HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Dallas Ready to Dump Lamar Odom?
By Derek Page
After a tumultuous offseason in which Lamar Odom had to deal with a myriad of issues both having to do with basketball and in his personal life, the former NBA champion and Sixth Man of the Year seems to be lost.
Off the court this summer, Odom was forced to deal with the murder of his 24-year old cousin and the incident in which he was a passenger in a fatal car accident.
On the business side, Odom was packaged in a deal that would’ve landed the Los Angeles Lakers point guard Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets but was nixed by the league at the last minute. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year didn’t take too kindly to this and ended up forcing his way in a trade to Dallas in which the Mavs didn’t have to give up a single player in return.
As a result of all of the chaos, there was a time this offseason that Odom says he considered taking a year off from basketball. Through the first half of the season, Odom may be rethinking his decision to return to the game.
Rodney Stucky: Pistons’ Best Trade Asset
By Stephen Brotherston
When the Pistons drafted point guard Brandon Knight eighth overall in last June’s NBA Draft, it was assumed that restricted free agent Rodney Stuckey’s days in Detroit were numbered. Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars was not about to let their young asset escape for nothing however, and when the free agent dust had settled, Stuckey had been inked to a new three-year$25.5 million deal with the final season non-guaranteed.
After some initial juggling, new head coach Lawrence Frank has settled on starting Knight and Stuckey together. Playing two point guards for long stretches of each game could become a problem, but Frank has set roles for each player in an attempt to keep things running smoothly.
“We’ve played that backcourt 18 or 19 games together,” said Frank. “We are just starting to play better, and yet in this league, things turn quickly. Things can be going good and things can go the other way and vice versa. The key is just staying with it.
Coach: Breaking Down Paul George
By Anthony Macri
Paul George has enjoyed a strong second professional season thusfar. Capable of a highlight play on almost every trip, George is averaging 12 points, nearly 6 rebounds, and has started every game for the 22-12 Indiana Pacers. He is ranked around the middle of the pack amongst starting NBA shooting guards when it comes to PER (15.6 is only slightly above average overall, however), and his body type, athleticism, and enthusiasm has led many to predict big things for the 6’8 guard.
It is without a doubt that Paul George oozes potential. The first thing you notice is how he looks – George’s length and athleticism are obvious to any observer. His pure length rivals that of players like Kevin Durant and Corey Brewer. He possesses smooth movement patterns, and any herky-jerkiness in his game is deliberate rather than accidental. His body moves fluidly, all as one piece, and he appears refined and bouncy in nearly every attack situation.
There are many things to like beyond the fact that he passes nearly any NBA “eye-test” with flying colors. George displays good tendencies that you typically see in smaller guards that make him very difficult to guard at his size. He attacks off two feet often, giving him the ability to control his finishes better and take a physical bump but continue on to complete the play. He changes directions well, often making small adjustments mid move that allow him better attack angles at the end.
Beno Udrih Would Welcome A Trade From Bucks
By Lang Greene
The Milwaukee Bucks acquired veteran point guard Beno Udrih from Sacramento last June as part of a three team deal with the goal of bolstering their backcourt depth and playing him alongside starter Brandon Jennings.
Well, at least that was Udrih’s initial impression of what his role would be in Milwaukee, but up until this point in the season head coach Scott Skiles hasn’t utilized the combination much on the floor.
The eight year veteran is averaging his lowest minutes per game since the 2007 campaign and it has left him a bit confused and frustrated with his role on the Bucks.
“I understood my role when I was in San Antonio being a backup point guard and just trying to prove myself,” Udrih told HOOPSWORLD. “I got a chance to prove myself [in Sacramento] and proved that I can play in this league by being a solid starting point guard. This year, I came here I thought I was going to play a little more with Brandon Jennings as a combo guard, but that hasn’t happened a lot yet.”
Not Everyone In New Orleans Is Struggling
By Mark Nugent
The compressed NBA schedule has been tough on teams throughout the year, but few have struggled as much as the New Orleans Hornets. It started in the offseason when superstar point guard Chris Paul was traded away, and it has continued into the regular season, where the Hornets have dealt with an injury plagued year that has resulted in a bottom three record in the league.
The Hornets are also the only team owned by the NBA and have been run by the NBA’s front office since last season. The unusual circumstance has led to numerous trade rumors, including one involving Chris Kaman, who was recently sent home for several games while the team explored its options. During all of the chaos surrounding the Hornets, however, one player has put together a breakout season.
Point guard Jarrett Jack.
“I’m being sure of myself, I’m being aggressive,” Jack told HOOPSWORLD. “Having been in this league for several years you tend to figure it out. I’ve been able to pick and choose my spots and I know when to get others involved as well.”
Scouting The Tourney: At-Large Locks
By Yannis Koutroupis
Earlier this week we took a look at all 31 of the conference leaders to examine their potential seeding and chances at their respective postseason tournaments. Once the 31 guaranteed bids are earned, the NCAA selection committee well award at-large bids to 37 other teams. With Selection Sunday nine days away there’s still plenty that can change, but as of right now the following teams look like guarantees to receive at-large bids if they don’t win their conference tournament.
Conference: Team Overall Record (Conference Record) RPI/Strength of Schedule
ACC: North Carolina 26-4 (13-2) 5/7
Doubtful at this point that they will be anything lower than a two seed. Picked up quality wins out of conference against Michigan State, Wisconsin, Long Beach State and Texas. Only losses in league play came to tournament-bound teams. Combination of experience, great coaching and stellar frontline makes them a viable threat to be the last team standing.