Sheridan Hoops http://www.sheridanhoops.com Sat, 24 Jan 2015 14:58:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Fantasy Spin: Wall vs. Lillard Best Saturday Matchup http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/24/fantasy-spin-wall-vs-lillard-best-saturday-matchup/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/24/fantasy-spin-wall-vs-lillard-best-saturday-matchup/#respond Sat, 24 Jan 2015 14:58:38 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=87812

KentThere were “too many” superstars to choose from in daily action on Friday — though Klay Thompson outperformed all eight of those $10000+ salary guys with the greatest quarter in NBA history. Tonight, the pendulum swings the other way.

We have only five games to choose from, none of them likely to be preserved in a time capsule. What might have been an exciting, high-scoring affair in Portland is now a matter of survival, as LaMarcus Aldridge (thumb) will be out for weeks and Nicolas Batum (wrist) is extremely doubtful.

Damian Lillard $9400 and Wesley Matthews $6100 are the last two Trail Blazers standing. Chris Kaman $4500 is questionable with a leg bruise and no match for Marcin Gortat $5500 even when perfectly healthy and rested, so Meyers Leonard $3300 might have to play big minutes. If John Wall $9200 and Bradley Beal $6300 focus on D, the Wizards can grind out a road win with their frontcourt advantage. Nene Hilario $5400 is way too good for Thomas Robinson $4200. If it’s a shooting match, all four starting guards are playable and Paul Pierce $4600 could have another big night.

Plays of the Day

FBWCOpen a new DraftKings account and get a FREE entry for the $60K Layup — the top score earns $5,000 and 7,600 of 34,500 teams receive cash prizes. They will match your initial deposit 100% ($5 to $600) with bonus funds that convert to cash as you play.

The Fantasy Basketball World Championship has a million dollar first prize, to be awarded March 23. There are only 40 seats in the Final; finish first in a Qualifier to win a spot, including a 5-day VIP trip to Las Vegas (worth $55,000) plus $7,000 in cash, even for last place! Join a Super Satellite contest tonight for just $2.00 where you can get into an upcoming $20 Qualifier by finishing first or second among a mere 23 teams.

The $2.7 MILLION January Jam costs $100 per team, but you can win tickets for $5, $2 or even a quarter. The $500,000 NBA Slam Dunk goes Wednesday, with a top prize of $100,000.

If you’re following the tepid battle for the 7th and 8th place in the East, you already know that the Pistons have momentum. They also have Andre Drummond $8300 and Greg Monroe $8400 going against Zaza Pachulia $5300 and Ersan Ilyasova $3700, which suggests complete dominance in the paint and a lot of midrange jumpers for the Bucks. Unless Brandon Knight $7700 outplays Brandon Jennings $7900 and Giannis Antetokuonmpo $5300 is superb, Detroit could win easily. They scored 128 points in regulation against the Magic on Wednesday, so the low over/under line is puzzling. Milwaukee’s bench scorers like O.J. Mayo $4200 and Jared Dudley $3500 might be playing catchup all night.

lineup-1-24Another improving team in the East that’s flying under the radar of many fans is the Hornets. Though they were crushed in Cleveland last night, while the Knicks were surprising the Magic, Charlotte should bounce back at home tonight. A high score is improbable; Kemba Walker $9000 and Al Jefferson $7200 have returned from their injuries but are not yet in peak form. Carmelo Anthony $8800 played 42 minutes on Friday and won’t be ridden as hard in this road back-to-back. Jose Calderon $4800 (knee) is doubtful, so there may be a Pablo Prigioni $3700 sighting. Jason Smith $3900 has been on a mini-roll with 19 points last night, but Amar’e Stoudemire $4200 (rest) didn’t play and is expected back.

Mismatch of the day is well-rested Memphis (favored by 17) hosting the tired 76ers. Before you load up on Marc Gasol $8500 and Zach Randolph $8000, consider that they won’t have to play at maximum intensity for their usual minutes. In fact, it’s a good night for Dave Joerger to get his second (and third) unit some exercise. Don’t be shocked if Kosta Koufos $3200, Nick Calathes $3000 and Jon Leuer $3000 play a lot in the second half.

Brooklyn just got destroyed by the Clippers 123-84 for their ninth loss in 11 games. They have lost Mirza Teletovic (lungs) for the season and Deron Williams (rib) remains out. Meanwhile, the Jazz just won a road game, without Derrick Favors (personal) in the lineup. Yet I smell an upset, because the Nets might dedicate this one to Mirza. Twin towers Enes Kanter $6600 and Rudy Gobert $6400 beat up on the smaller Bucks, but Brook Lopez $6000 and Mason Plumlee $6000 will be harder to dominate. Rookie Dante Exum $3200 took over from Trey Burke $5000 as the starting PG on Thursday and is still a great price; just not sure he can handle Jarrett Jack $6000 when the latter is focused. This is just a hunch — I do like Gordon Hayward $7800 better than Joe Johnson $5800 at this stage of their respective careers and won’t be surprised if Utah wins.

Pos Premium Midrange Bargain
PG Damian Lillard $9400 Jarrett Jack $6000 Dante Exum $3200
SG Wesley Matthews $6100 G. Antetokounmpo $5300 O.J. Mayo $4200
SF Carmelo Anthony $8800 Gordon Hayward $7800 Paul Pierce $4600
PF Greg Monroe $8400 Zach Randolph $8000 Thomas Robinson $4200
C Andre Drummond $83000 Marcin Gortat $5500 Meyers Leonard $3300

The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.

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10 Fast Facts from Last Night’s Games — Klay Thompson Drops 52, James Harden Beats the Buzzer http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/24/10-fast-facts-from-last-nights-games-klay-thompson-drops-52-james-harden-beats-the-buzzer/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/24/10-fast-facts-from-last-nights-games-klay-thompson-drops-52-james-harden-beats-the-buzzer/#respond Sat, 24 Jan 2015 12:00:39 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=87796

ogdenThe 2014-15 NBA regular season continued in style on Friday, January 23. Some of the league’s elite teams and players were in action, including a number of the athletes who were recently named All-Stars.

An All-Star snub reminded the voters of how unforgivable his omission was with a buzzer-beater. An All-Star hopeful made a powerful case by scoring in excess of 50 points.

Here’s how it all transpired.

1. Klay Thompson dropped a career-high 52 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a dominant 126-101 victory over the Sacramento Kings. DeMarcus Cousins dropped 28 points, 11 rebounds and three steals for the Kings, but the story of the game was Thompson, who shot 11-of-15 from beyond the arc.

Thompson set an NBA record for points in a single quarter with 37 on 13-of-13 shooting in the third.

2. Al Horford, Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague combined to lead the Atlanta Hawks past Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-93. Millsap tallied 22 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals, Horford had 14 points, 12 boards, three dimes, three swats and a steal, and Teague put up 17 points and nine assists.

Atlanta has won a franchise record 15 consecutive games and 29 of 31.

3. James Harden drilled the game-winner at the buzzer to lead the Houston Rockets to a 113-111 victory over the Phoenix Suns. Harden finished with 33 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, three steals and a block for Houston, while Eric Bledsoe took over with 25 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and a block for Phoenix.

This was the NBA-worst third time that Phoenix has lost on a field goal made with three seconds or less on the clock.

4. Two of the league’s elite clashed as the Chicago Bulls outlasted the Dallas Mavericks 102-98. Jimmy Butler led the charge with 20 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals for the Bulls, while Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 24 points for the Mavericks.

Chicago improves to 16-6 on the road. It’s 13-3 at home.

5. Al Jefferson had his best game since returning from injury, but the Cleveland Cavaliers obliterated the Charlotte Hornets 129-90. Jefferson finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in just 24 minutes for Charlotte, while LeBron James led Cleveland with 25 points, nine assists, six rebounds, four steals and one block.

Charlotte had held each of its previous 10 opponents to less than 100 points.

6. Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard were methodical as the San Antonio Spurs picked the Los Angeles Lakers apart for a 99-85 win. Parker finished with 17 points in just 23 minutes and Leonard tallied 15 points and 14 rebounds for San Antonio. Nick Young led Los Angeles with 17 points, but he recorded zeroes in rebounds, assists, blocks and steals.

Leonard has eight double-doubles in 2014-15. He tallied seven in 2013-14.

7. Recently announced All-Star Kyle Lowry scored 21 points to help the Toronto Raptors pick up a 91-86 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Nerlens Noel stepped up with 12 points and 14 rebounds for Philadelphia, but it was Toronto which held on for the close win.

The 14 rebounds set a new career-high for Noel.

8. Luol Deng scored 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting as the Miami Heat won a rematch of the 2013 and 2014 Eastern Conference Finals 89-87 over the Indiana Pacers. Luis Scola provided Indiana with 14 points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes, while Miami star Chris Bosh scored 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting.

On January 23 of 2014, the Heat and Pacers were a combined 64-20. On January 23 of 2015, the Heat and Pacers are a combined 34-54.

9. Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points as the New York Knicks stayed hot with a 113-106 victory over the Orlando Magic. Nikola Vucevic was dominant, recording 34 points and 18 rebounds on 16-of-22 shooting, but the Magic ultimately fell short.

The Knicks have won a season-high three straight games.

Bonus Fact: This is the first season in NBA history in which two separate teams, Atlanta currently and Golden State, have recorded 15-game winning streaks before the All-Star Game.

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NBA players react to Klay Thompson’s historical 37-point third quarter against Kings http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/24/nba-players-react-to-klay-thompsons-historical-37-point-third-quarter-against-kings/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/24/nba-players-react-to-klay-thompsons-historical-37-point-third-quarter-against-kings/#respond Sat, 24 Jan 2015 06:23:47 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=87803

ParkKlayThompsonSH1If you’ve been debating whether Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson should be an All-Star this year, it’s time to stop that debate.

The sharp shooter had the most points in a single quarter in NBA history on Friday night against the Sacramento Kings, scoring a mind-boggling 37 points in the third quarter and just about breaking twitter in the process.

What was a close game – the Kings led by two points with 7:15 left to go in the third quarter – turned into an utter blowout, thanks to Thompson’s magical performance. With the Warriors up by well over 20 points, the guard ended his night early in the fourth quarter with the following line: 52 points on 16-of-25 shooting from the field, 11-of-15 from the 3-point line, 9-of-10 from the stripe, two rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks.

NBA players around the league were simply mesmerized by the performance and reacted accordingly on twitter:

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

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Photo of the Day: Worst/Scariest Tattoo in History http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/photo-of-the-day-worstscariest-tattoo-in-history/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/photo-of-the-day-worstscariest-tattoo-in-history/#respond Sat, 24 Jan 2015 04:36:41 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=87799

I’m a faAustin Remon of tattoos for the most part. If they’re meaningful, and there’s a purpose behind them, then I’m all for it and really like the idea of marking your body permanently.

However, when someone gets a tattoo of someone else’s face on their body, then I have to start wondering about their sanity.

DeAndre Jordan is a good basketball player. He’s a monster on the glass, and dunks anything within ten feet of the rim. And, as he should be, is a fan favorite out in LA.

One fan took that to a whole other level though.

It seems like he already knew about the gentleman with the tattoo, but it’s news to me, so that’s why I chose it for today. Jordan posted this photo to his Instagram on Friday.

DeAndre Jordan Face Tat

“Had a great time at Commerce Casino today with everyone! Met my guy who got my face tattooed on him, Clipper starting five is next!!! #onefourteen”, Jordan captioned under the photo.

Yes, this is a real tattoo. And I apologize if this is old news, but it’s the first I’ve seen or heard of it, and it’s pretty hilarious. I mean, look at DJ’s expression. It’s half “what the hell is this guy thinking”, half “that’s really weird, why would he get my face on his body, let alone in that spot on his body”.

Ummmmm. Wow. If I were him, I’d probably more scared than anything else. That’s just creepy.

It’s great to be a fan, and obviously I’m a huge basketball fan myself, but I’d never get a player’s face/name/number tattooed on my body. ANYWHERE.

I just don’t know anymore. There’s a chance I’d get my favorite team tattooed on me in some way, but never a player’s face. Sorry if I’m in the minority here.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: When Throwback Thursday Goes Wrong

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Rookie Rankings, Week 11: New International Rookie Game Format is Good Idea http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/rookie-rankings-week-11-an-international-incident/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/rookie-rankings-week-11-an-international-incident/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 21:00:15 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=87775

bernuccaheThe glorious history of NBA All-Star Weekend is littered with bad ideas.All-StarNYC

Remember 2-Ball? The Wheel of Fortune at the Slam Dunk Contest? The game uniforms that had different colors on the front and back, so you couldn’t tell which players were on which team?

This week, however, the NBA announced a change to one of the All-Star Weekend events that is a really good idea. The Rising Stars will pit American players against international players.

The Rising Stars has undergone several changes since its inception in 1994. It initially was confined to rookies. Then it adopted an East-West format. Then second-year players were added. Then TNT personalities started drafting players.

Now, capitalizing on the influence of the international game upon the NBA and the increasing exposure of global tournaments such as the Olympics and the World Cup, the league gives us an exhibition game that should be enhanced by some jingoistic pride.

On first blush, it appears the Americans have a huge advantage. Yes, the number of international players reached triple figures for the first time ever this season. However, that means nearly 80 percent of the league’s players were born in the United States.

But there is one country whose growing influence could level the playing field for the rest of the world: Canada, which has a league-leading six combined rookies and sophomores. (Australia is second with four.)

From www.fiba.com

From www.fiba.com

Current NBA players who hail from our neighbor to the north include Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Andrew Nicholson, Anthony Bennett, Dwight Powell, Nik Stauskas, Tyler Ennis and Kelly Olynyk. Oh, yeah, and Andrew Wiggins, who is by far the best rookie this season.

If you thought Canada’s basketball pedigree began and ended with Steve Nash, it is time to get with the times.

This collection of young talent is the reason why many eyes will be on the 2015 FIBA Americas Tournament in Mexico, where Canada will be trying to secure its first Olympic berth since 2000 after coming up short in qualifications for the 2014 World Cup. It is also the reason why the Rising Stars will have considerable intrigue.

Ten players for each team will be chosen by NBA assistant coaches. Each team will have four guards, four frontcourt players and two more players. Each team also must have at least three rookies and at least three sophomores. The other four can be one or the other.

Here’s what the American team could look like:

BACKCOURT: Victor Oladipo, Orlando; Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia; Shabazz Muhammad, Minnesota; Ben McLemore, Sacramento.

FRONTCOURT: Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia; K.J. McDaniels, Philadelphia; Aaron Gordon, Orlando; Cody Zeller, Charlotte.

TWO MORE: Robert Covington, Philadelphia; Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit.

And here’s what the international team could look like:Kelly Olynyk

BACKCOURT: Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota (Canada); Dennis Schroder, Atlanta (Germany); Dante Exum, Utah (Australia); Bojan Bogdanovic, Brooklyn (Croatia).

FRONTCOURT: Kelly Olynyk, Boston (Canada); Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota (Senegal); Nikola Mirotic, Chicago (Montenegro); Steven Adams, Oklahoma City (New Zealand).

TWO MORE: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee (Greece); Rudy Gobert, Utah (France).

Yes, you could argue that the international team could use another ballhandler, just like the American team could use another big man. And yes, you could argue for the inclusion of Americans such as Trey Burke and Marcus Smart and internationals such as Jusuf Nurkic and Kostas Papanikolaou. But you can’t argue that this game doesn’t pique your interest just a little bit.

Now if we could just get rid of the Celebrity Game.

On to the rankings.

Andrew Wiggins headshot1. ANDREW WIGGINS, F, MINNESOTA: He dropped 31 in Saturday’s win at Denver – most among rookies wolves60this season – and added nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks in an awesome all-around game. Wiggins has scored in double figures in 15 straight games and is averaging 20.7 points on 47 percent shooting in January. Someday, Ricky Rubio will return and make this kid even better. LAST WEEK: 1


Elfrid Payton headshot

2. ELFRID PAYTON, G, ORLANDO: The young point guard is really coming on, averaging 16.3 points and 9.3 magic small logoassists in three games last week, including 22 and 12 – both season highs – in a loss to defensive-minded Memphis. Payton also is getting better at understanding what shots he can make: In January, he is shooting 46 percent from the field and has attempted just two threes. LAST WEEK: 3


Nikola Mirotic headshot

3. NIKOLA MIROTIC, F, CHICAGO: He had his worst week in some time, with no double-digit games and bulls small logodiminishing minutes. In four games, he shot just 5-of-16 overall and 1-of-10 from the arc, averaging less than five points per game. It is possible Mirotic is hitting some sort of wall. Or it is also possible that he is one of the players that Derrick Rose said is “not on the same page.” LAST WEEK: 2


Nerlens Noel headshot4. NERLENS NOEL, F-C, PHILADELPHIA: He had his best game of the season with 17 points, 11 rebounds sixers small logoand five blocks in a win over New Orleans. Afterward, he said, “I’m going to have to really start demanding it. It’s on me to really step it up vocally and call for the ball.” Maybe Noel has to do that because of a reported feud with shot-happy point guard Michael Carter-Williams. LAST WEEK: 6


KJ McDaniels headshot

5. K.J. MCDANIELS, F, PHILADELPHIA: He’s slumping again. After scoring in double figures in five of six sixers small logogames, McDaniels had a three-game stretch where he averaged just 4.7 points on 6-of-26 shooting before snapping out of it with 12 points and five boards in the loss to New York. Regardless of his numbers, if you’ve seen him play, you know he should be in the Slam Dunk Contest. LAST WEEK: 4


Bojan Bogdanovic headshot6. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC, F, BROOKLYN: Following his return to the rankings last week, he will remain brooklyn nets small logoafter averaging 10 points and 4.3 rebounds in three games. However, he did have a 13-minute donut in Thursday’s blowout loss to the Clippers, the sort of disappearing act that got him removed from the rotation by Nets coach Lionel Hollins in the first place. LAST WEEK: 7


Jusuf Nurkic headshot17. JUSUF NURKIC, C, DENVER: He regressed this week, managing just eight points on 3-of-20 shooting over nuggets small logothree games before going for 10 points and nine boards in a loss to San Antonio. It is very possible that Nurkic is being limited by a bad back, which forced him to cut short his practice availability on Thursday. If he is sidelined, the Nuggets will be without a true center. LAST WEEK: 5


Marcus Smart headshot8. MARCUS SMART, G, BOSTON: He had 14 points – with four 3-pointers – and seven assists in a narrow loss celtics small logoto the Clippers but followed that with a 27-minute donut in a surprising win at Portland on Thursday. The Celtics need to stop wasting time with Evan Turner at point guard and giving minutes to Marcus Thornton and just let Smart learn both guard spots on the job with more minutes. LAST WEEK: 8


Langston galloway headshot9. LANGSTON GALLOWAY, G, NEW YORK: By average, Galloway is third among rookies in scoring at 11.8 knicks small logopoints. He has played just six games, but he has yet to embarrass himself, which is hard to do when you play for the Knicks. During New York’s current season-high two-game winning streak, Gallaoway has 32 points on 13-of-25 shooting, with 12 rebounds and seven assists. Not bad at all. LAST WEEK: NR


Jerami Grant headshot10. JERAMI GRANT, F, PHILADELPHIA: In Noel and McDaniels, the Sixers already have the top two rookiessixers small logo in blocks per game. Both are in the top 20 overall, but neither have had eight blocks in a game the way Grant did in Wednesday’s loss to New York. In January, the wing from Syracuse is averaging 6.3 points in 21.0 minutes while shooting 42 percent from the arc. LAST WEEK: NR


DROPOUTS: P.J. Hairston, G, Charlotte (9), Tarik Black, C, LA Lakers (10).

FIVE TO WATCH: Dante Exum, G, Utah: Aaron Gordon, F, Orlando; Dwight Powell, F-C, Dallas; Shabazz Napier, G, Miami; Damjan Rudez, F, Indiana.

Chris Bernucca is the managing editor of SheridanHoops.com. His columns appear Mondays, and his Rookie Rankings on Fridays. You can follow him on Twitter.

 

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Kamenetzky: Post-Kobe injury, Lakers Need to Embrace Total Rebuild http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/kamenetzky-post-kobe-injury-lakers-need-to-embrace-total-rebuilt/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/kamenetzky-post-kobe-injury-lakers-need-to-embrace-total-rebuilt/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 19:00:44 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=87754

briankamenetskyThere’s a moment in the classic 1997 episode of Seinfeld, “The Little Jerry,” when Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer are crammed into the back of Marcelino’s store, about to send Kramer’s rooster (which he named “Little Jerry Seinfeld”) into a cockfight.

Elaine, meanwhile, has been dating a man she thinks is bald by choice before learning he’s actually losing his hair. He asks her to marry him, before the follicular end comes.

“Well, it’ll be a couple of years before he’s completely bald,” Elaine says, considering the offer. “Those’ll be good times.”

“Marriage is a big step, Elaine. Your life’ll totally change,” Jerry replies.

Elaine pauses. “Jerry, it’s three-thirty in the morning. I’m at a cockfight. What am I clinging to?”

I mention this because for the Lakers, we’ve reached the end. It’s three-thirty in the morning, and they’re at a cockfight.

It’s time to stop clinging.

CockfightThe Dwight Howard/Steve Nash trades blew up spectacularly, Howard bolting to Houston while Nash crumbled, physically. It was a smart gamble, but the Lakers lost big. Still, they went into last season selling the idea that if you squinted just right, if Kobe Bryant came back healthy, Pau Gasol turned back the clock a little, Nash stayed healthy, Little Jerry ran from here to Newman’s in under 30 seconds, and so on, the Lakers would be competitive. And, of course, they signed Bryant to his two-year, $48.5 million extension, essentially sight unseen in the wake of his Achilles tear. We saw how that went.

Last summer they continued a neither-fish-nor-fowl strategy of faux competitiveness.

They offered Pau Gasol, thriving in Chicago but useless on a team without postseason prospects, a big contract including, as Gasol revealed a few weeks back, a mind-numbingly inappropriate no-trade clause. For every smart deal like the one they pulled with Houston, absorbing Jeremy Lin into their cap space and sucking up a first-rounder from the Rockets for their trouble, there was the complete waste of time and money on Carlos Boozer. These moves, and others, happen because the Lakers pathologically refuse to acknowledge what they are.

They hint at rebuilding, that it’s a process and people need to be patient, but at the same time have never given the fan base enough credit to be genuinely honest. It’s not a question of “tanking,” one of the most misappropriated words in basketball, but fully embracing reality, acknowledging the team needs to be stripped down to the studs and rebuilt, using every means available. Even those methods — gasp! — used by plain old teams without their rich history and cache. Management believes Lakers fans only understand the language of superstars, and have given them virtually nothing in which to invest themselves over the last couple seasons. (In fairness, one of those things — Julius Randle — broke his leg in the first game of the year.)

Kobe BryantInstead, they went all in on Kobe, selling his mythology, his star quality, and the concept, however misguided, they could (at least kinda, sorta) build one last winner around him. Or, failing that, provide fans a reason to show up at Staples, turn on Time Warner Cable Sportsnet, and generally avoid looking behind the curtain to see what the wizards are doing.

Yet despite having made Kobe their golden goose, the Lakers did a horrendous job protecting him. Byron Scott, whether he had Bryant’s tacit approval or not, ran his star into the ground over the first 30 games, grinding his body to a pulp. And now, despite taking games off to try and get his body right, Bryant’s season is in doubt thanks to a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

The injury represents another idea laid in ruins for the Lakers. It should be abundantly clear that whether Kobe is able to come back this season or is out until next, counting on him staying healthy enough to be a foundational component of a genuinely competitive team in the brutal Western Conference is an impossibility. There will be no Hollywood ending.

3:30 am. Cockfight.

L.A.’s current rebuild strategy, loosely titled “Please, Please, Please Star, Choose Us!”, isn’t a strategy at all; it’s a get rich quick scheme.

It’s time to start the painful work of 100 percent dedication to rebuilding. Where every move, no matter how small, is geared towards restoring the Lakers to glory as fast as possible, no matter how ugly things are in the interim. It can’t happen without management being straight with fans, explaining what they hope to do, how they hope to do it. Sell a vision. Remember, too, it’s not like the current approach is working. The Lakers are on their way to the worst season since moving to L.A. more than 50 years ago… after setting the same distinction last season.

It also can’t happen without the front office being honest with itself. So as the trade deadline approaches, the Lakers have to find any and every deal helping them gain assets. Build, even incrementally, towards the future. Find new homes for Jordan Hill and Lin, and anything else not nailed to the floor another team might want. Find minutes for Jordan Clarkson, Ryan Kelly, and Tarik Black, young guys with potential to develop into rotation players by the time the Lakers are good again. If it means fewer minutes for Boozer and Ronnie Price, who cares?

When summer comes, kick the tires on big free agents, but home run swings aren’t a substitute for singles and doubles. Eventually, those put runs on the scoreboard. The Lakers are still a Rockefeller franchise, but in the modern NBA, even Rockefellers have to spend some time at Wal-Mart. So while Kobe’s injury is a major downer for their fans, whether at Staples Center or the legions turning out on the road, it also provides an opportunity.

Whatever it is they’re the Lakers are clinging to, they can stop now.

Brian Kamenetzky is a regular contributor to SheridanHoops.com. Follow him and his brother, Andy, on Twitter.

 

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Eurohoops: Teodosic sets assists record, Eurostash prospects shine http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/eurohoops-teodosic-sets-assists-record-eurostash-prospects-shine/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/eurohoops-teodosic-sets-assists-record-eurostash-prospects-shine/#respond Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:00:08 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=87740

MitnickThe Euroleague, European basketball’s top level of competition, just finished the first half of the 4th round of the Top 16 round. With some of Europe’s top teams taking the floor, we take a look at some of the top performers around the league through Thursday night in this week’s Eurohoops update.

Teodosic and De Colo star in CSKA Moscow’s victory over Unicaja Malaga

teoCSKA Moscow continued their perfect Top 16 campaign, breezing past the Spanish side Unicaja Malaga 101-74 behind the brilliant backcourt play of Milos Teodosic and Nando De Colo. CSKA now sits atop Group B with a 4-0 record, and are looking like a virtual lock to make the Euroleague quarterfinals.

Teodosic, one of this decade’s top European point guards, set a Euroleague Top 16 record with 14 assists to go along with 13 points, reaping the benefits of being the lead guard on a team that shot 65.9% from 2 and 56.5% from 3.

nando_de_coloFormer Spur and Raptor Nando De Colo, was perfect from the field, scoring a season high 28 points on 7/7 from 2PT, 4/4 from 3PT and 2/2 from the line. De Colo returned to Europe this season after two years of being a relative non-factor in the NBA, and has quickly reestablished himself as one of the top guards in Europe.

With a deep bench filled with talent, coach Dimitris Itoudis has his team rolling, with CSKA looking like the odds on favorite to win the Euroleague title this season. However, as we saw last year in Maccabi Tel-Aviv’s miracle run in the final four, CSKA will still need a little bit of luck if they want to bring the title home to Moscow.

Vesley, Bogdanovic and Bjelica outshine Brooks and Hackett as Fenerbahce defeats Milano

WSH_Vesely_JanFenerbahce Ulker Istanbul was powered behind the inspired play of their three former NBA draft picks and were able to step up on a quite night for Andrew Goudelock to pull off an impressive win over EA7 Emporio Armani Milano to move to 2-2 in Top 16 play.

Former lottery pick Jan Vesely was fantastic, finishing the night with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks, continuing his solid play over the last two weeks after a rough start to January.

Bogdan Bogdanovic, who is being stashed in Europe by the Phoenix Suns after being selected 27th this past summer, finished the game with a season high 8 assists to go along with 11 points. Bogdanovic is having a solid, but unspectacular season for Fenerbahce, proving he belongs with a big time European club, but showing he may need at least another full year of seasoning before he is ready to contribute in the NBA.

Nemanja Bjelica, whose rights have been held by Minnesota since he was selected 35th in the 2010 NBA draft, had a strong showing with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Bjelica has really upped his play this season, specifically in the rebounding department, averaging a career high 6.7 rebounds per game in Euroleague and a ranking second in the Turkish league with 9 rebounds a game. After hiring power agent Arn Tellem to represent him after a breakout showing in the World Cup, it is possible Bjelica could be joining the Wolves next season if he continues his impressive play this season.

Milano was led by former first rounder MarShon Brooks, who finished with 24 points, and a double-double by Daniel Hackett, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Real Madrid rolls past Panathinaikos in a big night for Felipe Reyes

Real Madrid remains undefeated in Top 16 play with a 83-65 with over Panathinaikos that was probably even more of a blowout than the final score suggested.

Real Madrid’s backcourt came out with a great energy and significantly limited former Euroleague MVP Dimitris Diamantidis, who contributed most of his 6 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds when the game was already out of reach. Real Madrid’s backcourt took their assignment to slow down the legendary point guard to the point where Argentinian PG Facundo Campazzo literally flipped him over his back.

https://vine.co/v/OIdQdbMQzQb

reyesSpanish veteran Felipe Reyes had a fantastic performance, finishing with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Reyes finished the night a mere 10 rebounds shy of the Euroleague record for career rebounds, and should not have a problem passing Mirsad Turkan to become the competition’s all-time leading rebounder before the season’s end. Reyes has been a dependable commodity in the Euroleague, the Spanish league and with the national team for quite some time, and there is no question that he has earned his place as one of the most important contributors to European basketball over the last decade and a half.

Redding leads Alba Berlin over Galatasaray

Alba Berlin pulled off a nice win over Turkish side Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul, winning 75-65. Guard Reggie Redding led the way for the winners with 16 points and 5 rebounds, continuing his stellar season that started with a memorable steal as Alba upset the Spurs in the preseason. Redding was helped by good performances by Jamel McLean (8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) and Alex Renfroe (5 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists), as Alba moved to 2-2 in Top 16 play.

Galatasaray was paced by Zoran Erceg, who poured in 19 points on 3/10 from 3PT after having a quiet 4 point performance last week. Erceg is having a career season for Galatasaray, with the 30 year old stretch forward averaging 16.7 points in Euroleague play. If Galatasaray wants to qualify for the quarterfinals, they will need to hope Erceg will shoot them into more games than he shoots them out of.

MORE EUROHOOPS COLUMNS:

CHECKING OUT TWO 2015 DRAFT PROSPECTS FROM SERBIA: LUKA MITROVIC AND NIKOLA MILUTINOV
FORMER NBA FIRST-ROUND PICKS THRIVING IN EUROPE
FIVE AMERICANS OVERSEAS WHO CAN MAKE THE JUMP TO THE NBA
HERZONJA BREAKS OUT, SARIC AND JOKIC DOMINATE
SERBIAN FAN KILLED IN TURKEY; OMAR COOK SETS ASSISTS RECORD
GOUDELOCK SETS 3-POINT RECORD; OSMAN STANDS OUT FOR EFES
SARIC COMES ALIVE; ANDERSEON STANDS OUT FOR ZALGIRIS; MACCABI IN TROUBLE?
SPANOULIS AND TEODOSIC LIGHTING UP EUROPE; SARIC? NOT SO MUCH

AJ Mitnick is an American living in Israel and working as an assistant coach in the Israeli Basketball Winner League. A graduate of IDC Herzliya, Mitnick is an assistant coach with Bnei Herzliya, following three seasons with Maccabi Rishon-Lezion. Follow him on Twitter.

 

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Fantasy Spin: Warriors, Rockets Expected To Score Big http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/fantasy-spin-warriors-rockets-expected-to-score-big/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/fantasy-spin-warriors-rockets-expected-to-score-big/#respond Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:14:09 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=87760

KentOf the 11 NBA games on Big Friday, two stand out from a DFS perspective. The defenseless Kings and DeMarcus Cousins $11000 visit the Warriors, who are 18-1 at home and the best team in the Association as we near the halfway mark.

Stephen Curry $10100 and Klay Thompson $7900 are remarkably consistent and make each other better. For a while, Draymond Green $7700 was also putting up monster numbers, but lately he’s quite content to focus on things that don’t show up in the box score. That coincides with the return of Andrew Bogut $4600, who is still on a tight leash for minutes but will be trying to slow down DMC while he’s out there.

Another late game with a ridiculously high over/under of 220 is Houston at Phoenix. Snubbed as an All-Star starter, though he will get the nod if/when Kobe Bryant (shoulder) withdraws, James Harden $10800 might make a statement. Dwight Howard $7800 should have a field day against Alex Len $4600, who is hampered by a sore foot, and Miles Plumlee $3300, who is no match. When the Suns are trailing they go small, turning loose Isaiah Thomas $5300 and Gerald Green $4400.

Plays of the Day

FBWCOpen a new DraftKings account and get a FREE entry for the $65K Layup — the top score earns $5,000 and 8,375 of 37,375 teams receive cash prizes. They will match your initial deposit 100% ($5 to $600) with bonus funds that convert to cash as you play.

The Fantasy Basketball World Championship has a million dollar first prize, to be awarded March 23. There are only 40 seats in the Final; finish first in a Qualifier to win a spot, including a 5-day VIP trip to Las Vegas (worth $55,000) plus $7,000 in cash, even for last place! Join a Super Satellite contest tonight for just $2.00 where you can get into an upcoming $20 Qualifier by finishing first or second among a mere 23 teams.

If you love fantasy hoops and are also a poker player, DraftKings has just launched a truly great promotion. For a $27 buy-in, you can win a week-long trip to Las Vegas and a seat in the WSOP Main Event! Here’s the direct link to enter tonight’s Satellite contest. There’s a $15,000 prize pool, with cash payouts for finishing second through 25th out of a maximum 630 teams. First place is worth $12,500 — the value of a $10K buy-in to the Main Event table, plus airfare, accommodation and a VIP party.

The $2.7 MILLION January Jam costs $100 per team, but you can win tickets for $5, $2 or even a quarter. The $500,000 NBA Slam Dunk is just five days away, with a top prize of $100,000.

Extremely interesting in the real world, Oklahoma City at Atlanta might be more like a playoff game than an all-star game, which makes it less attractive in fantasy. While Russell Westbrook $10200 and Kevin Durant $10600 are always great, the Hawks are more balanced, with Al Horford $7200 possibly the best value.

The superstars are out in full force this evening. LeBron James $10700 has been over 50 FPTS in four of five games since returning from an injury. He praised Timofey Mozgov $5100 after the Cavs’ fourth straight win and they should easily make it five against Charlotte.

Meaningless games like Orlando at New York can be quite profitable. Nikola Vucevic $8700 is vastly superior to all the Knicks’ big men, Victor Oladipo $6900 will be the best SG on the floor and with Jose Calderon $4900 looking old and frequently disinterested, Elfrid Payton $5400 might explode at an affordable price. You can’t read the mind of Carmelo Anthony $8900 to know how seriously he will take a given game. Langston Galloway $4100 is a live longshot.

lineup-1-23Another tilt that won’t affect the playoff race has Anthony Davis $11100 and the Pelicans visiting Minnesota. Thaddeus Young $6100 may be coming around, but he’s no match for the Brow.

The Bulls are hurting and seemed out of sorts until last night’s dominant win over the Spurs, where Derrick Rose $7300 and Pau Gasol $9300 led the way. At home off a laugher followed by a rest day, Dallas has multiple weapons. With Jimmy Butler $7900 on Monta Ellis $7000, I like Tyson Chandler $6200 and Chandler Parsons $5900 as value picks.

Toronto should beat the 76ers with relative ease. All-Star starter Kyle Lowry $9300 is a Philly native who hosted his teammates last night for a celebratory dinner. Jonas Valanciunas $5900 (calf) is questionable, so Amir Johnson $4600 and Patrick Patterson $3800 might get extra run. When the Raptors go small, Lou Williams $4500 is usually prominent.

On a last-second three by Evan Turner $5300, the Celtics beat what’s left of the Blazers last night. They will be tired in Denver against Ty Lawson $8800, Arron Afflalo $6100 and Wilson Chandler $5500. With Jusuf Nurkic $5000 (back) doubtful and Kenneth Faried $7500 not feeling well, J.J. Hickson $5200 is a sneaky play.

It’s the third game in for nights for the Heat, or I would love them against Indiana. Dwyane Wade $8300 and Chris Bosh $8300 should still be able to ensure a win, but this one may not be too exciting.

With Kobe out indefinitely, the Lakers have very little talent. You could try Jeremy Lin $5000 or Jordan Hill $5700 and hope that San Antonio rolls out its second string, or pass. Spin regulars know I have given up trying to predict a Gregg Popovich rotation, especially in back-to-backs.

Pos Premium Midrange Bargain
PG Stephen Curry $10100 Jeff Teague $8200 Elfrid Payton $4400
SG James Harden $10800 Klay Thompson $7900 L. Galloway $4100
SF LeBron James $10700 Chandler Parsons $5900 P.J. Tucker $4200
PF Anthony Davis $11100 Paul Millsap $8100 Patrick Patterson $3800
C DeMarcus Cousins $11000 Al Horford $7200 Andrew Bogut $4600

The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.

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Tweet of the Night: Kyle Lowry excited about being voted in as a starter for All-Star game http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/tweet-of-the-night-kyle-lowry-excited-about-being-voted-in-as-a-starter-for-all-star-game/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/tweet-of-the-night-kyle-lowry-excited-about-being-voted-in-as-a-starter-for-all-star-game/#respond Fri, 23 Jan 2015 13:18:48 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=87764

ParkKyle LowryAll along, it was assumed that Dwyane Wade would be voted in by the fans as a starter for the All-Star game, as he had been for the last nine years.

No more, as another guard beat him out for the prestigious guard spot on the final day: Toronto Raptors’ point guard Kyle Lowry. 

It was a shocking result not only because Wade had been voted in as a starter for so long (nearly a decade), but also because the third voting returns showed that Wade was ahead of Lowry by more than 100,000 votes.

Lowry, however, received a major push in the final days by an unexpected supporter: Justin Bieber. Yes, the mega-popular pop star, who has nearly 60 million followers on twitter, publicly endorsed the idea of voting for Lowry this past Monday and that appears to have worked like a charm. He also had the support of Drake – another popular musical star around the country.

Lowry certainly had the numbers, averaging 19.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.6 steals. He has also been the clear leader for the Raptors, who lead the Atlantic Division (which isn’t the most difficult thing to do these days if you’re a half-decent team) and have the third best record in the East.

With the surprising results announced on Thursday, here is what the guard had to say:

Congrats to Lowry, who will make the first All-Star appearance of his career in February.

Tweet of the Day: LA Lakers Without Kobe Bryant

Tweet of the Night: Trevor Ariza not happy about $2,500 fine after getting into it with Stephen Curry

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

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5 Fast Facts from Last Night’s Games — CP3 Drops 17 Assists, Rose Takes Over, Turner Strikes Late http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/5-fast-facts-from-last-nights-games-cp3-drops-17-assists-rose-takes-over-turner-strikes-late/ http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/01/23/5-fast-facts-from-last-nights-games-cp3-drops-17-assists-rose-takes-over-turner-strikes-late/#respond Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:18:59 +0000 http://www.sheridanhoops.com/?p=87751

ogdenThe 2014-15 NBA regular season continued on Thursday, January 22. There were multiple blowouts, a game-winner with minimal time on the clock and an impressive feat by a player who nearly outdid his head coach.

Here’s how it all transpired.

1. Pau Gasol put up 12 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks on 5-of-6 shooting to lead the Chicago Bulls past the San Antonio Spurs 104-81. Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 22 points in 27 minutes, while Kawhi Leonard scored a team-high 16 points for the Spurs.

The Bulls had a +/- of plus-26 with Rose on the floor and minus-3 when he was on the bench.

2. Chris Paul dished out 17 assists in 24 minutes as the Los Angeles Clippers demolished the Brooklyn Nets 123-84. Blake Griffin scored 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting in 25 minutes, including 22 points in the first half. J.J. Redick added 17 points in 20 minutes and Jamal Crawford tallied 17 points in 18 minutes.

Paul’s 17 assists set a season-high.

3. The last player to record at least 17 assists in 24 minutes or less: CP3′s coach, Doc Rivers, on February 28, 1987, per Basketball-Reference.com.

4. Avery Bradley scored 18 points and Jared Sullinger tallied 17 to lead the Boston Celtics past the Portland Trail Blazers 90-89. Damian Lillard scored 21 points in the Trail Blazers’ first game since power forward LaMarcus Aldridge was announced to miss six-to-eight weeks.

Evan Turner sank the game-winning 3-point field goal with 1.9 seconds remaining on the clock.

5. Enes Kanter and Gordon Hayward took over to help the Utah Jazz pick up a 101-99 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Hayward scored a team-high 24 points and Kanter finished with 23 points, 16 rebounds and two steals for Utah, while Jerryd Bayless dished out nine assists for Milwaukee.

Kanter’s tallied at least 23 points and 16 rebounds in consecutive games. He hadn’t tallied 20 and 10 a single time in 2014-15 beforehand.

Bonus Fact: The last time the Bulls beat the Spurs by at least 23 points: March of 1997. Tim Duncan hadn’t been drafted yet.

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