We’re in full-on season preview mode here at Sheridan Hoops, and we’ve got some excellent stuff up today: Brian Geltzeiler’s “Shell Answer Man” column where he addresses several big questions regarding the NBA, and Adam Zagoria’s preseason NCAA Top 25.
And here’s all the latest news from the NBA:
- Mikhail Prokhorov is guaranteeing that the Nets will make the playoffs, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. That’s not going out too far on a limb, but he is standing by his prediction that the Nets will win a championship by the end of the 2015 season: ” ‘For me, there’s only one place: number one,’ Prokhorov said Friday inside his team’s brand-new home, Barclays Center, in Brooklyn. ‘And I do my best to reach the championship. We’re moving on … slowly, slowly, step by step. It’s easy to make a strong team, but it’s very difficult to make a championship team. So we’re on the right way. And still, I’m expecting our championship within three years.’ ”
- In other Prokhorov news, the Russian billionaire wants to add Russian players to the Nets, according to RT.com: “Russian basketballers will soon be defending the colors of the Brooklyn Nets, owner Mikhail Prokhorov said after the opening ceremony of his team’s new arena – the Barclays Center. ‘I’m thinking about recruiting Russian players to our lineup in the nearest future,’ Prokhorov told ITAR-TASS news agency. ‘I really want this to happen.’ ”
- In all the excitement over Dwight Howard going to the Lakers, it could be easy to overlook the other major acquisition Mitch Kupchak’s team made, future Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash. But Pau Gasol isn’t doing that. Rather, as he tells Marca.com, he’s excited to be teaming with Nash, as the two are longtime friends. Gasol’s quote roughly translates as: “For me, it was a great joy, the signing of Nash. He’s the most unselfish player in the NBA. I’m excited to play with Steve and all that brings. He is the most generous player in the NBA.”
- How will former Celtic Ray Allen get along with his new Miami teammates after switching sides in the rivalry that has grown more and more bitter? Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel talked to Udonis Haslem to find out: “To say Heat-Celtics has grown contentious over the years would be an understatement. And more often than not, Heat forward Udonis Haslem found himself in the middle of the turmoil. So it was with a bit of trepidation that he approached Ray Allen during a recent workout at AmericanAirlines Arena. “I’ve had a chance to talk to Ray,” he said of the former Celtics shooting star and prime Heat offseason free-agent acquisition, “and kind of explain to him my situation. I told him, ‘I’m not the guy that you see when we play the Celtics. That’s just how the games end up turning out.’ So we’ve talked and we’re all ready to go.” “
- This is a fascinating piece about the use of advanced statistical analysis in basketball, written by Eric Koreen of the National Post. Here’s a quick excerpt from the introduction: “Nothing works independently in basketball. The ball, optimally, is in near-constant motion on offence, meaning the defence responds accordingly. A player cannot truly be assessed without considering how he relates to his teammates, to his coach, to his circumstances. Apart from the free-throw line, there is no situation in basketball as simple as batter versus pitcher from which to establish singular value. Yet, advanced statistical analytics have taken off in basketball, with more influence than in any sport other than baseball. Given the above, however, how much should they dictate the decisions that teams make? ‘In any discipline, if you can get it down to something unbiased at a decision point, I think that’s fundamentally correct. When a general manager makes a decision about a player, you do want that to rest to a certain extent on analytics,’ says 37-year-old Alex Rucker, whose KBAR Consulting is under contract as the Toronto Raptors’ advanced statistics experts.”
- Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune updates Raja Bell’s status with the Jazz via a series of tweets: “A contract buyout before training camp continues to be the most likely option for Bell. But terms must be agreed upon, and everything from a trade before the regular season to Bell sitting on Utah’s bench all year are realistic possibilities. The Jazz have been open to trading Bell for a long time. Both sides want to move on. But the fact Utah hasn’t resolved anything with less than a week before camp begins has created a surreal situation. It’s almost unthinkable Bell could be in uniform for the Jazz this season. But it’s actually become a remote possibility since the Jazz have yet to officially address his status with the team.”