TrueHoop: Terrence Williams
- Eddy Rivera of Magic Basketball on Carmelo Anthony: "Is Anthony a top five player? No. Is Anthony an efficient player on offense? No. Anthony’s True Shooting Percentage and effective field goal percentage were at or below the league average last season. Granted, Anthony’s Offensive Rating was 110, which was above the league average. Also, if there’s a bright side to Anthony’s obscenely high usage rate (33.4 percent in 2010), it’s that he does an excellent job of taking care of the basketball. That being said, Anthony doesn’t compare favorably to his peers offensively. Yes, Anthony can score and if there’s one thing the Magic desperately need, it’s a dominant perimeter scorer, but he does so with nary an ounce of efficiency."
- Now that all the moving parts have come and gone from Phoenix, what did the Suns ultimately net from Amare Stoudemire's departure? Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns: "In essence the Suns traded Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa for Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick plus about $5 million worth of trade exception that could still be put to good use. When you consider the pu pu platter offers on the table this February, the Suns made a brilliant decision not to unload STAT at the deadline just to unload him. Sure, maybe they could have gotten a J.J. Hickson here or a Mario Chalmers there, but you really can’t compare that to the haul of established players the Suns acquired instead."
- Gian Ciasmiro of Posting & Toasting looks at some interesting findings yesterday from Neil Paine about what happens when a player sees his offensive role change dramatically and applies them to Raymond Felton.
- Charley Rosen of Fox Sports enumerates the things a top NBA coach must have in his professional arsenal. On Rosen's list: "A work ethic that sets an example for his staff and players. Or else having several assistants willing to compensate for his laissez-faire attitude by working overtime and allowing him to claim the credit."
- With Turkoglu and Chris Bosh moving on from Toronto, the Raptors have a ton of possessions to distribute this season. Zarar Siddiqi of Raptors Republic looks at how equitably those opportunities should be spread out.
- Eric Freeman has a new blog, Early Termination Option, which warrants a bookmark or RSS feed subscription.
- Trey Kirby of Ball Don't Lie breaks down the NBA rookie photo shoot.
- Should the NBA look to Major League Baseball the next time it reconsiders its age requirement? NCAA President Mark Emmert thinks so. (Hat tip: John Krolik of Pro Basketball Talk)
- Zach Harper of Hardwood Paroxysm asks how much of an apology -- if any -- does Brandon Roy owe the public after appearing for about 10 seconds in a Cali & Cavalli video that "is seemingly promoting the non-medicinal usage of marijuana."
- When we discuss the end of positional orthodoxy in basketball, the Nets' Terrence Williams is one of those guys who is relevant to the conversation. At 6-foot-6, Williams can handle the ball, has good court vision and could potentially defend anywhere on the perimeter once he gets a better grasp of NBA rotations. He's also critical to the Nets' long road back to respectability.
- What Theo Ratliff can bring to the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Beno Udrih: Better than you think.
- Go ahead and add sprinter Usain Bolt to the roster of the Kevin Durant Fan Club.
- James Posey might not have been anything more than carry-on baggage in the four-team deal that sent Darren Collison to Indiana last week, but Jared Wade of 8 Points, 9 Seconds would like to remind you that Posey has won two rings since the Pacers last reached the postseason.
- After watching the Hubie Brown video on setting screens, Game Time Workouts sends in this Red Auerbach and Rick Barry production on the underhand free throw.
- Big thanks to commenter micaroni715, who sent a long an incredible 1983 piece from the Sports Illustrated vault titled "The Gospel According to Hubie," which is a fascinating read and full of details about Brown's contentious relationship with many in the NBA's coaching fraternity.
- The Spurs have been opting for a lot of small-ball lineups this season, to mixed results. Timothy Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell is "surprised to see that small ball treats San Antonio well, and more often than people want to admit," but also wonders whether the decision to put four perimeter players on the floor doesn't compromise the Spurs defensively: "It’s hard to funnel the guards into shot-blockers when they’re sitting on the bench..."
- The people have spoken on LeBron-Kobe.
- Kevin Durant describes Derrick Rose's dunk in Phoenix last night as "NBA live 2004-ish."
- Kevin Garnett returned to the floor for Boston last night. Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub notes that, after the game, KG was looking for feedback from teammates on his pick-and-roll defense: "One of the 25 best players ever, a member of the 20,000-point club ... comes back from an injury and he’s concerned most about…how well he’s jumping out to cut off penetration on screen/rolls? If Amaré Stoudemire made screen/roll defense, oh, I don’t know, the 27th-highest priority on his list, he might be someone people talk about as a great all-around player and franchise cornerstone."
- Kyle Weidie of Truth About It visited with Wizards' guard Mike James, who's been unhappy this season with his lack of playing time. James tells Weidie that, amid the disappointment, there's been one highlight: "James said the lone bright spot for him this season was when he played against the Pacers. Not because he actually got to play in an NBA game, but because he got to be on the court with A.J. Price, his basketball protégé with whom he often speaks. James and Price share a hometown in Amityville, NY, and James hopes that someone was able to capture a picture of the two on the floor together back on that early November night."
- New Orleans has had depth issues in recent seasons, but last night the reserves sparked the Hornets. Niall Doherty of Hornets247: "No coincidence that Darren Collison, Marcus Thornton and Julian Wright were all on the floor for both those stretches. Individually, all three of those guys had some great plays tonight, but it was a whole different ballgame when they were out there together. It was some Captain Planet, by our powers combined-type ish."
- What would you have said a year ago if someone told you that a Grizzlies-Thunder matchup would be the gem of a busy Friday night slate of games in January 2010?
- Portland Roundball Society chronicles how the Trail Blazers almost pulled off an improbable upset in Boston: "Andre Miller and Martell Webster led the Blazers on a near-heroic comeback to force overtime. Each showed steely nerves, scoring five points apiece as the regulation clock wound down."
- How do a team's offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency influence each other? Bret LaGree of Hoopinion asks, "How much is a team's offensive efficiency related to how often they force turnovers or how well they rebound defensively? Conversely, does a team's defensive efficiency reflect its ability or inability to score on a high percentage of its offensive possessions and thus get its defense set?" Brett Hainline of Queen City Hoops offers some insight from the Bobcats' look in Atlanta last night: "On Atlanta's 6 steals, they scored on 5 of those possessions, with one play being one of their and-ones, so 11 points on those 6 chances."
- Paul Pierce yuks it up with the Boston media (via Green Street).
- Shawn Marion hearts NY.
- Dan Feldman of PistonPowered digs through media archives to see if there's a deeper history to the exchange that occurred last night between Detroit head coach John Kuester and Tayshaun Prince.
- Devin Harris is unlikely to play when the Nets look for their fourth win of the year in Salt Lake City tonight. Keyon Dooling will get the start in his place, according to Dave D'Alessandro. Dooling tells D'Alessandro that Terrence Williams -- who will move into the backup point guard role while Harris is sidelined -- has "been the best player in practice. His talent is through the roof."
- Incredibly, the Raptors ride their zone defense to a comeback win over Milwaukee. That might say more about the Bucks' dearth of guys who can shoot the ball from the perimeter than the Raptors' strategic wizardry.
- The next time I complain that it's 54 and rainy in Los Angeles, remind me to click on this.
Posted by Timothy Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell.
- I'm always more sympathetic to players who test positive for PEDs when the phrase "over the counter" is part of the story. If a substance is readily available to your local high school football team, why would we slap the hands of professional athletes for taking it? Well, as you might have guessed, that sort of reasoning is entirely too simplistic. Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is only available by way of a sad piece of legislative history. Jeff Passan details that episode in this article. Go read Passan's take, and when you're done join me in giving the NBA three cheers for having more integrity on this issue than MLB. The NBA has its warts, but I'm happy that looking the other way on DHEA is not one of them. (Thanks to Third Quarter Collapse for bringing our attention to the Passan piece.)
- Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus frames the Rashard Lewis discussion differently than most: "Performance enhancers are a fact of life. Rather than pouring all of these resources into vilifying athletes that made choices no different than what 99% of us would have made, perhaps it would be better to legitimize the industry and work to make PEDs safe. After all, the reason that they have been declared illegal by the FDA isn't because they allow you to hit a baseball farther (if it's true that that is the case); they are illegal because they have unacceptable risks for potentially lethal side effects. Modern athletes are serving as guinea pigs for a developing arm of pharmacology that in 20 years, no one is likely to object to...if they have found ways for all of us to improve the quality of our lives."
- Will the Rashard Lewis suspension dramatically impact the playoff race? One stat geek says not so much: "As far as I'm concerned, the only relevance this news has is this: The Magic will lose the services of an excellent player for 10 games. But Orlando projects to be a deep team this season and when I reduce Lewis' playing time projection by 10% and up that of players like Mickael Pietrus, Matt Barnes and Ryan Anderson, I see that the Magic's win projection drops from 52 to 51. That is all that really matters."
- Marvin Williams is set to re-sign with the Hawks. Really, it's true this time.
- Jon Nichols of Hardwood Paroxysm takes a smart look at shot selection in the final two minutes of games.
- The Memphis Grizzlies fascinate me. Memphis GM Chris Wallace recently spoke to Chip Crain of 3 Shades of Blue and placed the size of his team's scouting staff in perspective. Michael Heisley takes a beating in the press, but Ronald Tillery makes an argument that Heisley does some things very well. And in a companion piece, Heisley paints himself as Clay Bennett's opposite. Who knew that the Grizzlies were so provocative?
- Russell Westbrook tells Dime about all the hard work that has gone into his vertical leap. (Thanks to Royce Young of Daily Thunder for the alert.)
- Someone else who thinks the Lakers lost in the Ariza/Artest exchange.
- Ridiculous Upside reconsiders the question of whether to play in the D-League or Europe. And, don't look now, but they're out in full force defending the Grizzlies too.
- Neil Paine of Basketball Reference provides a bunch of data that adds up in this way: "...it appears that there's a very slight trend over the last decade that says teams who rely on their guards and smaller players tend to win a few more games over the course of a season. This makes sense, given that the league spent most of the Oughts trying to tip the advantage in favor of perimeter scorers with modifications to the rules on hand-checking and more liberal foul calls on drives in general."
- Meet Dr. Foot.
- You have to appreciate Tony Parker's candor. He tells L'Equipe that his recent return to San Antonio was upsetting and that he plans to gradually work himself back into his national team's rotation. They have a heavy schedule between now and training camp. (HT: Kace)
- I spent the morning listening to a terrific Blazer's Edge podcast with Kevin Pelton. If you don't have time to listen to the entire podcast, skip to segment 4 where Benjamin Golliver and Pelton pick up the hot-button topic of Moneyball, scouting, and the changing face of player evaluation in the NBA. (Soft caution: PG-13 audio between clips.)
- Jeremy Tyler will not be playing for Union Olympija Lubiana.
- Kurt Rambis is the leading candidate to become the T-Wolves next head coach. Shaquille O'Neal is not the GM in Minnesota.
- Most of the emails I received today were about the new Nike promotional featuring Kevin Durant, Mo Williams and Rashard Lewis.
- Save Our Sonics thinks James Donaldson has the best chance of restoring an NBA franchise to Seattle.
- Bethlehem Shoals says meh to the much ballyhooed free agent race of 2010. Chad Ford says these nine teams are in that race.
- Update: Sebastian Pruiti of Nets Are Scorching learns that upon being drafted Terrence Williams was immediately enamored by New Jersey's market size. That Terrence Williams caught on quick.
The Salt Lake Tribune's Ross Siler has this dispatch from the Orlando Pro Summer League, where the Sixers and Nets are strange bedfellows:
The union became official at halftime of Monday's summer-league opener at the RDV Sportsplex, when 76ers general manager Ed Stefanski pulled up a seat along press row next to Nets president Rod Thorn.
For one week at least, the Atlantic Division rivals have come together, with a joint New Jersey/Philadelphia entry in the Orlando summer league prompted by the worst economy in a generation.
Nets rookie Terrence Williams: Would this man steal Eddie Jordan's trade secrets? (Fernando Medina via Getty Images)
"I'm not a fan of it,” Philadelphia coach Eddie Jordan admitted. "I like working with your own players and teaching your own guys, getting your own guys in your system.”
"I don't want to have to berate their player for not picking up. It just doesn't seem right to get on their players for doing something that you want them to do.”
The marriage has led to some strange scenes, to be sure. Philadelphia's newest first-round pick, Jrue Holiday, warmed up for Monday's game in a Nets shirt, leading one Sixers staffer to observe that a free shirt is a free shirt.
After Monday's game, Jordan was asked about Nets rookie Terrence Williams, prefaced with the qualifier: "You won't have him beyond this week ...”
(Jordan's answer: "He's a very competitive player. He's strong, he's a bull out there. He's got great, quick moves. He can change direction in a heartbeat. He's an aggressive player. I really like him.”)
In addition to their own draft picks and players, the Nets and Sixers each made four selections for the team. The offense can best be described as an overlap of Jordan's and Lawrence Frank's systems.
"It's a combination of what they've done and what we're going to do,” Jordan said. "And that's why we make it work, because we know the Nets.”
Frank called it "a little bit of an introduction” to his offense, adding, "But I think this has to be more about the development of the guys as opposed to putting in your system. Especially when you're
splitting a team, it makes it tougher.”
The biggest benefit, Frank said, comes in having a deeper summer-league team than most. The Nets/Sixers have four recent draft picks in Chris Douglas-Roberts, Holiday, Marreese Speights and Terrence Williams.
Were it not for the history between Jordan and Frank, Thorn and Stefanski, as well as assistants Tom Barrise and Mike O'Koren, the Philadelphia and New Jersey pairing probably would be doomed to
"It's a joint venture, where it only works for us because we know the Nets guys,” said Jordan, who nevertheless described the partnership as being "different” three times in one answer.
Of course, the Nets and Sixers players still have it better than Bobcats second-round draft pick Derrick Brown, who is playing with the Jazz in Orlando with Charlotte not fielding a summer-league team to cut costs.
Brown ended up with the Jazz thanks to a longtime connection between Charlotte coach Larry Brown and Utah general manager Kevin O'Connor. (There's a lengthy explanation as to why the Jazz didn't also end up with Bobcats lottery pick Gerald Henderson.)
Brown had nine points in his NBA debut Monday night, which came in a Jazz jersey, playing for a team coached by Jazz assistants. In fact, Brown wasn't even sure if the Bobcats were sending a representative
to Orlando to watch him.
"It's definitely a good opportunity to be out there and start the ball rolling in the NBA,” he said. "Whatever it takes for me to make a stand in this league, I'm going to do it.”
Frank was asked if the Nets and Sixers were just ahead of the curve, whether next summer will feature other entries based on geography and cost-saving, like the Heat and Magic, the Bulls and Bucks, the
Warriors and Kings or the Jazz and ... nobody.
"In these economic times, look, you've got to be fiscally very responsible and I think you just have to be prudent in the decisions you make,” Frank said. "Every group is different. This worked for us and Philly and it made sense, and who knows what the future holds. Hopefully, things get better.”
At draft time, one team's savior is another team's headache. Is "combo guard" a sticky label? And everyone loves Trevor ... but how much is he actually worth?
Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm: "[Ricky] Rubio has the potential to be a game-changer (so to speak) for certain teams. New York. Minnesota. Even the Clippers though Dunleavy will give up Griffin over his cold, dead body ... Rubio could be a true facillitator for the Wizards, a franchise player for the Kings, the next evolution for the Warriors, or the Nash Toronto wants but can't have. But to Memphis? He's a pain the ass that may decide to play chicken with them; a player that won't sell as many tickets as other players can (we've seen the way Memphis gets attached to awkward looking Spanish dudes), doesn't provide them an inside scorer, makes their investment in Mike Conley seem completely vapid, and generally is a terrible fit ... What compounds this nightmare scenario is how awesome drafting Tyreke Evans would be for them. Even with Conley on board, Evans represents an evolutionary step for the Grizzlies akin to the development of lungs. Versus Rubio, Evans has great size, can attack the basket with an almost religious ferver, will sell tickets being a Memphis U kid, if even for a year, and creates a sort of dark Horsemen aspect for the Grizzlies 1-2-3 combo. Rubio would be like trying to create a cheap knock off family theme park in Memphis."
Rob Mahoney of Two Man Game: "For the most part, I try not to worry about position ... Team needs are often better defined as particular skills or even skill sets, and to boil that down to position alone essentially ignores a handful of options. That said, Jeff Teague's position terrifies me. He's obviously a pretty great talent, albeit one that could have benefited from more time playing college ball. He's going to be a fine scorer on the next level, and he's in no danger of slipping out of the first round. There's nothing inherently wrong with scoring 'point guards', provided they're surrounded with the proper accoutrements. The Mavs got a first hand look at a dynamite scoring point in Tony Parker. Jason Terry is another prime example. Unfortunately, both Parker and Terry are outliers; many other combo guards in the league are high volume scorers but also high volume shot takers (Ben Gordon, Monta Ellis, etc.). Many are turnover-prone, defensively inept, and lack the ability to set up even the most basic offensive sets under duress. I don't expect Teague to be an anomaly in the Parker/Terry/Gilbert Arenas mold. He'll score in the pros at a rate that'll pay the bills, but likely won't bring the average team any kind of sustained success. The Mavs want a point guard waiting in the wings when Jason Kidd finally hangs 'em up or leaves in free agency, but you don't leave the keys in the ignition for Jeff Teague. The dude is a shooting guard through and through, and one that can't defend opposing point guards particularly well."
Darius Soriano of Forum Blue & Gold: "Trevor Ariza has earned the right to remain a Laker. He's improved his game to the point that he's already the ideal Triangle small forward ... He's a defensive minded player that has shown he can shoot the three ball all while being mentally tough. He meshes well with Kobe [Bryant] and [Pau] Gasol, moves well off the ball, and has shown a high basketball IQ in picking up our sets on both offense and defense. If he makes some small improvements to his game ... he'll be a true force on a perennial contender. Everyone knows my bias towards Lamar [Odom]. But, I'm just as fond of Ariza. I think (along with Kobe, Gasol, [Andrew] Bynum, and Odom) he's one of our best five players. And just as I've said about LO, we need this player. After all the growth we've seen from Trevor, it'd be a shame to see him truly blossom with another team. I understand that there are aspects to retaining Ariza that are out of the team's control. I also understand the financial implications to keeping both of Ariza and Odom. But, in the end, I think this team deserves the chance to defend its title. In a way, I'd feel cheated if we didn't get to make at least one more run with this entire group in tact. I can only hope the front office and ownership group feel the same way."
THE FINAL WORD
Daily Thunder: What makes a draft bust?
Nets Are Scorching: A Twitterview with Terrence Williams.
The Painted Area: Jonas Jerebko might be the second international player off the board.
(Photos by Josep Lago, Streeter Lecka, Kevork Djansezian/AFP & NBAE via Getty Images)