Tag:John Wall
Posted on: December 8, 2010 1:17 pm
 

Among other things, players want age limit at 18

Posted by Royce Young

Other than LeBron James and his Heat buddies, the biggest story of this NBA season starts with an "L" and ends with an "out". It's kind of hanging over everything. Just when we all start having fun and forget about a potential work stoppage, it rears its ugly head again. Bummer.

The basics around where the league and the players are hung up is over the salary cap situation, player salaries and revenue sharing. You know, the usual stuff.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com dropped a bomb's worth of knowledge Wednesday updating the current situation. Included in all of that information was a small nugget about other things the players are asking for in addition to all the salary and money stuff.

They want the NBA's age-limit requirement returned to 18.

Berger says the players suggested a few non-cap related things that would "improve the game" and "benefit both our players and the league." One of those is a re-examination of the age-limit rule that currently requires players to be at least 19 years old and one year removed from their senior year of high school before they're allowed to enter the draft.

(Along with the age rule, the NBAPA is also adding this Berger says, which I found incredibly interesting: They want to enhance pension benefits for retired players, which would be paid for, in part, by a so-called exit tax on owners who sell their teams and earn capital appreciation far beyond historic levels. So when an owner that bought his team in 1973 for $19.7 million sells it for $400 million, the players want a tax on that money that would pay a pension for retired players. Anyway, just wanted to point that one out too.)

While the players want the rule back at 18 years old, they also threw in that they want to work with the league and NCAA to incentivize players to stay in school longer. I think we all rolled our eyes there together, didn't we? Stay in school kids! Money's not important! Ignore the fact we're willing to go to a lockout over it!

The age rule probably isn't as important to the players as the money related issues, but the fact it's included in their recent proposal is interesting. Feelings on the current rule is sort of split. Most think it's an NCAA rule, but it's not. It's an NBA one. While it helps college basketball in some ways by bringing star power like John Wall, Kevin Durant and Greg Oden to college, it also hurts because everyone knows they're one-and-done. Bobby Knight was one of the biggest detractors about the rule talking about how nobody has to go to class the second semester and that is creates an unfair advanatge to the big name schools and recruiters. And it's easy to see that point.

The idea behind the original creation of the requirement was to help prevent the massive busts that were coming straight from high school, thus ruining potentially solid careers. Kids that has dollar signs in their eyes and skipped a college scholarship because an agent told them they'd make millions in the NBA as a first-round draft pick. But for every DeShawn Stevenson, Jonathan Bender and Kwame Brown, there's a Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard. It's always worked both ways.

And it's not some guarantee that if you go to school you won't bust. Ed O'Bannon, Robert Traylor, Stromile Swift, Marcus Fizer... lots of names there too. I guess they got an education or at least a few college credit hours out of it, but the rule doesn't guarantee anything.

Players want to be able to make money. And the fact that the NBA is preventing an 18-year-old from having the opportunity to have a job in the NBA obviously bothers the NBAPA.

It's a small issue and probably not one they're worth fighting that much for. But it's in the current proposal. The fact it's on their mind is interesting nonetheless.

But what's so ironic is that a lockout could greatly affect players like Terrence Jones from Kentucky, Harrison Barnes from North Carolina, Jared Sullinger from Ohio State and Kyrie Irving from Duke. Guys that would likely be one-and-done and headed for next June's draft. Except a lockout may make them think twice about it. They may either return to school and let the CBA stuff get settled or head to Europe for a season, especially the ones that have been tanking in their academics because they never thought they'd come back for a sophomore season. 

But remember, the NBAPA wants to educate and encourage players to stay in school. And they may be doing exactly that, only by accident.
Posted on: November 30, 2010 3:35 pm
 

Award-O-Matic MVP 11.30.10: CP3 as MVP

NBA F&R breaks down the MVP candidates after the first month of the season by dissecting the award down to three parts: Most Valuable, Most Important, and Most Oustanding Player. CP3 is in control.
Posted by Matt Moore with contributions from Ben Golliver and Royce Young




Well, we're a month into the season and the context of this year has begun to take shape. While certainly a long way from the finish line, we've already gotten a glimpse of who's playing well, who's playing average, and who ... not so much. And so it is that we begin our monthly look at awards. On a regular basis we'll take you around the award contenders and give you a look at who is in contention for the NBA's major awards by breaking down what they really mean in our Award-O-Matic. Today we start with the MVP.

The problem, as has been elucidated approximately a million times by various media members, is that the MVP is a nebulous, hard to define award. Its name is Most Valuable, but it most often goes to the Most Outstanding Player on a winning team. If your play is other-worldly but your team doesn't win, you have no shot. If you contribute the most to a winning team but your numbers aren't stellar, again, your chances are slim. It takes a combination of three factors: value, performance, and importance to snag the award. As such, we decided to break the award into those three categories, tally them up with the top player getting 3 points, the second 2, the third 1, then summing to see if we could come up with a list.

First up?

Most Valuable Player (To Their Team): Who is most responsible for their team's success? Or, to put it another way, whose team suffers the most without them?


Matt Moore:


1. Dirk Nowitzki: Without him that offense is anemic and it's been his rebounding that's kept them in games at points.
2. Carmelo Anthony: Seriously, Nuggets. Cliff. Teetering. Melo's the only thing keeping the truck from smashing into pieces.
3. Dwight Howard: Get him in foul trouble and the Magic turn into a Mid-Major college team, just wining it from perimeter to perimeter.

Ben Golliver:

1. Chris Paul:
  I like Darren Collison as much as the next guy, but CP3's return from injury to lead New Orleans' absurd hot start, despite an unimpressive supporting cast, reveals exactly how valuable the league's best point guard is.
2. Rajon Rondo Boston would still be good without Rondo, but his game ownership places them on an elite level and makes them the odds on favorite to win the East yet again. 10.6 points, 14.2 assists (what!), 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals through the end of November. Crazy.
3. Kevin Durant The Thunder have had an up-and-down start but imagining this team with Russell Westbrook at the helm by himself, dragging an ineffective Jeff Green along for the ride, would be a recipe for a guaranteed lottery team. KD will get better -- perhaps much better -- over the course of the season, and he's already easily leading the NBA in scoring again.

Royce Young:

1. Chris Paul:   Subtract Paul and what do you have. I can promise you it's not an 8-1 team. It's really as simple as that.
2. Dirk Nowitzki:   The Mavericks are dangerous in every fourth quarter that they're close in. The reason is because Dirk can score in every situation, at any time. He essentially is the Maverick offense.
3. Steve Nash:   Take Nash away and yes, there's Goran Dragic who can dazzle in stretches. But without Nash this Suns team is nothing more than a 35-win club. With Nash, there's potential to push for the playoffs.

Most Important Player: Who is most crucial to their team's success? Ex. Last year I argued that Josh Smith was MIP because when he did Josh Smith-y things, the Hawks were nearly unstoppable, and when he didn't, they were much more beatable.


Matt Moore:

1. Chris Paul:
He does everything and it starts and stops with him. This is even more clearly illustrated by their recent struggles down the stretch where he hasn't been involved.
2. Al Horford: The level of production Horford is creating right now is simply astonishing. More astonishing is how overlooked he is.
3. Pau Gasol: It's him that's carrying the Lakers. Even as Kobe scores all the high points, the most dominant Laker performances this season are from Gasol.

Ben Golliver:


1. Pau Gasol: His virtuoso early season performance has single-handedly made Andrew Bynum an afterthought. What more needs to be said?
2. Deron Williams:   Utah's streak of comebacks begins with Williams' tough-minded leadership and ends with his play-making and shot-making.
3. Dirk Nowitzki:   Another banner start from Dirk singlehandedly puts a Dallas roster loaded with question marks in the playoff mix.

Royce Young:

1. Pau Gasol: Having Gasol as part of the triangle has been like a revelation. He's really what makes the Lakers so darn dangerous.
2. Kevin Garnett:
We saw what an impact his has in regard to the Celtic defense two seasons ago when his knee was injured.
3. Nick Collison:   He's a classic no-stats All-Star. He's only played for a few weeks so far this season for Oklahoma City but his value is immeasurable and impact immediate. He tips rebounds that become extra possessions, takes charges, sets outstanding screens and makes two or three small (but big) plays a game.


Most Outstanding Player: Who has simply wowed you?


Matt Moore:

1. Rajon Rondo: Key plays every time he's on the floor and he makes it look easy, There are a lot of moments where he looks like he's just on a different plane from everyone else.. and he's got three Hall of Famers on his team.
2. Russell Westbrook: Westbrook has managed to take over the game down the stretch. His turnovers are down, assists are up, he's got range and that mid-key pull-up jumper is as deadly as it ever has been. He's been simply phenomenal in half-court and full-court sets.
3. Deron Williams: Three point guards? Yup. Check Deron at the end of the clock with the game on the line. Money. And that's after all the assists, rebounds, key plays and floor leadership. Man's a ninja, no joke.

Ben Golliver:


1. Dwight Howard:
  Lost in the Miami Heat wave, Howard is quietly putting up 22.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks as the defensive and rebounding engine that will make Orlando a title contender for years to come. By the way, Orlando sits atop the Southeast Division -- 3.5 games ahead of the Heat.
2. LeBron James: His numbers are crazy and his highlights are spectacular. It's a wonder he can jump so high and dunk so hard carrying the burden of Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra's corpse on his shoulders.
3. John Wall:   Wall doesn't belong in the MVP discussion -- there are too many holes in his game (jumper, turnovers) and his team is terrible -- but for sheer "outstanding-ness" and "wow factor" he merits inclusion here. His assist numbers have been great and his speed is tops in the league; he's a lot further along the NBA readiness scale than even his biggest fans could have imagined.

Royce Young:

1. Rajon Rondo: He's been nothing but insanely ridiculous. Manages the game perfectly, understand his place within an offense and runs the show beautifully.
2. Kevin Love: When given the time on the floor, he's a legitimate 20-20 threat every single night. How many players can you really say that about?
3. Russell Westbrook: There's a case to be legitimately made for Westbrook as an MVP contender. Kevin Durant is still leading the league in scoring, but Westbrook is what's kept the team winning games. But his play has been just insane this year (23.8 ppg, 8.4 apg, 5.1 rpg) and he's a super-highlight waiting to happen.

Here are the tallies:

Most Valuable Player:
1. Chris Paul (6)
2. Dirk Nowitzki (5)
Tied for 3rd: Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo (2)
Tied for 4th: Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash (1)

Most Important Player:
1. Pau Gasol (7)
2. Chris Paul (3)
Tied for 3rd: Deron Williams, Al Horford, Kevin Garnett (2)
Tied for 4th: Dirk Nowitzki, Nick Collison (1)

Most Outstanding Player :

1. Rajon Rondo (6)
Tied for 2nd: Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard (3)
Tied for 3rd: Kevin Love, LeBron James (2)
Tied for 4th: John Wall, Deron Williams (1)

Top 5 in Totals:
1. Chris Paul: 9
2. Rajon Rondo (8)
3. Pau Gasol (7)
4. Dirk Nowitzki (6)
5. Dwight Howard (4)
Posted on: November 15, 2010 8:09 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:46 pm
 

Shootaround 11.15.10: Suns scorch Lakers

The Phoenix Suns get red hot from outside, Ken Berger checks in with the latest CBA negotiation updates, Evan Turner dorks out again, the Randy Foye / Brandon Roy 2006 draft night trade gets a second look, and a whole lot more. 

Posted by Ben Golliver
  • CBSSports.com's Ken Berger with the latest on the NBA's collective bargaining negotiations: "Commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver will match wits with union chief Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher of the Lakers on Thursday, Fisher told CBSSports.com. Fisher, who will be in Minneapolis on an off-day during the Lakers' road trip through the Midwest, will participate via conference call."
  • Denver forward Gary Forbes has been the subject of lots of Twitter jokes because his name sounds more like an investment advisor's rather than an NBA player's, but he's been a nice early spark for the Nuggets. Nuggets.com offers a nice profile, and discusses his battle with Type 1 diabetes.   
  • This video won't help Philadelphia 76ers rookie Evan Turner's cause against his critics, who hammer on his nerdiness. Turner sits in a dark room and discusses his basketball cards. "Did you collect cards as a kid?," Turner is asked. "I sure did," Turner replies. "I collected a lot of them." Steve Urkel status. Told that one of his rookie cards is worth $120, Turner replies, "That's a cool thing. I just hope the value doesn't drop." Get excited, Philly!
  • ESPN Radio "personality" Colin Cowherd, who has been immensely critical of Washington Wizards point guard John Wall for his pre-game dancing and supposed lack of leadership qualities, "has sold his life story to CBS for a sitcom deal," reports HollywoodReporter.com.
  • Way back during the 2006 NBA draft, the Portland Trail Blazers thought they got a steal when they traded Randy Foye to Minnesota for Brandon Roy. Moves like this by general manager Kevin Pritchard earned the term "Pritchslap" in Portland. But StarTribune.com notes that Minnesota was willing to do the deal, in part, because of concerns over Roy's knee. "One of the reasons the Wolves traded Roy for Foye and cash is their doctors deemed Roy's knees too much of a risk. Now, Roy is struggling with his health -- his left knee, in particular -- and he suggested recently that his most athletic days are behind him." Roy did more in his first four years in the league than Foye will do in his entire career, but his recent injury struggles are casting the trade in a new light. 
  • ESPN.com reports that second-year New Orleans guard Marcus Thornton, who was recently placed on the inactive list because the Hornets have brought in so many other guards, may be on the trading block. "The Hornets aren't eager to part with the 23-year-old, but word is they are prepared to do so if a suitable offer materializes. One problem, though, is that Thornton on his own can't bring much back in return since he's making only $762,195 this season. The flip side: Thornton will undoubtedly appeal to several teams because he produced like a starter as a rook and costs so little."
  • In other New Orleans Hornets end of the bench news, forward Joe Alexander got waived, reports Nola.com. “Joe was in a tough spot,” [Hornets coach Monty] Williams said. “He didn’t get a chance to play as much, and I just felt like he was going to need to go somewhere else and play so he could further his career.
Posted on: November 14, 2010 12:26 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:43 pm
 

Wizards PG John Wall sprains foot against Bulls

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall sprained his left foot against the Chicago Bulls. Posted by Ben Golliverjohn-wall
The much-anticipated regular season debut match-up between two No. 1 overall draft pick point guards -- Chicago's Derrick Rose and Washington's John Wall ended prematurely on Saturday night, when Wall suffered what the Wizards called a "sprained left foot" during the third quarter. Here's a description of the circumstances surrounding the injury via the Washington Post.
Midway through the third quarter, John Wall buried a three-pointer from the left corner but began to grimace as he ran down the court. He started reaching for his left foot, but couldn't stop for long, since the Chicago Bulls were setting up on offense. Wall noticed Luol Deng cutting toward the basket and slid in front of him to take a charge and suddenly the Wizards' night became more challenging.
Deng plowed over Wall, Wall fell backward and into the right knee of teammate Yi Jianlian. Yi collapsed to the ground and grabbed his knee. His blank expression didn't reveal the severity of the injury, but his inability to move certainly did. After being assisted off the ground, Yi was helped to the locker room by teammates Hamady Ndiaye and Kevin Seraphin. Jianlian suffered a bone bruise on the play and did not return.
Wall continued to play through the pain, but his night was over shortly thereafter, leaving his teammates to trudge along in his absence. 
Rose, who started slow, won the statistical match-up, finishing with 24 points, four rebounds, eight assists, two steals and a block in 36 minutes. Wall finished with 16 points, two rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block in 30 minutes. Oh, by the way, Rose's team won the game, too: The Bulls downed the Wizards 103-96 in the United Center.
Posted on: November 11, 2010 10:25 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:41 pm
 

Game Changer 11.11.10: Wall 3D's Rockets

Michael Beasley Nets a career high, John Wall gets his first career triple-double and finishes a sick alley oop, a giant Sonny Weems head makes an appearance in Toronto, Elton Brandon re-emerges, plus plenty of audio and video from Oklahoma City vs. Philly. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: JOHN WALL GETS HISTORIC ON THE Rockets

Wednesday was an historic, high-flying night for Washington Wizards rookie point guard John Wall, and he was all over the court on the way to his first career triple-double in a 98-91 Wizards win over the Houston Rockets in D.C.  Wall's top end speed is among the best in the league, and against the Rockets, who are dealing with absences and injuries in their backcourt, he was often a blur, racing out in transition and leaping into passing lanes. It was a hyperactive but still controlled performance for Wall, who finished with just one turnover on the evening and looked more comfortable shooting from range than he has all season.  For Houston, it was a tough night all around, as the Rockets lost Yao Ming during the first half due to a leg injury .  Yao or no Yao, the Rockets and they had no answer for Wall, who joined some elite NBA company by registering his 19 point, 10 rebound, 13 assist triple-double in just his sixth NBA game. Take a look at the chart to see how he stacks up to some of the league's all-time greats. john-wall-graphic And we'd be lacking in our Wizards/Rockets coverage if we didn't link up this video of Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas tossing a soft alley oop to Wall, who finished acrobatically with one hand. Too sick.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Michael Beasley:  42 points, nine rebounds, two assists, 1 steal on 17-31 shooting in 41 minutes in a road win for Minnesota over the Sacramento Kings. The 42 points were a career-high for Beasley.

Honorable mention to...


John Wall:
  19 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists, six steals, one block on 8-16 shooting in 42 minutes in a home win for Washington over the Houston Rockets. Deron Williams: 30 points, five rebounds, 14 assists on 8-19 shooting in 42 minutes in a road win for the Utah Jazz at the Orlando Magic. 

Kris Humphries: 13 points, 18 rebounds, three assists, one steal, two blocks on 6-12 shooting in 40 minutes in a road win for the New Jersey Nets at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

TURN BACK THE BRAND:

By Royce Young

OKLAHOMA CITY -- At one point, I had to look at my watch. I could've sworn it was 2005. There was Elton Brand, slender, fit, healthy and playing excellent basketball. It was like seeing an old dog get up and remember some of the tricks you taught it as a puppy.

Brand had his mid-range jumper working, was aggressive on the glass, posted up and defended the paint. Most people have sort of forgotten what an absolute force Brand was in the past, but with his start to 2010, folks are getting a refresher.

Against Oklahoma City, Brand put up a smooth 17 points and nine rebounds. On the season, he's averaging 18.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. And for a rebuilding team where he's a big focus for opponents.

In the offseason, it's crazy to think Brand was going to be given away for next to nothing. The Sixers wanted to dump his massive contract, get some picks and young players back and go from there. At no point did it seem realistic that Brand could be part of that building. He seems happy being on this young squad.

"I can see us getting better," Brand said after the close loss to the Thunder. "We need to grow and have this translate into victories which it will. That's a sign of us getting better; us closing these games."

This is the first time really since Brand has been in Philly that he's completely healthy and in shape. And when he has those two things working, his basketballing abilities really come out. He's not one of the premier power forwards any longer, but probably 20 other teams would enjoy having his services. (But not his huge contract.)

The question is if Brand can sustain this for a full 82. It's not that he's over-the-hill (he's 31) or that he has a ton of mileage on him. It's that his recent history has held him back and makes one wonder if he's got it in him to keep going. Character has never been an issue for Brand so even if the Sixers stink - which they will - he's going to go hard.

Brand almost looks like he's from another era. It just doesn't seem like he fits on the floor, especially in a game featuring the young Thunder against the pups of the Sixers. But Brand is throwing back to an earlier time, playing like that former self that fits right alongside these up-and-comers. And the old man showed the kids a thing or two Wednesday in Oklahoma City.

DON'T MISS:

 

WHIMSY:

Toronto Raptors fans hold up a giant version of guard Sonny Weems' head. 

sonny-weems

 

AUDIO/VIDEO GALORE:

Here's some video of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who had a huge night with 31 points, five rebounds, and 12 assists, talking about his team's 109-103 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.



And here's audio of Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins breaking down the game from the losing side.

ONE FINAL THOUGHT:

During his career-high scoring night on Wednesday, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley was wearing his NBA head band upside down , violating the league's new mandate. Will he be fined by the league office?

Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.
Posted on: November 11, 2010 10:25 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:41 pm
 

Game Changer 11.11.10: Wall 3D's Rockets

Michael Beasley Nets a career high, John Wall gets his first career triple-double and finishes a sick alley oop, a giant Sonny Weems head makes an appearance in Toronto, Elton Brandon re-emerges, plus plenty of audio and video from Oklahoma City vs. Philly. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: JOHN WALL GETS HISTORIC ON THE Rockets

Wednesday was an historic, high-flying night for Washington Wizards rookie point guard John Wall, and he was all over the court on the way to his first career triple-double in a 98-91 Wizards win over the Houston Rockets in D.C.  Wall's top end speed is among the best in the league, and against the Rockets, who are dealing with absences and injuries in their backcourt, he was often a blur, racing out in transition and leaping into passing lanes. It was a hyperactive but still controlled performance for Wall, who finished with just one turnover on the evening and looked more comfortable shooting from range than he has all season.  For Houston, it was a tough night all around, as the Rockets lost Yao Ming during the first half due to a leg injury .  Yao or no Yao, the Rockets and they had no answer for Wall, who joined some elite NBA company by registering his 19 point, 10 rebound, 13 assist triple-double in just his sixth NBA game. Take a look at the chart to see how he stacks up to some of the league's all-time greats. john-wall-graphic And we'd be lacking in our Wizards/Rockets coverage if we didn't link up this video of Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas tossing a soft alley oop to Wall, who finished acrobatically with one hand. Too sick.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Michael Beasley:  42 points, nine rebounds, two assists, 1 steal on 17-31 shooting in 41 minutes in a road win for Minnesota over the Sacramento Kings. The 42 points were a career-high for Beasley.

Honorable mention to...


John Wall:
  19 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists, six steals, one block on 8-16 shooting in 42 minutes in a home win for Washington over the Houston Rockets. Deron Williams: 30 points, five rebounds, 14 assists on 8-19 shooting in 42 minutes in a road win for the Utah Jazz at the Orlando Magic. 

Kris Humphries: 13 points, 18 rebounds, three assists, one steal, two blocks on 6-12 shooting in 40 minutes in a road win for the New Jersey Nets at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

TURN BACK THE BRAND:

By Royce Young

OKLAHOMA CITY -- At one point, I had to look at my watch. I could've sworn it was 2005. There was Elton Brand, slender, fit, healthy and playing excellent basketball. It was like seeing an old dog get up and remember some of the tricks you taught it as a puppy.

Brand had his mid-range jumper working, was aggressive on the glass, posted up and defended the paint. Most people have sort of forgotten what an absolute force Brand was in the past, but with his start to 2010, folks are getting a refresher.

Against Oklahoma City, Brand put up a smooth 17 points and nine rebounds. On the season, he's averaging 18.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. And for a rebuilding team where he's a big focus for opponents.

In the offseason, it's crazy to think Brand was going to be given away for next to nothing. The Sixers wanted to dump his massive contract, get some picks and young players back and go from there. At no point did it seem realistic that Brand could be part of that building. He seems happy being on this young squad.

"I can see us getting better," Brand said after the close loss to the Thunder. "We need to grow and have this translate into victories which it will. That's a sign of us getting better; us closing these games."

This is the first time really since Brand has been in Philly that he's completely healthy and in shape. And when he has those two things working, his basketballing abilities really come out. He's not one of the premier power forwards any longer, but probably 20 other teams would enjoy having his services. (But not his huge contract.)

The question is if Brand can sustain this for a full 82. It's not that he's over-the-hill (he's 31) or that he has a ton of mileage on him. It's that his recent history has held him back and makes one wonder if he's got it in him to keep going. Character has never been an issue for Brand so even if the Sixers stink - which they will - he's going to go hard.

Brand almost looks like he's from another era. It just doesn't seem like he fits on the floor, especially in a game featuring the young Thunder against the pups of the Sixers. But Brand is throwing back to an earlier time, playing like that former self that fits right alongside these up-and-comers. And the old man showed the kids a thing or two Wednesday in Oklahoma City.

DON'T MISS:

 

WHIMSY:

Toronto Raptors fans hold up a giant version of guard Sonny Weems' head. 

sonny-weems

 

AUDIO/VIDEO GALORE:

Here's some video of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who had a huge night with 31 points, five rebounds, and 12 assists, talking about his team's 109-103 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.



And here's audio of Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins breaking down the game from the losing side.

ONE FINAL THOUGHT:

During his career-high scoring night on Wednesday, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley was wearing his NBA head band upside down , violating the league's new mandate. Will he be fined by the league office?

Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.
Posted on: November 10, 2010 12:50 pm
 

Arenas faked injury because he was scared of boos

Posted by Royce Young

Hey, Gilbert Arenas said something again everybody. Gather 'round.

Via Mike Prada of Bullets Forever , Arenas told Sports Illustated that he faked an injury in the preseason not to give Nick Young playing time. Nope. Actually, Arenas said he faked the injury because he was afraid to walk out on to the court that night.
Last Thursday, after practice in Washington, Arenas told SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that the real reason he sat out wasn't, as he originally told reporters, to rest his thrice-surgically-repaired knee, nor was it the excuse he gave the next day, that he wanted to give backup point guard Nick Young the chance to play. "I was really scared of getting booed," says Arenas. "It's a little crazy because I was here with Kwame Brown when Kwame was scared to go out there. I used to be like, Man, it's just boos. Now here I was six years later, and I was him. I was scared to go out there."
I don't even know what to say/think. The original story was weird enough, but kind of cool and teammate-y at the same time. Arenas gave up his spot so that a young guard could have an opportunity to show people what he could do. (And Young did, scoring 24 points and hitting six 3s.) Except now, Arenas has gone back on that story to reveal the real reason he didn't play was because he was scared of the boo-birds. This whole thing is so Gilbert Arenas.

Regardless of the fact that Wizards fans actually cheered him and have been generally supportive of him, this couldn't be stupider at this point. Yes, it was a preseason game and one would think Arenas wouldn't skip a regular season game. But who is scared of being booed? Who really can't handle walking out on the floor and hearing a little of that? Does that really devastate players? I thought the good ones channeled it and used that to play better. Guess not for Arenas.

Arenas closes the piece with this quote:
"I've disgraced my legacy here. For me to move over for John Wall is a no-brainer. What's the point of my fighting with him all day? It isn't going to make me look any better. It's not like I think I'm God's gift to the NBA and can't step aside for somebody else. I can move aside for John Wall. That's no problem for me."
See, now that's a stand-up quote. And it's stand-up that Arenas and Wall really seem to be getting along and that Arenas is helping mentor the young point guard shows.

But it really seems that Gilbert Arenas is entirely conflicted about who he is and what he's supposed to be. And not just within the dynamic of the Wizards. He's been strange since day one of training camp when he showed up with a beard and told people he was all serious and no joking from now on. But it appears that he's trying to re-evaluate himself and figure out what he's doing right now. It's honestly sort of fascinating.
Posted on: November 9, 2010 4:16 pm
 

Ted Leonsis sees the glass half full of something

Posted by Royce Young

When he's not Dougie-ing, Washington Wizards owner can often be found blogging, among other things. He's a refreshing owner that tries his best to communicate and interact with his fanbases (he owns the Washington Capitals too) while also being extremely likable and positive.

And on his blog Ted's Take where he tends to say outlandish things (like when he said he'd Dougie if the Wiz sell out a game this season), he made quite the glass half full statement.
Also had we won a close game at home on Saturday, we would be playing on Wednesday for a .500 record. If you look at the standings, a 2-3 record would qualify for the playoffs if the playoffs started today. No joke.

You hear that? No joking here people.

I'll give Leonsis the first statement. That's true. The Wizards lost 107-102 to the Cavs at home, basically by choking away a lead in the fourth quarter. So yeah, if the Wizards had won that game that would present them the opportunity to get to .500 against a struggling Houston squad. But at the same time Ted, had the Wizards won a close game against the Hawks, and then played better against the Knicks, and also come out of the gate with a better opener against the Magic, you could be going for 6-0 record against the Rockets!

But I really like the second statement. Mainly because I love "If the playoffs started today" statements. Those are fun. Especially when you aren't actually in the playoffs if they started today. Because the Wizards aren't 2-3. They're 1-4. So if the playoffs started today, they'd be in the lottery. But if they had won their five previous games, they'd be the No. 1 seed!

Did you know that if the playoffs started today, the Warriors would be the five-seed in the West, the Pacers would be the eight-seed in the East and still, the Wizards would not be in.

Leonsis does make a quality point in closing: "The difference between success and failure in professional sports is quite small. Hard work is the foundation to all success - in business, in sports and in life." Absolutely true. I remember in 2008 the Oklahoma City Thunder lost 20-something games by six or fewer points. Had they won all those, they would've been in the playoffs. And that's the thing, a year of growth and a year of evolution and the Thunder learned how to win, taking the total from 23 to 50.

I definitely appreciate Leonsis' upbeat, positive attitude. It's a lot more fun to look at thing that way rather than, "We're 1-4, Andray Blatche is fat, we have to practice two times a day now and Gilbert Arenas is still on our team." I mean, they are almost 2-3, you know.

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