HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
No Deal! NBA & Players Fail To Reach A Deal
By Steve Kyler
After what appeared to be a change in the NBA Owners’ stance on the current labor situation, today’s meeting in New York yielded more of the same. Both sides remain far apart on both the mechanical components of a labor deal and a mechanism to share revenue.
Sources close to the situation said this weekend that the Players were expecting a better offer from the Owners and after six more hours of talks, the Players’ view is that there simply is no framework for a deal based on what was presented today and that from their view there is no reason to schedule more talks.
Players Association director Billy Hunter told gathered reporters that his side was prepared to make a “significant move” however that was not met in the Players’ opinion by the NBA Owners
Coach: Tightening Up An NBA Player’s Handles
By Anthony Macri
Whether the two sides in the lockout dispute come to some arrangement or not, a true professional will continue to work on his craft. One of the most universal skills in basketball is ball-handling, and specifically the ability to dribble effectively. Sound dribbling technique is important for the point guard as he leads the fast break and for the center as he attacks out of the low post. The ability to control the basketball in the face of pressure and contact is critical to success, and is one of the most easily practiced skills in the entire game: all you need is a ball and some space.
It is curious why such a straightforward skill seems so mysterious to players around the world – I get more chat questions and email inquiries about how to improve ball-handling than any other topic. Many of the themes below may seem relatively common-sense – and to be honest, most of basketball is – but the application of these concepts in a real life setting is where the challenge lies.
Before looking at any skill development work, it is important to recognize that what one does is nowhere near as important as how one does it. In other words, the sheer number of drills or repetitions is meaningless if the speed and intensity of those actions is not at the highest level. One of the goals in the workouts we do at the Pro Training Center is to push players beyond their comfort level, and to encourage and then applaud mistakes.
Solving Problems: Attracting Free Agents
By Joel Brigham
There is such a thing as a good problem. They do exist, and we know this is true because the Indiana Pacers have one: cap space.
Whenever the players and owners finally bang out a deal, free agency will be soon to follow, and the Indiana Pacers will have more money to spend than almost any other team in the entire league. That seems like it’d be a wonderful thing, especially for a young group like the Pacers that have showed plenty of promise yet still suffer glaring roster holes at a couple of really important positions—shooting guard and power forward.
So what’s the problem, you ask? Convincing the top free agents in the 2011 class that Indianapolis is an ideal city in which to live and work.
In truth, the Pacers are actually in a pretty good place right now. They’ve spent the last five years playing out bad contracts, trading away what they could and hanging in there with what they couldn’t. In the meantime, they’ve actually put together a pretty attractive group of young, promising players. With so many young kids coming into their own at right about the same time, now is the perfect time to add some veteran help and make a real postseason push.
Solving Problems: The Phoenix Suns Need Direction
By Eric Pincus
The Phoenix Suns went from a 2010 Western Conference Finals bid to the lottery in 2011 with a 40-42 record. The big loss was Amar’e Stoudemire, who moved on as a free agent to the New York Knicks, helping NY climb into a long-awaited postseason berth.
Now a year later, where do the Suns go from here?
Are they a playoff team coming off of a one-year hiatus or is it time to truly rebuild?
Solving Problems: Sacramento Kings Need Depth
By Jason Fleming
For a basketball team to start recovering from the depths of rebuilding they need to pick up at least one player who can become a franchise talent. Whether that’s in the draft, a trade they make to give a buried player a fresh start, or a free agent signing, no matter where it comes from it has to happen. The Sacramento Kings have two of those players, and now they need to fill out the rest of the roster.
The Kings first struck gold in the 2009 NBA Draft, choosing Memphis guard Tyreke Evans with the fourth overall pick. Evans went on to win Rookie of the Year during the 2009-10 NBA season, averaging 20.1 points, 5.8 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals a game. It wasn’t enough to bring the Kings back to the playoffs, and they again fell into the draft lottery in 2010. There they chose big man DeMarcus Cousins from Kentucky, a player with number one talent but with a history as a bit of a head case. Cousins didn’t disappoint in either category in 2010-11, averaging 14.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.0 steals as a rookie while also making plenty of headlines with his attitude in games and in practice.
These two players are the pillars around which everything else the Sacramento Kings do in the foreseeable future will be built around. Evans is the leader, the engine, and Cousins is the toughness in the middle. In order for the Kings to move forward they need to surround these two players with a complementary supporting cast, one who will allow Cousins and Evans to be the stars and fill in all the gaps.
Solving Problems: Nuggets Need Nene And More
By Yannis Koutroupis
The Denver Nuggets have gone through a lot over the last year, so they’re probably enjoying the peace and quiet caused by the lockout to a certain extent. After all, at this time last year they were the talk of the league due to the status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.
The Nuggets offered Anthony a three-year, $65 million extension, which he refused to sign because he wasn’t sold on their ability to contend for a championship. That led to speculation running rampant over whether or not the Nuggets would risk allowing Anthony to become an unrestricted free agent or trade him beforehand to ensure they received some value in return.
For months that was all anyone would talk about regarding the Nuggets. His coach, teammates and even family were constantly questioned about his desire to be there. Eventually, Nuggets management made the decision that trading him was the right move. They didn’t want to be like the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had faith in their ability to retain unrestricted free agent LeBron James only to see him sign with the Miami HEAT, leaving them devastated and with no choice but to rebuild.