Posted on: August 27, 2011 6:25 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2011 7:17 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Everyone just assumed the battle for pro-am supremacy was settled when the Goodman League defeated the Drew League in Washington D.C. last week. Except there's another pretty quality league out there that's ready to throw down: the Melo League.
And they're ready to play the Goodman boys. Via HoopsWorld, on August 30, in Baltimore at St. Frances Academy, a group from the Melo featuring Carmelo Anthony (duh), LeBron James, Chris Paul, Josh Selby, Gary Neal and Donte Greene. (Interesting twist: Selby, Neal and Greene all played for the Goodman in the Drew League showdown.) Although Goodman commissioner Miles Rawles says it's not officially a Goodman team, for his group it's Kevin Durant, former Thunder buddy Jeff Green, Brandon Jennings (who played for the Drew last week) and DeMarcus Cousins. John Wall was also rumored but it's unlikely he'll play, according to the Washington Post.
The Melo is located in Baltimore (where Carmelo is of course from) and has featured a number of top notch All-Stars. The game was supposed to be Sunday but that Hurricane Irene thing sort of got in the way.
Unlike the Goodman-Drew game, it won't be streamed online anywhere, but tickets are still available. Doors are opening at 6 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at the event. Reportedly there will be a camera crew to tape a highlight reel from the game though.
This game hasn't created near the buzz of the other, but there's no doubt it's got equal star power, probably more. Durant versus LeBron? Jennings versus Paul? Melo and Jeff Green? That's some quality hoops right there.
The Melo League's got to be the favorite here. LeBron, Melo and CP3 make a pretty incredible trio. Durant and Green will have chemistry and Jennings can take over a streetball game, but that's major firepower for the Melo group. Unless of course KD decides to go all Rucker Park on everyone. Then it doesn't matter who the Melo League's got.
Posted on: August 20, 2011 2:51 pm
Posted by Royce Young
DeMarcus Cousins is that type of player with a world of talent but a maturity level that tends to hold him back and make him a headache for his coach.
Well, now a European coach might be getting a taste. According to a tweet from SI.com's Sam Amick, Cousins' agent John Greig says his client is in negotiations with "multiple" European teams.
There haven't been a whole lot of rookie deal players rumored to be looking overseas. I don't think there's a real reason for that, but Cousins looking at his European options shouldn't come as a surprise. He's not a household name that's going to draw a ton of financial interest, but he is a fairly significant NBA player.
No specific team is known as of now or any specific country even, but Cousins is joining the lot of players checking out what he has overseas.
Posted on: August 9, 2011 9:11 pm
By Matt Moore
Let's get right to the point. In the list of people who influence the NBA, John Calipari isn't at the top. But the empire he's built and transferred to Kentucky to expand may be the center of the NBA universe outside of New York and Miami. And if you want proof, you only need to look at what's going on in Lexington this summer.
We start with the expected, another stellar team from Calipari. But this one, it's a little bit more than even the normal outstanding classes of prospects Calipari produces each year. In addition to Terrence Jones, who would have been a first-rounder this year had he elected to jump, the 2011-2012 Kentucky Wildcats feature three players CBSSports.com placed in the top ten of a 2012 mock draft, and four in the first round. Anthony Davis is considered by many to be the number one overall pick next year, Michael Gilchrist is talked about as being potentially just as good. Marquis Teague is plotted as a mid-first rounder (which means he could very easily wind up in the lottery). Only Doron Lamb, who Calipari has called the best player on this year's Kentucky team, isn't expected to go in the first round.
It won't happen, but we should note that it's possible that the entire starting five of UK this fall could go in the first round, and that four of the five could go in the lottery. That's absurd. For a coach known to pull in talent, the addition of Jones for his sophomore year has made this year's squad of prospects out of this world. Essentially, every Kentucky game needs to be a must-watch for NBA draftniks.
But that's not all. As the lockout drags on, some familiar faces are showing up in and around Lexington. Calipari offered early on to let locked out former members of the Wildcats use the facilities. In addition, several former Wildcats have decided to finish their degrees at UK should the lockout cost the whole year. Now, no one thinks this is about the family approach or goodwill and interest in supporting former members that Cal and the Blue Nation would say it is. And that's right in line with Calipari's approach. He's brazenly manipulative of NBA ties while all the while putting the most friendly of faces forward. It's made him the scourge of many college basketball pundits, while NBA guys? We tend to nod appreciatively. Calipari filters good talent into national television appearances, raises their draft profile, and then sends them on their merry way to where they belong: the NBA, making money to play the game they're at the elite level of already. The transparent slime may put some off, but the fact remains: Calipari has become a first-round gold mine.
Tyreke Evans, ROY. John Wall would have been ROY if Blake Griffin hadn't entered the fray as an actual sophomore. DeMarcus Cousins could have been a candidate if he'd kept his head on his shoulders. And all of that is before you factor the MVP Derrick Rose and his time with Calipari in Memphis. And with all those players hanging around campus, word will continue to get around to future prospects. It's not just cool to go to Kentucky. It's part of the NBA factory.
LeBron James is a "close personal friend" of Calipari. And while the rest of the universe may hate James, kids are still flocking to him as an idol, evidenced by both Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson's realtionship with him. Jay-Z? Visiting the locker room. The link here in all of this is, of course, Worldwide Wes, William Wesley, who is also, surprise! Calipari's agent representative with CAA. It's a whole little machine that makes collegiate moralists squirm, even as Calipari has done more to produce revenue for young players than any coach in the country. If it's all about him, so what? The effect is the same.
UCLA hosts the most famous and well known private pickup games. But with Cousins, Bledsoe, and Wall on campus along with Rondo and whoever else conceivably shows up, Lexington is going to be a virtual nexus of NBA workouts. It'll make the machine stronger, even as a class that some consider to have a higher total ranking than the Fab Five makes its way to play in the SEC.
Calipari is coaching the Dominican national team against a collection of former Wildcats. Cal has used every edge in keeping the factory rolling. William Wesley's close associate, LeBron James, and his brand will be sponsoring gear for UK this year. All-Stars are hanging out on campus and could be hired as special assistant coaches.
The reality is that with New York a tar pit where both the players and owners are stuck drowning in their own stubbornness, and Miami evacuated as the Triad go about their globe trotting ways, there's a new center of the NBA universe. Maybe Calipari isn't emperor of this kingdom, and he's just the friendly father figure he makes himself out to be. It doesn't change the fact that the future of the NBA flows through Lexington, and it's Calipari tending the waters.
Posted on: August 7, 2011 3:18 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Living life as a troubled genius can be a tortuous existence. Vincent Van Gogh proved that fact when he cut off his own ear. Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins proved it again when he channeled his inner angst to tattoo the word "misunderstood" and a question mark on his lower left leg.
The tattoo is particularly meaningful because the font is so smushed that it's hard to read at first glance. The tattoo, like Cousins, is therefore difficult to comprehend. It's unclear whether this was an additional layer of artistic touch or purely an accident. Either way, it encourages the viewer to consider Cousins that much more deeply, to strive to understand. If he gives us a few more ink clues, perhaps we will get there one day.
Anyway, here's a picture of DeMarcus Cousins' leg tattoo courtesy of his Twitter account.
Sacramento's emo big man was recently ranked as the No. 77 player in the NBA in CBSSports.com's Elite 100.
Want to see more NBA tattoos? We've got you covered.
Posted on: August 5, 2011 6:45 pm
Edited on: August 6, 2011 1:14 am
Posted by Ben Golliver.
If you can play the game of basketball, the NBA will find a place for you, and this segment of CBSSports.com’s Elite 100 underscores that point in fine fashion.
This might blow your mind: Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins, ranked No. 77, was born in 1990, just weeks before Phoenix Suns wing Grant Hill showed up on campus for fall semester as a freshman at Duke University. By the time Cousins was in kindergarten, Hill had won two titles as a Blue Devil and was a highly-touted pro prospect, drafted No. 3 overall in 1994. As Cousins finished up elementary school and entered junior high, Hill looked like another talented NBA player robbed of reaching his potential due to injuries. By the time Cousins emerged on the national scene as a highly-ranked high school prospect, Hill was finding rejuvenation in the desert, extending his career and re-inventing his game as a member of the Phoenix Suns. A month or so before Cousins was drafted with the No. 5 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Hill was a key piece on a Suns team that made the Western Conference Finals.
As of last season, Cousins was the sixth-youngest player in the NBA at 20 years of age; Hill became the second oldest, one day younger than Chicago Bulls forward Kurt Thomas, after Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal retired earlier this summer.
The two players contrast in so many ways. Hill graduated from Duke; Cousins went one-and-done at Kentucky. Hill has won sportsmanship awards; Cousins required a babysitter with the Kings and was suspended for fighting with a teammate. Hill hangs with United States President Barack Obama; Cousins has palled around with rapper Drake. Hill no longer has the explosive athleticism that was his calling card but has mastered every last veteran trick; Cousins possesses an incredibly rare combination of size, strength and quickness but has yet to harness his full potential.
Despite those differences both players have found their way to the NBA and to this list. Let’s take a look at who accompanies them here.
80. Grant Hill, F, age 38, Phoenix Suns
Composite rankings (random order): 78, 73, 87
The only modern equivalent for Grant Hill’s agelessness is Halle Berry. About to turn 39, Hill has missed just three regular season games in the last three seasons, a remarkable achievement considering he played just 47 combined games from 2000-2002. Hill never achieved his full potential as a player because of injuries, but his legacy won’t be stained because of that. His resolve, resourcefulness and consistency have made him a model teammate and league ambassador for as long as anyone can remember.
Hill still contributes in a variety of ways: scoring fairly efficiently, defending multiple positions and chipping in on the glass. His game is mostly floor-bound these days but that fact makes him potentially productive into his 40s.
2011 Stats: 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 47.1 FG%, 18.25 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 95, 82, 61
Thomas is a bit of a forgotten man. That can be said for anyone that plays for the Bobcats but is doubly true in his case because he missed a fairly long stretch of last season with a knee injury.
A one-time high lottery pick, Thomas is a guy who is perpetually trying to figure it out. That fact didn’t stop the Bobcats from committing big dollars after acquiring him in a trade from Chicago and it hasn’t stopped him from being an excellent contributor on defense, where he blocks shots with abandon and uses his length to its full advantage. The Bobcats have cleared the decks for next season so Thomas should have every possibility to earn minutes and touches. Remarkably, he’s still just 24 and his best days are certainly ahead of him.
2011 Stats: 12.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 46.1 FG%, 15.96 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 92, 91, 52
Hibbert is one of the last of a dying breed: A true back-to-the-basket center whose hulking frame and stiff game would probably have been a better fit in the 1990s. As is, he’s a solid, productive player who does what’s expected for a guy his size: rebounds, blocks shots and finishes plays around the rim.
Last season, Hibbert’s third, wasn’t all smooth sailing. He struggled with his shooting and confidence, and performed much better after Jim O’Brien was replaced as head coach by Frank Vogel. His lack of lateral quickness will likely remain an issue for the rest of his career. It’s unlikely Hibbert will ever develop into a star but he’s an excellent cog for a young, developing team like Indiana.
77. DeMarcus Cousins, F, age 20, Sacramento Kings
2011 Stats: 14.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, .8 blocks, 43.0 FG%, 14.62 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 84, 76, 72
Cousins was a top-10 knucklehead last year. He was benched for making a choke sign at an opponent during a free throw attempt. He was thrown off the team plane for fighting with a teammate. He was kicked out of practice. He was fined for undisclosed reasons. He was ejected from a game for shoving Martell Webster during a fracas. The list goes on and on.
There were two bigger concerns than all of that immaturity: turnovers and efficiency. Cousins committed 3.3 turnovers in just 28.5 minutes per game and shot just 43% from the field. It’s not unusual for young big men to deal with those issues, though, and improvement in both categories going forward is a virtual certainty, as Cousins learns how to adjust to the NBA game, NBA officials and figures out how to best use his huge frame and excellent instincts around the basket. Despite his many flaws, Cousins’ size and skill give him a chance to be a top-25 NBA player far more quickly than you might expect. The talent and potential are there, lurking beneath the surface.
2011 Stats: 17.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 46.7 FG%, 14.52 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 80, 49, unranked
We’re supposed to keep the rankings anonymous but in this case I feel compelled to confess: I did not rank DeRozan in the top-100 nor do I think he belongs here. He was an inefficient scorer with no range playing on a terrible team last season, one of the least valuable things you can be.
Still, his presence on this list speaks to his upward career trajectory. DeRozan used his ridiculous leaping and finishing abilities to double his scoring average from his rookie year last season, putting up 17.2 points per game. He also boasts the physical tools – size, length, quickness – to be a plus-defender. He’s really held back by his lack of three-point range, though, and he will continue to be an incomplete offensive player until his spot-up shooting is at least passable. His highlight reel capability, solid personality and pure marketability make him a bright spot on a roster that needs them. His hard-working, positive approach on a day-in and day-out basis make him especially intriguing to watch develop over the next 3-5 years.
2011 Stats: 12.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, .9 steals, 52.0 FG%, 17.09 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 67, unranked, 58
2011 was such a dream season for Marion that he will forgive us for vastly underrating him on this list. A do-everything forward long known best for his unorthodox and downright hideous jumper, Marion was a crucial piece to the Mavericks championship puzzle.
Marion was big on both ends, using excellent shot selection and an underrated post game to get his points, while rebounding at a solid clip for his position. He shined brightest defensively as he was part of a corps of Mavericks defenders that limited some of the league’s elite scorers during the posteason: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James, to name a few. His unwavering confidence was crucial, too, especially when the Mavericks fell behind the Heat in the Finals. He never gave up and neither did Dallas.
2011 Stats: 9.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 blocks, 52.8 FG%, 15.21 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 76, 56, 92
Varejao became a permanent starting player for the first time in his career after LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal departed during the summer of 2010. He rose to the challenge nicely, posting career highs in points, rebounds and blocks until a foot injury prematurely ended his season.
Best known as an energy guy, Varejao has double-double potential now that he’s in his prime age years and playing on a roster that needs every ounce of production that he can provide. Just about everyone would like to see him traded to a contender so his hustle, defense and heady play can impact postseason games. The Cavaliers, to their credit, realize the asset they have and seem to be hoping he can help lead their rebuild.
2011 Stats: 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, .8 steals, 41.4 FG%, 15.71 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 99, 37, 86
The young Italian was a key piece in the package that landed All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony in New York. He’s a long, silky perimeter player with shot-making ability and a desire to deliver in the clutch. Given his height, 6-foot-10, his rebounding contributions are not overwhelming and he’ll need to continue improving to approach his ceiling as a player.
Gallinari is tantalizing, more than anything, given the fluidity of his play at his size. There are plenty of questions to be answered in Denver – especially concerning the future of Nene and J.R. Smith – but Gallinari’s youth provides hope should there be widespread defections in free agency. He won’t ever replace Anthony but he won’t cost nearly as much, won’t demand as many shots and he is unlikely to hijack the franchise for the foreseeable future. That package is worth something, for sure.
2011 Stats: 15.2 points, 7.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 42.2 FG%, 17.22 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 66, 69, 86
A big guard with a solid skillset, Harris needs to shake the “loser” label and questions about his durability that developed during his time in New Jersey. He was perceived as the best player on a 12-win team and that’s never, ever a good thing for a player’s legacy and reputation.
Still, Harris gets a fresh start in Utah, as he was traded to the Jazz in the deal that sent All-Star guard Deron Williams to the Nets. Utah is clearly in a rebuilding, find-itself phase now that Williams is gone and it’s no guarantee that Harris, who is theoretically entering his prime, is necessarily their point guard of the future. We will learn a lot about Harris in 2011-2012.
2011 Stats: 13.1 points, 6.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 44.6%, 15.47 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 72, 82, 66
Nelson has a lot going for himself. He’s tough, scrappy, productive, has three-point range and is on a reasonable contract. Nelson can beat his man off the dribble for the drive-and-kick or stretch the defense as a knock-down shooter. He isn’t a star, though, and that’s what Orlando needed last year. Indeed, a second star is what they need next year too if center Dwight Howard is to remain in town.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 8:55 am
Posted by Royce Young
You need basketball. I need basketball. We wouldn't have it now anyway, but the prospect of not having it at all next year is a terrifying idea. That's why people have taken an odd amount of interest in players participating in exhibition games overseas.
Well, now there's going to be a pretty significant streetball exhibition and it's happening in Washington, D.C. We told you there was a possibility of this and now it's pretty much definitely happening.
The legendary Goodman League is set to take on the legendary Drew League in a showdown taking place Aug. 20. (You can watch a stream of it here.) And the rosters aren't going to disappoint.
Kevin Durant leads the Goodman and joining him will be John Wall, Ty Lawson, Gary Neal, Tyreke Evans, Michael Beasley, DeMarcus Cousins, Josh Selby, Sam Young, Donte Greene and from the And1 Tour Hugh Jones, Emmanuel Jones and Warren Jefferson.
For the Drew, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Nick Young, Dorrell Wright, Brandon Jennings, JaVale McGee, Craig Smith, Pooh Jeter, Bobby Brown (Aris BC), Marcus Williams and three more players yet to be named.
Durant, of course, has been playing in the Goodman League at Barry Farms for a long time, kind of making it his second basketball home. It's sort of the place to be for good pro-am hoops on the East Coast right now. The Drew League has become the premier pro-am league on the West Coast. So it's only natural someone organized a showdown.
With a dark summer of no official basketball because of the lockout, you should be very, very excited for this. And there’s no doubt the Goodman has a major edge here. First, it’s in D.C. Second, look at that roster. KD, Wall, Lawson, Reke and Beasley are quite the core. Harden’s been tearing up the Drew (he scored 52 there a couple of weeks ago), but the Goodman roster is way better.
I mean, who the heck is guarding Durant? Dorrell Wright certainly will get the call, but the Goodman has a ton of speed. Of course, I'm hoping to see Harden on Durant for most of the game, for obvious reasons.
You can be sure this showdown will be awesome. And you can be sure I’ll be watching. You better be, too.
Posted on: June 21, 2011 8:49 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
So it's come to this for Raymond Felton. From underrated point guard in Charlotte, helping the Bobcats make their first playoff game, to heralded new York Knicks point guard of the future, to Carmelo Anthony trade bait, and now this. Shopped for a lousy draft pick in a lousy draft.
Would the Kings be willing to send the No. 7 pick to the Nuggets for Raymond Felton and the No. 22 pick? The Kings have had interest in Felton but it's probably going to take them giving up the No. 7 pick to get him. I wouldn't be shocked to see the Nuggets grab Jonas Valanciunas or Bismack Biyombo if they could get up to No. 7.via Latest draft buzz: Kings' No. 7 for Felton? - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN.
When Felton landed in Denver, I was positive he was going to start. He'd been a starter for years, was a better defender than Lawson, and would pitch a fit if he was benched for such a young player. But credit to the Nuggets, they knew that Lawson was their guy going forward and they stuck with him. Now Felton wants out, and the Nuggets are happy to oblige him, especially if they can get another young asset to their army of young assets. The No. 7 pick isn't exactly a goldmine in this draft, they'll have a shot at a few high caliber prospects, though you'd have to question if Bismack Biyombo is really the kind of player they want to add to a team that needs substantial help down low besides Nene. The Nuggets would also be in a position of need for a backup point guard if this were to shake out.
Felton is a perfect fit in Sacramento, despite what will probably bum him out in being in a smaller market again, overshadowed by younger players who haven't been around as long. A starting 1-2-3-4 rotation of Felton, Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans at a combo 2-3 spot and DeMarcus Cousins gives the Kings a foundation going forward. They've needed a steady hand at point guard and could certainly use Felton's defense.
Maybe it'll work out for Felton, but it's still got to be a disappointment to have gone from the wanted sidekick star in New York under a coach that makes point guards look great to being unable to unseat a younger player on a rebuilding team and getting shopped for a draft pick in a poor class. Someone get the guy a hug. Wait a minute, he got that new contract from New York last summer and Larry Brown is no longer haunting him. Nevermind, he's good.
Posted on: May 11, 2011 3:27 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 3:46 pm
Blake Griffin and John Wall headline the 2010-2011 NBA All-Rookie team. Posted by Ben Golliver.
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.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: