Tag:Washington Wizards
Posted on: July 28, 2011 9:08 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 9:21 pm

Calipari: 3 NBA players to take classes at UK

Posted by Ben Golliverjohn-calipari

The University of Kentucky's basketball program is practically a professional program already, spitting out lottery picks in large quantities year after year.

But some of those lottery picks are coming back home and their presence could take the school's basketball program up another notch.

Kentucky coach John Calipari tweeted on Thursday night that three NBA point guards who played for Kentucky will head back to Lexington if the lockout continues. "John Wall, Rajon Rondo & Eric Bledsoe all plan to enroll in the fall if the lockout continues," Calipari tweeted. "Kaboom!"

Kaboom, indeed.

KentuckySportsRadio.com reported that the move could allow the trio -- point guards for the Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers, respectively -- to get some court time in with the current Wildcats. "Calipari announces that John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and Rajon Rondo will all enroll at UK in the fall if lockout proceeds," the site reported. "What does that mean? Well, Wall, Bledsoe and Rondo are all eligible to be "Student Assistant coaches", which means practice with the team... Wall, Rondo and Bledsoe would have to be full-time students to be Student Assistants, but rumor is that is the plan."

A Lex18.com report quotes free agent forward Tayshaun Prince saying other NBA players could be following suit.
"Whether it's mid to late August or early September, I think some guys will start to roll in," he said.

Prince said he plans to spend more time in Lexington later in the summer and in to the fall and winter, if the NBA remains locked out. Brandon Knight - Prince's teammate in Detroit who was at the camp Thursday - said he plans to return to Lexington in late August or September. The two don't figure to be the only pros around campus.

"I think you're going to see over the next few months here that guys are going to start rolling in, doing workouts and things like that just because the relationship [Calipari's] putting out there with guys that he didn't coach but at the same time is building relationships," Prince said.
There are a lot of winners in this unique situation.

First, any NBA player who goes back to complete work on his degree is automatically a winner. Kudos to Wall, Rondo and Bledsoe for considering that step even after each has banked millions of dollars. That these three have chosen to do that while finding a home to work on their game and stay fit is a no-brainer, win-win.

Calipari, of course, is a winner, as the presence of an All-Star point guard, a Rookie of the Year candidate and a promising future starter on campus and in the gym only raises his already insanely-high profile as a mover and shaker in the basketball world and provides his current roster, which sports four potential first round picks in the 2012 NBA draft, with elite leadership and competition. Kentucky freshman point guard Marquis Teague, in particular, wins here too with three new mentors. Who better to answer his freshman questions than Wall, Rondo and Bledsoe?

The losers here are anyone that still believes in the purity of amateurism as well as any coaches that have to compete with Calipari for NBA-ready recruits. His factory just gets more and more refined by the season. Love him or hate him, his innovations and ability to find a competitive advantage are remarkable.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 10:07 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 10:10 pm

2 NBA players caught in college investing scandal

Posted by Ben Golliverekpe-udoh

Last week, Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com reported that David Salinas, a Houston, Texas, AAU director and investment manager, committed suicide following an SEC investigation into his financial dealings.

In the week since that news broke, CBSSports.com has linked a number of big-time college coaches to Salinas, with some investing more than $1 million with him. 

On Tuesday, SI.com reported that it wasn't just college coaches who got taken for a ride by Salinas. Indeed, two NBA players reportedly invested money with him as well.  
Two NBA players, 2010 Warriors lottery pick Ekpe Udoh ($350,000) and former Wizards swingman Cartier Martin ($374,000), were confirmed to be clients by SI.
Talk about a horrible way to start your NBA career. Udoh was on the books for $3 million last season, his only year in the league, and is now locked out as a sophomore, waiting until the current CBA negotiations are resolved before he sees another paycheck.

$350,000 is an extremely significant portion of his career earnings, especially if that was the money he put aside for investing. Depending on how much he's sunk into taxes and the usual accoutrements like houses and automobiles, there's no question that this loss hurts. The only question is exactly how bad.

As for Martin, it's even worse. He's played in the NBA for portions of three seasons as a journyeman. His salary for the 2010-2011 was less the veteran's minimum: $854,389.  

Usually we think about NBA players being extravagantly wealthy with coaches making a fraction of what the professional players take home. In this case, however, it's very possible --- indeed, likely -- that the long tenured college coaches embroiled in this scandal will be better able to absorb the losses than the players.

Everyone involved, including the players, should have done their due diligence and known better than to invest such sums without more risk protection. It's almost unimaginably tragic to think about someone working their entire life to pursue their dream of playing professional sports only to see the rewards of those efforts evaporate in an alleged ponzi scheme. Udoh, as a lottery pick, should be able to take this less to heart and bounce back. Martin, however, with no guaranteed future in the NBA, has to deal with the fact that his best financial days could very well be behind him. At the ripe old age of 26.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 2:54 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 3:39 pm

JaVale McGee planks airport moving walkway video

Posted by Ben Golliver.


Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee hasn't really established a national reputation for himself in the NBA yet. He's extremely long, pretty athletic and an excellent shot blocker, but he was stuck on an atrocious team that was in the middle of a full-scale rebuild last season.

Here's what we do know about McGee: he's got a good sense of humor and an imaginative mind.

NBCWashington.com reported that McGee was in the Phillipines for the exhibition game that also involved NBA stars like Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Kevin Durant.

During the game, McGee dunked, then raced down the court to block a shot out of bounds and then planked on the hardwood while the ball was retrieved from the stands. That's pretty funny.

But it wasn't even McGee's top plank of the trip.

McGee's best plank came at the Hong Kong airport, of all places, as he stretched his long frame across the two hand rests of a moving walkway -- a horizontal escalator -- allowing the rails to move his prone body, suspended roughly three or four feet off the ground, along their tracks. It's a pretty insane visual. Talk about hang time. 

Here's the video of Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee planking on a moving walkway at the airport courtesy of YouTube user NBAinfos

For good measure, here's the video of McGee dunking, blocking and planking at the exhibition also courtesy of YouTube user NBAInfos.

Hat tip: Sportando.net.

Posted on: July 22, 2011 10:39 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 10:43 pm

Nick Young off glass, through the legs dunk video

Posted by Ben Golliver.

Dunking after throwing the ball off the backboard to yourself has become all the rage this summer.

Miami Heat forward LeBron James did it during a charity game in Ohio. Milwaukee Bucks Brandon Jennings did it during a scrimmage in Baltimore. And now free agent guard Nick Young has done it, but with an added twist.

In the video below, Young channels former NBA Slam Dunk champion J.R. Rider by putting the ball between his legs and throwing it down after executing the off-the-glass self-pass. That's right: Young executed the famed "East Bay Funk Dunk" after collecting the ball off the backboard in mid-air.

The springy Young, who averaged 17.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game for the Washington Wizards last season, makes it look easy, but this combination takes an absurd level of leaping ability, timing and hand-eye coordination. Want to see more? Young, a California native, will bring his high-flying, high-scoring, no-passing brand of basketball to a highly anticipated exhibition game between the West Coast's Drew League and the East Coast's Goodman League in August.

Here's the video courtesy of YouTube user chumpclown.

Hat Tip: Ball Don't Lie.

Posted on: July 18, 2011 6:45 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 1:20 pm

Michael Jordan can still dunk at 48 video

NBA legend Michael Jordan can still dunk a basketball at 48 years old. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Michael Jordan can still dunk a basketball. I don't want to think about a day in which those words cannot be said.

The NBA legend, and current owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, showed that the best player in the history of basketball, the man who transformed the dunk from two points to a billion dollar logo, still has something left in the tank.

Bobcats.com reports that Jordan, dressed in a white t-shirt and grey sweats, displayed his signature flushing ability during a Monday session of the Charlotte Bobcats fantasy camp.
In the morning session of Bobcats Fantasy Camp on July 18, 2011, one girl asked Chairman Michael Jordan if he could still dunk. In the evening session, he showed some of the adults he indeed still could at 48 years young. 
Jordan is nine years removed from his last season as a professional, when he laced them up for the Washington Wizards in 2002-2003 at the age of 39. A long-time star for the Chicago Bulls and Naismith Hall of Famer, Jordan was listed at 6-foot-6.

Let's crunch some numbers. JumpUSA.com lists Jordan's standing reach at eight to 10 feet while noting that you need to be able to touch four to six inches above the rim to dunk a ball. So we can calculate (estimate) that Jordan has, at minimum, an 18" vertical leap. Pretty solid given that he is pushing 50 years old. In case you were wondering, the site lists his highest measured vertical at 43".

Here's the video of Michael Jordan dunking a basketball at age 48, courtesy of YouTube user TheNewLakers. The original video on Bobcats.com can be found at this link

Below is a frame-by-frame look at Jordan's one-handed, rim-rocking handiwork. 

Posted on: July 16, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:42 pm

Some teams are probably missing Summer League

Posted by Royce Young

The NBA's annual Vegas Summer League would be wrapping up right about now. Young players would be finishing up a week of gambling, partying and hopefully, at least for their coach, getting better.

Summer League has always been sort of approached by most as nothing more than a perk of July, just something to sort of help bridge the gap. Nobody really pays attention to it except for the hardest of hardcore fans, general managers, scouts and coaches. And bloggers. Summer League basically is blogger paradise, because it's something to write the crap out of for a couple of weeks in mid-July.

Except this summer, because of the you-know-what, there is no Summer League. No rookies to overhype because of a good, random game against a bunch of D-Leaguers. No second-year fringe players to latch onto and get excited about because of a quality week. And no players to completely write off because of a 2-12, five-turnover game. For shame. For damn shame.

And while most just write off what happens in Vegas as unimportant, any time players take the court and compete, there's something of value there for the players, the organization and the coaches. Basketball is about development. It's about getting better. Summer League is a vehicle for new draft picks to get a feel of pro basketball and a feel of playing with a couple of teammates. It's a place for guys to prove themselves a bit. In reality, it's kind of important, even if it's generally ignored by the general basketballing public.

But I can guarantee you a good number of teams were mighty disappointed when Summer League fell through because of the lockout. There's progress to be made, and a week in Vegas is an excellent place to start, especially for rookies. Some teams and players are going to feel the sting of missing out on the opportunity. Here are the ones I see feeling it most.

Minnesota Timberwolves
No team would've benefited more than Minnesota's young roster. First, it would've been the first look at Ricky Rubio on American soil. He would've played against NBA talent and had a chance to run the show for his new team.

It also would've given all of us a chance to rush to snap judgments about his game and, therefore, his career, based on a couple of Summer League games. It would've been great.

But on top of some run for Rubio, Derrick Williams, Wesley Johnson and a few other youngsters could've put away a week or so of games. Every second those guys play together, the better they'll get. They need time to develop, and Summer League is a place for that. Instead, it's going to have to happen on some private court without any coaches. Not the ideal situation for young players to learn and improve.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Pretty much the same scenario for the Cavs as it is for the Wolves, or any young team with talent. Kyrie Irving could've used the extra time on the floor, but not just because he could get a feel for offense or learn the pace of the NBA game or anything. For Irving, it's more that he just needs to play, period.

He only played in 13 games for Duke last season and after returning from his foot injury, played a couple of games in the NCAA tournament. He has barely played any competitive basketball at all in the last year. For a 19-year-old, that's not a good thing. The more play you get, the farther you move ahead.

Not to mention the No. 4 overall pick, Tristan Thompson, getting some play, too. Obviously, that would be great, but to me, it's more about Irving. It's his franchise now, and the objective in Cleveland now is moving him along. Something small like Summer League is one of the first steps forward in doing that.

Sacramento Kings
The Kings' inclusion really is more of a selfish reason. Because with Summer League, you know that every game with Jimmer Fredette woudl be a total experience. Vegas is close to BYU, and Jimmer has quite the following in the area. But, really, it could be in Maine and The Jimmer would walk in like a rock star.

The Kings do need him and Tyreke Evans, though, to get some experience playing together. Who's running point? Is it Jimmer? Is Reke going to handle those duties too? Are they going to tag-team it like Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry? These are some of the questions you can sort of at least start to find answers for, if only they were actually playing.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Despite reaching the Western Conference Finals, the Thunder really do have a ton of room to grow. The roster is extremely young with some pieces that need developing. Two of the most important being Cole Aldrich and this year's pick, Reggie Jackson.

With Aldrich, he simply needs to play a little. He spent most of his rookie season in the D-League with the Tulsa 66ers, and while that's good for development, Summer League gives him a chance to be a focus in a competitive setting as well as a primer for what he needs to work on heading to fall camp. Aldrich is far from a lost cause, and the Thunder are willing to stay patient. But part of that being patient comes because you think a guy is going to improve. And to do that, he's got to play.

With Jackson, Summer League could've helped signal a little where he might fit in. Is he a point guard? Shooting guard? Combo guard? Is he a scorer the Thunder want to use off the bench next season? Is he someone that even will challenge for minutes? The Thunder clearly liked Jackson enough to promise him a spot in the first round, but without him working out for anyone before the draft, he's still largely an unknown for everybody.

Miami Heat
Yes, seriously, the Heat. No doubt that for the most part, the roster is set. LeBron, Wade and Bosh handle pretty much all of the heavy lifting, and veterans Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem pick up the remaining slack.

But the Heat need to develop young talent. Players like Dexter Pittman need an opportunity to grow a bit. Where the Heat lacked most last season was having cheap, young talent to infuse with LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Instead, Pat Riley went with trying to work in guys like Mike Bibby, Juwan Howard, Eddie House and whoever else was willing to take the veterans minimum to chase a title.

A week in Vegas for Miami's youngsters like Pittman and rookie Norris Cole could go a long way to restructuring the role players on the roster. And on top of that, it's a chance to maybe scout three or four other unsigned guys to take a look at later on. Miami needs some young talent, and the Vegas Summer League is one of the best places to look.

Washington Wizards
John Wall is going to be a star. I don't have any doubt. But he's still raw and still has a whole lot to learn about running a team. I remember how much Summer League did for Russell Westbrook a couple of years ago as he was prepping for his second season. It helped Westbrook learn how to slow down a bit, learn when to look for a shot, when to look to set up and when to push. Wall would've been the best player in Vegas, much like Westbrook was always on another level when he was there. But it taught him how to play under control -- to a degree -- while also being able to run around anyone. That would've been a good lesson for Wall.

Then there's Jan Vesely, who is mostly a mystery as he prepares to maybe step in as Washington's new small forward. We know he can jump and dunk, but can he defend? Can he rotate over and help? Can he shoot? If Wall and Vesely are the offensive attack of the future for the Wizards, having them play together, if even for just a week, would be huge.

Utah Jazz
Even more than Kyrie Irving, Enes Kanter hasn't played competitive basketball in a long time. He was forced to sit out all of 2010-11 for Kentucky because of a NCAA violation, and while he's had some workouts and a little five-on-five action here and there, he hasn't been in a real game setting since he moved from Turkey to the United States. The Jazz liked him enough to take him fourth and maybe force a re-shuffling up front, so obviously they're invested in the young big man.

And on top of him, don't forget the Jazz had another lottery pick in wing Alec Burks, who could surprise a lot of people as an NBA-ready scorer. He was terrific at Colorado as he sort of came out of nowhere to climb into the lottery. A little burn for both him and Kanter could've gone a long way for the Jazz, who are committed to the youngsters in life after Deron.
Posted on: July 15, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 3:53 pm

Arenas tweets about the gun incident

Posted by Royce Young

Gilbert Arenas Unplugged. That's basically what his Twitter feed is right now. With the lockout ongoing and the threat of discipline not hanging over his head, Arenas is pretty much free to roam the Internet, saying what he wants.

A scary, riveting thing.

The latest stream of highly interesting tweets from Agent Zero? Some incredibly detailed thoughts on the famous Wizards locker room incident:

everyone knows about my troubles last yr..the only reason u do know about it is becuz my money making days were up… as long as ur making sumbody lots of money they will let u do what ever u want..when ur time is up they will expose u to the world

if u ever hear about anything in a locker rm is becuz sumbody in high power wants it to get out… once all the free shoes are gone..i will be attacked by the media…becuz theres nothing to be gain anymore

i know what ppl are sayin..i brought ….into the locker rm..theres been full blow paint ball shoot outs in locker rms… being in the nba u see everything…what i got in trouble for ive seen over a dozens times..

i did give them the tool to take me down so its know ones fault but mines..and ive learned and got wiser from it… like i said ive made mistakes when u feel like u can do anything u want u try..and i got smacked down to reality when i went to far

Arenas is trying to make the point that this happened because, I guess, the Wizards wanted something to part ways with him with. Since he wasn't the All-Star level player anymore and was making lots of cash anyway, exposing this little scandal was something the team could use to separate from him. I don't know really what he's getting at with the shoes thing though. Do some media members get free shoes? I know I wouldn't take any from Gilbert. There could be poo in them, you know.

But he also says that his incident isn't uncommon in the NBA. Paintball shootouts? That seems like something, but it's not exactly a loaded gun. I'm sure a lot of stuff happens that we never find out about. That's anything. That's life. Arenas said he's learned from it and he accepts the responsibility for it, which is good.

He's wiser, he says, too. I'm sure he is. I wouldn't say that applies to his Twitter feed necessarily though.
Posted on: July 13, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 2:47 pm

John Wall NC Pro-Am highlight video

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall put on a show at the 2011 NC pro-am. Posted by Ben Golliver.

John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, won just 23 games in his rookie season with the Washington Wizards. He put up solid numbers -- 16.4 points, 8.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds -- but was second in the league in turnovers per game and struggled with a shaky jumper.

The first year growing pains were expected, as he was surrounded by a talent-deficient roster and playing for an organization that was just entering a rebuilding cycle. History dictates that "the leap" for young point guards takes place in Year 2 or Year 3, so patience is still the order of the day for Wizards fans.

If we zoom in from that panaromic career landscape, though, we can take a few minutes to remember just how absurdly talented Wall is with the ball in his hands in isolation and, especially, in the open court. From his first day in the NBA, Wall was an upper echelon point guard when it comes to attacking in transition, using his excellent acceleration and top-end speed to push the tempo and his elevation and quick-thinking decision-making skills to finish plays.

Here's video of Wall putting on a show at the North Carolina Pro-Am, looking like a 21st century Bob Cousy as he accepts the challenge from former North Carolina State star Julius Hodge and routinely makes him look ridiculous with cross-overs and hesitations. Video courtesy of YouTube user MasoneMultiMedia.

Sure, he's got a ways to go in learning how to run a half-court offense. He needs to spend a few hundred hours in the gym this summer working on his jumper. And he needs better teammates. But Wall can do what he just did on that video. And there's only a handful of pros who can say the same.

Street ball dominance isn't enough to make you an NBA point guard, But it's more than enough to make a fanbase lick its lips and start the countdown for next season.

Hat tip: The Basketball Jones.
Category: NBA
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