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How has Josh Richardson improved on offense?


Despite a disappointing 6-10 start for the Heat, Josh Richardson has made major improvements to his offensive game. Can it last?

Coming off an average 2017-18 season, the Miami Heat desperately needed ways to improve. With a lack of financial flexibility ruling out the possibility of a free agent splash, and no draft picks in the 2018 NBA Draft, internal improvement was the last resort.

Much of the hope for growth rested squarely on the shoulders of Josh Richardson. The fourth-year wing showed incredible defensive acumen last season, often guarding the opponent’s best player. Ultimately, he displayed a body of work worthy of an NBA All-Defensive team selection, even though he didn’t make the cut.

Questions about his ability to reach another level have been solely related to his offense. While he increased his scoring averages and flashed nifty moves like a scoop layup, the Heat needed him to morph into something along the lines of a primary scorer.

So it was worth asking: How much could Josh Richardson improve? Could he begin carrying the offensive load night-to-night? Were future All-Star appearances a possibility?

Thus far, he has not disappointed. He is averaging 20.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game on shooting splits of .445/.448/.879. His 6.6 3-points attempts per game are a career high by significant margin.

He has scored 27 or more points five times already, something he managed only three times all of last season. At times, the Heat have leaned heavily on him in late-game situations:

From a team perspective, the Heat are 14.8 points per 100 possessions better on offense with Josh Richardson on the court.

What areas has he specifically improved upon? For starters, he has been noticeably better at creating his own shot. Per Cleaning the Glass, he has been assisted on only 79 percent of 3-pointers this season, good for the 86th percentile. Last season he was assisted on 95 percent of his 3-pointers, around the 36th percentile.

Taking a look at his shot frequency gives you an even clearer picture. Pull-up jumpers consist of 35.2 percent of his shots, while catch-and-shoot jumpers make up 31.2 percent of his shots, per NBA.com. For contrast, 25.7 percent of his shots were pull-up jumpers last season, while 43 percent were catch-and-shoot jumpers.

He has also doubled his amount of free throw attempts, at 3.6 per game (although he could still do well to raise that number). He is only drawing fouls on 7.4 percent his shot attempts (50th percentile), per Cleaning the Glass.

Many of the league’s best stars have included drawing fouls in their arsenal — it is a skill that can be worked on. How Richardson leverages his ability to attack the rim and create jump shots into high-efficiency, low-pressure shots could determine whether he reaches his ceiling.

Admittedly an improvement from last season, his so-so assist percentage (an estimated percentage of made shots by teammates that a player assists) of 15.4 percent is also worth keeping an eye on. It may highlight another area for him to improve upon — passing and/or finding open teammates.

Next: Week 6 NBA Power Rankings

The early returns on Josh Richardson’s offensive play are extremely encouraging. The Heat are in dire need of a player to carry an often sputtering offense. With a steady uptick in usage, 3-point attempts and late-game opportunities, Richardson should continue to shine.

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Women’s basketball rankings: South Carolina’s 89-week run in the AP Top 10 comes to a close


NEW YORK (AP) — South Carolina’s run in the top 10 is over.

The Gamecocks fell out of the first 10 teams in the AP women’s basketball poll on Monday after being ranked that high for the past 89 consecutive weeks dating back to Jan. 6, 2014. It was the third longest active streak behind UConn and Notre Dame.

MORE: Top women’s basketball players in the first week of the season

“What we’ve been able to do — we had a roster full of talented players that grew, creating that buzz around here and around the country. I don’t think it’s our last stop — our last stop being in the top 10 probably this year,” coach Dawn Staley said after the team lost to Maryland on Sunday. “We are going to coach our kids up and try to get back in there. Not to say that’s what we’re shooting for. But we are going to get better. We’re going to get more disciplined. We are going to give people a much better game than we gave Maryland tonight.”

South Carolina was ranked 13th on Monday by the 31-member national media panel after losing to then-No. 9 Maryland on Sunday by 24 points. The Terrapins moved up two spots to No. 7.

The top six teams remained unchanged with Notre Dame a unanimous No. 1 pick. The Irish were followed by UConn, Oregon, Baylor, Louisville and Mississippi State.

ALSO: UConn helps girl with rare genetic disorder bond with the Huskies

Stanford, Oregon State and Texas round out the first 10 teams in the poll.

West Virginia entered at No. 25 as Georgia fell out after dropping games to UCLA and Georgia Tech.

RISING HAWKEYES: Iowa moved up to 12th in the poll this week, its best ranking since being 11th on Nov. 17, 1997. The Hawkeyes face West Virginia in the Junkanoo Jam on Friday night.

THANSKGIVING FEAST: There are a number of holiday tournaments this week, none have a better slate of teams then the new one in Vancouver. Notre Dame, Oregon State and South Carolina are all playing in Canada this week in an eight-team field. The Gamecocks and Beavers could square off in the second round with Notre Dame potentially waiting in the final for the winner of that game.

“This is an incredible field in which to christen college basketball to Vancouver, and without question, the best early season tournament in the sport,” said ESPN analyst Debbie Antonelli, who is also the women’s tournament director. “It features three teams that finished in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight with Notre Dame, South Carolina and Oregon State, and three other teams that won their respective conference tournaments — Western Kentucky, Drake and Gonzaga. It will strongly resemble an NCAA Tournament regional weekend in Vancouver.”

RELATED: UConn women’s basketball has renewed love of the game thanks to throwback coaching tactic

This article was written by Doug Feinberg from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Josh Richardson Fined $25K For Throwing Shoe Into Stands


Josh Richardson was fined $25,000 after throwing his sneaker into the stands in yesterday’s home loss to the Lakers.

Richardson lost his shoe in the fourth quarter and launched it into the stands out of frustration, which led to his ejection on the night LeBron James scored a season-high 51 points.

The four-year forward is averaging 20.4 points throughout 16 games as the Heat are 6-10.

On The Rise: Miami Heat Guard Josh Richardson is For Real 💯


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NIT Season Tip-Off schedule, bracket, scores


The 2018 NIT Season Tip-Off starts Wednesday. Below, you’ll find the teams, schedule, bracket and also scores for the tournament. The tournament will be played Wednesday, Nov. 21 and Friday, Nov. 23.

The four-team tournament features No. 2 Kansas, No. 5 Tennessee, Louisville, and Marquette.

Here’s everything you need to know for it:

RELATED: College basketball TV schedule | Scoreboard | Updated stats

2018 NIT Season Tip-Off: Schedule, scores (all times EST)

Wednesday, November 21

Game 1: No. 5 Tennessee vs. Louisville, 5 p.m., ESPN2
Game 2: No. 2 Kansas vs. Marquette, 7 p.m., ESPN2

Friday, November 23

Game 3: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Game 4: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 9 p.m., ESPN2

MORE: Ultimate A to Z guide to college basketball’s non-conference schedule and tournaments

2018 NIT Season Tip-Off: Bracket:

2018 NIT Season Tip-off bracket

NIT Season Tip-Off: Past champions, runners-up, scores

Arizona and Duke have the most wins in the tournament, with four each. 

Here’s the full history:

Year Winner Runner-up Score
2017 Virginia Rhode Island 70-55
2016 Temple West Virginia 81-77
2015 Villanova Georgia Tech 69-52
2014 Gonzaga St. John’s 73-66
2013 Arizona Duke 72-66
2012 Michigan Kansas State 71-57
2011 Syracuse Stanford 69-63
2010 Tennessee Villanova 78-68
2009 Duke Connecticut 68-59
2008 Oklahoma Purdue 87-82 (OT)
2007 Texas A&M Ohio State 70-47
2006 Butler Gonzaga 79-71
2005 Duke Memphis 70-67
2004 Wake Forest Arizona 63-60
2003 Georgia Tech Texas Tech 85-65
2002 North Carolina Stanford 74-57
2001 Syracuse Wake Forest 74-67
2000 Duke Temple 63-60
1999 Arizona Kentucky 63-51
1998 North Carolina Stanford 57-49
1997 Kansas Florida State 73-58
1996 Indiana Duke 85-69
1995 Arizona Georgetown 81-71
1994 Ohio New Mexico State 84-80 (OT)
1993 Kansas Massachusetts 86-75
1992 Indiana Seton Hall 78-74
1991 Oklahoma State Georgia Tech 78-71
1990 Arizona Arkansas 89-77
1989 Kansas St. John’s 66-57
1988 Syracuse Missouri 86-84 (OT)
1987 Florida Seton Hall 70-68
1986 UNLV Western Kentucky 96-95 (2OT)
1985 Duke Kansas 92-86

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Bulls’ Denzel Valentine needs ankle surgery, out 4-6 months


Denzel Valentine will be out four to six months after undergoing surgery on his left ankle for the second time, the Chicago Bulls announced Monday, putting his return this season in doubt.

Valentine, who has missed the first 17 games of the season because of ankle injuries, was diagnosed with ongoing ankle instability, the Bulls said. Based on the evaluation of Wisconsin-based foot and ankle specialist Dr. Bob Anderson, it was decided that Valentine would have ankle surgery next week.

Valentine was initially diagnosed with a sprained left ankle during the team’s September training camp and was expected to miss one to two weeks. But in late October, the Bulls announced he was suffering from a bone bruise, not a sprain, and would miss an additional two weeks.

The Bulls said Valentine is expected to recover fully and participate in normal offseason training. Last season, Valentine averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He started 37 games, but he missed the final two weeks of the regular season after having surgery on his left knee.

“Denzel is a very important part of this team,” coach Fred Hoiberg said in September when it was initially announced that Valentine would miss some time. “He’s a guy we used a lot in the second unit as a facilitator.”

The short-handed Bulls (4-13) are also without Lauri Markkanen (elbow), Bobby Portis (MCL sprain) and Kris Dunn (MCL sprain).

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Pelicans’ Payton to have surgery on finger, out six weeks


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans say guard Elfrid Payton is scheduled for surgery to repair a fractured finger on his left hand and that his recovery is expected to take about six weeks.

Payton was injured during last Friday night’s victory over the New York Knicks, which was also his first game back in the lineup after sitting out nine contests with a sprained ankle.

Payton has played in just six of the Pelicans’ 16 games this season, averaging 9.7 points and 5.3 assists. He has played more than 15 minutes in only four games, scoring in double figures each time.

The update on Payton’s status came as the Pelicans prepared to host the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.

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5 players who have the most trade value


(Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)

If the Miami Heat look to make a trade this season, they should consider creating packages centered around these five players.

The Miami Heat currently have a 6-10 record, which sits them at 10th place in the Eastern Conference. While there is still more than enough time to improve on that standing, it’s certainly not something they should be satisfied with. Miami ended last year as the Eastern Conference’s 6-seed, and while team president Pat Riley and general manager Andy Elisberg are currently not looking to make any moves, they are not opposed to it.

The Heat currently aren’t favorites to make a deep playoff run. They could have made some serious noise by acquiring Jimmy Butler, but the helter-skelter behavior by the Minnesota Timberwolves’ front office made reaching a deal very difficult. Ultimately, the Philadelphia 76ers swooped in and got Butler for a package centered around Dario Saric and Robert Covington.

As of now, no star players are known to be available for trade, though many speculate that the more-than-dysfunctional Washington Wizards should look to deal guards John Wall and Bradley Beal (both All-Stars last season) to commit to a full rebuild.

Since there are not any star-caliber players known to be available for trade right now, we won’t be discussing any specific trades for the Heat. Instead, we’ll be breaking down which players on the Heat have the most trade value.

Before we dive in, let’s begin with some clarification on what goes into a player’s trade value. Trade value is not just how good a player is; several factors are taken into account. One factor is a player’s contract.

Another factor is age, as young players are seen to have more trade value based on their potential to improve. Health, both present and past, is another factor, as teams won’t give up meaningful pieces for someone who can’t play.

Keep these factors in mind as we dive into the five Miami Heat players with the most trade value.

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Women’s basketball: Arike Ogunbowale, Katie Lou Samuelson lead Naismith Trophy preseason watch list


South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson averaged 22.6 points per game on her way to winning the 2018 Naismith Trophy.

There are several candidates, ranging from sophomores to seniors, who are in the mix to win the Naismith in 2019. With that in mind, here is the official 50-player preseason watch list:

Naismith candidates
Kristine Anigwe Sr. C/F California Pac-12
Kenisha Bell Sr. G Minnesota Big Ten
Allazia Blockton Sr. G Marquette BIG EAST
Kalani Brown Sr. C Baylor Big 12
Kelly Campbell Jr. G DePaul BIG EAST
Bridget Carleton Sr. G Iowa State Big 12
Chennedy Carter So. G Texas A&M SEC
Kaila Charles Jr. G Maryland Big Ten
Napheesa Collier Sr. F UConn AAC
Lauren Cox Jr. F Baylor Big 12
Sophie Cunningham Sr. G Missouri SEC
Crystal Dangerfield Jr. G UConn AAC
Naomi Davenport Sr. G/F West Virginia Big 12
Rennia Davis So. G/F Tennessee SEC
Cierra Dillard Sr. G Buffalo MAC
Asia Durr Sr. G Louisville ACC
Sam Fuehring Sr. F Louisville ACC
Megan Gustafson Sr. F Iowa Big Ten
Tyasha Harris Jr. G South Carolina SEC
Ruthy Hebard Jr. F Oregon Pac-12
Lashann Higgs Sr. G Texas Big 12
Joyner Holmes Jr. G/F Texas Big 12
Anriel Howard Sr. F Mississippi State SEC
Sabrina Ionescu Jr. G Oregon Pac-12
Chloe Jackson Sr. G Baylor Big 12
Alexis Jennings Sr. F South Carolina SEC
Paris Kea Sr. G North Carolina ACC
Kitija Laksa Sr. W South Florida AAC
Kennedy Leonard Sr. G Colorado Pac-12
Marina Mabrey Sr. G Notre Dame ACC
Tiana Mangakahia Jr. G Syracuse ACC
Tynice Martin Jr. G West Virginia Big 12
Teaira McCowan Sr. C Mississippi State SEC
Beatrice Mompremier Jr. F Miami ACC
Mariya Moore Sr. G USC Pac-12
Maci Morris Sr. G Kentucky SEC
Leaonna Odom Jr. F Duke ACC
Arike Ogunbowale Sr. G Notre Dame ACC
Teniya Page Sr. G Penn State Big Ten
Caliya Robinson Sr. F Georgia SEC
Satou Sabally So. F Oregon Pac-12
Katie Lou Samuelson Sr. G/F UConn AAC
Jessica Shepard Sr. F Notre Dame ACC
Destiny Slocum So. G Oregon State Pac-12
Alanna Smith Sr. F Stanford Pac-12
Hallie Thome Sr. C Michigan Big Ten
Brianna Turner Sr. F Notre Dame ACC
Evina Westbrook So. G Tennessee SEC
Kiana Williams So. G Stanford Pac-12
Jackie Young Jr. G Notre Dame ACC

MORE: NCAA.com women’s college basketball home

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Kyle Kuzma Says LeBron James ‘Can Score With the Best of Them’


Kyle Kuzma has spoken highly of LeBron James since he signed with the Lakers earlier this summer. After James’ season-high 51 points Sunday night against Miami, Kuzma said James could “score with the best of them.”

Per Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

Kyle Kuzma echoed the amazement. “He can score with the best of them,” he said. “People always talk about his facilitating and pass-first mentality, but he can probably average 40 if he wanted to.”

This was James’ 12th career 50-point game as he joined Bernard King, Jamal Crawford, Moses Malone and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to score 50-plus points with three different franchises.

“I’ve played for three very, very historic franchises in the time that I played,” James said. “Obviously, in Miami we did some historical things. In Cleveland we was able to do some historical [things]. And obviously the Lakers [name] speaks for itself, what they’ve been able to do. And so, my teammates, my coaching staff, they just put that trust in me to go out and make plays, and I just try to be as efficient as possible when I’m on the floor and make things happen.”

LeBron James Passes Wilt Chamberlain on All-Time Scoring List

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