Sprung: Top Pick Bennett Has Historically Bottomed Out

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Anthony BennettPoor Anthony Bennett tried to keep his head up.

His right shoulder was heavily wrapped after a 31-point loss to the Knicks, and there was disappointment in his eyes.

Bennett had another empty, unremarkable game just two days after a seemingly encouraging 15-point performance against New Orleans. It turns out that it was just a blip in a season of disappointments for both player and team.

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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Bernucca: All not lost in lost weekend for road teams

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lost weekendHey, how about those road teams in the playoffs, hunh?

It was a lost weekend that would have made Ray Milland proud.

I spent huge chunks of Saturday and Sunday at an AAU tournament and missed several games. When I finally got home and turned on the TV, I wished I was back at the AAU tournament.

If you didn’t watch the NBA playoffs this weekend, you didn’t miss much. All eight road teams lost Game 1, the first time that has happened since 2004. In that season, three first-round series ended in sweeps, four more ended in five games and the lone series that went the distance saw the home team win every game.

This weekend’s road teams lost by an average of 16 points, making it hard to tell whether they didn’t show up or couldn’t wait to get home. The Houston Rockets, who don’t play Oklahoma City again until Wednesday, actually did go home after Sunday night’s debacle.

The three games that aired on TNT on Sunday were decided by a combined 69 points. Yes, We Know Drama, and This Isn’t It. 

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The Bernucca List – Edition 30

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Really? Thirty of these already?

We started these about a year ago for two reasons. One was both editor-in-chief Chris Sheridan and yours truly both were big fans of The Spy List, which ran in Spy, a wonderfully snarky monthly magazine in the late 1980s and early 1990s. (It also did its fair share of good investigative reporting, by the way.)

The other reason we began running these was NBA commissioner David Stern and union chief Billy Hunter were remarkably unsympathetic to our basic needs. When you commit to building a better basketball site, it has a better chance for success if basketball is actually being played.

So what sort of started out as filler content during the interminable lockout now has become one of the longest continuous features on Sheridan Hoops. We’re kind of proud of that, even though coming up with fresh material occasionally presents a challenge.

More on that later. First, let’s settle up last week’s business. Edition 29 of The Bernucca List had been posted for less than 10 minutes before reader Dualie provided the correct answer, which was “Active coaches who have played for the teams they are coaching.” Nice job.

This week’s list is after the jump.

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SH Blog: J-Smoove will be UFA; Kobe vs. Smush Part 3; “The London Abbeys” are dead before birth

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If the NBA is a restaurant, the preseason games are its appetizers: often tantalizing, but only occasionally tasty. Chris Bernucca has a look at the yummy aspects of the first few games, namely what can be learned about some of the league’s top teams.

We’re also continuing our series of guest columns on why fans of all 30 NBA teams have reason to feel good about their squads, with the latest installment covering the Grizzlies from Tom Lorenzo of StraightOuttaVancouver. And whether you are a regular NBA fan or a fan-slash-fantasy hoops enthusiast, keep on checking out our daily fantasy columns. Here’s today’s Fantasy Spin from Kent Williams.

He is the only guy in America Canada breaking down every NBA exhibition game. Follow him on Twitter at @SheridanFantasy.

And of course, we’ve also got all the latest NBA news and rumors, right here, via Nova Scotia, where I blog from. (Y’all didn’t know SheridanHoops was so Canuck, eh?):
  • Lang Greene of HoopsWorld starts us off with this note regarding Josh Smith, who will be an unrestricted free agent following this season: “Smith will not sign an early extension with the Hawks, not because he doesn’t want to play in Atlanta, but because the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) makes it foolish business to give the franchise an early autograph. If Smith were to sign an extension before June 30, the deal could only be for a maximum of three years. By simply waiting until the start of free agency Smith would be eligible to sign a five year contract with the club. The simple math in this instance shows if Smith signed early he’d be leaving at the very least $25-30 million on the table.”
  • Jeremy Lin is citing problems with his knee as the reason for his struggles so far in the preseason, writes Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News. But Lin, who underwent surgery to repair a meniscus he tore in March, might have bigger problems in the future, according to a source Lawrence talked to:  ’More than a problem with his knee, what I saw again from Lin is that he is limited as an athlete,’’ was how one person with years of NBA experience put it after seeing Lin’s debut. ‘Offensively, he should be fine. But when he has to guard opposing point guards, especially guys with speed like Russell Westbrook, he is going to really struggle.’ “
  • Here’s a Facebook status posted by Kobe Bryant that appears to be a fairly thinly veiled response to former teammate Smush Parker: “Leadership is responsibility. There comes a point when one must make a decision. Are YOU willing to do what it takes to push the right buttons to elevate those around you? If the answer is YES, are you willing to push the right buttons even if it means being perceived as the villain? Here’s where the true responsibility of being a leader lies. Sometimes you must prioritize the success of the team ahead of how your own image is perceived. The ability to elevate those around you is more than simply sharing the ball or making teammates feel a certain level of comfort. It’s pushing them to find their inner beast, even if they end up resenting you for it at the time. I’d rather be perceived as a winner than a good teammate. I wish they both went hand in hand all the time but that’s just not reality. I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success. Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses. This is my way. It might not be right for YOU but all I can do is share my thoughts. It’s on YOU to figure out which leadership style suits you best. Will check back in with you soon.. Till then Mamba out”
  • Joe Freeman of The Oregonian has this awesome look at Adam Morrison’s NBA comeback, which currently has him fighting for a roster spot with the Blazers: “Six years after a Portland radio station orchestrated a “Draft the Stache” campaign to try to help lure Morrison to the Blazers, the one-time college cult hero and former NBA lottery pick finally has donned the Blazers’ trademark pinwheel logo. But the question remains: Will he wear it beyond the exhibition season? … The 6-foot-8 small forward arrived into Portland without a guaranteed roster spot, willing to fight and scrap and do enough in October to earn a second basketball life. By all accounts, Morrison has performed well over the first two weeks of camp. Coach Terry Stotts has praised his work ethic, shooting ability and defensive effort. Teammates have credited him for providing a positive veteran presence to one of the NBA’s youngest locker rooms. Morrison, 28, said he had invitations to attend two other training camps, but settled on Portland because it was close to his home in Spokane, Wash., he was told he would be given a legitimate shot at making the team and the Blazers had an obvious need for a backup small forward. In his first exhibition game, he excelled against the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring nine points in 13 minutes to show he might just be able to provide an offensive spark off the bench.”
  • For those asking about Calderon-to-Lakers Twitter talk today, Calderon's agent Mark Bartelstein says: "There's absolutely nothing to it."
    @ESPNSteinLine
    Marc Stein
  • LaMarcus Aldridge says he’s a “number 1″ guy to Chris Haynes of CSNNW in this piece: “Depending on who you talk to, there’s only a select few of players in the National Basketball Association who are capable of being “the guy” on a championship caliber team.Right now, the Portland Trail Blazers aren’t one of those teams and many have said that in order for them to be one, they need to acquire a superstar via free agency or trade to be that number one guy. All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge disagrees with that line of thinking and says there’s no need to bring in a number one guy, he’s already in Portland. ‘I think every team in this league feels that I’m a number one and that’s why they double-team me and they scheme me the way they do it,’ Aldridge told CSNNW.com. ‘If I wasn’t a number one, teams wouldn’t double-team me and teams wouldn’t try to take me out.’ “
  • John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer has this worrying note about some of the Sixers’ big men: “It’s time for certain members of the 76ers to get their conditioning up. This was the message Sixers coach Doug Collins issued outside the team’s locker room after the Sixers dropped a 108-105 overtime decision to the Brooklyn Nets at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday. The Sixers are 1-1 in the preseason. ‘Our team, we’ve got to be in a little bit better condition,’ Collins said. ‘I’ve been worried about pushing the guys in camp. We’ve got some older guys in camp that you worry about getting injuries. But I told our guys we’re not in the shape we need to be in to play.’ Collins didn’t mention any names after the Sixers rallied behind the strong play of Nick Young (team-high 21 points) and Maalik Wayns (18 points), but it was clear that he is talking about big men such as Kwame Brown, who looks to be north of 280 pounds, and second-year forward Lavoy Allen. Allen’s conditioning is not where the Sixers want it to be, and missing three days of training camp last week while awaiting the birth of his child didn’t help matters.”
  • And finally, here’s Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe with a look at the potential European expansion of the NBA that has quieted down in the last few years: “There was a time when Stern had dreams of a team or even a division in Europe, a first in American sports. He was determined to devise a way for a group of teams in London, Rome, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, and Berlin to compete with the 30 stateside NBA teams and even have a real world championship series. Regardless of how uncomfortable the idea made fans who believe 30 teams was enough — and regardless of how inconceivable it might be to have a team in a time zone six hours ahead of the Eastern US — Stern was going to add the London Abbeys to the NBA. But that idea seems to have fizzled along with the international economy and the lack of NBA-worthy venues overseas. What Stern realized is that many of the arenas that house Euroleague teams are not up to NBA standards. For example, the Ulker Sports Arena in Istanbul, a sparkling new venue that houses Fenerbahce Ulker and features an adjacent practice facility, fits only 13,000, which would make it the smallest arena in the NBA.”

Dan Malone is a third-year journalism student at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He blogs on weekends for Sheridan Hoops.

For previous blog entries, click here.