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Aaron reviews the first quarter of the 2018-19 season, focusing on overall offensive production compared to last year and the Milwaukee Bucks' considerable improvement. While scoring is way up, offensive efficiency remains about the same as last season. Aaron explains how. He explores Denver's defensive progression under Mike Malone, as well as the unexpected offensive declines of the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics. There's much more included, but we won't give it all away. Oh, and next week, we'll be back with a brand new interview.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Brad Botkin, senior NBA writer for CBS Sports and co-author of Olympic gold medalist Dan O' Brien's memoir, "Clearing Hurdles," has strong opinions about this season's Western Conference and he's unafraid to share them. Timing will vary due to dynamic advertising, but here are the approximate time stamps of some of our favorite clips (so many good ones to choose from):7:06-7:28: "I've heard a lot of people say, 'Well that's how Kobe led. That's how Jordan led. He forced the best out of his guys.' Listen, come talk to me when Jimmy Butler is Kobe or Jordan. Jimmy Butler is not the kind of guy that singlehandedly transforms your team. He certainly makes the Timberwolves better. They're in no way a championship contender with him, nor do I think any team is a championship contender with him as a best player."14:42-15:15: "All these big-picture numbers about the Rockets, they're going to look great on paper. Look, [in] playoff games, certainly against the Warriors, if they match up, or the Jazz, if they're in a Game 6 and there's three minutes left in the game, I don't care what you did all year long. The Warriors are going to isolate Carmelo Anthony every single possession, and he can't guard his lunch. And they're going to force the ball into his hands and take it out of Harden and Paul's hands on the other end, and he's not going to make enough shots to beat you in those situations. So, I do not think he's in any way the answer."23:08-23:35: "Everybody's just going to err on the side of 'Well, they're the Spurs. They always make it [the playoffs].' Well some year, they're not going to make it, and if you just wait until it happens before you say it, then you're not saying anything. I don't think they're going to make it. I'm ready to say that...I know it. I don't need any more time to know if the Spurs are going to the playoffs. They're not. They're not good enough. They don't have good enough players, period."31:19-31:37: "In terms of two-way players, it's hard to argue that Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis aren't the best two-way combo in the league. They're both elite on both sides of the floor. And by and large, that's what will determine what the Pelicans become this year: how far can their two best players take them."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the wake of LeBron James' departure, Kelly Dwyer discusses his Eastern favorites and why the conference is overall so bad. The online basketball writing pioneer who wrote for Yahoo!'s Ball Don't Lie blog for nearly a decade, among multiple notable gigs, is currently shining for The Second Arrangement, a project to which you can subscribe for as low as $5 per month.    Timing will vary due to dynamic advertising, but here are the approximate time stamps of some of our favorite clips (so many good ones to choose from):7:29-7:39 on the Boston Celtics' immense depth: “There’s so many arms on this monster that this could be something that lasts for a while, that really eases Kyrie [Irving] into his drop-off years.”9:49-10:08: “I think Leonard has to be more of a…he can’t be a let-the-game-come-to-him, 'look-at-me-how-sensible-and-savvy-I-am' guy. There’s got to be a whole bunch of ‘Kawhi Leonard’s looking to score this year’ stories happening. He’s gotta be the guy that turns them over.”17:18-17:26: “It’s a terrible conference. No one’s gonna surprise this year. We just want Joel Embiid to be on ice and Boston not to annoy us too much.”32:30-33:00 on Hawks rookie Trae Young: "He's fun and he's gonna bank in shots this year where he's not supposed to, and he's gonna be so tired that he can't get back on defense sometimes, and he's gonna have 10 times the responsibility of Collin Sexton. Young is gonna be an experiment; it's kind of like the lockout year...Young is sort of this ticket that you can buy on a lot of nights that gonna keep you entertained."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mick Minas, author of “The Curse: The Colorful & Chaotic History of the LA Clippers,” is here to discuss his comprehensive book that chronicles the wild history of the Clippers. Plagued by penny-pinching ownership, questionable management, terrible luck, and a well earned abysmal reputation, the franchise experiences so many low lows, but optimism is somehow rarely too far away. Even with a new era of Clippers basketball beginning, there is reason for hope. For those interested, Mick’s book can be purchased on Amazon. For more information, visit the book’s website or follow Mick on Twitter.  Subscribe to, rate and review On the NBA Beat on iTunes. Follow @OntheNBABeat and your hosts (@byAaronFisch, @jjfisch, @LorenLChen) on Twitter. Discover the rest of the Almighty Baller Podcast Network at AlmightyBaller.com and on iTunes. Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod.
Following a five-year playoff drought, come July, the Los Angeles Lakers and their fan base could exhale. That’s when they landed LeBron James, the most dominant and versatile player in today’s NBA. To discuss these Lakers, Aaron and Loren are joined by Harrison Faigen of SB Nation’s Silver Screen & Roll and Eric Pincus, Lakers reporter for Bleacher Report, cohost of the Hollywood Hoops Podcast and Capologist for Basketball Insiders and NBA TV. Subscribe to, rate and review On the NBA Beat on iTunes. Follow @OntheNBABeat and your hosts (@byAaronFisch, @jjfisch, @LorenLChen) on Twitter. Discover the rest of the Almighty Baller Podcast Network at AlmightyBaller.com and on iTunes. Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod.
A budding journalist/soon-to-be college graduate and his dad, a recently retired professor, set out on an 80-day journey around the NBA, stopping by all 29 arenas over a nearly three-month period. That’s the backdrop for “Around the League in 80 Days,” a 2015 memoir penned by William and Gabriel Allen. The father-son duo was gracious enough to join Aaron for a detailed, behind-the-scenes discussion on the book and their exhilarating adventure. If interested, the book can be purchased here. Subscribe to, rate and review On the NBA Beat on iTunes. Follow @OntheNBABeat and your hosts (@byAaronFisch, @jjfisch, @LorenLChen) on Twitter. Discover the rest of the Almighty Baller Podcast Network at AlmightyBaller.com and on iTunes. Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod.
We’ve brought back Randy Harvey, former sports editor of the Houston Chronicle, to discuss the Houston Rockets’ Western Conference finals run. Since retiring on March 1st, Randy and his wife moved to Pasadena where he’s continued to follow the Rockets from afar. With the series tied at one, the Rockets stand three wins away from their first NBA Finals berth in 23 years. Standing in their way, the mighty Warriors who have won two of the past three titles. This season’s Rockets won a league-best 65 games after adding superstar point guard Chris Paul, who had never appeared in a conference final, along with 3-and-D wings P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. Of course, the team is centered around James Harden, whose MVP-caliber season has vaulted his team into this position. As the Western Conference finals has effectively turned into a best-of-five series, without further ado, let’s check in with Mr. Harvey for more on this heavyweight matchup. Subscribe to, rate and review On the NBA Beat on iTunes. Follow @OntheNBABeat and your hosts (@byAaronFisch, @jjfisch, @LorenLChen) on Twitter. Discover the rest of the Almighty Baller Podcast Network at AlmightyBaller.com and on iTunes. Music: “Who Likes to Party” by […]
We’ve brought back Randy Harvey, former sports editor of the Houston Chronicle, to discuss the Houston Rockets’ Western Conference finals run. Since retiring on March 1st, Randy and his wife moved to Pasadena where he’s continued to follow the Rockets from afar. With the series tied at one, the Rockets stand three wins away from their first NBA Finals berth in 23 years. Standing in their way, the mighty Warriors who have won two of the past three titles. This season’s Rockets won a league-best 65 games after adding superstar point guard Chris Paul, who had never appeared in a conference final, along with 3-and-D wings P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. Of course, the team is centered around James Harden, whose MVP-caliber season has vaulted his team into this position. As the Western Conference finals has effectively turned into a best-of-five series, without further ado, let’s check in with Mr. Harvey for more on this heavyweight matchup.        Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Lang Whitaker is back for another exhilarating appearance, this time informing us on the brand new NBA 2K League and his role as general manager of Grizz Gaming, the Memphis Grizzlies’ representative team. Whitaker, who also serves as a contributor to Grind City Media and GQ Magazine, cannot wait for the 2K League’s inaugural season, and he’s here to tell us why. There’s no chance you’ll need to grit or grind through these interview highlights below: 6:40-8:33: “I cohosted the Hang Time Podcast for NBA.com the last few years, and one of my cohosts was Rick Fox. And I was just sitting next to Rick the last few years as he was putting together what became Echo Fox, which is now one of the big teams in eSports. So I watched him as he kind of learned about it and figured out what he wanted Echo Fox to become and so that was sort of my introduction to this thing. But look, eSports probably had around 400 million viewers in 2017. They’re projecting revenues of $1.5 billion by 2020, so this is a huge thing. I think there’s probably a little bit of an educational curve here on this depending […]
A little more than six months after our latest Timberwolves-themed episode, things are looking pretty good for the team currently fourth in the West. Aaron checked in with Billy Bohl, writer for ESPN True Hoop’s A Wolf Among Wolves to discuss a slew of topics, including but not limited to coach Tom Thibodeau’s minutes allocation, 22-year-old phenoms Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and Jimmy Butler’s multifaceted impact on the organization’s success. Feel free to wolf down some highlighted sections below: 10:00-10:51: “I think it [the third seed] is preferable [to the fourth seed]. But again, you don’t want to look too far ahead…I wouldn’t want to face Russell Westbrook in a playoff series. Right now if they were the third seed, the Thunder would be the sixth seed. No disrespect to them obviously [but] I would much rather face Portland in the first round. It’s hard to decipher just which route you’d want to take. To be perfectly frank, I don’t think they’d have a chance against Houston either. I think they’d be in big trouble in the second round no matter which of those two teams [Houston or Golden State] they faced.” 15:05-15:56: “The Wolves aren’t terribly deep, especially […]
After a disappointing second-round exit in the 2017 playoffs, the Rockets were busy during the offseason, trading for star point guard Chris Paul and adding defensive specialists Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker. Those moves have been bearing fruit thus far, as last week they became only the third team since 2015 to win the season series over the Golden State Warriors. To help us assess how much of a threat these Rockets pose to the defending champions, we brought back Salman Ali, managing editor of Red Nation Hoops, for his second appearance on the show. He takes us through how Rockets GM Daryl Morey was able to engineer this roster in the offseason, the new dynamic of the Chris Paul-James Harden pairing and the rumors that Houston might be at the top of LeBron James’ free agency list in the coming off-season. Blast off with these clutch excerpts below: 4:22-4:42: “The Rockets are probably more health-dependent than any other team outside of maybe Cleveland. They’re so dependent on health. If any of their main guys gets hurt, there’s a significant drop-off. Even when Luc Mbah a Moute went down, their defense went down the toilet for a […]
The Chicago Bulls ended the year last season by surprisingly stealing two games in Boston in their first-round playoff series against the Celtics and then subsequently losing the next four games. Since then, they let go of veterans Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, traded away franchise superstar Jimmy Butler, and brought back a new young core of Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn and rookie Lauri Markkanen. In our first episode of 2018, we’ve brought on Jordan Maly, host of the Locked on Bulls podcast, to help decipher this enigmatic Chicago team. He takes us through a mid-season assessment of that Jimmy Butler trade, the slew of developing young talent the Bulls have fostered and the awkwardness of covering the team after the fight between Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis. Charge forward into the show with these excerpts: 4:30 – 7:44: “When Butler was dealt, the immediate overwhelming reaction was that the Bulls got screwed, that the Bulls didn’t get enough back for him, that the Timberwolves basically snaked Jimmy Butler and that number 16 pick in the draft… For a lot of Bulls fans, we didn’t have trust in the front office, didn’t have trust in what they were saying or what […]
The Indiana Pacers have bounced back from a subpar start to stand 18-14. In an Eastern Conference crowded with many solid, second-tier teams looking to separate themselves from the pack, Indiana is more than holding its own thanks to an elite offense led by Victor Oladipo. Ian Levy, NBA editor and columnist for FanSided and Editor-in-Chief of The Step Back, helps us break down the team he knows best. We’ll cover Indiana’s captivating comeback ability, the sudden emergence of Oladipo and so much more. 6:42-7:28: “If he [Victor Oladipo] can sustain what he’s doing shooting the basketball, especially on those pull-ups, that sort of locks him into this tier where he’s, I’d say, a clear-cut All-Star [and] one of the best shooting guards in the league. So I think that’s probably the hope for the Pacers rather than him somehow getting better than he is now. He’s given them everything they could ask for. And that aggression and passion is such a different aesthetic than the Pacers have had the past couple years. Even when they were good, back in the Hibbert-David West-George Hill-Paul George-Lance Stephenson [days], back in those days, they didn’t have the same sort of kinetic explosiveness.” […]
With redshirt rookie Ben Simmons garnering heavy praise around the league and Joel Embiid looking healthy and better than ever, the long-tanking 76ers are finally winning games, beginning to reap the benefits of their ambitious Process, which Sam Hinkie launched nearly four and a half years ago. As Simmons comfortably leads the Rookie of the Year chase, filling virtually every corner of the stat sheet, he’s surrounded by improved shooter Robert Covington, veteran free-agent acquisition J.J. Redick and, more broadly, a considerably bolstered roster compared to a season ago. Philadelphia’s Defensive Efficiency has cracked the league’s top 10, and Brett Brown’s squad is playing with confidence and even some semblance of consistency. Max Rappaport, co-host of the 76ers-themed Stepover Podcast and contributor to Complex Sports and Bleacher Report, helps us delve deeply into this up-and-coming Eastern Conference team. To close the show, Joe Borelli of the SuperFlight Podcast makes a special appearance to rave about Simmons, whom he affectionately refers to as an “anomaly” and a “physical freak.” Max Rappaport at 6:42-7:25: “I think the hardcore Process fans, maybe their enthusiasm level hasn’t really changed or it’s been shifted in a different way. They’re no longer cult followers of lovable […]
The Detroit Pistons have bounced back from an incredibly disappointing 2016-17 campaign to begin this season 14-8. In the process, Detroit is securing come-from-behind victories with great frequency – half of its wins have occurred in games it trailed by double-digits – the second unit is dominating opposing benches and Andre Drummond is showcasing a vastly expanded offensive repertoire. Duncan Smith, contributor to The Athletic Detroit and Bball Breakdown, operates as our tour guide on this exhilarating exploration of the Motor City’s NBA club. We’ll discover how good the Pistons are and where they can still improve. Duncan’s game was clicking on all cylinders. Some highlights are excerpted below: 6:09-7:03: “I think it’s concerning when your starting lineup can’t get you out to good starts, and you need your bench reserves, led by Ish Smith – everybody loves Ish Smith but he is one of the worst shooters in NBA history. When that’s what you’re relying on for stability, it’s a bit problematic, at the very least…When together, they just aren’t effective…I think that’s it’s going to have to be understood and dealt with before long.” 13:32-14:11: “It’s a complete and total shift. Basically everything that we thought we knew […]
Since the Milwaukee Bucks took Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, he’s shown tremendous growth as a basketball player, both literally and figuratively. This season, he has planted his name firmly within the MVP conversation, even if casual fans still have trouble pronouncing it. To guide us through this episode wholly devoted to the Grecian phenom, we’ve brought on Eric Nehm, Bucks beat writer for ESPN Milwaukee and cohost of the Locked on Bucks podcast. Eric explains how Giannis’ humble upbringing, laser-like focus and basketball obsession have all contributed to his nearly unprecedented development from a lanky, unknown draftee into the all but unstoppable force he is today. Get a sneak peek of our conversation about the Greek Freak this week with these excerpts (time stamps approximate because of tailored advertisements): 10:10-11:20: “There was a part of me that kind of didn’t love it [Giannis’ nickname] at the start, just because I think ‘freak,’ the connotation of freak, there’s something wrong with you, there’s something to be ashamed about. Because I guess at some point I thought he was going to fit into a prototypical kind of archetype of an NBA player. That hasn’t happened. […]
The Oklahoma City Thunder turned heads around the NBA this offseason when they added stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. So far, though, integrating them into the team hasn’t been a smooth process. Before back-to-back wins against the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks, they had been riding a four-game losing streak and were winless against the Western Conference. Andrew Schlecht, host of the Down to Dunk and OKC Dream Team podcasts and contributor to Daily Thunder, joined us to try to diagnose what exactly has gone wrong and whether or not the Thunder should be worried. See what we’re rumbling about in these electric excerpts below (all time stamps approximate): 5:00-5:40: “Overall, there doesn’t seem to be any worry or panic within the team at all. They’re still pretty casual about everything. And then as a fan and somebody who’s watching them, you just have to wait. Even a team with some continuity will evolve over a season. So, there’s not a lot of worry. The team has a ton of talent, they’ve got talent on both sides of the ball, so you’d think they’re going to put it together. Luckily, really besides the Warriors and Rockets, there’s nobody […]
The 5-5 Denver Nuggets are currently about as good as their record would suggest, according to this week’s guest, Adam Mares, host of the Locked on Nuggets podcast and site manager for SB Nation’s Denver Stiffs. He argues that despite the team’s considerable continuity, many players are still adjusting to new roles this season. In addition, the Nuggets are still incorporating Paul Millsap into their game plan, particularly on the offensive end. Adam discusses this process, Denver’s many young guards and much more in this action-packed episode. He strikes gold throughout, but here are some examples (the exact time stamps slightly vary from user to user depending on the length of your customized ads): 7:28-8:23: “Jokic really quarterbacked the offense last year from the center position – he was a point-center. And that wasn’t just a cliché. He really was the facilitator on offense…Steve Kerr was in town yesterday with the Warriors, and he said that the Nuggets’ offense last season was like a pinwheel where Jokic was the center of that and everybody’s kind of operating and cutting and spacing around him. Well, this season, they haven’t really gotten to that yet – I think they’re moving in that […]
The Brooklyn Nets’ 2017-18 season, much like Boston’s, was shaken from the very start when starting point guard Jeremy Lin went down with a scary-looking knee injury. Shortly after, it was announced the veteran guard would be sidelined for the rest of the season with a ruptured patella tendon. To discuss the implications of the devastating injury and much more, Sandy Mui, host of the Brooklyn Revolution Podcast, not to mention Brook-Lin.com assignment editor and writer at The Brooklyn Game, graciously joins Loren and Aaron. Particularly, she also pays close attention to the team’s youngsters, D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, among others, and some of the veterans exceeding expectations, like DeMarre Carroll. These selections below hit nothing but net: 5:00-5:15: “I think he [D’Angelo Russell] has looked great so far, aside from the fact that he’s struggled a bit with his passing and playmaking in these last couple of games, but we’ve already seen how high his ceiling can potentially be. In the first three games he played, he averaged 21 points, 4.3 points, 7 assists and 1.7 steals.” 9:25-10:50: “I was really heartbroken for Jeremy Lin too. You could see the look on his face after he […]
David Kohan, best known for co-creating the pioneering hit comedy series “Will & Grace” is actually a huge Los Angeles Clippers fan, attending games as early as the late ‘80s. In this episode, Aaron had the opportunity to talk with David about both the return of Will & Grace after 11 years off the air and his beloved Clippers. We’ll hear about a wide array of topics, including how David processes the loss of Chris Paul, his take on Blake Griffin’s newfound 3-point stroke and why Patrick Beverley is our guest’s favorite new addition. Some non-Clippers areas covered include why the show has returned, what, if anything, is different with the program and when David might collaborate with his sister, Jenji, who created “Weeds” and “Orange Is the New Black.” Some clips, pun intended, are excerpted below:   *But, first, two quick editor’s notes: Early on, when David is referencing the 2016-17 Clippers’ hot start through 10 games, Aaron remarks, “14-1 or something like that.” In fact, those Clippers began 10-1 and 14-2. So he was close, but no cigar. Between the interview recording and release, rookie point guard Milos Teodosic’s foot MRI results were revealed. He’ll be sidelined indefinitely […]
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