HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Rooting for Royce White
By Tommy Beer
According to recent research, it is estimated that approximately 40 million American adults suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. That’s nearly 18 percent of the population over the age of 18. I assume that number is higher than most of us would have suspected; and I also assume the reason we underestimate the number of those afflicted is partly because so many of us that suffer from anxiety do so quietly and privately.
As someone who has dealt with anxiety and panic attacks for most of my adult life, I speak from experience. In fact, I have close friends who will learn of my anxiety for the first time only if they happen to stumble across this paragraph.
I certainly won’t attempt to speak for everyone battling the disease, but I will freely admit that one reason I rarely share my experiences with others is due to a certain level of shame/embarrassment that accompanies openly admitting that I occasionally become exceedingly anxious at the mere thought of seemingly mundane tasks that wouldn’t phase my wife or my five-year-old niece.
Will The New Faces In New Places Fit?
By Steve Kyler
New Faces In New Places: There was a lot of movement this summer involving major players. With NBA training camps in full swing and preseason basketball a few days away, there are some questions surrounding some of those new faces and whether or not it will work out.
Here are just a few:
Steve Nash, LA Lakers: There is no doubting the Lakers look amazing on paper. In NBA2K they should be all but unbeatable. But, the reality is that NBA games are not won on paper or on video games, they tend to be the result of chemistry, coaching and sacrifice and for the Lakers that’s where Steve Nash comes in.
In Nash’s 16 years in the NBA his trade mark has been setting up the offense and maximizing the talents of the players he plays with. It earned him two MVPs and the praise of the NBA’s elite.
In LA the 38-year-old Nash does not have an easy road. Kobe Bryant is a ball dominating player and a volume shooter. Pau Gasol is a dominate post player, but he tends to disappear in games. Metta World Peace can be a good player, especially defensively when his head is in the game, and Dwight Howard can be as dominate a threat in the paint as we’ve seen since Shaquille O’Neal.
A New Kid(d) In Dallas?
By Bill Ingram
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made no bones about feeling betrayed when future Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd left town for New York. It was just one in a series of offseason disappointments for the Mavs, who hoped to have Kidd backing up Deron Williams when the 2012-13 NBA season tipped off. The Mavs are seldom left empty-handed, however, and when Kidd and Williams made other choices, Dallas manufactured another option. In acquiring Darren Collison from the Indiana Pacers they brought in a young point guard with plenty to prove, and one that has the confidence of head coach Rick Carlisle.
“I think he’s a guy that can manufacture pace the way Kidd did, he can throw it ahead,” said Carlisle as training camp got underway. “I don’t think anybody in the history of the game can throw it ahead as well as Kidd did, but I think Collision can do it at a level that’s good for us. I also think he can motor it up on the dribble. I think he’s in a group of about five, six, seven guys in the league that can do it with phenomenal pace and I think (Roddy) Beaubois is also in that category. The guy I like, I mean he’s been playing well in the summer and the last couple of weeks is Dominique Jones, he does a great job of pushing pace, he can pass the ball and he gets to the rim. Our guard situation is going to be good, we are going to have a lot of competition and is going to bring out the best in everybody.”
Collison wasted no time when he learned he had been traded to the Mavericks. He immediately contacted the Mavs and asked for film of all his new teammates so he could start preparing for his new team.
Raptors Battle For Minutes In Training Camp
By Stephen Brotherston
The Toronto Raptors boast a lot of continuity as head coach Dwane Casey has eight rotation players returning from last season, but he also has seven new players on guaranteed contracts in training camp. Casey has repeatedly stated that starting jobs and minutes are up for grabs.
“We have better talent. We have more talent. We have better shooters,” Casey said. “(Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo) and (executive vice president of basketball operations Ed Stefanski) did a great job of bringing in shooters for us this coming year which was our weak point.
“Right now, we have so much competition at each position. The point guard position, the two, the three, the four – the four I would have to say Andrea (Bargnani) has pretty much got that solidified right now – but the five position and those positions are going to be competitive as far as for minutes.”
Players to Watch in Contract Year
By Alex Kennedy
Every year, there are several players who have a breakout season during their contract year and then they cash in the following summer when they become a free agent. An impressive contract year usually leads to a big payday, just ask Erick Dampier or Jerome James.
Ryan Anderson, who averaged career-highs across the board and won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award last season, is a perfect example. He doubled his production during his contract year and then signed a four-year deal worth $36 million after the New Orleans Hornets acquired him in a sign-and-trade. Here are 25 contract-year players to watch during the 2012-13 season.
Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings
Since averaging 20.1 points, 5.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds and winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2009, Evans has regressed each and every year. The 23-year-old has struggled so much over the last two seasons that Sacramento’s front office is putting off extension talks with Evans, which would’ve seemed absurd two years ago. If the Kings don’t extend Evans, he’ll become a restricted free agent after the season. Evans needs to play well during this contract year to get the lucrative, long-term contract that he wants. He has been working hard this offseason to expand his game so he could be poised for a breakout year, just in time to salvage his value on the open market.
The Orlando Magic Plan To Win Now
By Steve Kyler
A Winning Culture: The assumption in NBA circles is the Orlando Magic are going to tank the 2012-2013 season. The belief is that landing a top-tier draft pick is inevitably the goal and that the Magic will, at some point before the February 21dst trade deadline, trade off as much long-term salary as they can to prepare for a massive rebuild.
Yesterday Magic general manager Rob Hennigan took issue with that idea, saying that his club is trying try to instill a winning mentality and culture in Orlando and that sacrificing wins would be counterproductive to that concept.
“I think it’s about creating a mindset and a mentality,” explained Hennigan. “We talked to our guys about coming in, being professional. Help instill the culture that we want to instill and we are going to try to win every game. We are going to try to win every possession and I think as soon as you try to do anything but try to do that, you run the risk of creating an atmosphere you don’t want to create.
Harden Expects Extension By Deadline
By Susan Bible
While the basketball world collectively ponders the state of James Harden’s contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder – and Thunder fans wring their hands – the player himself isn’t the slightest bit concerned.
In fact, he has clarity on the issue. The NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year is certain the two parties will reach contract extension terms by the October 31st deadline.
“I have confidence in my agent and the organization to get it done,” Harden told reporters gathered for the team’s annual media day. “They know how important it is. I’m sure it will be done.”