Posted on: August 7, 2011 8:19 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2011 11:50 am
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Toronto Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan is a native of Compton and a veteran of the esteemed Drew League, the West Coast's best known summer league circuit.
On Saturday, DeRozan had the chance to pull out a last-second win in a Drew League playoff game for his Go H.A.M. team. Instead, he was at the center of a mini-controversy that resulted in a tossed ball, a bumped referee and a bunch of yapping.
Here's how it went down. Go H.A.M. trailed a Long Beach team named Problems 85-84 with six seconds left. DeRozan took a side inbounds pass near the three-point line, drove hard right into the key and contacted a rotating help defender while putting up a runner. The runner bounced off but was dunked in by one of DeRozan's teammates on the put-back. That potentially game-winning basket didn't count, however, because a referee whistled DeRozan for a charge on the play. (See video of the play below.)
Play continued with Problems hitting two free throws. Go H.A.M. wasn't able to get up a game-tying three-pointer on their final possession and time expired, giving Problems the 87-84 victory. After the buzzer sounded, DeRozan made a point to track down the basketball, which he heaved across the court in frustration. Moments later, one of his teammates charged at the referee, body-bumping him with a fair bit of force, causing the official to stagger backwards but not fall to the ground. The teammate was eventually restrained after some further barking. (See video of the exchange below.)
On Sunday, DeRozan owned up for his part in the fracas on Twitter. "I want to apologize for my actions at the Drew League today," DeRozan said. "I got caught up in the Heat of the moment, but should've handled it better."
He also expressed his appreciation towards the Drew League. "Shout out to the Drew League for providing a great atmosphere for basketball," DeRozan said. "Appreciate the opportunity to play there!"
The incident comes just days after Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley pushed a fan in the face at a New York City streetball game and Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes punched an opponent in a San Francisco pro-am game.
DeRozan averaged 17.2 point and 3.8 rebounds in his sophomore season for the Raptors last year.
Here's video of DeRozan being whistled for the charge courtesy of YouTube user dominator2800.
Here's video of DeRozan flinging the ball and the referee getting bodied courtesy of YouTube user timbojimbo.
Hat tip: ProBasketballTalk.com.
Posted on: August 5, 2011 6:45 pm
Edited on: August 6, 2011 1:14 am
Posted by Ben Golliver.
If you can play the game of basketball, the NBA will find a place for you, and this segment of CBSSports.com’s Elite 100 underscores that point in fine fashion.
This might blow your mind: Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins, ranked No. 77, was born in 1990, just weeks before Phoenix Suns wing Grant Hill showed up on campus for fall semester as a freshman at Duke University. By the time Cousins was in kindergarten, Hill had won two titles as a Blue Devil and was a highly-touted pro prospect, drafted No. 3 overall in 1994. As Cousins finished up elementary school and entered junior high, Hill looked like another talented NBA player robbed of reaching his potential due to injuries. By the time Cousins emerged on the national scene as a highly-ranked high school prospect, Hill was finding rejuvenation in the desert, extending his career and re-inventing his game as a member of the Phoenix Suns. A month or so before Cousins was drafted with the No. 5 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Hill was a key piece on a Suns team that made the Western Conference Finals.
As of last season, Cousins was the sixth-youngest player in the NBA at 20 years of age; Hill became the second oldest, one day younger than Chicago Bulls forward Kurt Thomas, after Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal retired earlier this summer.
The two players contrast in so many ways. Hill graduated from Duke; Cousins went one-and-done at Kentucky. Hill has won sportsmanship awards; Cousins required a babysitter with the Kings and was suspended for fighting with a teammate. Hill hangs with United States President Barack Obama; Cousins has palled around with rapper Drake. Hill no longer has the explosive athleticism that was his calling card but has mastered every last veteran trick; Cousins possesses an incredibly rare combination of size, strength and quickness but has yet to harness his full potential.
Despite those differences both players have found their way to the NBA and to this list. Let’s take a look at who accompanies them here.
80. Grant Hill, F, age 38, Phoenix Suns
Composite rankings (random order): 78, 73, 87
The only modern equivalent for Grant Hill’s agelessness is Halle Berry. About to turn 39, Hill has missed just three regular season games in the last three seasons, a remarkable achievement considering he played just 47 combined games from 2000-2002. Hill never achieved his full potential as a player because of injuries, but his legacy won’t be stained because of that. His resolve, resourcefulness and consistency have made him a model teammate and league ambassador for as long as anyone can remember.
Hill still contributes in a variety of ways: scoring fairly efficiently, defending multiple positions and chipping in on the glass. His game is mostly floor-bound these days but that fact makes him potentially productive into his 40s.
2011 Stats: 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 47.1 FG%, 18.25 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 95, 82, 61
Thomas is a bit of a forgotten man. That can be said for anyone that plays for the Bobcats but is doubly true in his case because he missed a fairly long stretch of last season with a knee injury.
A one-time high lottery pick, Thomas is a guy who is perpetually trying to figure it out. That fact didn’t stop the Bobcats from committing big dollars after acquiring him in a trade from Chicago and it hasn’t stopped him from being an excellent contributor on defense, where he blocks shots with abandon and uses his length to its full advantage. The Bobcats have cleared the decks for next season so Thomas should have every possibility to earn minutes and touches. Remarkably, he’s still just 24 and his best days are certainly ahead of him.
2011 Stats: 12.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 46.1 FG%, 15.96 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 92, 91, 52
Hibbert is one of the last of a dying breed: A true back-to-the-basket center whose hulking frame and stiff game would probably have been a better fit in the 1990s. As is, he’s a solid, productive player who does what’s expected for a guy his size: rebounds, blocks shots and finishes plays around the rim.
Last season, Hibbert’s third, wasn’t all smooth sailing. He struggled with his shooting and confidence, and performed much better after Jim O’Brien was replaced as head coach by Frank Vogel. His lack of lateral quickness will likely remain an issue for the rest of his career. It’s unlikely Hibbert will ever develop into a star but he’s an excellent cog for a young, developing team like Indiana.
77. DeMarcus Cousins, F, age 20, Sacramento Kings
2011 Stats: 14.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, .8 blocks, 43.0 FG%, 14.62 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 84, 76, 72
Cousins was a top-10 knucklehead last year. He was benched for making a choke sign at an opponent during a free throw attempt. He was thrown off the team plane for fighting with a teammate. He was kicked out of practice. He was fined for undisclosed reasons. He was ejected from a game for shoving Martell Webster during a fracas. The list goes on and on.
There were two bigger concerns than all of that immaturity: turnovers and efficiency. Cousins committed 3.3 turnovers in just 28.5 minutes per game and shot just 43% from the field. It’s not unusual for young big men to deal with those issues, though, and improvement in both categories going forward is a virtual certainty, as Cousins learns how to adjust to the NBA game, NBA officials and figures out how to best use his huge frame and excellent instincts around the basket. Despite his many flaws, Cousins’ size and skill give him a chance to be a top-25 NBA player far more quickly than you might expect. The talent and potential are there, lurking beneath the surface.
2011 Stats: 17.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 46.7 FG%, 14.52 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 80, 49, unranked
We’re supposed to keep the rankings anonymous but in this case I feel compelled to confess: I did not rank DeRozan in the top-100 nor do I think he belongs here. He was an inefficient scorer with no range playing on a terrible team last season, one of the least valuable things you can be.
Still, his presence on this list speaks to his upward career trajectory. DeRozan used his ridiculous leaping and finishing abilities to double his scoring average from his rookie year last season, putting up 17.2 points per game. He also boasts the physical tools – size, length, quickness – to be a plus-defender. He’s really held back by his lack of three-point range, though, and he will continue to be an incomplete offensive player until his spot-up shooting is at least passable. His highlight reel capability, solid personality and pure marketability make him a bright spot on a roster that needs them. His hard-working, positive approach on a day-in and day-out basis make him especially intriguing to watch develop over the next 3-5 years.
2011 Stats: 12.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, .9 steals, 52.0 FG%, 17.09 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 67, unranked, 58
2011 was such a dream season for Marion that he will forgive us for vastly underrating him on this list. A do-everything forward long known best for his unorthodox and downright hideous jumper, Marion was a crucial piece to the Mavericks championship puzzle.
Marion was big on both ends, using excellent shot selection and an underrated post game to get his points, while rebounding at a solid clip for his position. He shined brightest defensively as he was part of a corps of Mavericks defenders that limited some of the league’s elite scorers during the posteason: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James, to name a few. His unwavering confidence was crucial, too, especially when the Mavericks fell behind the Heat in the Finals. He never gave up and neither did Dallas.
2011 Stats: 9.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 blocks, 52.8 FG%, 15.21 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 76, 56, 92
Varejao became a permanent starting player for the first time in his career after LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal departed during the summer of 2010. He rose to the challenge nicely, posting career highs in points, rebounds and blocks until a foot injury prematurely ended his season.
Best known as an energy guy, Varejao has double-double potential now that he’s in his prime age years and playing on a roster that needs every ounce of production that he can provide. Just about everyone would like to see him traded to a contender so his hustle, defense and heady play can impact postseason games. The Cavaliers, to their credit, realize the asset they have and seem to be hoping he can help lead their rebuild.
2011 Stats: 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, .8 steals, 41.4 FG%, 15.71 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 99, 37, 86
The young Italian was a key piece in the package that landed All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony in New York. He’s a long, silky perimeter player with shot-making ability and a desire to deliver in the clutch. Given his height, 6-foot-10, his rebounding contributions are not overwhelming and he’ll need to continue improving to approach his ceiling as a player.
Gallinari is tantalizing, more than anything, given the fluidity of his play at his size. There are plenty of questions to be answered in Denver – especially concerning the future of Nene and J.R. Smith – but Gallinari’s youth provides hope should there be widespread defections in free agency. He won’t ever replace Anthony but he won’t cost nearly as much, won’t demand as many shots and he is unlikely to hijack the franchise for the foreseeable future. That package is worth something, for sure.
2011 Stats: 15.2 points, 7.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 42.2 FG%, 17.22 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 66, 69, 86
A big guard with a solid skillset, Harris needs to shake the “loser” label and questions about his durability that developed during his time in New Jersey. He was perceived as the best player on a 12-win team and that’s never, ever a good thing for a player’s legacy and reputation.
Still, Harris gets a fresh start in Utah, as he was traded to the Jazz in the deal that sent All-Star guard Deron Williams to the Nets. Utah is clearly in a rebuilding, find-itself phase now that Williams is gone and it’s no guarantee that Harris, who is theoretically entering his prime, is necessarily their point guard of the future. We will learn a lot about Harris in 2011-2012.
2011 Stats: 13.1 points, 6.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 44.6%, 15.47 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 72, 82, 66
Nelson has a lot going for himself. He’s tough, scrappy, productive, has three-point range and is on a reasonable contract. Nelson can beat his man off the dribble for the drive-and-kick or stretch the defense as a knock-down shooter. He isn’t a star, though, and that’s what Orlando needed last year. Indeed, a second star is what they need next year too if center Dwight Howard is to remain in town.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 8:55 am
Posted by Royce Young
You need basketball. I need basketball. We wouldn't have it now anyway, but the prospect of not having it at all next year is a terrifying idea. That's why people have taken an odd amount of interest in players participating in exhibition games overseas.
Well, now there's going to be a pretty significant streetball exhibition and it's happening in Washington, D.C. We told you there was a possibility of this and now it's pretty much definitely happening.
The legendary Goodman League is set to take on the legendary Drew League in a showdown taking place Aug. 20. (You can watch a stream of it here.) And the rosters aren't going to disappoint.
Kevin Durant leads the Goodman and joining him will be John Wall, Ty Lawson, Gary Neal, Tyreke Evans, Michael Beasley, DeMarcus Cousins, Josh Selby, Sam Young, Donte Greene and from the And1 Tour Hugh Jones, Emmanuel Jones and Warren Jefferson.
For the Drew, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Nick Young, Dorrell Wright, Brandon Jennings, JaVale McGee, Craig Smith, Pooh Jeter, Bobby Brown (Aris BC), Marcus Williams and three more players yet to be named.
Durant, of course, has been playing in the Goodman League at Barry Farms for a long time, kind of making it his second basketball home. It's sort of the place to be for good pro-am hoops on the East Coast right now. The Drew League has become the premier pro-am league on the West Coast. So it's only natural someone organized a showdown.
With a dark summer of no official basketball because of the lockout, you should be very, very excited for this. And there’s no doubt the Goodman has a major edge here. First, it’s in D.C. Second, look at that roster. KD, Wall, Lawson, Reke and Beasley are quite the core. Harden’s been tearing up the Drew (he scored 52 there a couple of weeks ago), but the Goodman roster is way better.
I mean, who the heck is guarding Durant? Dorrell Wright certainly will get the call, but the Goodman has a ton of speed. Of course, I'm hoping to see Harden on Durant for most of the game, for obvious reasons.
You can be sure this showdown will be awesome. And you can be sure I’ll be watching. You better be, too.
Posted on: May 17, 2011 1:08 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 4:35 pm
The Toronto Raptors have reportedly reached agreement on a contract extension with GM Bryan Colangelo. Posted by Ben Golliver.
UPDATE: The National Post reports that Colangelo says he has " agreed in principle" to a "multi-year" extension with the Toronto Raptors. The team has also officially announced the signing.
The Toronto Raptors were awful in the first year of the post-Chris Bosh era, but that's not stopping the team from locking up its top basketball executive.
TheStar.com reports that Raptors president and GM Bryan Colangelo is about to receive a contract extension.
The club’s president and general manager is closing in on a new multi-year deal to remain in charge of Toronto’s basketball operation, multiple NBA sources said Tuesday.Colangelo, who previously worked for the Phoenix Suns, twice won the NBA's Executive of the Year award but has fallen on tougher times in recent years.
The Raptors won just 22 games this season, missing the playoffs for the third straight season. Colangelo allowed Bosh to walk without receiving meaningful compensation in return and then had a hissy fit in the media, blasting Bosh for not playing through injury.
He also inked Andrea Bargnani to a big-dollar extension, a deal some have questioned due to Bargnani's weak rebounding and defense.
Let's also not forget that Colangelo paid an exorbitant sum to sign Hedo Turkoglu in free agency and, after one failed season, quickly moved to undo that damage by shipping him to the Phoenix Suns.
His other big move this season was acquiring promising combo guard Jerryd Bayless, who continues to show flashes but probably isn't a franchise building block going forward. On the plus side, he has drafted two promising youngsters -- DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis -- but patience is a virtue in both cases.
Really, it's felt like Colangelo has been spinning his wheels for a few years now. With a weak draft this year, and three large contracts already on the books -- Bargnani, Jose Calderon and Leandro Barbosa -- Colangelo has his work cut out for him if he hopes to meaningfully improve this team next season.
Best of luck, Raptors fans.
Posted on: April 1, 2011 12:13 pm
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?”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: February 19, 2011 11:47 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2011 12:09 am
Posted by Royce Young
LOS ANGELES -- Buzz started building early Saturday afternoon around the Staples Center. Can Team Texas really defend its Shooting Stars title? They did not in fact, as Atlanta took it away. Quite a moment, I can assure.
But as the clock ticked down to the main event, word started pop up that Blake Griffin had big plans. And when a car started driving out onto the court, I guess we knew. Blake Griffin is going to jump a car? Then it got better. Baron Davis popped his head out of the sunroof.
Oh and on top of that, Griffin brought out a gospel choir to sing "I Believe I Can Fly" as he soared. Quite the production.
"It was actually my idea to use the car," Griffin said. "When they first came to me with the dunk contest idea, they said there was no rules. I was like, 'So I can jump over a car?' kind of playing around. He was like, 'Yeah.' And I was like, 'Oh, maybe I have to do it now.'"
With him soaring over an automoble, there had to be some concerns about safety though. Griffin said Clipper coach Vinny Del Negro called him into his office to talk about it, but Griffin said he played dumb, saying Del Negro already knew about the car stunt. But after a dress rehearsal Thursday, everyone was at ease.
The question was though, what if you didn't make the finals Blake? How could you know you'd be there? Griffin tried to coyly say he didn't, but we all knew otherwise. This contest was really over a month ago when the contestants were announced.
McGee on the other hand, busted out his big guns early on. Not having the idea he'd be in the finals, McGee dunked two basketballs on two different goals. It was... awesome. But for his final try to follow up Griffin's car dunk, McGee didn't really have a plan. He said after that he was planning on the free throw line dunk but Serge Ibaka did it before him and he didn't want to recycle it.
"My last dunk, the second dunk I did was actually supposed to me my last dunk, but Serge did a dunk similar to the one I was going to do," McGee said. "So I had to change it around just to get a high score. But definitely [Griffin] came prepared with the car, and nothing's going to beat the car unless I bring a plane out or something."
Some other notes, quotes and observations from All-Star Saturday:
You can't dog on players too much for missing dunks. I mean, it can't be easy tossing a ball off a backboard, putting it between your legs and flushing it through a 10 foot goal. No matter how easy they might make it seem.
Posted on: February 19, 2011 11:11 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2011 1:21 am
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin jumps over a car to throw down an alley oop pass in the NBA Slam Dunk contest. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin stole the show as always, throwing down an alley oop dunk as he jumped over a car to win the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend.
Here's video of Blake Griffin's jumping over the car dunk taken live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Griffin received the pass from teammate Baron Davis, who was inside the car.
"To be able to be out here with these guys was a lot of fun," Griffin said, as he received his Slam Dunk contest trophy.
Griffin beat Washington Wizards big man JaVale McGee, Toronto Raptors wing DeMar DeRozan and Oklahoma City Thunder big man Serge Ibaka. Griffin dedicated the Slam Dunk contest win to a friend who recently passed away.
Posted on: February 19, 2011 9:33 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2011 9:34 pm
Chat with our guys Ben Golliver and Royce Young live in L.A. for the NBA Dunk Contest.