Charlotte Hornets going retro with '90s purple throwbacks for 2019-20 season | The Hornets will complete their 90s throwback collection with the purple pinstriped look


                        Charlotte Hornets going retro with '90s purple throwbacks for 2019-20 season

Charlotte Hornets going retro with '90s purple throwbacks for 2019-20 season

Charlotte Hornets going retro with '90s purple throwbacks for 2019-20 season

Charlotte Hornets going retro with '90s purple throwbacks for 2019-20 season

Charlotte Hornets going retro with '90s purple throwbacks for 2019-20 season

Charlotte Hornets going retro with '90s purple throwbacks for 2019-20 season
Charlotte Hornets going retro with '90s purple throwbacks for 2019-20 season
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It's been a big day for uniform news in North Carolina. Not only did the Carolina Hurricanes unveil a new road uniform on Tuesday morning, but the Charlotte Hornets announced that they'll be bringing back their classic purple jerseys as well.

The Hornets revealed the purple throwback will return under the Classic designation for this upcoming season, meaning they'll wear the retro look for select games in the 2019-20 seaon. The jersey, which features alternating white, blue and teal pinstripes, was in the team's rotation for two seasons from 1994 to 1996.

The team made the announcement via a pretty neat video on Twitter.

The return of the purple uniform will likely come as welcome news for most fans, especially given the 1990s nostalgia wave that everyone seems to be riding these days. 

The only unfortunate bit of accompanying news comes in the fact that the return of the purple jersey means the end of the white version of this look, which was used as the team's Classic uniform last season. Two years ago, the Hornets brought back the teal version.

Not to look too far ahead, but it'll be interesting to see what the Hornets do after this season now that they've revived the entire 1990s set. Perhaps there could be a permanent revival in the cards down the line.


                        Ben Simmons' growth as a shooter will be critical to unlocking the 76ers' full potential in 2019-20, and beyond

Ben Simmons' growth as a shooter will be critical to unlocking the 76ers' full potential in 2019-20, and beyond

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star guard Ben Simmons does so many things well on a basketball court. He's lethal in the open court and possesses pinpoint, precision passing and uncanny court vision. He's an excellent rebounder and an above-average defender, with the potential to be an elite one. He's also an unbelievable athlete with an elevated basketball IQ.

Still, critics tend to focus on the one glaring deficiency in Simmons' game up to this point in his career: his inability to stretch the floor with his shot.

In a league that is placing continued importance on the long-ball for all positions, the fact that Simmons has yet to connect on a single 3-pointer through two seasons of his professional career (he's 0 for 17 from beyond the arc) has become somewhat of a running joke among detractors, or fans of the league in general, and it is mentioned almost invariably when the 2018 Rookie of the Year is brought up in casual conversations.

Sometimes, it seems like Simmons could drop 40-15-15 in a Sixers win, but if he failed to connect on a shot from outside of the paint, his production will be dismissed. This is clearly hyperbolic, but it works to prove a point about the way that Simmons is viewed by many.

Overall, the criticism surrounding Simmons' game is overblown, in my opinion, as he can -- and does -- still positively contribute to winning despite his limited range, but there is some truth to it. Ultimately, Simmons will indeed need to improve (dramatically) if the Sixers are going to reach their lofty ceiling in the 2019-20 season, and their full potential as a team moving forward. While Joel Embiid is already an MVP-level player when he's healthy, Simmons is the one member of Philadelphia's first five that can still unlock another level to his game. 

For Simmons, improvement isn't confined to shooting, though it certainly starts there, but not beyond the 3-point line -- beyond the foul line. Simmons is one of the most physically gifted athletes in the NBA today, and his natural ability provides him a proclivity for getting to the rim. Once there, he absorbs a lot of contact, but he hasn't really been able to capitalize on the resulting opportunities. As a rookie, he shot just 56 percent from the foul line, and 60 percent during his second season. Ideally, you'd like to see that number get up to around 70 percent (at least), at which point defenses would have to think twice about putting him on the line -- something that doesn't happen now.

In the past, Simmons hasn't been especially confident in his own ability to convert free throws, and that has negatively impacted his game as it has caused him to play timid at times, and to shy away from the ball down the stretch of games when the Sixers need him to be in command of the offense. If Simmons can increase his free throw percentage, it will in turn boost his confidence at the line, and thus ultimately increase his aggression. Such a development would be big for the 76ers, as they need their third-year All-Star pillar to be a player that they can trust to step up down the stretch of games.

This is especially important when you consider the departure of Jimmy Butler in free agency, as Butler had assumed the role of secondary -- and at times primary -- playmaker for the Sixers by the time the playoffs rolled around last season. Though the Sixers bounced back nicely from Butler's exit by receiving Josh Richardson in a sign-and-trade with the Heat, and then signing Al Horford with the money that would have gone to Butler, neither Richardson nor Horford is the type of perimeter initiator that Butler is, meaning that responsibility bounces back to Simmons.

Additionally, once he builds confidence from the free-throw line, one would think that that confidence could then extend outwards to the elbow and foul line-extended areas. A reliable midrange jumper that defenses had to respect would open things up tremendously on the offensive end for Simmons, and in turn for the Sixers.

The development of a shot that he is comfortable with and increased confidence are clearly correlated for Simmons, and it is an issue that he has been addressing this offseason.

"He's in the gym religiously every day, grinding, getting better," Sixers forward Tobias Harris said last month after an extensive workout session with Simmons in L.A. "He's in great shape … He's made big improvements on his game. His jump shot is looking really good and he has the confidence to shoot … It was a good sight to see."

In addition to developing a shot and increasing aggression, there is another area where Simmons could improve for next season: taking care of the ball. Considering the fact that Simmons was tied for fifth in the entire NBA in assists per game last season (7.7), this may be nit-picking. Plus, for a player who has the ball in his hands as much as Simmons does, his career average of 3.5 turnovers per game isn't terrible, but it could be better, and it will likely improve as Simmons becomes more seasoned in the league. Playoff games often come down to a single possession -- as the Sixers learned the hard way last spring -- and cutting out just a single turnover could ultimately be the difference between a win or a loss. Becoming a more efficient player is something that Simmons alluded to at his exit interview in May. 

"I want to get better all around, become a better and more efficient player," Simmons said at the time when discussing how he wanted to improve moving forward. "There's no one individual spot. I think I want to work on everything and just continue to let my game grow." 

Thanks to some shrewd salary cap work dating back to former general manager Sam Hinkie's tenure with the team, some good (or lucky, depending on how you look at it) drafting, the development of a solid culture under head coach Brett Brown, and some aggression on the open market on the part of Elton Brand, the Sixers are in position to accomplish some things that they haven't done in a quite some time, such as making it to the NBA Finals (it will be 19 years when the '20 Finals roll around), or even winning an NBA title (37 years). For the Sixers to get there, though, that growth that Simmons referred to needs to occur. 


                        Former NBA player slams LeBron James, Lakers for signing Jared Dudley over Carmelo Anthony

Former NBA player slams LeBron James, Lakers for signing Jared Dudley over Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony has drawn support from his fellow players in his quest to return to the NBA, but that support has largely been vague. Players have said that Anthony deserves to be in the league, but they haven't been specific about where he should play or whose spot he should take. 

Royce White, a former first-round pick of the Houston Rockets who currently plays in the BIG3, cut through that ambiguity in defending Anthony. He not only argued for the former superstar's place in the NBA but blamed LeBron James for failing to get him a spot on the Los Angeles Lakers' roster. He even named the player whom Anthony should replace in his mind: Jared Dudley

"If anybody thinks Dudley can hold Carmelo's jockstrap, I'll slap them," White concluded. Dudley initially posted a response to White's comments but quickly deleted it. He had little reason to do so beyond tact, though, because White is wrong on virtually every front. 

On the LeBron James front: it is obvious based on almost everything that has happened this offseason that he does not have the leverage to force his team to make any decisions. If he did, Ty Lue would likely be the team's head coach right now. But he isn't. Marc Stein reported for the New York Times in April that the Lakers were worried about appearing to give too much control of the team to James, who has a reputation for palace intrigue. Their offseason so far suggests that they are making decisions independent from his input. 

That puts the onus squarely on the Lakers, who reportedly consider signing Anthony last season. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the two sides ceased contract negotiations after a losing streak in March "left the organization and Anthony's camp wondering if it made sense to bring the veteran into an unsettled environment." While the decision may not entirely have been Anthony's, it appears as if he had a say in the matter and chose not to pursue a deal with the Lakers when he had the chance. 

And as far as the rest of their offseason moves go, signing Anthony and Dudley never needed to be mutually exclusive. The Lakers have a full roster for training camp, but only 14 of their players have guaranteed contracts, meaning that for all intents and purposes, they still have an empty roster spot. They've had months to consider using it on Anthony even with Dudley in place. They have chosen not to. It is not a matter of the Lakers having too many forwards, either, as most reports indicated that the Lakers had been saving that spot for Andre Iguodala, another forward, prior to DeMarcus Cousins' injury. 

The Lakers haven't signed Anthony for the same reason that 29 other teams haven't signed Anthony: they don't believe that he makes their team better. That is the point that White is fundamentally missing. Anthony was, at one point, a dynamic and irreplaceable scorer whose flaws were worth covering up. The past two seasons have suggested that is no longer the case. 

Dudley, on the other hand, has a skill set and personality that lends itself to aging in a way that Anthony's hasn't. He is a career 39.2 percent three-point shooter who rarely needs the ball in his hands, and he was just nominated for the NBA's Twyman-Stokes award given annually to the league's best teammate. Dudley is widely considered one of the best locker room presences in all of basketball. That is a stark contrast to Anthony, who has publicly fought against the idea of coming off of the bench, and blamed the teams that asked him to do so for failing to properly communicate that desire to him in a recent interview with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN's "First Take."

If Dudley were to play Anthony in a game of one-on-one, he would probably lose. But the NBA is not a one-on-one league. Rosters run 15 deep and are complex ecosystems. Players are expected to fill specific roles both on and off of the court. At this stage of their careers, Dudley is more able to do that than Anthony is. The entire NBA saw that. White, apparently, does not. 


                        2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup group standings, schedule: Team USA eyeing spot in 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo

2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup group standings, schedule: Team USA eyeing spot in 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo

The FIBA World Cup is set to begin on Aug. 31, and as the second-most prestigious basketball tournament in the world, it should qualify as appointment television for any fan of the game interested in international competition or the superstars who will comprise many of the rosters. 

The tournament will take place in China, meaning games will be played at unusual hours for American viewers. So for the sake of clarity, let's dive into how the tournament works, when the games take place, and what the results will mean for these teams moving forward. 

How to qualify for the Olympics through the FIBA World Cup

A total of 12 teams will participate in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Japan is automatically qualified for the Summer Olympics as the host nation, leaving only 11 spots left to fill. Seven of those 11 spots will be filled in China at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Here's how each region can qualify directly from the World Cup:

  • FIBA Europe: Two spots to best-ranked teams from the region
  • FIBA Americas: Two spots to best-ranked teams from the region
  • FIBA Africa: One spot to best-ranked team from the region
  • FIBA Asia: One spot to best-ranked team from the region
  • FIBA Oceania: One spot to best-ranked team from the region

Only four spots will remain available after the World Cup. Four teams will book their tickets to Tokyo at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in July of 2020.

How to watch

For a specific look at the United States roster, click here. If you want to narrow down when Team USA is playing, click here for their schedule.  Game times for the first round have been announced. Every game of the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China can be streamed live on ESPN+. 


First round

The tournament begins with 32 teams divided into eight groups. Each team within each group plays one another once. When those games have been played, the top two teams from each group advance into the second group stage. If multiple teams are tied with identical records, then the first tiebreaker is their head-to-head record against one another in the tournament, and if that doesn't settle the tie, then point differential against one another, followed by overall point differential, are used next. 

Group A standings and schedule

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Ivory Coast

0

0

0

0

Poland

0

0

0

0

Venezuela

0

0

0

0

China

0

0

0

0

(All times are U.S./Eastern)  

Saturday, Aug. 31
Poland vs. Venezuela, 4 a.m.  
Ivory Coast vs. China, 8 a.m.   

Monday, Sept. 2
Venezuela vs. Ivory Coast, 4 a.m. 
China vs. Poland, 8 a.m.    

Wednesday, Sept. 4
Ivory Coast vs. Poland, 4 a.m.   
Venezuela vs. China, 8 a.m.   

Group B standings and schedule

TEAMWLPDPTS

Russia

0

0

0

0

Argentina

0

0

0

0

South Korea

0

0

0

0

Nigeria

0

0

0

0

(All times are U.S./Eastern)  

Saturday, Aug. 31
Russia vs. Nigeria, 4:30 a.m.
Argentina vs. South Korea, 8:30 a.m.  

Monday, Sept. 2
Nigeria vs. Argentina, 4:30 a.m.  
South Korea vs. Russia, 8:30 a.m.   

Wednesday, Sept. 4
South Korea vs. Nigeria, 4:30 a.m. 
Russia vs. Argentina, 8:30 a.m.  

Group C standings and schedule

TEAMWLPDPTS

Spain

0

0

0

0

Iran

0

0

0

0

Puerto Rico

0

0

0

0

Tunisia

0

0

0

0

(All times are U.S./Eastern)  

Saturday, Aug. 31
Iran vs. Puerto Rico, 4:30 a.m.
Spain vs. Tunisia, 8:30 a.m.

Monday, Sept. 2
Tunisia vs. Iran, 4:30 a.m. 
Puerto Rico vs. Spain, 8:30 a.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 4
Puerto Rico vs. Tunisia, 4:30 a.m. 
Spain vs. Iran, 8:30 a.m.

Group D standings and schedule

TEAMWLPDPTS

Angola

0

0

0

0

Phillipines

0

0

0

0

Italy

0

0

0

0

Serbia

0

0

0

0

(All times are U.S./Eastern)  

Saturday, Aug. 31
Angola vs. Serbia, 3:30 a.m. 
Philippines vs. Italy, 7:30 a.m.   

Monday, Sept. 2
Italy vs. Angola, 3:30 a.m.  
Serbia vs. Philippines, 7:30 a.m.    

Wednesday, Sept. 4
Angola vs. Philippines, 3:30 a.m.  
Italy vs. Serbia, 7:30 a.m.    

Group E standings and schedule

TEAMWLPDPTS

United States

0

0

0

0

Turkey

0

0

0

0

Czech Republic

0

0

0

0

Japan

0

0

0

0

(All times are U.S./Eastern)  

Sunday, Sept. 1
Turkey vs. Japan, 4:30 a.m.
United States vs. Czech Republic, 8:30 a.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 3
Japan vs. Czech Republic, 4:30 a.m. 
United States vs. Turkey, 8:30 a.m.

Thursday, Sept. 5
Turkey vs. Czech Republic, 4:30 a.m. 
United States vs. Japan, 8:30 a.m.

Group F standings and schedule

TEAMWLPDPTS

Greece

0

0

0

0

New Zealand

0

0

0

0

Brazil

0

0

0

0

Montenegro

0

0

0

0

(All times are U.S./Eastern)  

Sunday, Sept. 1
New Zealand vs. Brazil, 4 a.m.
Greece vs. Montenegro, 8 a.m.  

Tuesday, Sept. 3
Montenegro vs. New Zealand, 4 a.m. 
Brazil vs. Greece, 8 a.m. 

Thursday, Sept. 5
Brazil vs. Montenegro, 4 a.m. 
Greece vs. New Zealand, 8 a.m.  

Group G standings and schedule

TEAMWLPDPTS

Dominican Republic

0

0

0

0

France

0

0

0

0

Germany

0

0

0

0

Jordan

0

0

0

0

(All times are U.S./Eastern)  

Sunday, Sept. 1
Dominican Republic vs. Jordan, 4:30 a.m.
France vs. Germany, 8:30 a.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 3
Germany vs. Dominican Republic, 4:30 a.m. 
Jordan vs. France, 8:30 a.m.

Thursday, Sept. 5
Germany vs. Jordan, 4:30 a.m. 
Dominican Republic vs. France, 8:30 a.m.

Group H standings and schedule

TEAMWLPDPTS

Canada

0

0

0

0

Senegal

0

0

0

0

Lithuania

0

0

0

0

Australia

0

0

0

0

(All times are U.S./Eastern)  

Sunday, Sept. 1
Canada vs. Australia, 3:30 a.m. 
Senegal vs. Lithuania, 7:30 a.m. 

Tuesday, Sept. 3
Australia vs. Senegal, 3:30 a.m.  
Lithuania vs. Canada, 7:30 a.m.    

Thursday, Sept. 5
Canada vs. Senegal, 3:30 a.m.  
Lithuania vs. Australia, 7:30 a.m.    


Second round

The groups for the second group stage are determined by the results for the first round. The top two teams from Groups A and B share Group I, Groups C and D share group J, Groups E and F share group K and Groups G and H share Group L. Once the groupings have been determined, each team plays the three other teams in its new group once. The top two teams from each new group advance to the single-elimination knockout stage. 

Group I standings and schedule

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A1

0

0

0

0

A2

0

0

0

0

B1

0

0

0

0

B2

0

0

0

0

(All times are U.S./Eastern)  

Friday, Sept. 6
A1 vs. B2
B1 vs. A2  

Sunday, Sept. 8 
A2 vs. B2 
A1 vs. B1  

Group J standings and schedule

TEAMWLPDPTS

C1

0

0

0

0

C2

0

0

0

0

D1

0

0

0

0

D2

0

0

0

0

(All times are U.S./Eastern)  

Friday, Sept. 6
C1 vs. D2
D1 vs. C2 

Sunday, Sept. 8 
C2 vs. D2
C1 vs. D1  

Group K standings and schedule

TEAMWLPDPTS

E1

0

0

0

0

E2

0

0

0

0

F1

0

0

0

0

F2

0

0

0

0

(All times are U.S./Eastern)  

Saturday, Sept. 7 
E1 vs. F2
F1 vs. E2 

Monday, Sept. 9 
E2 vs. F2  
E1 vs. F1    

Group L standings and schedule

TEAMWLPDPTS

G1

0

0

0

0

G2

0

0

0

0

H1

0

0

0

0

H2

0

0

0

0

(All times are U.S./Eastern)  

Saturday, Sept. 7
G1 vs. H2
H1 vs. G2  

Monday, Sept. 9
G2 vs. H2  
G1 vs. H1     


Quarterfinals

Tuesday, Sept. 10
I1 vs. J2
J1 vs. I2

Wednesday, Sept. 11
K1 vs. L2
L1 vs. K2


Consolation games

Thursday, Sept. 12
QF1 loser vs. QF2 loser
QF3 loser vs. QF4 loser 


Semifinal

Friday, Sept. 13
I1/J2 vs. K1/L2
J1/I2 vs. L1/K2


Bronze-medal game

Saturday, Sept. 14
SF1 loser vs. SF2 loser


Gold-medal game

Sunday, Sept. 15
SF1 winner vs. SF2 winner

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