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121 - NBA Rookie/Sophomore Rankings, Jokic/Kristaps/Towns/Booker & RFA Primer

This one's for the kids. Cole Zwicker (@colezwicker), co-founder and writer for The Stepien (@TheStepien), joins Hardwood Knocks to offer updates on the NBA's youngsters. And boy, oh boy, do him and Dan Favale cover some ground. Rookie ladder? Got it. Sophomore ladder? Got it. How about updates and progress reports for third-year players, including Kristaps Porzingis, Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Myles Turner, Kelly Oubre Jr., Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and many more? We have...

Duration: 01:51:48

120 - NBA Trade SZN: DeAndre Jordan, Paul George, Grizz, Knicks, Others to Watch

The NBA's silly season is almost upon us. I.E. TRADE #SZN is just about here. As of Dec. 15, most of the free agents who signed deals over the summer will be eligible for relocation, with a select few others (sup, Nikola Mirotic?) joining the fold on Jan. 15. Though freshly signed pacts aren't always at the center of negotiations, the rumor mill reaches fever pitch for everyone, both staples and newcomers, given the wider scope of options available to buyers and sellers. Hardwood Knocks has...

Duration: 01:49:02

119 - NBA Report Cards for Eastern Conference and Jahlil Okafor/Nets/76ers Trade

Now that the 2017-18 NBA season has eked pasts its quarter-pole mark, rumor has it we're free to hand out report grades for every team. Hardwood Knocks already tackled the Western Conference, which you can, and should, and must, listen to here. Now it's on to the Eastern Conference—but not before we react to the Philadelphia 76ers trading Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas to the Brooklyn Nets for Trevor Booker. All 15 squads are covered—in random order—so you needn't worry about us leaving...

Duration: 01:39:43

118 - NBA Quarter-Pole Report: Grading The Western Conference with Dan Clayton

Now that the 2017-18 NBA season has eked pasts its quarter-pole mark, rumor has it we're free to hand out report grades for every team. So, you know, let's do that! Hardwood Knocks will begin with the Western Conference's jumble of craziness. And in order to properly ensure the hottest takes, Andy and Dan are calling upon Associated Editor of Salt City Hoops Dan Clayton (@danclayt0n) to join the party. All 15 squads are covered—in random, speaker's choice order, we might add—so you needn't...

Duration: 01:45:27

117 - MAILBAG: Knicks/Cavs/Clips/Wizards Trades, NBA's MIP, Paul George's Future

Y'all: Here's the mail. It never fails. It makes us wanna wag our tails. When it comes, we wanna wail MAAAAAIIIIIL! In this week's Hardwood Knocks mailbag, our deep dive into listener questions leads to hypothetical trades for the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Atlanta Hawks. (Spoiler: Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Enes Kanter, Paul...

Duration: 01:14:17

116 - Memphis Fires Fizdale, Marc Gasol Trades, Lakers/Cavs/Celtics/Jazz Mailbag

David Fizdale is out as head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. Assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff is, for the meantime, in. Figuring out what this means for the Grizzlies' future takes a couple leaps of faith. It doesn't seem to signify a teardown. Fizdale's removal comes following a 2-11 stretch and some feisty comments from Marc Gasol, one of the franchise's two primary cornerstones. Ousting the head coach reeks of an attempt to incite change for the sake of galvanizing the troops. And what...

Duration: 01:27:46

115 - Hot-Seat Meter for NBA Coaches: From Doc and Kidd, to Donovan and Clifford

Seventeen NBA teams. Seventeen bad, to weird, to uncertain starts. Seventeen head coaches. Sixty minutes. An unknown number of jobs in jeopardy. In the latest episode of Hardwood Knocks, Andy and Dan look at all 15 teams with records of .500 or worse, add in the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans, and decide whether their head coaches should be worried about being canned before season's end. A vast majority of these sideline-stalkers have nothing to worry about. The Los...

Duration: 01:02:06

114 - Nuggets, Celtics, Mavs, Spencer Dinwiddie, LeBron-to-76ers Mailbag Soiree

To borrow a phrase from the legendary Blue's Clues: MAIL TIME. In this week's Hardwood Knocks mailbag, you, our loyal listeners, give us plenty of material with which to work. Your questions were fantastic, and they allowed us to tackle each of the following, among many other queries: Will the Philadelphia 76ers' sign a big-time free agent this summer now that Robert Covington and Joel Embiid have their extensions? Should they be in LeBron James-or-bust mode? Who else could they chase?...

Duration: 01:07:19

113 - Rudy Gobert Injury & NBA's Should-Be Sellers: Heat, Hornets, Clips, Knicks

This one's for the Luka Doncic fans. And the Michael Porter Jr. enthusiasts. And the DeAndre Ayton lovers. And the Marvin Bagley III apologists. "Tanking" is an uncomfortable word for NBA teams—unless, of course, they're already tanking their brains out. (Sup, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Chicago Bulls?) Ditto for the phrase "seller's mode." Squads don't want to admit they're throwing in the towel on this season, especially so early in the schedule. But someone needs to be a grown-up...

Duration: 01:22:00

112 - The 76ers, Knicks, Cavs, Kevin Love, Grizzlies, Magic & Jazz Mailbag Party

History is about to be made. No, the Golden State Warriors aren't going to win 74 games. But you're knocking on the door of the next best thing: Hardwood Knocks' first-ever mailbag! To start things off, we take you around the NBA with some quick-hitting news items: Robert Covington is about to be very rich, the New York Knicks may have passed on George Hill to sign Tim Hardaway Jr., and Chicago will play host to its first All-Star Game since 1988, when a certain GOAT was named MVP, in...

Duration: 01:18:12

111 - Eric Bledsoe's Fit with Bucks, Suns' Next Move, Other NBA Trade Candidates

Eric Bledsoe is finally on the move. As first reported by's Zach Lowe and Adrian Wojnarowski, the Phoenix Suns traded the exiled point guard to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday in exchange for Greg Monroe's expiring deal, a heavily protected first-round pick, and a modestly protected second-round selection. This move comes as a surprise to no one who's been following the NBA—or Bledsoe's Twitter account. We could see everything unfolding from a mile away, right down to his...

Duration: 01:14:38

110 - Is This Real Life? Sustainability Index for NBA's Hottest Starts

If only every absurdly hot start to the 2017-18 NBA season could last forever. Sadly, though, life on the hardwood doesn't work like that. Some blistering beginnings are for real. Others? Not so much. They're protracted smokescreens—players and teams capitalizing on fiery streaks and relative early-season laxity and unpreparedness from opponents. Where do some of this year's most notable starts fall on the "Is this real life?" scale? Andy and Dan tackle the biggest, baddest, bestest...

Duration: 01:30:07

108 - Early NBA Surprises: The Good, The Bad, The Spurs, and The Eric Bledsoe

Finally, at long last, following an offseason in which nothing happened, the NBA is giving us something to talk about. (Wink, wink.) For realsies, though: Now that the 2017-18 NBA season is more than a week old, it feels like a good time to draw sweeping conclusions and pass profound judgements on teams and players based off wildly small samples. So let's do that. Where will this conversation take Andy and Dan on the latest episode of Hardwood Knocks? Nobody knows. Except them. And you....

Duration: 01:16:48

107 - Grooming Kristaps Shouldn't Be THIS Hard: 2017-18 New York Knicks Preview

Carmelo Anthony is gone, which means the New Yorks are...doing what exactly? We're not quite sure. In order to find the answer, or something resembling an answer, we turn to James Marceda (@NBAInjuryR3port), the host of the Locked on Knicks podcast. The Knicks, as he notes, are in this weird territory after dealing Melo but also giving $71 million to Tim Hardaway Jr. While most think they should tank, the importance of competing for something special during Kristaps Porzingis' third year...

Duration: 01:03:18

106 - Kawhi Leonard Has a Franchise to Save: 2017-18 San Antonio Spurs Preview

The San Antonio Spurs are no longer the default option to finish with the second-best record in the Western Conference. That honor now belongs to the Houston Rockets or the Oklahoma City Thunder. After a puzzling offseason, during which they gave a whopper of a contract to Pau Gasol, the Spurs enter the 2017-18 regular season facing more questions than usual. Extending LaMarcus Aldridge only adds to that ambiguity. And Kawhi Leonard's quad injury threatens to give way to outright...

Duration: 01:07:49

105 - Making the Leap from Good to Great: 2017-18 Toronto Raptors Preview

The Toronto Raptors are working off one of the NBA's most divisive offseasons. Poll a swath of hoops heads about their summer, and you'll get answers varying from "They got worse," to "They're fine," to "They'll be better." So what's a podcast to do when cooking up their 2017-18 preview? Bring on Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC), the Managing Editor of Raptors Republic, to drop insight. Chief among the questions posed to Mr. Murphy: What's the deal with the DeMar DeRozan? He has become one...

Duration: 01:02:56

104 - 2017-18 Indiana Pacers Preview: Myles Turner is the Captain Now

The biggest story of the Indiana Pacers' 2017 offseason was who they lost. Sure, Paul George is gone, but there's still plenty to like from this Myles Turner/Victor Oladipo-led basketball team. Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth on Twitter), editor of Turner's personal website and writer for, joined Hardwood Knocks to talk about where the Pacers go from here and whether or not they have enough to still make the playoffs in the lowly Eastern Conference. As always, be sure...

Duration: 00:53:48

103 - 2017-18 Memphis Grizzlies Preview: Farewell, Grit n Grind

David Fizdale ushered in a new era of Memphis Grizzlies basketball last season, ditching the Grit n Grind culture that became synonymous with the team in favor of a more modern offense. The changes did wonders for Mike Conley. And Marc Gasol is still one of the league's best centers. But are there enough pieces beyond those two for Memphis to get back to the playoffs? Jason Rosselot (AKA Fletch, AKA @BeauregardJones on Twitter) of 3 Shades of Blue joined Hardwood Knocks to discuss all that...

Duration: 00:49:28

102 - Another Season, Another NBA Title: 2017-18 Golden State Warriors Preview

No team in the NBA is built to go punch for punch with the Golden State Warriors. Not the Cleveland Cavaliers, not the Houston Rockets, not the Oklahoma City Thunder. The reigning champs remain in a league of their own, perfectly positioned to deliver an adequate encore to last year's 16-1 playoff romp. Declaring the Warriors NBA champs in October isn't any fun, though. And that means we're in search of something, anything, anyone, any team, that can derail what is so obviously the best...

Duration: 01:17:40

101 - Rebuild Isn't a Dirty Word: 2017-18 Atlanta Hawks Preview

Okay, this might shock some people, but...the Atlanta Hawks are rebuilding. Is everyone okay? Lightning didn't strike anyone down because we used "Hawks" and "rebuilding" in the same sentence? A wild hyena didn't bore down upon you and ravage through your insides in search of protein? You're still breathing? Alive and well, or close to it, and everything? Phew. Good. We were worried. Not because anything's wrong with rebuilding in the NBA, but because the Hawks, namely general manager...

Duration: 01:08:23

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