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HOOPSWORLD Week in Review
Posted By Kyle Cape-Lindelin On May 5, 2013 @ 5:00 am In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Would Derrick Rose Return For HEAT Series?
By Joel Brigham
Despite the fact that Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau essentially told us all a couple of weeks ago that Derrick Rose would most likely not be returning to the floor this year, we’re all still waiting for a return with bated breath.
Holding out hope is surprisingly easy to do, mostly because everybody knows that Rose’s surgically repaired knee is healthy. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Rose was cleared to resume playing back in February, but he hasn’t done so because his knee still doesn’t feel right to him. Rose claims that he’s lacking a little explosion, that he can’t dunk the way he’s accustomed to dunking.
In other words, his roadblocks are mental at this point, not physical, which means he could decide any day now that he’s ready to pull on a uniform and participate in his team’s playoff run. Physically, he’s ready.
Nash: Lakers Are Right For Dwight
By Yannis Koutroupis
The 2012-13 season mercifully came to an end for the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday as they were swept out of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs. At the beginning of the season the possibility that this stacked Lakers team would go out in the first round was laughable, virtually impossible. But, injuries hit the team so hard that for the last two games of the season instead of starting Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash in the backcourt like they originally planned, they started second-round picks Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris.
While the Lakers have been eliminated, their offseason is a long ways away from starting. In fact, for the front office, the real work begins now.
The first order of business will be scouting for the 2013 NBA Draft, where the Lakers will have two selections in the second round. They already traded away their first-round pick and would have to complete another deal to get back in it. However, the draft has always been a small part of the Lakers’ blueprint for success. Where they’ve traditionally done the bulk of their work is in free agency and the trade market.
All future plans center around Dwight Howard for the Lakers. He may not have had the kind of year they were expecting from him this season, but he is still the player they want to build around in the future. They believe he can eventually be one of the greats whose jersey hangs from the rafters along with the likes of Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain and the other all-timers who donned the purple and gold.
The Lakers aren’t going to be the only team in pursuit of Howard, though. He’s going to have several other teams making max offers, albeit for one less year than what the Lakers can offer. The Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks are all geared up to make a run at Howard, but Lakers guard Steve Nash thinks he’s already where he needs to be.
Nolan Smith Looking For ‘Better Situation’
By Susan Bible
It’s been a rocky path in the NBA for guard Nolan Smith of the Portland Trail Blazers. According to Smith, the two-year union with the Blazers looks to come to an end this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
“They have a path they want to go down, and it’s pretty obvious I’m not on it right now,” Smith said during the team’s exit interview.
Did the Blazers come right out and say he would be a free agent?
“Yeah, pretty much. They made that pretty clear and you know, I’m excited for the summer,” Smith answered. “I have a great agent. A great team behind me. Add that to my great work and my passion for the game to get better every summer, and I’m going to look for a better situation next year.
“I’m excited to be a free agent. I love my two years here. A lot of ups and downs. It obviously wasn’t what I expected with everything, but a lot of changes. Coach change, GM changes, things happened along the way. This summer is going to be a great summer for me to look for a situation that better suits me and my career.”
The Great NBA Referee Conspiracy
By Travis Heath
No one likes failing. Outcomes that are less that what we had envisioned in our minds prior to engaging in activity, even if not complete failures, can be difficult to digest. Often it is easier to deny, rationalize or in some other way distort reality to fit with our preferred vision of the world.
To a certain extent, this is normal. It helps us preserve a healthy level of ego strength. If we were to crush ourselves every time something did not go our way, it would make for an almost intolerable existence. When these sorts of defenses become problematic is when they become our characteristic way of dealing with failure or situations in which our ideal or preferred view of the world does not match reality.
In the NBA this time of year the referees serve as a perfect place for fans, writers, commentators, players and coaches to project their frustrations. This becomes a conversation complicated by the Tim Donaghy scandal. Since a former NBA referee admitted to betting on games, there is a window open through which to criticize the league. There is also just enough of a gentle breeze to fuel the fervor of conspiracy theorists.
The conspiracy theorists are in most instances laughable. However, their continuous and extreme howling creates just enough space for the everyday fan, journalist or even team employee to believe, however so slightly or unconsciously, that there might be some truth to it.
Brandon Jennings Wants Out of Milwaukee?
By Alex Kennedy
Brandon Jennings was benched for the fourth quarter in what may have been his final game as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks were within reach of the Miami HEAT in Game 4 and some of Jennings’ teammates, including Larry Sanders, were asking head coach Jim Boylan to sub in the star point guard. However, Boylan kept Jennings on the bench for the entire fourth quarter and the Bucks were ultimately swept.
After the game, Jennings was obviously frustrated about the benching, but he also hinted that he was ready to move on from Milwaukee all together. He was asked if he wanted to play for the Bucks anymore, and his response was telling.
“I don’t know,” Jennings told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I can’t answer that.”
Houston Rockets Set To Make History?
By Bill Ingram
It’s never been done before, but then why should that matter to the NBA team that plays in the venue once known as Clutch City? No team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a seven-game playoff series, which would seem to doom this year’s Houston Rockets, but then there are some extenuating circumstances that might just create an opening for an unprecedented upset of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In the vast majority of cases, the top seed in a conference makes quick work of the eighth seed in their first round match-up. It makes sense, too, since the top seed is, by definition, a contender and the eighth seed often struggled just to make the playoffs. This year’s match-up between the eighth-seeded Rockets and the top-seeded Thunder started off just that way, too, with the Thunder storming out to what is usually an insurmountable 3-0 series lead. But then fate took a turn, and All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook went down with a knee injury that will preclude him from taking part in any more playoff games this season.
For the Rockets, that was the sound of opportunity knocking.
Clippers Not Sacrificing Enough
By Lang Greene
The Los Angeles Clippers are heading into Game 6 of their first-round series versus the Memphis Grizzlies down 3-2 and could be without the services of All-Star forward Blake Griffin, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Game 5.
The Clippers won the first two games of the series, but the Grizzlies have clearly shifted the momentum firmly back in their favor by winning the past three contests, the last two handily.
Veteran forward Lamar Odom says the Clippers must learn the true meaning of the word sacrifice if the squad hopes to regain control of the series and force a Game 7.
“I don’t know if it’s just about [lack of] intensity,” Odom said of his team’s recent struggles. “It might be more about paying attention to detail and understanding what sacrifice is and how to sacrifice yourself for the team. You’ve got to be willing to do anything when you’re in battle to win, to fight, to scrap. So when we look at the tape, it’s embarrassing because it seems like they’re fighting a little harder and that’s how they’re winning games.”
What’s Next For The Boston Celtics
By Stephen Brotherston
It has been six consecutive seasons in the playoffs since Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge created his Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and, with Allen moving on last season, this was the first time the Celtics failed to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs. With one NBA championship, another NBA Finals appearance and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, it has been a good run.
Ainge could have blown up what’s left of his Big Three last season, but in hindsight the move to reload was justified by yet another trip to the playoffs. However, Ainge is largely right back where he was a year ago, but with a lot less flexibility. So, what’s next for the Celtics?
Should the Celtics try to make moves with their aging stars to create some room for new blood? Is blowing it all up the best option? Could a few tweaks to the roster extend the playoff run for another season? Nothing seems particularly clear or inviting at the moment.
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