Tag:Ben Golliver
Posted on: October 18, 2010 7:35 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:54 pm

NBA Southeast Division preview

The CBSSports.com NBA Facts and Rumors team previews each of the NBA's six divisions. First up: the Southeast. Posted by Ben Golliver The Burning Question: What would 72 wins mean for Miami? While the Southeast Division is stacked from top to bottom, both in terms of talent and storylines, the Miami Heat are the division's clear favorite. Anything less than a runaway Southeast crown would be a disappointment for the meticulously-constructed Heat, who should welcome the absurdly high expectations with open arms and shoot for history from opening night.  LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and company are presented with a unique, and clean, opportunity to answer their many critics: if they commit to the ultimate team success, tying or surpassing an NBA-record 72 regular season wins followed by a title, they absolve themselves of any questions about their motives, egos and self-involvement. America respects winning, especially dominant winning, and winning in historic fashion would have the power to reshape the entire conversation, re-write the "Decision" debacle. If they kill themselves night in and night out for eight months and then bring home the rings, suddenly Wade becomes mini-Jordan, James becomes mega-Pippen, and Bosh becomes prude Rodman, with sacrifice replacing soullessness on the first line of their obituaries. Winning is that powerful. 72 wins seems impossible, especially in a division that could produce four playoff teams (Miami, Orlando and Atlanta seem like locks; Charlotte should sneak in) and the Rookie of the Year in Washington's John Wall, but no team has had a better shot at it than these Heat in the post-Jordan era. Here's hoping Miami seizes the opportunity and goes all-in, all-out because everyone, even their biggest detractors, wants to watch greatness. What Berger Says: CBS Sports Senior Writer Ken Berger previews the Southeast Division.
The Heat can win 65, 70, or 73 regular-season games if they want; they have so much talent that anything's possible. But their biggest test will be defending the 3-point shot and stopping a highly motivated Dwight Howard in a best-of-7 playoff series against Orlando. And no matter how good the combination of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James is -- no matter how much single-coverage Chris Bosh faces as a result of their greatness -- and regardless of how close they are defensively to the Bulls team that went 72-10 in 1995-96, Howard ultimately is going to present the biggest challenge they face.

Does Orlando have enough to win more regular-season games than Miami and win its fourth consecutive Southeast Division title? Probably not, but it doesn't matter, anyway. Every time these two teams tangle in the regular season, the focus will be on how it will apply to the postseason.
What Others Are Saying: Here are a few choice cuts from NBA Southeast Division previews found around the internet. Chris Mannix of CNNSI.com asks...
Can Pat Riley stay upstairs all season? Speculation has run rampant that Riley is itching for the opportunity to coach another potential dynasty. But it's unlikely he would submarine protégé Spoelstra without good reason. Expectations for the Heat are predictably absurd -- anything less than the all-time wins record en route to a title would be, in the minds of some, a disappointing season -- but what if the team gets off to a sluggish start? Will Riley give Spoelstra room to mold this new roster? Or will the Armani'd one take over at the first (or second, or third) sign of trouble?
David Thorpe of ESPN.com thinks Orlando's Ryan Anderson could break out...
Now that J.J. Redick has his first real contract, one that he earned with pure hard work, he will relax and play even better than he has in the past. But Anderson has game, too, and considering how much Lewis struggled last season, it's fair to expect Van Gundy to get Anderson a lot more touches. He's a much better rebounder than the Lewis we saw last season, and perhaps his inspired play will light a fire under Lewis. Either way, the Magic have to get more from the power forward spot, and Anderson will have many chances to provide top-level shooting, hustle and board work.
Charley Rosen of FoxSports.com says...
Gilbert Arenas is the key player for the Wizards. Too bad he’s plagued by injuries and incredibly poor decisions. No matter how much he parrots the company line, he’ll have difficulty playing second fiddle to John Wall. 
In truth, the only way that Wall can develop into the leader that the team so desperately needs would be to trade Arenas. Even so, Wall is very good and will have every opportunity to be great.
CBSSports.com Video Preview: CBS Sports's Jason Horowitz, Ian Eagle and Ken Berger break down the Southeast division on video.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 5:33 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:54 pm

Reggie Evans, gender scholar

Toronto Raptors forward Reggie Evans has strong opinions on gender issues. Posted by Ben Golliver Beneath Toronto Raptors power forward Reggie Evans's burly and bearded exterior hides an enlightened scholar on gender issues. Asked how the Raptors are coping now that former teammate and all star Chris Bosh left to team up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in Miami, Evans told Holly MacKenzie of The Score that he does not dwell on the past because moping is not part of the male existence.
"Only girls sit around and mope. I’m speaking from a man’s perspective. Like if they come on the floor be moping and stuff, that’s what girls do. I’d look at them like a girl, doing what girls do, sitting around moping because of what happened yesterday, or last week that happened. Like my two girls, I have two girls, when I told them no, what they do? Put their heads down and mope. You know what I’m saying."
It is believed Evans acquired such a detailed understanding of the male and female mentalities through decades of careful observation and the occasional surgical procedure, like this famous one he performed on Los Angeles Clippers center Chris Kaman. All jokes aside, Evans's attitude is on point, if a bit crude in delivery. The Raptors are clearly searching for a new identity in Bosh's absence and a forward-thinking approach, rather than the bitterness and pettiness spewed by GM Bryan Colangelo this fall, is the right way to go.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 3:58 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:54 pm

Magic Johnson sells Lakers stake

Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson has sold his ownership stake in the franchise to a billionaire doctor.
Posted by Ben Golliver

The Los Angeles Lakers have announced today that franchise legend Magic Johnson, who helped guide the Showtime dynasty, has sold his ownership stake in the team. Take it away, press release.
Los Angeles Lakers legend and part-owner Earvin “Magic” Johnson has sold his share of the team to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, it was announced today. The transaction price of Johnson’s share of the team is undisclosed.
Lakers majority owner Dr. Jerry Buss had this comment on the transaction: “The sale of Earvin’s share of the team is a business decision which will not change our relationship. Our friendship goes well beyond business. Patrick is a long-time and passionate Lakers fan and we are delighted to have him as a partner.”
The move ends ten years of ownership for Johnson, who has served the Lakers as a player, coach and minority owner during his more than three decades of affiliation with the organization. While Dr. Soon-Shiong, the billionaire founder of the cancer-fighting company Abraxis BioScience , isn't a household name like Johnson, he's not without his own degree of fame and notoriety. This Forbes profile from 2003 paints an interesting picture.
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong has been called ruthless and a headline-grabber. As a scientist he has been criticized for hyping his research results; as a drugmaker he has been accused of ripping off investors. Short-sellers have boldly bet against him, risking huge losses. Even his own brother, an early backer, sued him for fraud and fired him--twice--from the company they started. Their skirmishing lasted two years and destroyed their relationship. 
Yet Soon-Shiong, chairman and controlling shareholder of publicly held American Pharmaceutical Partners, endured the blows and has been largely exonerated--in the meantime, rising to billionaire status. Credit his immovable faith in the promise of an experimental cancer treatment dubbed Abraxane.   
He was ranked No. 87 of Forbes's 2009 list of the world's billionaires and his Wikipedia page is pretty mind-blowing.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 2:47 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:52 pm

Troy Murphy out until regular season

New Jersey Nets forward Troy Murphy will not play during the rest of the preseason due to injury. Posted by Ben Golliver

Back in August, the New Jersey Nets traded for Indiana Pacers power forward Troy Murphy in part of a massive four-team trade . Murphy is in the final year of a large contract so it made sense financially for the Nets, who also could use his offensive versatility and scoring ability to ease first-round draft pick Derrick Favors into their rotation. Unfortunately, Murphy has been dogged by a back injury during the preseason. The Nets report on Twitter today that Murphy "has made considerable progress, but will not play in either of the remaining preseason games. Murphy is expected to resume practice with the team this weekend."  In Murphy's absence, the Nets will likely continue a frontcourt by committee approach. Centers Brook Lopez and Joe Smith, along with Favors and fellow forwards Travis Outlaw, Johan Petro, Kris Humphries, have all seen double-digit minutes per game during the exhibition season.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 2:01 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:52 pm

Forget MJ, Kobe Bryant is a top 5 guard

Michael Jordan says Kobe Bryant is a top 10 guard of all time. He should have said top five.
Posted by Ben Golliver

In a recent interview with USA Today , Michael Jordan, the greatest player in the history of basketball, was asked how Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant stacks up to the greatest who have ever played the game.
It's so hard to say. I think he is always going to be within the conversations of some of the greatest players who've played by the time he is finished. Where does he rank among those, if you are talking about positions? If you are talking about guards, I would say he has got to be in the Top 10.

Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports caught up with Bryant for his reaction to Jordan's comment.
“It’s an accurate statement,” Bryant said. “I’m definitely one of the top 10 guards. It could mean two, it could mean one, it could mean four or five. I’m definitely one of the top thousand. Look, I know how he feels about me. “There have been a lot of great guards to play the game. For me to sit here and say, ‘He should have said top five,’ that’s disrespectful to the other guards that I’ve watched.”

In this case, I'm happy to be "disrespectful" to Jordan on Bryant's behalf: Michael Jordan should have said Kobe Bryant is a top five guard. Period.   In his 2009 The Book Of Basketball , Bill Simmons set out to rank the best players in the game, in part, to help settle questions like this one. Simmons ranked Bryant as the No. 15 player overall, and the only pure guards ranked ahead of Bryant were Jordan (No. 1 overall), Magic Johnson (No. 4 overall), Jerry West (No. 8 overall) and Oscar Robertson (No. 9 overall).  You can quibble over West/Robertson, but the rest, including Bryant, seem right to me. Since the book's release last fall, Bryant won another title with the Lakers, so his standing has only improved. Bryant refused to rank himself when given the opportunity by Spears, and this was a wise move, because current players will always be at a sentimental disadvantage when compared to retired players. Magic Johnson brings back memories, Oscar Robertson evokes tales, and Kobe Bryant still makes plays. That process of continually adding to his resume works against him whenever we try to assess his standing against stationary targets. Given that he is battling legends, the standard for Bryant to overtake guys like Robertson and West will be exceedingly high and probably not attainable until he retires, and his statistics and ring total go final.  Jordan and Johnson may wind up completely unassailable, regardless of how Bryant's career plays out, such is the magnitude of their cultural power.   Whether Bryant ever cracks that top two isn't today's discussion. Today, it's more important to realize that it's far more difficult to exclude Bryant from the top five guards of all time than it is to include him.  Who would you rather have? Bob Cousy? Isiah Thomas? John Stockton? Rick Barry? Cousy - with his titles, leadership and revolutionary back court play - makes the strongest sentimental case, but he doesn't pass the smell test. You don't think Kobe Bryant in his prime would wipe the parquet with Cousy in his prime if given the chance? On both ends Bryant's athleticism and length would be overpowering. As for the rest, they didn't win as often or in as dominating a fashingon as Bryant has. Jordan's comment shows an appreciation for the game's other great guards and, perhaps, a self-protective impulse. Surely it's easier for Jordan to remain king eternally if his strongest current challenger is given more ground to make up. It was a savvy play by Jordan and Bryant's response showed equal thoughtfulness.  Bryant knows historical rankings can't be campaigned for, they are given out collectively once they've been deemed "earned".  He also knows he's well on his way.
Posted on: October 17, 2010 7:00 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:52 pm

Lou Amundson Breaks Finger, Needs Surgery

Golden State Warriors big man Lou Amundson reportedly needs surgery on a broken finger. Posted by Ben Golliver Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com reports that new Golden State Warriors big man Lou Amundson fractured his finger during a preseason game on Saturday night and that the injury will require surgery.
The Warriors are going to be without backup center Lou Amundson for a little while.  Amundson suffered a fracture in his right index finger during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers – and the injury will require surgery.  The date for the surgery has not yet been determined. 

Amundson was a late addition for the Warriors, who signed him to a two-year, $5 million contract in early September. Don't be fooled by his ponytail: Amundson is a hustle guy off the bench who isn't afraid to mix it up.  The Warriors and first-year head coach Keith Smart will likely make due in his absence by leaning more heavily on new starting power forward David Lee, who was also acquired this summer. Steinmetz reports that backup big men Dan Gadzuric and Jeff Adrien are also likely to see their playing time increase in Amundson's absence.
Posted on: October 17, 2010 6:48 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:53 pm

Report: Spurs Trade Curtis Jerrells To Hornets

The San Antonio Spurs have reportedly traded guard Curtis Jerrells to the New Orleans Hornets for a draft pick.
Posted by Ben Golliver
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com reportsthat the San Antonio Spurs have traded backup point guard Curtis Jerrells to the New Orleans Hornets.
The San Antonio Spurs have traded reserve point guard Curtis Jerrells to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for a second-round pick, sources tell HOOPSWORLD.
The obvious link between the two organizations is new Hornets GM Dell Demps, who was a front office executive for the Spurs prior to his hire by New Orleans this summer. The Hornets have been in need of backcourt depth behind Chris Paul after they shipped Darren Collison to the Indiana Pacers in a trade that netted wing Trevor Ariza. Jerrells will join a backcourt that includes Paul, Willie Green (also acquired by trade ) and promising second-year scorer Marcus Thornton. The Spurs have two quality point guards in long-time starter Tony Parker and solid backup George Hill, who started for much of last season as Parker dealt with injury issues. Jerrells played for the D-League's Austin Toros last year and was called up by the Spurs, but never saw any action .
Posted on: October 17, 2010 5:42 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:53 pm

LeBron James on Dwyane Wade's custody issue

Miami Heat star LeBron James says he will hold it down as teammate Dwyane Wade goes through an ongoing custody proceeding. Posted by Ben Golliver Recently, we noted that Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade will likely not play until the regular season as he recovers from a hamstring injury and deals with an ongoing custody proceeding with the mother of his children in Illinois. At Heat practice today, LeBron James discussed Wade's family obligations, saying that he talks to Wade "every day" and calling Wade's family situation "way bigger than basketball." Asked by a reporter for his thoughts on Wade's absence, James responded, "The fact that what he is dealing with is way bigger than basketball. When he's ready to come back, when he's ready to return, we'll accept him with open arms, of course. We'll make sure we hold it down here and what he has going on, we're all in support. This whole organization, as teammates, as friends, us as a family. I think fans and people understand what's going on in his situation is much bigger than basketball." James was also asked if he's concerned that Wade could be away from the team indefinitely as he resolves the custody proceeding. "It's not a concern when you know what he's going through," James said. "From a basketball standpoint, as a teammate standpoint, you understand that that situation comes before anything. Any time you're dealing with family, that comes before anything. Whenever he returns, we'll be ready to ride." Here's video of the exchange taken by Surya Fernandez of HotHotHoops.com. James also said in the video that he is on track to recover from his own minor hamstring injury.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com