Tag:Los Angeles Clippers
Posted on: July 5, 2011 2:18 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 2:30 pm
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2012 NBA Draft: Light at the end of the tunnel

A look at five top 2012 NBA Draft picks and where they might fit best in the NBA. Posted by Ben Golliver.

A confluence of factors made the 2011 NBA Draft one to forget. The one-and-done class was weak to begin with; there were only 3-4 players selected who are believed to possess eventual All-Star talent; the impending NBA lockout scared many top players into returning to school; there wasn’t an American-born center taken in the first round; two of the most talented international players (Enes Kanter and Bismack Biyombo) had very short resumes and another, Jonas Valanciunas, had a tricky contract buyout. On and on the list goes.

In that light, the 2011 NBA Draft was about assessing risk for bad teams. Which incomplete player fits best with our pieces? Which of these diamonds in the rough might pan out in the right circumstances?

The 2012 Draft couldn't be more different. Yes, we're 11 months away, but it's setting up as an evaluating of rewards rather than riches thanks to a crop that should be in the running for best class since 2003 brought LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and company. Considering that the NBA's lockout is now officially underway, the 2012 class serves as the perfect light at the end of the tunnel.

At first glance, there are arguably 10 prospects who could have been top five talents in this year’s draft. Why? Because the one-and-dones that stayed put – big-name stars like Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger – will converge with a very strong high school Class of 2011 – topped by Anthony Davis, James McAdoo, Michael Gilchrist, Austin Rivers and others. 

Here’s an early look at five top prospects and where their impact would be greatest.

harrison-barnes1. Harrison Barnes | Sophomore | UNC | SF | 6-foot-8, 210 pounds   

Barnes should headline the 2012 NBA Draft class and is the early favorite to go No. 1 overall. Despite falling short of preseason All-American expectations and starting slow as a freshman, Barnes came on strong over the second half of the season, averaging 21.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in March. He has all the tools to be an NBA All-Star and an elite scorer. He’s polished, smooth, has a pretty stroke, good size and a scorer’s self-confidence. After he gets a second season under his belt, Barnes should be ready to start from Day 1 and step in as a No. 1 scoring option from the get-go in 2012-2013. He understands the marketing side of the modern game and projects to be a franchise building block.

Best fit: If the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Bobcats are as bad as everyone expects them to be next season, Barnes serves as the potential savior.

2. Jared Sullinger| Sophomore | Ohio State | PF | 6-foot-8, 250 pounds

The No. 2 spot in next year’s draft is Sullinger’s to lose, although he’ll certainly have his share of challengers. A traditional low-post power forward, Sullinger shed questions about his weight to become the best freshman in the nation last season, averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Sullinger is strong and relentless, overpowering older players at the college level. Physically, he’s a throwback in this age of combo fours and he would be the consensus No. 1 pick next year if he were an inch or two taller and a few inches longer so that he could more comfortably play center. His productivity on the glass – and the offensive efficiency that goes with it -- is his top selling point. The biggest concern: Will he be subject to mismatches on the defensive end (too short to guard fives, too big to stay with combo fours on the perimeter)?

Best fit: Pair him with a lengthy shot-blocker. The Washington Wizards – with JaVale McGee -- or the Detroit Pistons – with Greg Monroe -- would allow Sullinger to do what he does best.

3. Anthony Davis | Freshman | Kentucky | PF | 6-foot-10, 220 pounds

The best word to describe Davis is “tantalizing.” At this point, despite a solid showing on the All-Star circuit, Davis is regarded more for his potential than his current ability. That’s to be expected given a well-documented growth spurt that has made him the most hyped American big man prospect since Greg Oden. While Davis is much skinnier and less overwhelming than Oden, he is significantly more mobile. He's also  extremely long and active around the basket on both ends. Kentucky is an ideal situation for him to develop: surrounded by future pros and not asked to do too much, Davis should have an excellent chance to make a big impact games during March Madness, even if he isn’t putting up overwhelming stat lines. There isn’t a team in the NBA that wouldn’t take him today based on the rarity of his physical package. If he continues to develop his strength and size, he has a very good shot to go No. 1 overall, even if he’s riskier right now than Barnes or Sullinger.

Best fit: Pairing Davis with a wide body, low-post presence would be his best-case scenario: Minnesota, next to Kevin Love, or Sacramento, alongside DeMarcus Cousins.

4. James McAdoo | Freshman | UNC | PF | 6-foot-8, 223 pounds

McAdoo is a supremely talented, although sometimes overlooked, combo forward who will likely play four as a pro. His skill level, comfort with the ball in his hands, nose for rebounds, ability to finish and general intelligence make him a can’t-miss prospect. A (very) distant relative of NBA Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo, he raised his profile on the All-Star circuit and declared at the Nike Hoop Summit that he was ready to average 20 points and 10 rebounds as a freshman at Carolina, a feat that would be unprecedented. With UNC returning so much talent, he’s in line for an adjustment of expectations but there’s no question that he was born to play basketball at the NBA level.

Best fit: The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t get the talented combo forward they desired in Derrick Williams in 2011. McAdoo would make a nice consolation prize. Pending a decision on Kris Humphries and a rumored free agency pursuit of David West, McAdoo would fit nicely next to Brook Lopez in New Jersey too.

5. Michael Gilchrist | Freshman | Kentucky | 6-foot-7, 205 pounds

NBA teams haven’t exactly shown a desire to reward elite wing defenders with top draft selections, but Gilchrist deserves it. He really redefines “motor” and “intensity,” making full use of his ideal wing size. He enjoys playing chest-to-chest defense but is comfortable off the ball as well, equally capable of taking a No. 1 scoring option out of the game or breaking plays from the weakside and finishing in transition. Other than an ugly release on his jumper, Gilchrist is a solid offensive prospect too, able to score and make plays, and fully comfortable with the ball in his hands.   

Best fit: Any team in need of an intensity injection. The Raptors, Wizards, Bobcats and Los Angeles Clippers all qualify.

All height and weight figures courtesy of DraftExpress.com.

Posted on: June 29, 2011 3:10 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 3:48 pm
 

2010-11 top 10 best moments

Posted by Royce Young



Some are saying the 2010-11 NBA season might've very well been the best in league history. History. What better way to top that off than with a debilitating lockout where players and owners haggle over money? Momentum!

But despite all the depressing lockout stuff, there's no doubt this past season was pretty special. It all started with a wild free agency period that was capped off with a one-hour special and a preseason celebration party in South Beach. It finished in that same place but instead with the Mavericks being the team that took their talents there.

It really was a pretty remarkable season. The NBA grabbed its highest ratings since the Jordan Era, had an amazing All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, saw the rise of a bundle of young players that will carry the league to great places over the next 10 years and had polarizing teams and figures that had people talking constantly. I don't know that 2010-11 was the best ever, but for sure, it was really darn good.

And what better way to send it off than arbitrarily trying to wrap it all together in a list of 10 neato plays? There's no better way, that's what.

There were some pretty difficult omissions. Like Paul Millsap's 11 points in 28 seconds. Or Emeka Okafor's crazy buzzer-beater. Or that one Brian Cardinal thing he did that one time. Like any top 10, there were some tough cuts and I'm sure you'll disagree. Regardless, here are my top 10 moments from the season and 10 really good reasons why a lockout would totally suck.

10. Touchdown, Wade to LeBron
LeBron was a wide receiver in high school at St. Vincent - St. Mary. But I don't think Dwyane Wade was ever a quarterback. This play is pretty much what people were dreaming about the second LeBron announced he was teaming up with Wade. Two incredibly skilled players with stupid amounts of ability hooking up for a ridiculous play. Hate the Heat all you want, but you know you loved this play.

9. Taj has a moment, or two
It started with one of the ultimate posters of the season. Two hands, right over Dwyane Wade. It was so dirty that even Wade's children were giving him grief over it. Then he went ahead and followed that up with a follow-up finish in punctuate Chicago's Game 1 Eastern Finals win. Every time I watch these two dunks it makes me want to scream like I'm Carlos Boozer.

8. Love sees 30-30
Really, the top Kevin Love highlight from this season is probably his failed high five with Wesley Johnson. But I'll just recognize Love here with his second best moment of the season -- the first 30-30 game in, well, about 30 years. Love humliated the Knicks with a 31-point, 31-rebound effort doing something that no one has done since Moses Malone. Just look at that again: 31 points, 31 rebounds. Love was pretty unreal all season but that is just really outlandish.

7. The game that never ends
With the stakes high, the Thunder and Grizzlies needed 63 minutes of basketball to settle Game 4 of the Western Semifinals. Memphis led the series 2-1 after Oklahoma City blew a big fourth quarter lead in Game 3. What's crazy is that Memphis led by 18 in the first half of this game.

But the Thunder held a seven-point fourth quarter lead and finally lost it after Mike Conley hit an impossible 3 over Kendrick Perkins. Then Grievis Vasquez doubled down on the insanity by dropping another game-tying 3 in the first overtime. Eventually Kevin Durant and the Thunder wore down Memphis and took the game 133-123 and used that to top the Grizzlies in seven to move on to the Western Finals.

6. Indiana starts the third 20 for 20
How does 54 points in a half sound? Pretty good, right? Well, what about 54 in a quarter? That sounds like a pretty good number for an entire game if you're the Butler Bulldogs.

The Pacers started the third quarter against Denver 20-20 and would've had a perfect quarter had Mike Dunleavy not missed with a couple seconds remaining. For a team though to hit 20 consecutive shots? An entire team? If I'm George Karl and the Nuggets, at that point I'm not even guarding them just to see how many in a row they can hit.

5. Reke, from pretty far out
It looked like O.J. Mayo had just hit a nasty backbreaker for Memphis against the Kings. The Grizzlies went up one with 1.5 seconds left and Sacramento didn't have any timeouts left. No bother for Tyreke though as he launched from behind the halfcourt line and drilled a game-winner as time expired.

Still though, the most impressive part of this is the sixth sense from Donte Greene. He's entirely on the court already celebrating before the shot dropped. What would he have done if it had missed? I guess he just knew it wouldn't.

4. Coming back is easy to do for Dallas
Worst thing you can do: Put the Mavericks in a double-digit hole in the fourth quarter. Dallas had already pulled off two impressive comebacks against the Thunder and Lakers, but its Game 2 triumph over the Heat is really what won the Mavs an NBA title. Trailing by 15 points late after a Dwyane Wade 3, the Mavs turned it on with Dirk scoring the team's final nine points in the last two minutes to steal a game in Miami and probably a trophy right out from under LeBron and the Heat.

3. I believe that I just saw a man fly
Don't get in J.R. Smith's way. He won't just dunk over you, he'll dunk through you. With two hands.

2. Durant, Haywood and oh my goodness
Magic Johnson said this was the greatest postseason dunk ever. And considering the circumstances -- Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals -- he might have a point. Durant's Thunder were off to a bit of a slow start against the Mavs and faced falling into an 0-2 hole. But Durant woke up the team by throwing down right over Brendan Haywood.

Durant picked up a technical after the dunk for having some words for Haywood, but if I were the officials, I'd have just kicked Durant and everyone else out, because he basically turned out the lights right there.

1. Blake Griffin



Take your pick. Over Mozgov. Over Gallinari. Over a car. Oops from Baron, oops from Bledsoe, oops from Mo. The 2010-11 regular season was really kind of the season of Griffin and how he took over the world with YouTube highlights. No player has made people buzz quite like Griffin. Night to night, you had no idea what might be coming. When Blake Mania was reaching its peak in January, I think we all thought he might dunk over Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol if Gasol was standing on Bynum's shoulders.

I still don't think we've seen the ultimate Blake Griffin highlight. And when it comes next year, that just means we'll have 2011-12's best moment. If there is one. Oh please for the love of James Naismith, let there be one.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 1:59 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 2:19 pm
 

76ers president Thorn admits to shopping Iguodala

Posted by Royce Young

You see it all the time. A player's name comes up in trade discussions, things start to pick up momentum with multiple reports coming out with said player's name attached and then, a denial. The front office comes out and says, "We love [said player] and aren't actively shopping him. Those reports aren't true." Two weeks later, the player is traded.

I think this is known as the Gilbert Arenas Rule.

Just last week, Warriors general manager Larry Riley pulled the same thing with Monta Ellis.

This time, a breath of fresh air. Sixers president Rod Thorn, instead of denying the trade rumors surrounding Andre Iguodala, pretty much straight up admitted it.

"Obviously, with all the speculation, there have been some conversations that have involved him. We've had conversations that have involved other players on our team, too. I wouldn't say that we initiate the majority of the conversations [about Iguodala], but maybe some of them," Thorn told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I talked to Andre about 3 weeks ago. He's used to the speculation. In my time here in less than a year, there's been a lot of speculation regarding him. He's a pro; I think it's part of the business. He's always said that he would like to stay. He's never said he'd like to be traded. Not to me."

Well done, Rod. We appreciate your quasi-honesty.

We all know Iguodala is on the block, so to deny it would just be silly. Iguodala's been on the block for a while now and, finally, his name is coming up in some real discussions involving the Clippers, Warriors and even Magic.

With the draft just a day away, I'm sure Iguodala will be paying close attention as he's certainly a candidate to be moved.
Posted on: June 10, 2011 9:27 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 9:47 pm
 

Dunleavy wins $13 million from Clippers' Sterling

Mike Dunleavy won $13 million in arbitration after Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling stopped paying him after he was fired. Posted by Bendonald-sterling Golliver.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is notorious for a lot of reasons. This season alone, he heckled his own players and brought women into the team's locker room to watch his players shower.

Above all else, though, Sterling is known for refusing to pay past employees, daring them to sue him to recover their unpaid earnings. Given the expense involved in launching such a suit, some lower-level employees have reportedly given up trying to recoup what is rightfully owed to them.

Former Clippers GM and coach Mike Dunleavy did not give up, however. After he was fired in March 2010, Dunleavy took the Clippers to arbitration to recover the rest of his compensation.

On Friday, the Los Angeles Times reports that the legal maneuver was successful and that he's about to get paid in full.
An arbitrator has awarded former Clippers general manager and coach Mike Dunleavy slightly more than $13 million in compensation. 

The Clippers had quit paying Dunleavy immediately after firing him last year, on March 8, and he was forced to take the organization to binding arbitration. He had been owed $6.75 million on the contract, $1.35 million for the remainder of the 2009-10 season and $5.4 million for the season just completed.

The award was for everything Dunleavy was owed under his contract, past compensation with interest and future compensation, according to those familiar with the ruling but not authorized to comment.
In typical fashion, Sterling's lawyers reportedly said they would "explore the team's various options" to challenge the arbitrator's decision.

Sterling was also sued by former executive Elgin Baylor for unlawful termination due to age descrimination this year,  but a Los Angeles jury unanimously rejected the case back in March.

So, I guess, you win some, you lose some.


Posted on: June 8, 2011 5:21 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 6:18 pm
 

Report: Kaman for Iguodala being talked about

Posted by Royce Young

First, it was Andre Iguodala for Monta Ellis. Now, a report from ESPN.com has the Clippers and 76ers talking about a Iguodala for Chris Kaman deal.

Alert: The Sixers would very much like to trade Andre Iguodala.

Iguodala is on the books through 2014 (he has an early termination offer) making about $44 million over the next three years. Kaman's contract expires after next season, and his salary lines up with Iguodala's, making a one-for-one swap possible.

Obviously, the attraction of this trade for Philadelphia is the expiring deal of Kaman, who would pull about $12 million off their cap after he expires. And don't forget: Kaman was an All-Star center two years ago. He battled injuries last year, but the guy is a productive seven-footer. Is he worth Iguodala straight up without the expiring deal? Of course not. But you're getting a quality, All-Star-ish center in exchange for a guy who may not really fit your roster.

For the Clippers, this deal is a beautiful thing. If I were them, I'd toss in whatever it took (within reason, of course) to make it happen. A starting five of Mo Williams, Eric Gordon, Iguodala, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan? That's a group you can win with. Plus, young talent like Eric Bledsoe and Al-Farouq Aminu will develop as well. I'd love to know why the Clippers would ever say no. Because this deal almost makes too much sense.

The Clippers would get a wing stopper and slasher to pair up with Griffin. Gordon already can handle primary scoring duties along with Griffin, and now you've got maybe the best perimeter defender in the league. You're more athletic, longer and a team that can win a lot more games in the 90s.

The Sixers made the playoffs with Iguodala playing a key role, but he's seemingly been on the block for months now. He just doesn't seem to fit quite right in Philadelphia, for whatever reason. And despite last season's successes, moving Iguodala appears to be part of an overreaching long-term building plan. More cap room to go along with more breathing space to develop younger guys like Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner, I guess. Not a terrible plan, but I'd at least ask for a draft pick or two to go along with it.

As is with so many trades that float out there in the world, this one probably will dry up within a few days. But it's an interesting deal to think about. And yet another sign that the Sixers are very much interested in moving Iggy.

Posted on: May 19, 2011 8:18 pm
 

Blake Griffin wants to be in this video game

Posted by Royce Young

It always makes me shake my head when I hear people say that Blake Griffin is boring and that he doesn't have any personality. Yes, he's a bit dry and doesn't really open up in front of the media, but don't judge a player just by the way he speaks to some reporter.

There's some video game coming out called "Rage" and they've enlisted Griffin to help market the game for them. Blake does a pretty terrific job making a case he should be in the game, even one-upping his dunk-over-the-car stunt. In this, he dunks over a live tiger. He didn't have a choir singing behind him while he did it, but still, it's good.

Posted on: May 18, 2011 2:22 pm
 

The complexity of the egg on the Clippers' face

The Clippers' pick won the lottery, but won't be going to L.A.. Could the Clippers have avoided surrendering the No.1 overall pick to Cleveland?

Posted by Matt Moore


So the Clippers' would have had the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, giving them a devastating combo of Blake Griffin and Kyrie Irving going forward, had they not traded it to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Mo Williams and to get out from Baron Davis' contract (in exchange for Mo Williams' contract). Except they wouldn't have, because that trade altered the Clippers season and landed them in the spot that gave Cleveland the No.1 overall. There was no way for the Clippers to know that they would have landed the top spot had they held on to the pick. But they did know it was possible, knowing they were lottery bound. So why didn't they top-three protect the pick, as is done so often in the NBA? 

Clippers' GM Neil Olshey told NBA.com:

“Protecting the pick was never an option,” L.A. general manager Neil Olshey told NBA.com. “There is no way to Monday morning quarterback this since our draft position wouldn’t have been the same had we not made the deal as I’m sure we would not have finished 11-11 post-trade without Mo Williams.“

Additionally, we had a 97-percent chance of sitting here tonight with Baron Davis taking up 25 percent of our cap, the eighth pick in a weak draft and no cap flexibility. Adding Mo Williams and $8.5 million in cap room gave us a better opportunity to become a playoff team next year than adding a seventh player under 23 with no NBA experience.”
via No Regrets For Clippers « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog.

When the lottery balls came up Cleveland last night, Olshey must have had a Charlie-Brown moment. "Good grief." It's true that the Clippers had no way of knowing they'd wind up in the top spot, and it's nearly certain that had L.A. not made the trade, they wouldn't have winded up in the lottery spot that gave Cleveland the pick. But at the same time, Cleveland's 2012 pick goes to the Celtics. The Clippers' best bet is to build around Blake Griffin with young talent. Mo Williams and Chris Kaman do not constitute as such. Even with Eric Bledose a promising young point guard, the Clippers need as much talent as they can get. Top 3 protecting that pick would have gotten them the best of both worlds, the cap relief they so desired, and that pick. Protecting the pick is something that happens in trades nearly every time, specifically to prevent this situation. Olshey's right that the Clippers received more in value than they gave up in the trade... at the time of the trade. But that won't help the continuing perception, despite Blake Griffin's brilliance, that the Clippers are still the Clippers, prone to do Clipper things.  
Posted on: May 17, 2011 3:18 pm
 

Grunfeld: Wall should've won Rookie of the Year

Posted by Royce Young

Blake Griffin was selected as the first unanimous Rookie of the Year since David Robinson in 1990. Griffin was spectacular not just in terms of highlight plays and dunks, but on the stat sheet too. There really was no question who the top rookie was this season.

But Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld thinks his man should've won the award. Grunfeld told the Washington Post that John Wall should've been awarded Rookie of the Year.

"He should’ve been rookie of the year, except for the rule of a second-year player being eligible ... “Last year, I think Blake did play in a couple of preseason games and he traveled with his team, so he got a feel first. But that’s the rule, and he was deserving, obviously. He had a tremendous year. I thought John had a terrific year, also.”

It was evidently pointed out to Grunfeld that both Larry Bird and David Robinson didn't play the first year they were drafted either and won Rookie of the Year. Grunfeld pointed out that Boston chose Bird without him declaring and that Robinson was serving in the Navy. So neither were actually with their respective teams.

Wall averaged 16.4 points and 8.3 assists in 69 games, was a near-unanimous choice for the all-rookie team and finished second to Los Angeles Clippers all-star forward Blake Griffin, the 2009 No. 1 pick, for rookie of the year.

Grunfeld's not the only person to take the stance that Griffin shouldn't have been eligible. A writer from the New York Post boycotted the voting because he felt that an ineligible player was on the ballot.

My take? All of that is pretty silly. Why should Griffin be eliminated from contention when an injury is what removed him? He didn't play a game so why wouldn't he be a rookie? Sure he got to travel and practice some, but was that really all that advantageous? Griffin was indeed part of a different draft class than Wall. I understand the argument. But in terms of definition, Griffin was a rookie player. This was his second season, but he was still a rookie.
 
 
 
 
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