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2015 Ultimate Standings: Spurs, Grizzlies lead NBA

This year's top-ranked teams in the Ultimate Standings combine cheap prices, a good atmosphere, and -- oh, right -- winning basketball.

Working out with Anthony Davis (1:05)
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#NBArank: Closing in on the league's top 50

Which players just missed out on the top 50? Follow along, as #NBArank counts down players Nos. 51-60. Who joined Danny Green and Tristan Thompson on today's list?

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NBA Season Preview: ESPN's Power Rankings for 2015-16

We're rolling out our Insider forecasts from now until opening night. Coming off lottery trips, both Carmelo's Knicks and Kobe's Lakers aren't projected to fare much better in 2015-16.

Spurs not worries about Aldridge's slow start (2:27)
Jemele Hill: Sefolosha's outcome just, but not satisfying (1:00)
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4dPeter Keating

Keating: Buying a sports team? Stay away from the NFL

In ESPN The Magazine's Owners Issue, Peter Keating writes that, while NFL might still rule all, if you were to buy into a league today based on growth potential, the NBA is the game to join.


For J.R. Smith, game time = cotton candy time

The guard sat out for his 2nd straight preseason game because of a sore hamstring but didn't stay out of the spotlight. Smith flagged down a cotton candy vendor and, unbeknownst to his coach, obtained the snack and munched on it during the game. May have gifted treat

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Spurs are best across sports

The Spurs have never won back-to-back NBA titles, but for the second consecutive year they top ESPN The Magazine's Ultimate Standings, which ranks every franchise in the four major North American professional sports. No. 1 to 122 ranked

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James Harden: More than a beard

You want to go from obscure to unforgettable? Grow the most famous beard in sports history. When Rockets star goes out, "it's just, like, There's The Beard! There's that guy with The Beard! Mom, Dad, there's The Beard!" The Harden brand

Bella Howard

NBA is doubling down on love of the 3

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins shot just eight 3-pointers all of last season. But he's attempted 10 already this preseason, part of the league's obsession with the shot beyond the arc -- an obsession that's growing beyond record levels. More 3s than ever (Insider)

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Another long season ahead for the Lakers

RPM projects the Lakers to finish 14th in the West with 27 wins, which Amin Elhassan thinks is right on: "It's tough to get wins in the Western Conference ... if it's anything more than 27, I'd be shocked."


Shaq on current state of the Lakers

"When you mean 'turn it around,' do you mean a championship? Because that's done. That's not happening unless they make a miraculous trade and get four new people. Who do they have on the Lakers? I'm not sure. I'm not joking. Do they even have anyone to trade that somebody would want?" Lakers' new reality

Jefferson eyes title with Cleveland

Richard Jefferson went to the Finals the first two years of his career, but lost both times with the Nets and hasn't been back since. Now with the Cavs, he has his mind set on one thing: "I love to win. So to me, that's the most important thing." Full Q&A

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Knicks better than you might think

The Knicks check in at No. 14 in ESPN's Eastern Conference rankings, but Amin Elhassan says: "I do think they'll be better than what almost everyone is projecting them to be ... I think this Knicks team will be approaching .500."


The importance of the assist

Kirk Goldsberry writes for Grantland: "[S]hots that immediately follow passes are much more likely to go in the hoop than their unassisted counterparts. The best kinds of shots result from teamwork, and the worst kinds are a result of selfishness." The next shooting revolution

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Yao Ming makes tall people look small

Yao Ming is very large. This week, comedian Kevin Hart proved the point by instagramming a fictional, Photoshopped image of him standing next to Yao and Shaq. Yao makes people look tiny

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Porter breaks ankles, nutmegs defender

Wizards forward Otto Porter put not just one, but two silly moves on defenders in a preseason game.


Davis propels Pelicans past Bulls

Playing in his hometown, Anthony Davis recorded 26 points and eight rebounds in New Orleans' 123-115 win over Chicago. Bulls rookie Bobby Portis had 20 points and 11 rebounds.


Aldridge scores 17 in loss to Heat

LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 17 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes, but San Antonio was outscored 26-10 in the fourth quarter of its 97-94 preseason loss to Miami.


LeBron, Cavs fall to 0-3 in preseason

LeBron James scored 14 points for Cleveland, but Zach Randolph matched that with 14 for Memphis in its 91-81 win.


Anthony Davis is working on threes

The Pelicans forward said he will get to back to his high school and college days under new coach Alvin Gentry. Said Davis: "I’m getting even better, adding more to my game."


Mazzeo: Nets looking for Lopez to step up

Said ESPN's Mike Mazzeo: "This is really Brook Lopez's team right now. ... They don’t really have that one guy to stand out [defensively]. ... I think they’re going to play hard."



Coach Fisher on Porzingis injury: "He strained his left quad -- similar to the quad injury he had pre-draft, just not as severe."