Wednesday, August 29, 2012
By Beckley Mason
- On ClipperBlog, Jordan Heimer writes wonderfully about the Clippers upcoming, high-stakes season: "For once, the conventional wisdom is right. You can’t put a price on what Paul did for the Clippers last season, not only playing at a crunch-time dominating, MVP-level, but legitimizing a team that has always languished in the long shadow of the Lakers. Also, he made Ralph happier than anyone this side of Sweet Jo. But, as invaluable as Paul’s addition was to the team and to the “brand,” it doesn’t earn Olshey a free pass on all his other moves. Or, should I say, Chris Paul’s other moves. It’s been reported or implied that Paul told Olshey how much DeAndre Jordan reminded him of Tyson Chandler, and advocated signing both Chauncey Billups and Caron Bulter. From all accounts, Paul (and his representation) have been active behind the scenes this season as well, pushing for Jamal Crawford and Grant Hill. I’m not saying that any of these moves are individually bad, but in aggregate they have quickly transformed a young core (Bledsoe, Griffin, Aminu, Jordan, Gordon) following the under-23 model into a creaky veteran squad. And don’t tell me that Paul’s recruiting somehow proves that he plans to re-sign in L.A. People in Cleveland said the same thing about LeBron. Stars recruit because they can. And they recruit veterans because those are the guys who they admired when they first entered the league. If Chris Paul doesn’t stay, he will leave behind a roster with very little youthful upside outside of Blake and Bledsoe."
- Allen Iverson's playing style is a thing of the past.
- Bradford Doolittle explains why the Boston Celtics, long one of the oldest teams in the league, need rookie Jared Sullinger to step up (Insider): "So the Celtics look like a much deeper team this season and they're younger, too. Boston projected to have an average age (weighted by projected minutes) under 30 for the first time since the 2008-09 season. They should be a bit more athletic and projected to be the top defensive team in the league. The key to closing the gap with Miami in a possible head-to-head meeting will be for Boston to keep the scoreboard turning on a consistent basis. While the Celtics project a little better on the offense, they still won't be an elite team on that end of the floor, or even average. Boston does not emphasize offensive rebounding in the least, which is one of the items holding back its offensive efficiency. Will the Celtics remain a jump shooting team that doesn't retrieve its own misses? A key to that could be Sullinger, who might be the Celtics' top percentage rebounder right out of the gate. If Rivers can trust him to not only play significant minutes but also to crash the offensive glass, Sullinger might be a secret weapon to deploy against the undersized Heat."
- Gary Payton knew how to rock a zany hat. (h/t @JaredWade).
- On Magic Basketball, Sean Highkin argues that we can't yet judge the Dwight Howard trade from Orlando's end: "Regardless of the complimentary pieces they got for Paul, the primary reason the Hornets’ future is looking bright is Anthony Davis. That’s the kind of player the Magic need in order to vault themselves back into the playoff conversation and stay there. It’s in their best interests to tank in the short term and land, say, Nerlens Noel or Shabazz Muhammad in the 2013 NBA Draft or continue to bottom out for a shot at Andrew Wiggins in the 2014 NBA Draft."
- Anthony Davis, at around age 14, sporting rec specs. Quick aside: growing up I played with a kid named Garrison who wore rec-specs and could really cook on the court. He was small even for his age and the goggles gave him these rings around his eyes that made him look like a tiny old man. Until he developed a reputation as a player(no one forgets being torched by a kid in rec-specs), he would always get a few wide open shots a game. I guess no one suspects their opponent's best player is a four-eyed shrimp.
- There's a lot of buzz surrounding Houston rookie Donatas Motiejunas, who answered some questions about his preparation for the NBA.
- Chris Hansen, the investor and leader in the charge to bring an NBA team back to Seattle, just finalized a land deal for a new stadium. That's making Sacramento fans a little nervous.
- The jury's still out on Brandon Jennings, but Milwaukee will need to make a decision soon.
- Reggie Miller will become the first player to be introduced by a woman, his sister Cheryl, at his Hall of Fame induction.
- New Warriors GM Bob Myers had a strong offseason in the draft and free agency. Can coach Mark Jackson hold up his end of the bargain?
- At Daily Thunder, Royce Young reminds us that the Thunder offseason isn't all about James Harden and Serge Ibaka. There's one other guy: "Any person that’s watched the Thunder closely over the last few years knows what an asset Maynor is. Remember, Maynor is so good and Scott Brooks trusted him so much that Maynor played the entire fourth quarter to close out Game 2 in Dallas of the Western Finals in 2011. He fits wonderfully in the locker room, understands his role perfectly and is an ideal team player. He’s the kind of guy you want on your roster, period. He puts team in front of himself, plays hard and best of all, is very, very good. Really, you could almost count Maynor as a big summer signing for the Thunder. He’s a major re-addition to the team. He missed almost all of last season after blowing out his knee and after a lot of hard work rehabbing, will be back to 100 percent for training camp. But he’s essentially on a one-year deal and if the Thunder don’t ink him to an extension, he’ll become a restricted free agent next summer."