SH Blog: Phil Jackson meets with Lamar Odom; Kyrie Irving says he doesn’t deserve the media barrage

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ShabazzNapierIt’s only been a week since I last wrote here at Sheridan Hoops, but it feels like a lot longer. Finishing a degree and switching countries will do that.

Earlier today, UConn knocked off Florida to advance to the national championship game. Their coach, Kevin Ollie, is drawing lots of buzz as a potential NBA coach (he was the first guy Bobby Gonzalez mentioned as the next Brad Stevens), and their star point guard, Shabazz Napier, is looking like a future NBA player. But let’s not forget the ultimate cautionary tale of overvaluing success in the tournament: former LSU player Tyrus Thomas. Napier is an entirely different player, of course, but this tournament could go down in history as synonymous with his name, just like the 2006 edition was with Thomas (and George Mason’s Jai Lewis, but he was never an NBA prospect).

Napier is a great player: he’s a smart, heady point guard who basically runs an NBA offense already (thanks again, Kevin Ollie), and he could be an NBA rotation player. But if he jumps into the lottery, somebody’s probably paying too much attention to tournament games.

Now let’s get to the NBA’s latest news:

SH Blog: Lacob finds some of Warriors’ struggles disturbing, Raptors likely to keep Lowry

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Steph CurryBefore the season began, much hype surrounded the possibilities of a revamped Golden State Warriors lineup.

They locked up Andrew Bogut to a reasonable deal (although some initially disagreed with the size of the contract), signed Andre Iguodala and brought in useful veterans like Jermaine O’Neal and Marreese Speights. They also had Stephen Curry coming off an incredible playoff run and looking to become a legitiate superstar in the league. Heading into the All-Star break, they expected to be better than 31-22 and eighth in the Western conference, which is where the team currently stands.

General manager Bob Myers has already made one trade, acquiring the services of Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks while giving up on Toney Douglas, who failed to play a significant role off the bench through the first half of the season. Based on some of the team’s struggles this season – particularly on the offensive end – Myers is likely not done shaking up the roster. According to Sam Amick of USA Today, the Warriors are aggressively involved in the market as the trade deadline approaches: 

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SH Blog: Nuggets rejected Shumpert offer from Knicks, Lacob explains why it wasn’t hard to sign Iguodala

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There’s nothing like a juicy rumor floating around the league, and there was one worth discussing from Wednesday involving Iman Shumpert and Kenneth Faried. Both are still developing and we still don’t know who they truly are as of yet in terms of potential, but there is no doubt that plenty of teams are interested in obtaining either player. So are the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets entertaining offers? That is the question, which we have some answers to below.

STORY OF THE DAY:

ImanShumpertThe hottest rumor of the day came from Frank Isola of NYDN:

J.R. Smith is starting & Iman Shumpert could be departing. I’m hearing Knicks-Nuggets continue to discuss an Iman for Kenneth Faried trade.

The all-knowing Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports!, however, shot down any notion that this is an ongoing discussion:

Denver has made it clear to Kenneth Faried’s reps: There are no active talks involving him. Knicks offered Shumpert. Denver rejected idea.

There’s been significant interest NBA-wide in Faried, but short of including him into a blockbuster deal, it’s unlikely Denver moves him.

Knicks fans appeared to be devastated by the idea of losing Shumpert, so Woj’s report should provide them some relief. However, there are a number of teams interested in the guard, and the Knicks are undecided on what they want to do. Marc Stein of ESPN has it covered:

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SH Blog: Howard compares current teammates to former Magic teammates, Kobe admits having insecurities and self-doubt

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The story of Wednesday is undoubtedly ESPN’s rank of Kobe Bryant at No. 25 and getting an incredible rise out of twitter in the process.

While it’s interesting to predict and wonder what Bryant may do when he returns, there is no clear-cut answer until we actually see him in action. Lets just leave it at that, shall we?

Story of the day:

dwighthowardLets move onto Dwight Howard, who apparently still likes to say things that won’t win over any fans. He also had some… lets call it an “interesting” comparison of his current teammates to the teammates he once had in Orlando, from Josh Robbins of Orlando Sentinel:

He thinks Houston has similar talent to the 2008-09 Magic squad he led to the NBA Finals.

On Tuesday, Howard compared Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons to Hedo Turkoglu and Rockets shooting guard James Harden to Courtney Lee but also added that Harden has more scoring ability. He compared Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley to Rafer Alston and Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin to Anthony Johnson.

Howard said he was disappointed that, last February, after the Magic acquired Tobias Harris in a trade, the team granted Harris’ request to wear No. 12, Howard’s old number.

“I just think that despite whatever happened, there was a lot of things that I did and that we did as a team, and that number was special down there,” Howard said. “And I was a little bit upset about that.”

(Howard likely didn’t know, and perhaps still doesn’t know, that Harris wanted to wear No. 12 as a tribute to a close friend who had died of leukemia at 17 years old.)

After all the turmoil Howard put the Magic through, it’s quite amusing that he actually still wants them to cater to his desires. It’s understandable if he hopes to eventually see his jersey number retired when he is done playing, but thinking the team would somehow unofficially retire his number by disallowing other players from wearing it is nonsensical, especially given his tumultuous relationship with the franchise.

As for Howard seeing a link between Harden and Lee, someone will have to ask him to elaborate on the subject because the only thing comparable between those two players are their positions played and height. 

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SH Blog: Joe Lacob hopes to beat up the Rockets, Nets agree to terms with Andrei Kirilenko

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Joe LacobWhen it comes to the NBA, what people most care for is the product that’s on the floor: your superstars, role players and the coaches.

But how well a team operates really depends on and starts with the dedication of the ones sitting at the very top. Yes, the personality of an owner can truly reflect the successes and failures of a team, and there is no better example of this than seeing the before and after of the Golden State Warriors when Joe Lacob became the majority owner.

For so many years, the Warriors were run by an ownership that is well documented as an utter failure and disaster. We won’t get into the specifics of that because it’s now in the distant past, but to sum up how they did under the Chris Cohan regime, the team made the postseason just once in the span of nearly two decades. 

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