TrueHoop: Leon Powe
Posted by Kevin Arnovitz
- In Shoals' interview of Brook Lopez, we learn that the Nets' second-year center is the rare athlete that prefers long-form non-fiction to 140 character burps: "I'm busy writing actual books and stuff like that rather than Twittering."
- Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game sets the bar for an intriguing Mavs team. The lede: "A simple question with varied, complicated answers: what needs to happen for the Mavs' 2009-2010 season to be considered a success? Given the roster assembled, is winning the championship the only way to declare the campaign a successful one? Or, in light of relative expectations, is it enough to merely challenge the natural order?"
- Allen Iverson needs a job; The Sixers need some depth in the backcourt. Michael Kaskey-Blomain of Philadunkia wonders aloud if a second act for Iverson in Philly could work.
- Finally some semblance of a resolution to the Hawks' ownership fracas. As Bret LaGree of Hoopinion writes, the ownership group in Atlanta have gradually evolved into a relatively functional bunch. Peachtree Hoops also tackles the issue in stellar form.
- Speaking of the business of the Atlanta Hawks, Micah Hart informs us that Zaza Pachilia is diving into The A's lively restaurant scene. Also of note, "Pachulia, if you recall, participated in last summer's business seminar for NBA players at Northwestern's prestigious Kellogg School of Management."
- Basketbawful continues its "Worsties" series. Among December's lowlights: the elevator in Chris Bosh's apartment building.
- 21 Reasons to order up NBA League Pass. I'll rank #7 as the most persuasive argument -- local ads.
- Not that it hasn't been shouted from the roof tops over the past couple of years, but Leon Powe remains the most rootable player in the Association.
- Nike's footprint is all over the Michael Jordan exhibit at the Basketball Hall of Fame that the Jordan Brand -- a division of the shoe giant -- paid for. As the article rightly points out, corporate sponsorship of museum exhibitions is de rigueur these days. Furthermore, it's hard not to highlight Jordan's impact on the game without including his pivotal role in the personal branding of athletes. Still ... "Walking around the exhibit, you never feel free of Nike's vise."
- The results of NBA.com's rookie survey are out. Jonny Flynn gets much love from his classmates.
- What can Randy Foye do for the Wizards?
- Re: Quentin Richardson's twitter feed, I suppose a summer like Q's is enough to drive a person to astrology: "You may surprise someone with how you express your independence... More for Aries."
Leon Powe's outsized heart moves to Cleveland. Kurt Rambis brings his pedigree and eyewear to the Twin Cities. And Mike Miller stretches the boundaries of social media.
John Krolik of Cavs the Blog: "Leon Powe is about as good as an undersized, unathletic player with no range or ball skills to speak of can be. Yes, there's a definite ceiling in terms of how many ways he can impact a game. But as a pure banger, Leon Powe is just about as good as they come. Powe had the best offensive rebound rate of any power forward for the second consecutive year last season, and 9th in rebound rate overall. And offensively, Powe might not have any real jump shot whatsoever, but he knows his limitations and spends what time he has with the ball in the paint, shoving bodies around and trying to get the ball in the basket any way he can. 80% of Powe's shots came in the immediate basket area last year, and despite his dip in proficiency on layup-type shots from 07-08 to 08-09, his love of the dunk gave him a very respectable 60% mark on 'inside' shots ... For all Powe's strengths skill-wise, he still has major disadvantages athletically: He is much smaller than most centers and much slower than most power forwards. And he can't stretch the floor ... But overall, this is a great player and a great guy coming to the Cavaliers with very, very little financial risk involved, so my final position is that I congratulate the front office for getting yet another deal done, congratulate Mr. Powe for finding a team, and hope to see him on the floor reasonably soon."
Patrick Hodgdon of Howlin' T-Wolf: "What I like about [Kurt] Rambis right off the bat is that he has always been surrounded by success in the NBA and owns seven championship rings, 4 as a player and 3 as a coach. He has played for Pat Riley alongside Magic and Kareem and has been an assistant under arguably the best coach in the NBA in Phil Jackson with whom he's coached Kobe and Shaq. The fact that success breeds success in the NBA is something I think that goes underrated. Sam Presti is doing a bang-up job in Oklahoma City because he learned it first in San Antonio. So is Kevin Pritchard in Portland. When you are around successful teams you learn how to emulate them and bring with you a blue-print for success. Rambis also brings actual coaching experience as an assistant for the Lakers for 10 years as well as experience from a short stint as head coach of the Lakers in 1999 during the lockout shortened season where he went 24-13 before being swept by the NBA champions Spurs in the second round that year. Something I also really like on his resume: he's been a coach with Kobe and Shaq on the team where he has seen the best at their best but more importantly at their worst, which is invaluable experience in the league ... "
Kyle Weidie of Truth About It: "Mike Miller is for serious about his social networking. How serious? Damn serious enough to debut his new website with an inspirational Eminem 'song' that came out seven years ago. Miller also has a new blog entry, introduced by the 'frightening/sad/tough/crying on the inside/I'm from South Dakota/my fav rapper is Killer Mike/I'd eat a man's heart if it were legal and tasted like cheese wiz & beer' face you see above. Damn. That's serious enough to remove the 'r' from 'for' and make it a fo'. Mike Miller is fo' serious. Personally, I think Mike Miller is serious enough to drain more than 150 threes, drop more than 250 dimes, snag more than 350 boards, and shoot more than 42% from long distance this year. So if you're around, become a fan of Miller on FaceBook, follow his Twitter, or become a member at his website. Go give the guy they call 'White Mike' some support so that he and the Wizards can be working their hardest up to and through the 2009-10 season. After all, Brendan Haywood isn't the only guy playing for a contract this year."
THE FINAL WORD
Hoopinion: A comprehensive Rookie Guard Study from Bret LaGree.
Valley of the Suns: Dabbling in free agency counterfactuals from the Summer of '04.
Roundball Mining Company: The upside of losing Linas Kleiza.
(Photos by Steve Babineau, Lisa Blumenfeld, Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ron Artest supplants Trevor Ariza as the three-man in the Lakers' triangle. Celtics fans bid a wistful farewell to fan fave Leon Powe. And is Paul Millsap the right guy for OKC's front line?
Rob Mahoney of Hardwood Paroxysm: "[Ron] Artest only makes sense offensively in situations where his skills can be utilized without damaging the team concept. Los Angeles, home of the triangle offense, is not that place. Artest's tendency to stop the ball, throw possessions into the wind, and take what can only be described as 'Ron Artest Shots' can't fly well with Phil [Jackson], with Kobe [Bryant], with Pau [Gasol], with Tex Winter, or with just about anyone who has come to know and love (or at least respect) the most dominant offensive unit in the game. The Lakers ... were able to dissect a fantastic defensive team in the Finals because the talent was there and the system was there. Artest brings plenty of one, but substitutes the other for generally poor basketball IQ and the possibility of going bonkers at any particular time. Sweet. On top of that, the Lakers seem to be severing their ties with Trevor Ariza. Signing Artest is doing more than showing Ariza the door. It's pushing him out, throwing his stuff out on the lawn, and handing Ron a molotov cocktail ... The true delight comes in the fact that Ariza could function within the system at a level we can never expect Artest to. Trevor made a habit out of deferring on offense, and perfecting a few offensive skills in his ability to hit the three from select spots and his tremendous finishes ... This team clearly competes at a different level with Ariza on the floor, and that's a credit to just how hard he's worked on his game."
Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub: "I really hope Leon Powe knows how much Celtics fans like him and will miss him. We all know why that is -- the well-documented childhood difficulties, the never-ending series of knee injuries that seemed to happen right when he was turning a corner, and the way Leon responded to all of it by working even harder. He's a bit of a cliché fan favorite, actually -- the scrappy role player who overcomes personal and professional obstacles to contribute to a championship team. But let's talk about basketball. There was something that drew me to Leon Powe from the moment I saw him play: He's a bit awkward ... Leon is not pretty to watch. You see -- almost feel -- every bit of effort it takes him to put the ball on the floor, lower his shoulder into a taller defender and flick a one-handed shot toward the rim. He can't leap much without a head of steam, and he's not quick or explosive enough to beat his defenders with spin moves or dribble-drives ... He often pushed off with his left hand to create the minimal space he had. Every time he attacked the rim, I cringed, expecting an offensive foul. The shots, once released, look a bit like blind tosses toward something approximating the correct area of the rim or the backboard. And they always seem to bounce around the rim and off the backboard before going down. And they went down 52 percent of the time, and 57 percent of the time in the '08 championship season ... He is a graceless, below-the-rim player for the most part, and I love him for it."
Royce Young of Daily Thunder: "I think the organization sees Uncle Jeff [Green] as its power forward. But if they sign [Paul] Millsap, I guess we'll know they think differently. Unless of course Millsap is being signed just to take Nick Collison's spot, which would be great if the Thunder could sign Millsap for the same money they're paying [Nick] Collison. But that probably has about as much chance of happening as me getting a 10-day contract. Millsap is a nice player. He was excellent in Carlos Boozer's absence last year and that great play earned him what's sure to be a nice contract. But the Thunder's fairly stacked at power forward. Of course there are Green and Collison, but what about D.J. White who played just seven games last year? White looked pretty darn good in those games and with some added weight and a little refining, what's to say he's not going to be an excellent backup big man? Or even Serge Ibaka? He's coming over and playing in the summer league. Maybe he blows management away and makes the roster as an extra big. Now you're jammed full of power forwards, but one of them you just signed for five years and $40 million. To me, signing Millsap isn't a very [Sam] Presti-like move. It seems like a rushed, let's-get-better-right-now move instead of the planned, calculated progression Presti has had since he took over. Signing Millsap would make you either take some clothes to Goodwill or make you completely rearrange everything."
THE FINAL WORD
Bucksketball: An open letter to Detroit fans, re: Charlie V.
The Two Man Game: Welcome to the Big D, Marcin Gortat.
Orlando Magic Daily: A concrete-heavy photo tour of the Magic's new home for 2010-11.
(Photos by Jeff Gross, Steve Babineau, Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
Forward Leon Powe played hard for the Celtics on a rookie contract. He helped them win a title. His coach called him a kid who had "done everything right."
And in the course of duty, he severely messed up his knee. Shortly after that, as luck would have it, his contract then came to an end just when he was due to get his first really big contract (his salary has always been six figures, not the seven he had coming).
There is certainly no legal obligation for the Celtics to extend Leon Powe a qualifying offer, to keep him employed as he rehabilitates. But is there an ethical one?
Powe's agent, Aaron Goodwin makes the case that extending a qualifying offer would have been the proper course of action:
What does it say when a player like Leon Powe, a great human being, who played through injury and pain for three straight years for the Boston Celtics, including in a playoff game after tearing his ACL, is rewarded by the team saying to him "we only have a short window to win, and you are not a part of our plans because you are now injured."
It shows you the true state of the NBA.
The Celtics are traditionally a class act. I have great respect for the organization as a whole, but they truly missed it on this one.
Feel that? It's the Eastern Conference changing underfoot. The Bulls are building something new with Derrick Rose. The Cavs appear poised to claim the mantle, but still have work to do. And the Celtics' fate is in purgatory with Kevin Garnett's knee:
Matt McHale of By the Horns: "Speaking as someone who wasn't initially in favor of the [Derrick] Rose pick - I thought [John] Paxson should go after Michael Beasley to fill their continuing need for inside scoring - it has been a total blast watching him play. I knew he was going to be good, but he was far better out of the gate than I could have expected. He never hit the dreaded rookie wall. He never lost confidence, even when the team was really struggling to beat even the worst of teams back in January. He developed his jump shot during the season. Though far from perfect, particularly on defense, he was a steady presence every single night. What's more, Derrick gives me real hope for the team's future. Even when experts were foolishly projecting the Bulls as a potential Finals team after their overachieving 2006-07 campaign, I never felt like they had 'it.' You know, the superstar power necessary to make it to The Next Level. Well, Derrick is 'it.' I really believe that. And this award…well, get ready, because it's going to be the first of many."
John Krolik of Cavs the Blog: "I don't think you can say this series is in the fridge until we get one in Detroit. I mean, you can say it, and you might even be right, but it doesn't do much. Think of the last two times we met this team in the playoffs, when they beat us twice on their floor and thought they were coming to Cleveland to mop up. Is the talent gap between the teams much, much, wider now? Yes. But Karma is a bitch. So I'm not going to get too cocky. Hell, I'm not going to believe these Pistons are dead until the clock reads 0.00000000 on the fourth win. I've spent too many nights awake because I think I can hear 'Deee-Troit BASKET-BALL' somewhere off in the dark recesses of my mind."
Brian Robb of CelticsHub: "This whole [Kevin Garnett] situation reminds of me a saying we have about the climate here in New England, which is if you don't like how the weather is looking, just wait a few minutes. After the last two months of twists and turns, encouraging recovery signs and pushed back return dates, there is likely to be a new saying floating around in Boston: 'If you don't like KG's return prognosis, just wait a few days.' All joking aside, you have to admire the dedication and commitment by KG here by leaving the door open on a return. In the wake of Leon Powe's season ending, the Celtics' front line has been left with two emerging young big men, the potential return (there's that word again) of a power forward who has suffered three concussions in the last three months in Brian Scalabrine and a backup center averaging 7.4 fouls per 36 minutes of play."
THE FINAL WORD
Roundball Mining Company: Game Two is all about adjustments. RMC provides smart visual aides.
Valley of the Suns: Phoenix would be wise to remove the "interim" tag from Alvin Gentry.
Knickerblogger: Trevor Ariza vs. Wilson Chandler.
(Photos by Gary Dineen, David Liam Kyle, Elsa/NBAE via Getty Images)
Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub: "Here's something that tells you all you need to know about this game, a loss ... in which the C's gave up a season-high 127 points to a mediocre team: When the Celtics absolutely had to get one rebound–when they were down 122-119 with 33 seconds left and Derrick Rose missed a jumper–Eddie House was left to box out Brad Miller.
... It is here that I could ask why Doc Rivers had taken Kendrick Perkins out of the game for this possession, leaving a super-small line-up of House-Pierce-Allen-Marbury-Rondo to get the essential stop. I could lament that the C's missed an opportunity to move a game ahead Orlando for the 'all-important' second seed. And I could criticize a truly bad defensive performance, full of slow rotations, missed assignments and poor decisions (hi, Mikki).
But, really, the line-up that was on the court at the end of the game (and for most of the fourth quarter) shows how meaningless this game is in the long run. It was fun to watch precisely because it was so gimmicky. If the Celtics go on to win the title this year, this game will merit one paragraph in the Globe and/or Herald quickie book chronicling the season–and only then to note Leon Powe's knee injury (update forthcoming). It is a game we will have long forgotten come the playoffs."
John Krolik of Cavs the Blog:"LeBron James is more messianic than you are. Not only did he completely dominate this game, but he did it against a defense that was well set up and ready to take away his bread and butter from him. The jumper was absolutely in full effect, and this is as good as you're going to see the inside/out game working from LeBron James ...
[I]n the final moments, he was more than a little clutch. That three in front of the Magic bench? I mean, what can I say? He was absolutely feeling it, if he misses we likely as not lose, and the degree of difficulty was through the roof. Absolutely amazing. And sealing it with a savvy pump-fake and foul draw and two clutch free throws instead of getting caught up in the moment and trying a fadeaway dagger? Fantastic ... This is maybe the most talented player ever to pick up a basketball on an absolute mission. Enjoy every game...
This is pretty much the game to show why Howard isn't quite on that MVP level yet (as I see it, tier one is LeBron, Kobe, CP3, and Wade) -- he was dominant defensively and pulling in rebounds, but after looking like a bona fide offensive force the last time we saw him and the last game he played, he was almost invisible on that end tonight, showing some nice hooks and even passes out of double-teams but ultimately only getting 13 points on 8 shots.
A lot of that isn't his fault -- this team loves the three-ball, and doesn't play as disciplined as it should. This is where going from a Jameer to a Skip really hurts you, even if Skip's drilling his shots."
(Photos by Gary Dineen, David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
Business as usual for the Celtics and Cavs, as both clinch playoff berths. The Spurs fail to take care of business on the defensive end of the floor. Russell Westbrook means business in the ROY race. The TrueHoop Network is open for business:
Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub: "What do you do with a game like this? Do you praise the 72 percent true shooting mark or worry about the 62 percent true shooting mark the Celtics yielded to a mediocrity like the New Jersey Nets? Do you wring your hands over the slower-than-usual rotations and the open threes, or do you smile at yet another Paul Pierce performance you can add to the dozens and dozens he's piled up over 11 seasons (12-of 14 for 31 big points)? Or do you savor the thought of having Rajon Rondo on your team for the next 11 seasons?
There's a third option we'll call the My Dad Option, and that's to laugh at the idea of even caring about a regular-season NBA game -- let alone one in which a lineup of Eddie House, Bill Walker, Mikki Moore, Leon Powe and Stephon Marbury plays the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. For my sanity, I'm going to take that option (not really, of course) and assume that the Celtics will bring the defensive intensity and precision on Friday that were missing until the very end of the game tonight."
John Krolik of Cavs the Blog: "Delonte West absolutely gave the Milwaukee Bucks the howling fantods from the opening tip to the final whistle. He was absolutely everywhere on the court tonight, especially on the defensive end, where his eight steals were actually more impressive than they look on the stat sheet because of how little he was gambling. He was picking passes coming towards his man, stripping guys clean off the dribble, snatching a pass directly out of the air, everywhere. He was all around the ball with his energy, and his toughness had him coming up with it almost every time and pushing the break.
On offense, he was making the plays and working with the ball and making sure everything went smoothly and nobody was settling for contested jumpers, and was even working a very nice two-man game with Andy. The great thing was that he wasn't really even shooting the ball all that well and he still had this much of a positive impact on the game. If you don't love Delonte West, you are a bad man."
Graydon Gordian of 48 Minutes of Hell: "It is infrequent that I criticize Popovich's defensive decisions. Our defensive woes are most often the by-product of lack of effort, poor execution, or just plain inability. But tonight I felt Popovich made multiple tactical errors down the stretch.
The most notable of these errors was his decision to trap players (primarily Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki) who had control of the ball in the space from the top of the arc to the free throw line. Swift ball movement to the wings produced two common outcomes: A second pass to set up the corner three or successful penetration (sometimes by the wingman, sometimes by a third cutter). In some ways this flipped the strength of the Spurs' defense on its head: Our bread and butter is our interior and perimeter defense while we are often soft in the middle. This evening we allowed for easy penetration and open 3-pointers in order to protect against the mid-range jumper."
(Photos by Al Bello, David Liam Kyle, Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
If my email inbox is to be believed, the story of Game 2 was not Paul Pierce's knee, why Leon Powe only played 15 minutes, or the Lakers' 0-4 record against Boston this season.
The story was the referees, who called seven more fouls on the Lakers than the Celtics, and sent the home team to the line 28 more times than the road team.
This is how Phil Jackson's post-game press conference began:
What are you most struck by, your rally at the end or your difficulty scoring points on them the first three quarters?
(Laughing) I'm more struck at the fact that Leon Powe gets more foul shots than our whole team does in 14 minutes of play. That's ridiculous. You can't play from a deficit like that that we had in that half, 19 to 2 in the first half in situations like that. I've never seen a game like that in all these years I've coached in The Finals. Unbelievable. ...
I think my players got fouled. I have no question about the fact that my players got fouled but didn't get to the line. Specifically I can enumerate a few things, but I'm not going to get into that.
I don't want to get into dispute with those situations.
It's the illusion that's created. The referees referee an illusion. Our guys look like maybe the ball was partially stripped when they were getting raked or whatever was happening, but it was in the crowd, so the referees let that type of thing go.
So we have to create the spacing that gives the right impression, and that will have to get accomplished.