In today’s news, several general managers shared their opinions on why Jason Collins is still a free agent. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, the 76ers are reopening the door on a potential Nerlens Noel sighting this season.
GM cite anticipated media attention as top reason Collins remains unsigned
According to Ric Bucher, several NBA general managers attribute Jason Collins’ availability on the free agent market as a direct fear of the media distraction signing him would bring to a team.
“If it were just an initial blast and you knew it would settle down after that, it would be one thing,” said one executive. “But you know this is something that he and his teammates are going to be asked about everywhere they go, all season long, and all it takes is one guy to say something a little off and it could really blow up. He’s still good enough to play in the league, but when you throw in the ongoing media frenzy, most teams are going to decide it’s just not worth it.”
Collins spent last season in Boston and Washington and can still contribute in a reserve role for a team in need of a defensive big man and/or veteran leader.
76ers Coach backpedals on Noel comments
After suggesting on Monday that Nerlens Noel would miss the entire season, Philadelphia coach Brett Brown clarified that he is actually unaware of Noel’s status going forward for the upcoming season.
Keith Pompey of the Philadelpha Inquirer reports that Brown thinks Noel might have a chance of playing this season after all.
Brown said the decision to let Noel play this season “is going to be made by a variety of a lot smarter people that me. Who knows what’s going to happen with Nerlens? We hope he can come back.”
Noel tore his the ACL in his left knee in February and was originally scheduled to return to the NBA by some point around Christmas. However, with the 76ers expected to finish this season at the bottom of the standings, the team may choose to let Noel take the entire year for rehab.
Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose covered the Denver Nuggets in their latest Grantland video, and I am starting off this blog with the clip because it just might make you cry a little. In a good way.
Simmons has the Nuggets listed at No. 13 and Rose thinks they should be ranked higher. It says here that Denver is unlikely to make the playoffs this season because:
1. They lost Iguodala and got nothing in return.
2. They lost starting center Kosta Koufos, who was probably their second-best defensive player.
3. They lost Corey Brewer, who wasn’t the smartest cat when asked to guard sharp shooters, as we’ve seen from his sometimes-comical job during the playoffs against the Golden State Warriors. Other than that, though, he was a pretty useful defender throughout the regular season off the bench.
4. Danilo Gallinari will miss significant time.
5. They are relying on JaVale McGee to anchor their defense. Based on what he’s done in the preseason, his maturity issues aren’t going away any time soon: he complains about calls, too often looks dejected about things out of his control, commits silly fouls out of frustration and generally lacks discipline when it’s most needed. His freakish athleticism allows him to be a very good shot blocker, but his overall IQ and demeanor on the defensive end is not to be trusted for 30-plus minutes. And who’s behind him? Timofey Mozgov? J.J. Hickson?
Brian Shaw will attempt to implement a new system for a team that is underhanded and underdeveloped, especially on the defensive end. He wants them to play a style that can better succeed in the postseason by playing a little slower and utilizing the post, but does he have the proper personnel for that? They do have some offensive weapons in Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler and Nate Robinson, but is that enough to overcome their deficiencies in a loaded Western Conference? I’m not banking on it.
STORY OF THE DAY:
Big news out of Oklahoma City on Monday about Russell Westbrook, from Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:
But the headliner was All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, who participated in on-court drills with the team for the first time since he had arthroscopic surgery earlier this month.
“There were bits and pieces where Russell participated in practice, so that was good,” coach Scott Brooks said. “It was good to get everybody out there, working together.”
In recent weeks, Westbrook has been seen on the court during the portion of practice open to the media, going through light workouts with the Thunder training staff.
But on Monday, he apparently amped it up. And even in that brief setting, Reggie Jackson, the man who is replacing Westbrook in the starting lineup, seemed to be impressed.
What’s the best template to build an NBA team by these days? For several years, it was to construct a Big Three, like the Spurs, Celtics, and Heat did with great success.
A year ago at this time, the Philadelphia 76ers were filled with optimism.
Coming off a postseason run that left them four minutes short of the Eastern Conference finals, front office personnel were still slapping each other’s backs about the way they had not only landed big man Andrew Bynum, but at the same time unloaded Andre Iguodala and Nikola Vucevic.
With Bynum in the paint, an array of 3-point shooters on the wings and emerging guards Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner running the offense, they were convinced the team had the size, athleticism and versatility to compete with anyone in the East. Yes, even LeBron and the Heat.
A year later, well, let’s say those expectations have slightly changed.
Sparing you the gory details, it didn’t quite work out as planned (we can debate whether it was the worst trade in NBA history), which is why the 2013-14 Sixers will resemble their predecessors in name and uniform only.