- A great read about the “Andrew Bogut conundrum” by Zach Lowe of Grantland.
- Kawhi Leonard may be looking at an ample amount of playing time this season, from Jeff McDonald of Express-News: “The release of small forward Corey Maggette earlier in the Spurs’ three-game preseason road trip all but guarantees the team will open the regular season without a veteran backup for Kawhi Leonard. How pressing an issue this is depends on who you ask. The Spurs played most of last season’s playoffs without needing a backup small forward. True, Tracy McGrady was on the roster then, but appeared in only six games and totaled 31 minutes of garbage time. Coach Gregg Popovich survived then by using smaller wings Danny Green and Manu Ginobili some at the position, mixing in the 6-foot-9 Boris Diaw when a bigger body was required. This season, Popovich also has 6-foot-6 Marco Belinelli at his disposal. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can play,” Popovich said, “but as an insurance policy it wouldn’t be a terrible thing to have a bigger body so you don’t have to overplay people like Marco or Danny.”
- It appears Greg Monroe won’t be signing an extension with the Pistons until the season is over, from Vince Ellis of Detroit Free Press: “There’s a reason why you haven’t heard a lot about Greg Monroe’s contract situation — there’s nothing to report. It’s highly likely that the fourth-year power forward won’t receive a contract extension from the Pistons before the Halloween deadline, meaning Monroe will be a restricted free agent next off-season. But don’t misunderstand the move. At this point the Pistons still consider Monroe a huge part of their rebuilding effort, but the circumstances suggest the team would be better off letting the season play out. The Pistons probably could get a signature on a five-year, maximum contract offer. There wouldn’t be much point in the offer being declined. But the collective bargaining agreement dictates that teams can have only one five-year, designated player. That spot likely is reserved for second-year center Andre Drummond in the off-season before 2015-16.”
- Randy Wittman believes Bradley Beal has been the most consistent player so far, from Michael Lee of Washington Post: “After scoring 17 points in the first half, Beal became recevied more pressure from Miami and double-teams from Wade and Udonis Haslem. Beal responded by sharing the ball, as he found Booker cutting to the basket for a dunk, then found a few openings for himself to contribute another 12 points on just five shots. “He maintained his aggression,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said of Beal. “Just made shots, took it to the basket, one-two dribble pull-up, open threes, he had the gamut of shots, and he was smart on which ones. When he had an opening to get to the rim, he got to the rim. They’re a very good team; you don’t get to the rim very often against them. And when he knew he couldn’t get to the rim, it was a one-two pull-up before they could recover to him. Those are the things he’s been working on, it’s good to see those things pay off. I think by far he’s been our most consistent player.”
- Here is LeBron James’ initial reaction when he heard that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were joining the Brooklyn Nets, from Brian Windhorst of ESPN: “I think the first thing I thought was, ‘Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston, and now these guys are leaving Boston,'” James said. “I think it’s OK; I didn’t mind it. But there were a couple guys who basically [expletive] on Ray for leaving, and now they’re leaving. “That’s the nature of our business, man. I don’t know what Boston was going through at the end of the day. I know Ray had to make the best decision for him and his family and his career. Doc, KG and Paul did that as well. You can’t criticize someone who does something that’s best for their family.”… “I can relate to that; you think so? I’m the No. 1 relater,” James said. “I’ve been through it all. I know all about it.”
- Blake Griffin has been getting banged up in the preseason, from Broderick Turner of Los Angeles Times: “Blake Griffin can’t seem to avoid injuries during training camp. Griffin suffered what the Clippers are calling a sore right ankle, something that leaves his playing status uncertain, according to Coach Doc Rivers. Griffin also injured his left knee last week. The Clippers said Griffin had sustained a sprained right ankle in the first half against the Utah Jazz during an exhibition Saturday night, but he continued to play in the second half. However, Griffin didn’t play in the last two games, against Sacramento on Monday or against Phoenix on Tuesday. Rivers said Griffin probably won’t play Friday night, when the Clippers host their first home exhibition of the season at Staples Center, against Portland. The Clippers then travel to Las Vegas to play the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. “He probably will play Saturday night,” Rivers said. “But if he’s not 100%, no, he won’t play. I’m not going to play him unless he’s 100%.”
- Harrison Barnes’ foot issue may cost him the starting job this season, according to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com: “Coach Mark Jackson has maintained he has open spots at shooting guard and small forward. He says that Andre Iguodala is a candidate for one of the starting jobs, not an automatic after arriving as a free agent with a four-year, $48-million deal. With Stephen Curry set at point guard, David Lee at power forward and Andrew Bogut at center, Klay Thompson, Igoudala and Barnes are challenging for the opening lineup at the two other positions… But, Jackson said, “Unfortunately [the injury] has got to play a factor because you didn’t really get to see those units together, no matter who it is. The good thing is, I know all of these guys. I envisioned when we got Andre how I would utilize all of them and that hasn’t changed.”
- Chris Paul and J.J. Redick had a strong dislike for each other until now, from Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports: “The rivalry between Paul and Redick began when they both played in the Atlantic Coast Conference at schools just a 90-minute drive from each other: Redick starred at Duke from 2002-06 and Paul was at Wake Forest from 2003-05. “We had some battles at Wake Forest,” Redick said. “The game I kind of got into it with him our team had like three or four technicals.” Said Paul: “Before I got to know him he was no friend of mine. It is what it is. But that’s how it was in college.”… The boiling point between Paul and Redick came in the summer of 2004 when both were counselors at the Jordan Brand Camp in Santa Barbara, Calif. During a scrimmage between the two, Redick became so irritated that he struck Paul. “I actually had to apologize to him,” Redick said. “…I put my hands on him during a game. It was a hand to the face type of move. I don’t know how to describe it… Redick said the last incident caused Paul to “harbor more animosity” toward him. “I didn’t like him either,” Redick said.”
- LeBron James seemed surprised but dismissive when he heard what some of the players had to say about him taking the final shot in a game in a very particular scenario, from Windhorst of ESPN: “LeBron James was dismissive Wednesday about a poll in this week’s ESPN the Magazine where 26 of his NBA peers said they wouldn’t want him taking the final shot in a game where Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were also on the floor. “Players in our league said that? All right,” James said after the Miami Heat went through a workout in New York City before their exhibition game Thursday in Brooklyn. “I really don’t care what 30 guys in our league say about me taking the last shot. I’ve got a few game winners in my career. I don’t let teams hang around too much for the last shot. I don’t think the definition of clutch is who takes the last shot. There are guys who come through for their teams in different circumstances.”
James Park is the chief blogger of Sheridan Hoops. You can find him on twitter @SheridanBlog.
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