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Tag:Paul George
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: May 11, 2011 3:27 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Griffin, Wall top NBA All-Rookie team

Blake Griffin and John Wall headline the 2010-2011 NBA All-Rookie team. Posted by Ben Golliver.

wall-griffin

The NBA announced its 2010-2011 NBA All-Rookie teams on Wednesday with 2009 No. 1 pick Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers and 2010 No. 1 pick John Wall of the Washington Wizards leading the way.
Griffin, who was selected first overall in the 2009 NBA Draft but missed the entire 2009-10 season due to injury (stress fracture, left knee), recorded a rookie-and team-leading 22.5 ppg (12th overall), 12.1 rpg (fourth overall) and 63 double-doubles (third overall). Griffin became the first rookie to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds since Elton Brand (20.1 ppg, 10.0 rpg) in 1999-2000. A six-time T-Mobile Western Conference Rookie of the Month selection, Griffin became the first rookie to appear in an NBA All-Star Game since Yao Ming in 2003. 

Wall, a four-time T-Mobile Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month selection, ranked seventh overall in assists (8.3 apg) and steals (1.75 spg), and finished second among rookies in scoring (16.4 ppg).
The duo was joined on the first team by New York Knicks forward Landry Fields, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins and San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal. The second team included Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe, Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors, Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Wesley Johnson and Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe.

Here's a look at both the first and second team rosters and how the voting broke down. 

2010-11 NBA ALL-ROOKIE FIRST TEAM

Blake Griffin   L.A. Clippers   58        
John Wall       Washington    57
Landry Fields   New York       56
DeMarcus Cousins  Sacramento 54
Gary Neal       San Antonio  44      

2010-11 NBA ALL-ROOKIE SECOND TEAM

Greg Monroe     Detroit  42
Wesley Johnson  Minnesota 26
Eric Bledsoe    L.A. Clippers  19
Derrick Favors  Utah  18
Paul George     Indiana 12

Other players receiving votes, with point totals (first place votes in parentheses): Ed Davis, Toronto, 10 (1); Evan Turner, Philadelphia, 12; Jordan Crawford, Washington, 12; Gordon Hayward, Utah, 7; Omer Asik, Chicago, 6 (1); Patrick Patterson, Houston, 5; Al-Farouq Aminu, Los Angeles Clippers, 3; Tiago Splitter, San Antonio, 3; Trevor Booker, Washington, 1; Christian Eyenga, Cleveland, 1; Ekpe Udoh, Golden State, 1.

A few notes:
  • Gary Neal was the only undrafted player to make either the first or second team.
  • Landry Fields was the only second round pick to make either the first or second team.
  • Evan Turner was the only top-5 pick not to make either the first or second team.
  • The highest ranked pick to not receive a single vote was Oklahoma City Thunder big man Cole Aldrich, who was taken No. 11 overall. 
  • Three other top 16 picks -- Xavier Hendry, Larry Sanders and Luke Babbitt, also did not receive a single vote.
  • Three members of the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats -- Wall, Cousins and Bledsoe -- found there way onto the first and second team.
  • The entire first team plus Monroe, Johnson, Bledsoe and Favors competed in the Rookie Challenge at 2011 All-Star Weekend.
  • Of the second team guys, Monroe has the best argument for inclusion on the first team. He started more than half of Detroit's games and was the lone bright spot on a pretty horrific season, posting averages of 9.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Still, Cousins posted bigger numbers -- 14.1 points and 8.7 rebounds -- and has the name recognition thing going for him.
Posted on: January 31, 2011 10:53 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2011 11:47 pm
 

Pacers loosen up after O'Brien firing, beat Raps

Pacers win first game under Frank Vogel, show signs of legitimate life against terrible Raps team. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Sometimes, a change can do wonders.  In their first game after Jim O'Brien was fired, the Pacers looked wholly different than they have for the past two months. Much of that is attributable to playing the Raptors, who are truly terrible. But there were a series of positive signs that under Frank Vogel, things might improve for the Pacers. 

First and foremost was Roy Hibbert. Hibbert looked like an All-Star candidate early this season, then tailed off to the point that he as consulting a sports psychologist . Hibbert's regression had been a focal point of the scrutiny on O'Brien. For a night, at least, progress seemed to have been made. Hibbert went off for 24 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks against the Raptors' puny interior defense. It wasn't just a good night against a bad team, though. Hibbert seemed to respond to Vogel's encouragement. The result was more and more focus from Hibbert, who looked to have new life. And he wasn't the only one. 

Tyler Hansbrough apparently unleashed a "rant" about O'Brien after the game, following his 14-point, 6-rebound performance in just 15 minutes. Rookie Paul George had 16 points, when his season average is only 7. More importantly, the team won. Even with Danny Granger having a tough night, and the opposition so bad (the Raptors have lost 12 straight), there was enough to feel good about this win for Pacers fans, just as a monster ice storm settled into the area, keeping attendance to just over 10,000 officially and far less unofficially.  The effort was there, a spark was there, and sometimes that's more important than precision, system, or cohesion, all of which are areas the Pacers still need help with.

Getting started on the right foot is important in a situation like that. Indiana's just two games out of the seventh seed in the East, and has the talent to get there. Maybe a move towards a younger coach is just what they needed. It's just one game and things could fall apart just as quickly, but at least for a night, the Pacers looked to have new life under the new coach.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 9:23 am
Edited on: November 8, 2010 12:10 pm
 

Shootaround 11.8.10: Right and Wrong

J.O.'s knee not quite right, Kevin Garnett not quite wrong in the head, and a murder suspect busted in Charlotte, all in today's Shootaround.Posted by Matt Moore
  • Oh, those sneaky Celtics. It seems they snuck a Jermaine O'Neal surgery under our very noses . J.O. certainly has seemed a step behind in terms of explosiveness and strength in the paint. But to be honest, we just chalked it up to age. Apparently there was an actual reason, which means he could improve, which means the Celtics could get stronger, which is just terrifying.
  • A Minnesotan discussion of Kevin Garnett's behavior, in which it's argued he's the most genuine athlete alive . I'm not buying it. Garnett isn't driven to these things out of passion, they're calculated maneuvers. That's why he doesn't end up in fights, instead walking away with his hands up after starting something. Intense, sure, but just as deliberate as the outraged opera star on stage.
  • A murder suspect was captured in the VIP section of the Bobcats game against Orlando Saturday. Seriously. Pretty scary because there were so many people around in the public event. Pretty funny because of all the jokes you can make of "Well, if you want to be hidden from people..."
  • Brandon Jennings with some disturbing comments about the locker room chemistry in Milwaukee that's helped lead to the 2-5 start they're off to. Jennings is still learning how to be a vocal leader, but he needs to take the step and say to his teammates what he's telling the press.
Posted on: October 16, 2010 2:46 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2010 3:21 pm
 

Danny Granger out 7-10 days with ankle injury

Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger is expected to miss at least a week with an ankle injury.
Posted by Ben Golliver.


During the first quarter of Indiana's 101-98 preseason win over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday, Pacers forward Danny Granger suffered a left ankle injury driving to the basket, according to IndyStar.com .

“It swelled right up,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said about their best offensive player. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take for him to get healed. Clearly we need him to be healthy. But we can’t do anything about that until we find out how severely sprained it is.”

Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star checks in on Twitter today to report that the Pacers expect Granger out 7-10 days with the left ankle sprain.

With Granger sidelined, Indiana will have to make due with Mike Dunleavy Jr., James Posey, Dahntay Jones and rookie Paul George on the wing.
Posted on: October 13, 2010 8:12 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:48 pm
 

Shootaround 10.13.10: KG will cut you off

Posted by Ben Golliver

  • Paul Flannery of WEEI.com with a monster Doc Rivers quote  about Kevin Garnett."Kevin is great. Kevin tries to help every big in here. If that big doesn't listen to him one time, he'll never speak to him again. Literally one time. That has happened a couple of times. Those two guys that he did that to are no longer here and that may be one of the reasons. That's Kevin, when you talk about the Celtic Way, whatever that is, just say Kevin Garnett, and you're pretty much there."
  • Panic briefly struck in Miami Tuesday night, as LeBron James suffered leg cramps during the Heat's exhibition game against CSKA Moscow. James left the court in the third quarter and will be held out of Miami's Wednesday night game, according to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst .
  • Conor Orr of the Star-Ledger reports  that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, often referred to as "the most interesting man in the world", is up on his nicknames. "And there was Nets shooting guard Terrence Williams, who went up to his team's new owner - one of the 40 richest men in the world, with a net worth of nearly $14 billion - and introduced himself, receiving a most familiar greeting in return."Hi, I'm Terrence Williams," he said."Hello, T-Will," Mikhail Prokhorov replied."
  • CJ Hempfield from BulletsForever on Wizards center JaVale McGee during last night's Wizards/Hawks preseason game: "One disturbing trend is that JaVale McGee often appears to be flying in the opposite direction of the flight of the ball on rebound attempts."
  • IndyStar.com's Mike Wells writes that Pacers lottery pick Paul George is struggling from the field because his head is spinning. "Coach Jim O'Brien said George is taking shots within the system, but George is having to soak in as much information as he can, affecting his focus while shooting."When your mind is occupied with where you're supposed to be prior to getting the ball, how to set your man up for a screen down, it can be a little overwhelming," O'Brien said. "There's so much going on in his mind that it prevents him from playing in a natural flow. When you're not playing with a natural flow, you're not going to shoot the basketball as well as you normally would."
  • The Warriors like what they see from guard Monta Ellis defensively against big guards like Tyreke Evanswrites Rusty Simmons . "You have to have toughness, and I think (Ellis) has shown the ability to fight," head coach Keith Smart said. "There are going to be some guys who are just too powerful, but he is going to be able to compete against top guards in the league. We have to be creative enough to find ways to do it on the nights when he can't do it one-on-one."
Posted on: September 24, 2010 11:46 am
Edited on: September 24, 2010 11:48 am
 

Preseason Primer: Pacers

Posted by Royce Young

The Pacers were part of the deal of the summer, a four-team trade that landed them Darren Collison and James Posey. They still acknowledge they're rebuilding, but now, it feels like a corner might start turning. They're still missing pieces and have questions headed to camp, but for the first time in a while, a plan looks evident.

Training camp site:
Indianapolis, IN

Training camp starts: Sept. 28

Key additions: Darren Collison (trade), Lance Stephenson (draft), Paul George (draft), James Posey (trade)

Key subtractions: Troy Murphy (trade), Earl Watson (free agent)

Likely starting lineup: Darren Collison, PG; Mike Dunleavy, SG; Danny Granger, SF; Josh McRoberts, PF; Roy Hibbert, C

Player to watch: To be determined power forward. Right now, the Pacers have Josh McRoberts starting at the 4. I think it's safe to assume Larry Bird has plans to make a move to have someone new there. Tyler Hansbrough is also in the mix but he's battling a condition that's hampering his ability to get on the floor.

Chemistry quiz: Any time you add a new point guard to the mix, questions come up about how the team will play together. Darren Collison isn't a complicated guard. He's pretty straightforward in the way he plays and the way he carries himself. He shouldn't have any issues fitting in to Jim O'Brien's system.

Camp battles: Two positions: The aforementioned power forward situation and also shooting guard. Is it Mike Dunleavy? Brandon Rush? Dahntay Jones? Rookie Lance Stephenson? Could lottery rookie Paul George slide down and play the 2? The Pacers have a number of rotation questions coming in and in both cases, might not have the player to fill them actually on the roster.

Handcuffed: The Pacers were a team that fought the law a bit this offseason. Brandon Rush was tagged with a five-game suspension for a drug violation and Lance Stephenson was accused of pushing his girlfriend down some stairs. So you can definitely assume there are some distractions and questions to be asked on media day.

Camp invites:
A couple of interest include Magnum Rolle, a second-round pick and Lance Allred, the first deaf player to play in the NBA.

Biggest strength: 3-point shooting. One of O'Brien's staples is to create the 3-point shot. Now with Collison creating space for shooters, guys like Danny Granger, Mike Dunleavy, Brandon Rush and James Posey will have the ability to crank up a number of 3s.

Glaring weakness: Roster holes. Again, who plays power forward? Who plays shooting guard? The Pacers took a big step in correcting a roster issue by acquiring Collison, but the trade sent power forward Troy Murphy elsewhere. Indiana isn't done making moves and it plans on improving the lineup, at this point, those guys aren't on the team.
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