Blog Posts by Kelly Dwyer

  • Tennis legend Yannick Noah, somewhat famously, outfitted himself in Le Coq Sportif footwear during his celebrated career. This is why it made complete and total sense his adoring son, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, would sign the first endorsement deal with the iconic French brand upon entering the NBA in 2007. For years, Noah loped up and down the court in the (relative to the NBA) obscure line of unique shoes, developing into an All-Star and beloved Chicago sports icon along the way.

    Noah’s career was sent into a tizzy in 2012-13, though, when a painful case of plantar fasciitis derailed his season. Though many rightfully criticized Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau for overworking the big man (who had suffered from the foot ailment before) for 40 minutes again during the first half of the season, Noah found culprit in another source. He blamed the shoes, and he’s also blaming Le Coq Sportif for allegedly not paying him what he was supposed to be handed as part of his six-year, $6 million

    Read More »from Joakim Noah is suing his former shoemaker, claiming they failed to pay him and contributed to his foot injuries
  • If the Coach of the Year award is so tough to vote for because there are so many deserving candidates, the Most Improved Player award is equally as vexing because the criteria for the award is debatable at best and vague at worst. The hardware usually goes to a performer who jumps from pretty good to great in the span of a season, but not before writers and fans debate endlessly about who should be included in the consideration for the process.

    Are second-year players expected to improve, allowed to be in the mix? What about a player who makes the jump from lousy to serviceable – certainly no marquee name, but still making a bigger jump than someone who rounds into an All-Star. What about MVP-level players like Kevin Durant; should they be penalized for starting off at too high a stratum?

    That’s why I always fall back on just voting for a literal “most improved player,” whether that be someone like Durant, someone like little-noticed second-year big man Miles Plumlee of Phoenix, or

    Read More »from Goran Dragic wins the NBA's 2013-14 Most Improved Player award
  • Much like a college basketball team getting its first loss out of the way before the NCAA tournament hits, perhaps it is best New York Knicks owner James Dolan and president Phil Jackson had their first disagreement about something as relatively benign as the firing of unnamed staff this month. Just a chance to reiterate just who is who in this relationship, before it comes time to start arguing about coaches, general managers, players or disclosures with the media.

    That’s the report from Frank Isola at the New York Daily News, who revealed Dolan got in the way of Jackson firing several members of the Knicks staff, citing loyalty as the reason. What role this staff did or will play with the Knicks wasn’t listed, but we do know Jackson and Dolan have already just about signed off on the fact that, no, Phil really isn’t completely in charge here.

    From Isola’s piece:

    Just one month into his role as Knicks president, Jackson has already clashed with Dolan, the chairman of Madison Square

    Read More »from Phil Jackson quiets rumors of a rift with James Dolan by talking up Steve Kerr, Carmelo Anthony's contract
  • CHICAGO – Once again, it appears as if the rest of the NBA has caught up to the postseason version of the Chicago Bulls, those noted regular-season thrashers. And the Washington Wizards appear to have turned a corner that could put them in the second round for just the third time since Ronald Reagan’s first term in the town they play in.

    The Wizards will return to that home with a 2-0 series lead over Chicago, following their gritty 101-99 overtime win on Tuesday evening. The Wizards erased a 10-point deficit to force overtime and once again encourage Chicago into moving away from its offensive bread and butter – a decidedly modest bread and butter, to be sure, but one that helped the Bulls secure the first-round home-court advantage they relinquished during Sunday’s Game 1.

    To be sure, Washington earned that home-court turnaround, utilizing a defense that ranked in the top 10 during the regular season to pressure Chicago into tough, guard-dominated offensive play. Because Chicago’s

    Read More »from Washington continues its domination of the Chicago Bulls, grabs a 2-0 series lead
  • Chicago and Indiana are fighting for their playoff lives in Game 2

    The Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls entered 2013-14 as championship contenders. At various points during the autumn and winter they were the darlings of the NBA. Both teams began the postseason with aspirations to knock off the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. They boast the two best defenses in the NBA, and they’re working against two limited teams in Atlanta and Washington that few gave a nod to as first-round victors.

    On Tuesday, both Indiana and Chicago will be fighting to save their seasons. Even in a best-of-seven series, it’s astonishing what one misspent game will cost you.

    Atlanta demolished Indiana in Game 1, while Washington took out the X-acto knife to take apart Chicago. Both lower-seeded teams took each contest on the road, and neither victory came off as a fluke. This is why many see Tuesday night’s Game 2s as coin flips of sorts, with Atlanta having decided matchup advantages against Indiana, and Washington somehow aping Chicago’s defensive intensity and

    Read More »from Chicago and Indiana are fighting for their playoff lives in Game 2
  • Joakim Noah wins the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year Award

    The NBA has enjoyed a culture shift over the last few years, with a younger generation of writers on websites that didn’t exist a decade ago taking to their laptops to try and Get Everything Right. As a result, as we clear the noise and work through the unending sources of both voice and source, the league’s fans have become more and more intelligent, besotted after taking in numbers after numbers after clips after quotes from the writers trying to explain why this all counts.

    And as a result of that, NBA awards aren’t as prone to storyline as they once were. Still, that doesn’t mean the league’s latest round of documenters are shying away from bestowing thrones midseason (or even earlier) award suggestions, mainly because certain players deserve it. Roy Hibbert, the Indiana Pacers center whose ability to guard the rim vaulted the Pacers to tops in the league in terms of defensive efficiency, was rightfully regarded as the NBA’s top defender over the winter, when the snow unendingly

    Read More »from Joakim Noah wins the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year Award
  • The shot clock malfunction that turned Game 1 of the opening round series between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets into a near calamity was an embarrassment to all involved. The NBA did not like the sideshow of the public address announcer having to count off ticks on the clock in its opening game of the postseason, and the players likely did not enjoy both their rhythm being interrupted and their routine altered as the possessions wore down. And the Air Canada Centre certainly did not appreciate its beautiful facility being looked at by millions as some sort of Mickey Mouse affair.

    It appears the problem occurred because there was a mouse in the house. That mouse was a real Mickey, namely ESPN, at least according to one anonymous ACC source who spoke to Jeff Zillgitt at USA Today:

    ESPN caused the shot clocks to malfunction during Game 1 Saturday between the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre when it tried to solve an internal issue by plugging into the same

    Read More »from An anonymous source pegs the blame for Toronto's shot clock malfunction on ESPN
  • Rick Adelman steps down as Minnesota Timberwolves head coach

    It will come as no surprise that Rick Adelman stepped down as Minnesota Timberwolves coach on Monday. The longtime successful NBA sideline stalker was rumored to be considering a move along those lines last season, and the wear of losing seasons and inability to spend more time with his family clearly has been getting to the coach. With a duel team/coach contract option left to consider for 2014-15, Adelman and the T'wolves decided to part ways on Monday after a 97-133 run in Minnesota – a disappointing mark considering the team’s past wealth of lottery picks and cap space.

    That record also isn’t representative of Adelman’s career-long work as a coach, which dates back to 1988. He managed a 1,042-win career and was the lead man on several NBA champion runner-ups, whether they were official (losing in the Finals twice against powerhouses in Detroit and Chicago) or unofficial (falling to the Lakers in a controversial Western Conference finals in 2002). Adelman’s offenses were renowned

    Read More »from Rick Adelman steps down as Minnesota Timberwolves head coach
  • CHICAGO – The Chicago Bulls aren’t exactly world-beaters. With Derrick Rose sidelined for the season, nobody is confusing this team for a championship contender in 2014, but teams should still be warned against attempting to beat the Bulls at their own game. That’s exactly what the Washington Wizards did on Sunday night, though, pairing tough defense with a highly developed frontcourt attack to down Chicago, 102-93, stealing home-court advantage and Game 1 of their first-round playoff series along the way.

    Chicago was up by as many as 13 points in the third quarter before Washington started chipping away at the lead using the same hallmarks that made the first half a competitive back and forth. The Wizards ran the offense through Nene, the oft-injured but versatile big man with seven years of playoff experience under his 31-year-old belt. He finished with 24 points, his third-highest output of the season at the exact right time, tossing in eight rebounds and several hockey assists

    Read More »from Washington steals home-court advantage from the Chicago Bulls, takes a 1-0 series lead
  • Roy Hibbert finished with eight points and five fouls in the loss. (Getty Images)

    As you’d expect, the Indiana Pacers put up a brave face and consistent tone following the team’s somewhat shocking 101-93 defeat on Saturday night, a professional reaction following a disappointing home loss in the first game of their opening round playoff series to the Atlanta Hawks. The group had worked all season to earn the first seed in the Eastern playoffs bracket, purportedly to play a Game 7 in Indianapolis against the Miami Heat sometime in June, but in one two and half hour mid-April flourish the team quickly lost first round home court advantage to what some have surmised to be the worst NBA playoff team ever.

    The 38-win Hawks expertly attacked Indiana’s strong and weak points in the Game 1 win, though, pulling the Pacer big men away from the basket while relentlessly attacking a step-slow Indiana offense that constantly had a hand in its face. Nowhere was this more evident than a 30-16 third quarter turnout in Atlanta’s favor, one that had the Pacers completely out of sync

    Read More »from Indiana loses home-court advantage, falls to Atlanta, has no answers for its continued struggles


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