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Tag:Rajon Rondo
Posted on: October 6, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 2:13 pm
 

Rondo says Chicago fans are the worst

By Matt Moore

The Chicago-Boston rivalry may be the best in the NBA. The rivalries with the Heat are too stilted, too forced, too bent on the drama surrounding the Heat without actual basketball behind it. But the Celtics and Bulls have the 2009 seven-game series which is still revered as one of the greatest first-round series ever, if not the best. You've got star power with contrast, in the form of Derrick Rose vs. Rajon Rondo, Carlos Boozer vs. Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen vs.... no, wait, no one on Chicago can shoot. But still. Throw in Joakim Noah and you've got a great rivarly that it would be a shame to lose to a lockout should we lose the year and that be the end of the Celtics' real run. 

But if you're looking for some lockout bulletin board material, here's a nice tidbit. Rajon Rondo did an interview with Red Bull after one of their events, and he went ahead and gave Chicago the love it's shown him for so long, right back.
Madison Square Garden however, does not harbor the noisiest fans according to Rondo, an honor that he says goes to the Golden State Warriors. “They got a pretty loud crowd,” he pointed out.

The most obnoxious crowd? “I’d say Chicago. Ever since a couple years back in the playoffs, me and Kirk [Hinrich] got into it and they’ve been booing me and heckling me ever since.”
via Celtics Basketball Player Rajon Rondo Stays Busy in NBA Off-season.

Rondo famously threw Kirk Hinrich into a table at one point during a scuffle, and has had run-ins with about half the Bulls. So this should come as no surprise. So Joakim Noah probably hates the Heat crowd the most, and Rondo's against Chicago's. Oh, hey, Rondo and Carlos Boozer have something in common!

This rivalry will be interesting to watch as the Bulls continue to develop under former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau and the Big 3 decline in Boston. Somehow I'm thinking Jeff Green isn't going to be sparking any huge conflicts. But it's good to know Rondo will always have a place where everybody knows his name, even if they're following it with the word "sucks."

(HT: RedsArmy.com) 
Posted on: September 23, 2011 1:29 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 3:11 pm
 

7 lost stories from canceled NBA preseason

Posted by Ben Golliver

silver-stern-2

On Friday, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reported the dreadful news that we've all been fearing: the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have failed to reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in time, meaning training camp and portions of the preseason schedule have been indefinitely postponed and/or canceled.

Preseason is always a fun time of the NBA calendar, guaranteed to be chockfull of "Player X added 15 pounds of muscle" and "Lottery team Y finally seems poised for a playoff push" stories. Of course, no preseason means no preseason stories. No hype, no hope. More Adam Silver, more David Stern. What a bummer. 

So here's a rundown of seven stories you would have been reading had the NBA and the NBPA gotten their collective act together in time to save the schedule. These stories are lost everywhere, except for here.

1. Security Detains Eddy Curry Outside AmericanAirlines Arena

MIAMI -- It appears that Eddy Curry will not be joining the Miami Heat after all.

Following nearly a year of reports indicating that Curry had lost an NBA-record 468 pounds since he was released by the Minnesota Timberwolves at least year's trade deadline, the free agent center was forcibly removed from AmericanAirlines Arena property by a cadre of four security guards on Tuesday. The use of force was deemed necessary after direct requests to leave from Heat president Pat Riley and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra were not heeded. 

"We didn't want to do it but we really had no choice," said Joseph Watkins, the guard assigned to carry Curry's left leg. "I was just following orders."

"What can I say? I got my hopes up," Curry explained. "I kept reading over and over that Miami was interested in me and I thought I could help LeBron [James] win a ring finally. I thought they would change their mind if I showed I was determined. I guess they wanted to go a different direction."

After the trimmed-down center had been dragged to an auxiliary parking lot, Riley briefly asked a reporter who Curry was before returning to the Heat's training session, which was closed to the media. When practice broke, Spoelstra indicated that the defending Eastern Conference champions were comfortable with their center rotation of Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Dexter Pittman, Juwan Howard, Chris Webber, and Bill Wennington, and are not in the market for another big man.

"We like our guys," Spoelstra said.

Curry told the Associated Press that he isn't sure when or where his next basketball opportunity will come but did indicate that he would like to have the plastic handcuffs removed from his wrists, or at least loosened, as soon as possible.

2. Bloody Prank Signals Rift Between Thunder Stars?

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- A severed head was discovered inside a backpack belonging to Kevin Durant on Friday.

The Thunder's All-Star forward pulled the ghoulish, plastic mask -- which bore an uncanny resemblance to coach Scottie Brooks and had been doused in ketchup to simulate the appearance of blood -- out of his signature carry-all following an evening workout. With a look of bewilderment, Durant tossed the mask into a nearby trash can before returning to the team's practice court to work on his free throw shooting.

"I'm just out here trying to get better," Durant said, shrugging off his unsettling discovery.

It's not yet known who placed the mask in Durant's backpack, although suspicion was immediately cast upon Russell Westbrook. The mercurial guard led the NBA in postseason technical fouls in 201, rarely passes the ball because he's so self-involved and sometimes has a "funny look" -- according to multiple teammates -- in his eyes. Center Kendrick Perkins apparently implicated Westbrook in the incident when he stormed out of the practice facility, repeatedly yelling the words, "I told y'all! I told y'all!" 

The incident raises anew the question of whether Oklahoma City's two All-Stars will be capable of coexisting as their careers and games develop.

"Halloween is Monday," Westbrook said, cryptically, before rushing a free-throw extended jump shot and completely hurdling teammate Eric Maynor to claim the offensive rebound.

Thunder president Sam Presti did not offer an alibi for himself, but what else is new?

3. Rivers: More Needed From Rondo For Green To Succeed

BOSTON -- Nine months after the most controversial trade in recent Boston Celtics history, coach Doc Rivers continued to defend forward Jeff Green from media criticism.

A lightly sprained ankle for starting center Jermaine O'Neal caused local sports talk radio hosts and callers to go into hysterics on Monday, rehashing the ill-fated swap that brought Green to Boston in exchange for starting center Kendrick Perkins, who was sent to Oklahoma City.

"Jeff is still getting acclimated, and [president] Danny [Ainge] and I still believe he will be a key piece for us," Rivers said.

During the portion of practice open to the media, Green dribbled the ball off of his foot, missed three three-pointers, was late on two defensive assignments and appeared to frustrate aging forward Kevin Garnett, who was seen shaking his head sadly rather than barking instructions like usual.

When pressed, Rivers said that the eventual solution to what he called Green's "learning curve issues" will have to come from All-Star starting point guard Rajon Rondo.

"Rondo gets him wide open jumpers, wide open lay-ups, makes 10 plays a game defensively, and he leads by example," Rivers said. "But I have eyes, you have eyes. You can see it. It's clearly not enough. We're looking for Rondo to keep leading and to do even more, to carry all of us. [But] especially Jeff."

Pausing for a moment, Rivers, to the surprise of the media present, chose to vividly underscore his previous point.

"I don't care if Rondo dislocates both of his elbows at the same time so his arms are hanging off of his body backwards, he will need to carry Jeff."

Asked to respond to Rivers' comments, Rondo stared ahead blankly, as always.

4. Greg Oden No-Shows At Day One Of Blazers Camp

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Once again, the gym is full of NBA players and hopefuls.  Once again, the biggest one among them is missing.

The Portland Trail Blazers opened training camp to the media for the first time on Monday, only to reveal that center Greg Oden, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, was nowhere to be found. Oden, who signed a 5-year, $70 million extension during the early-October free agency period, has played just 82 games in his 4-year NBA career and has rarely been available to the media since suffering his most recent in Nov. 2010.

Through a spokesperson, Blazers president Larry Miller refused to comment about Oden's status, leaving new GM Brandon Roy -- who was promoted to the position after Miller used the amnesty clause to rid the Blazers of the four years remaining on his contract -- to face the media scrutiny alone. Roy said the team would not rush its center back to the court, noting that Oden's recovery from microfracture knee surgery was still "on schedule," although he did not divulge further specifics.

Blazers coach Nate McMillan looked irritated by the questions. "I've got 18 guys here fighting hard to grab one of our roster spots, let's talk about them," McMillan said.

Mike Conley, Sr., Oden's agent, offered a possible explanation by email. "Rehabilitation has kept Greg off the court for almost a year. During that time, in addition to completing a multi-disciplinary strength and flexibility training program, Greg has worked hard on improving and honing his invisibility. I'm pleased to hear that his work has evidently paid off. How many 7-footers do you know that can literally disappear in the blink of an eye? We feel this will make him even more valuable in the years to come."

Oden's whereabouts are not currently known at this time. His status for Portland's season opener is also up in the air.

"We'll just have to see," said McMillan.

Or not.

5. Kings Guard Completes First Pass

SACRAMENTO -- Kings coach Paul Westphal couldn't help but beam. After all, he had just witnessed an important milestone for his young team.

"I've been preaching unselfishness and ball movement all week and it was great to finally see these guys take that message to heart and execute it," Westphal said, his shirt soaked with sweat.

After back-to-back-back two-a-day practices and a morning session that yielded no progress, Jimmer Fredette became the team's first guard to complete a pass during scrimmage play on Thursday night. Prior to the pass, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons and free agent signing Jamal Crawford had each managed to take a shot, draw a foul or commit a turnover on all of their possessions. Meanwhile, rookie point guard Isaiah Thomas, arguably the team's best playmaker on paper, left the practice facility on Tuesday after being frozen out for 263 straight trips up the court and hasn't been heard from since. A team official assured CBSSports.com that the organization is "not alarmed."

Fredette's pass occurred when he inadvertently took the ball out of bounds following a made basket by Evans. Looking confused, and with no other option other than committing a five-second violation, Fredette reluctantly inbounded the ball to Thornton, who promptly dribbled coast-to-coast, only to have his running lay-up attempt swatted out of bounds by center DeMarcus Cousins. Westphal shouted encouragement -- "That's what I'm talking about!" -- and blew his whistle, briefly stopping practice to single out Fredette for praise.

"It was nothing, really," Fredette said, afterwards, looking a touch sheepish.

6. Adelman Closes Practices To Timberwolves Executives

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- Two hours after a minor shouting match erupted between Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman and president David Kahn on Monday, the two men pledged publicly that they had put the matter behind them.

"Direct communication is integral to creating a winning atmosphere," Kahn told a group of reporters on Monday afternoon. "Rick and I exchanged ideas, as we often do, and we were able to come to a resolution that is amenable to both parties. We thank you for your interest but this matter has been resolved. We look forward to a successful year."

The dispute, two league sources said, began when Adelman chided Kahn for openly cheering for rookie point guard Ricky Rubio, while wearing a Rubio jersey, in front of the entire team. That exchange escalated when Adelman decided to play veteran Luke Ridnour with the starting unit, instead of Rubio, prompting Kahn to yell loudly, "Come on!" 

According to the sources, Adelman then threatened to quit on the spot, issuing a "you go or I go" ultimatum just weeks after formally accepting the position and signing a 4-year contract.

"This is my team and I make the coaching decisions," Adelman told reporters bluntly after practice. "That's it. Any other questions?"

The resolution, according to sources, will keep Kahn and other team executives off the practice court for the rest of training camp, although indications are that Kahn and Adelman have agreed to revisit the matter once the regular season begins.

Rubio, who competed for the Spanish national team at this summer's EuroBasket tournament, finished Monday's scrimmage with 0 points and two assists in 37 minutes.

7. Thibodeau Thanks Fans, Admits They Could Be Right

CHICAGO -- The Bulls held an intra-squad scrimmage at the United Center on Friday, allowing fans and season ticket holders the rare opportunity to watch the team go through its paces free of charge.

NBA MVP Derrick Rose drew the loudest cheers and the longest line of pre-game admirers, Luol Deng pledged $10,000 to charity at halftime, and new free agent signing J.R. Smith, who bought his own way out of a one-year contract he signed to play in China, autographed a diehard fan's neck with a tattoo gun. But the clear highlight of the festivities came when the NBA's reigning Coach of the Year, Tom Thibodeau, took a microphone at center court just before tipoff to thank Bulls fans for their loyal support during the team's run to the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals.

"You guys are the best fans in the league," Thibodeau said, to wild applause. "We hear you loud and clear every night. You give us a true home court advantage and we, all of us, from me to the players, appreciate it."

Seemingly overwhelmed by the extended standing ovation he received, Thibodeau shuffled quickly to the sideline before catching himself and returning to the microphone to offer a final thought.

"Just to let you know," the defensive mastermind continued, "We also hear you loud and clear about Carlos Boozer."

The simple mention of the power forward's name elicited instinctive and ravenous booing from the fans, who were in no mood to forgive Boozer's disappointing showing in the 2011 NBA Playoffs and the team's controversial decision not to use the Amnesty Clause to shed his massive contract during free agency.

"Yes, we've received thousands of letters, text messages, phone calls and emails. For the sanity of Illinois' hard-working postal workers, please stop sending them. We understand that you think he is soft, that he isn't good enough to be a No. 2 guy, and that he isn't clutch enough to put us over the top against Miami."

Here, the second-year head coach drew a breath and exhaled, the long, lonely nights in his office preparing schemes and reading the fan correspondence clearly weighing upon his heart.

"Look, you're probably right about all of it. But how the hell are we going to trade him?"

Boozer, who mysteriously broke his hand for the second consecutive offseason, was not medically cleared to play in the scrimmage and was not available to provide a statement. Nobody noticed or cared.

Posted on: August 23, 2011 9:35 am
Edited on: August 23, 2011 9:35 am
 

New 'league' forming at Impact in Las Vegas

By Matt Moore

Since the lockout began, there have been discussions of the question, "Why don't the players just form their own league?" After all, the players' belief is that they are  the league, so why not just start your own, make some money off of it, and force the owners off their hardened fortress wall? We've seen organized exhibitions, or at least "organized" exhibitions like "Capital Punishment" featuring Drew League vs. Goodman League last Saturday, but nothing beyond that. However, Impact Basketball in Las Vegas may be taking things to the next level. 

From HoopsWorld:  
Impact Basketball, one of the premier basketball training sites in the world, will launch their own league in the coming weeks. Unlike this summer's popular pro-am leagues that featured a few NBA players on each roster, the teams competing in Impact's league will be made up solely of professionals. Nearly 70 NBA players will compete in the league and plenty of stars will participate.
via NBA AM: New League in Las Vegas - Basketball News & NBA Rumors -.

And this is more than just a claim, HoopsWorld sources Suns forward Jared Dudley as talking about it on the record. There are discussions of streaming the games online and the goal is to make it an NBA atmosphere in terms of game quality with shot clock and official NBA rules. Impact is one of the most popular training sites for NBA players, with stars like Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Chauncey Billups, John Wall, Rudy Gay, and Monta Ellis having worked there.

It's a provocative idea, considering Impact has the ability to not only bring in the top talent organically, but to put it in the best possible atmosphere. The Vegas location is obviously attractive to players, and the facilities are top notch. It won't be a real "league" per say, just teams playing regularly, but it's the shell of one anyway.

If they really want to take it to the next level, Impact should find sponsors to try and profit even more off of it and to improve the quality of the technology for the feed. Either way, this is going to be a rare look at how NBA players have stayed in shape or improved over the summer, and in a competitive environment, should they pull it off.
Posted on: August 17, 2011 5:26 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 10:57 pm
 

The EOB Elite 100, 21-30: Celtics trio

Posted by Ben Golliver

Rankings by EOB Staff.

rondo-pierce-garnett

This is the seventh segment of the CBSSports.com Eye on Basketball Elite 100, counting down the top-100 players in the NBA. 

Check out the earlier installments: 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31

Asking Boston Celtics fans and observers to rank the team's players top-to-bottom is a bit like asking a mother to rank her children. With Rajon Rondo ascending and the Big 3 maintaining, simply ranking the team's four All-Stars is a task in and of itself. That job takes on an added degree of difficulty when they face off against their competition around the league.

Three Celtics All-Stars -- Rondo and forwards Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce -- made our top-30, but none made our top-20, a decision that speaks to the team's balance at the top but also the role that age has played in recent years. Once a perennial top-10 selection, Garnett has slipped a notch, although he still leads the way for the Celtics on this list. 

Without further ado, let's dig in.

30. Andre Iguodala, F, age 27, Philadelphia 76ers

2011 Stats: 14.1 points, 6.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 44.5 FG%, 17.30 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 27, 36, 36

After playing all but six games in his first six NBA seasons, injuries marred Iguodala’s 2010-2011 campaign, keeping him out of 15 games and limiting his minutes per game to the fewest he’s played since his rookie year. As a result, his numbers took a predictable hit pretty much across the board.  Iguodala’s reputation as a two-way player is well-earned; his size, strength, quickness and instincts are an exceedingly rare combination.

Persistent trade rumors swirled throughout the season, too, owing to Iguodala’s long-term, eight figure per year contract and his tweener franchise guy status: he’s paid to be “the man” but not quite transformative enough to pull it off. Until he is moved to a contender with an established top dog, Iguodala will continue to impress outsiders and let down those who expect him to deliver a team to playoff success.

29. Joakim Noah, C, age 26, Chicago Bulls

2011 Stats: 11.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.5 blocks, 1.0 steals, 52.5 FG%, 18.83 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 33, 32, 30

Perhaps Noah gets a friendly bump up in these rankings by virtue of playing in the vicinity of the Derrick Rose superstar glow, but he has done plenty to carve out a strong reputation for himself. It starts with doing the things most NBA players don’t like to do: crash the boards relentlessly on both ends, cover ground (while talking) on defense, hit the floor for loose balls, make the extra big-to-big pass and exercise restraint when it comes to shot selection.

Given his age, Noah should be a perennial double-double guy for the next 3-5 seasons. That, plus more than a block and a steal per game and 50+ percent shooting is excellent production from the center position.  

28. Tony Parker, G, age 29, San Antonio Spurs

2011 Stats: 17.5 points, 6.6 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 51.9 FG%, 20.44 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 26, 31, 30

San Antonio’s early playoff exit might have caused you to forget that the Spurs were the league’s second most efficient offense during the regular season. Parker’s well-rounded game – basketball intelligence, shooting, decision-making, pick-and-roll skills, drive-and-kick skills, open court skills – served as the engine in that machine. The elite newer-age point guards boast size/strength combinations that Parker can’t match, but he currently inhabits a pleasant nexus between “savvy veteran” and “not yet tailing off physically”, so he gives as good as he gets against just about anyone at his position.

The Spurs will never be able to replace Tim Duncan, but they were wise to ride with Parker into the foreseeable future.

27. Paul Pierce, F, age 33, Boston Celtics

2011 Stats: 18.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 49.7 FG%, 19.76 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 38, 23, 22

The passing of the Eastern Conference torch from Boston to Miami went down in particularly cruel fashion, with Heat forward LeBron James unleashing a whirlwind to usher the Celtics into the past. Not being athletic enough to keep up with Miami is no real sin, though, as that label applies to 99 percent of the league. Pierce is slower, more ground-bound, less decisive and less explosive than James, but he’s still an elite producer at his position, upping his numbers in most categories last season. He can score in a variety of ways, shoots with range, gets to the line and cashes in his free throw opportunities, and is a hard-working defender.

With three years left on his contract, it’s certainly possible the Captain becomes a burden on the books. For now, he’s steady and solid as always, the same All-Star with the track record for winning, even if his team has finally been overtaken.

26. Nene Hilario, C, age 28, Denver Nuggets

2011 Stats: 14.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 blocks, 1.1 steals, 61.5%, 20.49 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 27, 29, 23

Arguably the biggest prize in this year’s free agent crop, Nene has gotten overlooked to a degree in a crowded Denver frontcourt that always took a backseat to whatever Carmelo Anthony was doing. Now that Anthony is in the Big Apple, Nene’s uber-efficient scoring around the rim, high-energy play and overall athleticism look even better, especially if one considers what will be left of the Nuggets should he decide to find a new home.

25. Andrew Bynum, C, age 23, Los Angeles Lakers

2011 Stats: 11.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.4 assists, 57.4 FG%, 21.14 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 28, 22, 28

Nobody in the NBA causes more people to slap their foreheads than Bynum: he’s yet to approach his potential on the court, has a lengthy injury history and has repeatedly resorted to some of the dirtiest play seen anywhere in the modern NBA. For all his faults and immaturity, he has shown the ability to be the best center in the NBA not named Dwight Howard by simply overpowering defenders and playing over the top of them, finishing at the rim with an emphatic dunk or a soft touch. He doesn’t have ideal mobility but he is still a legit paint presence defensively, even able to control games at times. The progress he’s made in expanding his offensive repertoire gives hope for the future, as does his expressed desire to carry more of the load.

Bynum will likely see his ceiling stunted a bit by the final chapter of Kobe Bryant’s career, but that shouldn’t prevent him from being a perennial All-Star and top-10 player eventually. Only the injuries offer a legitimate roadblock to greatness.

24. Al Horford, C, age 25, Atlanta Hawks

2011 Stats: 15.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 blocks, .8 steals, 55.7%, 20.79 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 24, 24, 29

Horford is an interesting contrast with Bynum, in that he seems to have figured life out and come to terms with what he will be as an NBA player. An excellent defender whose offensive production doesn’t get enough run, Horford should be the centerpiece for the Hawks for years to come. He’s managed to improve his scoring numbers during all four seasons in the NBA while keeping his rebounding numbers near the magical double-digit mark. Horford is smart, consistent, has a winning mindset and provides zero distractions off the court. He can pass too.

At 25, he’s probably getting pretty close to his peak productivity and isn’t – and may never be -- a game-changing No. 1 option on offense.  Still, he provides stability and plenty to work around even if he is never able to carry the team out of the massive shadow cast by Joe Johnson’s contract.

23. Chris Bosh, F, age 27, Miami Heat

2011 Stats: 18.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 49.6 FG%, 19.44 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 19, 25, 28

The planet Earth sure learned a lot about Bosh this season. Indeed, he probably faced a greater increase in scrutiny than any other NBA player, when he bounced out of Toronto to team up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in South Beach. Bosh’s game is predicated on outside/inside offensive versatility. He is equally able to knock down a jumper, get to the free throw line, finish a play above the rim and create a bit off the bounce. He’s more sinewy than beefy and that’s earned him plenty of criticism because he doesn’t hold the paint on defense and lacks a true nose for rebounding and dirty work.

Bosh wore goofy outfits, was rightfully cast as a third wheel, got tattooed, got married, and broke down crying in his first year with the Heat. Who knows what the sequel holds?

22. Rajon Rondo, G, age 25, Boston Celtics

2011 Stats: 10.6 points, 11.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 steals, 47.5 FG%, 17.11 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 19, 21, 25

Rondo may very well be the most magical point guard since Magic Johnson, his knack for fitting passes into tight spaces is uncanny and his vision is peerless. At his best, he conducts games rather than simply playing in them, weaving together his teammates in such a way that open shots result. His eye-popping wingspan is matched only by his gambler’s instinct, making Rondo an excellent on-ball and off-ball defender. Of course there’s the whole business about his shooting, which remains troublesome and limiting, but he compensates with a warrior’s spirit and a full understanding of his own limitations. He is the future.

21. Kevin Garnett, F, age 35, Boston Celtics

2011 Stats: 14.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.8 blocks, 52.8 FG%, 20.67

Composite rankings (random order): 23, 21, 21

Over the past two years, a crop of younger power forwards have surpassed Garnett, whose prep-to-pros jump and heavy minutes as a franchise guy earlier in his career have taken their toll. His body doesn’t allow 82 nights of top-shelf performance a season -- it would be next to impossible to manage that at 35 -- but he’s still the most feared and hated player in the NBA. His length and understanding of positioning create endless problems for his opponents and his basketball intelligence and leadership making the game easier for his teammates. His trusty jumper has kept him an offensive force and he can be paired with all sorts of lineups – big and small – thanks to his face-up game, passing skills and mobility. While Garnett is no longer a player capable of carrying a team to a title, he’s still the last guy you want to play against.

Posted on: August 17, 2011 4:28 pm
 

President Obama's zing put Rondo in his funk?

Posted by Royce Young

The widely accepted reason for the Celtics funk late last season, specifically the one Rajon Rondo was suffering through, was because the team traded fellow ubuntu-er Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City and messed up all the chemisty. Perkins, being Rondo's best friend on the team, sent the point guard into a lull that had him moping around like he lost his dog or something.

But maybe there was a different reason for it. A government conspiracy. Well, not exactly. But keep in mind, President Obama is a Bulls fan. Via Shaq's new book Shaq Uncut, written along with Hall of Famer Jackie MacMullan, he explains what he thought was the real reason for Rondo's slump.
In early March some of the guys went to the museum of Fine Arts for a fund-raiser and got to hang with President Barack Obama. Everyone was a little bit in awe. The President turns to Ray, points at Rondo, and says, “Hey, Ray, why don’t you teach this kid how to shoot?” Everyone starts laughing.

KG told me he saw the look on Rondo’s face and the kid was devastated, embarrassed. Dissed by the President, even though I’m sure Obama didn’t mean any harm. Rondo smiled and went along with all of it, but KG told me he could see it in his eyes. It bothered Rondo. It killed him.

The next day Rondo shot the ball horribly. He stopped taking shots after that. He’s so sensitive. I think it was a real jolt to hear the outside perception of a basketball fan who happens to be the President of the United States. It messed with his mind. I’m sure of it.

Now keep in mind, Perkins, along with Nate Robinson, was traded to the Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic in February 24th at the deadline. So everything certainly lines up. No doubt that the team -- Rondo specifically -- was likely hurt by the trade since one of their key players and close friends was going somewhere else. But maybe there's something to a presidential hex put on by Obama.

At the same time, it's well known that Rondo's psyche is a bit fragile, but geez man. Just because Obama zinged you doesn't mean you should lose it. You're one of the best point guards in the league! You won a title for crying out loud! Where's the mental toughness? We're all sensitive. Nobody likes to be told they suck at something (except Gregg Doyel -- he even publishes it when you do!), especially by the freaking President of the United States.

But it's an interesting twist to last season. Inadvertently, or maybe very advertently, President Obama shifted the Eastern Conference playoff race. In favor of the Bulls, mind you. You're welcome for the next movie Oliver Stone.

Via SLAM
Posted on: August 17, 2011 2:42 pm
 

Kendrick Perkins' says he was only drinking water

Posted by Royce Young

For Kendrick Perkins, his weekend arrest really didn't carry much of any punishment. It was just a misdemeanor charge, he got out on $150 bail and with a little community service, I'm sure he'll be able to move past whatever happened at a bar in his hometown of Beaumont, TX.

But Perkins sees the punishment of public perception as too much to ignore. Which is why he's going on the offensive.

Tuesday, we told you about his denial of the claims made by police after his arrest for public intoxication. Through a lawyer's statement, Perkins claims he was actually injured during whatever happened and even considered a police brutality complaint. And now, there's more. Via the Oklahoman, a publicist for Perkins says he was only having water at the bar and there are witnesses to verify it.

“Although these may be misdemeanors, it’s a big deal to Kendrick,” said Denise White. “He’s not happy about how things happened that evening and feels like the police were out of hand … He was not drinking alcohol, nor was he intoxicated. Not one drop of alcohol Friday night. We’re not sure why they said Kendrick was intoxicated. There are witnesses inside the club that will attest to Kendrick only drinking water that evening.”

How can we be sure about this? We can't, because evidently police did not administer a breathalyzer or take a blood test. And if you've ever heard Perk talk, it might be kind of difficult to tell if he's been drinking or not. That slow Texas drawl makes it sound like he's slurring everything. I mean, doesn't it seem a bit strange that he was arrested for public intoxication and they didn't actually prove he was intoxicated? Does to me.

So why did everything get out of hand? White says Perkins disagreed with the club's manager over money.

White said the altercation early Saturday morning stemmed from Perkins attempting to collect money from the club manager with whom he had struck a deal for the use of the establishment as an after party site wrapping up the event. The money, White said, was to go to Perkins' foundation, which aims to help children learn life skills and drug-awareness. According to White, the club owner became combative with Perkins and refused to hand over the money. An assistant to Perkins diffused the situation before “the lone policeman inside the club started harassing Kendrick to leave,” White said. Once outside, White said, another officer became more combative with Perkins, pushing him and grabbing his arm. Perkins, White said, was upset and pulled away. The officer then arrested him.

“We still don't know why he was physical with Kendrick,” White said.

Hey, at least it wasn't because of bourre.

Perkins was recovering as well from an incident that forced him to cancel his celebrity fundraiser game as well as skip a banquet for his camp. He reportedly was taken to the hospital the night before the arrest for dehydration. The word on that from White is that Perkins fainted playing dominoes at Stephen Jackson's house. He had been playing basketball with campers and then his friends who were in town -- Jackson, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Durant, Eric Maynor and James Harden -- and the 100 degree Heat and humidity in Beaumont caught up to him.

Whatever happened, at least we're getting two sides to the story. Perkins obviously is trying to clear his name from what became a pretty ugly stain on an otherwise solid reputation. I'm sure the clean-cut Thunder appreciate the effort too.
Posted on: August 13, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2011 5:50 pm
 

Thunder C Kendrick Perkins arrested in Texas

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver.

Update 2: Via the AP, a statement from police in Beaumont, Texas, said officers saw a large crowd outside The Ticket night club just after 2 a.m., and received complaints of fights and pepper spray inside. An officer saw about 50 people inside around Perkins, who police said was attempting to fight the club’s manager. The statement said the crowd pushed Perkins out the back door of the club, where he continued to yell obscenities and start other fights.
 kendrick-perkins

Update: An earlier version of the KFDM report stated that Milwaukee Bucks forward Stephen Jackson was also arrested, but that report has been modified to clear Jackson. A TMZ.com report also states that only Perkins -- and not Jackson -- was arrested. 
 
Original Post: According to KFDM in Texas, Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins was arrested in his hometown of Beaumont, TX early Saturday morning. He was booked at about 4:00 a.m. on charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

Perkins posted bond of $150 and was shortly released.

So, what happened? At this point, nothing concrete is known. Some accounts involve a fight with Perkins, Stephen Jackson and old teammate Rajon Rondo. The group, along with Eric Maynor and Kevin Durant, were all in town for Perkins' basketball camp and celebrity game. However, the celebrity game was cancelled after Perkins reportedly had an incident in Jackson's Port Arthur home late Thursday.

According to reports, a "27-year-old male" was taken from Jackson's home via ambulance to a hospital (Perkins is a 27-year-old male). He was treated for "minor injuries" and released. A spokesman for Perkins said that the Thunder center was suffering from dehydration and was told to rest.

NBA LEGAL TROUBLE
All the details are very sketchy and there's no real known facts at this point, but here's what we know: Perkins was arrested. For what exactly, isn't known. Fighting? Being loud? Who knows. Regardless, for the Thunder, this is the first black eye the squeaky clean franchise has taken. The worst thing before this? Probably either Nate Robinson peeing in public or Nenad Krstic chucking at chair at someone.

Hey, a first for everything, right OKC?

Obviously there can't be any discipline, at least not right now, because the players are locked out. But once the players return, I'm curious to see whether general manager Sam Presti will take any action on it. Like I said, the Thunder are run as a very clean-cut, no-nonsense type of franchise. The idea is to give a conservative community a high character team to root for. Clearly, this isn't going to be something the Thunder are happy about.

But these type of incidents are prone to happen, especially when players are bored in a lockout. I mean, just look at that related content box. Players are having a hard time staying out of trouble. Perkins' incident -- while in reality, pretty minor -- is just another one on the pile.
Posted on: August 12, 2011 9:20 am
 

Rondo, Amar'e, and Griffin say school is back

By Matt Moore

The Eductors series of commercials last year were pretty inventive for Nike. Solid concept, well executed, and a smart selection of athletes. They're back this year even if the NBA isn't. The new series has the same style, a nice rhythm, more of the same theme, and the added benefit of a hilarious Blake Griffin spot. Take a look:



I now want to shout "I love detention!" whenever Griffin jams it. Additionally, the drama school angle with Rondo is nice, particularly with the bow afterwards. And the whole "regulators" riff is pretty sweet, too, what with the combination of scholastic and paramilitary themes. Gets you excited enough to want the NBA season to start. But that's not going to happen until late Octo... oh, right. 

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