2014-15 All-Underappreciated Team

All-Star frenzy is officially in full swing.  Media heads and fans have been assembling their twelve-man rosters for the East and West for the past week or so, giving their two cents on questions with no right answer.  “Do the Hawk deserve four All-Stars?”  “Have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook missed too many games to be considered?”  “Should a guy like DeMarcus Cousins be penalized because of his team’s poor record?”  

Now that the reserves have been announced, everyone will undoubtedly shift their attention to the biggest snubs, most notably Lillard and Cousins (who is now Kobe Bryant’s replacement). However, I want to shed some light on a few players who haven’t been involved in any of the All-Star talk by creating an All-Underappreciated Team.  

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Rising Big Men: Nurkic vs. Gobert

Every NBA season, we see a few obscure names emerge from the depths of anonymity.  Some players explode for a stretch when a teammate goes down with an injury.  Others find their niche and role on a new team with a different system.  There are also those who just haven’t been given a chance until now.

This year, a plethora of young big men have been able to rise to the occasion, but a few names separate themselves from the rest: Hassan Whiteside, Donatas Motiejunas, Rudy Gobert and Jusuf Nurkic.  While none of these four players are even close to becoming household names, their performances have been noteworthy and their futures look bright.  

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Clippers: Countdown to Christmas

Things aren’t looking good for the Clippers as we countdown to the highly anticipated Christmas Night rematch against the Golden State Warriors.  The Clips started off a hectic upcoming week with a loss in Denver last night, the first of five games in a seven day span.  To compound things, they will have to travel to a different time zone in between each game.

The upcoming schedule includes two back-to-backs as well as elite competition from teams such as San Antonio (17-10), Atlanta (18-7), and Golden State (22-3).  And while the Bucks (14-13) are not quite up to par with the others, they just beat the Clippers a week ago in Milwaukee.

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Lakers No Laughingstock

Stop the presses, and stop laughing.

The Lakers may have lost Tuesday night to the Memphis Grizzlies, but their performance was a worthy follow-up to a convincing win two nights ago against the Charlotte Hornets. They parlayed that 107-92 victory, keyed by a huge third-quarter rally, into a valiant assault on the league’s best home team. And they nearly won.

The game was tight until, with 6:50 remaining in the fourth, the Grizzlies opened up a 17-point lead.

You’re forgiven for suffering pangs of deja vu. This Lakers team has displayed an early-season predilection for folding late.

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Everybody Should Love Draymond

While everybody has been talking about Klay Thompson’s recent max extension, the Warriors have another contract concern looming: Draymond Green’s impending free agency next summer.

Green is restricted, so the Warriors will be able to match any offer sheet he signs with another team. However, Draymond’s market value has been skyrocketing; with Andrew Bogut going down before last year’s playoffs and David Lee sidelined to begin this year, Green has had a chance to show the world what he’s got in extended minutes, and he hasn’t disappointed at all.

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NBA Roundtable!

We got a few of our writers together to share a few of the debates we have had in the offseason.  We reflect on some of the great moments of last year, and also look forward to all the excitement of the upcoming season.  Joining us this week is Bulls-aficionado Jake Weiner of (D)Roses and Thorns Enjoy:

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The Curious Case of George Karl

As NBA coaching vacancies are getting filled, one name mysteriously remains absent: George Karl.  While former players such as Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher are getting their first shots on the sideline, it seems Karl is receiving very little interest.  Karl has amassed 986 career wins as a head coach (the seventh most of all time) and has had successful stints with the Sonics and Nuggets; he even led the former to the finals.

So why isn’t George Karl currently coaching an NBA team?  Are NBA front offices absolutely blind, or is there a reason why one of the better coaches this league has seen is working for ESPN?  We will break things down by observing Karl’s last stint with the Denver Nuggets.

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