Tag:JaVale McGee
Posted on: August 13, 2010 8:55 am
Edited on: August 13, 2010 11:22 am
 

Shootaround 8.13.10: Jennings sets the bar

Posted by Royce Young
  • Brandon Jennings tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel some goals for the season: "This year I'm working hard to come back," Jennings said. "I want to be a double-double guy. I feel like with the talent we have I can be that. All-star weekend is in Los Angeles, and that is a goal to be an all-star. Win 50 games, win the Central Division and get out of the first round and see what happens."
  • Carmelo Anthony was at the Team USA Showcase in New York last night and during an interview, talked a little about New York: "In his own mini-interview, Anthony was asked for his thoughts on the crowd gathered before him. He answered to the tune of resounding cheers, “New York fans have always been the best fans.” That of course is more interesting than usual because of Ken Berger's report that 'Melo wants to play in New York.
  • Derrick Favors scored 20 percent of his points last season at Georgia Tech on dunks, and had a lot of work to do offensively, so says Sebastian Pruiti of Nets Are Scorching: "Offensively, Favors has a lot of work to do. He lacks the requisite ball-handling skills to be able to take his man off the dribble like this, and when he struggles offensively he can float on defense, then leading to missed rebound opportunities. There’s no excuse for that. He can also look uncomfortable inside, forcing things and moving too quickly for his own good."
  • Ken Berger fills us in on the latest labor talks: "There seems to be agreement on both sides that something needs to be done to improve the competitive balance of the league. How to do it, however, remains hotly contested. The players believe many of the owners’ woes can be solved through broader revenue sharing, for which they included a plan in their proposal. The owners continue to believe that how the owners divvy up hundreds of millions in annual losses doesn’t solve the problem that expenses are too high. According to sources, the owners seem to be hunkered down in their pursuit of shorter contracts with less guaranteed money – and they appear to be focusing on those issues even more than reducing the 57 percent share of basketball-related income (BRI) that the players receive."
  • Michael Lee of the Washington Post on JaVale McGee's showcase performance: "He really had just one spurt, in the second half, when teammate Lamar Odom drove down the lane and dropped off a pass to McGee for an uncontested two-handed dunk. His night got off to a inauspicious start, as he got the ball at the top of the key and attempted to drive on Tyson Chandler. McGee backed down Chandler, but it appeared that Chandler pulled the rug out from under McGee as McGee stumbled backward and threw the ball over his head and off the backboard as he fell to the ground."
  • John Krolik of Cavs: The Blog on LeBron's tweet comment: "I was interested by the reaction to LeBron’s “I’m making mental notes of all the people who took shots at me” tweet. Other than THERE IS NO GOOD REASON FOR LEBRON TO HAVE A TWITTER, my main takeaway from that is this: LeBron’s move to Miami to play with Wade and Bosh, along with LRMR’s involvement in everything, has definitely advanced the “LeBron wants to live Entourage , and doesn’t really care about true greatness” storyline."
  • Don't forget, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony is tonight. It's always a good watch and with Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone going in, we can surely expect a couple quality speeches.
  • Trey Kerby of Ball Don't Lie interviewed Kevin Durant: KD: Man, it's so fun. I remember yesterday in practice I got a rebound and pushed it up the court. I'm used to having Nenad Krstic and Thabo Sefolosha running on the sides — nothing against those guys, of course — but Nenad is not as athletic as Derrick Rose . (laughs) And I had D-Rose on one side and [Andre] Iguodala on the other. So I'm like, "Who do I throw it to?" So I just threw it up. (mimes a lob pass) And it was a bad pass. I'm like, "Awwww, turnover." (hangs head) But Iguodala came out of nowhere, grabbed it with one hand and dunked it. (smiling excitedly)"
Posted on: August 4, 2010 6:14 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2010 6:17 pm
 

Lopez out, McGee in: What's it mean for Team USA?

Posted by Royce Young

About 30 feet. (Or rather, 9.14 meters since the games are in Europe.) That's about how much size has either gotten hurt or has been forced to drop out of the World Championships for Team USA. The latest? Seven-footer Brook Lopez will not participate because he hasn't fully recovered from mono.

After Jerry Colangelo announced the 15-man roster that would go to training camp Aug. 10-16, everyone noticed one thing: There are only two centers on this squad. Well, make that one now.

However, shortly after Lopez officially bowed out, promising youngster JaVale McGee was added to the roster. Now McGee is raw and there's no guarantee he'll be on the final 12-man that heads to Turkey. But chances are looking pretty good for the Wizard big man. That's mainly due to process of elimination or just survival of the fittest, but regardless, it's McGee's time to step up.

Assuming Team USA keeps McGee to go along with Tyson Chandler, how does this affect them? Well, a lot actually. No matter what, it's hard to see McGee being a key cog in the Team USA rotation. He's young, doesn't have any international experience and was really only brought into camp originally to serve as a training buddy for the other big men. We knew players like Kevin Durant and Rudy Gay were going to interchange between positions, but now it's a question of how much. Could Durant see 10 minutes a game at center? Fifteen? Twenty? If that happens, is does Danny Granger make the squad to fill in time at small forward? Lopez's situation has set off a bit of a chain reaction on the roster, and it won't be easy to solve.

So is McGee now a lock though? Hardly. Yes, it makes sense to bring him because having only one center would seem odd, especially when foul trouble is easy to get into going against the likes of Marc Gasol of Spain and Sofoklis Schortsanitis or Greece. But at the same time, if a tweener like Jeff Green impresses in New York, Colangelo and Coach K may prefer to just play small at times and have that versatility and flexibility.

More than likely if McGee makes the final roster, he'll be there as an insurance policy for Chandler. You don't want to waste a roster spot on a guy that's there just to wear warmups. Especially when that means a talented player will have to be left home. Then again, that extra player - if it's anyone other than Green - will likely be stuck behind multiple players anyway. So really, what are you losing by taking McGee over say, Eric Gordon, who might be behind five other guys anyway?



But let's not sell McGee short here. He looked fairly fantastic in Vegas during summer league and had moments during the scrimmage a few weeks ago. There's good reason to think he could serve a purpose and honestly, might even find a little floor time. This USA team is going to run. And McGee is ideal in transition.

Training camp in New York just got a little more interesting and the cuts for Coach K and Colangelo just got tougher. Do you completely buy into the small ball approach and take a better player? Or bring McGee and have two centers? Whatever the case, Team USA was dealt another blow Wednesday and its trip to Turkey just became a whole heck of a lot tougher.
Posted on: July 28, 2010 5:37 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 12:12 am
 

Team USA makes odd cuts to roster

Posted by Matt Moore

Not everyone gets to go to Istanbul (not Constantinople ). Today Team USA officials revealed the roster finalists that will head to New York for the last round of cuts before starting international play for this summer's FIBA World Championships. Royce has told you all about who made it. But who got cut?

Just as we told you earlier that FanHouse had reported , Tyreke Evans, Gerald Wallace, O.J. Mayo and JaVale McGee were cut from the roster before the team heads to New York.  Evans was known for a while, as he tweaked his ankle at the start of camp and was going to be unavailable for the team regardless. The others, though, represent a set of confusing decisions that aren't extremely perplexing, but are enough to make you scratch your head, especially when you examining who they were replaced with. Some of these could be due to conflicts, personality clashes, or injury, but based on basketball, there are some question marks.

These players who made the cut were locks, and should have been:

1. Kevin Durant: Best player available.
2. Chauncey Billups: Veteran leadership.
3. Lamar Odom: Who doesn't want a space cadet small forward with great length who occasionally is dominant?
4. Danny Granger: Good at basketball.
5. Andre Iguodala: His reputation preceds his game. By miles.
6. Tyson Chandler: Big, which USA has none of right now.
7. Brook Lopez: Ditto, despite his game not being well suited for FIBA play.
8. Stephen Curry: A prolific shooter with passing skills and range. Perfect for Coach K, perfect for FIBA.
9. Kevin Love: Seriously. No bigs. Need bigs.
10. Rudy Gay: Has looked like he actually is worth the money he earned this summer, and they need a true SF with multiple combo-forwards on roster.

But then there are these five.

11. Jeff Green: Tweener that's not a great rebounder, provides range and versatility on a roster stacked with perimeter players.
12. Rajon Rondo: Not a great mid-range shooter, seemed to dog it in the Team USA scrimmage. Coach K did say on a conference call that he and Rondo have a good relationship.
13. Russell Westbrook: Fiery, great penetration guard, but it's a roster chock full of them. Seems superfluous next to Curry, Rondo, and Billups.
14. Derrick Rose: Same deal.
15. Eric Gordon: Wait, what?

Wallace is able to play the 3 or the 4, unlike Gay, is a better rebounder than Iggy, and is a better defender than Granger. If you're shopping for a versatile player that doesn't have to score (due to the roster being stuffed with scorers), Wallace is a great combination of all of the above. Sure, he doesn't have Iguodala's inability to create his own shot or Gay's penchant for electing for 20 foot jumpers, but it's hard to see how they could have thought his effort wasn't enough.

McGee makes sense, from the perspective of needing a more well-rounded offensive attack at center. Except why then is Tyson Chandler likely to start? Terrific defender, no doubt, but his injury issues have to be a concern (even more so for the Mavs), and unless Chris Paul is lobbing him alley-oops from the other side of the planet, his offensive weaponry is largely a bust. Green was put on roster, despite being a perimeter stretch four among a sea of great three point shooters. Wouldn't McGee's energy and size been a better fit for the roster?

Mayo, however, makes up the most egregious exclusion. Apparently the plan is to throw out multiple point guard lineups and have the other spread the floor. Except that Rondo's not a tremendous three point shooter. But they did throw in Eric Gordon. Who Mayo has shown to be better at in nearly every relevant shooting and scoring category. Considering Gordon's size, defense can't be the reason. In the end, you have to wonder if this was simply a case of Mayo not being a "Coach K kind of guy" and with no real advocate on roster, fell to the side. Either that or he suffered an injury. It just seems odd to have a plan of versatile fast shooters, then leave one at home.

But then, the man did win Gold two years ago, so obviously he knows a thing or two about what he's doing. We'll see if he can pull it off without the monster-roster he had then.

The next round of cuts should come next month before the team leaves for Europe in a series of warm-up matches to the World Championships.
Posted on: July 28, 2010 11:59 am
Edited on: July 28, 2010 12:00 pm
 

Evans, Wallace and Mayo unlikely to make Team USA

Posted by Royce Young

Cuts are coming for Team USA today and while some are beginning to think Jerry Colangelo may now take 16 players to training camp, it looks like it's about to wrap up for at least three players.

O.J. Mayo, Tyreke Evans and Gerald Wallace are expected to be among the players cut today when Team USA reveals its training camp roster, Chris Tomasson of FanHouse reports . As mentioned, a fourth is likely to be cut, but that's a question being debated by the coaching staff right now.

Eric Gordon was thought to be on the chopping block, but the Indianapolis Star reported Gordon will make the cut. The Star also confirmed Danny Granger will make the team. Warriors World reported guard Golden State guard Stephen Curry has gotten his confirmation call to go to New York.

Depending on what Colangelo wants to do inside, JaVale McGee is the likely candidate to be the fourth cut. But another unlikely player makes more sense, according to Rob Mahoney of Hardwood Paroxysm :

If there is a fourth cut — and it’s entirely possible that there won’t be, yet — it’s likely to be Rajon Rondo.

The lights of the FIBA World Championships were never going to be all that kind to Rondo, as the imperfections of his game would be in full view in international basketball’s unique hue. Defensively, he falls in line with everything Team USA wants to do, but on offense, it’s unlikely the Americans would be able to overcome having two quasi-liabilities (Rondo and say, Tyson Chandler) on the floor at the same time. Rajon may have forced his way into the top tier of point guards in the NBA, but properly executed zone defenses will smother him. Rondo could find ways to be effective, but if I’m betting on one of the team’s unimpressive shooters (Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook) to succeed in FIBA-style ball, it’s not Rondo.

Which makes sense for all the internal debating going on. Rondo would be a tough cut to make, but as Mahoney points out, a necessary one. This isn't about bringing the best players to Turkey. It's about bringing the best team . And with a stacked backcourt, Rondo's game doesn't figure to translate internationally as well as some others.

Posted on: July 26, 2010 12:28 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2010 9:33 pm
 

Breaking down the Team USA roster situation

Posted by Royce Young

Cuts are expected today for Team USA and Jerry Colangelo says right now he plans on taking 15 players to training camp. Currently though, there are 19 guys on the roster, so four appear to be getting the rest of the summer off.

So, the obvious question i s: Who's likely to be in and out? And not only that, who's looking good for the final roster as well?

The Lock

Kevin Durant - I'm going to write something here just because everybody else is. But we know this is KD's team and he did nothing Saturday night to make you think otherwise. Not only did he score at his typical high-efficiency clip (28 points on 10-17 shooting) but he also showed off some excellent passing skills. He's the only guy that's a confirmed lock at this point.

The Almost Locks

Derrick Rose - The competition is pretty fierce between Rose, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and Chauncey Billups. Deciding not only who makes the final cut will be tough, but who plays? Right now Rose has the upper hand because of reputation and also he's played well thus far in Vegas. But a poor week and he could easily slip down into the maybe section.

Chauncey Billups - Billups will likely make the final roster by default. He's the elder statesman of the team and with so many guys around 21 or 22, having an "OG" (Old Guy) as they're calling him, isn't a bad thing.

Rudy Gay - Other than Durant, Gay was the most impressive player Saturday. He netted 23 on 7-11 from the floor and really showcased his athleticism. Gay has an extremely good chance to not just make the final roster, but to have a big impact in Turkey as well.

Tyson Chandler - Coming in, Chandler was a total bubble guy. Now he's not only almost a guarantee, but probably the US's starting center. He's been more aggressive in the paint than anyone else and with Team USA lacking size, Chandler is a perfect piece to set up in the middle to defend the rim. Plus, with FIBA rules allowing players to knock the ball off the rim, Chandler could be an absolute force.

Rajon Rondo - The problem with Rondo is that he's one dimensional. Westbrook, Rose and Billups can conceivably slide over to the 2, but Rondo is locked into the point guard position. If David Lee doesn't get hurt and Amar'e Stoudemire were available, Rondo might be on the block. But as of today, it's looking good for Rondo.

The Looking Goods
Kevin Love - Love has a lot of value to this team because he can rebound, set screens and pass. Plus with the shortened 3-point line, he could be an absolute deadly pick-and-pop candidate. He's not a lock yet because he's hasn't performed especially well so far, but he's likely to make the at least the first cut.

Brook Lopez - Lopez is currently suffering from mono, so not only does that explain his lackluster performances, but it puts him in jeopardy of missing the games. The US needs his size badly and that's why he still has a great shot at the team.

Russell Westbrook - In the scrimmage, Westbrook was a menace. He's like a ball-hawking safety that's always looking to jump a route. He's the Ed Reed of the NBA. And because of that, he has a nice shot at the roster as a stopper to come in and frustrate someone like Ricky Rubio. Westbrook is a physical guard that beats up a lot of opponents. With the hand-checking rules, Westbrook could get downright nasty.

Stephen Curry - Team USA needs a shooter and nobody's stroke has been better. Well, other than Durant's. But Curry can play both the point and shooting guard, but his job will be to step on the floor and knock down treys.

Lamar Odom - Odom is a versatile power forward that can do it all for Team USA. Which is something it needs with the injuries and issues the team has had up front. However, Odom isn't a guarantee at this point because he admittedly came in to Vegas in poor shape and hasn't looked wonderful. But everyone knows what he's capable of so he'll likely be there.

Andre Iguodala - Iguodala may not make the final cut because of a logjam at the 2 and 3, but he's played well enough to at least get to camp. He's an above average wing defender and fits in well with Team USA's up-tempo approach.

The Maybes
Danny Granger - Granger has the unfavorable position of being behind Kevin Durant and Rudy Gay. However, Durant and Gay might be spending a healthy amount of time at the 4, meaning Granger could slip in and play small forward. He's shot the ball well and scored at a high clip thus far. He's competing basically against Andre Iguodala and right now, Iguodala's defense gives him a slight edge.

Gerald Wallace - Thus far, Wallace hasn't impressed much offensively. But really, he rarely does. He makes his mark by playing harder than everyone else, playing defense and just scoring tough buckets. There's a plethora of small forwards on the roster, but having an extra ace defender is never bad. Wallace may make this cut, but he'll be in a battle with Granger and Iguodala for the final 12.

Jeff Green - Green has been pretty meh so far. His 3-point shot has been inconsistent, he hasn't hit many jumpers and he hasn't rebounded exceptionally well. Yet because of the team's situation, he fits in well. He's versatile, can play multiple positions and can be a very solid offensive player. He might not see quality time, but he's worth having.

The Four on the Block
Eric Gordon - The US was looking for a shooter to stretch the zone defense international teams love to play a la Michael Redd in 2008 and basically, it was a competition between Gordon and Curry. And so far, it looks like Curry has the upper hand. Gordon has shot the ball well, but Curry's stroke is so pure that it's hard to picture it going flat under the pressure in Turkey. Gordon's is a beautiful thing, but a little more inconsistent.

Tyreke Evans - A tweaked ankle is all that's keeping Evans out. He was likely a lock for this roster, but because of a sore ankle he's missed most the practices plus the scrimmage. For shame.

JaVale McGee - McGee is a darkhorse just because he's  seven feet tall and is a center. Team USA needs that sort of thing badly. But right now, he's just too unpolished to go in front of someone like Kevin Love or Brook Lopez. McGee has shown some encouraging flashes of brilliance, but he's just not ready.

O.J. Mayo - A player like Mayo is going to undeservedly get left off this roster and it's just because of the supply of backcourt players. Team USA is ultra thin up front, so Coach K and company are more likely to take someone like Gerald Wallace or Jeff Green who can play on the front line than stack another guard onto the already full backcourt.


Posted on: July 12, 2010 6:14 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 6:57 pm
 

John Wall's debut: More than a stat sheet

Posted by Matt Moore

We marvel at the attention brought upon LeBron James in the past two weeks and especially following last Thursday night, but the seeds of NBA star hyper-attention are sowed in more than just the top rung. Nowhere is this more evident this week than in Las Vegas, where at NBA Summer League Sunday night, John Wall made his professional preseason debut with the Washington Wizards. Media attention was in a frenzy, the gaggle three times as big as it was for any other player. Wall wanted the attention and spotlight that comes with a #1 overall pick, he's got it.

And his game? Lots to discuss , both ways. 28 points, 8 assists... and 8 turnovers. Wall was overly excited, nervous, and it showed. He pushed the ball too much and occasionally whipped passes to no one in particular. He also had his jumper going, which had been a major concern for him in pre-draft talks. The release was sharp and on-target, his follow-through right. He had strong passes to teammates and ran the offense, including several alley-oops to JaVale McGee. It was a good debut, with some things to work on.

But the most important part of the night? The most impressive thing Wall did had nothing to do with ball-handling, shot-release, vision, athelticism, or speed (but Lord Almighty, is he fast). It was something outlined by Wizards blog Truth About It's Kyle Weidie today :

He wasn’t just vocal on both ends of the floor in his Summer League debut, an 84-79 Wizards win over the Warriors, he was loud. If his teammates don’t hear his instruction, it’s not his fault. They aren’t paying attention. And he doesn’t just use his vocal chords, pointing to talk is just as much a part of Wall’s game as that extra gear of speed he has over all others on the court.

Want more talking and leadership? When out of the game, Wall placed himself toward the front of the bench, talking with assistant coach Ryan Saunders, talking to his teammates, yelling out instruction toward the floor. Over the course of the game, you’re looking at 30 minutes if you total the amount of time Wall spent talking with Sam Cassell, who is heading the Summer League coaching staff for the Wizards. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but you get the point, Sam I Am is always in Wall’s ear and Wall is always listening.

 

That's exactly what you want out of your #1 overall pick. Focused intensity, determined leadership, and coachability. Wall is already showing a lot of what the Wizards need, what they've needed for years. The predictable next question?

How's Gilbert Arenas going to react to this rookie taking charge?

But there's time for that. For now, everyone can watch what is looking like a phenomenal prospect already hitting the ground running. His passes aren't always on target, but his focus is. The ability is there. The drive is there. All that's needed now is time.

Show time.

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