Tag:Royce Young
Posted on: February 8, 2012 3:27 pm

Report: Griffin to play in Rookie/Sophomore game

Posted by Royce Young

Blake Griffin could be headed for another hectic All-Star Weekend as he's already been voted in a starter for the Western Conference, has been named in the Rookie/Sophomore game and might participate in the dunk contest.

Griffin said recently that "last year was hectic and it kind of made it unenjoyable" so that would make one think he'd scale back on his participation. But according to the O.C. Register, Griffin will indeed play in the now titled "Rising Stars Challenge" on Friday night.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin was one of 18 first and second-year players selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge Friday night during All-Star Weekend in Orlando. And despite already being named a starter for the Western Conference in the big game, Griffin will still participate in the Rising Stars game, a team source confirmed Wednesday.

The two teams will be selected by Shaq and Charles Barkley and Griffin will almost assuredly be the top pick. At least that's where I have him on my big board. The draft will take place on NBATV Feb. 16.

With Griffin playing in the Rising Stars game, that would likely cancel him out for the dunk contest, if what he said is true about doing less this season. Because last year in Los Angeles, Griffin did all three and was obviously worn out from the weekend. He hinted that he might consider the dunk contest when asked, but I wouldn't bet on it now. I'm actually a bit surprised he's playing in the Rising Stars game, really.

The game is on Friday, Feb. 24.

Posted on: February 8, 2012 2:53 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 4:05 pm

NBA releases Rookie/Soph 'player pool'

Posted by Royce Young

Irving leads the rookie class in this year's reformatted Rookie Challenge. (Getty Images)

The NBA's Rookie Challenge is getting a facelift this season. Instead of just matching up rookies against second-year players, there will be a "player pool" in which two general managers -- Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley -- to pick from. Which means the rookies and sophomores will be mixed.

The 18 players picked are (sophomores first): Blake Griffin, Landry Fields, DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Greg Monroe, Tiago Splitter, Evan Turner and John Wall. From the rookie class, Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio, MarShon Brooks, Brandon Knight, Kawhi Leonard, Markieff Morris, Tristan Thompson, Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams.

No Iman Shumpert is definitely a snub though. NBA assistant coaches are the ones who voted on this list of players.

If Griffin indeed is playing, as one report says he is, he's the obvious No. 1 overall pick but after that, it'll be a little interesting. I imagine John Wall will be taken second, but Irving and Rubio have a shot at it.

Here's my rookie/sophomore big board:

1. Blake Griffin - Obvious top player. A franchise cornerstone where in this case, the franchise is a one-game exhibition no one really cares about.

2. John Wall - Maybe not having the best season for the struggling Wizards, but in this format could be the best player on the floor.

3. Kyrie Irving - Irving is maybe actually All-Star material. You can't go wrong taking him second overall, but if Griffin plays, an Irving-Griffin tandem is likely.

4. Ricky Rubio - Whoever has the No. 2 pick will likely be forced to pull a Kahn and take two point guards with his top two picks. But you can't pass on Rubio. Plus, a Wall-Rubio backcourt makes enough sense.

5. Greg Monroe - Every team needs a skilled big man and Monroe is the class of the class.

6. Paul George - You probably haven't noticed yet, but George is having a breakout season.

7. DeMarcus Cousins - Lucky for whoever takes Cousins, this is only one game and things like "character" and "chemistry" don't really factor in.

8. Evan Turner - It's not hard to see Turner excelling in this game. Good passer and a steady shooting guard that can score off the dribble.

9. Kemba Walker - Walker's versatility gives him value. He could play point or off the ball. And I bet he'll try a crossover so nasty in this game that it breaks someone in the crowd's ankles.

10. MarShon Brooks - It wouldn't shock me if Brooks ends up the high scorer in this game.

11. Derrick Williams - His jumper hasn't been as good as advertised thus far and he hasn't sniffed a breakout moment yet, but Williams might feel more at home against guys his own age.

12. Gordon Hayward - Now you're getting to the point where you're going off name recognition.

13. Kawhi Leonard - A good defender really isn't something that valuable in this game, but Leonard has a pretty solid outside touch.

14. Tristan Thompson - This isn't an indictment on Thompson as a player to have him this low, but in this format, I don't think he'll be much more than an alley-oop target and someone to grab rebounds that come directly to him.

15. Brandon Knight - Who wants a fifth point guard on their team?

16. Landry Fields - Pretty much the same explanation for Leonard could go right here.

17. Tiago Splitter - The biggest big man that needs the ball on the block to be effective. So who wants the boring post player?

18. Markieff Morris - I assume this is the better Morris because he was named to the pool. Bragging rights!
Posted on: February 8, 2012 1:50 pm

Stoudemire to return to Knicks Monday

Posted by Royce Young

Amar'e Stoudemire left the Knicks Monday to be with his family in Florida after the tragic death of his brother. And he will remain there through the weekend.

According to the New York Post, Stoudemire will rejoin the Knicks on Monday meaning he'll miss three more games -- Wizards tonight, Lakers Friday and the Wolves Saturday.

The bad news for the Knicks, or good news if you're a Linsanity supporter, is that Carmelo Anthony will miss all those games as well healing a groin strain.

The Knicks appeared to sort of turn a corner in the last week led by Jeremy Lin who started his first game in a Monday win over the Jazz. Maybe this is an opportunity for the team to find a little chemistry with those role players. Build some confidence, gut out some wins together and then add the big guns back to the mix with some of the b-list guys playing better.

At least that's what Mike D'Antoni is hoping for.
Posted on: February 8, 2012 1:18 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 1:52 pm

Houston to host 2013 All-Star Game

Posted by Royce Young

The All-Star is returning to Houston for a third time.

David Stern announced on Wednesday in Houston that the city would be hosting the 2013 All-Star Game.

"Houston is a spectacular sports city, and for one week it will be the basketball capital of the world," Stern said. "NBA All-Star is a magnificent celebration of our game, and I want to thank the city and the Rockets for welcoming us once again.

"Houston's hosting capacites have been on display so much since then that it's a pleasure to bring the weekend back," Stern said.

Houston previously hosted in 2006 at the Toyota Center and 1989 at the Astrodome, which set a record at the time for most people to watch a basketball game live.

So that's right, Houston will host the game for a second time in seven years while a great city and venue like the Rose Garden in Portland has never hosted. Milwaukee hasn't hosted since 1977, New Jersey since 1982, Detroit since 1979 and Toronto has never hosted. And here the Rockets and Houston will get it for a third time, two coming in a seven-year span.

Karl Malone won MVP in 1989, finishing with 28 points and nine rebounds as the West defeated the East, 143-134 at the Astrodome. John Stockton finished with 17 assists, including an All-Star Game record nine in a single quarter, to lead the West to victory.

The 2006 game was one of the all-time best, with the East winning 122-120. LeBron James, who was 21 at the time, won the MVP with 29 points and six rebounds. Dwyane Wade won it for the East with a layup with 16 seconds left. Tracy McGrady, who was with the Rockets at the time, led all scorers with 36.

And if you remember, Saturday night featured Nate Robinson's controversial dunk contest win where he missed multiple slams before finally completing one to beat Andre Iguodala in the first ever dunk-off.

The weekend will be Feb. 15-17.
Category: NBA
Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:41 pm

Griffin not saying no to dunk contest yet

Posted by Royce Young

Blake Griffin says he'll make a decision on the dunk contest when he's asked. (Getty Images)

Blake Griffin said last week he wouldn't defend his dunk crown this All-Star Weekend in Orlando. But he's reconsidering. Or will consider when he's asked. Via the Orlando Sentinel:
"I'm not even really worried about it right now or thinking about it, to be honest," Griffin said after the Clippers finished their shootaround for their game tonight against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center.

"I haven't been approached yet, so we'll see what happens with that. We'll see what they're going to do, and I'll guess I'll make a decision."

Again, Griffin had already indicated he wouldn't participate saying, "As of right now I don't plan on being in it." But I guess he wants to just wait to make that call when he's formally asked.

"Last year was hectic and it kind of made it unenjoyable," Griffin said last week. "So this year, we'll see what will happen, but I will try to tone it down a bit and get a break instead of being so busy."

I highly doubt Griffin is actually reconsidering but he sort of is. I don't know what "we'll see what they're going to do" means, but that seems to have a factor in this decision.

Griffin obviously would be a major name to put in the contest and the league would love to have him. He's one of the top dunkers in the league in both numbers and style. He said before last year's dunk contest that he won that he's never lost a dunk-off in his life.

But Griffin could have a busy weekend coming his way as last Thursday, the NBA announced that Griffin, 22, was voted by the fans to the starting lineup of the Western Conference All-Star team. Which means if he did the dunk contest and even played in the Rookie Challenge, he'd have another full plate, which I'm sure he'd rather not have.
Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:22 pm

Kobe says he'd retire before going somewhere else

Kobe wants to retire a Laker. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

Kobe Bryant is 33 years old. But in basketball terms, he's older than that. He came straight out of high school into the NBA and has played in 1,128 games. That's a lot of games.

Retirement isn't on the horizon for Kobe, but it's certainly just over. He's had an incredible NBA career winning five rings and has just cracked the top five in all-time scoring. He could catch Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan on the list and if he really stretched out his career, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who he's about 9,500 points behind.

But he's not going to do that. Via an interview with ESPN:
How much more time do you think you have?
Kobe: It's interesting to me to hear people put the proverbial nail in the coffin. Very interesting. You think I'll hang around and average 19 points, 18 points and stuff like that? Hell no!

Can you imagine yourself in another uniform outside of a Lakers uniform?
Kobe: No.

So you'd retire before you went somewhere else?
Kobe: Why would I go somewhere else? That ship sailed in '07. ... I'm not going to jump ship to chase a sixth ring. I'm just not going to do it. It's either going to happen here or it's not going to happen. 

So in other words, he's not going to go the Jordan route. He's not going to come back to a team as an old man, average 18 games just with his post game and maybe make a playoff run. At least that's what he says. We'll see how Kobe feels when the reality has set in that he's not playing anymore.
Posted on: February 8, 2012 11:54 am
Edited on: February 8, 2012 12:04 pm

Perkins slams LeBron about his tweet on Griffin

Perkins didn't mind getting dunked on, he just didn't like the reaction. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

For almost 24 hours after Blake Griffin detonated a dunk over him, Kendrick Perkins trended worldwide on Twitter. Griffin's dunk changed Perkins' reputation from the tough guy in the paint to the guy that got posterized.

No bother to him though, he says. Via Yahoo! Sports:
"If I was in the same position, in the same rotation, I’m going to jump again and again and again,” Perkins told Yahoo! Sports. “I don’t care. A lot of people are afraid of humiliation or don’t know how to handle embarrassment or would even get embarrassed. I don’t care.

“I’m the same Perk you’re going to see. I’m still going to sign autographs the same way. I ain’t going to change. The people that move out the way and stuff are the people who have insecurity problems.

“That’s my job. How will my teammates look at me if next time I just back out the way and just let him dunk when I’m supposed to be defensive-minded, a shot-blocker? That would be a coward move on me. He’d just have to dunk on me again.”

One thing that did bother Perk though? LeBron James' reaction to Griffin's dunk. Specifically, his excited tweet about it that said, "Dunk of the Year! @blakegriffin just dunked on Kendrick Perkins so hard!!! Wow! I guess I’m No. 2 now. Move over #6.” LeBron of course talking about his dunk over John Lucas III.

Said Perkins:
"You don’t see Kobe [Bryant] tweeting,” Perkins said. “You don’t see Michael Jordan tweeting. If you’re an elite player, plays like that don’t excite you. At the end of the day, the guys who are playing for the right reasons who are trying to win championships are not worrying about one play.

“They also are not tweeting about themselves talking about going down to No. 2. I just feel [James] is always looking for attention and he wants the world to like him.”

One thing to note: I think the reason you don't see Kobe or Michael Jordan tweeting is because they aren't on Twitter. Just a theory.

But Perk's sour grapes here about LeBron seems a bit petty to me. A lot of players tweeted about Griffin's dunk, including Chris Paul, Magic Johnson and Kevin Love. I do see Perk's point though in that the way LeBron's tweet was worded makes it seem like LeBron is a tad vain.

The Heat play the Thunder March 25. That game was already must-watch, but it's got another storyline with it now. I think LeBron might try to Mosgov and Lucas Perkins all that the same time.

Posted on: February 7, 2012 10:21 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 1:13 pm

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 8

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

The Clippers have their hands full over the next six weeks. (Getty Images)

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the eighth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 6. This isn't really a knock against the current ranking, which is right in line with their performance to date, but a prediction of the certain trouble to come. The Clippers continue to have played well more home games (13) than road games (9) and that will catch up with them. The good news is that they are off to a nice start on their current road trip, having won the first two games, but things will get tougher with match-ups in Philadelphia and in Dallas and the loss of Chauncey Billups casts a big shadow over what will be a brutal March, when the Clips will play 20 games in 31 days, including six back-to-backs plus a back-to-back-to-back. Mo Williams is great, but he's only one man. In other words, just sell your stock in them now. There's nowhere to go but down. And Blake Griffin would do very well to keep his All-Star Weekend participation to a minimum. -- BG 

2. Too Low: San Antonio Spurs at No. 7. Here are the last five games for the Spurs: Memphis, Houston, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Memphis again -- all wins. The Spurs have climbed to the West's third seed and have done it with Manu Ginobili just a week or so away from returning. So to have them behind the Clippers, a team that potentially just lost their starting 2-guard for the season, doesn't seem right. The Spurs are playing like a top five team and are probably just finally getting stretched out. -- RY

3. Most Overrated: Orlando Magic at No. 13. I don't really care what the Magic do right now or what their record is. The sins of the past couple weeks are way too fresh in my mind to give them a top 15 ranking. They've scored in the 60s three times this season. Yeah, they won three of four last week but two of those included wins against Cleveland and Washington. The Magic will make the playoffs, assuming Dwight Howard doesn't get dealt, but this isn't a team to fear. There are simply too many issues. Good enough to beat the bad teams, average enough to beat some mediocre teams but not anywhere close to elite to beat the great teams consistently. -- RY

4. Most Overlooked: Memphis Grizzlies at No. 18. The Grizzlies have fallen a game under .500 and out of the West's top eight, but their losses in the past week were respectable. They whipped the Hawks but came up just short against OKC and San Antonio while the Celtics handled them. It's easy to completely start disregarding Memphis because of their record, but this team had a lot of preseason buzz for a reason. They need Zach Randolph back badly and when they get him, that's a group nobody will want to play in the postseason. Assuming they can do enough to get there. -- RY

5. Sure Thing: Indiana Pacers at No. 5. Through 24 games, the Pacers are right on track for their best case scenario. They're sitting pretty with potential homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference and they're right there in the mix for the No. 2 spot on the East charts. They'll likely fall somewhere in the 3-6 range but they've got a well-balanced roster that is going to make for a very tough out in the playoffs. Is Darren Collison the weak link? Expect more discussion to surround him. The Paul George / Danny Granger / David West combination could really be something come the postseason. -- BG

6. Wild Card: Denver Nuggets at No. 10. Once the West's No. 2 seed, the Nuggets are on a 3-game skid and just got the news they will be without forward Danilo Gallinari for a month. That's a big blow. The tough part in the West is that it doesn't take too many 3-game skids before you've dropped a number of playoff seeds, given how tightly things are wrapped up betwen spots four and 11. The really brutal news for the Nuggets is that 10 of their remaining 11 games in February are against Western Conference teams, including the Mavericks twice, the Grizzlies, the Thunder, the Clippers, the Spurs and the Blazers. Oof. -- BG
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com