Tag:Tim Duncan
Posted on: October 26, 2010 9:57 am
 

Shootaround 10.26.10: And it begins

Posted by Royce Young
  • You guys, the NBA season starts today. How exciting. Just a couple games tonight but they're all wnners. Phoenix vs. Portland, Houston vs. LA and that one team vs. Boston.
  • Kobe Bryant did a radio interview yesterday and hinted that his first retirement might not stick: "Yeah, I mean, you see so many people and so many players do it, but it's tough to say that you won't go through that. Obviously, everybody does go through that. That's the point where you have your family handcuff you to a chair."
  • Greg Oden played some 5-on-5 yesterday but admitted he was a little hesitant: "I was worried, but it was fun ... I got my blood moving, it felt good being out there. Coach basically told me 'Don't try and go full-go'. It wasn't like a full blown practice. I was the weak link out there, but I was still out there."
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: "The Heat's recruiting of stars and Pat Riley's ruthless master plan had nothing on the Magic's tactics. The Magic exhausted themselves clearing salary. They knocked themselves out trying to snag Tim Duncan. Greeting a plane in their hangar with Duncan aboard, they erected a huge banner that read, 'GRANT US TIM,' and offered trays of finger-food. Lon Babby then leaned over to John Gabriel and said, 'Tim doesn't eat cold cuts.' The color drained from Gabe's face as he imagined Duncan passing on the snacks -- and the Magic. They frantically dispatched staffers to retrieve burgers for him. It's just a snapshot into the lengths a team will go to win. Your team. Maybe the Magic and their fans shouldn't be so hard on the Heat."
  • How did Udonis Haslem end back up in Miami? Have a read: "Something that doesn't have a lot of precedent in American sports happened then. Wade called Bosh and asked him to cut $15 million off his salary for Haslem. Wade called James and asked him to do the same. Bosh and James barely knew Haslem. Just a few short conversations here and there. But Wade told them this team needed someone hungry and gritty and unselfish like Haslem, and promised to cut $17 million out of his own contract to make it happen, too."
  • The Lakers kick off a title defense tonight and Darius Soriano of Forum Blue and Gold warns to be patient: "I bring all this up because this season will be filled with peaks and valleys.  Like every other season that we’ve observed as followers of this team, there will be moments where hope is low and where the frustration spawned from suspect results will dominate the mind.  Do not succumb easily to these feelings of doubt.  The NBA title will not be decided on Christmas Day or on the Grammy Road Trip.  These are just steps in the process and must be separated out from the larger goal at hand.  Enjoy the journey and understand, again, that it is a long one.  Championships aren’t won in a single game during the regular season, but over the long haul the lessons learned from the cumulative will prepare the players (and the fans) for the bigger prize."
Posted on: October 14, 2010 1:44 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2010 2:11 pm
 

The tree of complaint, KG, and you

For the love of Stern, can we relax about the new tech rules?
Posted by Matt Moore


In the beginning, there was complaining.

It's pretty natural, really. You're body-to-body, struggling, fighting, adrenaline rushing, and the whistle blows. You can't possibly think you did anything that could be considered a foul (especially not after how you were just elbowed at the other end of the floor!) and so you complain. It probably wasn't all that bad in the beginning, a hundred years ago.

It is now.

Then, there was the complaining about the complaining. And lost in this newest wave of outrage is the fact that there genuinely was a great deal of complaining about the complaining. Casual NBA fans? They loathe what they see when there's a whistle. Grown men, professionals, whooping and hollering, badgering officials, acting like they've just been stubbed on the toe by a whistle. Most of the time for a foul that was pretty easy to call. It reflects poorly on the game and every time it happens, a friend will point and say "that's why I don't follow the NBA." As if that were to somehow overtake the athleticism, the tactics, the chemistry, the powerful emotion of the game. But it does. It reflects poorly on the game.

So the NBA decided to do something about it, finally.

And now, finally, we've reached the zenith of this ridiculous story. There's now complaining about the rules designed to help with all the complaints about the complaining.

Welcome to the Catch-22, David Stern. Have fun trying to make people happy who cannot be made so.

Last night in a meaningless exhibition game, Jermaine O'Neal was whistled for a bad technical foul. At least, that's what it seemed like to the camera's eye, which is what everyone uses (we'll get into how that's a flawed start in a minute). It certainly didn't seem like O'Neal was worthy of a technical foul. It was a bad call, the same kind of bad call that's been made since the invention of the modern game and will be made for as long as officials are human. As Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported last night , it's probably an issue with both sides trying to find where the line exists.

Kevin Garnett? That was not a bad call. I understand that the paying fans at Madison Square Garden didn't come to see Garnett ejected. I get that we want players like KG to be able to play with emotion, with their passionate hearts on their sleeves. You're absolutely right that emotion is a pivotal part of the game's heart.

What Garnett was doing? What he usually does? It's not. It's intimidation at worst, and overreaction in the least, and he needed to be tossed under the new rules. Arguing the call by trying to show the foul, that's debatable. If he was calm, cool, and collected, then the first technical would have been completely wrong. Let me ask you this:

When was the last time you saw or heard of Kevin Garnett being calm, cool, and collected on a basketball court?

We have no idea what he said to the officials, and that's the biggest problems here. He could have said "Good sir! I heartily object, and though I respect your opinion, I was wondering if we might discuss the issue for a brief moment!" We don't know.  We're reacting based on microphone muted interpretations of what we see on screen, without a clue of what was actually said by these players. I'd imagine if the officials were able to come out and say what the players said to them, we might feel differently. We'd also probably feel differently about the players, and that's not something the NBA wants at all. For all the talk today about how the league is victimizing the poor players, they could just mike up everything, let the profanity be released in a transcript, and then see how those endorsement dollars come rolling in.

But, no. We side with the athlete because it's his work we appreciate. His work, being the key phrase there. These are professionals. They always want to talk about that. How they are professionals and deserve to be paid as such. That they'll switch teams because they're professionals or hold out because they are professionals or don't care about the fans because they're professionals. But they can't control themselves on the floor? We're talking most often about guys who are 25 years of age or older. Grown men, who can't control their own reactions to something they know won't change no matter what they say or do? Do you think Kendrick Perkins screaming "What?!" or Tim Duncan's eyes bulging or Kobe Bryant making faces will actually convince a referee to say "Oh, you know what? When you put it that way, you're right. You didn't foul him. I'm sorry. Let me change this call."? No. The calls won't change. It's just complaining for complaining's sake, or it's an attempt to influence the outcome by pressuring officials. And that's a serious problem.

You don't want to go down that road, and it's one that gets tread upon a lot in an NBA season. It's not an epidemic, but it's enough to want to force the players to pump the breaks. It's the same as Phil Jackson flexing his muscle in press conferences. Last night, after the first technical, Kevin Garnett had to be restrained by another teammate from coming at the official. He wasn't going to hurt him. He wasn't going to do anything but scream and yell. That's pretty obvious. But let me ask you something. If a man of KG's height, width, and intensity is charging at you screaming like a lunatic, are you going to get a little rattled? Because I would wet myself and call games however it is the big scary man wants me to. And that's not how you want NBA games called.

The final piece of this ridiculous counter-reaction to a call for responsible, mature behavior is the "robot" argument. "I want my players to play with emotion, not be robots!" As if this behavior has anything to do with the emotion of the game. The new rules don't prohibit a fist pump after a big shot down the stretch. From a defeated collapse or hitting the floor after a player knocks down a tough shot over you. It doesn't prevent the hip bumps, chest bumps, high-fives, fist-pounds, jersey-popping, or any of the other things that produce imagery we've come to love about this game. There isn't an ounce of in-game emotion that's being sapped by this rule set.

It's just a measure to force grown men to act as such. If you're capable of shrugging through that mid-March game with the zeal and intensity of a manic-depressive tree slug, you're capable of keeping perspective enough to know that the call was made on you, and whether you like it or not, it is. And it will happen again within the hour, no doubt. If you're mature enough to be paid millions of dollars for your role on a team vying for a championship, you should be mature enough to not badger and scream when something doesn't go your way.

Complaining in the NBA isn't an epidemic. It was simply something that reflected poorly on the game and needed to be corrected. The league took an initiative as such. People say that the market research the NBA is claiming is somehow fabricated, because no one's actually complaining about the complaining. Right. Just like no one wants to hear about LeBron James, as traffic on Heat posts grow to phenomenal numbers.

The NBA does things badly sometimes, like any sports league. And officials will often get calls wrong, like the call on Jermaine O'Neal last night. But in this instance, asking the players to temper their reactions isn't just reasonable, it's the right thing to do, and the game will be better for it, for casual and hardcore fans alike.

You can consider this the complaining about the complaining in response to the rule brought about because of complaining in order to limit complaining.
Posted on: October 14, 2010 11:33 am
Edited on: October 14, 2010 11:57 am
 

No extension on the table yet for Parker

Posted by Royce Young

It's easy to forget all about Tony Parker. He was injured for a lot of last season, he's aging a bit and the West is stacked with good point guards.

But the thing is, Parker has multiple rings and at 28, still has a lot of good years left. But in terms of this contract, he's only got one year left before it's up.

But he's not worried about an extension. And he's not in a hurry. “I know they are negotiating, but there is nothing on the table," Parker told the french newspaper L’Equipe. "I’m not in a hurry either. I want to stay in San Antonio, but I do not mind. I just want to make a big season and the contract will come naturally.”

There was some talk that Parker could be headed to New York this season or next and if he doesn't land that extension, he'd certainly be available. And Parker knows there's that chance. “Everything is possible, the NBA is a business and, for a team like San Antonio, my wages is substantial," he told the paper. "They decide what they want to do about me.”

The Spurs could trade Parker this season if they determine they don't want to extend him. Again, there's been chatter about New York, but also people have tossed around Orlando as a potential home for him. But it sounds like the ball is in San Antonio's court. If no extension is to be done for Parker, it would be easy to see him dealt by the trade deadline. But that could be tough because you know the Spurs will be in the middle of the West.

That's where young George Hill comes in. He proved in Parker's absence that he could be ready to handle the duties of starting. And San Antonio may see Parker's contract as an opportunity to extend the life of the current Spurs run a bit by bringing in extra talent. If Hill is capable, Parker is somewhat expendable.

Parker says he's 100 percent and has his legs completely back. He's been such a key part of the San Antonio trio over what's almost been 10 years. Tim Duncan has an early termination option next season and Manu Ginobili is signed through 2013. So time is running out on the Spurs. And that might be why they're taking their time on Parker's extension. Maybe they don't even know what the future holds.
Posted on: October 12, 2010 9:31 am
Edited on: October 12, 2010 9:33 am
 

Shootaround 10.12.10: Carmelo is confused

Posted by Royce Young
  • The Nuggets are still looking at options says The Denver Post. And Carmelo says this process has his head spinning: "On the court, it's easy. Off the court — confusing. Just dealing with all of it, just hearing it. Once I'm in the gym, I play the way I play. . . . I'm approaching this season like I would any other season. I'm just getting ready for the next game. I can't worry if I'm going to be here today or tomorrow."
  • Ben Golliver of Blazersedge: "Potentially the bigger issue for Miller is that he didn't get a look at captaining the second unit like he did last year. Instead, Nate McMillan leaned heavily on Matthews and gave extended looks to both Jerryd Bayless and Rudy Fernandez. After shootaround this morning, McMillan said Bayless/Fernandez/Matthews is a perimeter combination that he will continue to play together because of their tempo-changing ability and complementary skills. Preseason or not, Miller's playing time is therefore getting pressed from all sides."
  • Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: "Hopefully, Mavericks fans took a close look at the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night at American Airlines Center. Through not much fault of their own, the Cavs have become the NBA's No. 1 example of what can happen when your superstar walks. They are irrelevant without LeBron James, even in the Eastern Conference, which still has a sizeable sub-league of poor teams despite the talent at the top end. Remember, this could have happened to the Mavericks, too. Just imagine what they would look like without Dirk Nowitzki. Not that he's LeBron. But Nowitzki is as important to the Mavericks' success as James was to Cleveland's. ... The Mavericks are fortunate to have a superstar who loves his surroundings and is willing to help make it work in Dallas. Those are few and far between. And because of Nowitzki – and no matter how the Mavericks look so far in the preseason -- they at least remain relevant in the Western Conference."
  • Basketball is an emotional game. Players scream after dunks, rebounds and blocked shots. They're playing hard, working to stop the man in front of them. When they get tagged for a call, sometimes they just react. And with the new rules enforcing technicals, some players are worried they're being robbed of that emotion.
Posted on: September 7, 2010 2:52 pm
 

Pop Quiz: How will the All-Star Game look?

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...



What will the All-Star Game look like?


Los Angeles. City of Angels. Home of the back-to-back NBA champions, the legendary LA Lakers. And in February, home of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game. It's going to be ridiculous, it's going to be over-the-top (more so than even your normal All-Star Game). It's going to be expensive. Really, really expensive. It will also be interesting as next year there are likely to be big changes in the All-Star Game. So what exactly is that game going to look like?

It's difficult to predict, obviously, who will be participating in the game. Even more so than any other episode of predicting the future, there are so many factors that can play into who makes it. Not only things like injuries, team downturns, unexpected rises, and trades, but the popularity contest of the voting system. But there are some things we can examine the possibility of.

For starters, with Amar'e Stoudemire headed to New York, there's a spot down low for the West. You can slide in Tim Duncan, because he's like Johnny Cash. Steady like a freight train, sharp like a razor. Pau Gasol's another lock, as many think he's the best power forward in the league right no w. From there, you've got Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman as the other two bigs from last year's squad. Kaman's unlikely to return with the addition of Blake Griffin, and Randolph's success is tied to an inconsistent Grizzlies team. Meanwhile, Yao Ming returns from injury and will most likely look like a legitimate contender for the starting spot.

But what about Andrew Bynum? We've been waiting for Bynum to live up to his potential for three seasons, and he's constantly referred to as one of the best centers in the league, despite his numerous injury issues. With the Lakers getting older, and Bynum supposedly healthier than he has been in years, Bynum has to be considered a strong contender not just for the backup position, but possibly as a starting center (which would put Tim Duncan at power forward, where he belongs).

Speaking of Duncan, he and Dirk Nowitzki are headed down the stretch and it'll be important to note that one of them is going to take a step backwards. Age demands it. And though Duncan is widely considered the best power forward of all time by those that consider him a power forward, he's most likely to have the dropoff. You saw it at times last season. The writing isn't on the wall, but there's a pen by the chalkboard. Bear in mind we're talking about inches below the greatness he's always provided, but it might be enough with a rising Bynum to shove either him or Dirk out of the starting lineup. And that will just be weird.

This is all before we start trying to figure out the point guards in the West. Steve Nash showing no signs of slowing down. Chris Paul back to full health. Deron Williams healthy with Al Jefferson beside him and more of the offensive load. Tyreke Evans, out of the rookie well and into the general pool. Russell Westbrook, possibly coming on as one of the better slide and dice guards in the league on a team that looks poised to make a run. Stephoe Curry, a rookie of the year runner-up with another season under him and a license to score. This likely means Jason Kidd will not be returning to the team for the 11th time in his career.

And oh, yeah, Kobe will be back in the starting spot. No "probably." He will be.

In the East? Well, the Miami Triad was formed from guys in the East, so they're likely to stay. Even with a downturn in production from sharing the ball, all three should be locks, though it's hard to see Bosh making the starting spot as he was a reserve last season. Amar'e Stoudemire could wind up knocking Kevin Garnett out of the starting spot which would be another changing of the guard. But a more likely scenario is Joe Johnson being unable to reach the starting spot again and moving into the reserve spot as the East looks like the West from last year: four bigs and a guard (Dwyane Wade). Which will be disappointing considering Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo's existence, both of whom are probable to return as starters.

Carlos Boozer, freed from the big-heavy West, may be able to work his way into a spot, and Paul Pierce may be on the bubble. If Andrew Bogut returns healthy, he could complicate matters, along with Brandon Jennings. Basically, point guards are going to massively complicate these rosters.

Sure, some of these players are going to go down to injury, others will have downturn seasons. But there's a strong indication that this might be a year of big changes in the All-Star Game, both with starting rosters and the reserve spots.

But the parties will be awesome regardless.
Posted on: August 17, 2010 8:39 am
Edited on: August 17, 2010 10:16 am
 

Shootaround 8.17.10: New uniforms for everyone

Posted by Royce Young
  • An extremely smart look at Tim Duncan v. Karl Malone in the greatest power forward of all-time discussion: "When you look at Karl Malone’s stats compared to Tim Duncan it is hard to make the case that Duncan is a better player that Malone. Why? Because it is hard to make the case that many players are better than Karl Malone by looking at the stats. He is 2nd all time in career points and 3rd all time in win shares (an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player) with more win shares than everyone but Kareem and Wilt. Tim Duncan would need 6 more years of his average production to equal Malone. As it currently stands he is still isn’t within shouting distance of the Mailman. However, any Duncan supporter might bring up the fact that of course Malone’s career numbers would be better because he played 19 seasons."
  • JaVale McGee makes a common statement: "Reporters who never played the game of basketball or never succeeded in it… Shouldn’t b able to report on it #FACT"
  • Scott Carefoot for The Basketball Jones on why you shouldn't sleep on Blake Griffin: "He’s not just a great dunker, of course, or else he wouldn’t have been the first overall pick. He’s also a highly productive rebounder, he’s a very good ballhandler for his size, and everybody who knows him claims he has a great attitude and work ethic. Plus, he’s had a full season to study the pro game from the sidelines so he should be prepared for the speed and flow of the NBA when he returns to the court."
  • Sam Amick of Fanhouse talked with Ron Artest: "I'm always hungry. That's the good thing about me. Every year I'm hungry. That's the good thing about me is I don't have to get any more motivated. There's nothing anybody can do to motivate me. I'm already there 100 percent. ... That's the good thing about being me. I'm going to work hard every day." Hey, what's the good thing about him?
  • Big Baby Davis says he's ready to grow up and change: "This is the year of finally hitting that line of maturity, of finally becoming that player that I knew I could be." Throughout my career, my three years being here, it's been up and down. When I play, you've seen glimpses, like, 'Wow, this guy could start. Or come off the bench.' Glimpses up and down. But this is the year of Glen becoming that whole player that 10 years down the road, eight years down the road, will hopefully be an All-Star."
Posted on: July 23, 2010 10:08 am
Edited on: July 23, 2010 3:30 pm
 

Offseason reviews: Southwest Division

Posted by Royce Young

Dallas Mavericks

Added: Tyson Chandler (trade), Alexis Ajinca (trade), Ian Mahinmi (free agency), Dominique Jones (draft)
Lost:
Erick Dampier (trade), Eduardo Najera (trade), Matt Carroll (trade)

Philosophy: "It's now or never."

The Mavs' clock is starting to tick. Time is beginning to run out on the Dirk Nowitzki era and the team knows this. And every move this offseason was made in an effort to stay competitive, get to the playoffs and hopefully set themselves up for more midseason moves if necessary. The Mavericks have had the type of roster over the last 10 years that's always good enough to win 50 games, get to the postseason and maybe even win a series. But there's just never enough oomph to it and it seems like the Mavs are always a player short.

Tyson Chandler for Erick Dampier seems like a lateral move in a sense because does that really improve Dallas to the point that they're a legitimate contender now? Unlikely. The Mavericks picked up about 10 centers, but with Brendan Haywood now established inside, the Mavericks are looking to match up with Bynum and Gasol and with Chandler, things got a little better.

Grade: B-

Houston Rockets

Added: Luis Scola (re-signed), Kyle Lowry (re-signed), Brad Miller (free agency), Patrick Patterson (draft)
Lost: None

Philosophy: "Keep playing chess while the rest, you know."

You might as well count Yao as addition as well, because getting the big man back is huge for the Rockets. But Houston re-inked Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola for the long-term and brought in Brad Miller as help/insurance behind Yao. The Rockets are a team that want sustained success but are looking to compete now. Daryl Morey isn't shy about being active to build a roster he prefers, and this offseason, he did exactly that. The Rockets drafted Patrick Patterson in the first round, re-signed a few players and attempted to address an issue inside.

Grade: B+

Memphis Grizzlies

Added: Rudy Gay (re-signed), Tony Allen (free agency), Xavier Henry (draft)
Lost: Marcus Williams (free agency), Lester Hudson (free agency)

Philosophy: "Hang with us, we're getting there."

The Grizzlies have built a quality roster somewhat unconventionally. They've acquired a large bulk of it through the draft and trades, but really scored big last season when Zach Randolph decided he was ready to play without any baggage. The biggest thing the Grizzlies did this offseason was re-sign Rudy Gay. Now, is Gay worth $84 million? Eh, that's a pretty hefty price for him. But keep in mind, Gay is only 23 and had his best season last year. And someone was going to pay him. It basically came down to if Memphis wanted to hang on to its franchise player, they were going to have to overpay. These are the type of things that can hurt in the long term, but it was a choice the Grizzlies had to make and they chose to keep their most talented player. Hard to say it's really that dumb.

The Tony Allen signing is a slight headscratcher, mainly because where does he fit in for quality minutes? O.J. Mayo may be learning to play point, but he's still the starting 2. Of course there's Xavier Henry who the Grizzlies drafted and though he can play small forward, he's a more natural shooting guard. Allen is versatile and brought in to defend, but $15 million over three years is pretty steep for a guy that might only play 15-20 minutes a night.

The one thing about the Grizzlies is that there doesn't seem to be any real direction. It's more a collection of talented players, but how do they fit together? How do they play together? Memphis isn't necessarily a player or two away from being a playoff team, but more an existing roster player elevating his game. Mike Conley Jr. definitely was an improved player last season, so maybe he's a candidate for a leap. Same with O.J. Mayo. The talent is in the cupboard, it's just about pulling it out onto the floor.

Grade: B

New Orleans Hornets

Added: Quincy Pondexter (draft), Craig Brackins (draft)
Lost: Morris Peterson (trade), Sean Marks (free agency), Chris Paul's commitment to the franchise

Philosophy: "Just trust us Chris! We'll get better!"

Ignore all that Chris Paul talk for just one minute. The Hornets, have been a pretty active team this offseason. And not just in terms of the roster. New Orleans has its GM resign, then hired a new GM, hired a new coach and is in the process of transferring ownership. Then they signed Luther Head and rescinded that deal. Plus they traded the 11th pick, Cole Aldrich, for Quincy Pondexter and Craig Brackins.

They've done a whole lot, while doing very little. But it all comes back to Paul. The main goal of this offseason is to set up a new front office, install a new coach and somehow convince your soured star to stay true to the mission. If that gets done, this is a slam dunk of an offseason for the Hornets, considering the circumstances. If Paul walks, the summer months were nothing short of a disaster.

Grade: Incomplete

San Antonio Spurs

Added: Tiago Splitter (signed), Richard Jefferson (re-signed), James Anderson (draft), Ryan Richards (draft), Gary Neal (summer league signee)
Lost: Roger Mason Jr. (free agency), Keith Bogans (free agency), Ian Mahinmi (free agency),

Philosophy: "We're not done yet."

The Spurs are offseason savants. RC Buford and company know how to pay just the right money, push the right buttons and get the right players. And evidently how to talk people out of $15 million. Take say, Richard Jefferson for example. The Spurs lucked out when Jefferson opted out of his $15 million deal. He claimed it was because he wanted a long-term deal. The Spurs obliged, Jefferson took less money and it saved the Spurs from busting the luxury tax and kept some serious coin in their pockets. It's a fishy deal, but nonetheless, good for San Antonio.

Next, they signed Tiago Splitter. Splitter has been sort of a myth the last few years. A gifted big man that tore it up internationally, but couldn't come to terms with San Antonio. Well, the Spurs officially inked him to a sensible deal (about $16 million over three years) and not only is Splitter visions of the future for San Antonio, but he also helps now. They also added James Anderson, an All-American and prolific college scorer to replace Roger Mason Jr. The Spurs know what they want to do and while their core may seem ancient, the goal remains the same: build around talent and ride Tim Duncan until he can't walk anymore.

Grade: B+


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