Summer League tournament

By Alec Johnson

The first two rounds of the Las Vegas Summer League tournament are in the books, and surprisingly, the D-League Select Team hasn’t lost a game yet. Here’s how all the teams with Mad Ant players did on Wednesday and Thursday:

Wednesday 

  • Minnesota T-Wolves (Demetri McCamey) 92, Sacramento Kings 54

In this contest, the T-Wolves destroyed the Kings by forcing turnovers and getting rebounds, outrebounding the Kings 44-30. They also were led by a 17-pt performance from Shabazz Muhammad and a 15-pt performance from Demetri McCamey, who had 13 of those points in the first half to lead all scorers, according to the NBA.com recap. They moved on to face the NBA D-League Select Team on Thursday.

  • Dallas Mavericks 95, Los Angeles Clippers (Vernon Macklin, JaJuan Johnson) 89

The LA Clippers had a 20-10 lead after the first quarter, but a 19-6 run by the Dallas Mavericks in the second quarter gave the Mavs the lead, and they gained it back for good late in the third quarter with a three from D.J. Stephens. Leading the Mavs was Josh Akognon with 24 points and was a perfect 8 for 8 from the free throw line. Reggie Bullock again led the way for the Clippers with 20 points and 5 rebounds. JaJuan Johnson added 6 points and Vernon Macklin added 9 rebounds. The Clippers will take on the 15th seed New York Knicks this afternoon in the consolation round at 1 PM ET, while Dallas moved on to face the #1 seed Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.

  • Denver Nuggets (Luke Harangody) 87, New Orleans Pelicans 82

After almost losing a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets managed to pull away and hold off the Pelicans. Jordan Hamilton scored 23 points, going 8 of 14 from the floor and 4 of 7 from the perimeter, according to the NBA.com recap. Quincy Miller also chipped in 17 points, 12 of them coming in the third quarter. As for Harangody, he only scored 4 points the entire game, which hasn’t been like the performances he’s put on so far in this tournament. New Orleans was led by Darius Miller’s 23-point effort. The Nuggets advanced to take on the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night.

  • Miami Heat 113, New York Knicks (Tony Mitchell) 66

This game was one to forget for the New York Knicks, as Miami dominated the whole game from start to finish. Miami outscored the Knicks 22-8 in the first quarter while forcing seven turnovers and held the Knicks to just 29% from the field, according to the NBA.com recap. Travis Leslie scored 23 points for the Heat, and Jeremy Tyler scored 18 points for the Knicks and added 8 rebounds and an assist. Mitchell scored no points in this one, and played just under seven minutes. As said before, the Knicks will take on the LA Clippers in the consolation round this afternoon, while the Heat moved on to play the #2 seed Chicago Bulls Thursday.

Thursday 

  • D League Select (Ron Howard) 83, Minnesota Timberwolves (Demetri McCamey) 75

The D League Select Team keeps on rolling, as they won their fourth game of the Summer League, and first game of the tournament round over the T-Wolves. Brian Butch lead the way for the D League, scoring 18 points and adding 11 rebounds, according to the NBA.com recap. Ron Howard was second in scoring with 14 points, 12 of them earned at the free throw line. He also added 3 assists and 2 rebounds. Two other D League players, Elijah Millsap and Stefhon Hannah, were also in double digits, scoring 13 and 10 points respectively. As for the T-Wolves, they were led by Othyus Jeffers and Jeff Holland, who each scored 11 points. Demetri McCamey added 9 points for the T-Wolves. The D League Select advances to take on Cody Zeller and the Charlotte Bobcats in the quarterfinals at 8 PM ET on Saturday night. As for the T Wolves, they move into the consolation round to play the Portland Trail Blazers tonight at 7 PM ET.

  • Golden State Warriors (Cameron Jones) 79, Dallas Mavericks 76

Led by Kent Bazemore and his 25-pt performance, the Golden State Warriors were able to fend off the Dallas Mavericks with a late 17-2 run in the fourth quarter to win by three, according to the NBA.com recap. It was a back and forth game, with the Warriors being down 14 points during one part of the fourth quarter, the recap also said. Also helping the Warriors were the efforts of Cameron Jones, who was second in scoring with 15 points, Ian Clark, who added 13 points, and Draymond Green and Lance Goulbourne, who each added 10 points to the scoring. Dallas was led by Justin Dentmont, who scored 19 points, and was helped by Gal Mekel with 13, and Jackie Carmichael and Ricky Ledo, who each had 10. The Warriors advanced to take on the 8th seeded LA Lakers at 10 PM ET on Saturday, while the Mavericks face the Chicago Bulls in the consolation bracket tonight at 10 PM ET.

  • Toronto Raptors 95, Denver Nuggets (Luke Harangody) 78

Six players scored in double digits for the Raptors as they defeated Luke Harangody and the Denver Nuggets. Leading the way for the Raptors was Dwight Buycks with 18 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds, according to the NBA.com recap. Also scoring in double digits was Terrence Ross with 17 points, Jonas Valenciunas with 15, Coby Karl with 13, Micah Downs with 12, and Quincy Acy with 10. Jordan Hamilton again led the way for the Nuggets with 25 points. Harangody and Quincy Miller added 10 points for the Nuggets. The Raptors move on to face the Phoenix Suns in the quarterfinals on Saturday night at 6 PM ET while the Nuggets fall into the consolation round, where they will play the Memphis Grizzlies tonight at 8:30 PM ET.

Tune into the games this weekend, starting tonight with the consolation round, starting at 4 PM ET with the LA Clippers taking on the New York Knicks. Saturday’s quarterfinal games start at 4 PM ET with the Miami Heat taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers. All games are on NBA TV or online at www.nba.com/summerleague.

A link to the tournament bracket can be found here.

Recap of weekend NBA Summer League action

By Alec Johnson

The first weekend of the Las Vegas Summer League Games is done, and so far, the teams with the best records are the Chicago Bulls, Mad Ant affiliate Milwaukee Bucks, and the D-League Select Team featuring one of our own, “Mr. Mad Ant” Ron Howard. All three of these teams stand at 2-0. Here’s a recap of what happened with all the current and former Mad Ants and their teams:

Courtesy NBA.com

Ron Howard  (Courtesy NBA.com)

Ron Howard and the NBA D-League Select Team:

“Mr. Mad Ant” and his crew of D-League All-Stars have surprised everyone by starting out
2-0 in the campaign, putting them in prime position for a first round bye in the league tournament. Their first game was against the Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday, featuring new draft picks Shabazz Muhammad and Chris Johnson, and former Purdue star Robbie Hummel. The D-League won a close game 83-81. Starring in this game  for them was Stefhon Hannah, who led the D-League Select Team with 23 points, according to NBA.com. The D-League Defensive Player of the Year scored eight of those points in the final two minutes and drew a key charge late to preserve a two-possession advantage. Howard only played 12:15 of the game, scoring 2 points.

In the D-League’s second game on Sunday, they took on the Los Angeles Clippers, and won again, defeating them 83-77. Elijah Millsap led the team in scoring this time with 21 points and ended up making the free throw line his home. He shot 20 free throws, making 15 of them. His attempted free throws were more than the Clippers took as an entire team, according to the NBA.com recap. Howard played 12:31 of the game, and again registered 2 points.

The final game of the preliminary round for the D-League Select Team will be against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, with tipoff scheduled for 10:30 PM ET, broadcasted live on NBA TV and online at NBA.com/summerleague.

Luke Harangody (Courtesy thesportsfanjournal.com)

Luke Harangody (Courtesy thesportsfanjournal.com)

Luke Harangody and the Denver Nuggets

In the first game of NBA Summer League action for the Nuggets and Harangody, the team struggled and shot poorly, losing 88-74 to Mad Ant affiliate Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday. The Nuggets were led in scoring by Harangody and Ben Uzoh who both came off of the bench and finished with 11 points apiece.  Part of the reason for the loss was Denver’s inability to score in the paint, as the Bucks outscored the Nuggets 44-26, according to the NBA.com recap.

The Nuggets’ next preliminary round game will be tonight versus the Chicago Bulls at 10:30 PM ET on NBA TV and online at NBA.com/summerleague.

JaJuan Johnson (Courtesy Bleacher Report.com)

JaJuan Johnson (Courtesy Bleacher Report.com)

JaJuan Johnson, Vernon Macklin and the Los Angeles Clippers

Vernon Macklin (Courtesy NBA.com)

Vernon Macklin (Courtesy NBA.com)

The former Mad Ants’ players and the LA Clippers have had mixed results so far in the league. In their first game Friday, the Clippers were led by Reggie Bullock’s 18-pt effort and defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 90-83, according to the NBA.com recap. JaJuan Johnson only played 2:49 and scored 4 points and added a steal to his totals. As for Vernon Macklin, he contributed 3 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.

In their second game Sunday, the Clippers lost to the NBA D-League Select Team, 83-77, as stated before. Bullock again led the team with an 18-point effort, Macklin played 13:38 of the game, scoring 8 points and adding 3 rebounds. Johnson only played 3:26 of the game and didn’t score any points.

Demetri McCamey (Courtesy Gabe Hernandez, NBA)

Demetri McCamey (Courtesy Gabe Hernandez, NBA)

Demetri McCamey and the Minnesota Timberwolves

The current Mad Ant and the T-Wolves started out their campaign in Vegas Saturday with a close loss to the D-League Select Team, 83-81, as stated earlier in the article. McCamey did not play in this game.

Minnesota will play their next preliminary round game versus the Phoenix Suns tonight at 6;30 PM ET on NBA TV and online at nba.com/summerleague.

Tony Mitchell (Courtesy AL.com)

Tony Mitchell (Courtesy AL.com)

Tony Mitchell and the New York Knicks

In the Knicks first game of Summer League play, they took on the New Orleans Pelicans in the first game of the league on Friday and lost, 77-72. Austin Rivers of the Pelicans had 24 points to lead New Orleans, and Tim Hardaway, Jr. led the Knicks with 13 points, according to the NBA.com recap. Mitchell did not play, as he was still with the Boston Celtics’ team in Orlando wrapping up their summer league.

The second game was better for the Knicks, as they defeated the Washington Wizards 82-69 on Sunday. Leading the Knicks was Terrence Jennings, who scored 16 points shooting 7 of 11 from the floor and had 8 rebounds and 3 steals as well, according to the NBA.com recap. As for Mitchell, he played 13:12 of the game and scored 3 points and added an offensive rebound.

The Knicks wrap up preliminary round play today versus the Charlotte Bobcats at 4 PM ET to start the day’s action. It’s also live on NBA TV and online at nba.com/summerleague.

Cameron Jones (Courtesy USA Today)

Cameron Jones (Courtesy USA Today)

Cameron Jones and the Golden State Warriors

The former Mad Ant player and his team started their league campaign with a close 56-52 win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday. Leading the way for the Warriors was Kent Bazemore, who scored 21 points and added 5 rebounds to help them overcome a six-point deficit late in the fourth quarter, according to the NBA.com recap. Jones started the game, and managed 2 points, 4 rebounds and a steal.

The next game for the Warriors will be tonight versus the Sacramento Kings at 8:30 PM ET live on NBA TV and online at nba.com/summerleague.

I’ll be keeping you updated throughout the week on all the Summer League action involving the Mad Ants’ players.

P.S. Listed here are links to the schedule of Summer League games and rules:

http://www.nba.com/news/las-vegas-summer-league-2013-schedule/index.html

http://www.nba.com/news/2013-las-vegas-summer-league-game-rules/index.html

Danny Green: From the D-League to the verge of a title

It’s amazing what 25 three-point shots made can do for you.

Danny Green found that out after Sunday night, when he broke Ray Allen’s old record of most three pointers made in a Finals series, in which the Spurs won Game 5 of the NBA FInals 114-104 over the Miami Heat to take a 3-2 series lead and put them one step closer to a fifth NBA title.

Here’s a video of the guard/forward’s amazing performance:

The question everyone will be wondering tonight is whether he can put up that kind of performance again. He has definitely proved that he is a factor in this series, improving his average points per game this postseason from 7.0 ppg in the first round to 18.0 points per game in the NBA Finals, according to his stats page on NBA.com, and in the last three games of the Finals, has averaged over 20 points a game. He is also shooting over 65% in the Finals from the 3-pt line, which is also impressive.

Danny Green didn’t always get this kind of attention, though. Even though he played at North Carolina and won a national championship there in 2009, he was more of a role player, averaging just over 9 pts/game in his time there, and playing in. According to DraftExpress.com, he had strengths of decision making, offensive execution, shot-blocking, and others, but his athleticism was average at best, and he lacked explosiveness and ball-handling skills.

In 2009, Green was drafted by the Spurs, but got traded to the Cavaliers, where he played 20 games during the 2009-10 season, averaging 13.8 pts/game. Interestingly, in two games he played with the Erie Bayhawks, he averaged 28.7 points. The 2010-11 season saw D League spells with Reno and Austin, and an NBA season with the Spurs. With the Spurs, he averaged 17.5 points over eight games, but he was cut from the team.

After a couple spells in Europe in 2011-12, he finally got his shot to play consistently with the Spurs that season, playing 66 games and averaging 15.8 pts/game. The Spurs would advance to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games, winning the first two before losing the next four. Green would send this famous tweet after that Game 6 loss:

That right there shows the attitude of this player, one who was willing to learn from disappointment and improve himself. And this season, he did that, playing in 80 games, averaging 10.5 points per game with a free throw percentage of 84%, and a 51% 3-pt average   this postseason.

The Finals is where Green has really made a name for himself, putting up totals of 24 and 27 points in two of the last three Finals games. In Game 5, he was 6 of 10 from the 3 point line, and it’s amazing that the Heat seemed to forget about him, as they were trying to guard Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. We’ll have to see if the Heat are up to the challenge of figuring out how to defend him while still keeping Parker, Duncan, and Manu Ginobili in check.

It won’t be easy for Green to repeat his performance from Sunday, but if history shows anything, he has the mental toughness and intelligence necessary to overcome those challenges. Being cut twice from the Spurs and his stints in the D League and Europe only served to make Green that much more determined to reach the NBA, and he sure showed why he’s deserving of a spot on the Spurs.

If the Spurs win this series to clinch their fifth championship, which could happen tonight, his journey will have been a great success, and it could lead to even more in the future.

The Importance of NBA/D-League Affiliations, especially for the Mad Ants

By Alec Johnson

This season’s NBA FInals has brought a lot of attention to the Miami Heat franchise. What maybe hasn’t gotten much attention, is that the Heat have a new, 2-year hybrid partnership with their NBA D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

What does this mean? Basically, the Heat have control of the Skyforce’s basketball operations while the Skyforce controls the sales and marketing aspects. The new agreement will begin in the 2013-14 season.

Mad Ants President Jeff Potter weighed in on the recent partnership.

“I think anytime you can get the world champs, a premium franchise involved with you is a great thing. More importantly (it’s) a great thing for the Heinemans (Skyforce President is Mike Heineman) and Sioux Falls. It has been fantastic for this league and its growth, and I’m very happy for them,” Potter said.

The recent partnership between the Heat and Skyforce shows a growing trend of single affiliates. Miami is the record 13th team to have a single affiliation with an NBA D-League team, according to an article on the NBA D-League website.

“I think it’s becoming a competitive advantage for teams to have a D-League affiliate, and to operate them in a fashion where they can run their offense, they have a little more control over how the basketball ops run versus multiple affiliates, so I think you’re going to see more and more NBA teams following this path,” said Jon Bishop, the NBA’s Director of Team Marketing and Business Operations, who also works as a consultant for five D League teams, including the Mad Ants.

Assistant Coach Steve Gansey agrees, saying that this is good for the league, and it helps the D-League to gain respect among other basketball leagues, and is good for the players’ development as well.

“When you have these NBA teams buying these D-League teams, it definitely helps these players that are in the D-League, and it gives them a better chance to be getting called up during the season. I think it’s great overall because more and more NBA teams are buying into the D-League,” Gansey said.

In terms of NBA affiliations, there are four types. The first is the kind that the Mad Ants have, which is an independent affiliation with multiple NBA teams. Four teams affiliate themselves with the Mad Ants, and they are the Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Bobcats, Milwaukee Bucks, and Detroit Pistons.  Having an independent affiliation means that the Mad Ants are free to run their basketball operations, sales, and marketing while still affiliating with NBA teams, who can send players down. The Mad Ants can also have players called up to the NBA affiliates. Other teams with this style are the Bakersfield Jam (Atlanta Hawks, LA Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors), Iowa Energy (Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans, Washington Wizards), and the Reno Bighorns (Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz).

The next style is the opposite of the Mad Ants’, and its called NBA team ownership, where an NBA team controls everything their D-League affiliate does. The Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers), Austin Toros (San Antonio Spurs), Los Angeles D-Fenders (LA Lakers), Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State Warriors), and Tulsa 66ers (Oklahoma City Thunder) operate in this capacity.

Finally, there’s the hybrid style of affiliation like the Heat and Skyforce. These teams include the Springfield Armor (Brooklyn Nets), Maine Red Claws (Boston Celtics), Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets), Erie Bayhawks (New York Knicks), and the Idaho Stampede (Portland Trailblazers).

Potter says that this recent move won’t affect any of the current Mad Ants’ NBA affiliations, and that the team was open to the possibility if it fits their interests, and they would talk to current ownership about what they wanted to do. At the moment, the team president is content about where the team is going.

“At this time, we’re enjoying being an independent team and a lot of the freedom that comes with that,” he said. “Right now, we’re having a good time doing what we’re doing.”

So what’s it’s like having affiliations with four other NBA teams, and still being able to do what you want? Potter explained the things the Mad Ants are able to do compared to other teams who are owned by their NBA team.

“For us, we like the idea that we control our product, and that allows us to bring in players, hire our coaches. If we like a player, we can move him out, and we would not have that opportunity to do that if we had partnered with an NBA team in a hybrid as Sioux Falls has,” Potter said.

As for the relationships with the teams, Potter said it was nice, but that his first priority is the Mad Ants, and making sure that the players are supported and the coaches have everything they need. He also praised his coaching staff of Gansey and Head Coach Duane Ticknor.

“Luckily I’ve got two good coaches who work hard. I make sure I get my calls into NBA teams, our affiliates, to keep them up to date, and let them know what we’re up to, but I’ve also got two really great coaches with great contacts,” Potter said. “They do a lot of that work, too, and foster (those relationships), so we’ve got three people working on it. I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job, and hopefully our affiliates feel the same way about fostering those relationships, and that they feel comfortable with us. And the big thing is, that they’re comfortable sending their young players, their young investments, down to play with us,” he said.

As for Coach Gansey, he saw the benefits that can come with single affiliations, saying that D League teams would be more comfortable with one NBA team in charge (plus more resources and money), but he also said that having multiple affiliates can be good as well due to there being more teams that can send players down to franchises like the Mad Ants.

Gansey also went a bit more in-depth about the Mad Ants relationship with the Indiana Pacers. He said it was the first time in both franchises’ history that they had utilized each other.

“I thought it was great. They sent down Miles (Plumlee) and Orlando (Johnson); It was a great relationship. They got to know us, they asked us to go down there for training camp, and we watched training camp and we got to know their coaches, too. Just basically got to know those guys and ask them what they want from us and Coach Ticknor and I, and to try and keep developing a good relationship, and we had a great relationship throughout the whole  year,” he said.

Gansey and Ticknor even got to watch the Pacers’ home playoff games this season.

“Coach Tick (Ticknor) and I watched almost every game because they wanted us down there, they wanted us to be seen around their players and everything.” Gansey said. “It just shows you that they’re buying into what we’re doing, too.”

Having these relationships with the Pacers and other affiliates can only serve to help the ultimate goals of the Mad Ants franchise, and both Potter and Gansey are looking to the future.

“Well, every year is to make the playoffs. We made the playoffs this past season, which was great, but I think our goal this next year is to do the same thing, which is to make the playoffs, but we’d like to get out of that first round,” he said.

To do that, he said, the team needs to get off to a better start to the season.

“We can’t start off 3-10 and then kind of start all over,” Gansey said. “Jeff (Potter) and Coach Tick  (Ticknor) did a great job bringing in some veteran players and we did a great job turning it around big time. But we definitely have to start off with a good start so we don’t have to keep winning towards the end of the year and then it really becomes a good race for that last playoff spot. We don’t want to be in that position. We want to feel comfortable and (be) playing the best basketball at the end of the year.”

Gansey also hopes to keep some of the players that the team acquired last year around, and hopes to get some players from the draft.

Potter also hopes for the best with his team, and wants it to be something special for Fort Wayne, something the city can be proud of.

“It’s high-level basketball and a high level of entertainment that’s affordable for families, that they can go out and really see some top-notch basketball and that’s what this league is now. It’s really great basketball for really affordable prices, and I think we’re really doing that so far,” he said.