HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Durant Taking Flak For NBA Lockout
By Eric Pincus
It’s not easy being Kevin Durant, at least not on a Monday when the NBPA ceased existing and labor negotiations with the NBA went up in smoke.
“Man I probably blocked 60 people in two days,” said Durant on Twitter (edited slightly for clarity), “Ignorant people who have no clue what’s going on.”
Kevin is the poster-child for what’s right about the NBA.
He’s a gracious star, happy to play in a small market. He professed early that he wanted to extend his stay in Oklahoma City with the Thunder, a team he has taken from the lottery to the Western Conference Finals in four short years.
“Us going to the [WCF] was big for us. We learned a lot about ourselves,” said the lanky forward. “Hopefully if we start the season we can get back to trying to gel and build our chemistry more and more.”
There’s something genuine about Durant that just resonates with the public.
Contract Grades: Atlanta Hawks
By Jason Fleming
Welcome to a new series: Contract Grades. One at a time over the next bunch of weeks, we’ll take a look at each of the 30 NBA teams and grade their roster of contracts. We’ll come to our final grade taking into account the factors surrounding the original signing, the general outlook of the franchise, the production of the player so far relative to the salary, and whether or not the deal makes logical sense heading into a new – and more restrictive – salary cap era.
You know, whenever that comes.
But first we need to set some ground rules. Everything needs ground rules and each piece in the series will refer back to this one with regards to the ground rules.
Top 5 All-Time Golden State Warriors
By Joel Brigham
The Golden State Warriors are one of the oldest teams in the NBA, and as such they’ve got one of the richer histories of any franchise in the league. They might not have as many championships as the Lakers or Celtics, but the number of Hall of Fame players they’ve put out is pretty staggering, too. There are plenty of excellent players on this list, but you know the drill at this point; only the best make the top five. And here they are:
#5 – Paul Arizin (1950-1952, 1954-1962)
What he did for the Warriors: Since the Warriors are such a storied franchise, there are bound to be some guys in the annals of their history that did a lot for the team, yet nobody’s ever heard of them. Arizin is probably the best of these players, even though it shouldn’t be quite so easy to forget a guy who averaged 22.8 points and 8.6 rebounds over the course of his 12-year career with the Warriors. He won a championship with the team in 1956, is the franchise’s all-time leader in free-throws made, and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was named to ten All-Star teams, four All-NBA teams, and led the league in scoring in 1952 and 1957. He was probably the second-best player of the Warriors’ Wilt Chamberlain era, which is a large shadow to reside in. Despite that, he’s one of the best players the franchise has ever had, regardless whether the general public remembers him or not.
Coach: Anthony Davis & Austin Rivers
By Anthony Macri
Like most basketball fans around the country, I tuned in to a fair amount of college hoops this week, and spent a lot of time focusing on two players in particular: Austin Rivers from Duke and Anthony Davis from Kentucky. Both are currently projected by many to be lottery picks should the NBA hold a normal draft this spring. Some quick observations of their games leave me with a lot to like – and a lot to be desired.
The first thing to notice about Austin Rivers is that he can definitely shoot the ball well. His motion is compact, efficient, and repeatable, all attributes that will translate well to the next level. He also possesses adequate if not overwhelming athleticism, and a good sense of spacing and timing on the floor.
However, for him to be a successful player as a professional, the real key for River is how well he plays at different speeds. His top speed isn’t extraordinary, but, like a smart off-speed pitcher, Rivers can learn to that dramatically changing speeds is a great way to get around a lack of blazing top speed. In their game against Michigan State, Rivers seemed unaware of “when to slow” and “when to go.” Instead, he played much of the game at the same speed, and did not use his burst effectively. This tendency was most glaring during periods when he was in the halfcourt offense and either utilized a ball screen or drove hard at the basket along the baseline.
NCAA: Freshmen Struggles
By Yannis Koutroupis
No matter what high school a freshman comes from, how good his AAU team was or how good he may look in offseason workouts, the possibility for a slow start always remains. Even the most surefire players have taken some time to adjust to the level of play at the collegiate level. For most it’s a culture shock, something completely different than what they’re used to and have experienced for the past four years.
We’ve seen several freshmen like Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, Florida’s Bradley Beal and Baylor’s Quincy Miller perform like All-Conference veterans out of the gates, but several other first-year student-athletes are failing to live up to the hype that they came with here in the early going of the season. There’s still a lot of basketball to be played, though, and in our latest NCAA notebook we take a look at what five heralded freshmen need to do in order to avoid having a disappointing collegiate debut.