HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Getting The Celtics Under The Tax
By Jason Fleming
Heading into what will likely be a more restrictive environment with regards to the salary cap and luxury tax, quite a few teams will be faced with some major decisions with their roster. One of those teams is the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics have only seven players under contract for 2011-12 if the rookie scale contract for JaJuan Johnson, a first-round pick acquired on draft day, is included, totaling $65.5 million. They also have a Qualifying Offer out to forward Jeff Green for $5.9 million. If Green signs the QO, then the Celtics would be over the 2010-11 luxury tax line for $70.3 million and still need to add at least five players to fill out their roster, putting them firmly in luxury tax territory even under the old rules – and keep in mind, under the new ones, the tax level will likely be lower.
So what should the Celtics do about that? Do they care?
Getting The Lakers Under The Tax
By Eric Pincus
The lockout continues as the NBA and NBPA fight over their respective pieces of the pie. Still up for grabs is the percentage of Basketball Related Income (BRI) which appears to be the 50-52.5% range, with the players getting the bigger share if the final result isn’t an even split.
Perhaps an even bigger issue is system with the owners looking for some level of parity with a semi-hard cap. The union is adamantly opposed to any true limit on an individual team’s spending.
The league has technically acquiesced on a hard cap but in turn has proposed a punitive luxury tax that the players argue is so restrictive, it might as well be called a hard cap.
Eventually a deal will be struck but in the meantime, going by some of the proposed ideas, how would a team like the Los Angeles Lakers find their way below the proposed tax threshold?
NCAA: Hurting The Tournament?
By Yannis Koutroupis
There’s a common saying in college athletics that education is the most important thing for all the student-athletes. While that statement contains a lot of truth, it doesn’t account for the fact there are exceptions. In men’s basketball specifically there are many exceptions, perhaps more than any other collegiate sport.
The implementing of an age limit in 2007 by the NBA requiring prospects to be at least one year removed from high school in order to be draft-eligible did nothing to increase student-athletes with pro potential incentive to prioritize getting a degree over trying to improve their stock. Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, who starred at Kentucky for one year before becoming the first overall pick in the 2010 draft, took home $5 million this past season just on his contract with the Wizards alone. An endorsement deal with Reebok netted him another $5 million. Even if the Wizards don’t exercise their team option on him in 2013, which they certainly will, he has a guaranteed $30 million heading his way over the next five years. Even the most successful college graduates won’t come close to guaranteeing themselves $40 million in their first year on the job; Wall putting his studies ahead of his game would have been a ludicrous and pricey decision.
While it goes against the foundation of college athletics, there’s no denying that in men’s college basketball there is more for these players to gain from working as hard as they can on their game, having a big year and going pro than there is from staying four years and getting their degree.
Coach: Evaluating Player Skill Levels
By Anthony Macri
Last article, I gave examples of things to look for when it came to evaluating a prospect’s offensive and defensive game understanding. In today’s article it’s time to look at specific skills to look for when judging how good a player can be. Next week, the focus will be on physical gifts.
Skills & Talents
Judging skills and talents often has a lot more to do with how a player can fit a particular system than any other part of evaluation. A player’s skillset can be built for playing a very specific way, and that player might be much less effective when asked to insert themselves into a different situation.
Evaluating a skillset is more than just seeing a player can shoot, finish in the lane, or has the ability to dribble in traffic. There are specific markers I use for judging both what skills a player has and how good a player is at those skills. Since a discussion of these kinds of talents could extend to book length, I will explore just a few of them with some depth, really trying to find things that the average fan can look for when they watch potential prospects this year.
Vasquez Staying Busy During NBA Lockout
By Alex Kennedy
Greivis Vasquez is one of the few NBA players who has been playing meaningful basketball games in recent months. While other players have been participating in pick-up games, Vazquez has been representing Venezuela in the FIBA Americas. He led the national team to a fifth-place finish, averaging 19.3 points and 5.8 assists.
“We played well and ended up fifth, but being fifth is just like being third or fourth because we qualified for the next tournament,” Vasquez told HOOPSWORLD. “That gives us another chance to go to the Olympics. I’m excited because we haven’t done that in many years. I’ve had a great summer with my national team. My teammates did a great job and Coach Eric Musselman did a great job leading us to that point.”
Now, Vasquez is back in the United States to promote his new Under Armour shoe, the ‘The GV,’ which will be released in the coming weeks. As part of the company’s new ‘Are You From Here?’ campaign, Vasquez and other NBA players including Brandon Jennings, Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams will face off against top high school basketball programs in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York.
Top 5 All-Time Denver Nuggets
By Joel Brigham
The Denver Nuggets were one of the four teams to come over from the ABA when the league merged with the NBA in the late ‘70s, but despite their relative youth, the Nuggets have a pretty rich history. Three Hall of Famers already grace the rafters with their retired numbers (plus one more non-Hall stud Nugget), and that doesn’t even include the other great players too young to be considered just yet.
So here they are, the top five all-time Denver Nuggets, starting with the tallest guy on the list:
#5 – Dikembe Mutombo (1991-1996)
What he did for the Nuggets: Aside from being the centerpiece of the most iconic bit of film in franchise history—Deke grasping and shaking the ball, back to the floor after the #8 Nuggets upset the #1 Sonics in the 1994 playoffs—Mutombo was the most dominant defensive player the team has ever had. He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in blocked shots (2nd all-time for the entire league), and he’s also in the top ten for pretty much every career rebounding category the NBA has. He was a three-time All-Star in Denver and won his first Defensive Player of the Year award as a Nugget. Had he played his whole career in Denver, we may be talking about him as the greatest player the team has ever had, but in five years he still did enough to get himself into the Top Five.