First Cup: Tuesday
August, 21, 2012
By Nick Borges
- Jody Genessy of the Deseret News: Start Derrick Favors, and let the future begin? Or stick with Mr. Reliable, Paul Millsap, and continue to gradually bring along one of the youngest NBA players with a bright-looking future. The starting debate will be fun for fans and media to banter about over the next few months. But Favors isn't getting all wrapped up about that part. Propelled into the offseason by a playoff series in which he averaged 29.0 minutes, 11.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks, Favors just wants to see more time on the court than he did in the first two seasons of his career. That personal first-round series success against Tim Duncan and crew only whetted an increasingly voracious playing appetite. He literally wants his time to get here sooner rather than later. "I want to play more than what I played last year," Favors admitted. "If it's starting, cool. If it's coming off the bench, cool. I don't mind. I just want to play more. I don't want to sit on the bench no more." That's where Corbin's tough choice comes into play.
- Kerry Eggers of The Portland Tribune: There are avenues to greatness as a rookie in the NBA. And there are pitfalls, too, that can lead to a path toward failure. It’s why Trail Blazers Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard, Will Barton and Nolan Smith are in New York for the NBA’s annual Rookie Transition Program. Since 1986, the league has required its rookies to attend the three-day session that deals with offcourt issues such as finances and females. Smith is attending because there was no program held last year due to the lockout. “It’s going well,” Lillard said Monday via phone from New York. “We’ve had a lot of speakers about their experiences, giving us stuff to be aware of. Financial things. Temptations. “A lot of interesting stuff, stuff I need to know. It got my antenna up as far as what to expect — women, people coming at me for money. I’m learning a lot.”
- John Reid of The Times-Picayune: Monty Williams addressed the media Monday at the Saints complex for the first time since agreeing to the contract that will keep him with the team through 2016. "Obviously, I want to start the same way I did when I first got here,’’ Williams said. "I’m thankful to the Lord for this opportunity and not just this contract but all that goes with it. "The fact that he (Loomis) would even discuss an extension really gave me a lot of confidence. I’m sitting here in representation of them because they have done a lot to help me.’’ Williams specifically thanked the fans, saying he wants to make them proud. Although the Hornets were out of playoff contention by January before finishing with a 21-45 record last season, Williams instilled a work ethic that kept the team competitive down the stretch despite being ravaged by injuries. The Hornets are heading into this upcoming season with optimism. They are rebuilding around rookies Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers and veteran shooting guard Eric Gordon.
- Roderick Boone of Newsday: Amar'e Stoudemire was in a personal funk during his second season with the Knicks , forced to deal with several issues that ultimately took their toll. "Last season," the Knicks power forward said Monday, "was probably the hardest season I've had in my career." Enter Hakeem Olajuwon. Stoudemire has developed a new low-post game during the offseason with private lessons down in Houston with Hall-of-Fame center Olajuwon. Knicks coach Mike Woodson is a former teammate of Olajuwon, and he asked him to work with Stoudemire. ... "I'm looking forward to showing my opponents my moves that I've been working on with Hakeem," Stoudemire said. "There's so many moves that I picked up from Hakeem. Just developing my post game has been phenomenal for me. When I came out of high school, I was just thrown the ball and they said, 'Do what you do best.' I never got a chance to develop my game as far as a post player. So now working with Hakeem, it's going to be a great advantage for me."
- Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times: Why the Clippers are a threat to the Lakers: As talented as the starting lineup appears on paper, the Lakers still have to avoid injuries to be successful. That could be dicey. Who knows how back surgery will affect Howard? Bryant takes great care of his body, but nobody beats Father Time. Metta World Peace no longer has nerve issues in his back, but his athleticism has waned. Pau Gasol could wear out if he has to play more during Howard's absence. And lest we forget that, at 38, Nash is ancient by NBA point guard standards. Should any of these issues percolate, the Clippers could take full advantage. Absolutely no one can stop Paul on the open floor. The athleticism of Griffin and Jordan is unmatched. It's likely that the Clippers' playoff experience last season will help them better manage their infinite bursts of energy. The Clippers' bench also boasts more experience and talent. Verdict: Sorry Clipper Darrell. The Lakers remain Kings of L.A. It will be a fun series, and both teams will put on a good show. But the Lakers seem far too superior to even consider this a legitimate rivalry.
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Q: Ira, you wrote about the 2014 early-termination clauses in the contracts of LeBron, Wade and Bosh (I believe they also have opt-outs in 2015). Why would the Heat do that, when they worked so hard to get them in the first place? A: Because the players, who all happen to be represented by the same agency, requested them, and because the Heat hardly were in position, amid such intense bidding in July 2010, to deny the Big Three such a request. Just as all three took shorter extensions amid their rookie-scale contracts, it mostly provided flexibility going forward, particularly if it didn't work out. Based on one championship in the books, I doubt any of the three should be considered flight risks, and they certainly would be leaving pile of money on the table.
- Zak Keefer of The Indianapolis Star: Gerald Green's story is one of redemption. One of the newest Indiana Pacers has found his way back in the league after general managers all but gave up on him three years ago. Green is a jump-out-of-the-gym talent who was written off. His game was too raw; his attitude too immature. ... Hardened and humbled, the newest Pacer relishes his revived NBA career. He earned a spot on the New Jersey Nets' roster last year and made the most of it, scoring almost 13 points a game in 31 appearances, including two starts. It was enough for first-year Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard to sign him to a three-year, $10 million deal in July. "He's one of the most dynamic athletes I've seen," Pritchard said. Green, 26, is aware of the long odds he has overcome. Few players head to Europe and make it back. "I just never thought I'd get another opportunity," Green said after a recent workout at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with Pacers center Roy Hibbert, still several weeks prior to the start of training camp. "But I'm glad I'm back where I started." He already feels at home. He's looking forward to playing on a deep, young team.
- Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer: Former Olmsted Falls star Mike Gansey, 29, was named director of development league operations and Cavaliers basketball operations assistant, general manager Chris Grant announced on Monday. Gansey spent the 2011-12 season as the Cavs basketball operations assistant. In his new position, Gansey will work closely with Cavs vice president of basketball operations David Griffin and Canton Charge coach Alex Jensen in the basketball operations and personnel matters of the Cavs DLeague affiliate, as well as other general NBA DLeague areas and player personnel elements. Griffin will continue to oversee the Charge’s basketball operations, and Jensen will be more involved with player personnel matters, in addition to his head coaching duties.
- Dick Jerardi of The Philadelphia Inquirer: The Sixers have six preseason games scheduled, beginning on Oct. 11 and ending Oct. 21. Two are home (Boston, Cleveland). Three are on the road (Orlando, Brooklyn and Boston). One game against the Brooklyn Nets, scheduled for Sat. Oct. 13, has no site listed on the Sixers website. That will change Tuesday afternoon at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City when it is expected to be announced that the game with the Nets will be played in the historic venue. Sixers president of basketball operations Rod Thorn, along with Evan Turner, are to be there representing the team as the official announcement is made