Good morning. Let’s basketball.
STEPH’S NEW MOVE, EXPLAINED: Stephen Curry’s trainer Brandon Payne explained the two-time MVP’s nifty new move to us.
CHANGE CLOTHES: 11 players who look so weird in their new uniforms.
PREVIEW PARADE: Flannery and I wonder if Phil Jackson has a plan for the Knicks and dive deep into the psychology of Warriors hate. We also have a Knicks preview from Posting & Toasting and a Warriors preview from Golden State Of Mind.
THE BEST TEAM IN L.A.: The L.A. Sparks dismantled the Chicago Sky in Game 1 of their semifinal series behind WNBA MVP Nneka Ogwumike. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Lynx smoked the Phoenix Mercury in their Game 1. Game 2 for both best-of-5 series is Friday.
FREE SMITTY: J.R. Smith is still not under contract. The Cavaliers say they have made a "highly competitive" contract offer. That doesn’t really mean anything since it seems like there is no competition for Smith’s services since he wants to return to Cleveland. After all the coach contract weirdness, this is not a great look for the Cavaliers, to be honest. That said, you can’t really overpay for J.R. Smith when you’re in the tax.
NECESSARY ACCESSORIES: A list of the NBA’s most bizarre accessories bans. Let Caron Butler chew his McDonald’s straws!
INSIDE MATT BARNES: There is a ton of fascinating backstory on Matt Barnes in this Chris Palmer feature, including unfortunate tales of the racism and abuse Barnes suffered in younger days and details on the dust-up with James Harden’s mother a couple years ago (and how that incident pushed him away from the Clippers). I do find it rather unfortunate that Palmer leaves out Barnes’ 2010 domestic abuse arrest. Charges weren’t pursued, but in writing a feature on a player’s penchant for on-court violence it strikes me as important to include the full context.
AND NOW TO THE REPLAY CENTER: The NBA is implementing some more tweaks to continue to speed up replay by relying more on the replay center itself. I feel that things were noticeably faster last season, even beyond the data that suggests as much.
DEAR PORTLAND, here are three jersey ideas for you.
UH OH: Draymond Green does not seem to have been humbled by his team losing the NBA Finals despite being up 3-1. He says the Warriors will shut up booing fans on the road.
LONZO BALL! Lonzo Ball! He’s a California prospect who makes Steph Curry look like Bismack Biyombo in terms of willingness to shoot from anywhere. UCLA has him now, and Mike Rutherford previews the Bruins.
IRRESISTIBULLS: Adam Waytz (!) on how the Bulls could become a must-watch team.
AND FINALLY: Jason Concepcion on the most hipster NBA teams ever. Spot on.
Happy Thursday. See you next time.