As we slowly prepare ourselves for an exciting upcoming season, it’s good to have an idea of who is still left on the market and what teams can go after them. Who still has enough cap room or trade exceptions to land a player of relevance? Moke Hamilton has all the details on the subject.
On to today’s news, soon-to-be Hall of Famer Don Nelson had plenty to say about a wide range of topics, including his former player Monta Ellis. You’ll also find out how the Knicks can open up their terrible offense this season, along with plenty of entertaining videos below (you may want to plug your ears when Charles Barkley tries to sing):
- Don Nelson discussed his joy of joining the 2012 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, among other things with Laurence Scott of Warriors TV in this video.
- Nelson also spoke in detail about how Monta Ellis was not ready to handle the duties of a point guard when he was a younger player, from Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area: “I really like what they’ve done. As much as I love Monta I thought he was – just because of his size and not his ability, a 6-3 two guard – it’s very hard to win with a small two guards in our league. When I first had him, I tried to get him to think more like a point guard – if he could ever be a point guard. “He did have the ability to pass. He does have that. He’s doing more of that now. But you know, a player has to be willing to see that and to do those things. His approach when he was younger was a like a lot of guys. He’s not ready to do that. So he was going to be what he was. But now he’s more of an all-around player than I’ve seen out of him. “He is passing more and seeing players. He’s a good teammate now. When he was young he was just … he thought he was so dominant that he could do all these things that we witnessed that he can do. He can get you 35 (points) in a game and that’s what he wanted to do. Now that he’s maturing, he’s a better basketball player.”
- One more thing of note about Nelson: he hates isolation plays and wishes he could have coached Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, from Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee: “He despises the isolation game he once so effectively exploited; considers the European system of cutting, movement and passing as more appealing that the modern NBA diet of dribble-heavy, one-on-one play; regards his close friend, Gregg Popovich, as the league’s premier coach; and admits that he desperately wanted the Minnesota Timberwolves job that went to Rick Adelman – “I would love to have coached Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love” – but insists his career victory total will stay at 1,335.”
- Zach Lowe of SI (soon to be Grantland) explained how some newly acquired statistics on Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire could open up the Knicks’ offense. Here’s a bit of a scoop on Anthony: “Of all players who drove the ball at least 40 times in camera-recorded games last season, Anthony proved to be the most efficient of anyone in the league. The Knicks scored 1.66 points per possession on trips that included an Anthony drive (from 20 feet out to 10 feet in) at any point in the possession. Anthony shot the ball on 55 percent of those drives (53 total, in 17 recorded games), a pretty normal figure for a top player at any position. He drew fouls on 25 percent of his drives, one of the half-dozen highest numbers in the sample of 91 players that STATS sent along. (Among players who piled up more than a token number of drives, only James Harden drew fouls more often.) Anthony shot a hair better than 60 percent from the floor on driving attempts. But here’s the thing: Despite all those touches and more isolation plays than any player in the entire league (as a share of his total possessions, per Synergy Sports), Anthony only pulled off only 3.1 drives per game in the sample size. That mark was equivalent to the numbers for Chandler Parsons and Luol Deng, a bit below those for Kevin Durant (3.6) and Paul Pierce (3.7) and about half to one-third of the number that most point guards recorded.”
- Gregg Popovich believes Kawhi Leonard is the future of the Spurs, from NBA.com: “GP: I think he’s going to be a star. And as time goes on, he’ll be the face of the Spurs I think. At both ends of the court, he is really a special player. And what makes me be so confident about him is that he wants it so badly. He wants to be a good player, I mean a great player. He comes early, he stays late, and he’s coachable, he’s just like a sponge. When you consider he’s only had one year of college and no training camp yet, you can see that he’s going to be something else.”
- Josh Howard has the attention of a few teams, according to Mark J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
- Hilton Armstrong will no longer be in the NBA, according to himself on twitter:
- Shaquille O’Neal wants to bring an NBA team to his hometown in Newark, New Jersey. Didn’t we just finish removing a team from there? Mike Vorkunov of The Star-Ledger has the story: “Shaquille O’Neal, never shy to re-brand himself in the moment, didn’t hesitate to think of a new nickname to dub himself if the former perennial NBA All-Star can accomplish the latest goal he has in mind. “The black Ray Chambers,” he said. Chambers, a billionaire philanthropist, co-owner of the Devils and a former Nets owner, helped move the Devils to Newark. O’Neal, a native of the city, wants to deliver a professional team as well. “Yes, still working on it, still having conversations and still doing certain things to help beautify this city,” O’Neal said. “When the time is right, we’ll have a party. I don’t want to say things that are out of pretext or context. There’s things going on, we’re working on it, trust me. We’re working on it every day.”
- Charles Barkley’s ability to sing rivals his ability to swing a golf club, as you will see in this video. Lucky for him, Boyz II Men come to the rescue.
- Stephon Marbury has been sued in Richmond (via Slam), according to Aaron Kremer of Richmond BizSense: “A former star Georgia Tech point guard and NBA All-Star was sued in Richmond Circuit Court last week for defaulting on a loan on investment properties that included a commercial building in Petersburg. U.S. Bank, which is servicing a bundle of loans originally owned by Wachovia, sued Stephon Marbury and several of his investment entities — one of which is called Starbury GSA — for $3 million. Marbury’s nickname as a high school phenomenon was “Starbury.” The suit contends that, through the entities, Marbury bought industrial and office properties across the county, including one on Poplar Drive in Petersburg that was leased to the US.”
- If you’d like the breakdown of a short list of noteworthy free agents for 2013, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports has it. Here is what he said about Chris Paul and Dwight Howard: “Chris Paul: The Clippers are doing everything in their power to keep him, to the point that CAA seems to run this team at points. They brought back Chauncey Billups for him, they have taken the young core and turned it into Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe with veterans like Jamal Crawford and Grant Hill. The “grow with the youth” plan is out. The smart money is that Paul re-signs with the Clippers. But he could look around the West, see the Lakers and Thunder, and decide the Clippers are not where he can win. And remember, Donald Sterling still owns his team so the potential for him to screw it up exists. Dwight Howard: He has to be on the list as an unrestricted FA, but there is little or no chance the Lakers do not re-sign him. He will want that. After his public relations disaster the past year, he doesn’t want to start the free agency public process up again.”
- Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie believes Mike Miller still has a trick up his sleeve, and it has nothing to do with his stroke: “Forget the idea of Mike Miller, designated shooter. The guy can still stroke, but on a team that just added Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, that sort of spacing isn’t as paramount any more. Nah, forget the bombs. Please welcome, if his body is up to it, the idea of Mike Miller the point forward. The designated passer. The skip guy. The extra dish after that up fake and drive that drove us so batty when Mike was passing up good looks from long range in Minnesota. The things that Allen and Lewis can’t do. Returning from debilitating injuries to try and line up at pressurized 25-footer after sitting on the bench stiffening up for 30 minutes of real time is a tough gig for one of the greats — and Miller, that 40 percent career shooter from long range, is one of the greats. Doesn’t matter. The new guys have one trick, you have two. Use the second trick to set up the other guy’s one trick.”
- Knicks point guard Raymond Felton recently got married. See the beautiful wedding video, from Beyond the Buzzer. Seriously, it’s moving stuff.
- We told you about Deron Williams playing one-on-one with a fan in Wednesday’s Tweet of the Night. Here is the actual footage of the not-so-serious but fun competition.
- Check out Andre Iguodala’s workout video with his new team. He appears to be in mid-season form.