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Tag:Drew Gooden
Posted on: July 9, 2011 3:43 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 1:39 pm
 

What teams risk in a lockout: Central Division

A look at what is at stake for the NBA's Central Division if a whole season was lost due to the lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver.

derrick-rose-dunk

Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise.

Earlier this week, we took a look at the Southeast Division and the Atlantic Division. Let's continue this series with the Central Division.  

CHICAGO Bulls


The Bulls won the Central by a preposterous margin in 2010-2011, stacking up a league-high 62 wins and burying their division mates by a ridiculous 25 games, by far the biggest margin of any division winner. Nothing has happened yet this offseason which suggests next year's results will be any different. Even if the Milwaukee Bucks return to full health or the Indiana Pacers make a key free agent addition or the Detroit Pistons finally emerge from their slog or the Cleveland Cavaliers successfully start the Kyrie Irving era, the only thing stopping the Bulls from running away from the competition again is an injury to Derrick Rose. The Bulls are, by far, the most talented and deepest team in the division. They have the reigning MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year. They're poised to be championship title contenders for the next five years.

With so much going for them, the Bulls clearly have the most to lose in a lockout. If a season is lost, that's a title chase that evaporates. Perhaps most important, the Bulls would lose that visceral desire for redemption that comes with the ugly end to their season. It was a disappointing, frustrating loss to their new archrivals, the Miami Heat, in the Eastern Conference Finals. The pain of that loss subsides with time. It's ability to serve as unifying inspiration will fade too. The Bulls want revenge and they want rings. The pieces are in place. Besides aging teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, who face the possibility of their championship window closing, the Bulls don't want to sit around and wait. They created some amazing chemistry last season, built strong trust bonds. Losing a season risks all of that.

INDIANA PACERS

The upstart Pacers are up to something: they finally committed to Frank Vogel as their coach, they brought on former Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard to serve as Director of Player Personnel, they made a solid draft day trade to acquire point guard George Hill and they sit on a mound of cap space ready to make a splash in free agency. The Pacers risk two things if a season is lost. First, a critical development year to see how their young pieces are able to gel together. Second, A feeling of certainty in terms of team expectations.

Indiana has assembled some nice, young talent: Roy Hibbert, Darren Collison, Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough and Hill are all 25 or younger. Depending on how they use their cap space and whether they decide to move Danny Granger, that has all the makings of a promising core that could reliably make playoff runs for the foreseeable future. But the group needs time to spend together, reps to get things right and an evaluation period to see whether all four belong long-term. They look great on paper but more data -- playing together -- is needed. A lost season risks that and potentially stalls the development of those younger guys.

The real risk is free agency. Indiana has just $36 million committed in salary next season, meaning they have one of the smallest payrolls in the league. They also have an expiring contract in James Posey to move and potentially could move Granter if they were looking to make a major splash. Their combination of flexibility and talent on-hand is near the tops in the league when it comes to rebuilding teams. A delayed season pushes that promise back and while teams with space are definitely sitting in a better position than teams without space, it's unclear what additional rules might be in place that inhibit free agent movement. If you're the Pacers you'd prefer to be able to chase a guy like David West now without any messy collective bargaining negotiations getting in the way. Put simply, the Pacers are a team on the rise, but a lot has to go right for young teams to reach their potential. Even minor things can throw a team off course. The less variables, the better. Unfortunately, the CBA is a major, major variable.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

lockoutThis team is just confusing. The Stephen Jackson trade made a bit of sense, given that the Bucks needed a serviceable alternative to Brandon Jennings at point guard and got one in Beno Udrih, but this group isn't going anywhere meaningful, not even if Jennings and center Andrew Bogut are fully healthy. 

About the only thing lost in a lockout for the Bucks is another year for Jennings to bloom. His sophomore years was sidetracked by injuries and poor outside shooting, and he questioned his teammates' desire to win at the end of the regular season. Other than Jennings, Larry Sanders and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute could use more developmental minutes but the rest of the roster is essentially veterans who have reached their potential. 

From a cynical standpoint, Bucks ownership could be cheering a lost season because it would mean cash savings on ugly deals for Jackson and big man Drew Gooden. Is it worth saving the combined $15 million that will go to Jackson and Gooden in 2011-2012 to lose a year of floor leadership training for Jennings? 

DETROIT PISTONS

The Pistons are another confounding mess, but at least it feels like they've turned a corner thanks to the sale of the team, the departure of reviled coach John Kuester and the drafting of point guard Brandon Knight and wing Kyle Singler. Last year was one, long, ugly grind. 2011-2012 figures to be a step in the right direction.

Knight slipped out of the top five of the 2011 NBA Draft because of questions about his position. Is he a pure point guard? Can he run an NBA offense? Will he be able to execute something besides the pick-and-roll game? His future is incredibly bright but as a one-and-done player he absolutely needs as much playing time as possible to get a feel for the NBA style and to get comfortable with the ball in his hands and a team of professionals that look to him first. There's no other way to learn the point guard position than by on-the-job training, and recent success stories like Rose and Russell Westbrook only reinforce that idea. A year away from the game at this stage would be a critical loss for Knight and the Pistons, and that's a major risk.

The same is true, to a lesser degree, for big man Greg Monroe, who came on strong in the second half of his rookie season and appears to be a potential core piece going forward. 2011-2012 is all about letting Knight and Monroe build up a chemistry together 

A lost season would certainly be welcomed by ownership here too because Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva all failed to live up to their big-dollar contract figures last season. Hamilton and Villanueva, in particular, seem like lost causes. Weighing the savings from these deals versus the lost development of Knight, the Pistons should probably be pretty close to indifferent when it comes to losing a season. They need work, they know they need work and the rebuild can only come as these big contracts get closer to their conclusion and become more tradeable. Still, it would seem to be better to continue that journey with Knight getting more familiar and comfortable day-by-day, month-by-month than it would having him workout solo in a gym somewhere. If you've committed to a rebuild, start it immediately.
 
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Last but not least, we have the Cavaliers, the NBA's second-worst team from last season, who endured an embarrasing 26 game losing streak to set an NBA record for consecutive futility. There's significant light at the end of the tunnel for the Cavaliers, as they have an owner committed to spending money to win, the 2011 NBA Draft's No. 1 overall pick, Kyrie Irving, and Tristan Thompson, who was taken No. 4 overall. 

Cleveland is in much the same position as the Pistons: the biggest risk from losing a season is the lost reps that Irving won't get running the show. There are always some bumps and bruises for a young point guard transitioning from college to the NBA, and the potential for struggles is even more pronounced in Irving's case because he missed much of last season, his freshman year at Duke University, with a foot injury. Time away from the game is not good. The shorter, the better. Irving was clearly the most NBA-ready point guard in this year's draft crop and the Cavaliers would be smart to turn the keys over to him from Day 1, even with veterans Baron Davis, Daniel Gibson and Ramon Sessions on the roster as well. 

That raises a secondary risk of the lockout season for the Cavaliers: losing positional clarity. Cleveland clearly needs to move one, if not two, of their point guards to clear the deck for Irving and surround him with some solid complementary pieces. A lost season just delays that process. Saving the money from Davis' contract is tempting, but it's a non-factor for owner Dan Gilbert who would just as soon pay that tax to watch his young team start the rebuild. Along those same lines, an entire season lost could mean the Cavaliers aren't able to move Antawn Jamison's $15 million expiring contract, a nice trade asset that could potentially bring a rotation player in return.

Posted on: February 11, 2011 1:54 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 3:44 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Trade Deadline Waters




Posted by Matt Moore 

In today's Friday 5 with KB: A favorite story from Jerry Sloan, the future of Utah, the choppy waters of this year's trade deadline, and when exactly are the Spurs going to hit double-digit losses?



1. So, yeah, Jerry's gone. Which kind of bums everyone out. Do you have a favorite Sloan story to share?

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: Everyone, including me, made fun of Sloan's Hall of Fame acceptance speech two years ago because he basically told his entire life story. But I was touched by how nonchalantly Sloan talked about having lasted only five days as the University of Evansville basketball coach in the late 1970s. The season after he stepped down, his replacement, coach Bobby Watson, and the entire team and support staff were killed in a plane crash. Sloan said it matter-of-factly, just like that, and without blinking got right back to his story. "I spent 2 1-2 years as assistant coach of the Bulls ...," etc. That was Jerry. I don't know why I will always remember that, but I will.


2. Speaking of the Jazz, is there any chance they are able to reassert the kind of stability they've had over the past three decades? Is the organization and environment built in such a way as to develop that kind of constancy? Or are we going to see the Jazz back in the mire of the pack, having to reinvent themselves multiple times in a decade?

KB: The biggest priority, obviously, is persuading Deron Williams to stay. If he leaves as a free agent in 2012, there's no way around it: the Jazz are in for a major rebuild. Before they're faced with that possibility, however, the first order of business is maintaining stability on the bench. By naming Tyrone Corbin to succeed Sloan without saddling him with an interim title is an important first step. GM Kevin O'Connor and Gail Miller, the widow of later owner Larry Miller, both made clear they are committed to Corbin for the long term. Those intentions obviously will have to be backed up at some point by a multi-year head coaching contract, but that will come in time. There's been one head coach in Salt Lake City for nearly a quarter century. The plan certainly isn't to go from that to massive turnover.


3. Lost in Ray Allen's epic three-pointer and Kobe's late game heroics Thursday night was this: Boston's lost their last two, and are 5-5 in their last ten. Has the time come for the Celtics to coast through the second half?

KB: I think their recent struggles are less about coasting and more about injuries. The return of Kendrick Perkins has been muted by the absence of Shaq, Jermaine O'Neal and even Semih Erden. Boston also is without Marquis Daniels, Delonte West and Nate Robinson. So it's time to begin wondering if the only thing that can hold the Celtics back -- health -- is starting to rear its ugly head.


4. Alright, Ken. When are the Spurs going to hit double digit losses?

KB: With Philly, Washington and New Jersey next up on the road, I'm going to go out on a limb and say not before the All-Star break. The Spurs haven't lost two straight since early January, so I'm going to say their 10th loss doesn't come until March 4 or 6, when they play Miami and the Lakers.


5. Instability in Utah, the Denver situation, Portland teetering on the brink, Charlotte looking at a need to dump salary, Houston desperate to make a deal. For a long time it looked like we weren't going to be seeing much in the way of trades this year. But are the storm clouds gathering for another busy deadline?

KB: The way I see it now, there will be more buyers than sellers. Several teams have contracts they'd like to dump (Philly with Andre Iguodala, Charlotte with Stephen Jackson, Cleveland with Antawn Jamison or Mo Williams, the Bucks with Corey Maggette or Drew Gooden), but who is going to take on those kind of obligations heading unto uncertain CBA territory? Also, the teams with the most cap space, Sacramento and Minnesota, are going to be less likely than in past years to take money into that space given that they don't know what the 2011-12 cap and rules will be. First-round picks also will be more expensive on the trade market because they represent cheap labor. Whereas in past years, teams would be willing to give up a first simply to get off a contract, this time they'll want something else in return -- such as a second-round pick. The teams that will be able to do something are those that have quality players on expiring contracts -- such as Indiana with Jeff Foster, Mike Dunleavy, and T.J. Ford; and Portland with Joel Przybilla and Andre Miller (whose 2011-12 salary is non-guaranteed).
Posted on: October 4, 2010 4:54 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2010 5:16 pm
 

Aussie Aussie Aussie! Bogut cleared to play!

Bucks center cleared to play in preseason games.
Posted by Matt Moore


Andrew Bogut has been cleared to play in preseason games , which is pretty neat for them. Bogut's been all over the place in terms of predicting how he's coming along, and he's pretty set to avoid long-term injury, so this may not be set. But having Bogut back will help a ton in terms of Skiles trying to set rotations considering the number of changes the Bucks brought in.

It'll be interesting to see how the injury restricts Bogut. Using Synergy Sports , we see that Bogut only shot 43% in the post last year, and only drew fouls 5% of the time. He was much better in the pick and roll (shooting 70%) and in offensive rebounding situations (57%). But pick and roll requires more coordination with the mitts, and offensive rebounds are of course more physical. So the question will be how Bogut can react to the delicate nature of his wrist while he recovers from one of the grossest falls of all time.

Meanwhile, he does need to get floor time, because Brandon Jennings is still very much a work in progress. Working on Jennings' shot selection will be greatly improved if he learns to go to the big fella, and often. There are some new egos on the squad with Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden, so Bogut's presence is needed to establish the alpha dogs on the team. So his being on board from the get go has to boost the Bucks' chances of not only holding onto their playoff spot but improving on it.


Posted on: September 24, 2010 3:30 am
 

Preseason Primer: Milwaukee Bucks

Posted by Matt Moore

Fear the Deer. It became the meme of the NBA last season, and you were hard-pressed to find a hardcore NBA-head who didn't love the scrappy team from Milwaukee. Heading into training camp things are dramatically different. Andrew Bogut is recovering from injury again, but outside of that, the stakes are much higher. The Bucks were the fifth seed in the East and had it not been for Bogut's injury likely would have bested the Hawks. Now they need to somehow improve on last year's performance in an Eastern Conference which is loaded at every turn. What do they have to do in training camp to get that done? We'll let you in on the secrets as we continue our Preseason Primers.

Training camp site: Milwaukee, WI />
Training camp starts: September 28th

Key additions: Corey Maggette (trade), Drew Gooden (free agency), Larry Sanders (draft), Chris Douglas-Roberts (trade)

Key subtractions: Charlie Bell (trade), Luke Ridnour (free agency), Dan Gadzuric (trade)

Likely starting lineup: Brandon Jennings (PG), John Salmons (SG), Corey Maggette (SF), Drew Gooden (PF), Andrew Bogut (C)

Player to watch: Chris Douglas-Roberts. Okay, this is a lie. If Brandon Jennings is involved in any way, you watch him. But CDR's not a bad backup option, literally. With the Bucks needing a legit backup shooting guard, CDR has a chance to capitalize on his combination of handle and size if he can develop into a well-rounded player that commits to Scott Skiles' system. CDR is also highly explosive and can go off at any time, so how he reacts to Skiles' military approach may be the defining verdict on his career if things go sour.


Chemistry quiz: The Bucks worked really well together last year and embraced Jennings as a leader. The question will be how players like Drew Gooden, CDR, and Corey Maggette do in a system that asks them sacrifice and play defense consistently. The team struggled offensively last year, but a perk of that was a lack of ego-centric players who weren't looking for their shot. As delicate as chemistry is, the changes the Bucks brought in could create too many guys looking for FGAs.


Camp battles: Carlos Delfino versus Corey Maggette should be a great one. Maggette had a fantastic season last year and is a better overall player than Maggette. But Maggette has the contract and offensive firepower to demand a starting spot. Skiles abandoned Delfino in the playoffs when he wasn't in a good matchup. There's no telling how this one will wind up, but Delfino's play in FIBA this summer certainly is cause for excitement.

Injury issues:
I think the fact that reports have come out daily about Andrew Bogut's elbow is probably indicative he's a concern. That and the fact that he had more metal put in than that chick in Fringe with they cybernetic arm. That too.

Biggest strength: Simplicity. The Bucks don't over-complicate things. They defend like rabid animals, run basic offensive sets geared to give playmakers the ball in space, and work their tail off. It's an optimal system not only for a standard of success, anchored by a talented point guard and center, but easy for new pieces to fit in. Skiles continues to impress as a coach that is able to get through to guys and convince them to commit.

Glaring weakness: They added multiple offensive weapons, but there are going to be concerns with the age of both Maggette and Gooden, as well as how Brandon Jennings fits with all these high-usage players on board. That same simplicity also creates problems when they hit a team with a counter to their approach.
Posted on: September 24, 2010 3:25 am
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Posted on: August 23, 2010 7:26 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2010 9:34 am
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?

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 kick off our Pop Quiz series with the following question...

Is Milwaukee Legit?


The Bucks had terrible prospects going into last season. Considered an Eastern-Conference also-ran, with a questionable "centerpiece" center in Andrew Bogut and a reach of a first-rounder in Brandon Jennings, no one expected them to succeed. And yet, despite all the criticisms constantly lobbed at Scott Skiles, his team did what his teams do best. They defended like samurai, attacked the glass, and won far more games than they were expected to. Additionally, Brandon Jennings made a legitimate push for Rookie of the Year, an award he likely would have won were it not for Tyreke Evans' historic performance (with apologies to Stephen Curry's wheeling and dealing). Jennings had nights where his questionable shot selection, fueled by the kind of confident sense of bravado you want in your superstar, hurt the team, but more often than not, he proved himself exactly what the team has needed for a decade: a true star.

But that was last season. And after Andrew Bogut's arm injury has him still trying to fight through rehab
, the question has to be asked. Are the Bucks legit, or was last season the type of spike that fans will look back on as the high point, followed by a long slide back to the margins?  If we're going to try and suss out the answer, we need to look at their strengths and weaknesses.

The Bucks were the fourth best defense last season (we're talking defensive efficiency here, don't fall for the fallacy of points per game, which doesn't account for pace). They were fourth in opponents' turnover ratio but only tenth in opponents' field goal percentage (45.1%). But very relevant? They were fourth best at defending at the rim . That's got a lot to do with Bogut, who was an absolute iron curtain down low. But Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and even Dan Gadzuric were all good at attacking anyone that dared challenge the Bucks at the iron. They were also sixth in three-point defense. What this means is that the two most efficient areas on the floor, the Bucks were exceptional at. Their only real area of problems, defensively? 10-15 Feet, where they were dead last in field goal percentage allowed. So the Bucks really needed to upgrade their wing and mid-range defenders.

Which is fitting, because similarly their wing offense was also where they desperately needed help. The Bucks' offense in general was a mess , but with Jennings and Bogut, they at least have cornerstones to work with. The addition John Salmons was significant for improving their scoring distribution, and Carlos Delfino proved to be a valuable asset as well. The best news for the Bucks is that they improved precisely at that position, filling in for the injured now-trade-chip Michael Redd with Corey Maggette, while only losing Gadzuric and seldom-used wing Charlie Bell.

The Bucks improved at the position they needed to, adding both Salmons (and subsequently re-signing him) and also added a ton of muscle down low by drafting Larry Sanders and adding Drew Gooden in free agency. While Gooden's usage is a bit high, he does provide somewhat of a backup plan in case Andrew Bogut continues to struggle recovering from the arm injury. That said, just as it was in the playoffs, this team's chances are tied to Bogut. Bogut has to not only recover, but re-assume his position as a premier big man in the league if the Bucks are going to repeat their success of last year. Similarly, Brandon Jennings has to take a step forward, grow a sense that maybe that off-balance 18-foot jumper on the run is not the best option offensively for this particular moment of time, regardless of how hot he "feels."

This is a team sound throughout its principles and structure. But its superstars will have to take steps forward if they're going to keep pace with the rest of an improved Eastern Conference.

Finally, the real test for if this team is legit is if Skiles manages to get the same effort night after night from this team that he did last season. There's been a pattern with Skiles' losing the ears of his players with the incessant yelling and discipline, and it'll be up to him to show some restraint and trust. Not exactly something he's known for. But Skiles has improved in his coaching style, so it's not out of the realm of possibility.

At the end of the day, the Bucks won with defense, rebounding, a dynamic point guard and stellar center. That's a formula that's been relied on to win. Throw in the fact that they added to their team while losing no essential component, and while it's not a sure thing, it's safe to say you can legitimately fear the deer for another year. That was an unfortunate rhyme.

Be sure to follow the NBA Facts and Rumors blog on Twitter @CBSSportsNBA


Posted on: August 19, 2010 12:30 pm
 

Bogut's recovery not going well, may miss opener

Bucks' star having trouble in recovery from elbow injury, may miss season opener.
Posted by Matt Moore

Andrew Bogut suffered a seriously gruesome elbow injury in a fall last season which ended his year and the Bucks' chances of going deep into the playoffs. He required multiple surgeries, but worked hard to recover and all indications were that he would be back with plenty of time to spare before the start of the season.

You can sense the "but" here, can't you?

Real GM's board of internet scour experts brings us a transcript of Bogut's television appearance in his native land of Australia. The interview, available here (but not in the US), tells us that Bogut was shooting while in Europe, but had fluid build up in his elbow and so had to go back to conditioning and weight training only. More concerning is this quote:

"I'm optimistic that I should be ready for the season but you never know with these things because of the nerve damage and so on, it's on its own course.

"[It's my decision] I'm one of those guys who will play through injury but if I'm not 100% for the season to start, there is no sense going into an NBA season at 85% 'cause we're playing up to May."


Yikes. Losing Bogut for even a month could put the Bucks in a hole to start the season. The good news is that they did bolster their frontcourt with Drew Gooden and Larry Sanders, who might be able to at least function with Brandon Jennings and Corey Maggette handling the scoring load until Bogut returns.

It was a severe injury that Bogut underwent, so this isn't entirely expected. It still has to be frustrating for both Bogut, and Bucks fans, who have seen the versatile center limited in multiple seasons due to injury. When healthy, he's one of the top big men in the league (and a defensive player of the year candidate). But he's got to be able to get on the floor first. For all the strides Milwaukee has made, recurring injury problems for Bogut is just the kind of thing that can submarine a season before it has a chance to get going.

The clock's ticking.

(HT: Brewhoop on Twitter )

Posted on: July 27, 2010 7:56 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2010 7:57 pm
 

Video: Offseason review - Central Division

Posted by Royce Young

The Central was the center of free agency this offseason. LeBron's decision, the Bulls multiple moves and plus, some other interesting transactions. It's all been graded and broken down , plus here's some talking about it as well.


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