SH Blog: Gay happy with Kings; Keeping Faried will cost Nuggets

Leave a comment

Image.AdamSilverWe’ve got a very important piece up here on Sheridan Hoops today. With the Northwestern football union case picking up steam, the NCAA’s amateurism policy is coming under fire, and that could have effects on the NBA’s age limit, which Adam Silver wants to raise, and Danny Schayes says would be a disaster for the players.

Personally, I like the MLB’s system, where players can get drafted out of high school, and if they don’t sign, can go to college for three years and get drafted again. In the NBA, that would mean the best players (LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, etc.) can make the jump and get paid right away, and the ones who need development can do that in college. It would also mean an end to the one-and-done policy that many feel is killing college basketball.

Of course, the MLB draft is 50 rounds and the NBA’s is just two. And MLB teams have six or seven levels of minor league teams that players can advance through, whereas the NBA doesn’t even really have one. For the NBA to adopt an MLB-like system, every team would need their own D-League affiliate, over which they would have a sizable amount of autonomy. That’s not there now, so it looks like we’re stuck with the current system, or raising the age limit to 20. And as Schayes writes, the NBPA doesn’t have an executive director, and until they do, Silver and the NCAA can put whatever they want out into the court of public opinion.

Here’s the latest news from around the NBA:

WHAT COULD KENNETH FARIED MAKE WITH THE NUGGETS?

Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post:

Kenneth FariedFaried isn’t a LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love or Blake Griffin, all big names with even bigger contracts, but his player efficiency rating ranks right up there with them. Taking New Orleans’ Anthony Davis into account as well, it could be argued that Faried is about the seventh- or eighth-best player at his position in the NBA.

And he’s getting better.

So, right this minute, that’s under the $14 million to $22 million the top power forwards make but more than the $9.5 million of a player such as Atlanta’s Paul Millsap. Add in his standing on the Nuggets’ roster — he’s the team’s second-best player — and his exploding box-office appeal, and the price tag could fall right in that $10 million to $11 million per-year range. Modestly. He will be in search for more, no doubt.

It might be difficult for the Nuggets to justify to themselves shelling out a contract to Faried worth more than Ty Lawson’s $12 million average, however.

Taking the current roster and projecting it out over the next few years, in the summer of 2015 the Nuggets could have wiggle room. There is currently roughly $59 million in salaries, including qualifying offers. Cap holds present another challenge. But the contracts of Darrell Arthur, Nate Robinson and Anthony Randolph expire after next season and Wilson Chandler’s $7.1 million salary for 2015-16 isn’t fully guaranteed.

Christopher Dempsey takes readers’ questions about the Denver Nuggets and NBA.

If that’s the route they want to go, the Nuggets can figure out the finances and broach the subject of extension talks with Faried’s agent after the July moratorium this summer.

WISCONSIN STARS RETURNING TO SCHOOL

Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com:

WisconsinWisconsin’s duo of Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky remained steadfast after Saturday night’s loss to Kentucky that they will both be back next season for the Badgers.

The 6-foot-8 Dekker finished with 15 points in the loss and is considered a potential first-round pick. But he reiterated he will be back in Madison for his junior campaign.

“I’m coming back,” said Dekker, who entered the game averaging 12.4 points and 6.1 rebounds.

The 7-foot Kaminsky struggled for much of the game after averaging a team-high 14.1 points and 6.4 boards.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Kaminsky said.

Wisconsin is expected to return four starters from a team that finished 30-8.

RUDY GAY COULD BE IN SACRAMENTO LONG-TERM

Bill Ingram of Basketball Insiders:

Rudy GaySometimes what seems like the most unlikely of pairings winds up working better than anyone could have imagined. The Sacramento Kings made an aggressive move midseason when they acquired Rudy Gay from the Toronto Raptors, and while the trade has not resulted in a ton of wins in the short-term, there are indications that Gay might be a big part of the Kings’ rebuilding plan going forward.

“I have to [keep a positive attitude], man,” Gay told Basketball Insiders. “No matter where I go, I have to be me and be the best me I can be. Honestly, I feel like I do that better here. The wins don’t really pan out like I like for them to, but I definitely feel comfortable here.”

“I’m not even sure of the exact record, but I know we’ve shown the ability to be a great competitor and beat a lot of the best teams in the NBA when those guys are all playing,” Kings head coach Mike Malone said of Gay, DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas in a recent interview with Basketball Insiders. “When they play at a high level, three 20-point scorers, we become very hard to guard because you have a low-post force, a wing with the versatility and athleticism that Rudy has and a point guard in Isaiah who can score, get to the foul line and make plays for his teammates. Not that many teams have that three-headed attack. It’s great to have and hopefully we’ll be able to keep those together because with that core you add some pieces to that and you allow Ray [McCallum] and Ben [McLemore] to continue to mature and get better and I think we have a solid foundation. Those guys, offensively, are terrific and they’re getting better defensively.”

FOR PREVIOUS BLOGS, CLICK HERE

Dan Malone is currently in graduation limbo after finishing his journalism degree at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and spent last summer as a features intern at the Cape Cod Times. He blogs, edits and learns things on the fly for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter.

SH Blog: Paul George must improve offensively in order to save Pacers’ season, Kyrie Irving cleared to practice

2 Comments

Paul George

By now, we all know that the Indiana Pacers have some major issues on the offensive end. If you don’t, check out the previous blog. What exactly are they doing wrong and who is the main culprit for killing their offense? Our friend coach Nick of Bbballbreakdown gives his take on the situation, and it mainly involves Paul George and how badly he has fallen off since the beginning of the season:

I’m sure Nick isn’t trying to say that George is to blame for everything, but as stated in the clip, his struggles when the Pacers lose sticks out like a sore thumb. Given that he is undoubtedly the most important player on the team, it makes sense that his struggles directly correlates with the team’s struggles. If part of the issue is, indeed, that he has gone away from the mechanics that helped him succeed tremendously in the early going, this could turn out to be a lost season for George because that’s not something he can fix at this point of the season – it would have been fixed by now otherwise.

George’s shooting percent has gone down every single month. He shot 47.2 percent in November and 46.8 percent in December, but hasn’t shot above 41 percent in any month since, bottoming out at an atrocious 37.2 percent in March. In the last nine games, he has shot below 29 percent five times and managed to shoot above 40 percent just once. That’s reaching Harrison Barnes status. To be fair, George is not the only major player on the team to see a steep drop in production. Roy Hibbert, who had averaged around 12 points and seven rebounds for much of the season, has seen his numbers drop to 9.7 points on 42.2 percent shooting and 4.6 rebounds in March without a decrease in playing time – simply inexplicable for a supposedly-dominant center. Hibbert has pointed out that the lack of ball movement from his guards may be the primary culprit for his struggles, but nothing excuses 4.6 rebounds from one of the tallest and strongest centers in the league. 

Pages: 1 2

Tweet of the Night: NBA Players Applaud Teams During March Madness

Leave a comment

ncaaDespite there being plenty of NBA action left in these remaining weeks leading to the playoffs, NBA players still find time to enjoy the madness that is the NCAA Tournament. After another day of exciting match-ups in the first half of the Round of 32, former college stars and players took to twitter offering support to their respective schools. Whether it was a win or loss, NBA stars have stood by the schools that they favor, offering congratulations to the teams for making it to the tourney at all.

As the final tournament game of the day was an upset win for UConn over higher seeded Villanova, former Huskies like Rudy Gay and Hasheem Thabeet were among the many expressing their pleasure at the results of the day.

Scotto: Isaiah Thomas Dishes on Free Agency; Could Command Full Mid-Level Exception

4 Comments

IsaiahThomas cropIsaiah Thomas entered the league as “Mr. Irrelevant” after being selected 60th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings. In his third season, he’s now become a candidate for the league’s Most Improved Player award (although colleague Kels Dayton seems to disagree).

Thomas’ breakout season couldn’t have come at a better time with restricted free agency looming this summer.

With that in mind, Thomas and I discussed his development, Sacramento’s new culture and his free agency plans in an exclusive SheridanHoops interview.

SH Blog: Update on Noah recruiting Melo; LeBron doesn’t like sleeved unis

Leave a comment

In case you missed it, the Heat and Thunder both lost last night (as did the Lakers, but that was kind of expected). That’s the third time both teams have lost on the same night this season. The Heat lost to the Spurs in a rematch of last year’s Finals that was nowhere near as close as those Finals, and the Thunder went to the wire against the upstart Phoenix Suns.

I caught the end of that Thunder/Suns game, so I missed Gerald Green dropping 41 and Russell Westbrook 39, but I did get to see Goran Dragic and Kevin Durant basically bend the opposing defenses to their wills in crunch time, which was some spectacular stuff. Durant’s two floaters in the lane through double-teams were pretty, but Dragic’s crazy baseline reverse layup was better, for my money. He beat his man with a lightning-quick first step and then made Serge Ibaka look clueless with an acrobatic underhand flip high off the glass. It was the kind of play that superstars make. This Dragic kid is pretty good.

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

UPDATE ON NOAH RECRUITING MELO TO JOIN BULLS

Carmelo AnthonyMike Woodson doesn’t think it’s legal, writes the New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence:

“You know legally, nobody can recruit anyone,” Woodson said in a radio appearance on ESPN 98.7. “You can’t do that at this point. Melo is still wearing a Knicks uniform and I hope he stays with the Knicks for the rest of his career. So whatever was said between Noah and the Chicago Bulls, that’s on them.”

According to the ESPN report, during their time together in New Orleans, Noah essentially said to Anthony: Look, you can go to Los Angeles, but if you want to win a ring, if you want your legacy to be about winning, come to Chicago.

Those comments could be viewed as tampering since Anthony is under contract with the Knicks, and could result in a hefty fine for Chicago. Moreover, Garden chairman James Dolan will almost certainly press the NBA to investigate the matter, although it’s always difficult for the league to prove what transpires in private conversations.

Meanwhile, ESPNChicago.com’s Nick Friedell talked to Noah:

WHY IS MIKE WOODSON STILL THE KNICKS’ COACH?

woodsonMarc Stein of ESPN says that’s the question he gets asked most, after KD/LeBron. And he believes he’s got a pretty good answer:

The latest rumble in coaching circles holds that Madison Square Garden chairman Jim Dolan is keeping Woodson around purely because he knows that making major changes to the roster before next season — given New York’s lack of draft picks and cap space and limited trade assets — will be extremely difficult.

Which leaves Dolan, in terms of pitching Carmelo Anthony to stay this summer, with little else to say besides: Woody was the problem!

In other words: Keep the alleged problem around to the very last drop of this nightmare season … and then hustle him out the door by painting a coaching change as a cure-all.

Rest assured that Woody’s presence for Game No. 63 on Friday night against Utah no longer has much, if anything, to do with the oft-recited line about how the Knicks don’t feel comfortable entrusting Woodson’s duties to any of the interim options at their disposal. The Knicks’ season, even when factoring in all the injuries, has deteriorated to the point that the mere prospect of putting Herb Williams or Darrell Walker or Jim Todd in charge — or moving Allan Houston downstairs despite his total lack of coaching experience — has to hold some appeal just for its wake-up-call potential.

But making an in-season change, from Dolan’s perspective, creates the possibility that everyone sees even more clearly than they already do that Woody is most certainly not the Knicks’ biggest problem.

Which would theoretically give Melo even more reason to look around if he goes through with his long-planned intent to become a free agent July 1.

LEBRON DOESN’T LIKE SLEEVES

Heat jersey sleevesWell, that’s got to be a bit of a blow to the sleeved-jersey trend. Via Chris Mannix of SI.com:

The NBA’s most visible star isn’t pleased with the league’s most visible new fashion trend.

After a poor shooting night in a 111-87 loss to the Spurs on Thursday, Heat forward LeBron James took issue with the short-sleeved Adidas jerseys worn by both teams.

“I’m not making excuses, but I’m not a big fan of the jerseys,” James told reporters. “Not a big fan of them. I have to figure something out the next time I have to wear the short-sleeved jerseys.”

The back-to-back MVP shot 6-for-18 from the field and 0-for-3 from deep in his worst shooting outing in nearly a month.

“Every time I shoot it pulled,” James continued. “It feels like it’s just pulling every time I shoot, right underneath my arm. I already don’t have much room for error on my jumpshot anyway, so it’s definitely not a good thing.”

RUDY GAY SAYS TRADE WAS GOOD FOR BOTH HIM, RAPTORS

Rudy GayI don’t think that’s going to be difficult to argue: Toronto has improved by leaps and bounds since Masai Ujiri dealt Gay to Sacramento, and Gay has gone from being a pretty good but overpaid player to a genuinely very good one with the Kings.

Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun:

“Change is for the better, for both parties,” Gay said ahead of his return to Toronto.

Apparently, and the veteran has handled himself with class, even as he’s been branded a scapegoat and the lone reason why the Raptors looked headed for the high lottery to start this season.

To Gay’s credit, he recognizes that while he wasn’t the only problem, his career-low 38.8% shooting and career-worst 3.3 turnovers per game were hurting the Raptors significantly.

“I was inefficient when I was here. I’m not anymore. I was when I was here,” Gay said, declining to provide a reason other than “it could have been a lot of things,” as to why his game was so off.

FOR PREVIOUS BLOGS, CLICK HERE

Dan Malone is in his fourth year as a journalism student at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and spent last summer as a features intern at the Cape Cod Times. He blogs, edits and learns things on the fly for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter.