Tag:Amir Johnson
Posted on: April 1, 2011 12:13 pm
 

Sonny Weems is a lonely Raptor


Posted by Matt Moore

Sure, you're an NBA player. You've got money, fame, access. You're a star athlete. Getting women is not exactly a problem. But there's a huge difference between many women and the right one. That's the quandary that apparently Sonny Weems is struggling with. 

The Toronto Star has a fun little article Friday about Weems, who posted an internet plea for a girlfriend on Twitter, and was predictably thronged with a deluge of offers. Because, you know, a random girl that tweets the star athlete is probably a safe bet for "take-her-home-to-mom" girlfriend material: 
“A lot of females come to you, and they tell you a story. ‘I want to be your girl. I’m different from other females.’ Or whatever. It happens all the time,” Weems said. “Athletes really have it hard, trying to find that person. Who can you trust?”

“It’s hard for us to trust (women), and it’s probably hard for them to trust us, too,” acknowledged Reggie Evans, the veteran Raptors forward who is married with children.

Why, then, would Weems, at age 24, bother seeking a relationship via Twitter? Evans wondered aloud if Weems has grown tired of being a soloist while one of his closest friends on the team, 21-year-old DeMar DeRozan, spends quality time with a steady girlfriend.

“DeMar’s been having a girlfriend for a while — it’s probably taking a toll on Sonny,” Evans said, a mischievous smile ever in place. “He probably thinks he needs someone.”

Amir Johnson, another of Weems’ close friends on the squad, and a currently single one, said cruising the Internet is futile.

“Just my take: You can’t search for your partner,” said Johnson, 23. “You’ve just got to let it happen naturally. Eventually you’ll find somebody."
via Who wants to date Raptors' Sonny Weems? - Toronto Star.

So there you have it. Love advice from Amir Johnson, who averages 5.1 fouls per 36 minutes. But really, he's a lover, not a fighter. 

It is good to see Weems at least being deliberate with his choice. Not that it's any of our business, but from the perspective of having seen so many players become entangled in ugly divorces after committing too soon to marriages made when young when the men are involved in lifestyles that are not conducive to committment.  Trying to find the right person is a noble but difficult pursuit in that kind of environment. 

Maybe someone should start a dating service for famous people. The Lakers could run it. After all, they're dating half the R&B stars of the 90's. 
Posted on: November 27, 2010 3:33 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:06 pm
 

Reggie Evans breaks foot, out indefinitely

Toronto Raptors forward Reggie Evans fractured his right foot and is out indefinitely. Posted by Ben Golliver reggie-evans In addition to being a deep thinker on gender issues , Toronto Raptors forward Reggie Evans is one of the NBA's most incredible single-tool players.  Evans rebounds, and nothing more. As of Sunday, Evans was No. 3 in the league with 12.6 rebounds per game, and he was tops for rebounds per 48 minutes , with 21.7. Evans does the dirty work and he does it without requiring touches. On a team as soft as the Raptors, he is worth his weight in gold. Unfortunately for Toronto, Evans fractured his right foot during a Friday night 110-101 loss to the Boston Celtics, according to the team's television broadcaster . The Toronto Star reports that the team and coach Jay Triano have not placed a timeline on Evans' recovery from the broken foot, but it's obviously expected to be lengthy.
“It’s broken, a fracture, a break, I don’t know,” a downcast Triano said. “X-rays were positive, I have no idea of timeline or anything else.”
Evans, who averages nearly 12 rebounds a night and is by far Toronto’s most effective player on the boards, was injured with about six minutes left in the third quarter and hobbled to the bench. He had the x-rays in the arena and got the bad news there, departing for the team bus on crutches before the post-game media session began. He missed 50 games last season with an injury to his other foot but was among Toronto’s best players before Friday’s mishap.“He went up for a rebound and I guess he came down funny on it and felt something and knew he was in trouble,” said Triano.
The Raptors can't replace Evans' rebounding, and will likely look to fill his minutes using a platoon of foul-prone Amir Johnson, over-the-hill Peja Stojakovic, and untested Joey Dorsey. Rookie power forward Ed Davis has been recovering from an injury earlier in the year and was recently sent down to the D-League  and could be another option down the line. However they try to plug it, the hole on the boards won't make for a pretty sight as the Raptors, with Evans, were in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic Division at 6-10. For his part, the tough-minded Evans took the news well, addressing Raptors fans and the city of Toronto on his Twitter account Friday night. "T Dot let's not feel sorry for me just minor setbacks for a major comeback," Evans wrote. "Let's Get Itttttttttttttttttt."
Posted on: November 8, 2010 9:56 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:36 pm
 

Monta Ellis takes hard fall, leaves court injured

Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis fell to the floor in bizarre fashion and left the court due to injury. Posted by Ben Golliver Just yesterday, we were singing the praises of Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis, who has upped his efficiency this season and has been leading the NBA in scoring through its opening week and a half.  Tonight, in the closing minutes of Golden State's game against the Raptors in Toronto, Ellis drove to the basket and took a nasty, weird spill after having his lay-up attempt contested by Raptors wing DeMar DeRozan and big man Amir Johnson. Here's video of the fall. Ellis contorts backwards on the landing, with his left leg and back appearing to absorb the impact in abnormal fashion. He lay nearly motionless on the hardwood for more than a minute, as Warriors training staff members tended to him. He was then helped off the court very gingerly and taken to the locker room.  Ellis did not re-enter the game, which Golden State won 109-102. This post will update with any injury news as soon as it becomes available.  Updates: 
  • Holly MacKenzie of The Score reports from Toronto on Twitter that Ellis is "currently getting X-rays on lower back."
  • Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports on Twitter that the results of the MRI "will be available in morning. He's staying in Toronto tonight." The rest of the Warriors went on to New York City for Wednesday's game against the Knicks.
Posted on: August 26, 2010 10:31 am
Edited on: August 26, 2010 11:13 am
 

Pop Quiz: Who's the worst?

Posted by Matt Moore

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...

Who will be the worst team in the NBA this season?


It's a depressing question, isn't it? Who's going to fail more than any other? Someone has to win the fewest number of games this year. So who's on the list?

The Returning Champ: The New Jersey Nets

You can't just let the reigning "champs" off the list without giving them a chance to repeat! The Nets were the worst team in the league last year, only able to avoid the worst mark of all time due to a late surge. It was a startling development, one that baffled a lot of NBA heads, because the team really did have talent. But for whatever reason (injury, chemistry, coaching, pure terrible luck), it never came together and the team plummeted into the depths. So are they doomed to repeat history?

The Nets struck out in free agency for the top names but still brought in good players. Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, Travis Outlaw, and Troy Murphy will all be suiting up for the Nets alongside Devin Harris, Terrence Williams, and Brook Lopez. With the development of the younger players, the addition of a few talented veterans, and a more demanding coach in Avery Johnson, the Nets may not be in position to push for the playoffs, but they are unlikely to repeat as the worst team in the NBA.

The New Kids: The Toronto Raptors


Our first victim of the free-agency summer of doom. After losing Chris Bosh to the triad, GM Brian Colangelo went on a firesale. He ditched Hedo Turkoglu for Leandro Barbosa and sent Marco Belinelli for Julian Wright. He did spend some money, though, giving Amir Johnson a hefty new deal and bringing Linas Kleiza back from overseas. The Raptors lost a huge chunk of salary, and weren't that great to begin with. They are teetering on the abyss. Will they fall off?

Bear in mind that we're talking the worst here. Not bad, but the worst. And the Raptors could assuredly reach that mark if everything were to go wrong. But there are bright spots. Andrea Bargnani, for all his rebound-void, yogurty, forceless  weaknesses, can still hit from anywhere on the floor, and might actually get to play where he's best (high-post and mid-range) with Bosh gone instead of trying to impersonate a traditional center. DeMar DeRozan has the athleticism and range to be able to become a leader. Sonny Weems continues to impress, Amir Johnson will forever be lauded as the next great (whistle) defensive player (whistle) if only he could (whistle) stop fouling (whistle). If the Raptors drop off a cliff, it'll be because the chemistry wasn't fit to hold, or because the real problem in Toronto hasn't been Colangelo's roster, but Triano's coaching.

The Dark Horse: The Washington Wizards


How could any team with John Wall be the worst team in the league? When you have as fragile a chemistry set as this team does. That's how. The Wizards are a long shot to burrow into the trash heap the furthest, but with Gilbert Arenas anything but a sure thing, there's just no telling how this is going to work out. We thought the biggest concern with Arenas last year was if he could stay healthy a full season. We didn't even get to answer that. Andray Blatche is the third best player on the team, and that could go any number of ways. He could be a consistent scorer, working in tandem with Wall, and showcasing the scoring ability he showed last season. Or he could become a space cadet again. JaVale McGee showed great things in Summer League, but he's yet to prove he can be someone to be relied on as the primary big.

Wall is likely to be good enough to drag this team out of the very basement, and if everything were to go right (and I mean everything), the Wizards could find themselves in contention for the playoffs. But if another chemistry blow-up happens and Flip Saunders is unable to contain the damage and get through, the Wizards could be a two-year disaster.

The Favorite: The Minnesota Timberwolves


Okay, let's try the opposite. Let's try and figure out how the Wolves could avoid being the worst team in the league. Option No. 1, another team has a rash of injuries that makes Houston seem like Phoenix. Okay, barring that, Option No.2, we need the following to occur:

A. Luke Ridnour picks up where he left off in Milwaukee, being a solid game manager and reliable shooter.
B. Martell Webster slides in and immediately begins to contribute as he did in Portland, providing the perimeter scoring missing in Minny last year.
C. Wesley Johnson was in fact, the best player available at 3, better or at least within range of DeMarcus Cousins only without the chemistry problems, and is able to pick up the pro game's speed and awareness necessary to contribute.
D. Jonny Flynn recovers on schedule from hip surgery.
E. Kurt Rambis and David Kahn get over whatever problems they had with Kevin Love last season, and Love is allowed to be on the floor and become the player everyone else believes he is.
F. Darko Milicic actually was worth five years and $20 million, and alongside Love makes for a stout front court.
G. The triangle, one of the more complex and difficult systems to run, which has only been successful for two teams under one coach with the best or second best player in the league at all times, magically works for a lottery team lacking in both veteran smarts and talent.
H. Mike Beasley really was just misunderstood.

That's a lot that needs to go right. Wolves fans tend to think the media picks on them because of their market. As a proponent of small markets, I'm here to say that's not the case. It's because this team is bad. It was built badly, with bad contracts for bad players, with a bad system for its personnel, and it needs significant upgrades at nearly every position and at multiple depth levels in order to make itself right. The Wolves could come together and shove it in the faces of all the doubters. But until we see the actual manifestation of all the supposed potential the roster holds, your Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to be the worst team in the NBA this season.


Posted on: August 2, 2010 5:26 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2010 5:35 pm
 

Offseason Reviews: Atlantic Division

Posted by Matt Moore

With only a handful of free agents left on the market and with summer league over, we thought we'd take a look at how teams in the Central Division did over the summer in negotiating their moves.


 

Boston Celtics

Added: Ray Allen (re-signed), Paul Pierce (re-signed), Marquis Daniels (re-signed), Jermaine O'Neal (free agency), Nate Robinson (re-signed), Von Wafer (free agency), Avery Bradley (draft), Luke Harangody (draft)
Lost: Tony Allen (free agency), Shelden Williams (free agency)

Philosophy: "Ain't broke. Ain't fixing."

We thought they were too old to win last year, and they pushed the Lakers to seven games, and had a lead deep in the second half. Shows what we know. So the Celtics have rolled the dice with the same core again, another year older, another year slower, another year wiser, and for all intents and purposes, have changed almost nothing about their approach in a year.

Sure, adding Jermaine O'Neal gives them a fourth big to slot in, and will give Kendrick Perkins the time he needs to recover from surgery. But after dancing with the idea of trading Ray Allen, the Celtics re-signed the sharpshooter, gave Paul Pierce a new contract and for better or worse, have decided this is the ship they're going to sea with. It's had a ton of success, and obviously they feel that if they were able to go as deep as they did this year, there's no reason to believe they can't do the same this year.

The critics will add that Chicago, New York, and most especially Miami improved, but the Celtics will respond by saying those teams haven't proven anything. There's only one team that matters to Boston, and that team has the ring. Until then, they will consider the rest of the East nothing but pretenders. As long as they stay healthy, they have that right.

Grade: B

New Jersey Nets

Added: Derrick Favors (draft), Damion James (draft), Anthony Morrow (free agency), Jordan Farmar (free agency), Travis Outlaw (free agency), Johan Petro (free agency)
Lost: Tony Battie (free agency), Keyon Dooling (free agency)

Philosophy: "In search of the meaning of Plan B'"

Man, what a letdown. They thought they had a shot at it all. Drafting John Wall. Signing his good friend, LeBron James. Building an empire in Brooklyn. Capitalizing on new owner Mikhail Prokhorov's wealth and power, minority owner Jay-Z's fame, and LeBron's game. It was all set up perfectly. And then one series of disasters after another occurred, and the Nets fell flat. Didn't even walk out with Carlos Boozer. Whiffed on every single one of the top flank free agents.

Don't get me wrong, Anthony Morrow is the steal of the summer. Great shooter, has upside, physical tools to be a better defender than he was in Golden State (like every Warrior). But Jordan Farmar means almost nothing to them. Derrick Favors is so raw he comes with a side of wasabi and ginger, and Johan Petro is... Johan Petro. Even with Travis Outlaw it's hard to see a plan in place, much less the execution of that plan. This team won't be as bad as it was last year, because it's almost impossible for them to. But it's hard to see them being much better.

Grade: F

New York Knicks


Added: Amar'e Stoudemire (sign-and-trade), Raymond Felton (free agency), Kelenna Azubuike (trade), Anthony Randolph (trade, Ronny Turiaf (trade), Timofey Mozgov (free agency), Andy Rautins (draft), Landry Fields (draft), Jerome Jordan (draft)
Lost: Chris Duhon (free agency), Al Harrington (free agency), Eddie House (free agency), Sergio Rodriguez (free agency), David Lee (sign-and-trade)

Philosophy: "Express yourself."

Stylin' and profilin', the Knicks are coming to town. This isn't the super-team Knicks fans hoped for, not even the contending team many expected given their cap space and market availability. In the end, the damage done by Isiah Thomas was just too severe (and sending him as your final LeBron pitcher? What's up with that?) But the Knicks' failures to land one of the Big 3 did mean they were able to concoct this roster, which is inconsistent, underdeveloped, and absolutely 100% interesting.

The idea of an Anthony Randolph-Amar'e Stoudemire pick and roll set is enough to send nouveau basketball philosophers into some sort of apoplectic shock. Meanwhile, Kelenna Azubuike gives D'Antoni the shooter he's been missing, and Turiaf brings some punch. This roster isn't perfect, far from it, but it's stocked with interesting, fun players, who can get up and down in D'Antoni's system. New York basketball may not be contending again, but it's going to be interesting. And that's enough to give Knicks fans what they want, to be relevant again. The real rebuilding starts here, and it's all around Amar'e Stoudemire. We're finally going to learn just how good Stoudemire is without Steve Nash.

Grade: B

Philadelphia 76ers


Added: Evan Turner (draft), Tony Battie (free agency), Spencer Hawes (trade), Andres Nocioni (trade)

Lost:
Samuel Dalembert (trade)

Philosophy:
"Making fusion with carwrecks."

If Evan Turner isn't a Top-5 player in the NBA in five years, this year looks way worse. Switching coaches, the Sixers still held back from a complete blow-up, not moving Andre Iguodala or Elton Brand over the offseason. Brand's value is non-existent, but he's going to have to go if the team wants to completely start over. Meanwhile, Ed Stefanski changed coaches to Doug Collins, who's been broadcasting for quite a while, and traded Samuel Dalembert for Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni, or "the Big White Cap Blanket." The Sixers may have hit a home run when they lucked into the No.2 overall pick in Turner, but if the lack of explosiveness he showed in summer league is more than just a lack of offseason conditioning, things could get worse before they get better in Philly.

Grade: C

Toronto Raptors


Added:   Ed Davis (draft), Solomon Alabi (draft), Linas Kleiza (free-agency), Amir Johnson (re-signed), Leandro Barbosa (trade), Dwayne Jones (draft)
Lost:   Chris Bosh (sign-and-trade), Antoine Wright (free agency), Hedo Turkoglu (trade)

Philosophy:
"No way out."

The temptation will be to grade Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors organization for the mistakes of last summer, which came to hurt them last season and this summer. But that's not our goal here. Losing Bosh was a foregone conclusion, but they still have to take a hit for failing to convince him to stay, no matter how hard that would have been. But after that, Colangelo at least made the move that you have to make when faced with the destruction of everything you've worked for: set fire to the remains and collect the insurance. They traded Hedo Turkoglu and his massive new contract for short term contracts, and managed to get long-term assets in draft picks and trade exceptions from Miami for Bosh. They are committed to starting over, and though the money handed out to Kleiza and Johnson is not chump change, there's still a plan in place.

Expect for the rest of the Raptors to be moved to whatever degree they can be, while the team sees if it can rebuild around DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems, who seem to hold a lot of potential under the radar. Colangelo did not take on massive contracts of a subpar free agent outside of Kleiza's swallowable deal, and the Raptors have flexibility to make the most of their future.

The only question is if Bryan Colangelo will be around to be a part of that future.




Posted on: July 2, 2010 10:23 am
Edited on: July 2, 2010 10:25 am
 

Free-agency day 1 winners and losers

So we're a day in. Who were the winners and losers from the first day of free agency?

Winners:


New Jersey Nets:
The Nets made an impression with the first meeting of LeBron James' free agency tour and came away feeling good about things. They also may have inadvertently benefited from the Knicks' proposal , which too obviously ignored them.

Toronto Raptors:
The Raptors made a signing that was defense-focused , signing  young Amir Johnson to a 5-year, $34 million dollar deal. Some will question whether his production warrants such a deal, but look at his per-minute numbers (outside of fouls), and his age, consider the deal Andrew Bynum was rewarded with, and realize that Johnson is only 23. Good move for the Raps who are in for a rocky year.

Los Angeles Lakers: Any time you can bring back a guy who has 13 rings and is the only one to make your team's offensive system work, and the only person Kobe Bryant has won titles with, that's a good day, even if you didn't sign a soul.


Losers:


Memphis Grizzlies: There were a lot of complications that led to Rudy Gay being inked to a near-max contract at 5 years, $82 million despite having never been an All-Star. The Grizzlies couldn't lose Gay. They would have been stranded without a small-forward. The fanbase already considers ownership cheap. And Gay is the best player under 26 on the team. They also couldn't really wait to see what offer sheets Gay came upon or signed. If a team offered a max contract, front-loaded, it would have hurt them financially, and may have forced them into a less flexible position, particularly if teams had waited till later in the summer to formally extend the offer sheet in an effort to squeeze the Grizz. But that doesn't change the facts of the deal, nor does it change that they could have avoided this mess by getting an agreement done a year ago, and likely at a lower price when demand wasn't so high as it is now. The Grizzlies gave a near-max to a player who has been inconsistent, is young, but not super-young, and has never been an All-Star. By hook or by crook, the Grizzlies wound up losers today.

Atlanta Hawks: First they made everyone think they were insane by offering Joe Johnson the absolute max, right off the bat. Then things got worse as Johnson still hasn't agreed to the deal, and has taken a secondary meeting with his agent from which no resolution has been made.


New York Knicks:
They have the money. They have the brand. They have the PowerPoint . And yet they still seem to be on the outside looking in at the top free agents while Chicago, Miami, and even the Nets gain traction. Now, they're getting the ear and are still firmly in on this thing, but the prevailing wisdom doesn't speak to them having had a rousingly successful day. And when the stakes are this high, not winning is losing. There are no draws.

-Matt Moore



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com