Posted on: October 15, 2010 3:42 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2010 5:55 pm
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger discusses the tech debate, Amar'e Stoudemire's MSG debut, the Celtics' depth, and the continuing MeloDrama about Carmelo Anthony.
Posted by Matt Moore
Each week we'll be bringing you five questions for our own Ken Berger of CBSSports.com about the inside happenings of the league. This week, Ken talks about the Celtics' depth, this ridiculous tech debate, and drops some knowledge on the latest happenings in the Carmelo Anthony trade discussions. You can email your questions to the Friday 5 With KB at email@example.com or hit us up on Twitter at @cbssportsnba.
1. Obviously the big story this week is about the technical fouls and Kevin Garnett's ejection which you wrote about. Do you see the league trying to take this hard of a line when the season starts or will they back off to make sure we don't have Garnett tossed on opening night against Miami?
Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: Both sides are going to have to adjust and find some sort of middle ground. The NBPA put its cards on the table Thursday by threatening legal action over the league's clampdown on complaining. On one hand, this is a way for the union to force the league to make the next move and soften its stance. With the CBA showdown looming, I don't see that happening. In fact, by doing exactly what the league is trying to eliminate -- complaining -- the players may have actually caused the league office to dig in even harder on its desire to enforce the new rules. There's no comment or response from league executives yet regarding the players' lawsuit threat. I suspect the NBA will publicly ignore the players' complaint, but privately urge the officials to lighten up a bit. I think players, officials and fans will agree that blatant bullying and demonstrative complaining should result in a tech. It's unrealistic to think that spontaneous outbursts -- a fist pump, a clap, a shrug, and "and-one" gesture -- can be legislated out of the game. Another undesirable result of teeing up every player who disagrees with a call will be the shutting down of communication between players and refs. A little give-and-take is vital to keeping the game moving and letting the players feel as though they have a voice. Trying to force the players to clam up and become robots will only heighten their frustration, lead to more techs and ejections, and make for a bad, bad scene.
2. The other story this week is the continuing saga of the idiocy that is Gilbert Arenas. Flip Saunders talked about how disappointed he was in Arenas, and that seems like such a shame because Saunders has gone out of his way to try and embrace Arenas back into the fold. Is this going to to renew the Wizards' efforts to move him, no matter how difficult that may be?
KB: The problem is this: Washington's best chance to trade Arenas would be if he proved right away that he's OK mentally and physically. He's 0-for-2 so far -- faking an injury and getting fined, and then actually getting hurt in the very next game. So until Arenas can stay on the court, tone down the distractions and prove that he's still capable of playing at an All-Star level, the Wizards are stuck with him and the $80 million he's owed. He has to do that consistently; I'm told that any teams that may be interested in taking a chance need to see a body of work consisting of at least a month or two with effective play and no shenanigans before they'll be willing to consider it.
3. Amar'e certainly looked good against the Celtics, even during the brief period Garnett was on the floor. Raymond Felton seems to be struggling with him in the pick and roll, but is it possible that Stoudemire (gasp) actually doesn't need Steve Nash in order to be a top flight power forward in this league?
KB: You're right. If he stays healthy, Stoudemire will put up immense numbers in New York. Mike D'Antoni's offense has been like a giant fan with nowhere to blow the air. Stoudemire is the outlet the system has been craving. It will take time for Felton and Stoudemire to achieve anything that resembles chemistry; and it hasn't helped that Felton embraced his new team, new power forward and new system by showing up barely a week before camp, and overweight, at that.
4. Boston's depth seems like it's going to be better than it has been in years. If that's the case, they're going to rest starters even more than last year, right?
KB: That's the plan, but Doc Rivers is ready for the plan to change. The players he's most concerned with health-wise aren't Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. They're the role players, such as the role players named O'Neal. Rivers already has admitted publicly that it's unrealistic to think the Celtics can make it through the regular season without injuries. Once Kendrick Perkins comes back, Jermaine O'Neal will go to the bench, but he won't be any less susceptible to aches and pains. I think if Doc could shave a minute or three off Pierce's and Allen's averages from last season -- 34 and 35, respectively -- he'd feel good about it going into the postseason. Keeping Garnett around 29 minutes -- his average last season -- is probably about right, given that he's healthier than he was at any point in 2009-10. The big concern is with the aging bigs. Doc is going to have to be careful with anyone named O'Neal.
5. The Blazers got outed this week as one of the failed participants in the last gasps of the Carmelo four-way. Miller's got to be getting tired of being on the block, especially after only a little more than a year with Portland. Is that situation going to go anywhere any time soon?
KB: The Melo talks never stopped; they've just quieted down. New Jersey has continued to engage in discussions with Denver, though there's been little progress over the past week or so. Rarely does a low-profile front-office hire have a major impact on a franchise-shaping decision, but the Nuggets' hiring of cap whiz Pete D'Alessandro will greatly streamline the Melo negotiations once they Heat up again. One of the biggest problems for teams dealing with Denver was that new GM Masai Ujiri had never put together a trade of such magnitude. His strength is personnel; with Mark Warkentien out of the picture, the Nuggets had nobody well-versed in the complexities of structuring complicated trades. D'Alessandro's knowledge of the CBA and his relationships with other deal-makers around the league will breathe new life into the Melo talks. There may still be philosophical hangups among Denver's convoluted power structure, but at least there will be someone involved who has experience navigating the minefield of NBA trade rules. The Nuggets, Nets, Jazz and Bobcats were close enough to agreeing on a deal that a little tweaking here or there by someone with a strong background in such things would've pushed it to the finish line. It's only a matter of time before it gets to that point again. And once it does, a significant obstacle to completing the original deal won't be a factor anymore.
Posted on: October 14, 2010 9:43 am
Posted by Royce Young
Posted on: October 12, 2010 2:14 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Interior depth is an issue for the 2010-11 version of the New York Knicks. Example 1: Rookie and Euro import Timofey Mozgov has been named the starting center as announced by coach Mike D'Antoni. Who did he beat out? Ronny Turiaf and Eddy Curry. So that should tell you something.
However, Mozgov's offseason signing with the Knicks was mostly overlooked, especially up until the Russian rookie flashed some ability in the World Championships in Turkey. In the Worlds, Mozgov averaged 13.0 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game while playing just 20.5 minutes an outing. He shot over 63 percent from the floor and notched 13 points and four rebounds against Team USA.
But who is Timofey Mozgov? (Yes, that's Timofey with an "f".) He's 24, 7'1 and 250 pounds. Around the basket, he's excellent. And by "around the basket" I mean, like underneath it. Once Mozgov starts stepping away from the tin, he's less and less effective. I'm not even trying to make a joke here, but in Turkey if he was five feet out, he probably wasn't scoring.
That's not to say he doesn't have a chance. He moves well for his size, has nice hands and his footwork is getting there. The Knicks obviously are going to want to run and for a seven-footer, Mozgov moves well. His primary job will likely be to clear the glass on the defensive end, outlet and then prod along up the court. Playing next to Amar'e Stoudemire, Mozgov won't be a focal point of any of the Knicks' offensive sets, but he could get some easy looks when teams double Stoudemire.
It's good to hear D'Antoni is going with the younger project center to try and develop some talent from within. Mozgov may be a work in progress but he does have upside. His first start in his new role will come Wednesday at Madison Square Garden against Shaquille O'Neal and the Celtics.
Posted on: October 8, 2010 10:10 am
Posted by Royce Young
Posted on: October 6, 2010 1:51 am
Edited on: October 6, 2010 9:41 am
ESPN plans to broadcast Heat game on ESPN 3D, take overhyped team into overhyped technology scope.
Posted by Matt Moore
Just in case you haven't had enough of the Miami Heat in two dimensions, you'll be able to get them in the third for the first time. The New York Times reports that ESPN will broadcast the first 3D NBA game on December 17th , between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat. The network will air the game on their newest venture, ESPN 3D, not to be confused with ESPN 3, their online component, or ESPN 8: The Ocho . From the Times :
Steve Hellmuth, the N.B.A.’s executive vice president for operations and technology, acknowledged that these experiments produced mixed results. He said producers were still determining how best to shoot games in a way that maximized the advantages of the medium. For basketball, Hellmuth said, this would probably mean fewer of the high, wide shots common in standard broadcasts, and more shots from the “low-slash position,” captured from a camera at the corner of the baselineOh, so the game will actually have its own look and feel. Neat. We're pretty excited about this. In fact, we've already put together a list of things we're excited to see in 3D for the first time in this game:
Posted on: October 4, 2010 9:39 am
Edited on: October 4, 2010 9:42 am
Posted by Royce Young
Posted on: September 30, 2010 11:01 am
Edited on: September 30, 2010 12:38 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Chris Paul already spent his time under the burning spotlight of speculation and rumor. He knows what that's like. But he made a commitment to stay in New Orleans (for now) and he intends to try and build a winner.
That doesn't mean he wants to build a winner by himself though. As one source told Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Paul sent word to Carmelo Anthony about teaming up together in New Orleans.
Stein spoke with Paul for a nice big feature and that was a topic that CP3 passed over. He waved off the report that he "playfully" suggested during a wedding toast at Carmelo's reception that Melo join him and Amar'e Stoudemire to form their own superteam.
Paul denied the Hornets were in the mix for Anthony, said he wasn't jealous of the trio in Miami and about switching to Leon Rose of CAA he said, "It was just time."
Just because Paul called up Carmelo and said, "Hey, you should come down here and play with me!" doesn't mean anything close to that is happening. The Hornets don't really have near the assets the Nuggets are looking for. A trade of David West, Marcus Thornton and Peja Stojakovic's expiring contract would be decent, but it's not in the ballpark that Denver's looking for at this point.
Besides, a lot of this Melo speculation stems from him wanting the big, bright market for him and his new wife LaLa Vasquez to be able to bask in the lights and make tons of money. I'm not sure if New Orleans exactly qualifies for that.
Now could Anthony wait until next summer and sign in New Orleans? Definitely. That's a possibility. How realistic? I'm not sure. Again, is New Orleans somewhere Anthony is willing to settle into long term?
But as rumored earlier in the week, Carmelo doesn't want to go to his next destination alone and was potentially determining if Paul could join him in two years. If Anthony went to New Jersey, the Nets would certainly have the space to grab CP3 when he's a free agent in 2012. As for New York? That's a bit dicier.
And here's a third scenario just for fun that probably even Carmelo hasn't thought of: Re-up in Denver and in 2012, the Nuggets would have all the necessary cap space to sign Chris Paul. But nah, let's not think about that one. That's no fun.
Posted on: September 27, 2010 2:33 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 2:37 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
It's a season of change, and the Suns are dealing with some pretty big ones. They lost a huge part of their bench mob in Louis Amundson. They lost a pivotal speed player who's been there for years in Leandro Barbosa. And oh, yeah, they lost some Amar'e guy. So there's a lot for them to process as camp starts with new additions. Here's what's going on as the Suns try and adjust to Year 1, Post-STAT.
Training camp site: San Diego, CA
Training camp starts: Sept. 28
Key additions: Josh Childress (free agency), Hedo Turkoglu (trade), Hakim Warrick (free agency), Gani Lawal (draft)
Key subtractions: Leandro Barbosa (trade), Amar'e Stoudemire (free agency)
Likely starting lineup: Steve Nash (PG), Jason Richardson (SG), Hedo Turkoglu (SF), Hakim Warrick (PF), Robin Lopez
Player to watch: Hakim Warrick. Warrick has never really impressed anyone with his play. He's been good, he can dunk, but he's never blown anyone away. He's also never had Steve Nash working with him in the pick and roll. That's a huge step. He needs to work on his defense and finishing like Amar'e did with his athleticism if he wants to get a starting spot, because Turkoglu will likely get a lot of time there, as weird as that is. Warrick also needs to work on his mid-range game to be more of a threat all over the floor.
Chemistry check: This team likes one another, but there are a lot of new faces in the locker room, and some come with egos. With the loss of Louis Amundson and several players looking for extensions, you have to wonder if distractions will be a problem from the get-go.
Camp battles: The entire frontcourt. Robin Lopez probably has the biggest lock on the starting gig at center, but Channing Frye may push him as he did last year. Josh Childress, Grant Hill, Hedo Turkoglu, Hakim Warrick, Jared Dudley, and Earl Clark will battle it out for the 3 and 4 slots (with Childress likely to spend a lot of time at backup shooting guard). They've got a lot of weapons, a lot of versatilty, and no clear-cut leaders at those positions. Should be a fun competition.
Biggest strength: They're still the Suns. Even with the Amar'e bullet out of the chamber, they've got athletic guys who can run, shoot, and score. They work hard and are lead by one of the best point guards in NBA history. The formula has proven to work. The pieces aren't huge downgrades outside of the loss of Stoudemire, and they're used to overcoming adversity. They'll also still be entertaining as all get-out.
Glaring weakness: Super-punch. They lack a superstar outside of Nash. That's going to be hard to compete with in the Western Conference. Someone has to make a huge step if they want to make the playoffs again.