HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Where Do The Knicks Go From Here?
By Tommy Beer
Despite the lockout shaving nearly 20 games and two months from the schedule, the 2011-12 Knicks season was certainly not short on storylines. A true roller-coaster of a campaign, New York somehow crammed what seemed like a decade’s worth of drama and excitement into 66 regular season contests and five playoff games.
Despite improvement on many fronts, including a rare postseason berth (only the franchise’s third trip to the playoffs in the last 11 years), New York managed to win just one postseason contest. While the ship seems to be heading in the right direction (for the first time in a longtime), Knicks’ management needs to make some important decisions and navigate some murky waters this offseason in order to keep the organization on course…
Front Office Management and Coaching:
If one year ago, you would have asked most pundits to predict the GM/Coach combo that would be tabbed to guide the Knickerbockers into 2013 and beyond, very few folks would have ever guessed a tag-team of Mike Woodson and Glen Grunwald. However, both Woody and Grunwald (former collegiate teammates at Indiana University) have had the “interim” removed from their titles and extensions placed in their pockets.
Where Do The Pacers Go From Here?
By Joel Brigham
There is no light in which to hold up this past Indiana Pacers season where it doesn’t look like a resounding success. After making it back to the postseason in 2011 for the first time in five years, the expectation this year was for the team to further develop its young talent, add a few veteran pieces to compete a little more realistically in the playoffs, and preserve the long-term cap space team president Larry Bird and GM David Morway worked so hard to create.
Those expectations don’t sound like much, particularly compared to how dramatically this team exceeded them, but the bottom line for 2011-2012 was some kind of improvement. The players needed to get better. The team needed to advance further in the postseason. The new coaching staff needed to get a full season under its belt.
What we got was Roy Hibbert, NBA All-Star—the first Indiana player to be voted to the team since Danny Granger in 2009—as well as a breakout season for Paul George, a reasonably successful comeback season for David West, and the usual scrappy contributions from George Hill, Tyler Hansbrough, and Darren Collison. Even Granger himself found new depth to his game, overcoming a wretched start to the season while learning to rely more on teammates offensively and still managing to lead the team in scoring.
Where Do The Lakers Go From Here?
By Eric Pincus
The Los Angeles Lakers face many of the same questions they dealt with last offseason after getting dropped in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers are a high-budget, aging team trying to find a way to get another championship in the Kobe Bryant-era while simultaneously getting younger and avoiding significant taxation under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
At least this offseason, the team has a head coach in place and no lockout complicating matters.
As detailed recently (NBA PM: Lakers Facing Real Tax Issues), the Lakers have significant financial concerns ahead. Next season isn’t the true worry. It’s the following year (2013/14) when the graduated tax could easily jump to the $130-$145 million range.
Jordan, Bobcats Scouring Coaching Market
By Derek Page
Following statistically the worst NBA season a franchise has endured in the 60+ years of this league’s history, the Charlotte Bobcats find themselves searching for a new head coach. Paul Silas, who had spent the last year and a half coaching the Bobcats, is done at the helm and Charlotte is looking for a fresh direction for the team.
One factor in determining who will end up being the Bobcats’ next head coaches hinges on how the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery goes tonight. Charlotte obviously isn’t to make a decision before then and just how high of a pick the team lands could be a major sticking point to entice a potential head coaching candidate.
As if the 7-59 record this past season wasn’t evidence enough, this is a massive rebuilding project in Charlotte. Even if the Bobcats land the number one overall pick and prized prospect Anthony Davis, this team still faces a long, uphill climb back to contention.
Raptors Need: Point Guard Vs. Small Forward
By Stephen Brotherston
It is no secret that Toronto Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo is building his team around DeMar DeRozan, Andrea Bargnani and last year’s draft pick Jonas Valanciunas and, barring something unexpected, the team is concentrating on improving the point guard and small forward positions this summer.
In his first public presentation after the lockout ended, Colangelo made it clear that the team was looking for a point guard of the future and based on the moves made last season, he hasn’t found one yet.
While Jose Calderon quickly became a favorite of new head coach Dwane Casey and put together a solid 2011-12 season, we didn’t see anything from the pass-first Spanish guard that wasn’t already known other than he can get through an entire season without a significant injury. The Raptors backup point guard Jerryd Bayless showed he can put up impressive numbers when starting, but he missed over half the season due to injury and if he wasn’t Colangelo’s point guard of the future in December, he didn’t do anything to change that opinion.
New Orleans Hornets Win Draft Lottery
By Tommy Beer
After a tumultuous eight months, which saw franchise ownership change hands and its best player get traded away, the New Orleans Hornets are the happiest team in the NBA at the moment.
Coming into the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery, the Hornets were slotted with the fourth-best odds, which left them with just a 13.7 percent chance to land the top pick. But New Orleans beat the odds, and as result, are awarded with the opportunity to have their choice of NBA prospects entering the league. The consensus #1 pick by most pundits is Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, a defensive dynamo that projects to be an elite NBA center the moment he sets foot on an NBA floor.
Monty Williams was the team representative on the dais and was both stunned and ecstatic when speaking with the press after.