ESPN top 100 NBArank 2018-19

Each year, ESPN attempts the impossible by ranking the top 100 NBA players ahead of the new season.

NBA players are the best of the basketball world. To break them out and rank them against each other on-by-one would be a daunting task. Each player brings different things to their respective teams. Still, the talking heads of the sports world love rankings. So, ESPN, The Undefeated, and FiveThirtyEight got together to do their best to determine the most valuable players going into the 2018-19 season.

The rankings were voted on by TV analysts, producers, reporters, editors, and researchers. They voted to estimate which players would be best this season in terms of quality and quantity of play. For the latter reason, players coming off of injuries such as Gordon Hayward (40), Kristaps Porzingis (58), or DeMarcus Cousins (69) appear a little lower than it seems they should.

Another factor that is brought up frequently on the list is RPM, which means Real Plus Minus. Per ESPN, this metric measures how well a team does offensively and defensively with any given player on the court, and compares it with how well the team does at each with that same player off the court.

The list is not perfect and of course will be proved wrong many times this season. Still, it makes for great barber shop conversation. Giannis Antetokounmpo tied with Kevin Durant? Let’s talk.

The top 10

Damien Lillard sits at the number ten spot, which does not come as much of a surprise. Lillard is coming off of a selection as First Team All-NBA a season ago. His scoring and leadership for the Trailblazers will continue this season. Joel Embiid is number nine, but could certainly continue his ascension as one of the best bigs in the game.

Kawhi Leonard is eight, assuming he goes all-out playing for the Raptors this year. Number seven is the new Mr. Triple-Double, Russell Westbrook. The former MVP at the seven spot shows the strength of the NBA in 2018.

Third in MVP voting last season, Anthony Davis is number six. Statistically, “The Brow” is one of the best players in the NBA. He has been a bit fragile for much of his career, but his offense and defense are both impossible to deny for the Pelicans. We skip five because ESPN notes a tie for the fourth best player.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has drastically improved each season and is just 23 years old. His offense has blossomed and he may now be the premier player in the Eastern Conference with LeBron James out of town. Kevin Durant is a back-to-back FInals MVP and the best scorer we’ve seen in a long time. It may have hurt him in these rankings that the Warriors can keep on churning without him.

Last season’s MVP, James Harden is listed at number three. His isolation play, passing, and well-rounded offensive game make him one of the greatest in the world. His defense, while improved, may have held him down on this rankings. Steph Curry is listed at two. Though his points have dipped since the arrival of Durant, his efficiency as a high-volume shooter is simply unheard of. He is one of the greatest winners in basketball, and the greatest shooter to date.

ESPN lists LeBron James as number one, and has for the last eight years. That’s some staying power. LeBron’s dominance as a player, especially in the Playoffs is undeniable. He will be 34 this season, but his stats have only improved over the last few seasons. We haven’t seen any decline yet, so there is no reason to expect it.

The other guys

Curry and Durant have some running mates in the top 20. Klay Thompson (19) and Draymond Green (16) are great players that also benefit from a great team. A couple of other notable top 20 guys that are teamed with top 10 players are Paul George (13) and Chris Paul (11).

Kyrie Irving at number 20 certainly seems like a player that could rise with a healthy Celtics squad. Irving’s teammate Jayson Tatum is already up to number 24 while Jaylen brown at 37 is two spots higher than DeMar DeRozan, which seems… wrong. Ben Simmons (18) is another player poised to move up - all he needs is a jumpshot.

A new wrinkle in the rankings is that Bradley Beal (29) has passed teammate, John Wall (32). ESPN already lists rookie Luka Doncic at 63 while first overall pick DeAndre Ayton does not crack the list.

For the full list from 100 on down to number 1, check out ESPN’s page here. The Basketball Movement is ready for the NBA to fire back up, so keep coming back here for continued coverage of this and all things basketball.

"The person is the player"

A Rob Yanders quote cuts deep as we reflect on the impact your life can have on your game.

Often, we are told to shut out emotions as players. The ideal basketball player is always calm, cool, and collected. It is one thing to play with passion, but carrying feelings of sadness, anger, or even a carefree attitude onto the court can negatively impact your play. All of this may be true, but it is unrealistic to expect this from players at all times.

Whether or not you realize it, your life is affecting you on the basketball court. This can be a positive or negative thing. When things are going well in your life, you have less worries. Less worry means less distraction to take away from what you are doing in game-time situations. Basketball can be a distraction from life on its own, but life always finds its way into your thoughts and demeanor.

“The person is the player” is a favorite quote of The Basketball Movement’s Founder, Rob Yanders. This quote was first brought to my attention in an interview with Trae Bell-Haynes, a pro player in Germany. Rob understands that players are more than just guards and forwards - they are people; sons, daughters, friends, students, employees, what have you.

This understanding is what makes Rob such a great coach. He cares for his players and knows that one way to improve on the court is to have a happy life.

Eliminating negativity from your life can be important for not just basketball, but everything you do. The issue with eliminating negativity is that it isn’t always possible. You can cut out toxic friends and influences, but some potentially negative aspects of your life may be more permanent.

It may be easier said than done, but it is important to try and shape the negativity into controlled aggression, motivation, and a competitive advantage. No one knows exactly what you’re going through besides yourself. If you must dwell on those issues, put a positive spin on them. Use things like basketball to enhance your life by making you rise above your problems. Not much beats the feeling of netting a shot, outrunning an opponent for a loose ball, or skying over everyone for a rebound. The harder you play, the more the issues of the world melt away.

There are hurdles to overcome in sport and in life. Sport is a very valuable learning ground for how to live your life in the best possible way.
— Lynn Davies

If things are generally positive in your life, you will naturally have fewer worries on the court. On the flip side though, you may have less reason to have an edge or play with a chip on your shoulder.

As a player, I personally had a pretty carefree attitude. Win-lose-or-draw, I was about the same after each game. I was happy to have been able to play and not too concerned when I didn’t get in as much as I would like. As a person, this contentment certainly seemed like a strength. As a player however, it resulted in a lack of drive that could hold me back in a competitive situation.

Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave. And I firmly believe that when I am positive, it not only makes me better, but it also makes those around me better.
— Harvey Mackay

Everyone is different. Each individual player has a unique situation and a unique way to cope. At The Basketball Movement, Rob Yanders and his coaches are able to bring out a competitive fire in complacent players like I used to be. They can also teach players with more difficult backgrounds to take what they feel may be holding them back and turn it into a monstrous drive to succeed.

Do your best to mold your life into what you want it to be. For help translating everything to the basketball court, contact The Basketball Movement here!

One last dance - Dwyane Wade's final season

NBA superstar, Dwyane Wade has announced that his 16th NBA season will be his last.

This past Saturday, Dwyane Wade announced via his Instagram page that the 2018-19 season will be his last in the NBA. The Instagram post led to a link with a YouTube video of Wade starting his own going-away party. In the intimate, raw video, Wade stands alone reflecting on his beginning as a player and where he is today.

This means that Dwyane Wade will play his final season for the Miami Heat, which he has desired all along. The Chicago native was drafted by the Heat in 2003.

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One Last Dance. Link in Bio.

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Wade was the fifth pick in the ‘03 draft. LeBron James went first, and is still showing incredible bounce. Darko Milicic and Chris Bosh are no longer in the league, but third pick, Carmelo Anthony has not shown signs of nearing retirement. A couple of other 2003 draft selections and NBA Champions, David West and Boris Diaw announced their retirement this Summer.

It is great for D-Wade fans to get a full season’s worth of opportunity to see him in action. A heads-up to his final season means that many will get a chance to see one of the greats do his thing in person before it’s too late.

The LeBron James era in Miami produced plenty of wins and plenty of highlights. The most impressive performance of Wade’s career though occurred in the 2005-06 NBA Finals. Even though it was his third year in the league, Wade averaged 35/8/4, overshadowing even his teammate Shaquille O’Neil. He was a force in that series, defeating Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.

Wade is a NBA Scoring Champ (‘08-’09), 3x NBA Champion, 12x All-Star (All-Star MVP in 2010), 3x All-Defense selection, 8x All-NBA, and Finals MVP (‘05-’06). Wade is considered by many to be the third best shooting guard of all-time behind Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

One last dance

The video that Dwyane Wade posted to announce his final season was a great way to go about things. He is candid about his feelings towards the game and his journey. He speaks of loss, family, and priorities.

Athletes, especially at the professional level, are often just seen as that - athletes. In the clip, Wade talks about the grind of improving, the toll of the game, and the upbringing that no one else sees. Check out the video below to see a top athlete get vulnerable and allow us to see his side of the story.

As many of the current great player’s careers wind down (Wade, Nowitzki, Vince Carter), remember to take the time to enjoy getting to see them in action and also reflect back on what they have given to the game of basketball. Good luck to D-Wade as he gears up for his final season in South Beach.

2018 WNBA Finals - It's a wrap

The 2018 WNBA season is officially done thanks to a Finals sweep by the Seattle Storm.

WNBA playoff series are all best-of-five from the first round through the Finals. Somewhat surprisingly, the Seattle Storm only needed three games to put away the Washington Mystics and claim the title of champion for the 2018 season.

The final game was largely decided by perimeter shooting, with the Storm going 13 of 26 from deep. The stretch-bigs proved to be the difference. A four-time NCAA champion at UCONN, the Storm were led by regular season MVP, Breanna Stewart. This is the sixth time that a player has won the regular season MVP award and also gone on the win Finals MVP.

Stewart’s greatness at just 24 years old is impressive. On the other end of the spectrum, her teammate, Sue Bird’s continued excellence at age 37 stands out as well. She is one of the most tenured and respected players in the league.

The Washington Mystics, led by star Elena Della Donne are certainly disappointed by the results, but had a great season.

First and Second Team All-WNBA

Following the championship, the WNBA also released the picks for All-WNBA First and Second team. For anyone following along, the list is not too surprising. The league tweeted out the selections below.

Congratulations to Finals standouts and First-Team selections, Breanna Stewart and Elena Della Donne as well as everyone else selected. It was another great season.

Now the wait is on for NCAA and NBA basketball. NBA preseason action starts September 28th, so it will be here before you know it! OKC Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook has already been declared out for the preseason with arthroscopic knee surgery, so basketball news continues.

The Basketball Movement will continue to cover all things basketball, so keep checking in!

Multi-sport athletes - Keeping your edge

For athletes that play multiple sports, it is important to not lose your edge on the basketball court.

Football has kicked off at about every level now with baseball still going on for many. From volleyball to soccer, there are a lot of different sports for athletes to choose from, especially at the prep level on down. Many of the best athletes distribute their talents over several of these sports, which is great, but also presents new challenges.

Time spent on other sports is time spent focusing your attention on things besides basketball. Again, this is certainly okay as there are plenty of things in life already more important than hooping such as family, education, and so forth.

Once it is time to focus on basketball again though, you do not want to have fallen behind your teammates let alone your competition.

When you are caught up with other sports, time management becomes crucial. The sport season that you are engaged in likely needs to be the priority (once homework is done). Being coach-able, a good teammate, and a successful athlete in whichever sport has your attention needs to remain at the forefront as an athlete. However, don't forget about the greatest sport in the world: basketball.

The great players show how much they want to play during the offseason - when it’s hot, when it’s tough, and when no one’s watching.
— Tony Alfonso

Even if you are messing around in the driveway dribbling, getting shots up, or playing pick-up games with friends, you are staying more sharp than you would otherwise. Just remember to keep learned skills such as shooting form on the front of your mind. The offseason is the easiest time to get lax on fundamentals and form bad habits.

One of the best things that you can do is use a block of free time on focused, intense training. You probably see where this is going, but a workout session like those offered by The Basketball Movement is perfect for blocking out other things from your mind so you can just focus on basketball.

Even smack in the middle of softball season, track season, what have you, you can still find a few hours. A few hours, especially over a few days, of concentrated basketball training can keep your skills sharp and serve as reminders of what it takes to stay at the top of your game.

Anytime you can have a basketball in your hands is helpful. To really get the most out of your basketball offseason, contact The Basketball Movement. Coach Rob and his staff are the perfect team to make sure that you are staying at the top of your game, even if you are playing other sports as well. Hit us up!

You're not the only one that can ball

You may be good - even very good, but so are other players. Set yourself apart with help from The Basketball Movement.

A lot of players are familiar with being one of the top players on their team - maybe even the conference, division, state, league, what have you. It is a good feeling to be one of the best. You must keep in mind though, there is likely someone better than you.

You are not the only one that can ball. There is someone out there with a prettier jumper, someone who has a better nose for rebounding, someone stronger, or someone faster. No matter how good you may be at basketball, you are likely not the best.

So... what are you going to do about it?

Talent is one thing, but hard work is what really starts to differentiate players and allows them to take their game to the next level.

Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.
— Kevin Durant

If you are willing to put in the time and effort to elevate every aspect of your game, you will be on your way to building separation between yourself and the competition. Basketball requires some natural athleticism at the higher levels of the game. Hard work and dedication to your craft is the top tool that can be used to make up for any comparative deficiencies that you my have.

The grind can't stop either. To work to be the best will require passion that allows you to constantly improve and keep learning more about basketball. 

Here comes the tough news. Not only are you not the only one that can ball; you also aren't the only one that can put in hard work. So, what then?

Set yourself apart with The Basketball Movement

You know the old expression "work smarter not harder"? That is partly true; just make sure that while you're working smarter, you are still working insanely hard. That is the specialty of Rob Yanders and The Basketball Movement. Get in, work your butt off to get better, and get out/take care of your body.

The Movement offers plenty for basketball players seeking an edge. The facility has two full-sized courts, basketball-specific workout equipment, and one of the best staffs for coaching and a player-centered development mentality. It even has a chop shop upstairs to get you a fresh cut, a deal with Gatorade so fridges are always packed, and Area 11 where you can finally relax with some NBA 2K, FIFA, and more.

Any player can find a place to get shots up. At TBM, we offer things like film analysis, skill development, team placement, and more all the way up to Euro-prep and NBA prep. You don't need to have professional aspirations though, as boys and girls of almost any age are welcome to take advantage of our curriculum, open-clinics, and coaching staff.

Basketball experience, top-tier facilities, and a hard-nosed continuous improvement mentality is what TBM can offer players looking to separate from the pack. An urban feel, but professional process at The Movement propels its players to the top.

You may not be the only one that can ball, but you can maximize your potential right here at The Basketball Movement to stay ahead of the competition.

The 2018 WNBA Finals are set

The Washington Mystics and Seattle Storm are set to face off in the 2018 WNBA Finals

The WNBA is the undisputed pinnacle of women's basketball talent. Some of the league's best will be going head-to-head in this year's WNBA Finals matchup. Yesterday's deciding playoff games set a dramatic tone with both series' arriving at their conclusion.

Though the Western Conference Champion Seattle Storm were higher seeded, there was still doubt that they would be able to oust Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury. With Taurasi, the Mercury were 13-0 in series deciding games. Thirteen and zero. Diana Taurasi's greatness needs to be acknowledged, but it is the Storm that will be moving on.

Seattle was able to capitalize on their own star power, led by current MVP, Breanna Stewart and a monster fourth-quarter performance by the great Sue Bird.

In the Eastern Conference things were just as tight. Despite banged-up star Elena Delle Donne giving everyone an injury scare in game two, the Washington Mystics held on to take the deciding game five. This marks the first time that Washington will be in the WNBA Finals.

They defeated the number one-seed Atlanta Dream and will now face off with the Storm, playing game one on the road. Game two will be back in Atlanta while the remainder are played at a neutral location - George Mason University in Virginia.

It is another best-of-five series that will beginning this Friday (Sept. 7). Game two will be Sunday (Sept. 9), game three Wednesday (Sept. 12), game four Friday (Sept 12 if necessary), and game five Sunday (Sept. 16 if necessary). The first game will be on ESPNews, the second on ABC, and the rest on ESPN2.

Again, this is women's basketball at the highest level. Ladies, pay attention as these players are some of the best to watch and learn from. Fellas, it may not be a bad idea for you to watch as well, especially those of you (most of you) that play below the rim at this stage. The footwork, passing, driving, and shooting are top-tier.

For more on all things basketball, stay right here at The Basketball Movement.

Player profiles: Centers

We wrap up our player profiles series with the players that put the five in starting five - the center.

Whether your team has a true center or not, someone in the starting five is technically playing the "five spot". The whole team cannot hang out on the perimeter, so it falls to the center by default to set up shop in the paint.

Like the other positions that we have discussed, there is no specific way to approach playing the center position. The traditional thought is that the center of a team is its leading rebounder and best rim-protector. Most centers in today's game can do more than just swat shots and grab boards, but there are still plenty of prominent examples of traditional players that we will go over.

The best centers are often still great rebounders, but scorers as well. We will breakdown "all-around" centers below that can do a bit of everything on the court.

We will be going over former and current NBA centers, but it is worth noting that there are some great centers to watch today in the WNBA as well. Candace Parker and Brittney Griner come to mind with former player Lisa Leslie being another great one to watch.

Traditional centers to watch

For all the talk about traditional centers going away in the age of the three-point shot, there are still plenty of examples of excellent traditional centers in the game. There are three high-caliber examples that quickly come to mind: DeAndre Jordan, Rudy Gobert, and Andre Drummond.

Jordan is a tenacious defender and rebounder. His poor free throw shooting is offset by the way he uses his length on both ends of the floor to make an impact. Drummond is the player to watch if you need a free clinic on rebounding the basketball. Rudy Gobert may be the best interior defender in the world. Watch the Frenchman Gobert to learn how to use defensive length and footwork to protect the strong and weak side of the paint.

A few more current examples of traditional centers in the NBA are Steven Adams, Clint Capela, Dwight Howard, and Hassan Whiteside who all make their impact with defense, rebounding, and hustle.

Known for his defense and teamwork more than his scoring, Bill Russell may be the top traditional center in history. Film on Russell may be scarce, but his 11 championships and winning ways speak loudly for his style of play.

All-around centers

By now you may have noticed a trend with these player profiles. You can have plenty of success as a player that focuses on specific skills, especially at lower levels of the game. More often than not though, it is the players that can do a bit of everything on the floor that are often the best at their position.

Even players like Shaquille O'neal, that has every appearance of a traditional center is more well-rounded than he may get credit for. Despite his massive size, Shaq could run the floor, pass, and make shots from mid-range-in with surprising finesse. Another Lakers great, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar is arguably the best all-around center for his defense, rebounding, and peerless scoring ability.

The list of former all-around centers is pretty long and impressive, including names like Hakeem Olajuwon, Moses Malone, David Robinson, and Patrick Ewing.

A few current well-rounded centers that are quickly ascending are Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid. Jokic is a great center to watch for passing out of the post while Embiid is great to watch for his post moves and shot-blocking. An underrated, but well-rounded center to watch today is Al Horford.

Perhaps the best all-around centers in the game (though Embiid is knocking on the door), Karl-Anthony Towns and DeMarcus Cousins are certainly great players to study up on for improving centers. Just don't emulate Cousins' technical count.

That does it for our player profiles! Take note of these players to watch as great examples at their positions. Stay locked into The Basketball Movement for more news and basketball content.

Player profiles: Power forwards

An ever-evolving position, being a power forward today can mean a lot more than it did 10 or 20 years ago.

The name "power forward" comes from players at the four position being bruisers in the paint. Where the center position has balanced size and skill for many years, the PF spot traditionally meant a foul-prone post player that cleared out opposing players to hog rebounds and create driving lanes for others.

Today, that is no longer the case.

Players at the four spot can have a variety of skillsets and roles on a team. Today, stretch-fours that can shoot are as common if not more common than traditional post players.

You can be a stretch four or still carve out a role as a traditional, rebounding post player. Below we break out some current and former players at the highest level of the game for you to watch if you want to strive for either role.

Stretch-fours to watch

The concept of the stretch-four is not entirely new. Since at least the 90's there have been plenty of post players venturing out beyond the three point line. Many of them come from overseas as that has long been a staple of the European game. Likely the best power forward to do it is no exception.

Germany's Dirk Nowitzki is a stellar example of stretch-four. His use of his seven-foot frame allows him to shoot over the top of the defense from any distance. Though he is a fan of the three point shot, back-to-the-basket scoring ability has made him one of the most versatile scoring threats in basketball.

One of The Basketball Movement's personal favorites, Anthony Tolliver of the Minnesota Timberwolves is another excellent stretch-four example. The Springfield, MO native coupled his height with a shooting touch that has helped him on his way to a long and successful NBA career.

Kevin Love is a good example of a player that was rebounding and interior focused, but adjusted his game to expand his range. Playing alongside rim-attacker LeBron James meant more perimeter time for PF Love. It will be interesting to see how his game shapes up this season with LBJ now in Los Angeles.

Traditional power forwards

Many of the best examples of traditional power forwards have since retired from the professional game. Debateably the top PF to have played was Tim Duncan. "The Big Fundamental" could extend his range if the moment called for it, but he stayed within himself and did most of his damage with hookshots, offensive put-backs, and short-range barrages. His shot blocking and excellent footwork make him one of the most well-rounded players that you could study today.

Duncan's "replacement" in San Antonio, LaMarcus Aldridge is a solid scoring PF to watch as well. He has gradually expanded his range, but his knack for timely rebounding and interior scoring make him a bit of a throwback big. For a more defensive-minded traditional four, check some footage of Kevin Garnett. A capable scorer, KG made his biggest impact by being a ferocious defender.

Some imposing physical power forwards to watch in today's game are : Derrick Favors, Blake Griffin, and Taj Gibson. Some throwback guys are Charles Oakley and the ultimate rebounding power forward, Dennis Rodman.

Keep in mind as you strive to become or improve upon being a power forward, that shooting is becoming more and more important. The way the game is played today requires almost all players on the floor to shoot unless you have a center that can hold down the paint on his own (Dwight Howard in Orlando, Clint Capela in Houston, Deandre Jordan next year in Dallas).

You can still be a strong, rebounding-focused four, but do not neglect the softer skills of the game such as shooting and passing out of the post. For help, contact The Basketball Movement!

Manu Ginobili retirement signals end to an era

San Antonio Spurs star, Manu Ginobili departs from a basketball career that helped shape one of the most dominant runs in pro sports history.

Manu Ginobili was one of the final pieces remaining in the San Antonio Spurs dynasty that had them appearing in 21 consecutive NBA Playoffs. That streak included an unprecedented 18 consecutive 50-win seasons (1998-1999 season was shortened and 50 would have been impossible).

Coach Gregg Popovich remains for the time being, but the legendary Spurs players have now all moved on. One of the winningest trios in sports, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker will be remembered as basketball legends.

David "The Admiral" Robinson's protege, big man Tim Duncan retired two years ago. Earlier this summer, Tony Parker left the Spurs to go to the Charlotte Hornets, though he has vocalized his desire to retire a Spur one way or another. A few days ago, Manu Ginobili announced his retirement via Twitter.

Ginobili's career is incredibly impressive, especially considering that he spent his NBA tenure coming off of the bench. Scoring in bunches, scrappy defense, and creative playmaking defined the Argentinian's unorthodox style. He very well may have been the player that first introduced the euro-step to the league.

He could easily be written off as a folk hero in San Antonio. Actually, he is a four time NBA Champion, a NBA Sixth Man of the Year, two-time NBA All-Star, a Euroleague Champion, and Olympic gold medalist from 2004 when Argentina beat Team USA. That resume has Basketball Hall of Fame potential.

The departure of Kawhi Leonard this Summer means that Coach Pop and Patty Mills are the only Spurs champions left standing. With DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge still in place, they will still have a chance to make yet another playoff push.

However, there will be something missing when you tune into a Spurs game going forward. The sustained greatness that was supplied by Ginobili & Co. may waiver, but Popovich will certainly make sure that the signature cool-as-ice play and smooth ball movement will carry on. Good luck to Manu in retirement and thanks for what you gave the world of basketball!

2018 Basketball Hall of Fame inductees

One of the highest honors of the basketball world is to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The 2018 Hall of Fame inductees were announced a little while ago, but the Hall of Fame presenters have been announced recently. Below is a full list of this year's inductees as well as those that will be presenting them and the year that they themselves were inducted. This information is directly from hoophall.com

2018 Inductees and Presenters

Ray Allen, presented by Reggie Miller (’12)

Maurice “Mo” Cheeks, presented by Billy Cunningham (’86)and Julius Erving (’93)

Charles “Lefty” Driesell, presented by John Thompson (’99), Mike Krzyzewski (’01), and George Raveling (’15)

Grant Hill, presented by Isiah Thomas (’00), Mike Krzyzewski (’01)Patrick Ewing (’08)and Alonzo Mourning (‘14)                   

Jason Kidd, presented by Gary Payton (’13)

Steve Nash, presented by Don Nelson (’12)

Dino Radja, presented by Larry Bird (’98)

Charlie Scott, presented by Dave Cowens (’91), Julius Erving (’93)Larry Brown (’02)James Worthy (’03)Jerry Colangelo (’04)Roy Williams (’07)and Spencer Haywood (’15)

Katie Smith, presented by Dawn Staley (’13)      

Tina Thompson, presented by Cheryl Miller (’95)

Rod Thorn, presented by Jerry West (’80)

Rick Welts, presented by Bill Russell (’75), Lenny Wilkens (’89 & ’98), Annie Meyers (’93), Russ Granik (’13), and David Stern (’14)

This is clearly an impressive list of inductees, headlined by some big-name players. The bottom half of the list from Dino Radja to Rick Welts is comprised of individuals selected by committees that focus on preserving the game including: The Veterans Committee, International Committee, Early African Pioneers Committee, and the Contributor Committee.

Three point sniper Ray Allen is a two-time NBA Champion that rounded out one of the best Celtics squads since Bird, McHale, and Parish. Then, he helped LeBron James win one in Miami.

Steals artist Maurice "Mo" Cheeks was a four-time NBA All-Star, and is currently an assistant coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Charles "Lefty" Driesell is the only coach in NCAA history to be named Conference Coach of the Year in four different conferences, per hoophall.com

Jason Kidd was a 10-time NBA All-Star and Champion with the Dallas Mavericks. One of the best to never win a championship, Steve Nash was a two-time NBA MVP and eight-time All-Star.

Grant Hill was a seven-time NBA All-Star whose career was hampered by injury. He made his presence felt nonetheless. Katie Smith is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and Tina Thompson was a four-time WNBA champ.

The ceremony will be held at the hall in Springfield, Massachusetts Friday, September 7th. A television showing is likely to be held on NBA TV, if not ESPN. Tune in to hear from some of the greatest to play the game of basketball! 

Player profiles: Small forwards

Not too big, but not actually small, the small forward is the in-between guy or gal on a basketball squad.

The term small-forward is a bit of an oxymoron, at least at the highest levels of the game. To be a forward, you would naturally be a larger or more stout player. Depending on the lineup of your team, the small forward can be expected to play on the perimeter or occassionally down in the post depending on the flow of the game.

Often a "jack-of-all-trades" for a team, the role of a small forward is varied. Some may be scorers, others may be defenders, and many times they are asked to do a bit of everything.

With versatility being the name of the game, it is best for current or prospective small forwards to do their best to balance their entire game. If the two guards are locked down by a full-court press, it falls to the small forward to become the ball handler. If the two post player get locked up double-teaming in the post, it becomes the small forwards job to get in the paint to protect the weak side.

Most examples of small forwards to watch at the highest level of the game can do a bit of everything on the floor. We will still break it up a bit by scorers, defensive-minded, and Swiss Army Knife type players.

Scoring small forwards

In looking at starting small forwards in today's NBA, it is unusual to find many scorers that don't also make a substantial impact on the defensive end. Even Kevin Durant, who is perennially one of the top scorers in the world, stepped up his defense this year, using his length to become a formidable shot-blocker. Still, he is a great one to watch for his ability to score in the post on out to the three point stripe.

Though he is starting to show signs of aging, Carmelo Anthony is a true example of a scoring small forward. His footwork, fadeaways, and nose for driving lanes make him a good example to emulate on the offensive end.

A few more examples are: Demar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Tobias Harris, and Brandon Ingram. A former pure-scoring SF was Larry Bird. Larry Legend could do a bit of everything on the floor as well from passing to guarding multiple positions. However, post play and early adaptation of perimeter shooting made him a nightmare to guard at the small forward position. A few more are Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, and Julius Erving.

Defensive-minded small forwards

Historically, Bruce Bowen of the San Antonio Spurs is one of the first defensive-minded small forwards that come to mind. Often pushing the limits with what he got away with, Bowen is still an excellent example of a defender at the small forward position - able to guard perimeter and post players alike. Really there are multiple players to examine from not that long ago; Scottie Pippin, Shawn Marion, and Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) are all standouts.

Also defensive-minded, but a bit more offensively capable than Bowen, current NBA player and former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala is a tremendous example to watch today. Iguodala did some scoring and distributing for his former teams, but coming off the bench for the Warriors, he is allowed to focus on his specialty; defense. His defense on LeBron James and timely three point shooting is what landed him 2014-15 Finals MVP honors.

A few other examples of current small forwards are Jaylen Brown and Otto Porter Jr. Both of these players have carved out defensive roles on their teams, but are constantly working to enhance their scoring ability as well. P.J. Tucker is an example of a more pure defender.

One takeaway from defensive-minded small forwards is the players that established themselves as defense-first stars and then blossomed their offense later. Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo both broke into the league with defense, but are now well-rounded stars.

Swiss Army knife small forwards

The best small forwards are often the ones that can do it all. The ultimate do it all SF past or present has to be LeBron James.

LeBron entered the league already having great size and speed, allowing him to defend multiple positions. His ball-handling and scoring ability put him on par with any guard on the court. He developed a shooting touch as well, rounding him out as one of if not the best all-around players in the history of the game.

We have already touched on Durant, Antetokounmpo, and Leonard who would now be considered all-around small forwards. Another Swiss Army knife SF that needs to be mentioned is Paul George.

Considered to be one of the best two-way players in the game, PG-13 is one of the top small forwards to watch on both ends of the floor. On defense, he knows when to have active hands vs. when to just use his body and size. On offense, he uses his whole repitoire to score when the defense forces him either out of the paint or off of the three point line.

Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics is another example of a good two-way SF, with former Celtic Paul Peirce being a prime example as well. Pierce was known for his scoring, but his underrated defense was fueled by his competitive fire. Some good examples from a little further back would be Chris Mullen and Dominique Wilkins.

If you need some small forwards to watch and mold your game after, the above players should provide you with a great starting point!

Power forwards are up next!

Player profiles: Shooting guards

A shooting guard or "two-guard" can be various things for their team. Shooting is in the title, but defense can be paramount as well.

Point guards bring the ball down and initiate the offense, but they are not alone on the perimeter. Offense often runs through the wing players as well, as they have superior angles for passing into the post or swinging the ball around the outside.

As the title suggests, shooting is a duty that has long been reserved for the two-guard in a lineup. However, with the evolution of the game, there are now shooters at every position. For this reason, shooting guards have been asked to do more and more on the floor. A superior wing defender is now as coveted as a solid shooter because they can guard the opponent's top perimeter scorers.

Let's get into some shooting guards that you can emulate if you are or want to become a shooting guard.

Scoring shooting guards

In today's game, it is tough to find scoring shooting guards that are not also solid defenders. If you are needing some examples of SG's that can score though, below are a handful of players to model your offense after.

Bradley Beal and Devin Booker are some of the sweetest shooting two guards in the game right now. Another, more underrated scorer is Kris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks. A former player, recent enough that there is plenty of film on him, is Ray Allen.

One of the top, if not the top scoring shooting guard in the game is Klay Thompson. He is a good defender, but he is the player to watch if you want a scoring SG to emulate. He has what may be the prettiest shot in the game and the way he works to get it off is a great example for any current or budding shooting guard.

Lockdown defenders

Though many teams/coaches would prefer at least a three-and-D type of player, some shooting guards get by on their defense alone. Defensive focus at the highest level takes a lot of work, though you must still remain an option on offense by at least slashing to the basket and being a willing distributor.

Two examples of this type of player today are Andre Roberson of the OKC Thunder and free agent, Tony Allen. Don't watch film of Roberson shooting, but watch some of his time on the defensive end to understand his place in the NBA. Roberson's use of length and Allen's use of positioning, footwork, and strength are great things to watch for.

An example of a couple of three-and-D type players still in the game are Danny Green and Avery Bradley. Some former players are Sidney Moncrief and Michael Cooper, who could defend multiple positions.

Somewhere in-between

With point guards, it appeared that somewhere between pass-first and shoot-first would put you in a great spot in the modern game. With shooting guards, things appear similarly, as some of the all-time greats were not only fantastic scorers, but elite defenders as well.

The best shooting guard to date is Michael Jordan, who was not only a 10x NBA scoring leader, but also 9x All-NBA Defense, including Defensive Player of the Year in 87-88. For film analysis of a SG that could do it all, MJ is the ultimate example.

One of the most elite scorers in basketball history, but also another accomplished defender is Kobe Bryant. If you need to work on footwork, Kobe is one of the best guards to watch.

A few current players to watch that do a little bit of everything are Dwyane Wade, Victor Oladipo, and Jimmy Butler.

That should give you plenty of homework if you need to study up on becoming or improving upon being a shooting guard. That wraps up the guard positions, so forwards, you're up next with the player profile on small forwards. Stay tuned!

2018-19 NBA schedule released

The NBA has already released the schedule for the upcoming 2018-19 season. Here are a few notable nights.

With the release of the NBA schedule, we see some familiar trends. Holidays like Christmas, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Thanksgiving(ish), and of course the first opening days are loaded with interesting matchups.

The season will kick-off October 16 with the 76ers traveling to Boston to take on the Celtics. This was a big rivalry many years ago, but with LeBron James now in the Western Conference (his first game as a Laker is Oct. 18), each team can now see themselves on a trajectory that could land them in the NBA Finals. The game will be on TNT.

As usual, Christmas Day is a great one for basketball fans that have the opportunity to put their feet up and get get away from the hustle and bustle. LeBron vs. the Warriors is a classic, but we will see him try to topple Steph, KD, and the gang as a Laker this time. The other top Christmas Day game will likely be Thunder at Rockets. Aside from just being a fun game to watch, it will be interesting to see OKC face Carmelo Anthony and determine if they are in the running in the West.

Most basketball fans have heard a thing or two about the Kawhi Leonard/DeMar DeRozan trade. Assuming Kawhi does not find a way to leave or not play for the Raptors, we will see him face off against the Spurs for the first time February 22nd.

A lot of familiar faces are in new places this season. The nights that feature former teammates and organizations are often some of the most exciting. LeBron vs. Kyrie is now a classic Lakers vs. Celtics match that will make for fantastic television. Those two will meet February 7 and you can bet it will hold down a prime TV spot. James' return to Cleveland will be November 21 - the crowd reaction will be very interesting.

A couple of other notable stars returning to their old teams for the first time will be Gordon Hayward of the Celtics returning to Utah November 9th and Blake Griffin of the Pistons returning to L.A. January 12th.

Thunder fans will likely have March 16 circled on their calendars, as the showdown with Kevin Durant is always juicy drama.

With all of the fancinating rookies from Luka Doncic to Alize Johnson, familiar faces in new places, and plenty of rivalries, it will be a very entertaining season. Heck, maybe the Warriors won't even win it all. Oh wait, they added DeMarcus Cousins. Well, we'll see.

Each of the 30 teams will play a 82 game season, so there are of course too many games to show here. A link to the full NBA schedule can be found here: http://stats.nba.com/schedule/#!?PD=N&Month=0

Player profiles: Point guards

This is the first of a five-part series about specific basketball positions. We will show you some examples of players to watch at each position, starting with point guard.

Point guards have long been described as "floor generals" on the basketball court. They are in charge of bringing the ball up the court to initiate offense. Typically, the point guard will determine which plays are to be run, or the coach will relay the plays through the point guard. Some of the best point guards are the equivalent of another coach on the floor.

In player profiles, we will give you a few examples of players to watch if you are a point guard or would like to become one. There are dozens of players that set great examples on the floor, especially in the pros (which this series will primarily focus on). We will pick out a few of the best in the game, or maybe some older players if there is adequate footage.

Let's open up with the more traditional point guard style:

Pass-first point guards

In the age of the three point shot, perimeter players are often attempting to emulate the likes of Steph Curry. Historically, point guards have been less scoring-oriented and more concerned with facilitation and assist-to-turnover ratio.

Many of the best pass-first point guards have retired, such as Jason Kidd or Steve Nash. Their highlights are still worth watching as well as more general game footage. Their ability to keep their head up while dribbling allows them to see every passing angle available on the floor.

There are still a few pass-first PG's left in the NBA. Mike Conely of the Memphis Grizzlies has come into his own as a scorer, but is still defensive and passing-minded. Future Hall of Famer, Chris Paul is a pass-first guy that is a terrific example if you are on a team that plays at a fast pace.

 Another example is Rajon Rondo. Rondo has had an up-and-down career, but when he is locked-in, he may be the best example of a pass-first PG you can learn from in today's game.

Scoring point guards

Being a point guard means you will have the ball in your hands a lot. When you have a lot of touches and can score, it is a great benefit for your team. You will naturally get assists as well, but scoring guards are typically relied on by their team more for points.

There are many examples of scoring guards in today's game. Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving, and the combo guard James Harden are some big-name examples. An often underrated theme between these guards is their ball-handling ability that allows them to shake defenders on the perimeter and get to the rim at will.

Another great example to watch is Damien Lillard. Dame "Dolla" is a no-nonsense scorer that leads his team with a competitive fire.

Somewhere in-between

Not everything is black and white in terms of labeling a point guard's style. If you are interested in being a facilitating point guard that is also a capable scorer, there are plenty of those options as well.

The ultimate do it all guard today is Russell Westbrook. Coming off of his second season averaging a triple-double, Russ is a great one to watch as he overcomes his point guard size to ferociously attack the glass, the defense, and anything that stands in his way. Despite his tenacity, he always has his eyes open for teammates as one of the league's top assist men.

Another good in-between guard is John Wall of the Washington Wizards. Wall is not a skilled outside shooter, but his mid-range game and slashing ability make for solid scoring. He is also among the best passers in the NBA, typically averaging around 10 per game. He is a good one to watch if you are a speedy player that needs to strive for control.

Another in-between point guard to watch film on is Magic Johnson, who scored when necessary, but was always on the lookout for the open man. For more up close and personal work with an experienced point guard, you can of course get in some Basketball Movement training with former pro, Rob Yanders.

That's it for Player Profiles: Point guards! Current or future shooting guards, keep your eye out for the next installment as we break down top player examples at that position. Forwards, you will be up next! 

Dealing with referees

Referees have the impossible task of trying to point out every reasonable instance that rules are not followed. Sometimes, they get some things wrong.

If you have been around basketball at any level, for any amount of time, you have seen a referee miss calls or misinterpret infractions. Whether they are youth sports volunteers, part-time high school refs, or professionals, they all make mistakes just the same.

In a competitive atmosphere such as basketball, it is not tough to get heated when things like calls aren't going your way. Turnovers and mental errors are within your control as a player, but when something outside of your control like not getting calls starts happening, it can take you out of your zone. What are you supposed to do in these scenarios?

Sometimes it may be easier said than done, but you must always do your best to shrug-off bad calls and not let them get to you. Referees are human, and are prone to make the same types of errors with calls that players sometimes make with the basketball. Keeping your head in the game and not letting referees get to you is the best thing that you can do for your team.

Never let your emotions overcome you by slamming the ball, throwing your hands up, or verbally displaying your frustration. These things show your opponents weakness. If a foul call, accurate or inaccurate, can get under your skin, so can an opposing player.

Maintaining a next-play mentality is a key in the game of basketball. If you get called for a charge or travel, give up the ball and try to make up for it on defense. If you are called for a a bad foul, shake it off and be a little more careful next time, but still play hard. One of the worst things you can do for your team is start to accumulate technicals and take yourself out of the game, so always keep your cool.

Malicious referees

Once again - refs are people too. They are not only prone to some mistakes, but some other human flaws as well. Rarely, you may cross paths with a referee or two that make things too personal. Maybe they have a bias toward one team that skews the whistle blowing. Maybe they don't like your face. Hey, I'm sure you have a great face, but not all refs are going to be great people.

How do you handle these kinds of refs? Glad you asked! You handle them the same darn way.

The number one thing you can do if you feel like "getting back" at a terrible ref is to be unflappable. When someone is trying to get under your skin, keeping your cool and acting like you don't even notice is the best way to make them feel ridiculous.

The crowd may be getting rowdy as well as your teammates or coach. Parents - calling out refs from the stands will likely just make matters worse. They aren't going to reverse any calls; don't give them a reason to prolong their biased whistle blowing. Players - if your teammates are getting heated, go cool them off. Get between them and their issues, make eye-contact, and explain to them that their energy is needed for the game.

The individuals most equipped to deal with these situations are the coaches. Coaches - you need to keep your cool as well. Feel free to engage in occasional conversations with the refs, but don't scream. If you act reasonably, the refs are more likely to respond reasonably.

There have been some unfortunate instances of emotions boiling over recently that have been floating around online. Some have even turned physical. Remember, keep your cool and let your play and demeanor do the talking. We all want to win, but at the end of the day, the players, coaches, fans, and even referees are their because we all love the GAME.

Probably too early NCAAM BPI rankings

The NCAA men's college basketball season is just under 100 days away, but predictions are already being formulated.

Recently, ESPN released some summertime BPI rankings for guy's college hoops. Yes, we are a long way out, but as they mention, the October rankings are pretty predictive, so it's reasonable to think that some August numbers may be telling as well.

BPI rankings are unique, and take into account some in-depth factors that may look a little funny without some explanation. Here is a description of what it takes into account:

The preseason rankings are based on the following categories: the quality and quantity of the returning players on the team, including transfers and players who missed last season because of injury; recruiting rankings, both overall and the number of five-star prospects; and coaches’ past performances on offense and defense.
— Jeff Borzello, ESPN Staff Writer

It is important to note that the rankings are weighted on returning talent when examining the below list. This means that Kentucky and Duke in particular will be shown lower here than any other ranking list you will find. For the sake of consistency, they are left where they are to purely show BPI numbers.

A few other team that have surprising rankings are Marquette, West Virginia, Syracuse, and Wisconsin. The model likes Marquette and WV's offense and coaching style. Wisconsin and Syracuse seem to be based largely on returning talent. Below is the top 25 of the list, taken directly from ESPN:

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As mentioned, we are a long way out from college basketball season. It is fun to play the guessing game on where everyone will wind up, and there are a lot of numbers behind the above list. BPI doesn't account for everything such as Duke's massive influx of young talent, so things are certainly subject to change.

Keep an eye on The Basketball Movement for more college hoops stuff, NBA stuff, high school stuff, WNBA stuff, local stuff, and well, basketball stuff!

Trae Bell-Haynes - NBA prospect

Trae Bell-Haynes has his eyes on the NBA after playing for the Milwaukee Bucks Summer League team.

The Basketball Movement is working out another NBA Summer League alumni. Coming off a summer participating in the NBA's Global Camp in Italy and the NBA Summer League, Trae Bell-Haynes is ready to take the next step.

Bell-Haynes played four years at Vermont, where he was American East Player of the Year and AP All-American honorable mention twice. At Vermont, he got to know The Basketball Movement's Payton Henson. Payton knew that Trae was trying to take his game to the next level, so he let him know about his great experience with Coach Rob Yanders. Trae was interested in the workouts, so Coach Rob reached out and got him to Southwest Missouri.

In a phone conversation with Bell-Haynes, he broke out how Rob and The Basketball Movement has already helped him as a player.

Trae Bell-Haynes at The Movement

Many different trainers tell players many different things as Bell-Haynes pointed out. In talking to Payton Henson, Trae said that he learned that Rob was the real deal.

Rob doesn’t do crazy things. He focuses on teaching you to play the right way, which was very applicable to me because I’m not a crazy, flashy player.
— Bell-Haynes on Coach Rob

Trae talked a lot about the high level of energy and intensity of the workouts at The Basketball Movement. He says that the fast-pace is different than other workouts he has experienced. He noted that Rob said something that has really stuck with him - "The person is the player."

What this means is that everything in life bleeds over onto the basketball court. If there is drama or positivity in your life, it affects your play for better or worse. Bell-Haynes says that as he strives to make his living playing basketball, this is a thought he will carry with him to make sure he attempts to block out any negative impact on his game.

In college, Trae Bell-Haynes did most of his scoring at the basket. He got his numbers in transition or at the free throw line. These are valuable skills for a guard, but he is currently working on expanding his range to become a more complete scorer. He says that being young (22) there is still plenty of room for improvement everywhere - "That's why I came to The Basketball Movement."

A pro-level player

It has already been a whirlwind summer for the 6'2" guard out of Toronto, Canada. With the worldwide growth of the game of basketball, the NBA has been expanding its search for top talent. For that reason, they hosted the NBA Global Camp in Italy this summer, where Bell-Haynes was one of just 40 players invited for interviews, scrimmages, drills, and strength and conditioning tests.

Being in Italy was a bonus, but it was my first time being around 39 other NBA-level, like-minded guys. It was a great experience.
— Bell-Haynes on NBA Global Camp

While he was there, Trae interviewed with the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic organizations. After the interviews, he recalls that the Bucks expressed interest a couple weeks later. From there, he attended workouts and after the draft came and went, they called and asked if he would play on their Summer League squad.

Bell-Haynes played all five Summer League games at point guard for the Bucks. In only 14.2 minutes per contest, he still managed to show off his passing prowess and ability to get to the rim, shooting 62 percent. He scored 13 in his final game of the summer.

Trae Bell-Haynes knows that he can be a valuable contributor on an NBA team. The more time he spends at The Basketball Movement, the closer he will get to achieving his goal. For more on The Movement from prep-to-pro, keep it locked right here as we continue to elevate our game to help you elevate yours.

Shooting: Extending to three-point range

In today's game, it is almost impossible to get by without a shooting touch. Is a three-point shot realistic for you?

For a long time, three-pointers were reserved for point guards and shooting guards. Post players would be chastised for daring a shot attempt beyond 16-18 feet from the rim. In today's game however, big players are getting faster, handling the ball better, and showing finesse in their shot attempts. For guards, shooting has become even more important to hang with such players.

The saying goes: "The grass is always greener on the other side." Players that can shoot would give anything to be a powerful dunker the same way a powerful dunker wishes they could shoot (though of course some can do both). Needless to say, most players wish they could drain threes from anywhere like Steph Curry.

Shooting, especially long-range shooting, is not an inherent talent. Shooting takes years of work to perfect. Players do not start out shooting from deep either. Before you can hit threes, you need to be able to hit deep two-pointers. Before deep twos, mid-range shots should be no-problem. Before that: shots in the paint.

This applies not only to young players, but also current ones that would like to extend their range. You must be able to hit mid-range before long balls the way you must be able to walk before you can run.

Determining if you are a three point shooter

No one can stop you from working on outside shooting. However, if your coach says "Stay in the paint", then stay in the paint and practice everything that they tell you while you are on their watch. Sometimes if you want to branch out, you must do it on your own time. Get in a gym - maybe one with a basketball shooting gun at its disposal... we may be able to help with that part.

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As mentioned previously, you can't become a deep-threat overnight. Extending your range must be a gradual process. Get comfortable hitting mid-range jumpers from everywhere on the floor. Once you are fully comfortable and efficient from that range, reward yourself with some three-point shots. Just make sure you are practicing the right way

Again, The Basketball Movement can help.

For many young players it is a matter of strength. If heaving up threes takes you out of your traditional shooting motion, it might be a little early. Keep working on your strength and shooting from shorter distances. Patience is a virtue.

If you are already an established player looking to extend your range, seek guidance to make sure that you are starting the right way in terms of form, focus point, and situational awareness. Contact The Basketball Movement here to get started.

Outside shooting is not for everyone, so do not get discouraged if it doesn't work out. There are always other skills that you can work on to make you the best player you can be. You may possess abilities or qualities that other players wish they had, so focus on your strengths and keep grinding.