Tag:Washington Wizards
Posted on: September 24, 2010 3:11 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2010 3:33 pm
 

Report: Blatche agrees to three-year extension

Posted by Royce Young

Wizards forward Andray Blatche has agreed to a three-year contract extension, Michael Lee of the Washington Post reports.

The extension runs through the 2014-15 season. Blatche had two seasons left on his current deal and could've become an unrestricted free agent in 2012, but the Wizards locked him up for the following three years. Over five season, Blatche will earn about $30 million with this new deal. He's set to earn about $6.7 over the next two, so essentially, he signed a three-year deal for $23.3 million.

It all makes a decent amount of sense for Washington. He had a semi-breakout year last season after the Wizards traded Antwan Jamison to the Cavs. Blatche finished the season averaging 14.1 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game, but put up 21.0 ppg and 7.9 rpg the last three months of the season. He's only 24 years old and entering his sixth season, Blatche may be turning into the kind of power forward to build around.

He has had some off-court issues in the past, but his talent is hard to deny. An athletic 6'11 power forward with a quality jumper, good hands and excellent touch around the rim, Blatche may not have even hit his ceiling. It was pretty smart for the Wiz to lock down Blatche now before he has the chance to improve his stock even more with a full season next and eventually deciding to test free agent waters. And at that price, it works out pretty well for both sides.

Blatche gets extended and doesn't have to worry about the new CBA and Washington gets a quality power forward at a discounted rate.

Posted on: September 21, 2010 3:43 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2010 3:43 pm
 

Preseason Primers: Wizards

Posted by Royce Young

There will be an eye on Washington this season for one main reason: John Wall. The athletic, gifted point guard will be running the show for a rebuilding Wizards squad and the NBA world will be watching his development. But how does he fit in with Gilbert Arenas? The Wizards' camp will be more interesting than most in terms of sorting out issues. Going in, nothing is really set in stone, other than Wall will definitely get his minutes.

Training camp site: Fairfax, VA

Training camp starts: Begins with "Midnight Madness" Sept. 28 

Key additions: John Wall (draft), Kirk Hinrich (trade), Trevor Booker (draft), Yi Jianlian (trade), Hamady N'Diaye (draft), Hilton Armstrong (free agent), Kevin Seraphin (draft)

Key subtractions: Randy Foye (free agent), Mike Miller (free agent), Shaun Livingston (free agent)

Likely starting lineup: John Wall, PG; Gilbert Arenas, SG; Josh Howard, SF; Andray Blatche, PF; JaVale McGee, C

Player to watch: Gilbert Arenas. I'm going against the grain on this and saying Arenas, but his situation is far more interesting than top pick John Wall's. Arenas has played point guard his entire career and as of right now, the Wizards intend to move him to shooting guard. Gilbert Arenas, shooting guard. Write your own jokes here, people.

Chemistry quiz: By drafting Wall, the Wizards basically told former franchise players Arenas that he's both expendable and no longer the face of the team. How does Arenas, a player looks for his own no matter what position he's playing, handle this? This Wizards definitely have some personality with Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Arenas and Josh Howard. How they get along is probably the biggest question of the season for Washington.

Injury watch: Howard is coming off a major injury that ended his season early last year. He's not part of Washington's long-term plans, but if he's not healthy, this team is thin on both scoring ability and defensive-minded players.

Camp battles: The starting point guard position is Wall's, no doubt. But steady guard Kirk Hinrich will definitely make a push for legit minutes. Add in Nick Young trying to beat out Arenas for the starting 2, Al Thornton trying to win the small forward spot over Josh Howard and Yi Jianlian trying to move ahead of Blatche on the depth chart and you should see a competitive camp for the Wiz.

Biggest strength: Raw talent. The Wizards have some talented youth. Wall, Jianlian, Blatche, McGee and Thornton and Trevor Booker is a group of young guys that can potentially be serious impact players. But they're raw. They're inexperienced. They haven't tasted winning. And they may not know how to play together. But in terms of basketball ability, Washington certainly has a good amount.

Glaring weakness: Experience, chemistry and depth. So there was that gun thing last year. Then of course Andray Blatche might say who knows what. And JaVale McGee might do who knows what. To guess that the Wizards might be dysfunctional this season wouldn't be a long shot.
Posted on: September 20, 2010 5:14 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2010 5:15 pm
 

Javaris Crittenton looking at NBA training camps

Former Wizards guard suspended in Arenas gun altercation exploring options for NBA training camp, including Charlotte Bobcats. Posted by Matt Moore

The agent for Javaris Crittenton says the former Wizards guard is exploring several options for NBA training camps to attend, including the Charlotte Bobcats. Crittenton, the 6-5, 200 lb. guard out of Georgia Tech is best known at this point as being the other party in the altercation with Gilbert Arenas involving firearms in the Wizards locker room. But before that he was a promising prospect that wound up buried on the Lakers' bench, then traded to Memphis in the Pau Gasol steal. He found out quickly that the NBA is a business

Crittenton was suspended for the remainder of last year and plead guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge because of the incident. He was given one year's probation.  It was Arenas that allegedly starting the argument that lead to the altercation, refusing to pay his share of a gambling debt he and Crittenton incurred in a card game. 

Crittenton's agent Mark Bartelstein told CBSSports.com that Crittenton has several options for NBA training camps to attend, specifically mentioning Charlotte as an option. Charlotte would make sense, as they are extremely light in the back court after the departure of Raymond Felton in free agency. Larry Brown has a history of working with players coming from bad circumstances with other teams, including Rasheed Wallace, Stephen Jackson, and Tyrus Thomas. Brown treats the players as professionals, and that approach seems to get through. If Crittenton does attend camp, it could be an opportunity to get his career back on track. Bartelstein says Crittenton is in "great condition" and ready to put the events of last year behind him and focus on this season. 

Maybe a second chance for Crittenton is in the cards this time. 

Posted on: September 10, 2010 11:43 am
Edited on: September 10, 2010 11:44 am
 

Pop Quiz: Who's the Rookie of the Year favorite?

Posted by Royce Young

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

Who is winning Rookie of the Year? John Wall, Blake Griffin or someone else?

There's the Madden Curse, the Curse of the Billy Goat and the the Curse of the Sacred Buffalo. And for the past couple years, there's been the Curse of the No. 1 Overall Pick.

Of course there's Greg Oden who missed his entire 2007-08 rookie season because of microfracture surgery on his knee. Derrick Rose escaped and had a nice 2008-09 rookie campaign, but then Blake Griffin fractured his patella and sat out all of 2009-10.

Maybe it's a trend. Or maybe like the other "curses," it's just a combination of coincidence and bad luck.

But not often do you have a season with two No. 1 overall picks playing their rookie seasons together. John Wall and Blake Griffin are the last two top picks in the NBA and they are both entering their official rookie seasons. Griffin was the clear-cut favorite for Rookie of the Year last season before he got hurt, but his injury opened the door for Tyreke Evans to snatch the award. But with how electric Evans was last season, who knows, he might've won the award anyway.

So coming into 2010-11, we have two obvious favorites. But will one of them win it? If so, which one? Or if not, who else could slip in and grab the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy? Here are the favorites and then two sleepers:

THE FAVORITES

Blake Griffin, Clippers - It's easy to forget what a freak of nature Griffin is. It's easy to forget his non-stop motor, his talent, his ridiculous ability and his awesome athleticism. He sat out last season so it's easy to forget that he was pretty much a consistent 20-20 threat at the University of Oklahoma and that he averaged almost 30 points and 15 rebounds in the NCAA tournament. It's easy to forget that he was the most dominant college big man since Tim Duncan.

But he's healthy and he's hungry. Those are two very, very scary things for those that dare challenge him head-to-head. Griffin has an other-worldly work ethic and he's spent the last 15 months waiting to get a crack at the NBA. He's ready to go and the Clippers need his services. He'll get big minutes and he'll likely put up big numbers.

John Wall, Wizards
- In terms of pure flash, skill and NBA talent, it's hard to top John Wall. He just has some sort of allure to him that makes him must-see. And that sort of thing goes a long way in determining Rookie of the Year. Wall has "it," whatever "it" is.

He's going to struggle some though, especially early on. He's being put in charge of a fairly bad Wizards team from the get-go. He's going to have to manage being a scorer and a distributor, something really good point guards don't figure out most times until their third year. He will struggle at times. He'll turn the ball over. He'll miss open shots. And he'll likely get frustrated. But Wall will have flashy games, good numbers and most of all, that Derrick Rose like draw that just makes him fun to watch.

DeMarcus Cousins, Kings
- A lot of really smart analysts agreed in June, DeMarcus Cousins was the most talented overall player in the draft. He's the most NBA ready player and most capable of stepping on the floor and contributing this second.

But for Cousins, it was a between-the-ears thing.

Assuming his head is on straight and he's focused, Cousins is an absolute force on the post. In the first three games of Vegas summer league, he was nearly unguardable. He was a walking double-double. But then he got tired, lost interest and his numbers dipped severely. If we see the good Cousins consistently, he's a legit contender. If he wavers, he might not even make an All-Rookie team.

Evan Turner, 76ers - During summer league, Turner looked lost. He looked confused. He looked as if he wasn't sure of himself, his abilities or how he was supposed to fit in.

But remember, summer league.

Turner nearly averaged a triple-double at Ohio State last season. His issue will be something he doesn't really control. New 76ers coach Doug Collins will have to figure out where he's supposed to play. Is it point? At the 2? At the 3? Once that gets settled and Turner fits into his role, he should be a guy that finishes with quality numbers on a team that likely won't be very good.

Greg Monroe, Pistons - Maybe Monroe would be better suited in the "sleeper" category. He was drafted seventh overall and isn't set up to garner a ton of attention or playing time early on in Detroit.

But Monroe's skills are unignorable. He passing beautifully out of the post, has terrific footwork and rebounds better than people give him credit for. Right now, he's a little low on the depth chart, but the Pistons are likely planning on moving some pieces around. So Monroe will probably get plenty of playing time in a rebuilding situation.

TWO DARK HORSES
Patrick Patterson, Rockets - Daryl Morey traded Carl Landry away to Sacramento last season at the deadline. And he replaced him with, basically another Carl Landry.

Patterson is a machine on the post. He never stops working, never stops fighting. He's pretty much a perfect Houston Rocket at this point. The traditional box score may say he's not great, the measurables may say he's not super talented, but he just gets it done. Given the chance, he might slip in and average quality numbers playing in a bench role for Houston. And if so, he might also slip into the ROY discussion.

James Anderson, Spurs - With the oft-injured and aging Manu Ginobili playing in front of him, James Anderson might be called upon at some point to step up in a big way for the Spurs. And since he plays for San Antonio, obviously Anderson will be up to the task, because that's the just the way the Spurs work.

He was an elite scorer in college that was questioned at the next level because he's not overly athletic and doesn't score at the rim. But does it matter when you can just plain score? He shoots an open 3 beautifully, he gets to the free throw line and he's not a bad defender. If he gets opportunities, he could potentially average double-digits and play a big role in keeping the Spurs going. And that might be enough to at least get him in the conversation.

THE PICK
This is a weird year. On one hand, there are the obvious favorites as in, two No. 1 overall picks. But on the other, it's a wide open race because there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding those guys. Can Wall settle in with Washington? Is Griffin completely healthy? How good is DeMarcus Cousins and can he jump other candidates?

After Blake Griffin's injury last season, the ROY race opened up completely. Basically everyone had a shot. This season, it's pretty much a two-man showdown, with a couple dark horses hanging around. Writers are just waiting to hand the award to either Wall or Griffin, so in order for someone else to get into the conversation, they'll have to have a big time year.

So it comes down to the two No. 1s. Griffin has the advantage of going through an NBA season already, even if he didn't play. He's had a year of practices, a year of meetings, a year of travel. And most importantly, a year away from home in a big city with a lot of money in his pocket. He knows how to handle it. Wall on the other hand, is coming in like a traditional rookie - fresh.

Basically in my mind, it comes down to Griffin's health. If he doesn't sustain anymore injuries and is able to play the bulk of the season, he's going to have seriously good numbers. Probably something in the 17-10 range or maybe even better. He's a statistical machine. Wall will have a nice year no doubt, but Griffin will likely put up numbers that can be ignored. And that's why, in his second rookie year, Blake Griffin gets the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy.
Posted on: September 10, 2010 9:11 am
 

Shootaround 9.10.10: An extension for Noah?

Posted by Royce Young
  • Before we get too carried away with Joakim Noah for Carmelo Anthony talk, Marc Stein of ESPN says that the Bulls are actually working on something else Noah related: an extension. Which adds a potentially interesting twist to the trade rumors. Right now, Noah's salary is nowhere close to being enough to get a deal done with Denver for Anthony. Luol Deng would have to be included in the trade, but Denver is lukewarm on Deng. So if the Bulls extend Noah to say, $10 million a year, that would make a swap much easier. Just a thought.
  • Kevin Durant wrote "1972" on his sneakers yesterday for the game against Russia. Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie: "Not only does it remind me of how proud I am to be an American, but it should remind followers from all nations in this tournament that being part of a team can be a pretty special thing. Whether you're a member of Team USA at one point, CCCP, the Russian team, or a squad that didn't even exist in the 1988 Olympics (which took place the month Kevin Durant was born), it hardly matters. You're a teammate for life, and I appreciated Durant's little message to his teammates."
  • Ailene Voison of the Sac Bee on the reprehensible situation with Omri Casspi: "Kings forward Omri Casspi said Thursday he was 'hurt' after learning that a mural featuring his likeness was defaced with a swastika. The incident at 16th and R streets in midtown Sacramento is being investigated as a possible hate crime by local authorities. 'It's been all over the news over here,' said Casspi by phone at his family home in Yavne, Israel. 'Everybody's talking about it. It's hurtful to think that this is 2010, and there are still people like that out there. I almost don't know what to say. It's probably just some idiot who wants some publicity. But I know the people in Sacramento, and they have been wonderful to me. I know they must feel bad about this. Same thing with the Kings. I'll just let the police handle this and focus on having a great season.' Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the NBA, returns to Sacramento on Monday to begin preparing for his second training camp."
  • What does the old show "The White Shadow" and Turkey's 12 Giant Men have in common? Pete Thamel of the NY Times: "Turkey’s rapid rise as a basketball power can be traced, in part, to 'The White Shadow,' whose 54 episodes appeared on black-and-white TV here from 1980 to 1982. 'It made people aware of basketball in Turkey,' said Alper Yilmaz, a former national team player who works in the front office of Efes Pilsen, a club in Istanbul that has won 13 Turkish League titles since its founding in 1976. 'There was already basketball in Turkey,' Yilmaz added, 'but after that show, everyone started playing.'"
  • Chris Sheridan of ESPN on what gets lost in translation in international basketball: "The inclination for a player in foul trouble is to hold back, even just a little. Not so for Andre Iguodala , who played with so much energy and passion right when the Americans needed it that one of the Russian players actually thought he was swearing at him -- in Russian. "He say in Russian a bad word. I don't know how he know this. I won't even translate it. It's bad," said Russian forward Andrey Vorontsevich, who got yelled at by Iguodala after being a little too physical with Lamar Odom . "All I said was, 'watch it, watch it,'" Iguodala said, bewildered. "I don't speak any Russian."Apparently (according to bilingual Russian journalist Vladimir Gomelsky of NTV+, the Russian all-sports cable network), if you say, "watch it, watch it" fast enough, it can be misconstrued as the Russian euphemism for a female canine."
Posted on: September 8, 2010 5:56 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 9:50 pm
 

Pop Quiz: Which coach is on the hot seat?

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...

Which coach has the hottest seat going into the season?


Scott Brooks.

No kidding, you have to put Scott Brooks on this list. Even though he's been instrumental in taking a team with nothing but young players and turning them into a playoff team that looks every bit ready to challenge for a Western Conference title, Brooks has to be on this list. Why? Because he was so good last year he won the career death sentence: the Coach of the Year award. Let's take a look at the previous winners, shall we?

Mike Brown: canned.

Byron Scott: deleted.

Sam Mitchell: terminated.

Avery Johnson: gonezo.

Yeesh. Watch your back, Scottie.

Okay, besides the superstition, who's actually in danger of losing their gig this year? Here are four candidates.

Jay Triano: It's been stunning how Triano has managed to avoid harsh criticism for his squad's performance which helped lead to Chris Bosh's departure without so much as a consideration for staying in Toronto. Brian Colangelo takes all the blame for constructing a spineless defensive team with too many inconsistencies offensively, despite acquiring Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans and being willing to spend for Hedo Turkoglu (who despite all his problems, was a legit quality free agent last summer). Yet Triano's team wound up with the worst defensive marks in the league, falling out of the playoffs down the stretch, and he walked away largely unscathed. Now the Raptors are suffering with a significant lack of talent, and often, guys who underperformed with talent end up getting removed when they actually have good reasons for underperforming... much like Triano faces this season.

John Kuester: The offensive wiz of a team now considered to be one of the greater disappointments of the last decade had a rough opening season. Injuries and subpar play from their big free agents (which most people saw coming outside of the Pistons, though not to the degree) played a part, but this is a cold hearted business that very rarely provides reasonable responses to legitimate causes for losing. If Kuester can't get the Pistons turned around with that payroll, his reputation may not spare him from the axe of Joe Dumars.

Flip Saunders: If anyone in the entire league has an excuse for struggling through two seasons, it's got to be Saunders. Saunders was at the helm for one of the most disastrous seasons in league history last year, and had to preside over the meltdown, grin, and bear it as all his talent was shipped out in a rebuilding plan. John Wall was a Godsend, but Saunders has to deal with re-integrating Gilbert Arenas, containing the combustible Andray Blatche, and trying to move the franchise forward with John Wall. Throw in new majority ownership from Ted Leonsis, and Saunders may have too much stacked against him to survive a poor start, fair or not.

Jim O'Brien: Larry Bird has committed to O'Brien, has stayed by his side, and recently gave him a vote of confidence. But he's in the last year of his deal, which makes letting him go much easier to swallow. On top of that, the questions about talent are no longer going to valid this year. The Pacers now feature a legit center in Roy Hibbert, a legit star forward in Danny Granger, and a star point guard in Darren Collison. If O'Brien can't make this team work in a thin Eastern Conference, with at least some improvement, Bird may run out of patience for him.


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 18, 2010 9:04 am
 

Shootaround 8.18.10: Louuuu!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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