Harkless improving

23. Moe Harkless’s Late-Season Friskiness As recently as three months ago, Harkless looked terrified to do anything with the ball but immediately pass it to someone else. But something has clicked for him, and he’s increasingly comfortable taking it to the rim when he should — when he catches the ball with the defense in midrotation, or when he senses his defender is off-balance:

Simmons: rebuilding and GM's job security.

Here’s a theory for you: If you’re a GM, what’s the best way to make sure you’ll stay employed for four to five years? The answer: Blow everything up, bottom out, build around young players/cap space/lottery picks, make a bunch of first-round picks, and sell the "illusion of hope" to your fans. What the new wave of young GMs like Sam Hinkie, Ryan McDonough and Rob Hennigan are doing is extremely smart — both from a basketball standpoint and a self-preservation standpoint — because it’s hard for anyone to say "YOU FAILED!" when you’re executing a multiyear plan that can’t be judged until 2016 or 2017 at the earliest.

I’d like to see people in other professions try this. For instance, the guy who runs ABC right now, Paul Lee, is mired in a two-year mega-slump. I think he’s launched 23 shows in the past two years and only two of them have had even mild success. Last week, Kimmel’s 11:35 late-night show outrated ABC’s 10 p.m. prime-time show on three different nights. That’s almost impossible.

OK, so let’s say Paul Lee started thinking like an NBA GM. What would happen? He’d tell everybody, "Look, we fell into the bad habit here of throwing up 10 to 12 shows every year just because we had to have new shows for our schedule. I gotta be honest, I knew most of these shows wouldn’t work. But we needed to put SOMETHING on. So next year, I’m swinging the other way — I have only two new shows that I like, so we’re launching those and that’s it. Instead of wasting your time with the other eight to 10 shows that won’t work, I’m filling those spots with the cheapest reality shows possible, then long-term, I’m using the extra money we saved on failed pilots and lousy pilots to develop better shows with more accomplished showrunners. We’re going to be really good … in 2016!"

You know what would happen if Paul Lee announced that? He’d get fired within five minutes. But in the NBA, everyone accepts that mind-set and even encourages it. Hey, fans — who’s ready to bottom out? Who wants to hinge their hopes to a bunch of maybes and might-bes? Totally bizarre. I find it hard to believe that every Phoenix fan would rather use those four first-rounders over parlaying one or two of them into players who would make this season’s already-fun Suns team even more fun. But what do I know?

Bill Simmons

Mike Prada on Jacque Vaughn

I'm not totally sold on Orlando's existing talent (most notably, Tobias Harris), and I wonder if it's good for that team's development to be this morbid. But I think they have a keeper of a coach in Jacque Vaughn, who has helped Arron Afflalo reach an All-Star level with interesting play-calling that gets the most out of Afflalo's ability to move without the ball.

Mike Prada of SB Nation

Dante Exum likes the Magic?

A big reason why the NBA piques Exum's interest is because it's a point guard-friendly league. His dream teams are the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers, as he's friends with Victor Oladipo—they met at Indiana during Exum's recruiting visit—and Kobe Bryant is one of his two favorite players (the other is Derrick Rose).

Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report


I just imagined a Marcus Smart-[Victor] Oladipo backcourt and had to take a lap around my desk because of the sheer nervous excitement that prospect inspires in me.

Colin McGowan of Sports on Earth

Hot Start for MCW

No player has been more of a pleasant surprise than rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams.

Carter-Williams took over against the Chicago Bulls, posting 26 points, 10 assists, four rebounds and three steals en route to a 107-104 win. It’s also worth noting that defended league MVP Derrick Rose and forced him to shoot 4-of-14 from the field with eight turnovers.

As for the historical importance of MCW’s performance, he’s now the second player in the last 25 seasons to register at least 20 points and 10 assists in at least two of his first three games. The other was Damon Stoudamire in 1995-96.

Stoudamire went on to win the 1996 Rookie of the Year award. Carter-Williams has the look of a player who could do the same in 2013-14.

Max Ogden of

Magic to pay Romero $100k?

HoopsWorld’s Eric Pincus confirms to Hoops Rumors that the Magic are paying Romero Osby $100K this year, despite his earlier report that Osby’s partial guarantee would only kick in if he made the opening-night roster. The team waived Osby on Friday. Pincus lists the $100K on the Magic’s updated salary page at HoopsWorld.


Very grateful and fortunate to have signed my first ever NBA contract. Our Lord and Savior is so good I am not worthy but he continues to shower blessings over my family and I. Thanks to everyone for the support throughout this journey. #WeWill

Romero Osby


Shaq bought one arcade machine [of NBA Jam] for his home. Shaq bought a second arcade machine that he made the Magic lug around on road trips and set up in each city they visited. Shaq is Shaq.

Seth Rosenthal of SB Nation NBA

Quote: Reggie Jackson praises Victor Oladipo

"The kid, he's going to be a good player in this league. He works hard. He's a freak athlete. He's just a hungry kid."

Oklahoma CIty Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson on Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo, via Mike Wallace of ESPN
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