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HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Posted By Kyle Cape-Lindelin On August 11, 2013 @ 5:00 am In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Players Poised to Breakthrough
By Lang Greene
Every season a new set of young players successfully reach another level in their career.
For some, it means going from an end of the bench towel waver to earning minutes as a serviceable role player. For others, it means making the transition from a rotational player into a team’s foundation of the future.
The 2014 campaign offers plenty of scenarios to watch in this regard. Let’s take a look at some guys poised to breakthrough in their own right using the following criteria:
1. Not entering their respective rookie season
2. Three seasons or less of NBA experience
3. Averaged less than 25 minutes per game in 2013
Possible Rajon Rondo Trades
By Joel Brigham
The beautiful thing about the Boston Celtics heading into this upcoming season is that nobody really has any idea what to expect. Rajon Rondo will be coming back from ACL rehabilitation at some point, and both he and the team seem to think Game 1 of the 2013-14 season is a reasonable goal for that return. The real question, though, is what kind of player he’ll be, and how he’ll get along with a very young, very new head coach in Brad Stevens.
However things go early on, we should all expect trade rumors to start swirling almost immediately, especially if Stevens and a less-than-impressive Boston roster get off to a slow start. Obviously, Danny Ainge would love to rebuild this team around Rondo, but he may not be the sort of player that wants to sit around and be part of the rebuilding experience.
Getting traded may or may not improve his championship aspirations much. However, in the right situation he could be competing for another ring sooner than later, but only if his current team decides it’s time to move him.
Who Needs a Change of Scenery?
By Bill Ingram
The most important factor in having a long and successful career in the NBA is, of course, talent. However, talent isn’t the only factor, as we’ve seen players with talent who couldn’t make in the league just as we’ve seen players who don’t appear to have any special ability stick around for years. After talent, the most important determining factor for a player is what we call “fit,” or how well a particular player fits into a particular team’s culture and community. In today’s NBA PM, we take a look at five players who needed and got a change of scenery this summer, as well as what’s at stake for them in their new situations.
The Unequal NBA Schedule of 82 Games
By Eric Pincus
On Tuesday, the NBA released the schedule for the 2013-14 season and while each team will play 82 games, the road to 82 may be more difficult for some teams than others.
The Atlanta Hawks will play five sets of games on consecutive nights. That’s 10 games in 16 days (November 15-30) with half on the road. If that’s not enough, the Hawks also have four sets of back-to-backs in February.
Meanwhile the Denver Nuggets have just 14 back-to-backs all season. Atlanta has 20 — the Charlotte Bobcats 22.
Not every team plays each opponent the same number of games. The Boston Celtics play both the Miami HEAT and Chicago Bulls just three times apiece.
The Indiana Pacers play Miami and Chicago four times, but face recent lottery teams like the Charlotte Bobcats, Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards three times each. The Wizards and even the Bobcats may be more formidable this season, but are not the HEAT or the Bulls.
The national audience won’t see every team, at least not nearly as often.
All play 82 games but they’re not the same 82.
Derrick Favors Ready to Lead Utah
By Steve Kyler
As Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors joked around with his fellow adidas endorsers at this week’s adidas Nations in Long Beach, posing for pictures with High School players that aspire to get where Favors now stands, leading a NBA team, there was a confidence Favors exudes when he talked about his new situation with the Jazz that has clearly been bottled up for some time in Utah. Regulated to a reserve role with the Jazz, as others started in front of him, Favors now finds himself where he has wanted to be for some time: the focal point of the team.
As Favors tells the story, both outgoing Jazz starters Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap called him when they reached free agent deals to leave the team to tell him that the Jazz was his team now, and that in their eyes he was ready to take the mantle of franchise player.
When Favors talks of his new situation he beams, talking about the what-ifs of the new season and how much he is prepared both physically and mentally for the challenge of leading a young Jazz team.
Faried Believes In Nuggets’ Direction
By Yannis Koutroupis
This has been a tough offseason for the Denver Nuggets. It started off with the loss of general manger and Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri, who took the same position with the Toronto Raptors. Then head coach George Karl had a falling out with the front office and ended up getting replaced by Brian Shaw. In the midst of that transition, Andre Iguodala was sign-and-traded to the Golden State Warriors.
Yet, they weren’t set back as badly by those losses as some teams would have been. There’s still a lot to be optimistic about in Denver.
“I think we’ll be fine,” Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried said to HOOPSWORLD. “Andre made his own decision to go where he wanted to go. More power to him, do his own thing. Right now we’re focused on us I think we’ll be fine. We have the type of nucleus and team where guys will step up. I’m glad it happened during the offseason and not during the regular season because guys will step up.
“Maybe a guy like Ty [Lawson] will have a breakout season. I think that he really came alive in the playoffs last year. JaVale [McGee] can have a breakout season this year. And maybe a young guy can step up like Jordan Hamilton and Evan Fournier.”
Shumpert Expects Breakout Year
By Alex Kennedy
Every NBA season, there are a number of third-year players who take their game to the next level. Last year, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers and Larry Sanders of the Milwaukee Bucks were the latest examples of players who had a breakout season in year three of their NBA career. By the time players reach their third season in the league, they’ve grown accustomed to the NBA game and lifestyle, and they’re usually ready to start realizing their full potential.
Iman Shumpert of the New York Knicks is getting ready to start his third year in the NBA, and he’s expecting a breakout season for himself. Now that he’s fully recovered from the ACL injury that limited him at times last year, he’s planning to return to the court better than ever.
“Going into this year, I know I got to make big improvements,” Shumpert told HOOPSWORLD at adidas Nations. “Last year was all about getting healthy. This year, I’m healthy and it’s all about making that big improvement in my game. That’s going to the offensive end, being in shape to play both sides of the floor hard and just focusing on getting to the basket and importance of knocking down the shot. I’m just trying to be more consistent this year.”
The NBA’s Six Most Underrated Forwards
By Tommy Beer
Last week, HOOPSWORLD embarked on the difficult task of ranking the top sjix players at each position.
This week, we dig a bit deeper and attempt to highlight a handful of underrated and underappreciated guards, forward and centers. Today we’ll discuss small forward and power forwards who typically aren’t presented with the praise they deserve:
The NBA’s Six Most Underrated Centers
By Jabari Davis
When discussing the center position, we often hear about the bigger names like Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol and even Roy Hibbert. Outside of them, the next names you generally hear are Andrew Bynum, Brook Lopez and Tyson Chandler. HOOPSWORLD would like to show some love to the lesser-known or lesser-heralded players at the center position that more than get the job done.
Contrary to the popular narrative of there being a tremendous lack of productivity out of centers, this list will focus on several players who are rising stars at the position or simply lack the fanfare of others.
While guys like DeMarcus Cousins and Joakim Noah are somewhat underrated by more people that consider themselves basketball fans than should be the case, they don’t exactly qualify for this list due to the respect and/or appreciation they receive from their contemporaries within the league.
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