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HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Posted By Kyle Cape-Lindelin On April 14, 2013 @ 5:00 am In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
The Pelicans Will Have Options
By Steve Kyler
It is probably safe to start calling the franchise in New Orleans the Pelicans going forward, but until the whistle is blown on the final game of the 2012-13 season next week they are technically still the Hornets and so is guard Eric Gordon.
There were talks around the NBA trade deadline centered on dealing Gordon in February. A trade involving Gordon presented some challenges mainly because the Hornets matched Gordon’s free agent offer sheet from Phoenix last July, in doing so the Hornets had to have Gordon’s permission to trade him in the first year of the contract and that made finding a quality deal for Gordon a little difficult, too difficult to get anything done before the deadline.
The Hornets will re-start talks on deals as soon as their season ends, not only involving Gordon but possibly other roster veterans like Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez, not because there is some desire to part ways with either player, but because that’s what you do when you have won 27 games.
No Gallinari, No Problem For Nuggets?
By Bill Ingram
When the news broke that Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari was going to miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, you would have thought that the Nuggets were dead in the water. It wasn’t the way the Nuggets’ players were talking about the situation, of course, but the way the national media reacted made it sound like the Nuggets may as well just pack it up and go home. Multiple headlines over the last couple of days were some variation of “Nuggets’ Title Hopes Dead.”
There are a couple of problems with those headlines, however, starting with the assumption that the Nuggets had title hopes before Gallinari tore his ACL. Head coach George Karl has to preach that, of course, and his players had better believe it, but that doesn’t mean the heavily favored Oklahoma City Thunder or San Antonio Spurs were going to just roll over for a team that no one outside of Denver seems to believe has a legit shot at a championship this season. For the Nuggets’ title hopes to be dead they must first have realistic title hopes, which doesn’t appear to be the case.
Free Agent Market For Nick Young
By Lang Greene
The NBA’s 2013 free agent class lacks star power at the shooting guard position, but there’s quality depth for contending teams looking to reload or rebuilding franchises searching for veterans to surround their young talent. Available shooting guards include O.J. Mayo, Tyreke Evans, J.J. Redick, Randy Foye and Kevin Martin. The class could also be bolstered by Monta Ellis and J.R. Smith should they choose to decline their player options for next season.
Another name sure to attract plenty of interest is Philadelphia 76ers guard Nick Young. The sixth-year veteran has averaged 10.9 points on 36 percent shooting from three-point range this season for Philadelphia after signing a one-year deal last summer. Young has been a free agent for consecutive years, but this summer he’s making it clear that his priority is to finally lock in a long-term deal.
Crawford Deserves Sixth Man Award
By Alex Kennedy
The 2012-13 NBA regular season is winding down, which means it’s time for voters to determine this year’s award winners. It seems like the Sixth Man of the Year award will come down to two players: Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers and J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks.
Both players have been huge for their respective teams this season, but a closer look at the numbers suggests that Crawford may deserve the award over Smith.
Crawford is averaging 16.7 points, 2.5 assists, 1.6 rebounds and one steal in 29.5 minutes. He’s shooting 44.1 percent from the field, 36.9 percent from three-point range and 87.5 percent from the free throw line.
Smith is averaging 17.8 points, 2.7 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 33.5 minutes. He’s shooting 41.7 percent from the field, 35.2 percent from three-point range and 77.2 percent from free throw range.
Crawford has been nearly as effective as Smith despite playing less minutes and taking less shots. Smith has become the Knicks’ second option due to injuries and is playing much more lately. If Crawford wins the award, he will become just the fourth NBA player to win multiple Sixth Man of the Year awards, joining Kevin McHale, Ricky Pierce and Detlef Schrempf. Crawford says he would be honored, but he insists it’s a testament to the team around him.
Monroe, Drummond Forming Dynamic Duo
By Richard Hardy
After selecting Andre Drummond in this year’s draft, the Detroit Pistons had a potential log-jam at the center position. Just two years earlier they had selected Greg Monroe. Both players have shown that they deserve to be starters in this league and rather trading one of them, the Pistons opted to move Monroe over to power forward, hoping that the two can player together.
“We’ve put Greg in a situation where he’s playing a different position than he’s used to,” Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank said. “He’s responded very positively and we just want him to continue to progress in these last 16 quarters of basketball.”
Hall of Famers like Karl Malone and Charles Barkley dominated the power forward spot by providing muscle down low. Now, players like Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Bosh have revolutionized the position and stretch fours are showing up around the league.
Getting Noticed In Portsmouth
By Yannis Koutroupis
There seems to be a disconnect between player agents and NBA personnel on how much value there is in playing in the Portsmouth Invitational, a showcase for the top seniors in college basketball. Every NBA team from around the league has travelled to Portsmouth, Virginia, which isn’t exactly easy to get to, to scout and evaluate the prospects. Yet in recent years it seems like there are more players being advised not to come. In their eyes the risk outweighs the reward, but across the board NBA executives still prefer to see guys participate, especially those who are projected to go outside of the top 20.
“I think it’s fabulous,” Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said to HOOPSWORLD. “Where else can you see so many players who either have a chance to go in the late first through second round or to get them like we did Greg Smith undrafted. It’s tough to get all these players in one place.
“I usually come in with 6-12 guys I want to focus on, who we have high on our rankings and just see how they play. Competition is good, guys are playing hard. These really are the top seniors except for the top 15 who say they’re not coming. So, it’s a great environment to see some players you don’t get to see too much during the year.”
As far as the risk outweighing the reward goes, a good Portsmouth seems to help players a lot more than a bad Portsmouth hurts them. When a player with serious NBA aspirations goes through four years of college, a rarity in today’s day and age, they’re coming out with an extensive body of work. So while they can help confirm what a team may have thought about them beforehand with a good showing, they can’t completely negate what they’ve done over the last four years if they struggle.
The Case for Woodson as Coach of Year
By Tommy Beer
On Thursday night in Chicago, with the New York Knicks attempting to secure their 14th straight victory, head coach Mike Woodson started Chris Copeland at center.
Copeland, a 29-year-old rookie who spent the previous five years bouncing around Europe, has tallied more three-point attempts than rebounds this season and is anything but a traditional starting center in the NBA. However, with injuries to Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin (not to mention Amar’e Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace and Kurt Thomas), Woodson had little choice.
So, with Copeland slotted at the five, this starting squad made up the 23rd different starting lineup Coach Woodson has employed over the first 78 games of the season. This is what happens when your leading scorer (Carmelo Anthony), leading rebounder (Tyson Chandler), assist leader (Raymond Felton), highest-paid player (Amar’e Stoudemire) and best perimeter defender (Iman Shumpert) all miss at least 10 games.
Still, despite the seemingly endless string of injuries, the Knicks have already tallied 51 victories, with four games still to be played.
Olshey Digging for Diamonds
By Joel Brigham
Considering that there are only three or four college seniors with first-round potential in this summer’s NBA draft, the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, which is for seniors only, isn’t necessarily a breeding ground for the kind of stars teams draft in the lottery. Even the “big name” seniors that do have first-round potential tend not to show up, but that doesn’t stop NBA general managers from checking out the landscape, because according to Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey, Portsmouth is still a great place to find character players who may be selected in the second round.
“You focus on the guys that chose to come. If guys want to compete, they’ll find an environment to compete in,” Olshey said. “We’ve been given a chance to see some guys who have maybe been over-scouted, but we’ve got to see them play a different position. And then you see some guys who are under-scouted from smaller schools, and I think that’s where the value is.”
According to Olshey, Portsmouth is a good way to gauge work ethic. Only seriously hard-working seniors find their way to this event, and that’s something NBA scouts watch out for.
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