HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Faried Wants Nuggets’ Rookies To Step Up
By Derek Page
The 2012 Las Vegas Summer League is already in full swing, with both rookies and young players across the league battling it out to prove they belong in the NBA. Other players, like Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, are virtually guaranteed a spot on next season’s roster but are put on the summer league team to hone their skills and lead the current batch of rookies.
Seemingly relishing that leadership opportunity, Faried, who was named to the All-Rookie First Team this past season, hasn’t shied away from dishing out some constructive criticism to his new teammates. Particularly, Faried says Denver’s 2012 first round pick Evan Fournier (20th overall) and second round pick Quincy Miller (38th) are good players, but still have some work to do.
So far during the 2012 NBA Summer League, both Miller and Fournier have failed to impress.
Through three games, Fournier has been decent, averaging 13 points (37.5 percent shooting), 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 31 minutes per contest, but hasn’t been able to grasp the team’s overall defensive philosophy to this point.
Raptors’ Terrence Ross Learning The Ropes
By Stephen Brotherston
Terrence Ross went several spots higher in the draft than expected when the Toronto Raptors selected him eighth overall so the young man’s performances in the Las Vegas Summer League will be scrutinized a little more than usual. However, the Raptors had quietly scouted him since the lockout and this was head coach Dwane Casey’s guy. Casey believes Ross comes with an NBA-ready skill he can use right away.
Ross left Washington for the NBA as his team’s leading scorer, a big time three-point threat with the strength and athleticism to make things happen at the rim as well, but the 21-year-old recognizes the NBA is at another level and is using summer league as the first step in his adjustment process.
“I think the biggest thing for me is to stay calm and adjust to the game however it is played,” Ross said. “Not panicking and not worrying too much will help me to be a lot more comfortable and play my game.”
Gentry Isn’t Worried About Suns Roster
By Mark Nugent
The Phoenix Suns have seen major roster changes take place during the offseason. Gone is Steve Nash, replacing him is his former backup Goran Dragic. Grant Hill left Phoenix for the Los Angeles Clippers, being replaced by Michael Beasley. Whether this makes the team better or worse is yet to be determined, but any time you lose a two-time MVP and a former first team All-NBA player, it’s likely a step backwards.
The Suns’ biggest offseason move was signing restricted free agent Eric Gordon to an offer sheet, which the New Orleans Hornets recently matched. Head coach Alvin Gentry isn’t worried about the roster though, he’s only worried about getting the best out of his players.
“Our basketball people handle those type of decisions and I coach the team,” Gentry told HOOPSWORLD at the Las Vegas Summer League. “Whoever we have out there when training camp starts, that’s who we’ll coach and that’s who we’ll try to get playing at a real high level.”
Indiana’s Pritchard Explains Offseason Moves
The Indiana Pacers are at a turning point both on the court, where they have slowly been transforming into a perennial Eastern Conference powerhouse, and in the front office, where Donnie Walsh and Kevin Pritchard have replaced Larry Bird and David Morway as team president and GM, respectively.
Despite those changes in leadership, the Pacers are still focused on a pretty clear long-term vision.
“Donnie Walsh made it very clear that our goal was to keep the starters together and add to our bench,” Pritchard told HOOPSWORLD in Las Vegas. “[Last season’s finish] was the fifth-best record in the league. We took Miami pretty far in the playoffs and I think won more games than anybody against Miami.”
Things Back To Normal For Mike Brown
By Yannis Koutroupis
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown may have had the toughest job in the NBA last year. With an abbreviated training camp due to the lockout, he had to replace one of the greatest head coaches of all-time in Phil Jackson. Brown had very little time to install his system, which was a far contrast from the triangle offense that the players had an intimate understanding of and experienced a lot of success with.
With things back to normal in the NBA, Brown has ample time this preseason to work with the team in preparation for the 2012-13 season. There’s no lack of practice time and he’ll be able to do a lot more reiterating of his philosophies rather than teaching them from scratch.
“I’m excited about that,” Brown said to HOOPSWORLD. “I’m excited to get into training camp and talking basketball with these guys, not thinking that I’ve got a game coming up around the corner, knowing that we’re going to have a nice, long training camp on top of some preseason games to get ourselves ready and then throughout the course of the year we’re going to have enough time to practice too so I know I’m looking forward to it. I think our guys are too so we’ll see what happens.”