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Patrick Beverley Says EuroLeague Coaches Are Better Than Their NBA Rivals

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Patrick Beverley EuroLeague

Nikola Jokić and Luka Dončić are arguably the best players in the NBA. What they both have in common is that they grew up playing basketball in Europe and played professionally abroad before coming to the NBA.

Jokić and Dončić are hardly the only Europeans giving American players fits in the NBA. Other top players include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kristaps Porziņģis, and Domantas Sabonis. 

All of these ultra-talented players may soon be overshadowed by Victor Wembanyama. The 20-year-old French player is 7 feet, 3.5 inches tall without shoes, and can do things other players his size can only dream of, including crossing up opponents, draining three-pointers, and throwing laser-accurate cross-court passes. 

In the last 10 years, there’s been an explosion of European players in the league. In the past, Europeans were largely role players, with few like Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker achieving superstar status. However, that has all changed; now, arguably, three of the best five players in the league hail from Europe.

Due to this shift, fans are curious why this has happened. Recently, Patrick Beverley, who has played all over Europe and had a very successful career in the NBA, shared his thoughts. The Milwaukee Bucks players had some very interesting insights into American and European Basketball.

Role Players in the EuroLeague and NBA Are Very Similar

Patrick Beverley said that apart from the NBA superstars who are in a league of their own, the skill level between the leagues is very similar. He said that if NBA and EuroLeague role players swapped, nobody would be able to tell the difference. Players from both leagues have similar skill sets and are all-round professionals. 

Beverley said that the EuroLeague is lacking superstars. You won’t find players like Luka Dončić, LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant in the EuroLeague. These players are so rare and are drawn to the NBA due to the massive salaries that the EuroLeague can’t compete with. 

Shane Larkin is the highest-paid player in the EuroLeague and is reportedly earning $4 million per year. While it may sound like a lot, wait until you hear how much Steph Curry is earning. The greatest three-point shooter of all time is pulling in $51,915,615 annually.

EuroLeague Players Compete Harder

According to Beverley, there are no off days in Europe. Players are expected to give their all in every single game. This is very different from the NBA, where coaches regularly rest star players, and due to the amount of travel and number of games, teams take games off.

In the EuroLeague, players are expected to play through injuries. They only miss games if there’s a serious medical issue. On the other hand, in the NBA, coaches want to protect their star players and keep them healthy for the playoffs. They won’t risk playing superstars, even if they only have a minor injury. 

Defense is also a source of pride in the EuroLeague. Coaches are very strict about players being physical, while in the NBA, many teams only get serious about defense during the playoffs, and if it’s just a regular season game, won’t push themselves that hard. 

European players have a deep connection to their clubs, and there’s a strong team atmosphere where all players are meant to sacrifice for the good of the collective. It’s different in the NBA, where the focus is on superstar players interested in padding stats, signing huge contracts, and winning championships at any team. 

The EuroLeague Has Better Coaches

Even after playing over a decade in the NBA, Beverley says the best coach he ever played for was Jure Zdovc. The legendary Lithuanian coach helped Beverley improve his fundamentals and showed him how to play proper team basketball.

Zdovc was also incredibly tough on Beverley. Despite the American being the MVP of the league, the Lithuanian would regularly get in Beverley’s face and demand perfection.

The veteran NBA player thinks that NBA coaches are hired to be fired and are tossed aside whenever there’s a dip in form. Beverley thinks the coaching is more sophisticated in Europe, with coaches taking pride in the plays they run and the ability to win with multiple teams. In contrast, NBA coaches are more focused on how big their salary is.

Read more: Isaiah Collier Is Likely to Go Number 1 at the 2024 NBA Draft

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NBA Finals Drama: Porzinģis’ Injury Shakes Up Celtics’ Strategy and Dončić Worries

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NBA Finals

On Tuesday, the Boston Celtics announced a new injury to former All-Star center Kristaps Porziņģis: a torn medial retinaculum allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon in his left leg. The team described the condition as a “rare injury” and stated that his availability for the remainder of the NBA Finals would be determined day-to-day. A few hours later, Porziņģis was officially listed as questionable for Game 3, with Boston leading the Dallas Mavericks 2-0 in the series.

How Does He Feel?

“I’m optimistic,” Porziņģis told reporters in Dallas on Tuesday. “As I said, I will do everything I can to be out there tomorrow. Nothing’s going to stop me unless I’m told I’m not allowed to play. That’s the only reason I would not be out there, but tomorrow we’ll see.”

The Celtics said the injury occurred in the third quarter in Game 2 during a box-out collision with Mavericks center Dereck Lively II. After the collision, Porziņģis appeared to move more gingerly on his left leg, particularly on the next several possessions as he attempted to close out on shooters. He stayed in the game for another 2:45 before subbing out and retreating to the locker room, then returned to play an additional 3:26 in the fourth quarter.

“He’s doing everything and anything he can to be ready for the game tomorrow,” said Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla. “It’s a serious injury. At the end of the day, our team and the medical team are not going to put him in any bad situations. We’ve taken the decision to play out of his hands because of the importance of him. He’s going to do everything he can to play, and we’re going to leave it up to our medical team.”

How likely is Porziņģis to play in Game 3?

“I have no idea,” said Mazzulla.

Before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Porziņģis missed 36 days, including both the Eastern Conference semifinals and finals, due to a soleus strain in his right calf. The team stated that his latest injury is “unrelated.”

The Celtics are +25 in Porziņģis’ 44 minutes over two games of the NBA Finals. They are even with Dallas in the 52 minutes he has been on the bench. During the regular season, Boston outscored opponents by 11.2 points per 100 possessions in Porziņģis’ minutes; that number increased to 11.8 with him off the floor.

If Porziņģis is absent, 38-year-old Al Horford, who started at center in Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals, would see increased minutes. Additionally, Luke Kornet might get his first playing time off the bench in the series.

Dončić Injury

Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Dončić is expected to receive a painkilling injection before Game 3 of the NBA Finals to manage a thoracic contusion, according to multiple reports. He received the same treatment before Sunday’s Game 2 loss in Boston.

Dončić sustained the chest injury during Game 1. The Mavericks listed him as questionable for Game 2 due to the contusion, but he ultimately played through the injury, finishing with 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists in the Mavericks’ 105-98 loss to the Celtics. Now, with the series shifting to Dallas for Game 3 on Wednesday, the Mavericks find themselves down 2-0.

Despite playing in Game 2, Dončić was visibly laboring, especially in the fourth quarter, where he appeared fatigued. When asked about the injury on Tuesday, Dončić said he “feels good,” indicating he isn’t overly concerned about the chest pain limiting his performance.

This injury is just the latest in a series of ailments Dončić has been dealing with throughout the Mavericks’ postseason run. He has been managing a knee injury since the first round and also picked up an ankle injury, but has not missed any time. The Mavericks can’t afford for him to sit out either.

Given that Dončić received the same injection before Game 2, getting one ahead of Game 3 is unlikely to impact his production significantly. However, he will need his teammates to step up so he doesn’t have to shoulder the entire offensive load. This is a role Irving should naturally fill, but he has struggled against the Celtics’ multiple lengthy and strong defenders. Dončić may have another 30-plus-point game, but if Irving can’t get going and the role players don’t start making shots, the Mavericks could be facing a sweep if they aren’t careful.

Read more: The Zach Edey Effect: How He Could Impact NBA Teams Next Season

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Bronny James’ Agent Says He’ll Be Drafted

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Bronny James playing basketball

When Bronny James first came out of high school, everyone was claiming he was going to be LeBron 2.0. However, after a decent but not great college season, expectations have cooled. Public opinion even swung the other way, with many experts predicting that Bronny wouldn’t be drafted at all.

After a strong pre-draft showing, LeBron’s son is now ranked 54 out of 100 prospects by ESPN, and many analysts have him picked up in the second round. After seeing his stock slide so much while playing at USC, many expected Bronny to return to college in a bid to improve his skills and then declare for the 2025 NBA Draft.

His agent, Rich Paul, has come out and said that Bronny will take part in the 2024 NBA and forgo his remaining collegiate eligibility. Paul is quietly confident that James will be picked up by an NBA team.

Bronny is an interesting proposition because the team who drafts him isn’t just getting a player. They’re getting the son of one of the greatest players of all time. Bronny is already more famous than the majority of the players in the NBA, and the team that signs him will see a big uptick in fan attendance and merchandise sales based on his name recognition alone.

The other x factor is that LeBron has stated that it’s his dream to play alongside his son. So the team that drafts Bronny will likely end up with LeBron on their roster, too, even if it’s only for one season.

Bronny James Proves Haters Wrong at NBA Draft Combine

Bronny has been under immense pressure since declaring for the draft. Many critics are convinced he’s not good enough to play in the NBA and is only receiving attention due to his father. This is partly true; at USC, he averaged just 4.8 points per game. He spent most of his time on the bench, starting only six games.

Even Bronny supporters don’t see him becoming an NBA All-Star. At best, they see him as a role player. If he does manage to be drafted, he’ll have a very different career compared to his father, who was one of the most hyped prospects to ever come into the league and immediately became an All-Star.

Following his lackluster college season and his medical emergency where the 19-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest, analysts ditched Bronny from their draft boards. 

However, the USC player didn’t give up. After being medically cleared to be drafted, he had a very successful pro day and turned heads at the NBA Combine. 

During the Combine, which took place in May, Bronny let his shooting do the talking. The young prospect came second out of 71 players in two 3-point shooting contests. He made 19 out of 25 shots – many teams would be interested in a knockdown shooter like that. Then, in front of his dad, he dropped 13 points as the draft hopefuls battled it out in a tightly contested scrimmage.

There are some concerns about Bronny’s height as he measured 6-foot-1.5 inches without shoes, which is well below the NBA average of 6-foot-6.5 inches. On the positive side, he does have a 6-foot-7 wingspan and a very impressive 40.5-inch max vertical jump. Then, he showed his elite speed, recording a time of 10.96 seconds in the lane agility test.

Bronny James’ Draft Stock Increases, But Is It Enough?

Everyone admits Bronny James is an unfinished product. By drafting him, teams are betting on him turning into a bonafide NBA player. In a perfect world, Bronny would spend another two years at college developing. However, he doesn’t have that luxury. His father probably only has two seasons left. So if they’re going to play together, then Bronny needs to declare for the 2024 NBA Draft.

While Bronny may not be an NBA-level talent, it looks like he’ll be drafted in the second round based on his potential and name value. The front runners are the Los Angeles Lakers, where LeBron plays, or the Phoenix Suns. Despite having the nepo baby tag, it’d be cool to see the first-ever father and son duo in the NBA, so let’s hope a team takes a chance on him! 

Read more: LeBron James Continues to Extend His NBA Scoring Record

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Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks in 2024 NBA Finals

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After a grueling seven-month campaign — followed by a restorative week off — the 2023-24 NBA season has reached its conclusion. Eastern Conference champions the Boston Celtics (64-18), the East’s No. 1 seed and the top overall seed in the postseason, will face the Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks (50-32) in the 2024 NBA Finals.The NBA Finals tip off Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Head to Head

The 64-win Boston Celtics, powered by the most efficient offense in NBA history, have suffered only two losses in the playoffs, led by the stellar performances of Jayson Tatum and Eastern Conference Finals MVP Jaylen Brown.

Meanwhile, the fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks have emerged as the biggest winners of the trade deadline. In February, they acquired center Daniel Gafford and forward P.J. Washington, who have seamlessly integrated with the star duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, transforming the Mavericks into a formidable force in the Western Conference.

Will Boston secure its record-setting 18th championship, or will Dallas hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time since 2011, when coach Jason Kidd, then a player, led the Mavericks to their only title?

Boston Celtics

During the regular season and throughout the first three playoff rounds, Boston topped the league in net rating by 4.4 points per 100 possessions.

Unlike previous playoff runs that required grueling series, the Celtics cruised through the East bracket this postseason with a 12-2 record. Boston demonstrated its ability to thrive in clutch situations, with just four of their games featuring moments where the score was within five points in the final five minutes or overtime. This included impressive comebacks, such as rallying to win three out of the four games during their conference finals sweep of the Indiana Pacers.

The Celtics now enjoy a nine-day break before the Finals opener, a “luxury,” as veteran Al Horford noted earlier in the postseason. This break is particularly beneficial for Kristaps Porzingis, the 7-foot-3 center who has been sidelined since the first round with a calf strain. Porzingis’ return would add an extra layer of rim protection and 3-point shooting to the Celtics’ arsenal.

Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks took down three of the Western Conference’s top four seeds—the No. 4 LA Clippers, No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder, and No. 3 Minnesota Timberwolves—powered by their superstar duo, depth, and defense. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have been clutch performers, while P.J. Washington, Derrick Jones Jr., and rookie Dereck Lively II, all added over the past year by general manager Nico Harrison, have significantly contributed on both ends of the court.

Remarkably, the Mavericks advanced through the Western Conference playoffs despite only seeing glimpses of Doncic at his best, as he has been hampered by a sprained right knee since midway through the first round. Nonetheless, Doncic has been a dominant presence—recording six triple-doubles, hitting a game-winning step-back three-pointer over Rudy Gobert in Game 2, and setting the tone for the Game 5 closeout win by scoring 20 points in the first quarter—even as he endured a shooting slump through most of the first two rounds.

Despite his impressive moments, Doncic’s overall production (28.8 points and 8.8 assists per game) and efficiency (51.3% effective field goal percentage) have dipped significantly from his historic regular-season numbers (league-high 33.9 points, 9.8 assists, 57.3% effective field goal percentage).

Key Players

Jaylen Brown, Celtics

After receiving the Larry Bird Trophy as the Eastern Conference finals MVP, Jaylen Brown seemed genuinely surprised. “I wasn’t expecting it at all,” he said following Boston’s Game 4 victory over the Pacers. “I never win s—.”

In his seventh postseason, the eight-year veteran is having his best run yet, averaging 25 points on 54.1% shooting, along with 6.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game through the first three rounds. Highlights include a game-tying three-pointer in Game 1 against Indiana and a 40-point performance in Game 2.

During his first NBA Finals appearance two years ago, Brown averaged 23.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in Boston’s six-game series loss to the Golden State Warriors, where he was arguably the Celtics’ best player. Now, he’s playing even better.

Jayson Tatum, Celtics

While Brown is excelling, Jayson Tatum’s postseason performance has been equally impressive. Tatum has averaged 26.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game during Boston’s playoff run. However, his efficiency has lagged behind Brown’s, shooting 44.2% from the field and 29% from three-point range.

Tatum’s 2022 Finals performance was a low point in his otherwise stellar career, which includes five All-Star appearances in seven seasons. He shot just 36.7% against the Warriors and struggled in the decisive Game 6, scoring 13 points on 6-for-18 shooting with five turnovers. He now has a chance for redemption against Dallas.

Luka Doncic, Mavericks

Luka Doncic, already a playoff superstar with a 31-point scoring average—the second-highest in league history behind Michael Jordan—has elevated his game this postseason. Leading all players with 9.1 assists per game, Doncic has recorded six triple-doubles through the first three rounds.

His go-ahead three-pointer in the final seconds of Game 2 was crucial against the Timberwolves, and he dominated in Game 5, outscoring Minnesota on his own in the first quarter, 20 to 19. He finished with 36 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists, earning the Magic Johnson Trophy as the Western Conference finals MVP.

Read more: Jokic Makes History as Nuggets Trim Timberwolves’ Lead

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