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Tag:Lance Stephenson
Posted on: October 5, 2010 10:19 am
Edited on: October 5, 2010 10:44 am
 

Shootaround 10.5.10: Giving and Getting

We're getting a new guy, the Grizzlies aren't giving Conley the dough, and the Heat know they have to give to succeed, all in today's Shootaround.Posted by Matt Moore

You'll be seeing a new face around these parts soon as Ben Golliver joins the F&R staff for the season. We're excited to have Ben on board and we know you'll love the coverage you'll get from Ben on the Blazers and across the league. As an initiation, we're planning on forcing  him to dougie like Babbit .

The Grizzlies have no plans to commit to a contract extension with Mike Conley until after this season, the Commercial Appeal reports. After putting too much money into too incomplete a player in Rudy Gay over the summer, and with more important assets Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol also in need of extensions, this is an essential decision. Conley has not proven to be starter worthy despite being given all the starts the past two seasons. Conley's got to prove it.

The buzzword at Heat camp? Sacrifice . Which is exactly what you want to hear if you're hoping for the Heat to accomplish something special with the triad. That's the word that can help rehabilitiate their image, and push their game beyond video game stats and into playoff wins.

Lance Stephenson shwoed up at camp and has been working hard despite his off-court woes. The bad news is that he's such a defensive liability, coach Jim O'Brien says he wouldn't play a single minute in game . Ouch.

Brandon Bass has committed to learning the playbook which could help him, you know, play in Orlando, a problem he had last year.

The last remaining roster spot in Charlotte may be down to Javaris Crittenton versus Sherron Collins out of Kansas. It's a contrast in styles that could lead to a hard decision for Larry Brown, via the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell.

Dwight Jaynes in Portland is skeptical of Nate McMillan's intention for the Blazers to run.

If you're not ready for the John Wall era, read David Aldridge's piece and you will be. I'm an advanced stats guy, and even I know that if your numbers don't support the theory that Wall's going to be incredible , you need to recheck your digits.

Michael Beasley only missed two shots! Woo-hoo Wolves fans! Except the one he made were almost all outside of the paint... oh .

Posted on: August 16, 2010 10:06 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2010 11:48 pm
 

Pacers issue statement on Stephenson

Larry Bird issues sternly worded statement after more details of rookie's arrest come to light.
Posted by Matt Moore


It's important not to leap to conclusions when an athlete finds himself in legal trouble. Situations are rarely as simple as they appear, and were it to be a friend of yours, you'd want the public to extend some level of restraint in criticism and discretion. Unfortunately, the more we learn after the arrest of Lance Stephenson, the harder it is to avoid casting a harsh eye. Regardless, the Pacers aren't necessarily taking that approach. Nor are they taking a position comparable to other teams' "We support (player X) and will stand by him through this time." Instead, they are aggressively discussing punishment, particularly with reports developing that Stephenson not only threw the mother of his child down a flight of steps, but then slammed her head into the bottom step .

It's disturbing behavior for any team to face with a draft pick, but for Indiana, committed to rebuilding its team's character in the eyes of fans who saw the mid-00's team devolve into off-court turmoil (and, you know, the whole Malice in the Palace thing), it's something that will elicit the kind of response Larry Bird issued today. From Pacers.com:

"The news of Lance Stephenson’s arrest is very disappointing to the Pacers franchise and to me personally. We have worked very hard to bring in players that are excellent representatives of our franchise, community and state both on and off the court. Our commitment to this goal is too strong to permit the actions of one individual to reverse all of the positive strides that have been made as a franchise over the last couple of years or to hurt the image of the rest of the players on our team. Everyone in the Pacers organization remains strongly committed to our players representing Indianapolis and the state of Indiana in a positive way and will not condone behavior that reflects poorly on this franchise and community.

"We are continuing to gather all of the facts regarding Lance’s arrest but regardless of the outcome of the investigation, Lance should not have put himself in the position he was in early Sunday morning. We have consistently emphasized to our players the importance of not putting themselves in situations where bad things can happen. Once all the facts are known we will deal appropriately with Lance so that he, the team and the entire Pacers community understands that this message cannot be ignored."

Those are not the words of a franchise looking to brush past the assault charges. Those are the words of a franchise that sounds ready to cut bait on a second-round pick that had such a promising Summer League. After coming out and playing lights out this summer, Stephenson has wasted every ounce of good will he's managed to earn despite his rocky character profile.

It's frustrating. It's frustrating for the Pacers, working to move past their failures in character judgment. It's frustrating for Stephenson's fans, hoping he could capitalize on his tremendous skill if he could just grow up, just a little. To have that much God-given talent, to have worked so hard to put yourself in a position to show all the doubters wrong, and then to justify every negative thing that was said about you, how depressing is that? It's possible Stephenson's completely innocent. Our system will treat him as such, and if exonerated, I'll certainly be the first to acknowledge the mistake of presuming guilt. But it doesn't look good, and as Bird said, Stephenson put himself in a bad situation, one he shouldn't be in.

There's not a tremendous amount of leeway a second round pick gets. Stephenson's short amount of credit may have just been maxed.
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....


Posted on: August 5, 2010 7:53 am
Edited on: August 5, 2010 10:54 am
 

Shootaround 8.5.10: Candy kids

Posted by Matt Moore

The Pacers continue to search for a point guard option . There comes a point where you just have to recognize you can't go forward without a positional upgrade and you have to commit the resources necessary to acquire one. The Pacers have hit that point, but now there aren't really many options. However, if Lance Stephenson can just show a baseline of point play like he did in Summer League, he could be an option. I never would have thought that a reasonable match, but Stephenson looked like a better combo point than several attempted hybrids have.

Consider this. With Shaq signing not only with Boston, but in Boston for a two-year deal , the odds are high that his last NBA game will be as a Celtic. Try and wrap your brain around that.

Almost everyone agrees that Mark Cuban, for all his antics, is a great owner. But after Cuban lost the bid for the Texas Rangers last night, one reporter thinks his heart wasn't in it to begin with, and has some harsh words . It's hard to imagine Cuban doing the bidding of anyone, and the fact is that Cuban has been one of the best stories in sports ownership over the past decade. Committed not only to winning, but not throwing out money to ridiculous personnel like New York.

The Suns signed Matt Janning who looked good in Vegas Summer League . This brings their total number of goofy looking white point guards to three.

Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian want to have children . Tremble for your world, ye children of men.

Bulls blog Bulls by the Horns points out that Joakim Noah has improved his jumper . That's a fairly siginificant step for a player just to become decent and another sign that Noah is still even better than we think he is, and at this point we think he's pretty good.

In a lot of ways, Ben Wallace is the anti-Shaq. Doesn't say much. Does his job. Re-signs with the team that he's loyal to . You know, those kind of things.

Shannon Brown thinks playing time, more money, and a system that fits his skills are all fairly useless things . Why be a prince in an upcoming neighborhood with tons of potential when you can be a lapdog in Bevery Hills? Wanting to stay where you had success is nice, as is the loyalty factor, if that really is part of it. But Brown is poorly suited for the triangle and has more value elsewhere than he does in LA, walking the ball up as a third stringer and sitting in a corner waiting for a three. He's a slasher, a driver, a creator. But hey, his career. And the rings are always nice.

Bill Walton is working with Roy Hibbert, which can only lead to good things . My question? Where's Rik Smits?!

Sharks + Thunder= Thundersharks .

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.


Posted on: July 27, 2010 6:12 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 8:30 pm
 

Offseason Reviews: Central 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.

Chicago Bulls

Added: Carlos Boozer (sign-and-trade), Kyle Korver (free agency), Ronnie Brewer (free agency), Kurt Thomas (free agency), C.J. Watson (trade)
Lost: Kirk Hinrich (trade), Hakim Warrick (sign-and-trade), Brad Miller (free agency)

Philosophy: "Why have excellent when you can have above-average?"

Well, hey, they didn't get LeBron. Or Dwyane Wade. Or Chris Bosh. Or Amar'e Stoudemire. But they got Carlos Boozer!

And sure, they didn't get Anthony Morrow. Or J.J. Redick (though they tried). But they got Kyle Korver!

And that's pretty much the Bulls summer. The Bulls swung out on the big boys and got the next best thing they could rustle up. Boozer's numbers are good, and he certainly solves a lot of their needs. That's really what it comes down to. All of the Bulls' signings were exactly what they needed, they just weren't the best guys they could get. Carlos Boozer gives them a low-post power forward with offensive versatility. He's just not Amar'e Stoudemire or Chris Bosh. Kyle Korver adds three-point shooting,and was a better option than even Anthony Morrow would have been. Ronnie Brewer may have been their best signing. They essentially took Kirk Hinrich, a defensive combo-guard that can't really shoot anymore (I'll never figure out where his shot went), and his considerable salary and moved him for Brewer, a defensive combo-wing that can't shoot.

It's hard to knock the Bulls, since they did at least stay aggressive, and did make moves. And trying to grade them based on expectations in this competitive of a year is tough. But with one of the biggest markets, cap space, and a handful of advantages, you still have to look at their moves and ask "Really?"

Grade: B-

Cleveland Cavaliers

Added: Ramon Sessions (trade), Ryan Hollins (trade), Christian Eyenga (draft)
Lost: LeBron freaking James (sign-and-trade), Delonte West (trade), Sebastian Telfair (trade), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (free agency)

Philosophy: "Not with a bang, but with 'The Decision'"

Yeah, I think this pretty much sums it up .

How do you judge them for this? How do you evaluate them after losing the most important player in franchise history in one of the most embarrassing ways possible? Can you blame them? Can you exonerate them simply because of James' classless behavior? At the end of the day, it's the responsibility of a front-office to make the team the best it can be. And in this case, it didn't. Whether there were forces beyond their control or foresight is irrelevant. We are judged by our performances, and the results sadly speak for themselves.

Sessions is a great pick-up, though, and Hollins has some potential outside of the triangle.

Grade: F+

Detroit Pistons


Added: Greg Monroe (draft), Terrico White (draft), Ben Wallace (re-signed)
Lost: none

Philosophy: "Running in place is good for the soul."

Such a wasted opportunity. Rip Hamilton, out there to move, with teams who missed out on the Big 3 needing impact players. Tayshaun Prince, same deal. Rodney Stuckey, conceivably expendable. Instead, Joe Dumars and company elected to simply do nothing. No additions, no trades, no moves. Just the consistency of mediocrity. Perhaps the idea is that things could not go as badly as they did last season. And it's hard to argue against that, with all the injuries. But the problems remain with an ineffective frontcourt and an inconsistent backcourt. There was still a lot Dumars could have pursued, he's pulled off those moves before. But instead he seems convinced that this roster as constructed can get the job done.

The shining light? Greg Monroe looks good. Really good. The kind of low-post player they've needed for years and have been getting by with Kwame Brown for. The wasted opportunity docks them, but their draft was solid enough to save them to a degree.

Grade: C-

Indiana Pacers


Added: Paul George (draft), Lance Stephenson (draft), Magnum Rolle (draft)

Lost:
none

Philosophy:
"The vague semblance of a plan."

The Pacers did the same amount of stuff that the Pistons did, so they get the same grade right? Sadly, no. Fair is not always equal. The Pacers get a much improved grade from years past thanks to their willingness to go away from what has been their calling card. Instead of opting for big-resume players from major programs in college and veteran marginal free agents, the Pacers went with talent. Best talent available. And now? They have a roster with movable veteran pieces (Ford, Murphy, Foster), with replacements in place for them, and have managed to get involved in multiple talks for Granger without losing leverage.

Lance Stephenson, even if Summer League was a complete mirage, has long-term value to be able to invest in at both the point guard and combo-guard position. George has long-term development potential. Roy Hibbert has been given opportunities to develop and showed signs last year, and they didn't do anything in the draft or free agency to interfere with that. Even Magnum Rolle looks like a decent backup prospect.

I don't really know how to live in a world where I'm about to give this grade, but I'm going to.

Grade: B+

Milwaukee Bucks


Added:   John Salmons (re-signed, Drew Gooden (free agency), Corey Maggette (trade), Jon Brockman (trade), Keyon Dooling (free agency), Larry Sanders (draft), Darington Hobson (draft), Tiny Gallon (draft)
Lost:   Luke Ridnour (free agency), Kurt Thomas (free agency), Royal Ivey (free agency), Charlie Bell (trade), Dan Gadzuric (trade), Darnell Jackson (trade)

Philosophy:
"LOCK AND LOAD."

I love what the Bucks did. I hate what the Bucks did. I totally understand what the Bucks did. I'm completely baffled by what the Bucks did.

Okay, here's what we know.

John Hammond believes this roster can contend. Andrew Bogut, when healthy, can be the cornerstone. Brandon Jennings will only get better. They have movable assets of value. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is versatile and talented at multiple positions. They needed scoring. A high-volume, high-usage, efficient shooter that isn't named Michael Redd Who Has No Legs. So they got Corey Maggette. Nice. That works. Sure, Maggette's a defensive question mark, but we've seen terrible defenders become semi-decent in good systems, and the Bucks have one of the best around. They re-signed Salmons, for a lot less than I thought he would garner in this market. They now have offense and defense.

But in addition to that, the Bucks got gluttonous. Drew Gooden, for the amount of money he was signed for is fairly unforgivable. Three days later, Hammond got Salmons back for a quality price. It was like every move they made, they followed with one on the other end of the sense spectrum. One thing is for certain: the Bucks are good at power forward. After watching Larry Sanders look fairly incredible at Summer League, I'm ready to commit to a bet that the Bucks will lead the league in blocks next season. With Bogut, Gooden, Mbah a Moute, Sanders, and whoever else gets in on the act, I think they have a good shot at that.

The question is if the unbalanced nature of their acquisitions (all high-usage players) will maintain a balance with their defense to ensure they reach last year's performance and exceed it. And on that front, it's a mixed grade.

Grade: B-



Posted on: July 23, 2010 9:34 am
Edited on: July 23, 2010 10:07 am
 

Shootaround 7.23.10

Posted by Matt Moore
  • Mike Prada of SBNation.com ranks all 30 GMs and does a fine job of it . My one quibble is docking Bryan Colangelo that low. Colangelo has either made the playoffs or been within shouting distance, and once Chris Bosh took off, he scrapped most of his major contracts and only signed guys to short term deals he can move. I'm not arguing he's a top 15 guy, just not a bottom feeder.
  • The Bulls went out and got Kurt Thomas, which isn't all that odd, but nor is it particularly full of sense. You'd think Thomas would be the type to sign on with the Heat. Maybe he peels or something.
  • The Celtics brought back Marqusi Daniels, which was likely simply a product of Tony Allen taking off. Daniels' minutes plummeted last season after injury, and he never really recovered. He was a non-factor in the playoffs, despite bringing precisely the kind of things the Celtics needed off the bench. Daniels could contribute if you, know, he could stay on the floor more than 30 seconds.
  • Lance Stephenson was phenomenal in summer league at point guard, far better than expected. But the Pacers' organization isn't going to commit to slotting him there at all . Instead they're just talking about him being a player that can help. The Pacers need a point guard of the future, and Stephenson, in the Gilbert Arenas (hopefully without the firepower off-court) mold could be a difference maker for the club and finally give them a direction to head with their rebuilding. Otherwise theyv'e just got redundancy at multiple positions on the floor.
  • Everyone, their momma, and their mailman is looking at Andre Iguodala. Iggy has been on the block for a year, and the drafting of Evan Turner only further complicates it. They don't play the same position exactly, but they play the same position approximately. Iguodala could be one of the bigger names moved this year, given how many players were signed in free agency and unlikely to move within six months. Outside of that Chris Paul fellow.

Posted on: July 21, 2010 8:12 am
Edited on: July 21, 2010 10:31 am
 

Shootaround 7.21.10

Posted by Matt Moore
  • Andrew Bynum's knee surgery has been sheduled for July 28th , after being postponed from July 18th. The surgery is to repair a small tear in the meniscus he played through in the playoffs. Complications are unlikely, but Bynum does have a significant injury of not snapping back from surgery.
  • SB Nation Arizona's Seth Pollack lays out the Suns' plan for the future . The hiring of Lon Babby and all of their short-term, mid-size contracts they've added are all part of a strategy to set themselves up for "the big trade" whenever that may be and whoever that may be for. It's a smart play if you have the money and patience for it. Owner Robert Sarver does not have the patience for the draft-heavy Blazers/Thunder approach and doesn't like rebuilding. It does fall in line with a thought process I tend to agree with, which is that there are always good players available if you're aggressive enough to get them. We've seen Al Jefferson moved in the last month. You just have to seize the opportunity. But with Steve Nash continuing into his mid-30s, time may be short for the window of opportunity before a true rebuilding era is needed.
  • It would not surprise me at all to see Alonzo Gee as the Spurs' starting small forward in a few years. Gee has an NBA frame, explosion, touch, range, and athleticism. The gaps in his game are hard to identify, even if he's incapable of taking over a game.
  • Ben Gordon was in Vegas scouting as parting of the Players Association's leadership and development program, preparing himself or a career in basketball when his playing time is done. No word on if he put negative comments around every player that did not shoot 20 times a game regardless of the offense's context.
 
 
 
 
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