HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Let’s Trade Steve Nash
By Eric Pincus
The lockout seems endless but eventually the NBA will resume. Assuming it does before a season is lost, the Phoenix Suns have a number of pressing issues to resolve before the trade deadline.
As detailed in September, the Suns need direction. Star point guard Steve Nash is still among the best in the game but he’s also 37-years old, heading into the final year on his contract.
Phoenix may give the veterans (including Nash, Grant Hill and Vince Carter) another chance to make the playoffs and even look to re-sign Nash past his current deal but to what end?
Realistically, it’d be best for all parties concerned for the Suns to move Nash and fully embrace the rebuilding process.
One competing executive said the Suns were open to dealing Nash around the draft but that they were asking the world in return.
Top 5 All-Time Dallas Mavericks
By Joel Brigham
The Dallas Mavericks are only a little over 30 years old, which means that their list of great players isn’t anywhere near as long as, say, that of the Boston Celtics. But there are still plenty of really notable guys on their all-time roster, and today we’re going to look at the top five, plus a few extras worthy of honorable mention.
#5 – Jason Kidd (1994-1996, 2008-present)
What he did for the Mavs: Other than the fact that he helped the team win their first-ever championship (which is a huge deal, even if Kidd wasn’t necessarily the main reason they won it), it’s hard to judge Kidd’s career as a Maverick. He won Rookie of the Year with the team in 1995, the only Maverick ever to have won the award, and was an All-Star in ’96. The fact that he was moved to Phoenix before the 1996-1997 season after only two years with the club means that he spent all of his prime years with other organizations. He was named an All-Star again in 2010 after having returned to the team for a second stint, but by that point he was much slower (albeit much wiser) than the majority of his other All-Star years. There will always be a special place for him in Dallas fans’ hearts because of his role in the 2011 title season, but he’s not higher on the list because he simply wasn’t able to put in the time with the organization.
Worth noting: Kidd is the active NBA leader in games played, minutes played, assists, steals, and turnovers. That’s great, but most of that was done as a member of the Phoenix Suns and New Jersey Nets.
Charles Oakley Sets The Record Straight
By Tommy Beer
During his playing days, Charles Oakley garnered a reputation as a fearless competitor who wasn’t afraid to mix it up and rarely backed down from a challenge. His unrelenting, aggressive attitude and tireless work ethic made him a favorite among Knicks fans during his time in New York. Oak’s popularity has withstood the test of time (surprising even to Oakley himself), which is why Charles was in Manhattan this past Saturday, to promote the launch of his new apparel line with K1X – the “K1X x Charles Oakley collection”
And much like his approach on the court as a player, Oak isn’t afraid to speak his mind now that he has transitioned to coaching. Oakley met with the media before welcoming fans and customers inside K1X’s NYC flagship store. Below are a few of the topics he tackled and some of the more interesting sound bites from the hour-long interview session.
Coach: Evaluating Game Understanding
By Anthony Macri
Every talent evaluator has a different rubric through which they assess potential players. In order for me to help a player improve, I must first spend time observing them, taking both a snapshot of their game and then spend time in a comprehensive breakdown of strengths and weaknesses. Most of the things I look for fit into one of four categories:
1.) Offensive game understanding
2.) Defensive game understanding
3.) Skills / talents
4.) Physical gifts
One thing readers may find absent from the list above that they might expect as its own category is a player’s attitude / coachability. In my experience, this is so important that in many ways it transcends the other categories: my ability to assess a player’s attitude happens throughout a process, not as a separate point. In addition, I actually think this can be one of the hardest things to assess through observation. The reality is that many players treat being a professional basketball player differently than they did when it was only a segment of their lives. Often, the characterization of immaturity stems from what they did or didn’t do off the floor, rather than how they did on it.
Five Position Battles To Watch
By Jason Fleming
This is the time of year when typically rosters are about set. Teams have done all the retooling they are going to do from the end of the previous season, starting with the June NBA Draft and then following through free agency, evaluating their choices in summer leagues and in training camp.
Even with no free agency yet, some teams have storms brewing when it comes to competing for starting positions. Here are five teams where a decision is going to have to be made.
Portland, Shooting Guard: Wes Matthews v. Brandon Roy
If Brandon Roy proves he is healthy this won’t be an issue, but most aren’t holding their breath. However, even a reduce Roy could be pretty dang good. Matthews is the better defender and better shooter, but Roy does a better job of finding the open man and creating his own shot. Roy also has three All-Star appearances on his resume, is a respected leader, and being paid like a franchise player.
Ideally Coach Nate McMillan would allow these two to openly battle for the starting spot, but the reality is if the pair is even close Roy will get the edge. Is that a good idea? Arguments can be made either way, but a fully engaged Roy coming off the bench is a Sixth Man of the Year candidate because of the leadership he can bring to a second unit. Matthews would be solid in the role, but his defense (and health) makes him a better fit starting.
Let’s Trade Chris Paul
By Eric Pincus
First of all, lockout denial is required to continue (given the recent breakdown in talks) but assume the 2011/12 NBA Season still happens. Once the NBA resumes, the New Orleans Hornets will find themselves in a very difficult position.
With All-Star forward David West hitting free agency this summer and superstar point guard Chris Paul a free agent next July (assuming he opts out), the Hornets have to decide very quickly if and how to rebuild.
As detailed last month (Solving Problems: The Post-Chris Paul Hornets?), it isn’t worth it to keep West if Paul is going to leave in a year’s time.
If they don’t keep West, what are their odds at keeping Paul? That’s quite a Catch-22.
Additionally the Hornets are owned by the NBA itself (looking for a buyer). How much authority does General Manager Dell Demps have to make sweeping changes?
If Paul is dealt, there are going to be some cries of “unfair,” regardless of where he lands.