Tag:Phoenix Suns
Posted on: October 15, 2010 9:55 am
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Shootaround 10.15.10: Good and bad places

Dwight Howard thinks the new rule has its place, Monta Ellis' wife is keeping him in the right place, Andre Blatche needs a new place, and Al Jefferson is getting into a good place, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore

So while the Union's suing and the Celtics are freaking out, Dwight Howard has come out and said that in regards to the new tech rules, "They want us to cut down on talking to the refs, as hard as that may be. We've adjusted to everything else that's put out there. So we'll adjust." That's right. The guy that watches cartoons, does funny voices, and is pretty much known as a big kid, he's the one who's being grown up about this. The world's gone mad. Dwight Howard is in a place where he can have perspective and Kevin Garnett is not. What is happening?

Marvel Comics is teaming up with ESPN and the NBA for a series of promotional spots . Does it bother anyone else how much the league is marketing towards the storyline of LeBron leaving Cleveland? Don't get me wrong, I've been softer on James than others because if you asked me if I wanted to go work somewhere nicer with two of my friends with a greater chance of success, I'd probably do it too. But rubbing Cleveland's nose in it constantly for marketing purposes and playing into their spurned response seems exploitive.

Monta Ellis is in a much better place emotionally and mentally. Why? Dude got married and his wife, a lady cop, has him in line. I can understand where Ellis is coming from, as I'm sure a lot of men can. You have your wilder 20's, jacking up shots and riding mopeds, and then you get married and that stuff gets thrown out. This would be better if she were a segway cop or something. Still, it's good to see Ellis in a better place.

Mike Wells of the Indy Star reports that both Dahntay Jones and Solomon Jones are on the block as the Pacers try and move for a big man.

TruthAboutIt.Net's Kyle Weidie is more concerned with Andre Blatche at the moment than Gilbert Arenas. Blatche boosted his stock immensely last year with some solid play on the blown-up Wizards. But he thinks of himself as a primary scoring threat, not as a complimentary piece, and has big chemistry issues. If they can get him on the market and get a good player to put next to Wall for him, they should move, and quickly.

Alvin Gentry is telling his team that if they want to be succesful this year, they're going to have to be a "GREAT" defensive team . This for a team that had a worse defensive rating than any of Mike D'Antoni's years. Even if you think Amar'e was the problem (and he wasn't), good luck with that, coach.

Sasha Vujacic suffered a concussion in practice and is out indefinitely. Perhaps he was confused on what being "unconscious" from the arc meant.

In case you missed it last night , you need to see John Wall destroying the Bucks in 40 secons. For real.

Mike D'Antoni called Anthony Randolph a "stat magnet. " If only that magnet wasn't similarly charged to that of a "high basketball IQ magnet" because Randolph seems to repel that idea. Many, Knicks fans especailly, hope this is the season that changes. He can be an absolute game-changer when his head's in the right place.

And finally, just a small basketball note. If you caught last night's Jazz game you saw this, but if you didn't, Al Jefferson looked really good. Even with an out-of-shape Deron Williams working with him, Jefferson was hitting from all over the floor and attacking the glass on both sides of the ball. Defensively he's still figuring the system out, but things are looking tremendously good for Utah's new acquisition.


Posted on: September 13, 2010 4:32 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2010 11:10 pm
 

Report: Cleveland hires Suns' Griffin

Report: Suns VP joins post-LeBron building project after turning down Nuggets' GM job.
Posted by Matt Moore


David Griffin has been quite the hot commodity this summer, and it would appear the Cavaliers were hot enough to land him. Ric Bucher of ESPN reports that the Cavaliers have hired Griffin as their new Vice President of Basketball Operations , the same role he's held in Phoenix since 2007. The role carries with it an increase in prestige as Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert is known to be more supportive and less fiddling than Suns' owner Robert Sarver. He'll join Chris Grant who was recently extended as General Manager after taking the interim reins following the departure of Danny Ferry. Griffin takes over the job of Lance Blanks who left in the great exodus pre and post "The Decision." Got all that? It's a little bit like a soap opera, only with poor drafting choices and salary cap management.

Griffin turned down an offer from the Denver Nuggets this summer to become their main man in charge, a position that was eventually given to Masai Ujiri, who now gets to wait for Carmelo Anthony to decide he's done watching tennis matches and ready to talk about his job. Bucher reports that Griffin turned down the Nuggets' position because it was substantially below the $1 million benchmark for GMs. If that aspect is true, it paints a disturbing picture for Nuggets fans who face a new regime with Josh Kroenke, son of principal owner Stan Kroenke taking over operations with the elder Kroenke gaining ownership of the NFL's St. Louis Rams. Those kinds of sub-standard offers make obtaining top talent difficult, even if the practice doesn't extend to the team's roster itself.

Cleveland meanwhile gets one of the remaining architects of one of the more succesfull franchises over the past decade. Griffin had been with the Suns off and on since 1993. You have to wonder after all the changes the Suns have seen with the departures of Amar'e Stoudemire, Steve Kerr, and now Griffin, if the ship will be steady as Steve Nash prepares to sail into the sunset in the next few years.
Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:15 am
Edited on: September 9, 2010 11:42 am
 

Shootaround 9.9.10: Dwight grants a big wish

Rodman's overheard orgy, Artest's ring on the market, and Bogut's MRI.
Posted by Matt Moore
Get your Kleenex ready. The Orlando Sentinel  reports of a visit from Dwight Howard to a woman dying of Stage 3 Multiple Myeloma. The one wish from a dying woman? A visit from the Orlando All-Star. It's a touching story, one that wound up with Howard being the one changed by the visit. Howard is in a unique position for these types of life-changing events. His relationship with his faith may come under constant scrutiny because of his fame, but it also equips him for times like these, comforting a woman on her way out with laughter and compassion.

Ron Artest is selling his championship ring , for charity, before he even has a chance to wear it. NBA.com reports that Artest will sell the ring without putting it on in a fundraiser to help put more mental health professionals in school. This comes on the heels of Artest working in schools to promote good mental health. It's indicative of a drastic reversal in public perception, with Artest going from being considered crazy in the negative, non-serious sense to really putting himself forward as a champion for the cause of mental health intervention. Standing "O" for Crazy Pills.

Dwyane Wade is in court this week for the custody case of his children. His lawyer is recommending custody for Wade, obviously, and there's a lawyer for the boys with three recommendations in play. All three recommendations feature Wade in a custody position to some degree. It would appear the talk of family being important for Wade is talk that's being walked, in this instance.

Depressing news out of Sacramento , as police are investigating vandalism of a Kings mural with a swastika that may be related to Kings' Israeli player Omri Casspi. Seriously, folks. We can move past this, right? The vandals really should watch the kid pass in transition. It's hard to hate him after that.

Andrew Bogut is seeing a hand specialist and having an MRI done . Nothing to worry about, really. After all, there's still like, two weeks before training camp...wait, that's not much time at all. Dang.

So Dennis Rodman? Yeah, he went to a party, and was MC'ing, and then left his microphone on when he went upstairs. That's embarrassing. Wait, what's that you say? He was upstairs having sex with six women? What's the word I'm looking for here? Oh, yeah. Icky. But hey, good to know that just like his playing days, Rodman is hyper-efficient. At least those guests that overheard him on the microphone downstairs can cross "eavesdrop on Dennis Rodman in an orgy" off their bucket list.

Spain fell to Serbia yesterday, in a minor upset. Here's how Spain unraveled . It was a shocking loss for Spain, and for those that believe that Ricky Rubio can actually walk on water, part the seas, and hit a jumpshot.

A look back at Dwight Howard's career nights . It's posts like this that make you think twice before criticizing his play too much.

If you have Raptor fan friends, prepare for them to be a grumpy bunch next season . They're gaining a great scorer (as he's shown in World play) in Linas Kleiza, but they're worried about his usage. They have a dynamic scorer in Andrea Bargnani, who, quite honestly, they hate because he doesn't rebound. There's just a lot of bad blood there right now.

I can answer this question . Does Luke Harangody have a role with the Celtics? Sure. Someone's gotta be mascot.

Jared Dudley is resigned to a good-faith situation with the Suns. That rarely works out well in the A. 
Posted on: August 25, 2010 12:01 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2010 9:14 am
 

NBA Pop Quiz: What teams might take a tumble?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

  What teams are set for a drop in success?

Maintaining excellence for an extended period of time in professional sports isn't easy. Even the big spending, big market clubs have to make the right moves, retain players and keep putting a product on the field or floor that can win.

There are ebbs and flows with teams every season and in the NBA this year, we might begin to see a little shuffling with some of the familiar successful faces moving down the line in the standings while others move up.

So who could be moving down? Who might be dropping off a bit in 2010-11? Here are four candidates:

Phoenix Suns
It seems like every year, we're all waiting for this to happen. But every year Steve Nash defies the laws of aging, has a terrific season and keeps the Suns moving. But there was a constant variable in all of those seasons the Suns saw success - Amar'e Stoudemire. For the first time in eight years the Suns will be without Stoudemire, a player that worked perfectly in Phoenix's up-tempo style and Nash's pick-and-roll ability. Now in 2005 the Suns were without Stoudemire who underwent microfracture surgery, but that was with Nash still in his prime and with a ton more depth.

This time, the Suns replace Stoudemire with Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick, two capable players but obviously not to the caliber of Amar'e. If Phoenix intends to stay in the top tier of the West, a player with have to elevate his game. Maybe that's youngster Earl Clark. Maybe Robin Lopez continues his improvement. Maybe Warrick becomes the new Amar'e playing alongside Nash. Hedo Turkoglu is a new addition, but judging by his play in Toronto last year, he might not be a big help.

Phoenix will still be a good team and a likely playoff team, but with Nash's age and the downgrade in talent on the roster, the Suns might be looking at the beginning of the end.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Didn't they lose someone? Oh right, Delonte West and Shaquille O'Neal. Talk about starting over, you guys. Oh yeah, and that other guy too.

The Cavs are at an impasse they didn't see coming. Others might have seen the writing on the wall with LeBron, but The King's departure was a brick in the face to Cleveland fans everywhere. Any time you lose the face of your team, the face of the league and the best player on the planet, you're rebuilding by default.

The Cavs do have some quality players still, because instead of laying dynamite around the roster, the Cavs have decided to try and strive for mediocrity. And in the East, most of the time average is enough to get to the postseason. But this is a team that had won 60 games the last two seasons. The Cavs lost their star, their coach and their general manager. It's a time to start over for the Cavs and Anthony Parker and Joey Graham probably aren't going be the pieces that maintain the regular season excellence in Cleveland.

Toronto Raptors
Bryan Colangelo tried. He tried to shuffle things around and put together a respectable roster after the loss of Chris Bosh that could possibly stay where they were. But let's face it: Even with Bosh, the Raptors weren't exactly in the upper echelon of the East. With a failed trade for Tyson Chandler that would've moved Jose Calderon and a mishap in trying to sign Matt Barnes left the Raptors with a young roster that will struggle to win games.

Colangelo did do himself a favor by moving Turkoglu's contract, but he also gave Amir Johnson too much money and trading Marco Belinelli for Julian Wright doesn't do much for anyone. Toronto may be in the basement in the East and while it's not like they're falling from the top of the East, the Raptors are likely headed for a drop.

Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets aren't actually on this list... yet. But they will be, if (or when) they lose Carmelo Anthony. Reality is, any time you trade a superstar, you never get an equal return. I mean, how could you? Who's going to give back a top 5-8 player in the league or three players that equal Anthony's ability?

If Denver hangs on to Anthony for the season, it'll be business as usual for the Nuggets. They'll be good, they'll make the playoffs and will have a chance to advance a few rounds. But if they lose 'Melo, then it'll likely be a trip into mediocrity for Denver. The team hasn't enough talent in Nene, Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin to stay afloat, but in the West where it's win 50 or stay home the last two weeks of April, it would be tough for the Nuggets to do that. And of course reports are that J.R. Smith might be moving out as well. The Nuggets are facing a potential restructure, and while the roster is in tip-top shape now, it likely won't be come November.

Posted on: August 24, 2010 9:31 am
 

Shootaround 8.24.10: Heisley goes Vesuvius

Heisley blows up, Bosh says no to loyalty, and Nate McMillan's on the hot seat in today's Shootaround...Posted by Matt Moore

Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley went on the radio yesterday and had himself quite the little adventure. Among his more interesting answers, besides calling host Chris Vernon "partner," and "son" several times, Heisley admitted that he has not read the CBA, and was therefore previously unaware of the clause that allows for negotiating with rookies on incentive-based bonuses. This is toally okay for an owner who simply signs the check and directs the front-office, but not so much one who makes the majority of basketball decisions. Having listened to the whole interview, I can tell you it was, in fact, an abject trainwreck.

SI's been close with Chris Bosh, and did another interview with him this week. The soundbyte you'll want to take note of is that he thinks loyalty has no place in free agency. Which was, you know, kind of apparent to begin with.

Nets Are Scorching looks at how Derrick Favors could make the difference in the Nets breaching the playoffs. This is akin to looking at how your place kicker can help win you a Super Bowl.

Is there any player with a wider range of possible results this season outside of Greg Oden than Hakim Warrick? In Phoenix, in a system that produces great players beyond their talent alongside Nash, with a host of magical trainers, Warrick could make significant leaps forward. Or, he could be Hakim Warrick. At least he's excited and ready to work .

Blazers edge says this is a "make or break year" for Nate McMillan.

Beyond the Beat takes a look at players' reactions to the famous masks they've had to wear for facial injuries. That's nto a metaphor. We're talking actual masks.

Bucksketball is worried about chemistry with the Bucks. They have the talent, but the personalities is the concern.

Is Will Bynum going to wind up starting ? Really?
Posted on: August 20, 2010 8:53 am
Edited on: August 20, 2010 8:54 am
 

Shootaround 8.20.10: Grant Hill, tambourine man

Carmelo and LeBron's loyalty, Greg Oden's return timeline, and Grant Hill is a tambourine man.
Posted by Matt Moore


Troy Murphy is thrilled to be playing for the Nets. And he should enjoy this opportunity. For a full season. Because when his contract expires, he likely won't be able to enjoy the beautiful vistas of New Jersey unless it's on vacation.

No wonder everyone freaked out when Anderson Varejao was injured. The video of the injury was signficantly worse than the result. X-Rays and MRIs were negative, and he's day-to-day for Brazil. Odds are that won't make the Cavs feel totally fine with Varejao playing so much this summer.

Basketbawful points out how a delightful quote from Carmelo that harkens back to another person that claimed loyalty to his team: LeBron.

You know the best way NOT to use PER as a useful statistic? Compare those whose PER is similar to a player to conclude that player should take more shots. The end result? Don't try and tell Amir Johnson to take more shots. That just won't work out well. I'm a numbers guy, and even I know I don't need a formula for that.

I'm not saying this is the last time you'll see Daniel Orton in a Magic uniform this year . I am saying this very well might be the last time you'll see Daniel Orton in a Magic uniform this year.

My favorite listing of things Phoenix Suns did this summer ? Grant Hill played tambourine on his wife's album. Yeah.

There is no time frame , at least publicly, for Greg Oden's return. I'm sure this makes Blazers fans feel just fabulous. Oden's also off the radar and his trainer isn't talking. The only time you don't share that kind of information is if either the news is not good, or you're trying to take what is perceived to be too much pressure of an injury-prone guy that's struggling to get back.

An appeal to approve the application for Wilt Chamberlain to have his own stamp .

There is so much "UGH" about this .

Derrick Rose likes Skittles so much they sent him his own custom Skittles vending machine . It has every type of Skittles ever made. According to sources, his mom is really worried he'll ruin his appetite before dinner.

Posted on: August 18, 2010 9:04 am
 

Shootaround 8.18.10: Louuuu!

Pierce wants help, Wall won't get that many buckets, and the Suns have the pick but no roll in today's edition of the shootaround. Posted by Matt Moore

Paul Pierce says the Celtics need one more piece , specifically a wing to come in and relieve him. He doesn't sound thrilled with the team losing Tony Allen, specifically. How they'll fill that hole is an entirely different question, if at all. Allen played a pretty specific role (and honestly didn't play it all that well prior to the second half of last season). Furthermore, Pierce's statement serves as a significant knock agasint Marquis Daniels, who's supposed to particularly be just that for that for the Celtics.

The Warriors, Hornets, and Pacers are in pursuit of Lou Amundson, the Phoenix big man who found the team didn't have room for him after their replacement moves this summer. The Warriors are the easy option, a nice market and a fun way to play. But it also provides the least chance to win. The Pacers are likely to be a fun team, full of speed and versatility (much like the Suns last season), but it's not clear if Amundson (28) wants to be the veteran presence on a team. That leaves the Hornets, who will play a much slower pace than he's used to most likely. The fact is that the best situation for Amundson was Phoenix, who really did need him. But hey, when Hakim Warrick comes available...

John Wall is a near-lock to lead all rookies in assists next year. But how's his scoring going to be? Bullets Forever takes a look at the issue and finds that Wall's top three options are heavy-usage players that don't necessarily score a lot off of assists. So not only will Wall's scoring be lower than expected, but similarly his point totals may not wow the eye either. There's a solution, here, ditching Gilbert Arenas for cheap fluff, but no one wants to hear that option in Washington (or they believe that no one will take Arenas period).

A perfect example of what advanced metrics can do? A block is a block right? Except some blocks have more value than others , and the number of blocks you make impact the overall value of all of your blocks. So a block is not just a block.

Kendrick Perkins is targeting February for a return . Which is awkward, because that means if the Celtics find themselves surprised by a lack of center depth (despite Jermaine O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal), they're not going to have much time to make that assessment if they need to make a trade.

The NCAA president wants to see baseball-like rules for the NBA's draft guidelines. This would mean players can go to the NBA straight out of high school, but if they elect to go to college, they must stay for three years or until they're 21. An interesting idea, but as John Krolik points out , one fraught with complications. An additional question is where the NBA D-League would play in this process, and if it would help bridge the gap. Either way, it's unlikely for this option to be adopted, given the economic realities.

Jerry Buss isn't lacking for confidence when it comes to the Lakers' chances against the Heat. The list of people actually admitting fear or even legitimate respect for the Heat is pretty small, for some reason.

The pick-and-roll has been the cornerstone of the Suns' offense for years. And yet looking at their options , the Suns may be looking at a lot more pick-and-pops than rolls. Robin Lopez may be their only hope.


Posted on: August 16, 2010 8:49 am
 

Shootaround 8.16.10: Chicken and the egg edition

News and links to set the NBA table, brought to you daily...
Posted by Matt Moore

Lance Stephenson's impressive performance in Summer League was enough to make you think maybe all the talk of him being a knucklhead was overblown. Whoops. Stephenson allegedly threw his girlfriend down a flight of stairs Sunday. The question of whether the acqusition of Darren Collison by the Pacers now looks like a savvy move or if Stephenson's realization that he's been bumped down the depth charthelped contribute to the incident is a lot like the chicken and the egg. Only with guys that throw their girlfriends down stairs. Not cool, if true.

Dwyane Wade feasts on the tears of children. No, seriously, there's video evidence and everything .

Mike Miller is no longer on the list of "guys you should mess around with." He's been training with MMA fighters .

Owners-media relationships are one of the more interesting developments in new media, as owners have been at both ends of the spectrum. Michael Hiesley has done interviews with blogs before. James Dolan, on the other hand, doesn't even speak up when he needs to make sure everyone knows the house is in order.

J.J. Redick was one of the most efficient players in the NBA last season, which is particularly difficult from the perimeter. With his new nifty $20 million contract, you have to wonder if he'll be given more opportunities to showcase that efficiency.

The Warriors sold for $450 million, which isn't a bad price tag in this economy. The Detroit Pistons, with multiple championships and a much greater basketball legacy, but in a decisively lower bargaining position, are on the table and close to a deal, but the leading bidder's not willing to go over $400 million . Whether this is the kind of driving force behind the failing economy of a symptom thereof, is, naturally, another chicken-and-the-egg deal. As long as the Pistons don't move, everything should be cool.

O.J. Mayo is arguably the second best player on the Grizzlies, depending on who you talk to. And there are six spot-on reasons why he doesn't have a place on the Grizzlies roster. This has "how the Grizzlies screw up a good situation, again" written all over it.

Josh Childress, on if he can be a lockdown perimeter defender on the Suns, a team not known for its defense, even marginally acceptable defense: "That's the plan."

Andrea Bargnani isn't the worst rebounding seven-footer in the history of the league. But it's really close .

Finally, I'd like to nominate the following as our official slogan for the 2010 FIBA World Championships: "Please do not get hurt, Tyson Chandler." Really? Eric Gordon goes with the team on the next leg, and JaVale McGee, for all his issues one of the true legit bigs on the roster, and Jeff Green go home? In Coach K we trust, but....


 
 
 
 
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