HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Carlesimo Not Trying To Copy Spurs
By Yannis Koutroupis
Brooklyn Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo is currently in a state of uncertainty. He was promoted after the team decided to fire Avery Johnson as their head coach. While the team’s decision makers are publically supporting him, it’s clear that they would like to hire Phil Jackson if they can come to an agreement with the Zen Master.
Despite that, Carlesimo is moving forward like the job is his. This is Carlesimo’s first chance to be a head coach since 2008 when he was let go by the Oklahoma City Thunder. He went to the Thunder after spending five seasons in San Antonio working for Gregg Popovich. What he learned during his time with the Thunder is that the Spurs’ model is hard to copy, so he’s not trying to do that as much as he did during his previous stint as a head coach.
“Everyone does things a little bit different as much as there’s not a tremendous variance in the defenses in this league, it’s how you do it, implement it, relate to the players and how you do those things. I said it earlier, I think Pop is the best in coaching. I learned a ton from him. What you learn from somebody and transferring that, like John Wooden was great with sharing his books and things like that. It wasn’t necessarily easy to take it and do it yourself, but yeah it was very, very beneficial.”
Was The Clippers’ Streak Legit?
By Bill Ingram
Prior to the start of the 2012-13 NBA season my friend and colleague Steve Kyler described the NBA in this way: You have five teams that are legitimate contenders and then you have 25 teams that are hoping you’ll pay big bucks to watch them get whipped by those five teams.
This may be a slight over-simplification, but it is against this backdrop that some are questioning the legitimacy of the Los Angeles Clippers’ 17-game winning streak which was terminated at the hands of the Denver Nuggets last night. How impressed should we be by the streak, given that so many games on a good team’s schedule seem to be foregone conclusions?
There’s no question that contenders were conspicuous by their absence during the Clippers’ impressive December run. In fact, the team mostly feasted on teams like the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Charlotte Bobcats, while winning three games against the Utah Jazz and two against the Sacramento Kings. The only teams they faced that are currently in the playoff picture were the Chicago Bulls sans Derrick Rose and the road-wearied Denver Nuggets, who have already played half of their road games after just two months.
J.J. Hickson Could Be Free Agent Prize
By Alex Raskin
The Portland Trail Blazers have claimed J.J. Hickson off waivers and re-signed him to a one-year, $4 million deal in the last nine months, but if they hope to get his signature for a third time this summer, it’s going to be considerably more expensive.
Hickson is an early candidate for Comeback Player of the Year after getting released by the Sacramento Kings last March. Since then he’s gone from an athletic, but undisciplined former prospect to a remarkably efficient offensive weapon. And since he’s still just 24, he’ll undoubtedly have offers over the summer.
“I don’t know,” he told HOOPSWORLD about his future with the Blazers. “All I can do is control what I can control and that’s play the game of basketball and the rest will work itself out.”
NBA MVP Watch: January 3rd
By Richard Hardy
Here’s our breakdown of the 2012-13 NBA MVP race, after nine weeks of NBA basketball.
#5 – Tony Parker – San Antonio Spurs
19.3 points, 7.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 0.8 steals
Tony Parker is the most consistent player on one of the best teams in the NBA. The Spurs are currently third in the Western Conference standings. Parker is entering the pinnacle of his career and his play this year is proving that he is a premier point guard in the NBA. Simply, Tony makes it into this week’s top five for two particular reasons. Firstly, the Spurs have won six straight wins and prove to be a dominant force in the West. Secondly, as the teams floor general, Tony is leading the title-contending Spurs in points, assists, and steals. Parker is also tenth in the NBA in scoring and sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio, with 3.37.
Anderson Leads Raptors Back To Contention
By Stephen Brotherston
With 19 losses, the Toronto Raptors were dead and buried in early December and there were not many reasons to be optimistic about the rest of Toronto’s season. Sure the early road weary schedule had finally turned in their favor and the team had a home game heavy stretch through the end of February, but Andrea Bargnani and Kyle Lowry were injured on the recent road trip and Amir Johnson was suspended for one game after an act of childish frustration in Portland. Both Landry Fields and Alan Anderson were still out and the team had to recall rookie Quincy Acy from Bakersfield just to be able to dress nine healthy bodies for start of the home stand on December 12.
Toronto was in a deep hole mostly of their own making, but things were about to change big time. A run of eight wins over their next 10 games lifted the spirits and the fortunes of everyone associated with the Raptors.
Help did come to the Raptors from an unexpected source, however, the team started winning immediately upon the return of veteran wing Anderson from a foot injury on December 14. The Raptors defense took a noticeable step forward upon his return and the 30-year-old journeyman has provided some badly needed fourth quarter clutch scoring.
Few Deals On Tap For New Years
By Steve Kyler
Not Many Gifts Coming: While the Christmas season is behind us, there are still some NBA teams hoping to turn unwanted assets into better fitting or missing pieces. There are several names that get mentioned in the press, however, most of them are going to be hard players to move, especially given where the marketplace sits today.
One league executive described the current trade environment as teams looking to gain something for nothing, or almost nothing. And, that most of the discussions taking place around the league are more fact finding and value gauging than true deal making.
Here is what’s being said about some of the names you’ve been hearing.
Andrea Bargnani, Toronto: Bargnani tore some ligaments in his right elbow and has been out of action since Dec. 11. The word is that the injury did not require surgery and that an extensive rehab was all that would be required to get Bargnani back. The problem with that concept is Bargnani isn’t exactly the hardest worker in the league and the expected window of sometime in January seems more like late January or early February.
League sources say it would be almost impossible to move Bargnani and the three years and $32.25 million remaining on his deal until he returns and proves the elbow isn’t going to be a problem.