- HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors - http://www.hoopsworld.com -
HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Posted By Kyle Cape-Lindelin On August 18, 2013 @ 5:00 am In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
NBA Spending Spree Nearly Complete
By Eric Pincus
By mid-August, teams have done their heavy lifting for the summer. The rush of free agency has died down with those willing to spend having spent. The list of available free agents, recently compiled by HOOPSWORLD’s Alex Kennedy has dwindled to role players.
Just two teams can boast substantial cap room, the Philadelphia 76ers ($14.6-$16.1 million) and the Milwaukee Bucks ($7.4 million).
The rest of the league can offer various exceptions, none more than the Oklahoma City Thunder’s $5.2 million Mid-Level — but the Thunder are the verge of the luxury tax; far more likely to get under by cutting down the roster to 15 than climbing over with a free-agent signing.
Outside of Nikola Pekovic, who is likely at some point to re-sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves, there may not be another free agent signing for more than the veteran’s minimum.
The team to watch is Philadelphia, still about $7.8 million to the league minimum of $52.8 million (even after they sign draft picks Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams).
Instead of free agency, the Sixers may look to hit that mark via trade.
The following lists each team with their cap position, remaining exceptions and tax position over the $71.7 million threshold:
Predicting Wins For NBA’s Central Division
By Joel Brigham
There is a very strong chance that the Central Division will be the toughest division in basketball next year, thanks in large part to a ridiculous influx of talent. Derrick Rose, Danny Granger and Andrew Bynum will return from season-long injuries, Indiana seriously bolstered their bench, Detroit brought in top-tier free agents in Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings, and Cleveland added the No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s draft in Anthony Bennett. Even Milwaukee made a handful of sneaky good moves this offseason, meaning there really is no true slouch in this entire division.
While inter-divisional games will be as tough as they’ve been in years, the Bulls, Pacers, Bucks, Pistons and Cavaliers should have a fair amount of success against the rest of the league. This week, we’ll look at the NBA one division at a time and try to predict what each organization’s record will be by season’s end.
Here is how the Central Division could play out in the 2013-14 season:
NBA Learning From MLB’s PED Scandal
By Yannis Koutroupis
The Biogenesis scandal is currently the biggest issue in all of sports, so big that it has now become a concern of all major sports including the NBA.
As one of the most popular and decorated professional athletes in the world, Miami HEAT forward LeBron James is often asked to weigh in on controversial sports-related topics. Most recently, James was asked to share his thoughts on the players being suspended for the use of performance enhancing drugs – most notably Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees.
“It sends a bad message,” James said on Good Morning America of the latest controversy involving steroids. “It’s unfortunate that we have a story like Alex Rodriguez [being suspended]. You never want to see controversy because it’s a direct effect to the kids that’s coming after us. So many kids look up to us [athletes] as role models and as leaders and as inspiration to do what’s right.”
Rodriguez received a 211-game suspension from MLB, but he’s appealing the punishment that was handed down from Commissioner Bud Selig.
The Biogenesis scandal has only affected baseball so far, but NBA players could be linked to the case as well.
Health Is Key For Brooklyn Title Hopes
By Lang Greene
On paper the new-look Brooklyn Nets have the resume that should land the team in, at the very least, the Eastern Conference Finals next season. The roster is armed with an assortment of All-Stars, future Hall of Famers, a former Defensive Player of the Year and a former Sixth Man of the Year.
But as we learned last season, after the Los Angeles Lakers’ talent overhaul, games aren’t won or lost on stacks of loose leaf.
The Nets acquired Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry in a blockbuster deal with the Boston Celtics earlier this summer. All three players already have an NBA title on their respective mantles. The team also named former player Jason Kidd as their newest head coach. Kidd won a championship as a player (along with Terry in Dallas) and is virtually a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. Brooklyn also managed to convince former All-Star forward Andrei Kirilenko to leave money on the table in free agency and join the team’s championship quest.
The newest additions will join a Nets core featuring center Brook Lopez and guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, all who arguably rank in the top eight at their respective positions.
But with all of the talent on the roster, the Nets’ hopes for greatness hinges on the team’s ability to stay healthy over the course of the season.
NBA Offseason Grades: Eastern Conference
By Moke Hamilton
Get going or get left behind. That is the reality for the NBA’s 15 Eastern Conference teams. Each one is chasing the Miami HEAT, while the HEAT are now gunning for their fourth consecutive Eastern Conference Championship and third consecutive NBA crown.
The Brooklyn Nets, obviously, hope to have a say, and based on the franchise’s productive offseason, it is reasonable to believe that they may.
But what about the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls?
How about the younger teams that are establishing cores and foundations for the future? Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Brandon Jennings (Detroit Pistons) and John Wall (Washington Wizards) are three of the league’s younger point guards whose fan bases enter the 2013-14 season with reason for newfound optimism.
Is it founded?
That is the discussion.
By mid-August, the cream of the NBA’s free agent crop has dried up, the amnesty deadline has come and gone and teams generally have a very good idea of what their regular season roster will look like.
In honor of school reconvening and the end of summer approaching, here are report card grades for all 15 of the teams in the East.
The Andrew Wiggins Sweepstakes
By Alex Kennedy
Every so often, a once-in-a-generation talent comes along who has the potential to completely turn around an NBA franchise. Players like LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose were hyped up for years, lived up to the lofty expectations and transformed organizations from lottery fodder to perennial contenders. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a player like that enter the league, but that should change next summer.
Andrew Wiggins is expected to enter the 2014 NBA Draft and, barring something catastrophic, he’ll almost certainly be the top overall pick. NBA executives have been drooling over Wiggins for several years. The kid is an athletic freak, who dominates his peers just like James did at St. Vincent St. Mary back in the day, and he has the potential to become one of the league’s best players.
A highlight reel of Wiggins’ mediocre plays looks better than most prospects’ best film. The one criticism of Wiggins is that he tends to coast at times, mostly when he gets bored of completely destroying the opponent. This is common for young superstars; the same was said about James when he was starring for The Fighting Irish and former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson wrote that a high school Kobe Bryant would let struggling teams back into games just to give them hope and rip it away. Just about everyone believes that Wiggins is special – executives, coaches, fellow players, etc. – and that he’ll be as great as he wants to be.
J.J. Barea Believes In The Wolves
By Steve Kyler
Timberwolves guard J.J. Barea likes what’s been happening this summer in Minnesota. While his attention recently has been on the Puerto Rico National team and the upcoming FIBA America’s Cup, he’s watched the moves in Minnesota and is excited about next season.
“I think it’s great,” Barea told HOOPSWORLD after his final training session at IMG Academy in Bradenton yesterday. “Kevin Martin is a proven shooter and scorer, he gets a lot of fouls, gets to the line a lot. We signed [Nikola] Pekovic back that was one of the biggest things we needed was to get our big boy back. He’s a great, great teammate; everybody loves him in the locker room. I think it’s going to be great. Another year with Ricky [Rubio] healthy, he’ll be ready from the beginning. Corey Brewer brings a lot of energy; I think off the bench with me is going to help a lot. So we got a good thing going, we got to stay healthy. I’m excited to go back to Minnesota and see what we can do.”
The Timberwolves were pegged as a borderline playoff team last year but injuries derailed the season and none of the injuries were bigger than losing Kevin Love for what amounted to 64 games.
“I know Kevin is anxious to start the season,” Barea said. “He’s been working hard all year. He’s been staying in touch with his teammates and I think he’s getting skinnier now, so I think he’s ready. He’s had a whole year off, so he’s going to have a lot of energy this year.”
The one thing last’s injuries created was opportunities for other players like Derrick Williams, Dante Cunningham and Alexey Shved to develop and play bigger roles, something Barea thinks will pay dividends this season.
The NBA Works Hard But Not Smart
By Travis Heath
It went against everything that was in my nature. The culture I grew up in promised that if a person worked hard, he or she would be rewarded for it. How could the research be indicating that too much hard work is actually counterproductive?
This protestant work ethic and the stories that drive it are certainly something I have taken to extremes at times in my life only to find out that sometimes the system in which one is working is, for lack of a better way of saying it, rigged. The people at the top are going to get paid while the worker bees do most of the day-to-day work with the promise of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Once those bees get burned out or figure out the jig they are dancing in vain, they are simply replaced by other worker bees who will continue to allow those at the top to get paid.
In the NBA, especially in coaching and executive circles, those driving the ship get compensated quite well thus making it hard to call them worker bees. Of course, it’s all relative because they aren’t making nearly as much as the owners. That said, it’s quite common to hear coaches tell stories of 20-hour workdays. A friend of mine who is a recently retired NFL player captured the essence of this perfectly by saying: “If one coach says he works for 20 hours a day, the next coach is going to say he works 21 hours a day and sleeps in his office.”
At face value, especially for those of us who were indoctrinated with the aforementioned ideas about what work ethic means, this seems like a good thing. Most of my life I would have looked at coaches who were rumored to sleep in their offices and thought to myself something like, “Wow, those guys are really working hard, and I like that,” all while making the inference that such hard work would automatically translate into results.
Predicting Wins For NBA’s Pacific Division
By Jabari Davis
The pecking order has certainly changed within the Pacific Division over the past couple seasons. Los Angeles Lakers fans may not like the sound of it, but lost in the shuffle of the potential inner-city changing of the guard between both STAPLES Center inhabitants was the fact that the Golden State Warriors also found a way to leap-frog their perennial “Big Brother” Lakers by the end of the 2012-13 season.
Combine the coaching changes and roster additions of other teams, and the unexpected (at least by the Lakers) exodus of free agent center Dwight Howard, and one can see why fans of other teams within the division are finally feeling a bit more comfortable with their chances at contending for the Pacific.
As the NBA continues to evolve, especially coinciding with the restrictive nature of the new CBA, teams are being forced to change their approach. While teams like the Lakers are in a state of transition, with the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns remaining in flux, the L.A. Clippers and Warriors remain as the division’s current ascending figures.
Here is how the Pacific Division could play out in 2013-14:
Fantasy: Rookie/Sophomore Studs in the Making
By Tommy Beer
The recent release of NBA preseason schedules is a solid reminder that it’s never too early to begin preparing for fantasy hoops drafts that will likely commence in October.
Today, we look to get a jump on the competition by examining this season’s crop of young guns and highlighting four rookies who appear poised to make a significant impact during their first professional seasons, as well as four second-year pros who are looking to maintain the positive momentum and fantasy production they generated last season.
Article printed from HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors: http://www.hoopsworld.com
URL to article: http://www.hoopsworld.com/hoopsworld-week-in-review-222
Copyright © 2013 HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors
Part of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group.