Archive for June 4th, 2018

The Charlotte Hornets have named Chris Kroeger the team’s new radio play-by-play broadcaster.

A Charlotte native and local sports radio talk show host, Kroeger hosted the show “Prime Time” on Hornets flagship station WFNZ these past four years.

He has also been a member of the team’s radio broadcasts for the past three seasons, working as the pregame show host and sideline reporter.

Kroeger is taking the place of Steve Martin, whose legendary career ended in retirement after the 2017-18 season. Martin’s NBA broadcasting career lasted 30 years.

“We are thrilled to have Chris join the Charlotte Hornets on a full-time basis as our new radio play-by-play broadcaster,” said Hornets President and Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield. “Chris is a very talented broadcaster who brings a wide array of skills to our organization, while also being extremely passionate and knowledgeable about both our team and the NBA. He has cultivated a tremendous audience at WFNZ – one that shares his enthusiasm about Hornets basketball – and his joining our team only strengthens our relationship with our flagship station. I know the fans of Charlotte are looking forward to his expanded role as the new ‘voice of the Hornets.’”

“As someone that grew up in Charlotte, my earliest and greatest memories as a sports fan came at the Charlotte Coliseum and watching the Hornets,” said Kroeger. “Steve Martin narrated so many of those memories on radio and television. It truly is the opportunity of a lifetime to be his successor and to broadcast a new era of Hornets basketball for the next generation of fans. I can’t thank WFNZ enough for allowing me to build and connect with Charlotte sports fans over the last few years and I’m excited to continue to grow that relationship with the Hornets.”

“We’re excited to see Chris grow with one of our finest partners,” said Matt Hanlon, Vice President, Market Manager for Entercom Charlotte. “There’s no one more qualified and passionate to represent the Hornets.”

Entering the 2017-18 season, the Hornets and WFNZ agreed to a new multi-year deal for WFNZ to continue as the team’s flagship radio station.

We’re only two games into the 2018 NBA Finals, so it’s a bit early to pick a clear Finals MVP candidate. But it’s a two-player race so far, between LeBron James and Stephen Curry. Here’s a Warriors-area outlet, NBC Sports Bay Area, stating the early case for Steph:

Steph Curry is the obvious choice for Finals MVP so far. Yes, it is only two games into the series, and as the Warriors know very well, anything can happen. But unless the Cavaliers were to come back and win the series, Curry has to be the odds-on-favorite. While he has had dominant moments in the Finals, his masterful play actually started at the end of the Western Conference Finals. Over the last three games (including Game 7 of the WCF) Curry is averaging 29.7 points per game on 45 percent shooting from the field, 49 percent shooting for deep (on a staggering 14 attempts per game) coupled with 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Curry has dished out 27 assists over the last three games, his highest mark since exactly a year ago, when he tore up the Cavs in the 2017 NBA Finals. Also this fun fact: Steph Curry has out-rebounded one of the Cavaliers’ best rebounding big men, Tristan Thompson, in each of the Finals games thus far. If that sounds familiar, it is because last Finals, Curry had more boards than Thompson in three of the five games, and finished with more rebounds overall in the series.

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The Celtics are oh-so-close to being an NBA Finals team. It almost happened this year, and absolutely could happen in 2019 if they play their cards right. Celtics moves in free agency this summer, even minor-looking moves, could make all the difference. A steal here, an offensive rebound there, a few role players stepping up, and the glory of the Finals is possible. Here’s the Boston Globe reporting on the 2018 Celtics free agency picture:

The Celtics have three unrestricted free agents in Shane Larkin, Greg Monroe and Aron Baynes. Larkin likely will procure a multiyear offer from another club as a backup point guard, substantially more than the $1.5 million he earned this season.

Monroe likely is gone. He was such a defensive liability and a poor finisher at the rim that Stevens couldn’t play him extensively during the playoffs…

The Celtics need to keep Baynes but they don’t own his Bird Rights, meaning bringing him back would occupy salary cap space and the Celtics likely won’t be able to compete with other offers from teams with cap space. Baynes proved he could be a starting center on a contending team, was durable despite getting into series of ghastly collisions this season, and was a decent midrange and improving 3-point shooter…

Marcus Smart is a restricted free agent, meaning the Celtics have the right to match any offer and they will allow Smart to fish out those offer sheets and determine whether they should match. Smart’s market value is difficult to determine because he’s an erratic offensive player who makes plays at critical moments.

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Here’s an opinionated take from an Oklahoman column on Kevin Durant’s latest discussion as to why he chose to leave the Thunder to join the Warriors:

Kevin Durant seems to have a different take every 15 minutes on why he left the Thunder for the Warriors. You know the list. It’s long.

But here’s a new one. In a long story published in The Athletic over the weekend, Durant used “validation from my peers” as his reason for crushing parity in the NBA. Durant’s addition to an already-loaded roster lifted Golden State above all competitors while also eliminating OKC as a viable threat to the Warriors.

“Validation” from his peers is a laughable concept, of course. Durant drew all kinds of criticism from the NBA’s elite for his weak move. It’s hard to imagine any NBA player thinking more highly of Durant in the last two years than they did before his move West.

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The Warriors won NBA Finals Game 1 in overtime and then easily took Game 2. The action now shifts to Cleveland for Game 3 on Wednesday. Here’s the SF Chronicle with a look at GS forward Kevin Durant’s play so far:

In Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, Durant appeared in a haze, following up blown coverages on James with clanged jumpers. His missed box-out on the 6-foot-6 J.R. Smith late in regulation — not Curry’s 29 points and nine assists — would have been a major talking point had Smith not inexplicably forgotten that the score was tied in that crucial moment.

“Last year was a pretty smooth ride, and we were clicking,” Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said Saturday. “We didn’t have injuries. We had a pretty healthy run. I think this year, it’s just been harder overall, just because of the cumulative wear and tear of the journey.

“Kevin has still been great. He hasn’t probably been as consistent as he was last year, but neither have we. I would say that about every one of our guys.”

Durant made good on his vows to be better in Game 2, attacking the rim with purpose and kicking out to open shooters early in the shot clock. His well-executed possessions gave the Warriors an early lead and, ultimately, helped pave the way for one of Curry’s signature scoring binges.

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