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Tag:Indiana Pacers
Posted on: August 30, 2010 9:15 am
Edited on: August 30, 2010 11:30 am
 

Shootaround 8.30.10: Can't read BJ's poker face

Dragic slowed up, Jordan giving out, and Brandon Jennings does Lady Gaga. For real.
Posted by Matt Moore


So Brandon Jennings lost some sort of bet, and as a result, was forced to do a video online of him dancing to Lady Gaga . Yes, it is as bizarre-looking as it sounds.

Goran Dragic has been great so far in the FIBA World Championships, but found himself in foul trouble on Sunday in Slovenia's loss to Team USA. Twice, Dragic got caught trying to sneak up on a player's weakside off the inbounds. It's like Dragic got too comfortable playing non-NBA players and forgot just how well-trained even this inexperienced Team USA team is. And Chauncey Billups is anything but inexperienced.

Sam Amico of NBA.com reports that the Nuggets are looking at the Nets, Wolves, and Kings as possible options for trading Carmelo Anthony. But this assumes the Nuggets have all the leverage, which they don't .

Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats donated a quarter of a million dollars to middle-school athletics in Charlotte. It's another instance in a continuing theme of Jordan looking to invest in the Charlotte area. If he's planning on being the absentee owner many thought he would be, he's at least making a good show in the other direction.

FIBA play isn't necessarily the place for post play. But as NBA Playbook points out, establishing position is just as important there. Also, they provide a look at Ante Tomic, the Jazz draft pick who looked good for Croatia.

A resources company in Cleveland is cashing in on a former LeBron James ad campaign with a 'Witness' campaign of their own. Yet another indication that the bridges he burned in Cleveland won't be rebuilt in a day.

As a reminder, Brandon Rush got tagged with a five game suspension for violating the NBA's drug policy. The interesting note? He's yet another Kansas or Kansas State player found in trouble with drugs. You'll remember Mario Chalmers' problems at the rookie transition program, along with Michael Beasley.

Bryan Colangelo is on the hot seat in Toronto. The question is, why isn't Jay Triano also feeling warm in the butt? It's been Triano's defense that has been systemically bad, despite good man-defenders in Amir Johnson and Antoine Wright. It's been Triano's team unable to close out games, despite having Chris Bosh. Everyone looks at Colangelo as the problem, but as Raptors Republic points out, Colangelo has yet to to hand pick a coach in Toronto.

Wanna know just how far back your team's good (or bad) decisions go? Take a look at these flowcharts . The Knicks one is especially hilarious/tragic.

Rich Cho says there's no way to know how Greg Oden's knee will respond until it's "under stress." Pretty much, Greg Oden's not going to be considered healthy until he's considered healthy. It's a binary question.




Posted on: August 27, 2010 2:28 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2010 3:47 pm
 

Rush, Evans, Hasbrouck suspended

NBA players Brandon Rush, Tyreke Evans, Kenny Hasbrouck suspended for various games this season.
Posted by Matt Moore


The NBA today suspended Brandon Rush, Kenny Hasbrouck, and Tyreke Evans for games starting in the 2010 NBA season.

Rush is at once the most surprising and most severe, getting five games for violating the NBA's drug policy. Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports that this is Rush's third violation of the drug program , which automatically leads to a five-game suspension. Evans recevied a one game suspension for his little joyride last April . Hasbrouck had been arrested for driving while intoxicated in New York, and received two games.

Evans is the highest profile player, and his absence will make the Kings' season opener in Minnesota a pick 'em. Were it a better team, they would undoubtedly be underdogs in that game.

Rush, though, made strides last season, and this is a significant step backwards. It's not know at this time if the violation was for recreational drug use or violation for use of a banned substance as was the case with Rashard Lewis last season.

Hasbrouck was unlikely to see time for the Heat at all, and especially not for the first two games of the season. The Heat also had to expect this result after Hasbrouck's guilty plea. It's not known whether Hasbrouck will even make it out of training camp, being a D-League call-up on a championship-expectant team.

The fact that the Pacers were not made aware of the first two violations for Rush, per the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement in order to protect a player's privacy, is likely to spark some debate. Not being aware of a player's problems prevents a team from being able to get that player the help he needs. While the concern is unfair treatment towards those players, the inability of a team to support the player through his trouble can be construred to cause more harm than good. It's especially disappointing because of how Rush has developed, starting to look more and more like a central part of the Pacers' future.

This comes on the heels of another Pacer likely to face suspension, with Lance Stephenson arrested for assault on his girlfriend and mother of his kids. With how the Pacers have been hyper-aggressive in avoiding low-character players, this could spell a significant downturn for Rush's career.
Posted on: August 23, 2010 8:42 am
 

Shootaround 8.23.10: Pool shots

"" Posted by Royce Young
  • Pete Thamel of the New York Times on the brilliant move by Team USA to go zone in the final possession yesterday: "American basketball coaches are rarely credited for their tactics at the international level; they are expected to have the most athletic and talented team. But what made the move to the 2-3 zone so effective was the coaching staff’s understanding of a nuance of international rules. Team USA expected Spain to run a high screen-and-roll for Juan Carlos Navarro, who led Spain with 20 points and prompted Boeheim to say, half kidding, that he had scored on that play on five consecutive possessions. Instead, when the United States went to the zone, Spain had to scrap its play and could not call another timeout because FIBA rules do not allow them in the middle of possessions."
  • Mike Wells of the Indy Star: "I think it's funny that some fans immediately put the Pacers in the playoffs after they acquired Darren Collison. Darren Collison is just one piece - a giant piece I might add - but they've still got some work to do if they expect to end their four-year postseason drought. No matter what you thought of Troy Murphy's defensive flaws, the Pacers will have to find a way to make up for the 11.0 rebounds he averaged the past two seasons. Roy Hibbert was second in rebounds at 5.7 last season. That won't get it done. Pacers officials know it, too."
  • Brian Robb of Celtics Hub looks deeper into Rajon Rondo's DNP yesterday: "Ultimately, the biggest question coming out of this game for C’s fans is likely whether Derrick Rose played himself ahead of Rondo into the starting lineup for this tournament. I know it’s just an exhibition game, but Rose played well today (13 points) against a superior opponent, providing crucial scores in the game’s closing minutes, including the game winning free throws."
  • Steve Nash coulda been rich man, says Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns: "Alas, Steve Nash chose the security of the two years and comfort with the organization in signing the deal, but after enjoying such a spectacular season last year he probably would have been in line for a nice raise on the open market. I bet he could have gotten something in the area of three years and $40 million."
Posted on: August 18, 2010 9:04 am
 

Shootaround 8.18.10: Louuuu!

Pierce wants help, Wall won't get that many buckets, and the Suns have the pick but no roll in today's edition of the shootaround. Posted by Matt Moore

Paul Pierce says the Celtics need one more piece , specifically a wing to come in and relieve him. He doesn't sound thrilled with the team losing Tony Allen, specifically. How they'll fill that hole is an entirely different question, if at all. Allen played a pretty specific role (and honestly didn't play it all that well prior to the second half of last season). Furthermore, Pierce's statement serves as a significant knock agasint Marquis Daniels, who's supposed to particularly be just that for that for the Celtics.

The Warriors, Hornets, and Pacers are in pursuit of Lou Amundson, the Phoenix big man who found the team didn't have room for him after their replacement moves this summer. The Warriors are the easy option, a nice market and a fun way to play. But it also provides the least chance to win. The Pacers are likely to be a fun team, full of speed and versatility (much like the Suns last season), but it's not clear if Amundson (28) wants to be the veteran presence on a team. That leaves the Hornets, who will play a much slower pace than he's used to most likely. The fact is that the best situation for Amundson was Phoenix, who really did need him. But hey, when Hakim Warrick comes available...

John Wall is a near-lock to lead all rookies in assists next year. But how's his scoring going to be? Bullets Forever takes a look at the issue and finds that Wall's top three options are heavy-usage players that don't necessarily score a lot off of assists. So not only will Wall's scoring be lower than expected, but similarly his point totals may not wow the eye either. There's a solution, here, ditching Gilbert Arenas for cheap fluff, but no one wants to hear that option in Washington (or they believe that no one will take Arenas period).

A perfect example of what advanced metrics can do? A block is a block right? Except some blocks have more value than others , and the number of blocks you make impact the overall value of all of your blocks. So a block is not just a block.

Kendrick Perkins is targeting February for a return . Which is awkward, because that means if the Celtics find themselves surprised by a lack of center depth (despite Jermaine O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal), they're not going to have much time to make that assessment if they need to make a trade.

The NCAA president wants to see baseball-like rules for the NBA's draft guidelines. This would mean players can go to the NBA straight out of high school, but if they elect to go to college, they must stay for three years or until they're 21. An interesting idea, but as John Krolik points out , one fraught with complications. An additional question is where the NBA D-League would play in this process, and if it would help bridge the gap. Either way, it's unlikely for this option to be adopted, given the economic realities.

Jerry Buss isn't lacking for confidence when it comes to the Lakers' chances against the Heat. The list of people actually admitting fear or even legitimate respect for the Heat is pretty small, for some reason.

The pick-and-roll has been the cornerstone of the Suns' offense for years. And yet looking at their options , the Suns may be looking at a lot more pick-and-pops than rolls. Robin Lopez may be their only hope.


Posted on: August 16, 2010 10:06 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2010 11:48 pm
 

Pacers issue statement on Stephenson

Larry Bird issues sternly worded statement after more details of rookie's arrest come to light.
Posted by Matt Moore


It's important not to leap to conclusions when an athlete finds himself in legal trouble. Situations are rarely as simple as they appear, and were it to be a friend of yours, you'd want the public to extend some level of restraint in criticism and discretion. Unfortunately, the more we learn after the arrest of Lance Stephenson, the harder it is to avoid casting a harsh eye. Regardless, the Pacers aren't necessarily taking that approach. Nor are they taking a position comparable to other teams' "We support (player X) and will stand by him through this time." Instead, they are aggressively discussing punishment, particularly with reports developing that Stephenson not only threw the mother of his child down a flight of steps, but then slammed her head into the bottom step .

It's disturbing behavior for any team to face with a draft pick, but for Indiana, committed to rebuilding its team's character in the eyes of fans who saw the mid-00's team devolve into off-court turmoil (and, you know, the whole Malice in the Palace thing), it's something that will elicit the kind of response Larry Bird issued today. From Pacers.com:

"The news of Lance Stephenson’s arrest is very disappointing to the Pacers franchise and to me personally. We have worked very hard to bring in players that are excellent representatives of our franchise, community and state both on and off the court. Our commitment to this goal is too strong to permit the actions of one individual to reverse all of the positive strides that have been made as a franchise over the last couple of years or to hurt the image of the rest of the players on our team. Everyone in the Pacers organization remains strongly committed to our players representing Indianapolis and the state of Indiana in a positive way and will not condone behavior that reflects poorly on this franchise and community.

"We are continuing to gather all of the facts regarding Lance’s arrest but regardless of the outcome of the investigation, Lance should not have put himself in the position he was in early Sunday morning. We have consistently emphasized to our players the importance of not putting themselves in situations where bad things can happen. Once all the facts are known we will deal appropriately with Lance so that he, the team and the entire Pacers community understands that this message cannot be ignored."

Those are not the words of a franchise looking to brush past the assault charges. Those are the words of a franchise that sounds ready to cut bait on a second-round pick that had such a promising Summer League. After coming out and playing lights out this summer, Stephenson has wasted every ounce of good will he's managed to earn despite his rocky character profile.

It's frustrating. It's frustrating for the Pacers, working to move past their failures in character judgment. It's frustrating for Stephenson's fans, hoping he could capitalize on his tremendous skill if he could just grow up, just a little. To have that much God-given talent, to have worked so hard to put yourself in a position to show all the doubters wrong, and then to justify every negative thing that was said about you, how depressing is that? It's possible Stephenson's completely innocent. Our system will treat him as such, and if exonerated, I'll certainly be the first to acknowledge the mistake of presuming guilt. But it doesn't look good, and as Bird said, Stephenson put himself in a bad situation, one he shouldn't be in.

There's not a tremendous amount of leeway a second round pick gets. Stephenson's short amount of credit may have just been maxed.
Posted on: August 16, 2010 8:49 am
 

Shootaround 8.16.10: Chicken and the egg edition

News and links to set the NBA table, brought to you daily...
Posted by Matt Moore

Lance Stephenson's impressive performance in Summer League was enough to make you think maybe all the talk of him being a knucklhead was overblown. Whoops. Stephenson allegedly threw his girlfriend down a flight of stairs Sunday. The question of whether the acqusition of Darren Collison by the Pacers now looks like a savvy move or if Stephenson's realization that he's been bumped down the depth charthelped contribute to the incident is a lot like the chicken and the egg. Only with guys that throw their girlfriends down stairs. Not cool, if true.

Dwyane Wade feasts on the tears of children. No, seriously, there's video evidence and everything .

Mike Miller is no longer on the list of "guys you should mess around with." He's been training with MMA fighters .

Owners-media relationships are one of the more interesting developments in new media, as owners have been at both ends of the spectrum. Michael Hiesley has done interviews with blogs before. James Dolan, on the other hand, doesn't even speak up when he needs to make sure everyone knows the house is in order.

J.J. Redick was one of the most efficient players in the NBA last season, which is particularly difficult from the perimeter. With his new nifty $20 million contract, you have to wonder if he'll be given more opportunities to showcase that efficiency.

The Warriors sold for $450 million, which isn't a bad price tag in this economy. The Detroit Pistons, with multiple championships and a much greater basketball legacy, but in a decisively lower bargaining position, are on the table and close to a deal, but the leading bidder's not willing to go over $400 million . Whether this is the kind of driving force behind the failing economy of a symptom thereof, is, naturally, another chicken-and-the-egg deal. As long as the Pistons don't move, everything should be cool.

O.J. Mayo is arguably the second best player on the Grizzlies, depending on who you talk to. And there are six spot-on reasons why he doesn't have a place on the Grizzlies roster. This has "how the Grizzlies screw up a good situation, again" written all over it.

Josh Childress, on if he can be a lockdown perimeter defender on the Suns, a team not known for its defense, even marginally acceptable defense: "That's the plan."

Andrea Bargnani isn't the worst rebounding seven-footer in the history of the league. But it's really close .

Finally, I'd like to nominate the following as our official slogan for the 2010 FIBA World Championships: "Please do not get hurt, Tyson Chandler." Really? Eric Gordon goes with the team on the next leg, and JaVale McGee, for all his issues one of the true legit bigs on the roster, and Jeff Green go home? In Coach K we trust, but....


Posted on: August 15, 2010 3:42 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2010 3:44 pm
 

Pacers still looking to make another move

Posted by Royce Young

Indiana already filled its major roster hole in a deal that brought point guard in. But by the sound of it, the Pacers are looking to make at least one more splash in the trading market before the season starts.

Larry Bird was a bit more vague than Danny Granger in talking to NBA Fanhouse, but Bird said , "We're not good enough right now... So we have to take a hard look and see where we're at. If there's some opportunity, we're going to be involved in it.'" Granger on the other hand pointed out the Pacers need to look for a big to replace Troy Murphy who was moved to New Jersey in the four-team deal.

"We're not done yet," Granger told Fanhouse Saturday after the scrimmage against China . "I talked to management, and we're not done yet. What will happen, I don't know yet. We're still mulling over it. But we got a few things still up our sleeve."

"We're going to have to go after another big, I'm sure," he continued. "Losing Troy, he was great. I can play the (power forward) but I'm not a true (power forward). So we're definitely going to have to add another big, and I think that will be our main focus."

Currently, the Pacers have center Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough who missed most of last season because of injury, Soloman Jones, Jeff Foster and Josh McRoberts. Second-round pick Magnum Rolle also has a legitimate shot at the roster as well.

Indiana definitely has some intriguing assets to make such a move. The Pacers have the expiring contracts of Mike Dunleavy ($10.5 million), T.J. Ford ($8.8 million) and Jeff Foster ($6.6 million) as trade bait. Some thought James Posey would be a candidate to be bought out, but that appears very unlikely. However, Posey is an excellent trade piece as a contender would definitely love to grab his ability and contract.

Indiana has been a team that's finished in the bottom third of the league the past few seasons, but showed some serious signs of improvement late last year. Darren Collison is certainly an important addition to the Pacer roster, but another quality piece might be something that could put this young squad into the discussion to make a run at eighth in the East.
Posted on: August 12, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2010 9:16 pm
 

Blog talk: 4-way trade

A look around the web at reactions to the 4-way trade between the Hornets, Rockets, Nets, and Pacers.
Posted by Matt Moore

Indiana Pacers

Pacers blog Indy Cornrows is breathing a heavy sigh of relief as the team has finally begun to construct a roster for the future, after years of band-aids on bullet holes:

"The second major area of relief addressed was adding a point guard who isn't just a one-season rental or a stop-gap point guard until someone better surface. Darren Collison is a young and vibrant point guard who instantly energizes the backcourt and fits in well with the other young core pieces the Pacers have assembled.

Plus, the risk on Collison is minimal since he has three years remaining on his rookie contract. If things work out as planned, he's extremely valuable from a production per dollar view. If the worst case situation plays out and Collison doesn't pan out, his minimal salary doesn't become an anchor on the salary cap for the Pacers to move on.

Exhale."

Teams trying to acquire a legitimate point guard never get this lucky. You either have to overpay in assets or money, and often both. For the Pacers to have acquired a player with neither limitation nor cost, that's quite a coup. 8 Points 9 seconds touches base on how it's relevant that Collison brings the right attitude to "running the team."

"Celebrate, Pacers fans. This is a good, good, good day. The team has a point guard. I never thought this day would come. Best part? Darren is just the perfect combination of youth, talent, mentality (he wants to show the world he belongs among the better PGs on this league) and drive to run this team at a very high level immediately. I’m sure he enjoyed picking up a thing or two from Chris Paul, but he must be ecstatic to have “his” team. And with only Granger and Hibbert as established team cornerstones for the future, he can immediately put his mark on the ball club."

 

And that aspect is why it's important the Jim O'Brien makes it clear the team is headed for a youth movement and not allow the same kind of veteran preference overshadow the need to put the youth on the floor. The Paces also feature a solid four-man rotation in the backcourt with Collison, Brandon Rush, Lance Stephenson, and A.J. Price. Also, there's no word on if the celebration in Indiana will feature a hoe-down. (I'm not mocking. I'm from Arkansas. I respect a good hoe-down.)

Houston Rockets

The Dream Shake lays out the biggest reason this trade works for the Rockets. It removes a logjam at small forward and allows Shane Battier to return to the rotation in heavy minutes.

"While some may argue that Trevor Ariza is the better player than Lee, that's not really my concern. Rather, I'm focused on how Lee fits with the roster, because that's what ultimately matters most. He's perfect for the free-flowing offense that Rick Adelman will likely employ with the second unit, much in the way that Shane Battier was a terrible fit for such a unit. Lee's presence frees up Battier to start once again, where he is much more comfortable. Make no mistake: Battier starting again is a good thing. He may have suffered through an ankle injury last season, but his style of play is not such that it will be affected by his aging. He is an intangibles player, much in the way Lee is. If anything, I'm excited that Lee will be able to learn from Battier"

Lee is often criticized for having limited upside.  I'd argue that his upside manifests itself not in terms of increased points and assists, but in the kind of things The Dream Shake hints at, the defense and savvy attributes that Battier represents.

New Jersey Nets

Sebastian Pruiti of Nets Are Scorching thinks the best thing about the Nets' acquisition of Troy Murphy is his expiring contract, which gives them not only flexibility next summer, but the ability to "flip" Murphy before the deadline if a marquee upgrade becomes available to teams with cap space.

""At the start of next season, the Nets are going to have both Murphy and Humphries coming off the books, plus they are saving what Courtney Lee would be making next year ($2,225,093).  This means that they are going to have somewhere in the area of $15 to $16 million worth of cap space to work with next year, when a certain indecisive forward in Denver becomes a free agent.  Even if the Nets don’t make a run at Carmelo, they have a lot of money to continue adding pieces to their roster.  In addition to the cap space next year, Murphy’s contract is going to be very attractive to teams at the trade deadline, and if Favors is playing well enough, I can see the Nets flipping Murphy for some young talent/trade exceptions/draft picks."

It's strange to see Murphy headed to the Nets in such a salary-shifter role, considering he was one of the more sought-after offensive weapons at last year's deadline. In the interim, he should be able to provide some help, most notably taking pressure off of Derrick Favors to come in as gangbusters, which is a really good thing considering how raw Favors is:

"From a roster standpoint, the Nets now have a power forward who can come in right away and be “the guy” at the spot.  Murphy, the New Jersey native, is going to be the opening day starter, no question about it.  So what does that do to the rest of the front court?  It makes Derrick Favors the back-up, and this is probably the best scenario for him in terms of development. "

New Orleans Hornets

Hornets 247 reports on an underrated element of this trade , that head coach Monty Williams has done terrific work with similarly long versatile small forwards in Portland, which could spell good things for Ariza in New Orleans.

"It also has to be noted that this is the exact kind of small forward that new coach Monty Williams will love to work with. By all accounts he did wonders with Nicolas Batum and Travis Outlaw while he was in Portland and Ariza is further along in his game than either of those players were when Monty started working with them. Once Peja is moved, the Hornets will have two defensive minded small forwards in Pondexter and Ariza that will be able to hound players on the defensive end, fill lanes and finish in transition, and knock down the wide open threes that CP3 will be able to provide."

At The Hive, on the other hand, isn't nearly as impressed with the trade, being frustrated with not getting more for what they consider a future star in Darren Collison.

"At the end of the day, I simply expected more for Darren Collison. I thought his value was higher and that Trevor Ariza's, after an underwhelming first year in Houston, was lower. The fact that Houston received nothing more than Courtney Lee in the transaction is pretty telling."
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com