Three weeks for Camby UPDATE: According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Camby is expected to miss three weeks after he had surgery on his left knee Thursday morning. --- It should come to no surprise with the bad luck the Blazers have with injuries that they got terrible news Tuesday night regarding Marcus Camby's left knee. Camby had an MRI on Tuesday and it revealed he has a partial tear of the meniscus in the left knee.ESPN Insider
From February 4 thru March 14, the Clips will play 17 out of 20 games away from home. Ouch. We start out with Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, and NY. Later on, we play OKC, NO, and the Lakers, all in...
Since Dec 27, Clips are #4 in backcourt scoring. :-) The Bobcats are #1... So Augustin has been playing well. But who here would want to swap point guards at this point?
Oh man, I miss having KA around. Good article, too, with pick-n-roll and transition D analysis.
A little food for thought, in light of those 2-foul benchings that can take up most of the first half. I like the rule of thumb that "foul 'trouble' exists only when a player has more fouls than the current quarter."
I can't wait to hear what you all think about this one.
The Chief seems well spoken, too. Besides his improving defense, I can't wait for one of his thunderous slams to go down w/o an offensive foul. We've been hammering on Gomes for the last few games, but I wouldn't mind if he simply started games and then handed the majority of minutes off to AFA. I suspect that might be a good working arrangement. Meanwhile, it looks like Smith is feeling better.
I really feel for the Blazers. A number of their fans were very cool last year when Griffin went out for the year. I bet this one hurts more than either Oden or Griffin, though. I wonder what they'll do? And will they still somehow manage a winning record?
Some honest-to-goodness love coming from ESPN.
ESPN's NBA Future Power Rankings 15th- Los Angeles Clippers It's kind of like the immovable object against the irresistible force. With an emerging superstar in Blake Griffin, a high-scoring wing in Eric Gordon, and strong rookies in Al-Farouq Aminu and Eric Bledsoe, the Clippers have so much promise that they couldn't possibly screw it up. L.A. rated 11th in players and is likely to have more coming down the pipeline. It'll have a high pick after this season and owns an unprotected pick from Minnesota in 2012, and a future first-rounder owed to the Thunder is heavily protected until 2016. The Clippers also have a fair amount of cap space coming online this summer and have the desirable L.A. market working strongly in their favor. So it seems they can't screw this up ... except that this franchise is so screwed up that they couldn't possibly make this work. Sadly, there's no telling whether they'll be able to take full advantage, at least until long-time laughingstock Donald Sterling sells the team to a more reputable owner. We don't know how the Clippers will manage to waste this opportunity, we just know that they will -- just like they've done for the past quarter century under Sterling's watch. Even if Griffin turns into the best player in the league, the Clips may still find a way to go 37-45 ... and Sterling may still find a reason to heckle his players from the sidelines. (Previous rank: 16)ESPN Insider, Ford and Hollinger
SP's post-Laker game thread has over 350 comments now, and I think this deserves more visibility. You see, EJ had another good night last night from beyond the arc. Moreover, his shot looked a lot better, compared to a month ago. I'm starting to believe that his summer experience may have really affected his sense of distance. In any case, he is now 12-28 in his last six games, or 43%. I'm just sayin'.
Hope for the West's hopeless ...At this early stage, even the most desperate teams have at least some chance, however small, of engaging in a U-turn. The 2004-05 Bulls started 4-15 and ended up winning 47 games and having home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Cleveland won 47 as well after starting 7-14 in 1993-94. And perhaps most famously, the 1977-78 Sonics started 5-17 and made the Finals. It's rare, but it does happen... L.A. Clippers (5-17, Playoff Odds 1.6 percent) As with the Timberwolves, the Clippers are in the odd situation where they have two really good players and bunch of awful ones. Blake Griffin is an overwhelming physical force in the paint and a near-certain Rookie of the Year winner, while Eric Gordon has emerged as an all-weather scoring threat despite a sudden, puzzling inability to convert 3-pointers. And that about does it for the good news. The only other Clipper with a PER of 13 is Craig Smith, who unfortunately plays the same position as Griffin. Veterans Baron Davis and Chris Kaman have been hampered by injuries and ineffectiveness when on the court, while new coach Vinny Del Negro's troops have mailed it in on defense (they're 29th in Defensive Efficiency despite Griffin's ownership of the glass). As with Minnesota, having two good players and bunch of bad ones is actually a strong position from which to improve. If Davis and Kaman come back and play at anywhere near their former levels, L.A. will play dramatically better. And in the meantime, promising youngsters like Eric Bledsoe, Al-Farouq Aminu and DeAndre Jordan are getting valuable minutes and experience. Having already banked 17 losses, the Clippers don't have much room for error -- they'll need to go at least 36-24 from here out, and that's with Kaman out a while longer after reinjuring his ankle against Portland on Sunday. Also, it's difficult to find a living, breathing organism who has much faith in Del Negro's ability to right the ship. Thus, as is permanently the case with the Clippers, we can argue that the future is much more promising than the present. It's just that in Clipperville, said future never actually arrives.John Hollinger, ESPN Insider
Top 10 Rookie Watch: Room to improve. #1) Blake Griffin, Clippers More than a better and more consistent jumper, Griffin needs to develop a thick skin when it comes to playing with fire despite his team's record. It's easy now because he's excited just to be playing and because the season is only 5 weeks old. But the Clippers likely will be favored in only one game for all of December (home versus the Kings), and they have only a few wins to this point. It's hard to stay super hungry when playing on a bad team, but the Clippers are the rare bad team that has a bright future without having to do much restructuring. They just need to age well together. Griffin is the heartbeat of the team and the franchise. If he can stay motivated and continue to play with an edge, the Clips can be a vastly improved team after the All-Star break, in no small part because he will force his fellow rookies and some of the veterans to do the same. #5) Al-Farouq Aminu, Clippers Let's begin with this: His 3-point shooting has been a revelation. From Nov. 20-28, he made 7-of-13 3s; on the season, he is shooting 54 percent on 3s (after Sunday's game). Wow. But his PER is below 13, which is surprising because of just how good a shooter he's been. Why so low? He does not earn free throws. (He's also a turnover machine, but we'll touch on that another time.) In that same five-game span, he took a total of five free throws. He is making just about one per game this season. Part of the problem is his willingness to settle into a Rasual Butler-type of clone -- floating outside and looking for the jumper. But that game suits Butler, who also was not a top-10 pick. I'd like to see Aminu play with more fire, make stronger basket cuts, loiter around in the paint longer on offense, and find ways to use his length and shooting ability to create free shots from the line. He has it in him, without question. #7) Eric Bledsoe, Clippers I'm still impressed with Bledsoe's progress overall. And it's hard for a rookie point guard to focus on himself in an effort to get better, because it often comes at the expense of running his team (unless his focus is to move the ball better). For a point guard more than any other player, the game is about we, not me. But, there is an area that I think Bledsoe can make a much bigger impact in, without hurting his ability to run the show. It's on defense, and specifically, it's about creating a lot more havoc. His length, power and quickness can be a nightmare for opponents. Too often, that doesn't happen. Opposing point guards are killing the Clippers. In fact, no position is hurting them more than this one. Bledsoe has played in nine games where he's gotten major minutes and produced only one steal at best. He has the talent to do a lot more on this end.David Thorpe, ESPN Insider
With a mix of glee and dread, I'm looking forward to seeing how Vinnie handles this. Reinserting Kaman and Baron as starters would be the most conventional move, and maybe he'll give Gomes the nod...
There's so much variety and disagreement on this question that it begs for a poll. I honestly don't know what to expect here. Are certain vocal minorities creating an illusion of popularity? Well,...
Hollinger: How a few notable free agents are doing so far. Josh Childress, Phoenix (PER 13.34). Slowed by hip and finger injuries, Childress has played only 80 minutes thus far and hasn't come close to his production from his last NBA season, the 2007-08 campaign with Atlanta. Subjectively, the bigger worry is that he's looked a step slow on defense. John Salmons, Milwaukee (PER 6.74). Mea culpa. I missed the boat on this one. Salmons is 30, had a PER of 14.79 last season and has only one career season with a mark above the league average. There was no reason to expect him to justify a $40 million contract. I was deluded by his performance after the trade to Milwaukee, and it overpowered my reasoning skills. He'll still be useful because he defends and can make jumpers, but there's no reason to expect him to be an $8 million player for the next four years. Drew Gooden, Milwaukee (PER 10.06). Nobody trusts Gooden further than they can throw him, but he's been incredibly effective in his past few stops and has put up numbers everywhere he's gone. But not in Milwaukee -- he's shooting 39.3 percent, and his normally stellar rebound rate has been very ordinary thus far. About the only thing keeping him in the Bucks' starting lineup is that Ersan Ilyasova has been even worse. Travis Outlaw, New Jersey (PER 9.92). Outlaw is only 24, but he hasn't improved at all in the past four years and in past seasons has had his greatest effect as a small-ball 4 playing with the second unit. As a starting small forward, he is getting lit up on defense and doesn't get enough touches on offense (just a 12.3 usage rate) to play the high-volume, middling-efficiency style in which he's most effective. [Other PERs of interest: Amare 14.11, DLee 13.49, Wes Matthews 9.69 (!), CFrye 6.71, Darko 4.51 (rated "Least defensible move of the summer")]ESPN Insider
Earl Barron drawing interest from several teams. Big man Earl Barron put up some solid numbers in seven games at the end of the season for the Knicks in 2009-10, averaging 11.7 points and 11 rebounds a game. He had hoped to parlay that into a contract for this season, but he didn't sign anywhere this offseason. However, there's a chance that could change now with the season underway. As Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD reports, Barron is drawing interest from the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets and New Orleans Hornets. The Bulls, Raptors, Clippers and Suns have less than the NBA roster maximum of 15 players, so they could add Barron without issue. The Hornets have 15 on their roster, but their frontcourt depth is weak, making Barron a logical get for them.ESPN Insider
At this point, I just want him out of Denver and part of the eastern conference. But I doubt things will get resolved anytime soon.
Stein ranks Clips at 20, and 12th in the West. Hornet, Grizzlies, Suns and Nuggets are all within 6 spots of us, though. I like the idea of coming on strong from the outside.
...ultimately, as long as Baron Davis is arguably your best player, you're potentially in trouble. He doesn't set a great example, he wears his emotions on his sleeve and he's shown in the past that if he's not happy, he'll tank it. No matter what Griffin brings, if Baron sabotages the season, for whatever reason, they're in a world of hurt.ESPN Insider, "Opening Tips: Pacific Division"
Harrumph... these preseason games have been tough to stomach. Judging by our performance, I predict that our patience will be sorely tested in the weeks to come. We clearly need to cohere more as a...
With the season about to start, I want to advance a modest hypothesis concerning DJ's play, and I also want to ask a question about that goofy +/- stat. Both topics were inspired by a brief look at...
Nothing terribly exciting here, but the starting lineups are noteworthy. They have Foye starting at PG and Gomes at SF. On the Blazers' end, it looks like Oden, Camby and Przy are all injured. Pendergraph then is the starting center. Will he have a career night, I wonder.
ESPN's 2010-11 NBA Player Profiles: Baron Davis Projection: 17.0 pts, 4.3 reb, 8.7 ast per 40 min; 15.92 PER • Big, athletic point guard who can overpower small guards in post. • Good shooter with feet set but takes horrible shots, especially in 2-for-1s. • Outstanding defender when motivated, but often hurt or distracted. OK, Baron, this is getting ridiculous. Davis launched four 3-pointers a game and connected on only 27.7 percent of them. If he had done virtually anything else with those possessions -- passed to somebody else, driven the lane, quick-kicked, anything -- he probably would have been an All-Star. Instead, he's descended into the league's "honorable mention" category at the point guard position, because you can't waste this many possessions on such a low-likelihood proposition. That's a shame, because the rest of his game is still really good. Davis captured seventh in pure point rating, led all point guards in blocks per minute and nabbed eighth in steals per minute. He shot a career-best 82.1 percent from the line and ranked above the league average at his position in every category except two: field goal percentage and true shooting percentage. Unfortunately, he's been too stubborn to stop hoisting contested 3s off the dribble, and until that changes, he's just another good point guard.John Hollinger, ESPN Insider
Interesting change of rules here. D-league will be more like a real farm system now. The article doesn't say how legally tight the connection is, though. If Warren doesn't make the Clipper roster, but then plays for our affiliated D-team, do we still own his rights?
Clipper Season Outlook: Because they were one of the worst teams in the league last season -- one that was even worse than their record indicated -- it's easy to project the Clippers adding a Rookie-of-the-Year-caliber season from Griffin and still landing near the bottom of the Western Conference heap. While some of the other names and faces changed, Griffin is the only substantive difference between this season's crew and last season's. L.A. is likely to have a decent bench, especially in the frontcourt, but the health of Kaman and Davis will again be question marks and the starting small forward job is very much up for grabs. Additionally, questions loom about Del Negro's ability to command an NBA team. But perhaps the biggest knock against L.A. is that it will be working against management rather than with it. If the Clips need another player to make a playoff push, it's unlikely they'll get the dollars to do it. If a game-breaking trade appears on the horizon, it's even more unlikely they'll be the ones to seize it. Instead, they'll trudge into the lottery and try convincing everyone that they're just a year or two away from contending ... just like they've been for the past three decades. Prediction: 27-55, 5th in Pacific Division, 14th in Western ConferenceJohn Hollinger, Espn Insider
Houston has offered Damp $4 for 2 years. Oh com'on, we can beat that...
I think it's a big reason why NBA owners may think twice about a lockout," one prominent agent said. "Most of the young kids that opt out are looking for the money and the ability to play in the NBA. They don't have a nest egg to live off. A few will come, but a lot are going to say, 'Another year of college can't hurt me.'ESPN Insider
Interesting stuff. Utah would send Kirilenko to Denver in exchange for Diaw from the Bobcats. That would save the Jazz money, but maybe it would further weaken their team... I'm not sure.
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