In early 2001, Suns owner Jerry Colangelo approached then-commissioner David Stern at a meeting in New York with what he felt were urgent concerns for the league. The average score of an NBA game had dropped precipitously to its lowest point since 1955 (the 1998-99 lockout-shortened season excluded). The league was shooting 44.3 percent from the field, the lowest mark since 1969 (again, save 1998-99). “The game was getting very physical and bordering on truly ugly at times because of the amount of contact and banging,” Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle says. “There was a need for change.”
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“A lot of the slowing down of the game had been the result of stringent illegal defense rules,” says Carlisle, whose first season as a head coach, with the Detroit Pistons, coincided with the reforms. “The [defensive three-seconds rule] was a major step toward the game that we have today. Ball movement and creating offensive scrambles for open shots was becoming more of the norm than posting up a great player, having him back in, drawing a double-team.” In the ’90s, the post-up had been a central feature of many NBA offenses. Carlisle noted that one of the enduring images for him of the late ’90s, when he was an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers, was watching Mark Jackson deliberately back down New York Knicks guard Charlie Ward, who would squat in a defensive stance that looked like something out of pro football.
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The Nets have been popular in Asia for years, and Caris LeVert is adding to that surprising hotbed of Brooklyn fandom. LeVert is going to participate in Basketball Without Borders Asia, with an announcement set for Thursday. Brooklyn’s rising young combo guard will be joined in India by Corey Brewer of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kelly Olynyk of the Miami Heat and Dwight Powell of the Dallas Mavericks. BWB Asia 2018 will be held from May 30 through June 2 at the NBA Academy India in Delhi, and will be run in partnership with Nike. It’s the second time the development and community outreach program – run by the league and by FIBA – will be in India. It’s also not LeVert’s first trip to Asia, either.
On NBA draft prospect Luka Doncic… Dirk Nowitzki: “I’ve not talked to Holger about him. All I’ve seen was the little clips. I haven’t really seen one whole game. It seems like, to me, for a 19-year-old is really savvy. He’s already playing a great court game. He’s going to be a little challenged, I think, athletically if he plays the 1. He’s got enough size to play the 2, especially now with everybody going small anyways. I think he’d be okay. I mean, he’s got all the game. He’s got all the mid-range. He’s got the pull-ups. He’s got the step backs. He’s great with the ball. He can run pick-and-rolls – which would suit him great here now since it’s a pick-and-roll league now anyway. I think he’s going to be great. But it’ll be interesting to see where he ends up, how this whole draft is going to shake out. I guess everything – besides [DeAndre] Ayton, who I think is going to go No. 1 – I’m not really sure what’s going to happen.”