Posted on: August 3, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2011 12:18 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Rankings by EOB Staff
Moving right along in our top 100 NBA players, we're checking 90-81. Here's the thing about these type of lists: They only get tougher the further you go along. What makes No. 86 better than No. 88? What moves one guy up to No. 80 and drops another to No. 89. These are the tough calls we had to make and they're also the tough calls that you're likely to yell at us about.
Such is list making.
But we march on towards No. 1 with 90-81.
(Click here for 100-91)
90. JaVale McGee, C, age 23, Washington Wizards
2011 stats: 10.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.4 bpg, 55 FG%,
Composite rankings (random order): 91, 94, 83
McGee's ceiling could either be the next incredible talent or the next incredible disappointment. He can swallow shots with one hand, finish an alley-oop from anywhere and really and truly tries hard. He lacks in consistently rebounding and mentally, he's a bit of a spazz.
He might very well be forever just a raw talent that never truly develops, but even if this is the player the Wizards will forever get, having a 7-1 athletic freak for John Wall to toss oops to isn't really a bad thing. It's just a matter of wishing and hoping he can become something more, which might be what McGee's future is.
89. Marcus Camby, C, age 37, Portland Trail Blazers
2011 stats: 4.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 39.8 FG%, 14.85 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 75, unranked, 92
Funny that Camby is right ahead of McGee because really, Camby is the goal for someone like him. Camby's finest hour might've been the impact he made in the 1998-99 playoffs as the Knicks made an improbable NBA Finals run. He blocked everything, rebounded, defended and scored.
Eventually Camby evolved into a quality but not great big man. Someone that could plug the middle, influence the paint defensively, rebound and sometimes step out and hit a little jumpshot. And that's still he is now. He's not a marquee big man but in terms of having a player that's going to consistently impact a game, Camby is still that even at 37.
88. Marcus Thornton, SG, age 24, Sacramento Kings
2011 stats: 12.8 ppg, 1.8 apg, 3.5 rpg, 43 FG%, 36.8 3P%, 16.52 PER
Composite rankings (random order): unranked, 71, 96
Did you know that in 27 games with the Kings last season Thornton averaged 21.3 points a game? On 45 percent shooting including 36 percent from 3? He even added 3.4 assists and 4.7 rebounds a game to that too. That's pretty darn good right there.
For whatever reason, Thornton found himself in Monty Williams' doghouse in New Orleans after having a good rookie season off the bench for the Hornets. He was dealt to Sacramento and because of Tyreke Evans' nagging toe injury, found himself with a heap of playing time. And he took advantage of every second, cementing himself as part of Sacto's scoring core. He's just 24 and will enter his fourth season next year. We know he can score but as he showed off with the Kings, he might be able to do a bit more than that too.
87. J.R. Smith, SG, age 25, Denver Nuggets
2011 stats: 12.3 ppg, 2.2 apg, 4.1 rpg, 39 3P%, 16.43 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 88, 98, 77
The way these rankings are unfolding is cracking me up. It wasn't intentional but just like McGee-Camby, Thornton and J.R. Smith really are similar players. Smith is the bench gunner that can either shoot you in, or out, of a game. He's an infuriating talent because honestly, there's no good reason Smith shouldn't be one of the five best shooting guards in the game. He's got every bit of ability needed to be that. He just can't keep his head straight long enough to do it.
He is still just 25 and there's time yet for him to really put a season together. He's likely to be moving on from the Nuggets and maybe that's what he needs. A fresh start and a new coach that understands how to manage his erratic talent.
86. Mike Conley, PG, age 23, Memphis Grizzlies
2011 stats: 13.7 ppg, 6.5 apg, 3.0 rpg, 44 FG%, 36.9 3P%, 15.90 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 88, 89, 80
Remember that $45 million extension that looked really stupid at the time? Now it's looking almost somewhat good. Conley put together his finest year as a pro, leading the Grizzlies deep in the postseason while playing a steady, controlling point guard. He's not an outstanding point man by any means, but having a guy that can score, dish and shoot is pretty much the idea in today's NBA. The question with Conley however is, is this all there is? Can he go up from here or is he topped out? I don't really see a way for him to really leap ahead, but you never know. We all thought that extension wasn't a good idea and look how that turned out.
85. Wilson Chandler, SF, age 24, Denver Nuggets
2011 stats: 15.3 ppg, 1.7 apg, 5.7 rpg, 44 FG%, 34.9 3P%, 14.68 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 77, unranked, 79
Not that Wilson Chandler is going to be an All-Star small forward or anything, but the Nuggets definitely came out solid form the Carmelo Anthony mess mainly because they were able to add Chandler to the deal. He finished up scoring the ball really well even though he completely disappeared in the postseason. He's just 24 and has steadily improved since day one of his NBA career.
Donnie Walsh was a big fan of his in New York and almost didn't push the button on the Melo deal because he didn't want to part with Chandler. He's got the chance to be a really nice two-way 3 in the league and if he can figure out a role with whoever he lands with in free agency, he could maybe at least make a little All-Star noise one day.
84. Ben Gordon, SG, age 28, Detroit Pistons
2011 stats: 11.2 ppg, 2.1 apg, 2.4 rpg, 44 FG%, 40.2 3P%, 12.46 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 93, 78, 83
So evidently Ben Gordon wasn't really worth that massive contract the Pistons tossed at him. Hard to know that though, especially with the way he torched the Celtics in the 2009-10 playoffs. There was a time where Gordon, a 6-3 shooting guard, was maybe one of the toughest covers at that spot in the league. And really, he probably still is if he can just get his act together.
He shoots too much and often goes tunnel vision with the ball in his hands. But when he's cooking, there might not be a better short scorer in the league. His 2010-11 was very down, but this is a guy that averaged more than 15 points a game every year before he landed in Detroit, including two years over 20.
83. Andrea Bargnani, C, age 25, Toronto Raptors
2011 stats: 21.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 8.6 RR, 53.3 TS%, 16.50 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 96, 67, 87
If basketball had a defensive DH -- or in this case a DD, designated defender -- Bargnani would maybe be a top 20 player. He's almost everything Dirk Nowitzki is offensively, especially at the age of 25. He's seven feet, can hit from anywhere, puts the ball on the floor and can shoot over anyone. He's not Dirk in terms of efficiency -- or anywhere close -- but just for comparisons sake, he's similar.
It all falls apart in terms of rebounding and defense though. Basically any board Bargnani grabbed is a result of it just bouncing straight to him (his rebound rate was an embarrassing 8.6 last year). He's not aggressive and doesn't attack. His defensive rating was atrocious last season (115.0) and he basically has no idea how to move his feet on a pick and roll.
But on the offensive side, good. Defense, bad. Hence, No. 83.
82. Jrue Holiday, PG, age 21, Philadelphia 76ers
2011 stats: 14.0 ppg, 6.5 apg, 1.5 spg, 44.6 FG%, 52.5 TS%, 15.49 PER
Composite rankings (random order): unranked, 73, 74
You may have forgotten about Jrue Holiday, the 76ers 17th pick in 2009. You may have assumed he wasn't panning out, that he was just a forgotten mid-first-round pick. But really, he was pretty darn good last season. Nothing spectacular -- 14.0 points, 6.5 assists and a PER of 15.49 -- but if we're all in agreement Mike Conley had a fine year, then you've got to say Holiday did too.
And, he's a pretty fine defender at that as well. He's got really long arms and plays passing lanes well (1.5 steals per game last year) and isn't afraid to work. He's only 21 and there's a chance that Holiday is on the way to being a name thought of first instead of last when talking about good young point guards.
81. Raymond Felton, PG, age 27, Portland Trail Blazers
2011 stats: 15.5 ppg, 8.3 apg, 3.6 rpg, 42.5 FG%, 35.3 3P%, 16.68 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 68, 84, 90
For a while there last season, Felton was a borderline All-Star with the Knicks. He was running Mike D'Antoni's show pretty well and was meshing really well with Amar'e Stoudemire in the pick and roll. He was finding his places to shoot and score, but knew when and where to play setup.
Then he got dealt to Denver in the Melo deal, found himself out of the starting five and while still finished strong with the Nuggets, wasn't exactly anything close to an All-Star level player. Not to say he didn't have a good year, because he did. Especially when you think about it being a follow up to what's probably his breakout season in 2009-10 with the Bobcats.
The Blazers picked him up on draft night for Andre Miller and there's a good chance he's going to return to that borderline All-Star level play now that he doesn't have Ty Lawson hogging minutes in front of him. That is if he can keep away from the cupcakes.
Posted on: August 2, 2011 2:55 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Hot weather. Swimming. Beaches. Swimsuits. Hot dogs and beer. All summer staples. I think you can add another to that list: Rudy Fernandez talking to Spanish teams.
Early in July, Fernandez reportedly got a massive offer from Reali Madrid, but then said he intended to fulfill his NBA contract. But with Rudy, things tend to go back-and-forth when it comes to returning to Spain.
Hey, at least this isn't Portland's headache anymore. Last summer, Fernandez flirted with Spanish teams for a number of months, even taking it so far that his agent had to be fined for comments about it. Now Fernandez is a member of the Mavericks after being traded on draft night.
This isn't just a lockout contingency plan for Fernandez. He wants to sign with Madrid and make it a long-term deal. Currently Fernandez has one year left on his deal with a qualifying offer available for another.
The original offer he received from Real Madrid was a six-year deal and equated to about $4.4 million per year. So that would be around $26 million over six years, which is a pretty massive offer from a Spanish team. Right now, Fernandez is making about $2 million for this year on his rookie deal with next year's qualifying offer being for $3.2 million.
Fernandez's potential deal would include an NBA opt-out, but that's just to get through his current contract. Which is what he said he wanted to do. After that, all bets are off. So he might play a little in Spain, come back, and then go to Spain again for the long term.
Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:09 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Via TMZ, we about a month away from finally getting WorldPeace. Metta WorldPeace that is.
In order to finalize a name change, you have to publish your declaration four times -- once a week for four weeks -- in a local paper and Artest's last declaration came on July 19 in the L.A. Daily Commerce. Now on Aug. 26, his name change will become official after a judge signs it.
Just keeping you posted on this very important development.
Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:03 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 1:04 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli basketball league is in "advanced" talks with New Jersey Nets guard Jordan Farmar, according to the club's American owner, Jeffrey Rosen.
"We've been in serious talks with Jordan Farmar, who has expressed great interest to play for Maccabi Haifa," Rosen said. "We believe we are close to an agreement, but we have a few more hurdles to overcome to make it happen. We would love to have Jordan Farmar join Maccabi Haifa during the NBA lockout and we find his aspirations to play in Israel to be inspirational."
There might be competition for Farmar though. Powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv is also in the mix for Farmar according to Israeli media reports and could potentially offer Farmar more money. Tel Aviv of course was the team that was sort of in the mix for Amar'e Stoudemire at one point. Haifa is trying to make a push in the league as they made news by signing Jeremy Tyler last year. Tyler is the player that skipped his senior year of high school to play overseas and was drafted 39th overall.
FIBA cleared the way last week for players to sign abroad as long as long as they express a commitment to returning to the NBA if the lockout ends. Farmar still has two years left on his New Jersey deal.
Why is this potentially important? Because Farmar, an American citizen with Jewish heritage, could be making a path to nationalizing in Israel so he could join their national team. Having the connection with a pro club is a really good step in that direction. Farmar's not a big name NBA player but he did win two titles with the Lakers and is a quality point guard.
Posted on: August 1, 2011 8:14 pm
Posted by Royce Young
He can't win. You can take that a number of different ways, but in this case, I mean that LeBron James just can't win even when he does a good thing.
The first and most obvious example of that was The Decision where he tried to raise a pile of money for the Boys & Girls Club of America but instead destroyed his image and made everyone hate him all at once.
His latest offense. Tweeting a picture of him standing with two children while wearing a shirt that simply says "Akron." That being his hometown in Ohio, of course. Problem is, it's in the same style as the Miami Heat logo. Oh no he di'nt.
The hook here though is that LeBron tweeted the picture with a wonderful story about some kids raising money for his foundation with a lemonade stand in Connecticut somewhere. The kids were in the picture too. And yet I can just feel the outrage manifesting somewhere. The controversy is a'brewing, somewhere. People are harumphing.
Yeah, you could say that LeBron just doesn't get it. That he's clueless, classless and just rubbing it in everyone's faces. Or here's a new option that I don't think everyone has fully considered: Maybe he just doesn't give a flying flip.
He loves Akron, loves Ohio and loves his new team. Nike made the shirt -- which I agree is kind of pointless because who's really buying that unless maybe you're from Akron and you still love LeBron -- and he's wearing it. He's wearing a shirt. That's it.
It almost seems like he's daring people at this point. Like it's some kind of inside game he's got with his friends. Watch me tweet this story about an amazing thing some cute kids did, but I'll have on a shirt and that's the only thing people will talk about. Almost like he's just seeing how far he can take it. Pretty soon we're going to get a picture of LeBron wearing an "F-You Universe" shirt while adopting two orphans. And you know as well as I do what the story will be.
Posted on: July 30, 2011 7:10 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 7:11 pm
Posted by Royce Young
I get the feeling with FIBA officially paving the way for NBA players under contract that more and more guys will decide to ink overseas contract just in case things don't go so well and all with the bargaining and such.
So add another name to the list: Nicolas Batum.
According to BasketSession.com, Batum has signed with SLUC Nancy in France. Batum of course if originally from France and currently is under contract with the Blazers. Here's a rough translation, via Blazers Egde:
According to a source familiar with the matter, Nicolas Batum signed with SLUC Nancy. The winger Portland Trail Blazers and the team will begin the season in France Pro A and the Euroleague with Nancy in the case quite likely that the lockout blocks the start of the NBA season. We knew very advanced contacts between the two parties, but nothing was sure yet.Batum is still on a rookie deal making "just" $2.16 million next season. Because of that Batum isn't risking as much as a free agent or a player with less guaranteed money. And with him being just 22 years old, he's still got a really bright future ahead in the NBA. Which is a pretty good reason why he wouldn't want to just sit on his hands and wait for a resolution. Young guys like him want to play.
He'll get a little of that as he's playing for France in Eurobasket in September, but now it sounds like he's at least got plans ahead of that.
Batum is definitely a major part of Portland's future roster so I'm sure Paul Allen and Nate McMillan are cringing just a bit at this news. At the same time though, you want your young guys to develop and playing against top competition in Europe will afford him that opportunity. Injury is always the big risk factor and I'm sure that'll be on every Blazer fans' mind while Batum is in France, but it's the line you walk.
Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:47 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 1:54 pm
Posted by Royce Young
It's been 30 days since NBA owners locked out their players. And that thirty days has been filled with, well, a lot of nothing.
No more negotiations. No meetings, or at least important ones. No noise from either side about what needs to be done. No posturing, slandering, mudslinging or whatever. As NBPA president Derek Fisher told ESPN LA, the lockout has been "weirdly quiet."
"It's been long, but it's been weirdly quiet," he said. "To push as hard as we did in the month of June to see if we could get a deal done prior to July 1, it's essentially been crickets since then."
According to reports, a bargaining session is scheduled for sometime this week, though Ken Berger of CBSSports.com says not to get too excited about this one. Not much will happen most likely, but the good news is that there is finally a little noise. Something is much better than nothing. In a lockout, the silence is defeaning.
The two sides will reconvene 31 days after the lockout began. In the shortened season of 1999, it took 45 days for the sides to get back to the table. I'm taking that as a good sign.
Fisher also made a quality point that sets up the future negotiations well, saying that it's been a bit overlooked how the players compromised quite a bit in scaling back their take of Basketball Related Income from 57 to 54 percent. But instead, all we hear about is hard caps and guaranteed contracts.
"If, as players, we feel we can operate under a fair system, then we can maybe work towards a fair number," Fisher said. "I think our counterparts feel a little bit differently, they want to get a number set and they're not as concerned with the way the system looks if they get the right number. We don't think that's the best way to approach it. We want to make sure we keep a fair system in place for all players now and coming in later and I think the numbers will kind of take care of themselves.
"It's more about getting the process started again," he continued. "Kind of rolling the sleeves back up and starting to do the hard work that it's going to take to try and get something done between now and October 1st or when the start of training camp would be. I don't know if there's going to be any major movement on Monday."
No major movement is a bummer, but at least there's going to be some dialogue. Hard to get any closer to something when you're not even talking.
Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:12 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 1:51 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Ready for another somewhat boring NBA-player-to-overseas-team rumor? Well have I got something for you, because this one isn't entirely boring. According to HoopsWorld, Suns guard Aaron Brooks has been extended an attractive offer from a team in China and is strongly considering it.
Brooks is currently a restricted free agent, but was extended a qualifying offer from Phoenix, so he is under an NBA contract and would need an opt-out clause and all that good stuff.
What makes Brooks more interesting than your average player-to-consider-overseas rumor is that he's really popular in China and would probably be in really good shape there. Brooks was a key player for the Rockets for a couple seasons and as you might remember, Yao Ming played for the Rockets. So Brooks has a lot of fans still there.
He also has some remaining endorsement deals and has made several trips to the area over the past few years.
Of course this is going to hinge on what happens with the upcoming negotiations, but one interesting fit could be the team Yao owns, the Shaghai Sharks. I'm sure Brooks still has a good relationship with his former teammate and would likely receive some pretty solid treatment while he's there too.
Brooks is likely going to be a key cog in the Suns' future though and I'm sure general manager Lance Blanks and owner Robert Sarver might cringe a bit if he takes off. Brooks is in somewhat of a compromised position though because of his contract status, so that would have to be sorted out although FIBA recently granted clearance for NBA players to head overseas.