HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Is It Time To Trade Dwight Howard?
By Bill Ingram and Alex Kennedy
There is no question that Dwight Howard is the best big man in the NBA today. He is a rebounding machine, absolutely intimidates any player thinking about driving the lane, and he commands at least a double-team every time he touches the ball. It seems insane that a team would even consider trading him, but that’s exactly the situation in which the Orlando Magic find themselves.
Welcome to the modern NBA, where what’s happening on the court is completely overshadowed by rumors and innuendos about what might be going on behind the scenes. It seems some players who came up in an environment where rumors are king are more interested in being the subject of those rumors than they are in competing for championships. Dwight Howard is the latest in a long line of such attention hounds, and his antics are scaring the heck out of the Magic’s management team.
Is it time to take the proactive move of trading Dwight Howard to avoid losing him in free agency? HOOPSWORLD’s Bill Ingram and Alex Kennedy tackle the issue head-on.
Kevin Durant Finding All-Star Swagger
By Susan Bible
Last week the NBA announced 1,345,566 votes were cast for Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, thereby securing his place as a starter on the 2012 Western Conference All-Star team. As the numbers go, Durant received the most votes for the forward position in the Western Conference. A distant second in forwards was the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin (876,451 votes). Overall, Durant was second only to Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers in conference voting (who nabbed 1,555,479 votes).
“To to see that many votes he had compared to the next forward, it was a great thing,” Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook told HOOPSWORLD. “It’s a great, great thing (to be voted by) the fan base especially, you know, starting here and expanding across the world.”
Durant is no stranger to the All-Star Weekend festivities. In 2010 – his third season in the NBA – he was named an All-Star reserve. He was voted an All-Star starter last year. He’s also logged time in the Rookie-Sophomore game and is the reigning back-to-back H-O-R-S-E champion.
Josh Smith: From Trade Bait To Team Leader
By Lang Greene
Even before All-Star center Al Horford went down for three to four months with a torn pectoral muscle the Atlanta Hawks were already facing an unsettling dilemma regarding one of their core players who has helped them reached the playoffs in four consecutive seasons.
Eighth-year forward Josh Smith reportedly entered training camp frustrated not only by the internal and external criticism of his play on the court but also with some aspects of team chemistry within Atlanta’s locker room.
This led to numerous trade rumors surfacing revolving Smith, which hypothesized that a change of scenery wouldn’t be a terrible idea for both parties.
For all of Smith’s talent, which oozes All-Star potential by the way, he’s also become one of the most polarizing figures on the Hawks’ roster. When things go wrong in Atlanta it’s not uncommon for Smith, not franchise player Joe Johnson, to receive the brunt of the criticism from the coaching staff and the team’s fan base.
Biggest NBA Duds Of 2011-2012
By Stephen Litel
This lockout shortened season has allowed for many rough starts for both individual players around the league, as well as for entire teams. There have been a slew of injuries as players attempt to completely get back into basketball shape, but with each game holding so much importance this year, there isn’t time for excuses.
Gathering a list of players and entire teams who have been disappointing to this point occurred by considering where the expectations were for the player or team coming into the season. Not all teams came into the season with playoff expectations and not all players can be All-Stars and each was judged according to the factual expectations placed upon them by the team executives or coaches entering the year.
Are Chandler And Brooks Stuck?
By Larry Coon
After finding out there is no escape from the contracts they signed in China, Wilson Chandler and Aaron Brooks could soon find out there’s also no escape from restricted free agency when they return to the NBA.
Many of the players who signed overseas during the lockout were still under contract to their NBA team, but were able to receive necessary FIBA letters of clearance as long as their overseas contracts allowed their return to the NBA once the lockout ended. As a result, players such as the Nets’ Deron Williams played part of the Euroleague/Eurocup season, and then were given their release to return to the U.S. in time for the start of the NBA season.
But most of the players who signed in China during the lockout are still there. The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) allowed its teams to sign NBA players, but did not permit escape clauses letting those players return to the NBA when the lockout ended. As a result, Chinese teams could only sign NBA free agents during the lockout, and not players who were under NBA contracts. Any players who signed in China had to play the full season there, and could not return home early.
Kenny Kadji’s Hard Work At IMG Paying Off
By Alex Kennedy
Kenny Kadji has been one of college basketball’s most pleasant surprises this season. The six-foot-eleven junior has emerged as a significant contributor for the Miami Hurricanes, averaging 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. After playing limited minutes for the Florida Gators as a freshman and sophomore, Kadji transferred to Miami and now his name is being mentioned in NBA circles.
“I think I’m a versatile player,” Kadji said when asked to describe his game. “I consider myself to be a Lamar Odom-type player, who does a little bit of everything. I can score, rebound and defend multiple positions.”
Kadji has been playing extremely well as of late and was huge in Miami’s win over fifth-ranked Duke. The power forward contributed 15 points and 8 rebounds in the overtime victory and continues to be one of the team’s focal points alongside Durand Scott, Malcolm Grant and Reggie Johnson.