Sheridan Hoops Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:31:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 SH Blog: Steve Nash To Miss 2014-15 Season Due To Back Injury Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:27:27 +0000

EsauSteve NashIt is always disappointing when a professional athlete is unable to leave their respective sports under their own terms. Two-time MVP Steve Nash seems to be a casualty of this unfortunate circumstance, as his 19th NBA season is over before it has even begun.

The Los Angeles Lakers announced Thursday night that the point guard will miss the entire 2014-15 season due to the recurring back injury that has plagued him for the past year. The two-time MVP has struggled to stay on the court these past few seasons, and it had been hoped that his lingering issues were behind him at this point.

Red flags were raised last week when it was reported that Nash would be sidelined after hurting his back while carrying bags. That circumstance was a sign of things to come, and the writing is on the wall as it relates to the future of Nash’s playing days.

The news that Nash would miss the entire 14-15 season was first announced by Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Ding also provides a thorough look at what Nash’s injury has meant for the Lakers since he joined the franchise in the summer of 2012.

Per Bleacher Report:

Nash was selected an All-Star by the league’s coaches as recently as 2012—the only other All-Stars aged 38 or older are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan—prompting the Lakers to jump at the chance to land him that summer.

It is instead going down as one of the Lakers’ worst deals: They haven’t won a playoff game since, and they gave up first-round picks in 2013 and ’15 (top-five protected) and second-round picks in ’13 and ’14 to the Phoenix Suns so they could pay Nash $27.9 million over three years. They also got almost nothing out of the idea that by pairing Nash with his coach in Phoenix, Mike D’Antoni, the Lakers would create a latter-day “Showtime” pick-and-roll era.

The promise of the Lakers coming together immediately with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Nash in 2012 was sidetracked in just their second game together. Nash fractured his left leg trying to defend Portland’s Damian Lillard upcourt, and an array of nerve issues ensued for Nash.

The Lakers also released an official statement on Nash’s injury:

“Being on the court this season has been my top priority and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now,” said Nash. “I work very hard to stay healthy and unfortunately my recent setback makes performing at full capacity difficult. I will continue to support my team during this period of rest, and will focus on my long-term health.”

“As disappointed as we are for ourselves and our fans, we’re even more disappointed for Steve,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. “We know how hard he’s worked the last two years to try to get his body right for the rigors of the NBA, and how badly he wants to play, but unfortunately he simply hasn’t been able to get there up to this point in time. Steve has been a consummate professional, and we greatly appreciate his efforts.”

When news of Nash missing the season broke, players around the NBA reacted offering their well wishes to the veteran player.

Though this was expected to be Nash’s final season in the NBA, it is still uncertain if he is ready to officially announce his retirement. If he is indeed done for good, Nash will leave the game as third on the NBA’s all time assists list.

Other News Around The League:

  • 170px-Michael_JordanFans of the Charlotte Hornets who actively use social media will be in for a treat on opening night. The Hornets have announced that on Wednesday October 28, team owner Michael Jordan will be in control of all of their social media accounts. Via the Hornets official site: Get ready for an #MJtakeover! The Hornets return to the court in Buzz City on Wednesday, Oct. 29 and the swarm continues to build here in Charlotte leading up to tipoff. But none of this could have happened without the overwhelming support of you – our fans! You spoke and we listened. Now, as a way of saying thanks to you and expressing his excitement for Opening Night, Chairman Michael Jordan will be taking over all of our Hornets social media accounts on Tuesday, Oct. 28, giving our fans unprecedented access behind the scenes with our owner. 


  • Michael Carter WikiaIt was announced that the Philadelphia 76ers will be expecting last seasons rookie of the year to make his season debut sooner than expected. Michael Carter-Williams who is recovering from a surgery on his right arm, is expected to return to the 76ers lineup in mid-November reports Jeff Goodman of ESPN: A source told ESPN that Carter-Williams is optimistic about returning Nov. 13 in Dallas. However, there remains a belief that the team will hold him back, since general manager Sam Hinkie has shown little desire to win games this season and instead remains hopeful of landing another top draft pick in order to rebuild the franchise through high draft picks.


  • Phoenix_Suns_logosheetIt has been announced that Phoenix Suns rookie T.J. Warren will be out indefinitely per the Associated Press: Warren has sustained a small crack in a bone in his left thumb. He will be treated with a splint and rest. There is no timetable for his return. Warren, a rookie from North Carolina State, was selected by the Suns with the 14th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He has averaged 5.0 points and 12.2 minutes in five preseason appearances.


Esau Howard is a regular contributor to Sheridan Hoops. You can follow him on Twitter.


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Photo of the Day: How Kevin Love Spent His Summer Fri, 24 Oct 2014 02:02:06 +0000

The Cleveland Cavaliers made some noise over the summer. Not only did LeBron James make his return home, but he brought plenty of proven veterans with him. Possibly the one with the most to prove of these new components to the Cavaliers is Kevin Love.

The proposed trade to send Kevin Love to Cleveland in exchange for the top overall pick in this year’s draft, Andrew Wiggins, could not be completed when the news broke about the parts and places being finalized. Because the Cavs signed Wiggins to his rookie deal just a few days before they agreed on terms of the trade, a long, excruciating thirty days had to pass before the deal could be done.

Today’s Photo of the Day is more about the story included with the photo, rather than the actual picture. Kevin Love posted this to his Instagram on Thursday in relation to his story describing what it was like for him over the whirlwind summer.

KLove Players' Tribune

This is a photo for his article, which you can read here. It is a first person story, told and written by Love, who is marked as the senior editor for the article on “The Players’ Tribune”.

The site was founded by Derek Jeter and features stories by athletes such as Blake Griffin and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. The stories aim to take first-hand experiences from famous athletes who publish them, allowing fans an insight to certain topics and conversations and bringing them “closer to the game”.

Love’s article goes into detail of what it was like for him over the summer and coming to a new team and city, waiting out the thirty days of the proposed trade involving Wiggins and himself, and even giving fans some info about how he is fitting in with his new team and teammates in Cleveland.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: NBA, Teams and Players Celebrate Drazen Petrovic

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NBA Players React To Breaking News about Steve Nash Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:44:13 +0000
Steve Nash's unfortunate injury deprives Jeremy Lin the opportunity to learn from one of the greats.

Steve Nash’s unfortunate injury deprives Jeremy Lin the opportunity to learn on the court from one of the greats.

Jeremy Lin now has some epic level shoes to fill.

There was always a very real chance that Steve Nash may not get the opportunity to see any action this season. After all, in his two previous seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, he has only managed to play in a combined 65 games — including a dismal 15 appearances last year. His age and declining health have been significant factors in his rapid depreciation.

He has been fighting serious nerve damage in his back, among other injuries. Last season, he hurt his back merely getting out of bed. Recently, he hurt his back carrying his own bags.

He acknowledged the chance that he might not be able to play back in September.

… But now I realize this is my last year and there’s no guarantees I’ll get to play any games this year. The truth is, I have a lot of miles on my back and a day or two into training camp it could all be done. I’m just trying to enjoy every moment every day.”

Now, that day has come. Father Time has claimed yet another basketball hero. Bleacher Report’s NBA senior writer, Kevin Ding broke the story Thursday evening.

Steve Nash addressed the disappointment of missing the upcoming season in the team’s official press release.

Being on the court this season has been my top priority and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now. I work very hard to stay healthy and unfortunately my recent setback makes performing at full capacity difficult. I will continue to support my team during this period of rest, and will focus on my long-term health.”

The news shocked many around the league, including members of the media.

Most fans are likely to remember Nash for his passing and his ability to run the floor, but Bleacher Report NBA featured columnist Andy Bailey shared a graphic illustrating Nash’s greatness as a shooter. Among those to have made as many (or more) three-point baskets as Nash, he has the best effective field goal percentage.

A number of NBA athletes expressed their feelings upon hearing the news of Nash’s demise.


Nash, who is due $9.7 million this season, is likely to sit out the year and retire at the end of the season. Unless, by some miracle of modern medicine, doctors and scientists are able to engineer a more reliable body for a 40-year-old athlete, we have seen the last of one the league’s greatest point guards. In five years’ time, he is sure to be a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee. Here are some additional reactions from players around the league:  


Previous Tweet Posts:

Tweet of the Day: Julius Randle Wants To Be The Next Kobe, Not Shaq

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Michael Brumagin writes the Tweet of the Day for and is also a correspondent for

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Levi: Who will win NBA’s Sixth Man Award? Handicapping the field Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:00:51 +0000

OrenLevisixthmanEvery year, one of the more entertaining conversations around the NBA surrounds the race for the Sixth Man Award.

While it’s never about the most shimmering and glamorous of superstars, the talk always turns to the most precious of commodities – a guy who can come off the bench and consistently inject life into his team. The award has gone to characters such as J.R Smith and Anthony Mason, stars such as James Harden and Kevin McHale, and champions such as Toni Kukoc and Lamar Odom.

The 2014-15 season has a lot of new and exciting names added into the mix, as we have some established starters surprisingly being asked to come off the bench and lead their teams’ second units. As the leaders and difference-makers off the bench separate themselves from the pack, here are some of the names you’ll be hearing.


Jamal Crawford Headshotclippers60Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers: Last season’s winner has an unofficial position basically named after him as he is the prototype of the “shoot-first, shoot-second” combo guard off the bench. Crawford comes into games with a buzz all his own and channels the energy in the arena to recharge the offense with his creativity and deep shooting range. In addition to being effective, Crawford’s dazzling ballhandling skills as well as his creative repertoire of shots and moves are also extremely entertaining, making him a virtual lock to be at least in the conversation as the best player coming off anyone’s bench.

spurs small logoSAS_Ginobili_ManuManu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs play the game so radically different from every other team, and Ginobili is a big part of the reason why. Their success does not always translate into postseason awards, and year after year they are not given the proper respect coming into the season. (Colleague Jan Hubbard weighed in on this notion recently on this site.)The 37-year-old Ginobili will get his due (as he should) this season as well and will always be mentioned as one of the greatest players ever to come off the bench for a majority of his career.


Iguodala-Denverwarriors small logoAndre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors: The best lineups in the NBA are usually not something you mess with, but new coach Steve Kerr is planning on doing just that as he is experimenting with moving the versatile Iguodala to the bench. Even while starting two subpar defenders in Stephen Curry and David Lee, Iguodala helped the team finish third overall in defensive efficiency last season. Kerr is playing with fire, but there’s a real jackpot to win if this gamble actually works. Iguodala was not getting the touches he needed with the starters, and his uneven shooting made him a poor floor-spacer. With the new role, the former All-Star and Olympian will get a larger share of the offensive responsibilities and will be able to showcase his great playmaking skills. After elevating the starting five to the top, Iguodala might be called upon to do the same for the bench unit, which finished 24th in scoring last season.

isaiahsuns small logoIsaiah Thomas, Phoenix Suns: It seems like every season, common wisdom fails us as we assume: “This season Thomas is going to be so good coming off the bench, he might win this award.” We know we were wrong last season, as the trade of Greivis Vazquez to Toronto made him a starter, but now we’re sure of it. And so, allow me: This season Thomas is coming off the bench and contending for this award. With Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic ahead of him, I’m sure of it. The team that brought us the “two-point backcourt” will surely find the minutes for Thomas, as he is not the third-best point guard on this roster by any means. Once in the game, the 5-9 Thomas will let you know it – he will make plays, jack up threes and basically wreak havoc all over the place. Starting or not, I’ve learned the hard way never to bet against the 2010 draft’s “Mr. Irrelevant.”

raptors small logolouwilliamsLou Williams, Toronto Raptors: Not quite new as a sixth man, Williams was a strong candidate for this award back in his Philadelphia 76ers days. But he is new to the Raptors, and they hope his extra firepower can help them as they try to get deeper into the playoffs coming off their heartbreaking first-round defeat against Brooklyn. Williams is a talented scorer who was once considered one of the top high school players in the nation. In the preseason, he proved his ACL injury is behind him, along with flashing his familiar clutch-chops when hitting the game-winner against the Celtics.

One honorable mention is Ryan Anderson, who may hold the key to a successful season for the Pelicans, assuming Anthony Davis’ progression to super-stardom is a given. I think Tyreke Evens will not stick as the starting SF (with last year as evidence), and his return to the bench will hurt Anderson’s chances, as they will cancel each other out.

Oren Levi is an amateur scout, a professional writer and a diehard NBA fan. Follow him on Twitter.




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Five Things To Watch: San Antonio Spurs Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:00:57 +0000

Michael DeLeonAll the San Antonio Spurs could talk about last season was avenging their 2013 NBA Finals loss to the Miami Heat, Spurs NBA Finalsespecially the heartbreaking loss in Game 6.

The Spurs made sure it didn’t get to a Game 6 in 2014 as they dominated the Heat in five games to win their fifth championship. Tim Duncan, who many assumed would retire after his fifth title, now enters the 2014-15 season looking for a ring for his other hand now.

The Spurs brought everyone back in the offseason and added rookie Kyle Anderson to the mix via the draft.

The following are five things I will have my eyes on when the season tips off.

1. Is this the last hurrah for Tim Duncan? Duncan opted in to the remaining year on his contract in the offseason, but there isn’t anything else for him to prove with his Hall of Fame career. If Duncan – who will turn 39 during the first round of the playoffs – can lead the Spurs to their first back-to-back championships, I can’t see him passing up the chance to go the route of David Robinson and retire on top.

duncanDuncan is a competitor, though, and he didn’t play like someone at the tail end of his career last season. He hasn’t played more than 30 minutes per game in any of the last four seasons, and that should continue. However, Duncan’s remaining games will now have a special meaning in San Antonio – and across the NBA.

2. Can the Spurs stay healthy? Any chance of the Spurs returning to the NBA Finals will hinge on health. Tony Parker (France) and Manu Ginobili (Argentina) opted to skip international play in the offseason, although Ginobili wanted to play but was denied by the Spurs. NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard also withdrew from Team USA’s Select Team with that in mind.

With an aging core last season, coach Gregg Popovich did not have one player average more than 30 minutes, marking the first time in NBA history that happened. Given that the result was a championship, he likely will be as diligent in managing playing time this season.

Depth should help the cause. While backup point guard Patty Mills (shoulder surgery) is out for a few months, having Mills and Cory Joseph to back up Tony Parker will be important in the stretch run and into the playoffs. Ginobili and Marco Belinelli can also play multiple positions, and Popovich has several options when looking to rest Duncan.

3. Is Kawhi Leonard ready to take over? Leonard’s 2013-14 season ended even better than he could have dreamed. He was a force on both sides of the court in the NBA Finals and was named Finals MVP. But is Leonard ready to take over as the alpha dog, or has he been a beneficiary of joining a veteran team and not facing as much pressure to produce as other young Kawhi Leonardplayers?

Only Leonard will be able to answer that this season, but given his growth from initially being known purely as a defender to developing a 3-point shot to becoming capable of taking over games, I wouldn’t doubt him.

Several NBA writers are calling Leonard a top-10 or even a top-five small forward in the company of superstars LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. Coaches will definitely be game-planning for Leonard more, and we will see how he reacts to that attention and transitions into a bigger role.

RELATED: Spurs salaries and analysis

4. Is Gregg Popovich armed with his best coaching staff yet? Popovich has become accustomed to losing his prized proteges over the years, with several former assistants leaving to take head coaching jobs throughout the league. After losing Mike Budenholzer and Brett Brown prior to last season, Pop has reloaded with two coaching acquisitions that give him a talented group of assistants.

Bringing former CSKA Moscow and Italian national team coach Ettore Messina stateside was one of the Spurs’ biggest offseason moves. There is a lot of mutual respect between Popovich and Messina, whose style fits the Spurs and was Ginobili’s coach in Italy before “El Contusion” came stateside.

On top of that, the Spurs are getting an assistant that could be a head coach in virtually any NBA city.

While Messina is accomplished and experienced as a coach, Becky Hammon will just be cutting her teeth. However, 140805_becky_hammonHammon will be an asset in her own right. She has defied odds throughout her career and has always been a high IQ player. She is an extension of WNBA coach Dan Hughes, who has always given Hammon credit as a leader for the organization.

“Becky kind of makes things work,” Hughes said. “She’s a veteran and can understand not only her position, but the totality of what we’re doing and she can communicate on the floor in a way that provides understanding. That’s what great players do. They empower others, and Becky empowers others, whether it be with the pace or whether it be with the organization, or spacing or patience, or toughness, that’s what she does.”

While the Spurs are blazing trails with the hiring of Hammon, they are also getting someone that knows the ins and outs of the game, is respected by the players and hungry to learn.

Add those additions to a group including Jim Boylen, Ime Udoka, Chad Forcier and Chip Engelland, and Popovich has all his bases covered.

5. Can the Spurs repeat? The Spurs are another year older, but they were another year older last season and had an 220px-Spurs_White_Houseunenviable journey in front of them and still managed to show marked improvement.

Popovich and GM R.C. Buford could teach a master class in putting together a roster. Skeptics will always make the age argument, but the core is now surrounded by youth. Leonard is entering his fourth season and is just 23, turning the “Big Three” into the “Big Four.”

With several players capable of starting coming off the bench, the Spurs have reliable players, many of whom can shoulder the scoring load on any given night.

Given that the same team that dominated the Miami Heat is back together, and the addition of a late first-round steal in the versatile Anderson, returning to the Finals seems like a reachable goal. Repeating is another beast in itself, although the Spurs certainly have the pieces to make it happen. But anything can happen between now and June.



Michael A. De Leon is the founder and managing editor of Project Spurs, a San Antonio Spurs blog and podcast founded in 2004. Follow him on Twitter @mdeleon


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SH Blog: Phil Jackson does player evaluation of his roster, Blake Griffin accused of bitchslapping a clubgoer Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:42:31 +0000

James ParkPhil JacksonLets talk about the New York Knicks.

By now, you all know that Phil Jackson fired Mike Woodson and hired Derek Fisher after failing to entice Steve Kerr to take the coaching job. You also know that the team’s roster still has plenty of familiar faces that played a role in what turned out to be a disastrous season last year, along with some key additions – most notably being Jose Calderon and Sam Dalembert. Carmelo Anthony, of course, re-signed with the team rather than going somewhere else where he would have had a much better chance to win right now. So that’s a quick summary of what went down over the summer.

Now comes the part where we analyze what’s in store for them heading into this season and what could be expected from all the relevant pieces on the team. Phil Jackson was kind enough to take care of that part with Charley Rosen – a special guest to ESPN – and explained the good and the bad of everyone on his roster. Lets take a look at some of the noteworthy ones from Jackson’s great mind:

“Jose Calderon and Pablo Prigioni are heady and steady. Neither of them will have any trouble figuring out the triangle [offense]. Jose is a lights-out shooter and, like Pablo, rarely if ever takes a bad shot. Jose especially takes very good care of the ball. They’re aggressive enough on offense to be a threat, but not nearly as aggressive on the other end of the court. The task for both of them is to be much better on-the-ball defenders.”

“Even though Iman Shumpert was in [former Knicks coach] Mike Woodson’s dog house for much of last season, he’s one of my favorites because he’s simply our best on-ball defender at the 2 position and also against the bigger 1s. Once he learns the intricacies of the offense, Iman will be able to create scoring opportunities for his teammates and, unlike last season, he’ll know where his own shots will come from. Iman is an excellent driver but his shooting mechanics are very inconsistent. Sometimes he jumps too high to release his shot and sometimes he doesn’t jump high enough. As a result, he never shoots the same shot twice.”

“Carmelo Anthony is obviously the team’s only certified All-Star. It’s also no secret that Melo has to keep the ball moving, but he’s committed to doing this. Passing has never been a great strength of his, but in the triangle he’ll be able to have check-off reads like a quarterback looking for his first-option receiver, then his second and then his third. There’ll be plenty of iso opportunities for Melo, and in the triangle it’ll be very difficult for defenses to double-team him. It won’t be like last season where he had to take clutch shots with a gang of defenders in his face. Also look for Melo to get a bunch of post-up looks.”

“One of the keys to the season will be the play of Amar’e Stoudemire. Although his tender knees will require his playing time and his practice time to be carefully monitored, we hope he’ll be able to play four rotations of eight minutes per game. That’s because Stoudemire can still be a potent scorer. He can get to the middle when he’s in the low post, and in screen-rolls he’s a threat to either screen-and-pop or drive to the hoop. Playing adequate defense is a real challenge for him and he’s also got to improve his rebounding. The preseason will also discover whether Amar’e is more effective playing the 4 or the 5 positions.”

“If Andrea Bargnani’s initial season in New York was a disappointment, I believe he’ll thrive in the triangle. The 3-point shot is a bit out of his range, but from 20 feet and in, Andrea is a deadly shooter. And those are the kinds of shots that the offense will generate for him. Still, there are two aspects of his offense that he has to work on. Because he only approaches the rim in straight lines, he needs to develop some kind of change-of-direction move with the ball — perhaps a crossover dribble. Also, he’s a finger-roller, not a dunker. Could he have small hands? Or does he just need to be more aggressive?

“The only natural center among the potential starters is Samuel Dalembert. He’s a proven commodity who’s going to challenge shooters at the rim. Sam doesn’t have a real massive body so he has trouble getting around bigger men who post him up. He’s a good offensive rebounder and always plays hard. He has an effective short-range jumper and, in the past he’s complained about not getting enough touches. But so does almost everybody else. What Sam needs to learn is how to be a scoring threat in the pivot.

“I’m encouraged by how well Dalembert played against the Spurs in the playoffs. However, throughout his career he’s been very susceptible to foul trouble, so his floor-time will most likely be limited to about 26 minutes. Even so, we’d like him to be a 10-and-10 player.”

“The 2 position is our deepest, and J.R. Smith is easily the best athlete on the team. But J.R. has to learn the difference between a good shot and a bad shot. He has to trust that the triangle will create good shots and to avoid searching for his own shot. His defense also needs work because he tends to be a ball-watcher, and he’s late in chasing his man around screens when he should be tailgating him. Defense is the key to any winning team, so Smith has to really work hard on his deficiencies in training camp.”

So that’s a bit of a read, but worth it if you are a Knicks fan. Here’s a quick summary: Calderon takes care of the ball but is a bad defender; Shumpert’s a great defender but is inconsistent on offense; Anthony is a star who’s never been much of a passer, so he needs to change that now; Stoudemire’s a great offensive talent, but his defense needs work; You know who Dalembert is and what he does. J.R. Smith is an athlete, but his basketball IQ is seriously lacking.

Pretty much nothing we haven’t already seen before.

If there’s one thing Jackson may want to ease up on, it’s calling Andrea Bargnani a deadly shooter from 20 feet and in. He rounds out to a 46.7 percent shooter from around the 16-foot range. That number drops to about 42.9 percent around the 10-foot area. That’s decent, but far from deadly. One thing is certainly true: he should not extend his range to the 3-point line, because he’s mostly pretty terrible at it (shot a paltry 27.8 percent).

Oh, and he should probably study up on where his players previously played if he’s going to use that as a reference of any sort. Other than that, some solid insight from the Zen Master.

Jeff Van GundyThe common theme throughout his analysis was how different the players would play under the Triangle offense, so we have to assume Fisher is going to run plenty of it in his first season as a head coach. Ask Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson about the Triangle, though, and you won’t necessarily hear the friendliest thoughts on the specific offense, from Marc Berman of NY Post:

“The triangle itself is just an offense based on freedom of the ball to go to different places, everybody feeling involved,’’ Van Gundy said. “It’s a good thing. It won’t be the triangle itself that will be the reason they win or lose. It’s going to come down to Carmelo Anthony playing exceptionally well. [Iman] Shumpert and J.R. bouncing back with a big year. J.R. Smith playing well. It’s not going to be because of a system.

“I think anybody confusing a system with a reason for success is making a huge mistake. Systems don’t win games. Players do. All you try to do in any system you incorporate is put players in their areas of strength and try to hide and minimize their weaknesses.

“In this league you win with players,’’ said Jackson, who parted with the Warriors after the playoffs because of differences with ownership. “Phil had tremendous success with the triangle offense in his coaching career with incredible basketball players, all-time great basketball players. That more than a system won a championship. Teams in this league run part of a triangle offense but nobody has experienced the success with that.’’

We’ll soon find out who’s right about the notion that a system can’t necessarily bring on great changes to improve the style of play of the players on any given roster.

Van Gundy also shared some thoughts on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s status without Kevin Durant. If you’re a fan of the Thunder, you’re not going to love what he had to say, from Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

Jeff Van Gundy on OKC w/o KD: “I think a great goal for them would be .500, a little bit over. That would be a tremendous accomplishment.”


  • Jordan HillJordan Hill explained why he wouldn’t have returned with the Lakers if Mike D’Antoni was still coaching them. He also explained why his energy was inconsistent last season, from Mark Medina of Daily News: “If Mike was here, I wouldn’t be back,” Hill said. “That’s the way it was. No disrespect to Mike, but apparently I didn’t fit his system. Why would I come back?”… Yet, the Lakers coaching staff often attributed that imbalance to Hill’s fluctuating fatigue. So the 27-year-old Hill said he has stopped drinking alcohol, admitting it hurt his efforts on becoming the Lakers’ renewable energy source. Hill said the lifestyle change helped him drop from 253 pounds to 240. “It was that time to step out of my old ways and to grow up,” Hill said. “Now I feel really, really good. I can run and down more often. My wind is back. My body feels good. I feel like I could go for days.”
  • 395px-Paul_pierce_netsPaul Pierce is still surprised and disappointed that things didn’t work out better with the Nets last season, from Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN NY: “Just a year ago, the Nets were talking championship with Kidd, Pierce and Garnett aboard. Now Pierce is a Washington Wizard and Kidd is coaching the Milwaukee Bucks. “I definitely didn’t see all that coming,” Pierce said at Wizards shootaround before Washington played the Knicks at the Garden. “I think it all started with Jason leaving, it was kind of like a domino from there.”… “I understand it’s a business,” Pierce said. “I was a little surprised [by not getting a contract offer from the Nets]. But you know, you got to be ready for the business side of it and understand that part. So it didn’t shock me. So no hard feelings. I understand their situation, they understand mine, both [sides] moved on.” “It just kind of happened so fast,” Pierce said. “I had a chance to talk to him, he has his reasons the way things went down. I was a little disappointed because I thought I was going to come back there. “Jason was one of the main reasons I came to Brooklyn, him and Kevin,” Pierce continued. “But the business, you got to understand the business aspect of it. He moved on, the Nets moved on and people went their different directions.”
  • JoakimNoahSH1Joakim Noah is generally happy with the progression of his knee and body since undergoing a procedure over the summer, according to K.C. Johnson of Chicago Tribune: “Joakim Noah said he has work to do on his surgically-repaired left knee but is happy with his overall progress and has experienced no setbacks or pain during training camp. “None at all,” Noah said following Wednesday’s practice at the Advocate Center… “In the beginning I was a little bit more uncomfortable,” Noah said. “I was a little limited. I still have to get my strength back in my leg. Just trying to manage practicing, playing. But overall I’m happy with where it’s at.”… Asked if he’s confident he could handle extended minutes once the regular season began, Noah answered briefly. “Yes,” he said… “I have to do a lot of strengthening and activation and a lot of flexibility,” Noah said. “Not that I wasn’t doing that before. It’s just being a little bit more conscious of your body. It’s just new. And I just have to deal with it. I’ll be ready.”
  • MoreyDespite the fact that James Harden and Kevin McHale have openly said Harden’s defense needs to improve, Daryl Morey wasn’t ready to do the same, from USA Today (via SlamOnline): “For whatever reason, it has taken on a life of its own,” Morey says about the criticism about Harden’s defense. “You’ve got people doing a 10-minute YouTube clip that everyone references, and I just ask anyone, ‘Take your worst 10 minutes from your job the last year and just take those worst 10 minutes and put them in a YouTube clip.’ I’m guessing it wouldn’t come out very well for anybody. That, to me, was completely unfair. That bothered me in a big way. Without context, you can grab 10 minutes of anyone and make them look like (expletive). I think reality TV proves that.” When the facts are staring straight at you, you should sometimes accept them and just move on.
  • BlakeGriffinSH1Check out this ridiculous “Blake Griffin bitchslapped someone in a club” story. If this thing turns out to be true, it could get a little ugly for the star power forward, from TMZ: “Blake Griffin has been accused of bitch-slapping a 39-year-old man inside a nightclub in Vegas this weekend … TMZ Sports has learned. Here’s what we know … a man named Daniel says he was partying at Tao nightclub in the Venetian in the early hours of October 19th when he tried to take a cell phone pic of the crowd. According to a statement Daniel gave to Tao security, the man says Blake (who was partying at the club with his L.A. Clippers teammates) was bothered by the flash of the camera — and “grabbed my phone with one hand.” Daniel says he didn’t let go of the phone because his ID and credit card were attached to it — so Blake grabbed his neck and began to squeeze while demanding Daniel give up his phone “or else.” According to the statement, the two eventually separated after Blake took the phone — and when Daniel tried to ask for it back, Blake struck again … grabbing his neck and squeezing for a second time. Daniel says when security finally got to the scene — Blake told them, “Get him the f**k out of this club.” Daniel says Blake then “slapped me in the right side of my face.”
  • 250px-WillBynumThe Boston Celtics are trying to find a home for Will Bynum, but may end up waiving him if nothing comes to fruition, from Mark Murphy of Boston Herald: “Danny Ainge and Mark Bartelstein, the agent for Will Bynum, continued to work yesterday to find a destination for the veteran point guard that might also bring the Celtics something of value in return. “We’re trying to see if there is something we can do,” said Bartelstein, who added Bynum is working out in Chicago, where years ago he was the high school teammate of Tony Allen. Bartelstein stressed that Bynum has neither been asked to stay away from Celtics training camp nor refused to attend. According to the agent, Bynum has recovered from a strained hamstring that kept him out of preseason games for the Pistons prior to last week’s Joel Anthony trade, and is ready to resume workouts for either the Celtics or another team. That said, the Celtics are still most likely to waive the 31-year-old Bynum by the end of the week.”
  • jalenroseJalen Rose explained the difference between his show Countdown on ABC and Inside the NBA on TNT, from Richard Deitsch of SI: “What has happened with the overall fan and public perception of our show is that it should compete with [Turner's] Inside The NBA. But the reality of it is they are very different shows. You are talking about a pregame show that is a precursor to an event, a path to a destination. It has to be a vehicle for breaking news and a lead-in to an actual game. A lot of times our pregame show is on ABC, which is Disney, which comes on at noon on Sunday and therefore you have moms, grandmothers and grandkids watching the show. Inside the NBA is late-night television, sometimes airing at 1:00 a.m. Charles has his foot up on the desk. That’s the sports equivalent of a Jimmy Kimmel. It should be compared to late-night TV because that’s what it is. So because of that, I think we need to own who we are. Countdown is a pregame show and we have to own our lane as a pregame show. That’s the focus and direction we are heading in.”
  • Rose was also asked about the possibility of the Cleveland Cavaliers winning a championship this season. This was his response: “I am big on that process. So if I had to pick my favorite in the East today, I would pick the Bulls. Here’s why: People underestimate teamwork and cohesion in basketball. The Bulls have been together a long time. They play playoff-style basketball and they also look to win with their defense. While Kevin Love is a top-10 player and obviously LeBron is a four-time MVP and Kyrie Irving is an All-Star guard, Love and Kyrie still have to show they can be competitive defensively. For Kevin Love, throwing Pau GasolNikola Mirotic and Taj Gibson at him is going to be a load.”
  • According to the annual GM Survey, Stephen Curry is once again voted as someone worthy of being a top three player. At the shooting guard position. Yikes.
  • Dwyane Wade spent some time on the court with a 90-year-old woman whose dream was to shoot hoops with the star guard. Check out the fantastic clip here.
  • Long-time NBA writer Mark Heisler was less than thrilled with what Henry Abbott wrote about Kobe Bryant, and somewhat questioned some of the sources quoted in the story: “Kobe’s high-maintenance but Abbott notion he’s destroying #Lakers is joke. Busses waiting for him to go–so they gave him 2 years @ $48.5M?… Henry Abbott can think what he likes–but he put his opinion in ‘Laker sources’ mouths. I have way more than he does. Mine don’t think that.”

James Park is a blogger and editor of Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on twitter @SheridanBlog.

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Tweet of the Night: Julius Randle Wants to Be the Next Kobe, Not Shaq Thu, 23 Oct 2014 06:37:02 +0000

ogdenIn the summer of 1996, the Los Angeles Lakers made two moves that forever altered the organization. In one offseason, L.A. acquired shooting guard Kobe Bryant on draft night and signed Shaquile O’Neal via free agency.

In the years since, the Lakers have won five NBA championships. That includes a three-peat with the combination of Bryant and O’Neal intact, and another two with the former leading a new set of stars.

For all of their differences, one thing can be said unequivocally: both Bryant and O’Neal are NBA legends. Both are safe in the Hall of Fame, and each have left a lasting mark on basketball fans and the young players stepping into their shoes.

Much like everyone else has at some point in their lives, Lakers rookie Julius Randle took sides in the Bryant versus O’Neal debate. He just did it a little differently from everyone else.

Randle elaborated:

Serena Winters of Lakers Nation gave it bit more context:

For those unfamiliar, Randle is a power forward.

The 19-year-old former Kentucky Wildcats star has been recognized as one of the most versatile prospects in basketball since high school. He has the power and ability to go to the post, and complements it with a variety of perimeter and transition skills.

If Randle’s goal is to become the most complete player possible, Bryant is an excellent player to pattern his game after.

Bryant is a two-time scoring champion, a 12-time All-Defense selection and one of the most complete players in NBA history. Even at 36 years old, he has a rabid fan base that’s convinced he’ll defy the odds and continue to play at an elite level.

Randle, meanwhile, is the Lakers’ first Top 10 draft pick since Andrew Bynum in 2005. He led the nation in double-doubles in his lone college season and has a rare combination of power and skill.

Whether or not he becomes the next Kobe Bryant, Randle will team with the future Hall of Famer in 2014-15. If nothing else, that’s a start.

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Photo of the Day: NBA, Teams and Players Celebrate Drazen Petrovic Thu, 23 Oct 2014 02:09:51 +0000

If you remember watching Drazen Petrovic play the game of basketball, consider yourself lucky. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have those memories. A native of Croatia, Petrovic played college ball at the University of Zagreb in Yugoslavia. He was drafted in the third round of the 1986 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers.

Petro, as he was called my most, became a fan-favorite wherever he played. For the Blazers, and later in New Jersey when he was traded to the Nets before the trade deadline in January 1991.

For those not familiar with Petrovic, his coming to the NBA in ’86 was the move that started to shift the dynamic of the league. He was one of the most talked about international players at the time, if not the most talked about. To go with that, he was arguably the best international player as well, and is still regarded as that today by many fans.

He made his NBA debut in 1989 with Portland after spending three years overseas after being drafted. Petro played only a little more than a full season for the team who drafted him. He was traded to the New Jersey Nets, and the rest was history.

Instantly becoming the fan-favorite in Jersey, Drazen proved why he was the talk of international players. He averaged more than 37 minutes per game in his two years there, putting up nearly 22 points a night. Coaches, players and media said he played with a rare mentality and intensity that was hard to match.

Wednesday would’ve been his 50th birthday, and in his honor, the NBA and players across the league showed their respect and love for his game. Blazers guard/forward Nicolas Batum posted this picture of Petro to his Instagram in his memory.


Batum captioned under the photo: “He would have been 50 today #Petrovic #Legend #RIP”.

Tragedy truly struck on June 7, 1993. Drazen Petrovic was in a car accident that took his life much too soon while he was in Germany. After just four seasons in the NBA, the league and fans lost one of the most beloved, talented players in the game.

In 2002, he was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player. The legacy of Drazen is carried on in Croatia, where they have set up The Drazen Petrovic Memorial Center and the Drazen Petrovic Foundation, which also boasts a museum with a number of memorabilia and tributes to Drazen.

Croatia’s government and the city of Zagreb are large sponsors and collaborators of the foundation. It is said that the Croatian people celebrate and party at his grave every year in his homeland.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Dwyane Wade, Heat Make a Dream Come True for “Heat Lifer”

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Want to win $100,000 on Opening Night? Read this Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:31:56 +0000

Sheridanhe100000billFantasy basketball season is upon us, which for some of us is better than the basketball season itself. And on Oct. 29, DraftKings is conducting a contest you won’t want to miss — with a cool $100,000 going to the first-place finisher.

For those who are accustomed to the old school types of fantasy leagues, we implore you to give this a try.

You get to pick a new team every night. You can play every night. You get paid the following morning if you finish in the money. It is a better way to play fantasy.

Now, don’t get us wrong.

Nothing wrong with the old-school way, except for the fact that one injury to one of your highest-priced players can ruin a season-long investment. We could also mention league rivals who only want to make lopsided trades, the vagarities of drafts and auctions that often identify the likely first-place finisher by the time Thanksgiving arrives, and the dreadful wait to have your e-mails, texts, IMs and phone calls returned as you try to negotiate trades.

In daily fantasy sports, all of those headaches go away.

For the aforementioned contest (and all DraftKings fantasy basketball contests), the rules are straightforward and easy. You start with a $50,000 salary cap, and you choose eight players: One center, one point guard, one shooting guard, one small forward, one power forward, one extra guard, one extra forward and one utility player.

You accumulate points like this:

For every point your players score, you get a point. For every 3-point shot your players make, you get an extra half-point.Rebounds are worth 1.25 points, assists are worth 1.5 points, blocks and steals are worth 2 points, and you lose a half-point for every turnover. If your player records a double-double, you get an extra 1.5 points. If your player records a triple-double, you get an extra 3 points.


DKPrizesFor the Oct. 29 contest mentioned above with the $100,000 first prize (top 100 prizes are listed to your right, but you should note that the top 3,475 players get paid at least $40), the highest priced player is Russell Westbrook at $10,400. James Harden, Stephen Curry and DeMarcus Cousins are the only other players with five-figure salaries. The bargain bin is loaded with value picks, so shop around. There are 12 games being played that night.

My strategy involves picking productive players who are playing against bad defensive teams, so I will be looking especially hard at members of the Bulls (playing the Knicks) and the Suns (playing the Lakers).

Also, we should not ethat missed shots do not cost you any points (unlike the system at DraftStreet, which merged with DraftKings and dropped the penalty point system — good news for those of you who used to shy away from the likes of Dwight Howard because of all the shots he would miss).

I selected both Howard and Joakim Noah, looking for those triple-double and double-double bonus points. I took a chance on Kobe Bryant, too, because I think he is going to win the scoring title, and I think he’ll put up 30-plus against P.J. Tucker on the 29th. The rest of my picks will remain a secret, because I want that $100K, too.

To enter, click here.

On opening night next Tuesday, there are only three games. But there is a $10,000 first-prize contest that costs just $12 to enter. Click here to sign up for that one. I am already in the field.

Good luck.



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Lottery reform fails in vote by Board of Governors Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:43:13 +0000

SheridanheNBALottery-ping pongNEW YORK — The draft lottery will remain the same.

In somewhat of a shocking development Wednesday, a proposal to alter the formula for determining the top of the draft order failed to draw the 23 votes needed to pass. The vote was reportedly 17-13 in favor of changing the system, with the “No” votes being cast by Phoenix, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Detroit, Miami, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Utah, Washington, Atlanta, Charlotte and Chicago.

Under the proposal that failed to gain approval, the top six spots — rather than the top three — would have been determined by a ping-pong ball drawing. Also, the team with the worst record would have gone from having a 25 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick to a 12 percent chance.

“I think in essence, the owners were concerned about unintended consequences, commissioner Adam Silver said. “I think we all recognize that we need to find the right balance between creating the appropriate incentives on one hand for teams to of course win, and on the other hand allowing what is appropriate rebuilding and a draft to work as a should, in which the worst performing teams get the highest picks in the draft, and we’ve tinkered with the draft lottery several times over the years.

“I don’t necessarily disagree with the way it works now. I’d say from a personal standpoint, what I’m most concerned about is the perception out there right now. Frankly the pressure on a lot of our teams, even from their very fans, to somehow underperform because it’s in some people’s view the most efficient and quickest way to get better, so I think that’s a corrosive perception out there. Whether it’s the case, I’m frankly not sure.

For now, there is a reason to break out the Champagne in Philadelphia, where the Sixers will struggle to reach double digits in victories.


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