hey names josh im in the army and im a huge spurs fan thats pretty much it haha
UPDATE: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday afternoon via league sources that Turiaf is finalizing an agreement with the Heat. At 6-foot-10, Turiaf will give the Heat some size up front -- a need of the team -- and could work his way into the rotation in the frontcourt as the playoffs near. --- Ronny Turiaf will clear waivers on Wednesday and according to ESPNBoston.com, agent Mark Bartelstein said his client won't wait to pick his new team. "He's at the end of his contract so Ronny is looking for some significant playing time and a significant role," Bartelstein said. "We have a number of teams interested." The teams linked with Turiaf are Boston, Miami and San Antonio. Turiaf is cleared to play after he broke his left hand on Jan. 1.
Boris Diaw's time with the Charlotte Bobcats should be over later today. Bobcats vice president of basketball operations Rod Higgins confirmed to The Charlotte Observer early Wednesday that Diaw and the team have agreed to a buyout. Diaw will be able to sign with another team on Friday after he's placed on waivers today. The Dallas Mavericks or San Antonio Spurs may sign Diaw to a rest-of-season contract.
Tuesday the Utah Jazz announced that Josh Howard would not play again this season due to a left knee injury -- chip in lateral femoral cartilage. The Salt Lake Tribune reports Howard will seek a second opinion in New York on Wednesday before having surgery. "It's tough. But if I can get through ACL surgery and a meniscus tear, I can beat anything," said Howard. "It's a part of the game and it's just something I have to deal with. I know I'll be back." Howard is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, which means he could come back for the first round of the playoffs, if the Jazz make it to the postseason. According to the newspaper, general manager Kevin O'Connor said he won't bring in a player while Howard is out. Howard's minutes could go to C.J. Miles, Gordon Hayward, Jeremy Evans or DeMarre Carroll.
ANYBODY THINK WE SHOULD GO AFTER CAMBY IF HES BOUGHT OUT? UPDATE: According to sources of CBS Sports' Ken Berger, Wallace is heading to Portland. "Package for Wallace believed to be centered around Andre Miller," he added. "Marcus Camby was discussed, but he might retire rather than report to Charlotte." There's been some chatter Gerald Wallace may get dealt by Thursday's deadline, as ESPN's Chad Ford reported the Bobcats have "aggressively courted the Mavericks, Rockets, Clippers, Pacers and Cavs." There's also been talk of the Blazers. As Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweeted earlier Wednesday: "Portland is pushing hard and getting closer to completing a deal with Charlotte for Wallace, a league source tells Y! Sports." And now, according to Dwight James, Wallace is heading to Portland. "Just got off the phone with an NBA source who says his team believes the Wallace-to-Portland deal is 'done,'" James tweeted Wednesday afternoon. With Nicolas Batum already in at small forward for the Blazers -- an asset the Blazers were reluctant to part with when Denver tried to include him in a Carmelo Anthony deal -- it's not immediately clear what Wallace's role with the team would be. Though he could potentially be used in the team's frontcourt. -- Ryan Corazza
SMH jason terry do you ever just shut up.
heat are first somehow, spurs second
not sure if anyone really cares but they give us a "good" rating. if the link dosnt work sorry im still fairly new to PTR
I THOUGHT HOLLINGER WAS ONE OF THE FEW ANALIST WHO GAVE THE SPUIRS LOVE, WHY DID HE JUST TAKE SHOTS AT US FOR? LOS ANGELES -- I believe this is called "having your cake and eating it too." The San Antonio Spurs have spent the past eight years insisting that Tim Duncan is not a center, to the point they successfully had him relisted as a forward on the All-Star ballot four years ago and have petitioned the league to keep him there ever since. Never mind that Duncan has played center more than any other position since David Robinson retired in 2003, and has played it almost exclusively since the departure of Nazr Mohammed in 2006. That was half a decade ago, but the Spurs have pressed on with the dubious claim that Duncan is a forward. So it was a little jarring Thursday when it came time to announce a replacement starter for the injured Yao Ming as the Western Conference center … and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich named Duncan. For starters, this is a highly questionable choice. Pau Gasol of the Lakers is having a much better season, and the game is being played on his home court. Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki -- an MVP candidate and the lone rep from the club with the conference's second-best record -- also had a strong claim on the starting spot. Duncan, on the other hand, did not -- his résumé was the weakest of any player picked by the coaches. I get that this is an exhibition, and that it's a way for the league to tip its hat to an all-time great in what will likely be his final All-Star Game. Nonetheless, it all strikes me as a wee bit too convenient. And for those who suspected the Don't-Call-Him-A-Center mantra was mainly a play for Duncan to avoid going up against Yao Ming in the All-Star voting, this only fans the flames.
THIS IS ONLY DUNCAN SECTION, IF ANYONE WANTS TO READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE FOR THE MAVS, ROCKETS AND LAKERS THEN LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS. Team: San Antonio Spurs Player: Tim Duncan Without the luxury of lottery picks, the Spurs have somehow managed to restock their shelves through the draft year after year. In the process, they've built around Duncan, who's 34, and solidified a promising core that will extend beyond him as well. DeJuan Blair, whom the Spurs plucked in the second round of the 2009 draft, is already a full-time starter and, at 21 years old, currently owns the ninth-best rebound rate among NBA regulars. While he may never develop into an All-Star, the Spurs will gladly take a daily double-double from someone they're paying a grand total of $3 million through 2012-13. Between Blair and the 26-year-old Tiago Splitter -- another one of the Spurs' diamonds in the rough -- San Antonio is well-equipped to withstand Duncan's final years with the team. Neither Blair nor Splitter will come close to providing the same production as Duncan, but with their price tags, they're only expected to be placeholders for the next big-time post player. Most people forget that Tony Parker -- yet another Spurs find late in the draft -- is just 28 years old. Enjoying a bounceback season, Parker should provide good value for the Spurs going forward, as they're paying him $12.5 million annually through 2014-15. He and Manu Ginobili should be able to lead the Spurs into a post-Duncan era if he decides to bolt (or retire) when his contract expires after next season. Knowing the Spurs, they'll probably nab North Carolina's Harrison Barnes with a late first-round pick and watch him turn into the top prospect many envisioned. That's just what they do.
As we head into the All-Star break, it seems an appropriate time to take a step back and evaluate the new talent that has entered the league in the past two seasons. No one can deny that each class, taken on its own merits, has been short on top-tier talent. But what about when we look at them combined? When we consider that no fewer than nine different players are considered the likely faces of their team's future and another five play either pivotal or starting roles for playoff teams, we begin to see that the NBA has added plenty of strong players the last two summers. Let's stack them up and rank them, not based on future performances or what they did last year, but strictly on how they have done so far this season. 1. Blake Griffin, Clippers Did you expect to see anyone else here? We'd have to go back to the 2008 draft to find anyone who can compete with Griffin for the top spot. If we did, he'd be notched just below Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and probably Kevin Love as the fourth-best player to enter the NBA in the past three years. No one in the past two drafts comes close to matching the productivity or star power of Griffin. 2. Stephen Curry, Warriors To my eye, he's the best player on an improving Golden State team. He can beat you with his long-range shooting, his passing and his ability to generate buckets against good defense. And none of those things are his best gift, which is his intelligence. He was terrific last season and has been even better this season, improving in almost every metric we keep track of. His defense isn't as bad you think either. Besides, Steve Nash, who isn't known for his defense, won two MVPs. This guy is Nash all over again. 3. DeJuan Blair, Spurs The best college rebounder to enter the NBA in years continues to pound the boards and the teams who passed on him in the 2009 draft (he went 37th overall). He's a solid starter on the league's best team and, after a rough start to the season, playing the best ball of his short career. His great hands are not just good for rebounding in traffic, but also for stripping ball handlers and shooters attacking the rim -- he leads all bigs in steals per 48 minutes. And in a bit of irony, no player in his draft class has appeared in more games. 4. Serge Ibaka, Thunder If you want to see how a player can impact a team without putting up double-doubles or huge scoring numbers, study Ibaka. Everyone sees what he does on defense (he leads all rookies and sophs in blocks), but the Thunder are also a much better offensive team when he's on the floor. He finishes over 70 percent of his shots in the paint and makes 45 percent of his pick-and-pops. In short, he's the third-best player on one of the top 10 teams in the NBA. 5. Jrue Holiday, 76ers A case can be made that Philly is the league's most improved team and Holiday, who leads the Sixers in minutes played, just might be its most valuable player. He sets the stage for the team on offense and defense, ranking second in assists and fourth in steals among all first- and second-year players. He has also proved to be a much better shooter from distance, coming up huge in the scoring department in multiple games this season. Most recently, he poured in 27 of his team's 77 points in an upset of the Spurs. A change in Philly's offense might signal less production from Holiday, however, which would likely move him down this list. 6. Darren Collison, Pacers Collison is quietly coming on as a high-level point guard. Solid for the first half of the season, he has been terrific since the coaching change in Indiana. The Pacers have won eight of their past 10, and Collison is the steady hand at the wheel of this run. 7. Ty Lawson, Nuggets Lawson made an impressive debut last season, and although some people thought he'd be headed for a down year as teams adjusted to his speed, he was my preseason pick to win the MIP award. While it's unlikely he'll actually win the award, he has slightly improved upon his overall production from last season and leads one of the league's best bench units. Lawson has one of the top field goal percentages among all point guards in the NBA, thanks to good shooting and better decision-making. 8. Wesley Matthews, Trail Blazers After struggling from deep in November, Matthews has been hot from beyond the arc for three straight months (better than 42 percent) and more than adequate as a replacement for All-Star Brandon Roy. One of the top stories of the season has been Portland's ability to stay in the playoff chase despite devastating injuries to two of its star players. Matthews' play has been a big part of this effort. 9. John Wall, Wizards Has he been as good as advertised? Probably not, but it's closer than you think. Without Griffin in this class we'd be talking about Washington's speed demon a lot more. Although the Wizards have been struggling, Wall has given them something of an identity. He is a joy to play with and has been competing on defense more than highly regarded rookies normally do. 10. DeMarcus Cousins, Kings He still has a lot of growing up to do, but he's the biggest beast of these two classes after Griffin. Try these numbers on for size: He averaged 21.7 ppg and 11.5 rpg in a recent string of games against the Lakers, Celtics, Jazz, Mavs, Hornets and Thunder. That's a lot of lottery picks and All-Stars he battled against. And he made 50 of his 101 shots in that stretch, too. 11. Tyreke Evans, Kings Evans has been on a tear lately, but there is no way to ignore his horrible start and his inability to help the Kings win. The Kings are 24-78 since Jan. 1, 2010, and only Cleveland's Mo Williams has a usage rate of 25 or more and has lost more games than Evans this season. Evans still scores in bunches and he's a much improved defender, but among starting point guards he ranks in the bottom five in true shooting percentage and is dead last in assist rate. His talent is undeniable, but he hasn't figured out how to use it within a team concept yet. 12. DeMar DeRozan, Raptors As a starting 2-guard in the NBA, DeRozan still needs to improve in a lot of areas -- namely the 3-ball -- but watching the Raptors lately is basically watching the DeMar DeRozan Show. He is their most dynamic young player and, since December, has been their most productive and consistent scorer after Andrea Bargnani. DeRozan has become lethal as a shooter off curls and is attacking the rim more when closely guarded on the perimeter. He pairs nicely with Ed Davis in Toronto as consecutive first-round picks who look like core guys going forward. 13. Landry Fields, Knicks As New York has struggled to keep up its momentum from earlier in the season, the love affair with Fields has faded into the background, even though he's doing what he's done since Day 1. Simply put, his combination of 3-point shooting and rebounding at the wing spot might be the best in the league. He competes all over the floor and plays with a swagger that belies his years. 14. Greg Monroe, Pistons Anchoring the middle as a rookie starter is difficult, but Monroe has stepped up and is looking like the team's center of the future. He has shown the potential to average a double-double as early as next season, which is impressive considering that only seven bigs will likely accomplish that this season. And while he's not a shot-blocker, he's large and agile enough to be a basket protector. His top two skills coming into the league -- passing and perimeter shooting -- have not taken root yet, but if they do and he learns to compete with more edge and passion consistently, Monroe can jump into the top five of this list next season. 15. James Harden, Thunder Consistent, poised, smart and focused. Those qualities are what made Harden the No. 3 pick in the 2009 draft and he's using them to help the Thunder win a lot of games. He still has to improve as a finisher inside 10 feet and could use his athletic ability more, but his feel and talent make him an excellent complement to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. If he ever took over the starting 2-guard spot in OKC, it might help him raise his game to another level, which I believe exists. 16. Taj Gibson, Bulls Gibson has proved he can help the team win whether he's starting or coming off the bench with energy and defense. He's not shooting as well as he did last season, which could be the result of fewer minutes and touches, but he's one of the top defenders on the Bulls, who are contenders because of the way they defend. Gibson will play a crucial role in the playoffs. 17. Gary Neal, Spurs His consistent shooting threat -- he's connecting on 40 percent of his 3s -- is making a big difference in San Antonio. It seems that every shot he takes is the perfect shot, which is a big part of why the Spurs have the league's second-best offense. His worst month from 3-point land was January, when he shot a strong 37.9 percent. Guys who make 40 percent of their 3-point shots don't knock down two of five every game. There will obviously be some 3-for-4 performances and 0-for-6 nights mixed in, too. But great shooters try to avoid long slumps by focusing on taking nothing but good shots as opposed to chasing shots that might start a hot streak. Neal has been doing that for the Spurs. 18. Brandon Jennings, Bucks Jennings would be higher on this list if he hadn't missed so many games due to injury. Although he hasn't been the same shooter since his hot rookie start, he still manages the game and is always a threat to knife into the lane to create easy shots for a teammate. He's become a much better finisher at the rim, too, and now needs to find his midrange game to take the next step towards being a top-tier point guard. 19. Reggie Williams, Warriors He hasn't been able to get to the rim as often this season, where he's a spectacular finisher despite being an average athlete, but Williams is still one of the most efficient shooters in basketball. He has made 53 of his last 116 3s (46 percent) and is one of the most reliable ball handlers among designated shooters in the NBA. On a team packed with skill, the Warriors' offense is at its best when he's in the game. 20. Paul George, Pacers Now playing significant minutes for one of the league's hottest teams, George uses his length and feel to make him perhaps the Pacers' most important perimeter defender. He uses those same tools, plus a skilled dribble-drive game, to be their best finishing slasher, too. He's got a chance to be one of the best rookies in this class over the last two months of the season. Five guys to watch Sam Young, Grizzlies: He's my pick for most underrated player in the NBA. Better off the dribble than you'd think, and just as strong as you'd expect. Wesley Johnson, Timberwolves: He has all the tools to be very good, plus a great head on his shoulders. Now he just needs to figure it out. Evan Turner, 76ers: I doubt he'll ever live up to his billing as a No. 2 pick, but he can still be a very productive player. Derrick Favors, Nets: I'd guess that by this time next year, he'll figure prominently in the top 10. Marcus Thornton, Hornets: He was one of the best rookies last season, but started out on the wrong foot with his new coach this season. Lately, though, he seems to be back in the mix. We know he has the offensive game to punch up some impressive numbers
Zach Lowe of the Sports Illustrated blog reports: No team is more fun to watch in the halfcourt, with all the side-to-side movement, backdoor cuts and swinging of the ball. Watch for this one, a personal favorite: Tony Parker and DeJuan Blair will run a pick-and-roll at the top of the three-point arc while Richard Jefferson relaxes on the left wing above the three-point line and Manu Ginobili sprints his way to the left corner, near Jefferson. If Parker penetrates, Jefferson’s guy may sag down toward the foul line to help. As that happens, Jefferson will drift slightly to the left. Even worse for that poor defender: Tim Duncan will creep up toward the foul line area, position himself between Jefferson and Jefferson’s defender and set a back-screen. When RJ’s defender turns to scurry back out to Jefferson, he’ll run right into Duncan’s chest. Parker will then kick the ball out to Jefferson, who can either shoot an open triple or — if Ginobili’s man rotates out to him — shoot a pass to Ginobili in the left corner. Gorgeous hoops. Read more: http://www.insidehoops.com/blog/?p=7104#ixzz1CkHZyRSP
Break up the Grizzlies! Memphis improved its record to the good side of .500 for the first time all season Monday night with a 100-97 win over Orlando. At 25-24, the Grizzlies have added further mystery to the race for the lower seeds in the Western Conference. Quietly, the Griz have put themselves in real good shape to make the postseason. Although they're still a game behind Portland for the eighth seed, they have five more home games than road games left on their schedule and could land as high as sixth by the time the postseason begins. According to Tuesday's Playoff Odds, Memphis is now better than even money to make the playoffs with a 57.2 percent chance. The Griz would deserve it, too -- they've been hovering around 10th in the Power Rankings for the past month. The hunt is getting really interesting. By my count, 11 teams have a realistic shot at making the postseason in the West, sporting at least a 1-in-6 shot. Five teams are virtually assured of a postseason spot -- San Antonio, L.A., Dallas, Oklahoma City and New Orleans. If I were making bets, I'd say they'll end up seeded in that order once the playoffs start. Each rates as at least a 97 percent chance to make the playoffs. San Antonio, with 40 wins already, could potentially drop its final 35 games and still squeeze in. But starting at No. 6, the questions begin. I would argue that Memphis has the best prospects of the six hopefuls for the final three spots, but each has questions. In Memphis, those queries are something like, "Can they avoid making a disastrous trade in the next two weeks?" and "How much will the coach sabotage them?" Here's a look at the others: Can Utah hold off the rot? Let's start with the current No. 6, Utah, which is nine games over .500 and seemingly in good shape but battling furiously to hold off the rot after a strong start. Even with the Jazz's strong win-loss record, the Playoff Odds give them just a 59.3 percent chance of making it, largely because their performance has fallen off so much. Utah hasn't had a double-figure win over somebody besides Cleveland since Dec. 13 and for the season has been outscored by 0.3 points per game. The Jazz have slumped to 21st in the Power Rankings, and although one may argue that's too pessimistic, we're projecting a barely adequate 14-19 record for them the rest of the way and a seventh- or eighth-place finish. Trades also could impact the picture. Andrei Kirilenko has played fairly well but could be dealt to cut the Jazz's luxury-tax bill; if so, their hopes will take another hit. I still think it's unlikely they'll slump so badly that they miss the playoffs entirely, especially with Denver and Portland pondering surgery of their own. But the possibility can no longer be ruled out. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Can Denver get enough wins without Melo? That, of course, assumes the No. 7 Nuggets retain their present course. Denver is 28-20 and will waltz into the postseason if it keeps the current team together. But with a Carmelo Anthony trade looming on the horizon, the question is whether the rest of the Nuggets are good enough to squeeze out the 14 to 15 wins that likely are needed to get into the playoffs. Interestingly, the Nuggets still have 10 games before the trade deadline, including two against Memphis and Houston and one each against Portland and Utah -- all their main rivals for the playoffs. If Denver hangs on to Melo and wins seven of its next 10, it likely will be in a strong-enough position that it'll get into the postseason even with a deadline trade. If the Nuggets don't win those games, though, it looks really iffy -- Denver's late-season schedule is very difficult. Of the final 24 games, 14 are against winning teams and 13 are on the road. That isn't a big deal if the Nuggets keep Melo but would be a serious issue if they break the team up first. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Can Portland win without any players? I've been projecting for a while that the No. 8 spot in the West would be decided by the April 12 game between Portland and Memphis, which has double value because it also decides the tiebreaker between those teams. For that to happen, however, the Blazers need to keep pace, and they're struggling against a steady current of injuries. Currently at 25-22, Portland's projected finish at 41-41 won't get it done unless the Nuggets collapse. More likely, the Blazers need to get a few more games over .500 before the All-Star break on a swing through the doormats of the East. (Side note: Who came up with this schedule? Portland has a three-game stretch next week that reads, "at Cleveland, home against Chicago, at Toronto." Which would be totally cool if they were the Buffalo Blazers but is a little odd for a team from Oregon.) As with Denver, Portland also has trade questions looming over its playoff hopes. Although I'm told the Blazers want to push for the postseason regardless, a trade of Andre Miller or Marcus Camby undoubtedly would set the mission back a bit. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Is Phoenix phinished? The Suns are two games under .500, don't have a particularly favorable schedule the rest of the way and, at 18.2 percent, have the worst odds of any of my 11 Western playoff contenders. So it's an uphill battle, but they can take away some optimistic signs. For starters, they've played much better lately. Phoenix has won seven of 10, including their past two wins over Boston and New Orleans, and although the latter was helped by a favorable interpretation of the goaltending rule, the big-picture takeaway is that this has been a strong 10-game stretch. The best part is that the Suns appear to finally have figured out their rotation, something they struggled with to a maddening extent in the immediate aftermath of the Jason Richardson trade. Although I'd still argue that Marcin Gortat should start in the middle ahead of Robin Lopez, the more crucial matter is that the Suns are playing with two real power forwards and two real centers. As a result, they're no longer an offensive juggernaut, but they no longer need to be. I still don't know whether all that would get them into the playoffs, but it at least makes the Suns worth watching for the next few weeks. With some low-hanging fruit on the schedule in February, they'll need to finish the month at or above .500 to have a realistic hope of getting in. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Houston? Still? Really? At 22-27, four games behind eighth-seeded Portland, the Rockets seem like a real long shot to make the postseason. According to today's Playoff Odds, however, they still retain a 27.8 percent chance of making it. Why? A couple of reasons. First, the schedule gets easier. The Rockets have 17 of their final 33 games against losing records (unusual in the West, where nine of the 14 other teams are above .500) and three more home games than road games. Second, they're better than their record -- the Rockets have scored more points than they've allowed and have essentially the same point differential as Portland or Utah; they just have been spectacularly unlucky thus far. One other reason to like the Rockets isn't accounted for in the odds -- unlike a couple of the teams ahead of them, they're likely to be buying rather than selling at the trade deadline. Most likely, they'll still fall short -- the Playoff Odds see Houston's most likely landing spot at 40 wins. The Rockets also lose the tiebreaker with Portland, which could hurt. Nonetheless, Houston is good enough and its schedule favorable enough that we can't rule out a 21-12 surge to the finish that nets the Rockets a playoff spot.
The term "extreme makeovers" is supposed to be reserved for decrepit houses and people suffering from midlife crises. Rarely does it apply to seasoned NBA vets like Josh Smith, Al Jefferson and Richard Jefferson. Smith and Al Jefferson are both in their seventh seasons; Richard Jefferson is in his 10th. After that many years, conventional NBA wisdom says there are no surprises about what players can do or how well they do it. Yet all three are posting double-digit percentage increases in a key facet of their games. Nowhere is the surge more surprising than in Atlanta. Smith, the same J-Smoove who abandoned the three ball last season when he attempted -- and missed -- just seven shots, is now among the best three-point shooting power forwards in the Eastern Conference. Making 36.9 percent of his treys, Smith is shooting better than such feared marksmen as Danilo Gallinari and Rashard Lewis. Meanwhile, Al Jefferson was traded from lowly Minnesota to Utah last summer, and the career 70 percent free throw shooter is suddenly up 10 percent. Then there's the Spurs' Jefferson, whose remodeling job is more subtle but actually more profound. For his first nine pro seasons, Jefferson was an off-the-dribble slashing wing, athletic and skilled enough to be a regular contributor on two Nets teams that went to the NBA Finals. But none of that mattered when San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich sat Jefferson down after last season for what other Spurs call "The Big Talk." This is when Coach gets real about how a player's game needs to improve to really help the Spurs. Pop told RJ he had to trash his habit of setting up his shot with ballhandling. The offense runs through Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker or Tim Duncan, leaving little time for him to be creative. If Jefferson was going to score, it had to be as soon as the ball hit his hands or off one quick pivot. That meant everything from the release point on his shot to the way he moved around the court had to change. First, shooting coach Chip Engelland shifted Jefferson's release from above his head to out in front. Then Popovich and assistant coach Chad Forcier drilled the following into him: stay low, knees bent at all times, always be ready to fire. "Yeah, I had my concerns," says Jefferson. "My old way was 10 years in the making. What they were asking was simple but something I'd never done. But my competitiveness took over." Synergy Sports Technology, a company that provides analytics to NBA teams, says Jefferson's efficiency rating for no-dribble catch-and-shoot scoring has gone from "average" to "excellent": 76.3 percent of his points scored, compared with 63.9 percent last season. For the Jazz's Jefferson, it wasn't about changing his form, it was about letting it take over. Last summer, before the Timberwolves traded him, assistant coach Dave Wohl, who also had been with Jefferson in Boston, finally unlocked the mystery of why a player with such solid free throw shooting form, a kid who shot 90 percent in high school, was so bad from the line. The answer: He needed to stop thinking. As a 2004 prep-to-pro draftee Jefferson's learning curve was steep. And big things were expected of him from undermanned teams, first in Boston and then in Minnesota. Rather than let things flow at the line, his mind drifted to all of his postrelease responsibilities. His percentage suffered. Wohl and Jefferson developed a remedy. Count to eight on every shot attempt to focus on the task at hand. Five dribbles, five seconds. At six the ball is rising, at eight he's letting it go. Jefferson made 36 in a row in a workout the first day and 35 in a row the second. With his mind clear and his burden shared, his top fear now is complacency. "When you hit so many in a row, you get cocky and start backsliding," Jefferson says. "I have to be consistent with it." For Smith, the transformation required both a technical and mental shift. He thought abandoning the three to focus on shotblocking and rebounding would be his ticket to the 2010 All-Star Game. Instead, all he got was runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year and an uneven game. Enter Idan Ravin, the personal trainer known as the Hoops Whisperer for his unorthodox drills and positive reinforcement. In a two-week session prior to the season, Ravin, who has worked with Chris Paul and Elton Brand, straightened out Smith's lefty stroke so that the ball rises in a perfect vertical line instead of being brought over from the right side of his body. He also patched the hole in Smith's psyche with texts containing affirmations such as "You don't need their approval, so stop looking in their direction." "Instant results," Smith says. "More than anything, he gave me confidence in myself." He needs it. Even now, Hawks' fans groan when he readies a three. Which is understandable. Such transformations aren't supposed to happen.
Larry Owens' 10-day contract expires on Tuesday, and there's yet to be an indication on whether he'll be back or not on another one from management, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. Owens did see time in all five games since joining the team. McDonald also reported that after Monday's shootaround "assistant coach Mike Budenholzer held Owens after class, drilling him through the team's offensive sets with help from a handful of other reserves." As such, it's possible Owens may get a re-up with the team on Tuesday.
The only thing Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard like to do more than report on the NBA is argue about the NBA. So we decided to combine those two skills for Insider's weekly One-on-One series, in which they'll debate the hottest topics in the Association. Question: Who has been the best coach of the past decade? BUCHER: Two coaches have stood above the rest of the NBA during the past decade: The Lakers' Phil Jackson and the Spurs' Gregg Popovich. There are coaches who have been impressive in various ways -- the Jazz's Jerry Sloan and the Celtics' Doc Rivers immediately come to mind -- but they are, at best, fighting for a distant third. The question is, who deserves to be considered the best? I'm going to go with the man they call Pop. BROUSSARD: Obviously, Pop is a terrific coach, one of the best to do it. But my pick for coach of the past decade or so is Jackson. With five titles and seven Finals appearances since 2000, he's led two separate dynasties in one decade. Not only has Jackson been the best coach of the past 10 to 12 years, he's been the best in NBA history. RB: That was my initial thought, too. Who argues against all those rings? Jackson's five versus Pop's three since 2000, right? In fact, I'd be willing to concede that Jackson is battling Red Auerbach for best of all time when you include Jackson's Chicago run. But when I look at what he's working with, and where and for whom, this feels like a race in which one runner has a 10-yard head start every time. The Los Angeles Lakers' winning has never come as a surprise; in fact, when they've lost, it has been an upset. The San Antonio Spurs, on the other hand, have been the favorite very few times because their talent never warranted it. Yet every season, including this one, they win more games and go deeper in the playoffs than their pure talent says they should. If you measure strictly by results, there is no argument here: Jackson wins. But measure results against what they were working with, and Pop clearly has "coached up" his teams more consistently than Jackson has. CB: Obviously, there's the Jackson's-had-tremendous-talent argument, which does have some merit. But when you consider that Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, both All-Stars at that point, got swept by the Spurs in the second round the year before Jackson got there and promptly led them to three straight titles, I think the argument loses some zest. Remember, even though Jackson has had great tandems, no other coach, including the solid Doug Collins, was able to lead the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen and Shaq-Kobe teams to titles. And then the post-Shaq Lakers were a disaster under Rudy Tomjanovich. So we're talking two good coaches, and the respected Del Harris, who couldn't do much with teams that Jackson made dynasties of. Also, there's Jackson's ability to keep his teams from getting complacent -- a Shaq-Kobe three-peat and a Kobe-Pau Gasol repeat are incredibly impressive. That's one mark against Pop -- the fact that he's never won back-to-back titles. In fact, his teams have never even played in back-to-back Finals. RB: Fair point on Jackson's ability to drive a team to defend a championship, which, without question, is one of the most difficult challenges a coach can face. He is a master at maximizing great talent. But let's not muddy the debate by giving him points for being better than Harris or Collins. Jackson took over a team that won 61 games and went to the conference finals its last full season under Harris, who will be remembered as a very good coach who had very talented teams in several places and never won a title. Collins is part of Jackson's Chicago legacy, which means all that is not part of this debate -- but that team went to the conference finals, too. Collins and Harris "couldn't do much" with those teams? Really? The truth is, Jackson is a closer, and those guys were not. Give him the best hand and he will win with it nearly every time. But there's more to coaching than that, and that's where Popovich has him. His teams have repeatedly overachieved no matter how they were constituted, and I can't think of one season when his team didn't surpass expectations. Jackson went into two NBA Finals as the heavy favorite and lost; he also got bounced in the first round of the playoffs twice in a row despite holding a 3-1 series lead the first time. Popovich also has lost twice in the first round, but the first time was after Tim Duncan suffered a season-ending knee injury right before the playoffs started, and the second, in 2009, was without another star, Manu Ginobili. CB: You're wrong in saying that Jackson is only a closer. He proved in his first two years back in L.A. that he also could maximize mediocre talent. You crush him for losing in the first round of the playoffs in '06 and '07, but he did a great job of just getting those clubs to the postseason. In 2006, he took a team that started Smush Parker, Chris Mihm/Kwame Brown and Brian Cook to the playoffs. That was the same crew (plus Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins) that struggled badly under a great coach like Tomjanovich (and later Frank Hamblen) and missed the playoffs the year before. Jackson took that crew to the brink of upsetting the power-packed Phoenix Suns in the first round. And even though the Lakers were beaten more soundly by Phoenix in the playoffs the next year, Jackson did a terrific job of just getting that team -- which started Luke Walton for 60 games -- to the playoffs. That's not to mention 1993-94, when Jackson took a Chicago Bulls team sans MJ to 55 victories. So don't give me the "he's just a closer'' argument. He's proved to be both an absolutely incomparable closer as well as a guy who can maximize lesser talent. RB: Popovich has never had the amount of talent Jackson has enjoyed and is neck-and-neck with him in just about every category. In fact, in terms of pure regular-season wins from 2000 to 2010, Popovich has 626 to Jackson's 553. Jackson, of course, was fired by the Lakers after the shocking loss to the Detroit Pistons and sat out a year. But even if you throw out Popovich's best season (63 wins), he still finishes 10 wins (563 to 553) ahead of Jackson during that stretch. CB: You and I both know that regular-season win-loss marks mean nothing to these two coaches, so let's not even bring that into the debate. That said, I think you're sorely underestimating the talent Pop has coached. We know he had the Twin Tower effect of Tim Duncan and David Robinson for his first two titles. Ginobili is probably going to be a Hall of Famer, largely because of his international success, but he is a multiple-time All-Star who for long stretches has played at a near-MVP level. Years from now, there will be an argument to be made for Tony Parker as a Hall of Famer. He's won three rings and was a Finals MVP and still has plenty of time to add to his résumé. So although Pop hasn't had a Shaq-Kobe tandem, he has had a core of three possible Hall of Famers. So let's not act as though he's been making champions out of chump change. Twice, Pop's Spurs have been beaten in the second round the year after winning titles. In an argument like this where we're nitpicking two of the greatest of all time, that seeming inability to root out complacency among his players can't be overlooked. In 2006, the defending-champion Spurs went down to a lesser-talented Dallas Mavericks team that started Dirk Nowitzki and four non-All-Stars. So we can't blame that on talent (which you could say about losing to the Shaq-Kobe Lakers in 2004). We have to blame that on complacency. You've never seen that sort of complacency on one of Jackson's teams, which is why he's going for his fourth three-peat.
David Thorpe's Analysis January 12, 2011 Jan. 12: Neal was quiet against Minnesota on Tuesday night, but he had three straight double-figure scoring games this week. He's cemented into the rotation. January 05, 2011 Jan. 5: What if I told you that a rookie scored 22, 22 and 21 points recently while helping his team beat Phoenix, Denver and Dallas (on the road)? Would you ever guess that Neal was that rookie? Neither would I. But it happened. Neal has really grown comfortable in his role as designated 3-point bombardier -- against the Nuggets and Mavs, he made 10 of his 15 3-point attempts. However, it's the game against the Suns that intrigued me, as he made just 1 of 6 attempts from downtown yet still scored 22 points. Against a team that tries hard not to send guys to the free throw line, Neal made 7 of 8 free throws while also making 6 of 8 2-point attempts. That's called finding a way to be effective, and it's why he'll end up being a very important player in the playoffs in the spring. He's more than just a deep shooter. December 22, 2010 Dec. 22: Because of the role he plays on the Spurs, Neal will never put up consistent or impressive numbers compared with others in this class. But the importance of his shots and successes will continue to rise with San Antonio hunting for a No. 1 seed. If he can continue to shoot over 38 percent from 3, he'll continue to be a force for the Spurs. If not, they might start looking elsewhere for deep shooting. Such is life for an undrafted rookie.
Saturday's tussle between Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors was an unusual game on multiple levels. Despite injuries, the Raptors' starters came out and smoked the Rockets in the first quarter. But in the second, Houston's second unit thrashed the Toronto subs to the tune of 42-21, and the Rockets kept that up the rest of the game. So well did Houston's subs play, in fact, that they stayed on the court as a unit for much of the 114-105 win. All five Houston subs played at least 23 minutes, and they rolled as a unit for the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter. The Rockets finished with a 65-23 edge in bench points and a 19-5 advantage in bench assists. And, as it turns out, this win was surprising on another level, too. It was one of the few times this season the league's most productive bench has been outplayed. Toronto might not be awash in glory this season, but the Raptors can still gloat in at least one respect. Toronto is the NBA leader in a category I created called "bench rating," which essentially estimates the PER (player efficiency rating) a team receives from its subs. It works pretty simply: Divide starts by total games and multiply by minutes, and you have a coarse estimate of a player's "bench minutes." Multiply that by PER, sum across all the players, and divide by team bench minutes, and you have the team's bench PER for the season. Although this gives us a handy thumbnail, it still leaves ample room for argument over which bench is the absolute best. The chart shows every team's bench rating, and, as you can see, the Rockets are no slouches, either. They made a case for themselves last week against the Raptors, and they might see even more production in the future. Rookie Patrick Patterson has hardly played but looked monstrous in that win over the Raptors. Additionally, spark-plug point guard Aaron Brooks just returned from an ankle injury and should boost the rating of Houston's second unit further. Because the Rockets already have several productive subs -- Brad Miller made the heaviest contribution to the team's lofty rating, but Chase Budinger, Courtney Lee and Jordan Hill also have been pluses -- one can make a strong argument that Houston employs the league's top subs. As for Toronto, its second unit gets a big boost from the production of Leandro Barbosa, a dynamite scoring threat as a sixth man who plays virtually no defense. Additionally, Jose Calderon and Amir Johnson helped that rating with early-season flourishes off the pine, but both players now start and are likely to continue starting even when the Raptors who are walking wounded return. It's still a strong second unit going forward. Jerryd Bayless, Sonny Weems, improving rookie Ed Davis and emerging defensive force Joey Dorsey combine with Barbosa to form a solid second five. It's the lack of a star in the first unit that keeps the Raptors lottery-bound. Bench rating -- 2010-11 (through Wednesday's games) Team Rate Toronto 14.24 Denver 13.89 Philadelphia 13.59 San Antonio 13.37 Houston 13.37 Dallas 13.33 L.A. Lakers 13.32 Detroit 13.27 Orlando 13.13 Sacramento 13.01 Oklahoma City 12.98 Phoenix 12.85 Cleveland 12.58 Charlotte 12.37 Chicago 12.24 Washington 12.18 New York 12.10 Milwaukee 11.90 Atlanta 11.55 Memphis 11.29 Boston 11.27 Indiana 11.17 Portland 11.14 Utah 11.11 Golden State 10.96 New Jersey 10.50 Minnesota 10.49 L.A. Clippers 10.46 Miami 10.30 New Orleans 10.14 At the same time, a few other teams have a strong claim on the title of "league's best bench." Denver has scoring in bunches with the backcourt combo of Ty Lawson and J.R. Smith, plus an ace 3-point shooter in Al Harrington, a shot-blocking menace in Chris Andersen and a surprisingly effective rookie find in Gary Forbes. Even though Birdman and Harrington have missed time with injuries from which they are now returning, Denver still ranks second in bench rating, and it should surprise nobody if the Nuggets finish the season on top of the list. Philadelphia's second unit also rates strongly, although this owes more to the efforts of a single player. Thaddeus Young has a much stronger NBA Sixth Man Award case than most realize, leading all bench players in EWA (estimated wins added) and rocking an 18.30 PER as a combo forward off the pine. Furthermore, the Sixers are 9.75 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court than off it, according to basketballvalue.com. High-scoring guard Louis Williams is the other strong contributor here, but the other reserves have had a negligible impact. If I had to nominate one bench unit as the best, however, it wouldn't be any of those -- it would be San Antonio's. The San Antonio Spurs are fifth in bench rating but have a few key issues in their favor. First, they get as much defense as offense from the second unit. And despite how good their starters are, the Spurs have played better with the subs. Key reserves George Hill (plus-9.65) and Matt Bonner (plus-5.75) have strong positive adjusted plus/minus ratings, and fellow subs Antonio McDyess and Gary Neal have been consistent contributors. Moreover, the Spurs' bench contributions might only increase. Rookies Tiago Splitter and James Anderson have hardly played, but both have shown enough in their limited time to suggest they could be very helpful pieces in the second half of the season. OK, that's how the top group looks. Now, what about the league's worst second units? It won't shock anyone to see Miami front and center in that discussion. The Heat have received decent production from only two subs, and one of them -- forward Udonis Haslem -- is out for the season. James Jones, the other, has made 3-pointers by the bushel but has contributed little else. And Joel Anthony, their most heavily used frontcourt reserve, has 19 baskets in 35 games and a PER of 7.89. The Heat can at least make a credible argument that they'll get a little better -- Mike Miller and Erick Dampier have hardly played, and those two should improve the rating in the second half of the season. A similar case can be made for the injury-riddled Timberwolves. Minnesota just got Jonny Flynn and Martell Webster back and soon will have Anthony Tolliver back in the mix. Deleting the likes of Sebastian Telfair, Wayne Ellington and Kosta Koufos from the rotation will go a long way toward lifting the Wolves' 27th-ranked bench rating. Another team with a poor ranking that should improve a bit is New Jersey. Its current rating is somewhat self-inflicted, given the reluctance to play Troy Murphy, but it's also the result of poor wing depth. The recent trade for Sasha Vujacic should fix that, especially once Anthony Morrow returns, and this week's decision to start Derrick Favors ahead of Kris Humphries will add an artificial boost to the bench rating at the expense of the starting five. That leaves us two candidates for worst. The Clippers can make a strong case as the weakest bench, with veterans such as Rasual Butler, Ryan Gomes, Brian Cook and Randy Foye contributing little. L.A. at least can make the case that the eventual return of Chris Kaman will give it a potent front-line duo, pairing him with ever-productive but underappreciated Craig Smith. But no such argument exists for the lowly Hornets. It seems ironic now, but the bench was a big plus in the team's 8-0 start. It has done shockingly little of note since then, however. The Hornets, as I wrote on Thursday, have only three players with a PER above 12. That they rank 30th in bench rating, even though they've hardly had any injuries, offers a shocking portent of what might happen if a few ankles twist the wrong way. The starting five have played every game thus far, because the understudies look decidedly unready. Hornets fans will argue that they at least get a little D from subs Jarrett Jack, Willie Green and Jason Smith, but the Clippers, Heat and Wolves (especially when Corey Brewer plays) can make similar arguments. Additionally, the plus/minus numbers buttress my argument. The Hornets have been horrific any time Chris Paul or David West leaves the floor. Amazingly, New Orleans could make the playoffs anyway, thanks to Paul's league-leading PER and one of West's best seasons. Having good starters will always matter a lot more than having a strong second unit, which is why the Hornets will win more games than the Raptors this year. Nonetheless, a good bench can make quite a bit of difference at the margins. San Antonio, for instance, has the best record in the league and looks like a title threat, but the Hornets are likely one-and-done in the postseason. Do the math, and the benches explain most of the difference.
one of these guys says we will not be able to beat lakers because we have no size.
2010-11 Statistics G MIN FG% 3FG% FT% STL BLK AST REB PTS PER 31 17.0 .420 .380 .848 0.4 0.0 1.0 2.5 8.1 13.19 View full player card David Thorpe's Analysis December 22, 2010 Dec. 22: Because of the role he plays on the Spurs, Neal will never put up consistent or impressive numbers compared with others in this class. But the importance of his shots and successes will continue to rise with San Antonio hunting for a No. 1 seed. If he can continue to shoot over 38 percent from 3, he'll continue to be a force for the Spurs. If not, they might start looking elsewhere for deep shooting. Such is life for an undrafted rookie. December 14, 2010 Dec. 14: Much of what I wrote about Forbes applies here, too. Neal's game screams vet. Many European scouts had been clamoring for a while that he was an NBA player, and they were right. The Spurs are lucky to have him in the rotation. He's been excellent and consistent from the 3-point line, nailing 40 percent or better in every game except one since Nov. 26. And like Forbes, he also has some weapons in his game beyond his perimeter shooting. He makes half of his shots inside 15 feet that aren't layups, which is an excellent number, and also finishes more than 66 percent of his layups. He is the kind of threat every coach wants and needs opposite an excellent side pick and roll. December 01, 2010 Dec. 1: Neal is fortunate to be in a role he can handle and one that is expertly defined. He's asked to make 3s, be clean with the ball, and give effort when defending. He's doing all three of those things while coming off the bench, playing a role similar to what Courtney Lee did as a rookie in Orlando. And as long as Neal keeps doing what he's doing -- flirting with 40 percent from 3 and averaging less than a turnover a game -- he should keep getting those chances to shine each night. The challenge for Neal is to accept his role, which is easy when you are first just trying to make an NBA team as a rookie free agent with a few years of pro experience overseas. But it gets tougher as the season evolves. All players think they can do more than what they are showing, and it might be true in Neal's case. But it's largely irrelevant, as his terrific team needs him to do only what he's already doing. Trying to do more would be a mistake. November 24, 2010 Nov. 24: A 3-point specialist in San Antonio who reminds me of the Nets' Anthony Morrow in some ways, Neal is proving to be a valuable part of the Spurs' offense. He ranks 26th overall in 3-point accuracy (43.2 percent) and is part of a core group of role players that helps support the big three on offense -- Matt Bonner, rookie James Anderson (who's still hurt), Richard Jefferson and Neal all rank in the top 26 in 3-point percentage. Once Anderson returns, the two rookies will likely fight for playing time, but Neal's overall experience will provide him an edge. The danger with Neal, however, is that he's almost strictly a deep-perimeter shooter (2.8 of his 5.4 shots per game are 3-pointers), so if his shot disappears for a while, his minutes could too. November 17, 2010 Nov. 17: Neal is not shooting as well, nor playing as effectively, as he was two weeks ago. Still, he's made half of his 28 3s and been a catalyst in a few Spurs wins. He's one of the few rookies with a well-crafted role, as a long-range specialist, rare for a rookie but not surprising for him considering his experience. It's only surprising that more teams don't look for players like Neal and Forbes. November 10, 2010 Nov. 10: Playing well is one thing; being a difference-maker for an elite team is a whole other level. Neal looks as if he's playing against summer-league talent, which is good news for him. He made half of his 3s in July for the Spurs, and he's doing the same thing now (12-of-24). Neal also is locked in on defense, which is no surprise considering he spent the past few seasons in Europe. November 05, 2010 Nov. 5: Neal replaced the injured George Hill in the lineup and has been excellent. A pro for a few years in Europe, he has picked up the Spurs' defensive strategies quickly. He's also made 6 of his 14 3-point attempts.
Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD tweeted on Tuesday that Garnder's workout went well. "The Spurs were impressed with Thomas Gardner's workout, according to sources," he tweeted. "Expect some roster decisions to be made in the next few days." --- Thomas Gardner was last a member of an NBA team during the 2008-09 season. And after playing in Belgium, he's trying to land on an NBA roster again, according to Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD. "The Spurs and Warriors have expressed interest," Kennedy tweeted. "Gardner will work out for the Spurs [Aug. 30]." As we've noted, the Spurs have a few more roster spots to fill, so if Gardner preforms well, there's room for him to get an invite to training camp. Former Purdue player Chris Kramer also got a workout with the Spurs in hopes of receiving a training camp invite.
FREE AGENCY: Udoka waiting for an offer Ime Udoka | Spurs Three weeks into the free-agent season and Ime Udoka does not have a contract. His agent told The (Portland) Oregonian that they could know where he will play next season by the end of the week. "We're talking to a lot of teams," Mark Bartelstein said. "I think within the week, there's a really good chance we'll probably do a deal." "We'll see what teams step up and make an offer," Udoka said. "Whoever comes up with the best offer and the best situation, that's what it will come down to. ... I'm not sure what my percentage is in coming back. The (trade to acquire) Richard Jefferson -- I kind of saw what direction they were going in."
has anyone checked out Blairs wiki page it has his nickname as The Pitt oddly enough im pretty sure i suggested that nickname the other day... oh well i guess i win hahaha
Many NBA contracts have explicit incentive clauses that stipulate increased pay if certain performance criteria are met. You know, if "Player X grabs X amount of rebounds" or "Player Y plays in X amount of games" they get a bonus. Well, Dave D'Alessandro of The Star-Ledger combed through some current NBA contracts and found a few of the most unique/ridiculous performance-based incentives out there. Some oddball favorites: * Adonal Foyle(notes) gets $500,000 if he wins MVP, and another $500K if he wins MVP of the NBA Finals. * Luke Ridnour(notes) gets an extra $1.5 million for winning Defensive Player of the Year. * Mario Chalmers(notes) gets $19,580 just for showing up for summer league, and for going through a team "skill/conditioning program." * Rafer Alston(notes) gets an additional $325,000 if he makes the All-Star team. * Matt Bonner(notes) gets $100,000 if the sum of his field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and his 3-point percentage matches or exceeds 169 percent. Seriously. D'Alessandro has more, but none of them come close to this strange small print once written up by the Oakland Athletics: "In 1972 owner Charlie Finley offered his players $300 if they'd grow mustaches as part of a Father's Day promotion. All 25 did, and the 'staches became a team trademark. Rollie Fingers even had a clause written into his contract that he would be supplied with wax for his handlebars." Paging Adam Morrison's agent ... bonner just needed to make like 2 more free throws last year and he would have got it lol..... his stats from last year....FG% - 49.6 3PT% - 44.0 FT% - 73.9 = 167.5!!!
Vegas Summer League: Halfway Home Awards July 15, 2009 1:49 AM Posted by Kevin Arnovitz Five days down, five to go at Las Vegas Summer League. Some teams are nearly through with their schedule, while others are just rolling into town. Since we're halfway through, it's a good moment to take inventory of what we've seen so far, and hand out some early awards. Keep in mind that some teams have played only a single game and some stellar performances might not be acknowledged (read: Jerryd Bayless): All Rookie Team •Tyreke Evans (SAC): Evans' one-on-one power game has produced a sick line. In three games, Evans has averaged 24.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Most impressively, Evans has attempted 41 free throws in three games. His transition to point guard is a work in progress, but he'll be a scoring machine no matter where he plays on the floor. Tyreke Evans: He has shown the ability to score points at will. (Garrett Ellwood/NBA via Getty Images) •Blake Griffin (LAC): Griffin followed up his momentous 27-point, 12-rebound debut Monday night with a hum-drum 16-point, 9-rebound, 5-assist performance. Griffin directs traffic on both ends of the floor, and has been a pleasant surprise on pick-and-roll defense -- something he didn't encounter a whole lot at the college level. •Darren Collison (NOH): The Hornets' first-round pick has brought the discipline and patience of his UCLA pedigree to the pro game. He matched George Hill mano-a-mano in his first game, then came back Tuesday night with 23 points. He's also a perfect 16-for-16 from the stripe in his two games. •Roddy Beaubois (DAL): Before the Mavericks' rookie point guard took a scary spill Monday night in his third outing, he was electrifying crowds in Cox Pavilion with his combination of speed and range. He ran up 34 points against the Rockets Saturday night, including 7-for-12 from beyond the arc. •Jodie Meeks (MIL): The second-round pick out of Kentucky might not be one of the more athletic two-guards here, but he has lit it up from midrange, averaging 16.7 points per game on 60 percent shooting. The Bucks' brass is said to be very, very pleased. All Sophomore Team •Anthony Randolph (GSW): Quite simply, the most dominant, skilled, devastating player in town. On Tuesday, his 42 points tied a Summer League record. His current averages through four games: 26.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks on 60.9 percent shooting from the field. •George Hill (SAS): Hill has demonstrated a complete command of the Spurs offense. He has picked his spots offensively, and finished -- unlike last year, when he shot eight percent from the field in Summer League action. He's averaging 20.5 points per game and getting to the line at will. •Eric Gordon (LAC): In his two games, the Clippers' second-year guard has muscled his way to the hole for 21 and 22 points, respectively. His 21-for-22 totals from the free-throw line demonstrate that strategy is working well. •Robin Lopez (PHX): The question surrounding Lopez has been one of resolve, but Lopez looked fierce in his first Summer League game, racking up 24 points, 16 boards, and a couple of blocks. •DeAndre Jordan (LAC): Jordan's athletic attributes have never been in question. Whether he could package it all together into a coherent low-post game was another matter. So far, Jordan has dominated the interior for the Clippers. He's shooting 15-for-19 from the field. He's shown sharp recognition in the post and is winning every race to the basket. All Vets & Journeymen Team •Quincy Douby (TOR): Douby has been working hard on his game, and his effort is paying off in Las Vegas. He's shooting the ball efficiently from distance, racking up assists, and keeping turnovers to a minimum. Toronto may not have room for him in their backcourt, but his 19 points per game on 61.1 percent shooting should catch someone's attention. •Nick Young (WAS): The Wizards haven't even unpacked, but Nick Young's first game Tuesday night was a revelation. The third-year guard went insane, running up 36 points on 13-for-19 shooting, against the Cavs' hapless perimeter defenders. •Adam Morrison (LAL): It might not be the most efficient stat line of the week, but Morrison has put together a nice series of games. He's scored from distance, off cuts, and by putting the ball on the deck. It's a long road back for Morrison, but this week has served as a solid stepping stone back to respectability. •David Monds (LAL): The forward spent last summer in the D-League, and has been a solid contributor to the Lakers' 3-1 Summer League record thus far. He's averaging 14 points and five rebounds, and only 0.5 turnovers per game. He's also shooting an efficient 64.1 percent from the field. •Walker Russell, Jr. (DLS): A sentimental choice off the D-League Select roster, Russell is a creative, pass-first point guard. He sees the floor with an uncanny awareness of exactly where his teammates are, and where they want the ball. His pinpoint passes were the highlight of the Select team's victory over the Timberwolves. All The-Week-Isn't-Working-Out-So-Far Team David Thorpe shares his thoughts about who's had a disappointing week in Vegas: • Curry has struggled with his shooting touch, while Randolph can't seem to miss. (Garrett Ellwood/NBA via Getty Images) Stephen Curry (GSW): The good news for Curry is that he's been able to get shots -- larguely because the ball has been in his hand. He's picking his opportunities. Unfortunately, he's picking far too many of them. Although he's averaging 19.5 points per game, he's doing it on only 31.4 percent shooting. His assist/turnover ratio? 4.5 to 3.75. •Donte Greene (SAC): Greene is a bit of collateral damage playing next to Tyreke Evans. He needs the ball in the right spots, and Evans can't deliver those passes yet. So Greene is struggling to score efficiently, shooting only 8-for-27 over three games. •Mike Taylor (LAC): Taylor can shoot, is lightning quick, and plays with spirit. But he's not been able to put it together and look like a rotation point guard. •Bobby Brown (MIN): Sorry to break fellow Titan Marc Stein's heart, but for a team that just drafted two rookie PGs, Brown hoped to show this week that he could be part of the 'Wolves backcourt rotation. That's looking unlikely. He's shooting 35.7 percent from the field, and not giving the 'Wolves much else. •Luc Mbah a Moute (MIL): Mbah a Moute has already proved he's a rotation player in this league. He was hoping to show that he can be more than just a tough defender. Thus far, that hasn't happened.
TRADES: Four teams now in Marion deal? Shawn Marion | Raptors ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported late Wednesday afternoon that the Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors had successfully enlisted the Memphis Grizzlies to help facilitate a trade of F Shawn Marion from Toronto to Dallas, but Stein later tweeted that a fourth mystery team could become involved before all was said and done.
FREE AGENCY: Blazers prepare "toxic" offer for Millsap Paul Millsap | Jazz The Oregonian reports the Blazers are preparing a "toxic" offer sheet to Utah Jazz restricted free agent Paul Millsap. The Blazers hope the provisions of the contract will make it too difficult for the Jazz, who are already over the luxury tax threshold, to match. The newspaper also reports the Blazers may renounce the rights to Petteri Koponen and Joel Freeland so their cap room will increase from $7.7M to $8.9M. Millsap told the Blazers he would be willing to backup LaMarcus Aldridge at the power forward position. If the Millsap plan doesn't go through, the Blazers will go after free agent Brandon Bass.
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