Kevin Love is on board with all of the moves the Cavaliers made at the trade deadline. He saw a team that needed change and Cleveland went through a near complete rebuild a week ago.
It might not have been a bad thing to get some fresh faces in there and guys from situations where they really wanted to win, Love told reporters at NBA All-Star Weekend Saturday in Los Angeles. I think first and foremost, seeing those (new) guys in Atlanta, they didn’t play, but they got there right after the trade and they just said they want to win. You can tell when somebody says it, you can tell when somebody means it. They really meant it and it felt good to have that there.
Snap out of it. Heading into the All-Star break, the Warriors appeared to be asleep at the wheel, half-hearted on Budda Baker Authentic Jersey defense and far too turnover-prone, committing 17.6 per game during a 4-4 stretch heading into the break. For a team that has gone to the NBA Finals three straight seasons, a little midseason boredom is expected. But we’re not in midseason anymore, so the Warriors will have to wake themselves up for the stretch run.
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Get the bench ready. One of the keys to Toronto’s emergence as a contender in the East this year has been the play of its reserve unit, which has been the best in the league with a net rating of plus-8.8. But five of the six bench regulars are 25 or younger, and only C.J. Miles (17.6) and Norman Powell (16.0) have averaged more than 8.0 minutes per game in the playoffs in their careers. Getting important minutes in big stretch run games should help.
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Even wing Kent Bazemore is not getting much love on the market, despite having the most productive season of his career. Bazemore is a good perimeter defender averaging 13.2 points and making 38.9 percent of his 3s, a career high. But he is due $37 million over the next two seasons (the second is a player option, and he is expected to opt in).
The Pelicans have had interest in Bazemore, but the Hawks likely would have to take back Solomon Hill ($26 million over the next two years) and would not be able to get a first-rounder out from New Orleans until 2020.
Bring back the D. In the first 45 games of the season, the Thunder were among the best defensive teams in the league, allowing 102.4 points per 100 possessions, third in the NBA. In their last 15, though, OKC has held opponents under 100 points just once, and the team’s defensive efficiency has ranked just 21st in the NBA. The loss of defensive specialist Andre Roberson has been a big part of that, but the Thunder have to find ways to make up for his absence.