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Tag:Charlotte Bobcats
Posted on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm
 

First up for each team in a post-lockout world

Posted by Royce Young



So the lockout could be ending soon, depending on who you're listening to. Maybe it extends into the season, but if it doesn't and a deal gets settled in the next few weeks, we're going to have one heck of a free agency period. Really, no matter when it's settled, we're going to have one wild free agency period.

(Unless we were to miss all of 2011-12 and you combined this class with next year's group. Now that would be something.)

If you thought the summer of 2010 was a frenzy, try cramming it all into a two-week period. Maybe I'm just thinking of how horrible it'll be for me. Regardless, you can be sure that all 30 teams have a pre-written itinerary on what they want to accomplish once the lockout is lifted. They have been planning, plotting and preparing to target the players they want or finish up a few final transactions on the roster.

But what's the first order of business for everybody? What's the priority, the thing that each team wants to get done right away? Here's a stab at each team's top job.

Atlanta Hawks: It really appears that the Hawks are ready and willing to let Jamal Crawford walk, but there's still a decision to made whether or not they want to compete for him in the free agent market. He was a key part of the team that made a somewhat surprising run to the Eastern Semifinals and re-signing him could be a priority. Problem is, they don't really have the funds for it.

Boston Celtics: What happens with Jeff Green? The Celtics have already tendered him a qualifying offer, but someone surely will extend him an offer sheet. The Celtics have issues at center still and Glen Davis is unrestricted, but figuring out Jeff Green's situation is probably weighing heaviest on Danny Ainge's mind.

Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats made a big splash in the draft, but if that's going to matter, they've got to get Bismack Biyombo on the team. His buyout could still be a major issue and though he says he'll be on the team when training camp starts, that's definitely up in the air.

Chicago Bulls: Wing scorer. Say it with me, wing scorer. Derrick Rose needs help (and an extension) in a big time way and it's up to Gar Foreman and company to find that help. Jamal Crawford maybe? Caron Butler? J.R. Smith if he wasn't in China? Someone has to give Rose a little offensive help and that's the top priority for the Bulls.

Cleveland Cavaliers: First thing? Putting Baron Davis on the scales to make sure he doesn't weigh 300 pounds. After that, there isn't a whole lot to be done in Cleveland. The club's rebuilding around their two lottery picks and you don't want to crowd the roster in a way that stunts their development.

Dallas Mavericks: The defending champs have a whole lot on their plate once the lockout ends. Caron Butler's contract is up. So is J.J. Barea's. So is DeShawn Stevenson's. So is Brian Cardinal's (just kidding -- well it is up, but you know what I mean). But the first order of business for Mark Cuban is to get Tyson Chandler re-signed. Not just that though, but to get him re-signed to a number that makes sense for the make-up of the roster.

Denver Nuggets: Despite the lockout, the Nuggets have kind of been gutted. J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Wilson Chandler are in China until at least March. Danilo Gallinari signed in Italy but has an NBA out. But all of that doesn't matter near as much as getting Nene re-signed. Without Nene, it doesn't matter. With Nene, there's still something worth building around.

Detroit Pistons: The Pistons are kind of trying to quietly usher out the old and bring in some new. Tayshaun Prince is a free agent, but I don't think they care. What'll be most interesting is how they handle Rodney Stuckey. The Pistons drafted Brandon Knight in June with Stuckey already their point guard. Do they want Knight to take over? Do they want to play them together? Share the role? Sorting out Stuckey's future is definitely what Joe Dumars has to do first.

Golden State Warriors: The Warriors could be players in free agency, but really, it's about deciding once and for all if Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry really are the backcourt tandem of the future for the team. If there's a time to move on, it's now when both of their values are still high. The Warriors flirted with dealing Ellis last season but it didn't happen. They're probably planning on revisiting that.

Houston Rockets: First order of business: Properly sending off Yao with a jersey retirement ceremony. After that, the Rockets are fairly settled, though you know Daryl Morey is just itching to pick up a phone and start transacting once the lockout's over.

Indiana Pacers: The Pacers have a number of expiring deals and aren't likely looking to re-sign them (maybe Josh McRoberts, maybe Jeff Foster). Larry Bird has been hunting more pieces to add to his mediocre roster for a while and you can be sure the Pacers are going to target some of the bigger free agent names in this class.

Los Angeles Clippers: Eric Gordon is ready for an extension, but the Clippers better be ready to match any offer DeAndre Jordan gets. You might not think that's a big deal, but forget Chris Kaman. The future of the Clips frontcourt is Blake Griffin and Jordan. You seven-footer from Texas A&M finally started figuring himself out a little last season and he's not far off from becoming a major defensive impact player.

Los Angeles Lakers: Shannon Brown's unrestricted, but he's really not that much of an impact player to be that concerned with. The Lakers might have to focus on how to re-structure the roster to suit a new CBA that could greatly cut into their total salary. Will they have to move Lamar Odom? Metta World Peace? But first things first: Giving Kobe and Mike Brown a proper introduction and letting them figure out the direction of the offense.

Memphis Grizzlies: Marc Gasol. That's it for Memphis. It'd be nice to get Shane Battier back, but it's all about Gasol.

Miami Heat: It's kind of been overlooked, but Pat Riley and the Heat have a busy couple weeks waiting on them. Mike Bibby, Jamaal Magloire, Juwan Howard, Erick Dampier and James Jones are all unrestricted and Mario Chalmers is restricted. It's decision time for the Heat. Do they start restocking with veteran talent or look to get younger and develop?

Milwaukee Bucks: That first practice in Milwaukee is something Scott Skiles has probably been thinking about for a while. "Brandon, this is Stephen. Stephen, this is Brandon." The Bucks have some new talent as Stephen Jackson joins Brandon Jennings, but how will they get along?

Minnesota Timberwolves: Here's what David Kahn's to-do list looks like: 1) Hug Ricky. 2) Hug Darko. 3) Overpay a questionable free agent at a position you already have three guys. What it should look like: 1) Convince Kevin Love somehow to sign an extension. 2) Get rid of Michael Beasley and let Derrick Williams have the starting small forward spot all to himself. 3) Tell Rick Adelman to do his thing.

New Jersey Nets: Kris Humphies is an important piece of business but his re-signing goes hand in hand with the larger thing: Proving to Deron Williams that this is a place he wants to re-sign. The Nets have to take advantage right away of showing Williams they're serious about winning. And you do that by getting him some immediate help.

New Orleans Hornets: It's all about David West for the Hornets. Yes, he suffered a major knee injury last season. But he chose to become an unrestricted free agent and a team like the Nets is likely to come calling quickly. Can the Hornets hang on to Chris Paul's buddy?

New York Knicks: The Knicks have a little bit coming off the books but really they need to try and resist the urge to do something drastic in this free agency period. Which they will because of the big names coming up in 2012. Still, they want to field a solid team for this season -- and Mike D'Antoni needs them too -- so adding a quality veteran to help on the inside would be good.

Oklahoma City Thunder: The young Thunder roster is pretty much entirely set up. But Sam Presti has something to do right away once the lockout ends -- get Russell Westbrook his extension. Presti brought Kevin Durant his at midnight last July to make sure there was no doubt about locking up his superstar. Presti better be stalking Westbrook's house on the whim he lockout ends so he can extend the same treatment to his other star.

Orlando Magic: First order of business for Otis Smith and the Magic? Resume begging Dwight Howard to stay. One way to show it would be to get him some help, but Smith sort of laid those cards on the table last year in the Gilbert Arenas/Hedo Turkoglu trade. So it's back to convincing Howard there's a plan for the future and that it'll get better.

Philadelphia 76ers: Someone is ready and willing to give Thaddeus Young a serious offer, so the Sixers better be ready to match anything and everything.

Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash's trade value will be highest at the beginning of the season, so it's up to Lance Blanks and Robert Sarver to figure out if they're ready to move on. Aaron Brooks is a restricted free agent so if the Suns lock him up by matching an offer sheet, that'll be an indication that the Suns are preparing for life without Nash.

Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers are in love with Nicolas Batum, so extending him could be the first order of business, but really, the Blazers need to find a new general manager first. And whoever that guy is needs to decide that if for the off chance someone gives Greg Oden an offer, if he's willing to match. Oden already has an $8.8 qualifying offer, which is huge, so once Oden signs that, he'll likely be signing with the Blazers for another year.

Sacramento Kings: The Jimmer-Tyreke backcourt is going to be an interesting experiment, but Marcus Thornton is quietly one of the more intriguing free agents out there. The Bulls are likely looking at him long and hard right now. He's restricted, so the Kings could keep him, but the question is, with Tyreke moving off the ball for good and Jimmer handling the point, is it worth paying Thornton to just have him come off the bench?

San Antonio Spurs: Um, I guess just resume the typical day-to-day of the Spurs. Gregg Popovich is the longest tenured coach with a team and R.C. Buford probably isn't looking to go do anything drastic in this market. The Spurs are definitely aging, but there's not a lot to be done about that right now.

Toronto Raptors: Assuming the Raptors actually have Jonas Valanciunas for next season, Dwane Casey and company have to figure out if he's ready to cover for Andrea Bargnani on the inside. Can those two really play together and handle enough rebounding and defensive duties? The Raptors are in a place where they have to wait and see with some young players and aren't likely targeting any big names in the open market.

Utah Jazz: Most likely, Andrei Kirilenko won't be re-signing with the Jazz. So Kevin O'Connor will have to make a choice when the lockout's over: Does he try and restock a roster that can maybe squeak out the eight-seed, or does he commit to rebuilding around Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and others and just let them play it out? The Jazz would love to get some wing scoring help, so O'Connor will probably at least look that direction, but we'll have to see how serious he is.

Washington Wizards: It's not an earth-shattering decision, but Nick Young is a restricted free agent. And with his scoring ability, someone is ready to pay him. Do the Wizards want to keep him? Do they want to look elsewhere and maybe target say, Marcus Thornton? Or do they just let Young walk and see what Jordan Crawford's got?
Posted on: September 12, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 2:14 pm
 

Report: Jordan fined $100k for lockout comments

By Matt Moore

ESPN reports that Michael Jordan has been fined $100,000 by the NBA league office for his comments in August with an Australian newspaper. Jordan said in mid-August:
"We have stars like Bogut who are entitled to certain type of demands. But for us to be profitable in small markets, we have to be able to win ballgames and build a better basketball team."

"Bogut is a good piece to build around for Milwaukee," Jordan said.

"I love Bogut's game. He's made a very good start and he's definitely gonna be a star. His big problem is that he's been dealing with that elbow injury. But he is a star to be reckoned with (and) will be a star for some time."
via Michael Jordan airs Andrew Bogut issue | Herald Sun. 

That mention of Bogut is forbidden, as the NBA is supposed to act like the players don't exist during the lockout, for a variety of legal reasons and because, well, it sets a tone. Jordan also spoke about the lockout and what the owners were looking for as far as revenue sharing. As that kind of talk publicly can undermine the league's negotiating efforts, that's also a no-no. 

While less than the rumored $1 million fine for any league employee or representative for making contact with players or their representatives (unless you're Adam Silver, apparently), the fine is still considerable if accurate. Well, we mean in terms of most normal NBA fines or an average person's salary. For Jordan, he probably pulled it out of his wallet, or got it from under his couch cushions or something.  

Jordan was also warned not to golf with NBA players at Lake Tahoe celebrity tournament.  The NBA has levied other fines against team representatives like David Kahn for similar violations during the lockout. In short, the league's not kidding around, regardless of whether you're the greatest player of all time, a majority owner, or whoever. There are consequences to comments in this lockout.
Posted on: September 5, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2011 1:42 pm
 

Realigning the NBA

Posted by Royce Young



Conference realignment has sort of taken over the world the past few weeks. Texas A&M pretty much put the nail in the coffin for the Big 12 by bolting for the SEC and because of it, a whole new chain of events have tipped over. The landscape of college football could look a whole lot different in a few months. Or in a few weeks. Or even tomorrow.

But you know what else could use a little realigning? The NBA's divisions. They're kind of a mess. It's not going to be as a result of some $300 million network, recruiting ties or competitive advantages. Nope. For the NBA, it's more just about common sense. Geographically, the divisions are kind of a mess. In 2011 that's not as huge a deal as it was in 1981 because travel is much easier. You can go from Portland to Oklahoma City in just a few hours.

However, chartered travel is experience. Fuel is very pricey. And with the NBA and teams supposedly losing so much money, why not exhaust every option to cut costs and realign the divisions so they make a lot more sense? Why not group teams together that are hundreds, not thousands, of miles apart?

Plus, it just makes a lot more sense to have structured regions. Grouping teams together based on geography does more to forge rivalries, gives fans a chance to commute between games if the want to and gives the players less travel and more days of rest. All good, right?

So if you're going to spend all this time restructuring a new collective bargaining agreement, why not fix the divisions too? Here's how they should look:

WESTERN CONFERENCE

SOUTHWEST
Dallas
San Antonio
Houston
Phoenix
Oklahoma City

The NBA's new Southwest division is the American League East, the SEC West, of the league. It's a group of five teams that are all pretty good. Things change though and in 15 years, this could be the weakest division in the league. But for now, it'd be pretty good.

And it just makes sense. Dallas and Oklahoma City are about three hours via car away from each other. San Antonio, Dallas and Houston are in the same state. And OKC and the Texas teams and Phoenix just have one state separating them, which is a whole lot better than five.

MIDWEST
Memphis
Minnesota
Denver
Utah
Milwaukee

Clearly the division that needed the biggest overhaul is the Northwest, mainly because of the Sonics transformation into the Oklahoma City Thunder. When the team was in Seattle, the division made a lot more sense. Now it doesn't. That's why a midwestern division with makes a lot more sense.

That creates somewhat of a problem in the Northwest though. There's not a great fit. So for the sake of the argument, the Northwest has to make the Big 12 and peace out. No more Northwest, but instead the new Midwest.

The new Midwest is still a bit spread out, but all the teams are at least located somewhat centrally in the country. A trip from Utah to Milwaukee won't be quick, but the Jazz, Nuggets and Timerwolves have been oddballs in the Northwest. It's not an ideal division with teams right next door to each other, but it makes a lot more sense than the current setup.

PACIFIC
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers
Sacramento
Golden State
Portland

Moving Phoenix away from the Lakers is a bummer, because those two teams are historical rivals that have always competed in the same division. But if A&M and Texas can separate, I think we can live with the Suns and Lakers moving apart.

The Pacific now features five teams that are actually next to the Pacific Ocean, which seems like it should count for something. Plus having the Blazers and Lakers together makes up for separating the Suns and Lakers.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

CENTRAL
Chicago
Detroit
Indiana
Cleveland
Toronto

Really, the new Central was the inspiration for this. Why aren't the Raptors in this division? Look at how close those teams are to each other. I think you could almost ride your bike between arenas. The old Central was really good too -- maybe better -- but the Bucks have to move. So it's the Raptors who replace them and the solid geographic setup remains.

ATLANTIC
Boston
New York
Philadelphia
Washington
New Jersey

Nothing too radical here. Five cities that you can transport between using a train. Old rivalries are preserved and the Wizards are added, which frankly, makes a lot of sense.

SOUTHEAST
Miami
Orlando
Atlanta
Charlotte
New Orleans

Two teams would swap conferences with the Bucks moving back to the West and the Hornets heading to the East. Not that this would upset the competitive balance of the league or anything, but it just makes a lot more sense for the Hornets to be placed in a division with Orlando, Charlotte, Atlanta and Miami.

And let me add this: If college football has no issue tossing tradition and historical rivalries out the window, why not just eliminate conferences all together? It would be a radical move, but what's the point of the East and West, other than just that's the structure of the playoffs? If it were one unified "super" conference, that would finally solve the issues of a 50-win Western team missing the postseason while a 37-win Eastern team slips into the eight-seed.

You could even just build the league into three 10-team divisions. Combine the Southwest and the Pacific, the Midwest and the Central, and the Atlantic and the Southeast. There are your super-divisions. Now you can keep teams playing more in their division than anything else and cut down on long road trips. It would make a West coast road trip for the Mavericks a whole heck of a lot more interesting.

Basically, we'd be looking at a league with three sub-conferences and once the playoffs started, seeding would just be based from that. Almost like the NCAA tournament, you could set two regions and seed from there. Head-to-head tiebreakers, division records and all that stuff would separate any identical records. Just an idea while we're brainstorming, you know?

(Note: I don't really love that idea, quite honestly. But I was just throwing it out there. One of those things that probably makes sense, but wouldn't ever happen. Much like Bill Simmons' terrific "Entertaining As Hell Tournament." Really, a unified conference makes it easier to implicate the tournament too.)

Let's face it: The West has kind of sort of dominated the past decade. Sports operate in cycles, but if there's a way to prevent that, should we? The West compiled a record of 2,257-1,643 against the East from 1999-2008 and over the last 13 seasons has represented 10 champions. That's pretty dominant. That'll change eventually, but what really is the point of the conferences, other than the standard, "that's just the way it's always been done" answer? 

All that is after the fact though: Divisional realignment is the start. Fixing the structure of the postseason would be the ideal next step. It's kind of like a plus-one for college football. Maybe a pipe dream, but something that's really in the best interest of the game. But if anything's to be done, it's to realign the divisions so they at least make a little more sense. Preserve rivalires, start new ones, save money, cut down on travel and hopefully, help the league grow a little bit more.

Picture via Jockpost
Posted on: August 23, 2011 11:34 am
Edited on: August 23, 2011 10:54 pm
 

Derek Anderson denies funding cocaine ring

Posted by Ben Golliverderek-anderson

Former NBA player Derek Anderson is having his name spoken to police by just about the last person in the world with whom you would want to be associated.

Wave3.com reports that Francois Cunningham, a Kentucky man who admitted to police that he was involved in purchases of kilograms of cocaine and that he caused the deaths of two people by allegedly throwing a molotov cocktail into their vehicle, is providing additional information into murders committed by his associates and the workings of the drug organization he was involved in as part of a "deal for early release."

In a taped interview with a police detective, Cunningham stated that former NBA player Derek Anderson bankrolled the drug operation. 

Butler: "Was Derek Anderson ever present when you all bought narcotics?" 

Cunningham: "Nah, he stays away from you know, he's just the money and he's not going to get around any of it but, that's who funnels the money."

The site notes that Anderson has not been charged with a crime in the case and that the police currently do not have any corroborating evidence.

Without question, Cunningham's claims should be treated with a certain degree of skepticism, as Courier-Journal.com reports that he had his charges reduced from murder to second-degree manslaughter in exchange for his cooperation.

Anderson denied "being involved in any illegal activity" through an attorney in a statement to Courier-Journal.com on Tuesday evening. The attorney further stated that Anderson would not make any additional comment himself.

NBA LEGAL TROUBLE

A Kentucky native, Anderson won an NCAA title while at the University of Kentucky in 1996 and was selected in the 1997 NBA Draft Lottery by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Anderson played 11 seasons in the NBA, playing for the Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and Charlotte Bobcats. He won an NBA title with the Heat in 2006.

Anderson, now 37, averaged 12.0 points, 3.4 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 steal in 29.2 minutes per game during his NBA career. He retired after the 2007-2008 season and Basketball-Reference.com reports that Anderson's career earnings topped $58 million. 

Anderson's former teammate with the Portland Trail Blazers, Zach Randolph, has been at the center of a legal investigation this week as well, as a drug dealer in Portland, Or., told police that he was assaulted at Randolph's home while he was trying to sell marijuana.

Hat tip: Kentucky Sports Radio
Posted on: August 20, 2011 9:12 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2011 9:20 pm
 

Teen arrested for armed robberies of Air Jordans

Posted by Ben Golliver. air-jordans

Nearly a decade after he played his last NBA game, Michael Jordan remains the personification of cool when it comes to hoops. Nothing proves that point better than the continued popularity of his Brand Jordan shoes, which reportedly gross more than $1 billon a year in revenue.

Unfortunately, Jordans are so cool that some teenagers are still willing to do whatever it takes to get a pair.

WCNC.com reports that a Charlotte, N.C., teen is being hit with felony robbery charges after allegedly robbing two people of their Air Jordan sneakers at gunpoint.
According to authorities, the two victims were walking when 16-year-old Marcus Allen Williams approached them with a pistol and demanded their Nike Jordan shoes. Once the victims handed over their sneakers, Williams reportedly took off running.  Law enforcement located him within five minutes. 

The teen is now facing two felony robbery charges. He’s currently being held under a $26,000 bond.
The crimes hit close to home, as Jordan currently owns the Charlotte Bobcats.

The alleged robberies are a horrific reminder of Jordan's remarkable staying power. When Jordan was first emerging as the greatest player in basketball, Sports Illustrated wrote a lengthy feature on teenagers being murdered for Jordan's sneakers. And, as recently as 2005, a Chicago-area teen was killed for his Jordans.

"I thought I'd be helping out others and everything would be positive," Jordan told Sports Illustrated in 1990. "I thought people would try to emulate the good things I do, they'd try to achieve, to be better. Nothing bad. I never thought because of my endorsement of a shoe, or any product, that people would harm each other."

He couldn't imagine it then, and it's still difficult to comprehend now, more than 20 years later. 

Image via AJCoolGrey.com

Hat tip: Chris Littmann
Posted on: August 18, 2011 11:12 am
Edited on: August 18, 2011 11:13 am
 

Michael Jordan violates gag order?

By Matt Moore

So the NBA has this thing they're pretty particular about. They don't want anyone on their side of the table talking about players. Not coaches, not PR reps, not trainers, not management, not owners, no one. It's a total gag rule. They've threatened massive fines for violations of this rule from David Stern, and David Kahn has reportedly felt the wrath already. Now? It looks like the Greatest of All-Time is headed for a lightening of his wallet. Michael Jordan spoke with Australian newspaper the Herald Sun and had a nice long chat with them about the lockout, what the owners want... and Andrew Bogut
"We have stars like Bogut who are entitled to certain type of demands. But for us to be profitable in small markets, we have to be able to win ballgames and build a better basketball team."

"Bogut is a good piece to build around for Milwaukee," Jordan said.

"I love Bogut's game. He's made a very good start and he's definitely gonna be a star. His big problem is that he's been dealing with that elbow injury. But he is a star to be reckoned with (and) will be a star for some time."
via Michael Jordan airs Andrew Bogut issue | Herald Sun.

That's three different mentions of He Who Must Not Be Named Along With The Rest Of His Union. This in addition to Jordan talking not only about the owners' goals in the lockout, but about revenue sharing. That's not going to make the Commissioner happy, even on his vacation.  

The whole rule seems a little silly. You don't want to compromise your bargaining position, sure. But Jordan made a comment about a man who exists to a newspaper in the guy's home country. He's not giving up the farm in negotiations (though talking about how important revenue sharing is when the owners want to keep it off the table until the rest of the CBA is settled is probably not the most favorite thing for the NBA). There shouldn't be any big deal about this.

Then again, that's kind of what's been going on with this lockout. Making everything into a huge deal.  

(HT: SI)
Posted on: August 8, 2011 10:25 am
Edited on: August 8, 2011 10:35 am
 

Video: Kemba Walker coast to coast



By Matt Moore


I wasn't big on Kemba Walker as a prospect last year, despite all his success. And I wasn't big on Walker pre-draft because of the same concerns plus his size. But as time has gone on and I've went back and watched more of his work last year, you can see why some scouts had him so high. Walker's got great quickness, handle, and scoring ability. That should be enough to keep him on the floor in some capacity in the bigs. Trying to predict draft pick defensive potential is impossible given the sharp curve they face and the change in fundamentals from one level to the next. Walker has all the pieces to put it together. 

We'll talk more about Walker, but first, we interupt your regularly scheduled analysis to bring you this video of Walker going coast to coast in the Dyckman Pro Am this weekend. Ba-boom:

 

Nice, Kemba. 

One thing that switched my head around on Walker is this piece from NBA Playbook, talking about his ability to work in an area that is seldom used in college: the pick and roll.
When Walker is looking for his own shot coming off of a ball screen, he is a very dangerous player.  He does a good job of creating space for his shot, but what makes him really special is his ability to get to the rim when coming off of a ball screen.  Walker was in the top 15% of all college players (in terms of PPP) when taking it all the way to the rim coming off of a ball screen drawing a foul 33.3% of the time (Basically, every three times Walker attacked the rim off of a screen, he went to the free throw line).

What makes Walker so tough to cover when coming off of a ball screen is that he has a combination of quickness and shooting ability.  Walker is a good enough shooter that if you go under the screen, he is going to pull up and knock down the jumper.  This means that defenses need to try to go over screens while hedging.  Walker is simply too quick and is able to take advantage by driving by the hedge man and getting into the lane (while not shying away from contact).  Finally, he is good enough with the ball that he won’t turn it over often (only turned it over 3% of the time when attacking the rim).
via Draft Pick Scouting Report: #9 Kemba Walker | NBA Playbook.\

How do you neutralize a size disadvantage? Be quicker than everyone else and be able to effectively use ball screens. Walker's not an elite level of fast in the NBA, especially not when compared to other elite point guards. But he's got great quickness and a knowledge of the floor. His curve to learn how to operate an offense at the next level isn't as sharp because of his experience. He's going to have to learn when to shy away from the shot and how to distribute to other players, but that natural scoring instinct will translate, and if he's efficient enough, that will keep him on the floor.

Maybe I was wrong on Walker this whole time. We'll have to wait and see.

Emphasis on "wait."

(HT: PBT
Posted on: July 30, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Report: Biyombo denied FIBA clearance

Posted by Royce Young

Forget the actual NBA lockout. It looks like Charlotte's No. 7 overall pick Bismack Biyombo may be locked out of the NBA regardless of any future labor agreement.

Biyombo's agent, Igor Crespo, recently said his client would play for the Bobcats in 2011-12 (if there's a season) but now there's a report saying that might not happen. According to the Charlotte Observer, Biyombo has yet to receive clearance from FIBA because the Spanish league still considers him under contract with Fuenlabrada.

He has two years remaining on his contract with Fuenlabrada with a buyout of about $1.4 million. FIBA said in an email to the paper, "The NBA has indeed requested a Letter of Clearance (LoC) for the Player Bismack Biyombo. In accordance with the NBA/FIBA Agreement, FIBA has contacted the Spanish Federation in order to obtain the LoC. However, the Spanish Basketball Federation refused to issue the LoC in view of the fact that the Player is still under contract with a team in Spain."
There was a mediation session between Biyombo's representation and Fuenlabrada scheduled for early July, but the results of that aren't public right now.

The Bobcats knew of Biyombo's potentially complicated buyout when they drafted him seventh overall in June. New general manager Rich Cho said on draft night, "He's got a dispute with his Spanish team. It's something we'll have to address. It's a little bit complicated."
Obviously the Bobcats are hoping Biyombo is eligible as they're starting a rebuilding process centered around him and fellow lottery pick Kemba Walker. There was a lot of noise leading up to the draft about Biyombo and not just because he's somewhat of a mystery. But Cho, who was hired right before the draft, was sold on Biyombo and a strong advocate for drafting him despite the buyout concerns.

All it takes is for FIBA to push something through and for a buyout to be settled with his team. Hard not to think that would happen if the lockout is resolved and Biyombo is fine footing the bill. The Bobcats can contribute $500,000 to his buyout.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com