Scotto: Future Stars Shine Bright in Jordan Brand Classic

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Jordan Brand Classic LogoThe Jordan Brand Classic introduced us to the game’s future stars. And from the looks of it, the future is bright.

Top recruits from Duke, Kansas and Kentucky dazzled in the All-American Game and showed why each program has drawn considerable buzz heading into next season.

Seton Hall – which had five recruits named to the Jordan Brand Classic – dominated the Regional Game.

Canada shined in the International Game once again thanks to Jahvon Blair’s MVP performance with the help of his fellow countryman, Anthony McNish.

In addition, Udoka Azubuike – a 14-year-old from Nigeria – looked like a man amongst boys poised to become the next top recruit in a few years.

SH Blog: Nene to miss six weeks, Clippers interested in World Peace, Jamal Crawford wants to come off bench

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NeneNot unlike seasons of past, key players for many teams around the league have missed significant time due to a variety of injuries this season.

It looked as though Nene Hilario would suffer a similar fate – and then some – when he went down with a scary looking knee injury against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. Some in the organization feared that it may have been bad enough to be season-ending.

Lucky for the Washington Wizards, the power forward suffered nothing more than a sprained ligament, from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports

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Rookie Rankings, Week 12: MCW Hits the Rookie Wall

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Charles-Barkley1The 1997-98 Houston Rockets were a fun bunch.

Since winning consecutive championships behind Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, the Rockets had added a number of veterans to challenge the dynastic Chicago Bulls. The roster included Charles Barkley, Kevin Willis and Eddie Johnson, all thirtysomethings who been around the block a couple of times.

In late February, the Rockets arrived in New York for a Sunday matinee against the Knicks. Despite sputtering near .500, they were in high spirits – probably a carryover from a Saturday night spent in The Big Apple – and there was no shortage of good-natured fun among teammates.

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SH Blog: Celtics may be interested in deal for Stoudemire, Carter calls Howard a crybaby during contest

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STORY OF THE DAY:

amare_stoudemireBoston Celtics quickly ended the notion that they would be interested in dealing Rajon Rondo to the New York Knicks, but they may be willing to deal others to acquire Amare Stoudemire. Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report has details:

But even if it’s not Rondo, the Celtics are still attractive for the potential of a big man swap, and according to a source close to Gang Green, they might be willing to take on what basically no other team wants: Stoudemire’s $21.7 million and $23.4 million salaries this season and next, respectively. In that scenario, according to the source, the Knicks would acquire power forward/center Kris Humphries and small forward Gerald Wallace, while the Celtics would lose two massive salaries for one, Stoudemire, who the Celtics would have to retain only until 2015 (Wallace is through 2016). The Celtics also plan on “stinking in 2014-15 anyway,” according to the source close to the team, so Stoudemire’s financial presence wouldn’t necessarily hurt them as they have plenty of salary-cap flexibility and can continue to add roster pieces.

 

QUOTES OF THE DAY:

  • After a tough loss against the Charlotte Bobcats, Kevin Garnett offered his thoughts on the Brooklyn Nets’ situation, from Stefan Bondy of Daily News:

Kevin Garnett on how to fix this: “I don’t know. If I knew, I’d share it with this locker room.”

  • Vince Carter, a former teammate of Dwight Howard, had some very bold words to say to the center during the contest between Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets on Wednesday, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:

Vince Carter just now to Dwight Howard: “You’re the biggest crybaby I know.”

Fighting words, indeed.

FINED FOR CURSING:

Gerald Wallace has been very vocal about the Boston Celtics this season. Here were his latest words after getting blown out by the Houston Rockets, from Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe: “I don’t know what the [expletive] that was, to be honest.”

For those words, the forward has been fined a handsome $10,000 by the league.

KOBE UPDATE:

Kobe BryantKobe Bryant may be practicing, but he isn’t quite ready to be himself and admits that he may have to make adjustments to his game, from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

“Within the Lakers practices, the private belief has been this: Kobe Bryant could hold his own right now, but he wouldn’t be himself yet. And truth be told, who could be so soon? Not Michael Jordan, not LeBron James, not anyone… ”You’ve got to be honest with yourself, and if you have those limitations, then you’ve got to figure out a way to be effective around those,” Bryant told reporters at the Lakers practice facility Tuesday. “You can’t be stubborn about that. If there are certain things that I used to do that I can’t do now, I won’t try to do them. I’ve got to figure out another way.”

After practicing for the first time, Bryant broke down how he felt and what needed to improve. Mark Medina of Daily News has details:

“I just went out there, played and tried to do what I normally do,” Bryant said. “I tried to figure some things out I could do at this stage and figure out what I can’t do at this stage.”

What did he learn?

“I’m able to hold my defenders off pretty easily with my off hand and maintain position in the post,” Bryant said. “I’m much much stronger now than I was.”

“There’s areas that still need to be stronger in terms of jumping and being able to play quickly, change directions and things like that,” Bryant said. “Those are areas you have to get stronger. But I can adjust my game and play at a pretty high level right now.”

OTHER NEWS FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE:

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The Numbers Say… Anthony Davis, Michael Carter-Williams Continue Torrid Starts

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Anthony Davis crop

Five days into the 2013-14 NBA regular season, two players continue to dominate to the point that the record books have taken notice. Surprisingly, it’s not LeBron James and Kevin Durant, or even Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, for that matter.

It’s Anthony Davis and Michael Carter-Williams.

Davis, a second-year power forward for the New Orleans Pelicans, has been dominating on both ends of the floor. Carter-Williams, a rookie point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, has been doing the same, but in a very different way.

Whether you saw it coming or not, both of these individuals have been dominant. November 2 was no exception.