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HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Posted By Kyle Cape-Lindelin On August 4, 2013 @ 5:00 am In NBA | No Comments
Pelicans’ Plans Start With Holiday
By Lang Greene
The New Orleans Pelicans haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2011 campaign, when All-Star guard Chris Paul and forward David West were leading the team. But entering next season the franchise will have the highest set of expectations on its shoulders since the duo of Paul and West left town.
One of the primary drivers of the increased expectations for the club is based on the arrival of All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday. The team acquired Holiday from Philadelphia in a drat night deal in exchange for the rights to No. 6 overall pick Nerlens Noel and a coveted 2014 first round pick.
Noel was projected by many to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s class and the 2014 draft is expected to be loaded at the top with potential franchise changing talent. This makes the move to acquire Holiday a calculated risk New Orleans is hoping will pay immediate dividends.
Top 6 NBA Point Guards In 2013-14
By Joel Brigham
Just as we did last year, HOOPSWORLD writers are going to spend this week going through every major position and determining who will be the best at each of them.
We’ll start once again with the point guards, which is arguably the deepest position in the NBA. Narrowing this list down to only six players was extremely challenging this season, with so many players making the leap last season from “burgeoning upstart” to “full-blow stud,” and getting Derrick Rose back into the pool doesn’t hurt the position’s depth, either.
In any event, these rankings are completely subjective, but the opinions of the writers are based pretty heavily on statistical evidence. And just so there aren’t too many upset readers, we’ll be including honorable mentions, as well.
Today is point guards, but we’ll spend the rest of the week dissecting the other positions, one day at a time. For now though, here are our top floor generals in the NBA for next season:
Indiana Pacers Trade Turns Up the Heat
By Bill Ingram
Last season the Indiana Pacers were one win away from a trip to the NBA Finals. Turned aside by the defending and eventual NBA champion Miami HEAT in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pacers had come incredibly close to their ultimate goal, only to be denied on the doorstep. Over the summer they have watched as multiple teams in the East have made moves designed to get them closer to the level of the HEAT, but this weekend Indiana may have made the move that trumps them all. They sent Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and a first round pick to the Phoenix Suns and in return they received veteran big man and international champion Luis Scola.
“First of all, we know he’s a great kid,” Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard said to HOOPSWORLD. “He’s been with some great programs and during the summers he’s had unbelievable success with his national teams. For us, we feel like he’s a natural Pacer because he plays hard, he plays smart and he plays very unselfish basketball. He gives us another true component to what we really feel is important to winning in the playoffs, and that is playing in the post with a guy who can really score. Scola has done that over the last six or seven years, he’s done it at a high level, and the way we play inside out with our bigs we feel like he gives us another component to play with the first team or the second team.”
Scola is a consummate professional, and as such he was content to play the role of veteran leader on a rebuilding franchise. Still, the chance to play for a team with a legitimate shot at winning the championship next season was hardly a disappointment.
Suns Looking To Trade For Stars
By Steve Kyler
New Suns’ GM Ryan McDonough understands how the NBA works. You are either drafting your next star or leveraging your draft picks to trade for one. With a pocketful of picks and young players on rookie deals McDonough likes his options.
“We could have as many as three [picks] next year and two the year after,” McDonough said to Adam Green of ArizonaSports.com.
“When teams have maybe a disgruntled superstar, what are they looking for in return? Well, they’re looking for picks, that’s what they want.
“I think we’re well positioned to strike if and when the next disgruntled superstar becomes available.”
If that “disgruntled” star doesn’t materialize McDonough has the fall back of the talent that those draft picks could inject into his team.
Top 6 NBA Shooting Guards In 2013-14
By Jabari Davis
Continuing last year’s theme, we are ranking the top six players by position, and determining who will be the best at each of them. HOOPSWORLD’S Joel Brigham broke down the point guards on Monday, and today we will be breaking down the league’s best shooting guards.
For the record, Andre Iguodala is reportedly moving back to small forward with the Golden State Warriors, even though he played primarily at the shooting guard position for Denver in 2012-13. We’re also going to classify Paul George as a small forward until Danny Granger is officially cleared and back on the court. As for the rest of the list, last year’s results will be taken into account along with a projection of what to expect for the upcoming season. Narrowing down lists of this nature is nearly impossible, so bear with us. If you’d like to chime in, feel free to drop in a question or comment in our daily chat sessions. Without further ado, here are the Top 6, followed by a few Honorable Mentions:
Smart Staying Focused Amidst NBA Talk
By Yannis Koutroupis
This offseason, Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart passed on an opportunity to almost undoubtedly be a top five selection in the 2013 NBA Draft. Staying in school used to be encouraged, but in Smart’s case it was highly questioned and criticized.
To his credit, Smart made his decision, never wavered and immediately started preparing for what he hopes will be a potential title run in 2013-14. But, when draft night came rolling around in June, he couldn’t help but momentarily think about what could have been.
“I was actually over in Russia, the Czech Republic with the under 19 team,” Smart said to HOOPSWORLD. “We were trying to watch it, keeping updated on my phone and stuff. It was a little emotional I’m not going to lie. It was a little emotional, especially when you got guys running into your room saying dang that should have been you up there, kind of joking around with me and stuff. It was a little emotional but at the same time, it’s life; it goes on. I made my decision, it’s over. I’m not going to sit here and say what if this because regardless of what decision I made I still would have been what iffin, I’m just going to let it play out. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.”
Which Young Teams Will Make Playoffs?
By Alex Kennedy
Every season, one or two franchises make the transition from up-and-coming squad to legitimate playoff team. Last season, the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets were able to make this leap, ending their multi-year postseason droughts thanks to internal development and personnel moves.
In 2011-12, the Los Angeles Clippers made the jump. In 2010-11, it was the Indiana Pacers. In 2009-10, it was the Oklahoma City Thunder. Most perennial contenders start here – assembling a young core, sneaking into the postseason as a lower seed and, usually, experiencing failure. It’s how teams go from lottery fodder to battle-tested elite in just a few years.
Now, as the Warriors and Rockets look to take another step themselves – from late seed to legitimate contender – other young teams will compete to fill their vacant seeds at the bottom of the playoff picture.
This season, there are a number of franchises that are tired of accumulating ping pong balls instead of wins. Although not every franchise is ready to move forward, with teams like the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns continuing to develop their young core and stockpile draft picks, here are seven franchises that are looking to end their lottery run in the 2013-14 season:
Who Slipped Through the Offseason Cracks?
By Nate Duncan
The 2013 offseason has surprised those who routinely derided heretofore spendthrift NBA general managers. Indeed, this July has revealed that a number of players appear to have far lower value around the league than might have been anticipated. Has the league correctly valued these players, or will time prove they should have gleaned more lucrative compensation?
Top 6 NBA Power Forwards in 2013-14
By Eric Pincus
The power forward position continues to evolve in the NBA with teams going small using players like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Josh Smith. Because of this, it’s easy to overlook how many quality true fours are still dominating the league.
While some of the league’s younger players may be climbing the rankings, it’s an older veteran that tops the list.
HOOPSWORLD’s take on the Top 6 Point Guards,Top 6 Shooting Guards and Top 6 Small Forwards were posted earlier this week.
The NBA Can No Longer Ignore PEDs
By Travis Heath
Memories of the summer of 1998 still burn bright in my mind. That summer before leaving for college I recall going to the ballpark to watch Sammy Sosa rip baseballs into the cheap seats at Coors Field. It was mesmerizing. All of a sudden the sport of baseball, one I had enjoyed from time-to-time but never truly loved, was occupying a major chunk of my sports consciousness.
As the calendar turned to August and classes began, I checked on the homerun race everyday. I can vividly remember (pre-TIVO, kids) having to go to class when the Cardinals were playing on the day Mark McGwire tied Hank Aaron. I ran to the dorm room as soon as class concluded to find the following words written on the dry erase board on my door courtesy of my roommate: “Big Mac hit his 62nd dong.” I was frustrated I missed it but simultaneously giddy that it happened.
At the time, performance-enhancing drugs weren’t even on my radar. The term certainly hadn’t been popularized yet. Steroid use was often associated with Olympic sports or perhaps some football players of yesteryear who incurred fatal consequences such as Lyle Alzado. Perhaps I was naïve, but during that summer the idea that Sosa or McGwire might have been using PEDs never crossed my mind.
Top 6 NBA Centers in 2013-14
By Tommy Beer
Throughout the week, we here at HOOPSWORLD have been ranking the Top 6 performers at each position. So far, we’ve looked at the Top Six NBA Point Guards Top Six NBA Shooting Guards, Top Six NBA Small Forwards and Top Six NBA Power Forwards.
Today, we wrap up this offseason series by examining the best big men in the NBA.
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