– How Stan Van Gundy Is Helping Josh Smith (from Michael Pina, bballbreakdown.com):
” With Stan Van Gundy now serving as Detroit’s head coach, the time for excuses is over. Van Gundy is one of the league’s brightest leaders, and as likely a coach as any to help get Smith’s career back on track, hopefully to the point where he is a long-term partner beside Andre Drummond. The preseason has not been all pretty – not that any preseason ever is – but in it, there have been a few things from Smith that suggest his second year with the Pistons could be far more successful than his first.
Watching Detroit in their three preseason games, the first and least surprising thing that jumps out is Van Gundy’s unwillingness to play Smith, Greg Monroe, and Drummond together. One of the three has started each game off the bench, with three different front-court combinations in the starting lineup. This is clearly a smart thing to do, and incredibly beneficial to Smith in particular, whose playmaking ability can be unleashed with another shooter on the court.“
Read and view it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/10/13/how-stan-van-gundy-is-helping-josh-smith/
And read David Aldridge’s Q & A with SVG in yesterday’s Morning Tip (NBA.com):
– 33 Crazy Predictions for the NBA Season (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):
” Kevin Durant’s injury is the latest reminder that preseason predictions are folly. Too many unknowns will emerge between now and June — injuries, ownership changes, firings, inexplicable slumps, and X-rated Twitter escapades.
Predictions are also fun! It’s useful to comb new rosters, league trends, and burbling scuttlebutt, and suss out things that could happen over the next 10 months. You’re mostly going to be wrong, especially on the ultraspecific calls, but it’s a good way to take in the wider NBA landscape and hazard some funky educated guesses.
Herewith, our third annual 33 Crazy Predictions for the NBA Season”
Read Zach’s predictions here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/33-crazy-predictions-for-the-nba-season/
– Raptor Lucas Nogueira (from Stephen Brotherston, Pro BBall Report):
” When the Toronto Raptors traded John Salmons earlier this summer, they received a young unsigned former first round draft pick back in addition to the veteran Lou Williams. The long lanky center Lucas ‘Bebe’ Nogueira is a potential shot swatting machine who looked good as a reserve in Spain’s top league, however, a serious nagging groin injury has left him not quite ready to play for the Raptors in preseason games. Fortunately, his return to action shouldn’t be very far off.
“I can warm up,” Nogueira said. “This is the worst experience of my life. Warm up with the team, do everything and the coach sees you, but I see the doctors and the doctors say, no you can’t play.
“I think for me, this is the best and worst experience. The best because this is my dream coming true, the first year in the NBA and worst because I can’t help my team.”
Read it here: http://probballreport.com/lucas-nogueira-is-not-quite-ready-to-play-for-the-raptors/
– Role switches for Warriors’ duo produce promising results (from Rusty Simmons, SFgate.com):
” The Warriors returned home early Monday morning from a week in Southern California, where they went 3-0 and were applauded by their head coach for being further along than he expected two weeks into training camp.
That hasn’t stopped Steve Kerr from continuing to tinker with his lineup. Harrison Barnes replaced Andre Iguodala in the starting lineup for Sunday’s 41-point preseason win over the Lakers, and the new-look rotation just might stick for a while.
The move accomplishes two major things: First, it gets Barnes into the starting five, in which he thrived in the 2013 playoffs. Second, it allows Iguodala to act as a backup ball distributor until Shaun Livingston returns from toe surgery — a timeline that Kerr believes could stretch a week or two into the regular season.
Read it here: http://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Role-switches-for-Warriors-duo-produce-5820333.php
And, the same subject, covered by Drew Garrison (SBNation) here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/10/14/6971291/golden-state-warriors-andre-iguodala-bench-steve-kerr
– Harrison Barnes Scouting Report (from Rafael Uehara, BBall Breakdown):
” As a rookie, Harrison Barnes had a promising season as an important part of a Golden State Warriors team that was tied 2-2 with the San Antonio Spurs heading into game five of the Western Conference semifinals. However, be it because of Andre Iguodala’s addition changing his role or some other unknown reason, Barnes’s second season was a comparative disaster. Other than on-ball defense and transition scoring — aspects he can be easily effective in due to his physical profile and by playing hard — Barnes was found wanting in all other areas of his game.
There was a big difference in the way in which he was used. Barnes spent 1318 of his 2058 minutes in his first season in five-man lineups that had all of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee in them. Once the Warriors acquired Iguodala, however, head coach Mark Jackson installed the veteran in Barnes’s place and designated the 21-year-old as the leader of his second unit. A second unit is a mostly outdated concept, as it is now widely understood that the best way to manage your rotation is by staggering minutes in order to always have one of your best players on the court and limit the drop-off in production once you substitute. Jackson, however, was not much of a forward thinker in that department.”
Read it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/10/12/harrison-barnes-scouting-report/
And Harrison Barnes Q & A at nba.com: http://www.nba.com/warriors/news/media-day-qa-harrison-barnes
– Jarrett Jack finds ‘new beginning’ in Brooklyn (from Mike Mazzeo, EspnNewYork):
” During the 2012-13 playoffs, Jarrett Jack was unstoppable.
He averaged 17.2 points and 4.7 assists in 35.5 minutes per game for the Golden State Warriors while shooting 50.6 percent from the field. The 12-game stretch represented the best stretch of basketball Jack has played during his 10-year career.
He parlayed that postseason success into a four-year, $25 million contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but struggled to produce on a young team which quickly found itself in rebuilding mode.
The Nets, who coveted Jack dating back to last season’s trade deadline, acquired him in a three-way deal over the summer — which enabled Cleveland to bring back superstar LeBron James with its extra cap space — with the hope that he can rediscover his sparkplug scoring ways off their bench.
Jack believes he’s primed to have a big year in Brooklyn. “No question,” he said. “With the combination of the system and then the players that draw so much attention themselves, it allows opportunities for all of us to be successful.””
Read it here: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/brooklyn-nets/post/_/id/20774/jack-finds-new-beginning-in-brooklyn
– Replacing Bradley Beal will be a team effort for Washington Wizards (from Jorge Castillo, Washington Post):
Read it here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/replacing-bradley-beal-will-be-a-team-effort-for-washington-wizards/2014/10/13/9f714c1e-5319-11e4-892e-602188e70e9c_story.html
– Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau envious of Spurs’ model (from Mark Strotman, csnchicago.com):
” A main theme of Tom Thibodeau’s messages to his team this preseason has been preparing, practicing and playing as if it were the regular season.
And the way the Bulls head coach sees it, if the defending champions are doing it, it’s probably a good idea to follow suit.
“I’m watching San Antonio and they’re going after it,” Thibodeau said prior to the Bulls’ Monday night contest against the Denver Nuggets. “(Tony) Parker, (Tim) Duncan are playing huge minutes right off the start. I think that’s a sign of their readiness to start the season.”
Read it here: http://www.csnchicago.com/bulls/bulls-tom-thibodeau-envious-spurs-model
– Bulls, Nuggets draft-night trade paying off for both sides (from Mike Singer, csnchicago.com):
” There’s only been a small sample size, but the draft-night trade between the Bulls and Nuggets has seen positive returns for both parties.
The Bulls acquired Doug McDermott, the 11th pick, in exchange for Nos. 16 and 19, which became 6-foot-11 center Jusuf Nurkic and Michigan State guard Gary Harris. When Harris was chosen at No. 19, he said he already knew that he was headed to the Nuggets, despite wearing a Bulls hat as he crossed the stage.”
Read it here: http://www.csnchicago.com/bulls/bulls-nuggets-draft-night-trade-paying-both-sides
– Payton Continues to Show Plenty of Promise (from John Denton, nba.com/magic)
” In a matter of seconds on Monday night, rookie Elfrid Payton showed off the rare combination of skills that made the Orlando Magic fall in love with him in last June’s NBA Draft and eagerly anticipate his future.
However, in a game-turning fourth quarter, Payton’s strong start to the night was undone when he was forced to stomach a hearty taste of reality.
It is merely the preseason and plenty of growing pains are undoubtedly ahead, but Payton showed promise in the first start of his professional career. If there were any nerves, the 20-year-old didn’t show any in the Magic’s 99-97 loss to the Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena.”
Read it here: http://www.nba.com/magic/payton-continues-show-plenty-promise
– The Playmaking of Shabazz Napier and James Ennis (from Couper Moorhead, heat.com):
” Youth with potential is a great thing to have in any context. But as soon as that youth is on your roster, the discovery process begins.
What does this potential mean?
How likely is this player to realize it?
From afar, two of Miami’s rookies might appear to fit into fairly typical molds. James Ennis the hyper-athletic wing who slashes to the rim and finishes on the break, and Shabazz Napier the super-quick point guard who makes a living scoring off the dribble. With enough efficiency and effectiveness, each is a useful player type to have in a rotation, particularly in combination with young, energized legs.
Just three games in their first preseason, however, it’s far too early to start worrying about slotting either player into pre-defined roles. This is especially true when each has already shown a more complete skillset than is to be expected in the early hours of the league’s marathon season, and part of that arsenal includes one of the most valuable, yet underrated, skills in the game: passing.”
Read it here: http://www.nba.com/heat/newsrecap/more-passing-grades
– Blazers’ Matthews enters final year of his contract (from Eric Gundersen, columbian.com):
” Nicolas Batum said Matthews’ defense against James Harden, who shot 37 percent against Portland in the six-game series, was “unbelievable,” saying he was the “maybe the best defender in the NBA” during the series.
While Portland’s shooting guard isn’t focused on winning NBA honors like being selected to the All-Defensive team, he’s certainly not bashful about his place in the league.
“I’m never going to be the type that gets gaudy numbers to make an All-Defensive team,” said Matthews before getting to his case.
“Do I think I’m All-Defense? Absolutely. I think I’m the best two-way two-guard in the NBA. But I feel like we need to be a good defensive team within the scheme of the game. We’re not out there gambling, trying to reach and get steals. That would put us in a bind if I don’t get it,” Matthews said.”
Read it here: http://www.columbian.com/news/2014/oct/13/blazers-matthews-enters-final-year-of-his-contract/
– Back at the Garden, a Different Knicks Team Is in Search of Chemistry (from Scott Cacciola, NYTimes):
” Fisher reiterated that he was not focusing on wins and losses. The preseason, he said, is an opportunity for him to experiment with lineups and rotations, and for the players to unearth some chemistry.”
Read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/sports/basketball/back-at-the-garden-a-different-knicks-team-is-in-search-of-chemistry.html
– Rookie Rodney Hood and Utah Jazz have plenty of reasons to smile in his big debut (from Jody Genessy, Deseret News):
” Hood, whose birthday is Oct. 20, was terrific in his first taste of NBA action, which included his first minutes of the exhibition season and his first start because of a new injury to Alec Burks (right shoulder bruise).
“Clearly,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said, “he had an impact on the game with his ability to space the floor.”
Read it here: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865613075/Rookie-Rodney-Hood-and-Utah-Jazz-have-plenty-of-reasons-to-smile-in-his-big-debut.html
– Derrick Rose shows stretches of old self in Bulls win (from Mark Strotman, csnchicago.com):
” It’s not all back for Derrick Rose, but the glimpses are becoming more frequent.
If the Bulls point guard showed flashes of his old self in the preseason opener a week ago and showed glimpses in a pair of games last week, it’s fair to say that Rose has graduated to showing stretches of his former self following his performance in Monday’s 110-90 win over the Nuggets.”
Read and view it here: http://www.csnchicago.com/bulls/derrick-rose-shows-stretches-old-self-bulls-win
– Bulls’ Jimmy Butler: ‘I’m not even supposed to be in the NBA’ (from Mike Singer, csnchicago.com):
” Jimmy Butler has always been a menace on the defensive end, but the fourth-year guard is starting to realize his immense potential on the offensive end as well. ”
Read it here: http://www.csnchicago.com/bulls/bulls-jimmy-butler-im-not-even-supposed-be-nba
– How Will Paul Pierce Fit in Washington? (from Bobby Karalla, BBall Breakdown):
Read it here” http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/10/08/how-will-paul-pierce-fit-in-washington/
– Michael Jordan becoming great owner, too, for Hornets (from Sam Amick, USA Today):
” As Michael Jordan knows better than anyone from his legendary playing days, one good season does not a reputation make.
Respect and credibility are built over time, with one’s career a compilation of the good, the bad and — as had been the case in Jordan’s post-playing life as an owner and executive — the ugly.
But nearly 15 years after his management-ownership career began with the Washington Wizards, has Jordan finally become an effective boss? It’s certainly starting to seem that way.”
Read it here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/hornets/2014/10/14/michael-jordan-charlotte-ownership-rich-cho-steve-clifford-bobcats-name-change/17237095/
Additional player updates worth perusing:
– Giannis Antetokuonmpo: http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/279042341.html
– Jusuf Nurkic: http://www.roundballminingcompany.com/2014/10/14/image-breakdown-nurkics-15-point-outbreak-vs-bulls/
– Jarnell Stokes: http://www.3sob.com/2014/october-2014/stoked-for-stokes/19081/
– Nikola Mirotic: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2229499-early-lessons-from-nikola-mirotics-preseason-with-chicago-bulls
– Eric Gordon: http://www.nola.com/pelicans/index.ssf/2014/10/guard_eric_gordon_using_the_pr.html
– Jordan Clarkson/Jabari Brown: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/clarkson-638393-brown-season.html
– Mo Williams: http://www.startribune.com/sports/wolves/279084601.html
QOTD (from Turkish coach Dusan Ivkovic) re: the global problem in European basketball of talent moving to the NBA: ” I coached many players who succeeded in the NBA because they left at the right moment, with maturity and experience. Now, many leave too young and unprepared, then come back worse players than they when they left. They wasted time by being impatient.”