Saturday, March 22, 2008

Basketball Thoughts

-Thursday, I watched the first half of the Kansas-Portland State blowout. I have always liked Brandon Rush, and he really shined in this game early on. Rush has always been very consistent in his three years with Kansas and can do a lot of things well. Rush finished with eighteen points in thirty minutes along with six rebounds. Rush also shot four for nine from behind the three point line. In terms of pro potential, I think Rush is a sleeper, similarly to what Tayshaun Prince's stock was like coming out of college. Both players were very consistent in their college career, played for big time universities, and had NBA bodies. Likewise, people wondered if they reached their ceiling early, and would not have much room to get better in the NBA. I love Rush's pro potential and think he can be a strong contributor. Along with great size and strength, he has a large wingspan and runs the floor well. Rush does a lot of things well, including rebounding efficiently for a guard, shooting range, and playing terrific perimeter defense. Rush's biggest weakness seems to be his ball handling, but I would assume this is a skill he will work on prior to individual team workouts.

-I've also spent some time watching Kevin Love of UCLA over the last few weeks. Love is an interesting prospect because he does not have the super athleticism that many young big men do today. He is more of a polished player, who does a lot of things well. For a pro team, if you are drafting him to be a top player within a franchise, I think you are making a mistake. However, if a team is looking for him to be their fifth player, I think he is a great fit.

Some interesting videos of Love:

-I'm still concerned about the Celtics making it through the Eastern Conference in the playoffs. Boston beat the Pistons two-out-of-three in the regular season, but the Pistons guards have played excellent in the matchup. Down the stretch of games, if Doc Rivers feels the need to play Sam Cassell over Rajon Rondo because of the experience, I see Cassell as a huge liability on defense. Cassell cannot keep up with Richard Hamilton running off screens and will not be able to stay with Chauncey Billups' physical play. In a matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers, I would again be concerned with their defense on LeBron James. Boston split their four matchups with Cleveland this season and James scored 38, 33, DNP, and 26. I don't see Pierce being able to matchup with James for most of a playoff game and still able to produce at a high level on offense. James Posey appears to not have much left in his tank and Tony Allen is not big enough to defend James. The main benefit the Celtics do have on their side in a big defensive matchup is Kevin Garnett defending the basket and Tom Thibodeau creating defensive game plans.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Will Tom Thibodeau Get a Shot at the Bulls Head Coaching Job?

Below are some notes on another great candidate to be the Chicago Bulls' next head coach:
-Currently serves as the Celtics associate head coach.
-Specializes in the establishment of Boston's team defense.
-Previously coached seventeen seasons in the NBA with Houston, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Seattle and Minnesota.
-During those seventeen seasons, his teams have finished among the top ten in fewer points allowed fourteen times.
-In 2000-01, the Knicks set an NBA record by holding opponents to fewer than 100 points in 33 consecutive games.
-In his first year in Houston, Thibodeau helped the Rockets set franchise records in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense.
-From New Britain, Connecticut.
-Graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and a then a Master’s in Counseling from Salem State College. He lettered in four seasons at Salem State.
-Has worked under notable coaches such as: Bill Musselman, Jerry Tarkanian, John Lucas, Jeff Van Gundy, Don Chaney
-Coming into this season, he has coached in 87 career NBA playoff games, including New York’s appearance in the 1999 NBA Finals.
-Worked closely with Yao ming in 2005-06.
-Has gone to China the past two summers to work with Yao on his individual skills.
-Before taking the Celtics job, Thibodeau interviewed for several head coaching jobs and agreed with Washington to be an assistant for the Wizards. He worked several days with the Wizards and then had a change of heart and didn’t sign the contract. Reports are that he was promised the head assistant position and then wasn’t given it and that is why he backed away from working with the Wizards.
-Signed a one year deal with the Celtics.

Articles about Thibodeau:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dribble Drive Motion Diagrams

Terry Porter: Next Bulls Coach?

Some notes on Terry Porter, who I hope gets a shot at becoming the Bulls head coach this summer:
-45 years old
-Born in Milwaukee and played college basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
-Played seventeen years in the NBA, mainly with Portland, and then Minnesota, Miami, and San Antonio.
-Played in two NBA All-Star games (90-91 & 92-93).
-Played in college for Dick Bennett, who later became the head coach at University of Wisconsin and later Washington State University.
-Named an NAIA First-Team All-American
-Holds a degree in communications and was awarded a Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999.
-Drafted with the 24th pick.
-Won the 1993 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.
-Has played for five the the top 36 coaches (games won) in NBA history.
-2002-03 season was an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings.
-2003-04 head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks (41-41 record and made the playoffs).
-Offseason of 2004, Bucks traded Tim Thomas to New York and chose not to resign Brian Skinner, who signed with Philadelphia. TJ Ford also missed the entire 2004-05 season with an injury.
-2004-05 season coached the Milwaukee Bucks (30-52) and then was fired after the season ended.
-Current Detroit Pistons assistant coach.

Articles about Tery Porter:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Random Thoughts from the Week

-The Bulls continue to run screen-and-roll with Ben Gordon at the top of the key at the end of games. For the last year of so, teams realize that the play off that is to double Gordon and trap him, so he cannot attack the basket. Often times, due to a lack of height, Gordon ends up getting trapped near the half court line and the Bulls do not get a shot up. The especially frutstrating part about this is that they use a non-perimeter player to set the screen, so he is not a threat when the opposition doubles the ball.

-Like Kobe Bryant does for the Lakers and Chris Paul does for the Hornets, during the Rockets twenty-two game winning streak, the entire offense ran through Tracy McGrady. Outside of an increase in points per game, by looking at the statistics, you can not see the impact McGrady truly made during the eleven games the Rockets won during Yao Ming's absence. However, by running their offense through McGrady, he was able to involve guys like Luis Scola, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, Bobby Jackson, and even Mike Harris to infuse the winning streak. Allowing Alston to play more off the ball and utilize his improved three point shooting is ideal for the Rockets. During the twenty-two game winning streak, Alston shot nearly fourty percent from behind the three point line, including three games where he hit four or more threes.

-In last night's game, Boston chose to put all their efforts into minimizing McGrady's impact. Paul Pierce, Tony Allen, and James Posey all took shots at defending McGrady, but it was really a team effort that forced the ball out of his hands. McGrady shot four for eleven from the field and only scored eight points. Although he still ended up having eight assists, McGrady's plus/minus ended at -27, and he basically sat out the entire fourth quarter after the Rockets were outscored 32 to 16 in the third.

-I'm guessing after last night's embarrassing loss to the Detroit Pistons, 136-120, the Nuggets are now really regretting not making a trade for Ron Artest. The Nuggets stand today one-and-a-half games out of the playoffs and average 109 points per game given up - third worst in the NBA. At this point, I do not think the Nuggets will make the playoffs. Their only capable defensive player appears to be Marcus Camby, but he cannot do it alone. Even if they do sneak into the playoffs, I would expect a very short stay.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Raptors suit against Spanish federation could top $14 million - Sports

Raptors suit against Spanish federation could top $14 million


Raptors rookie Jorge Garbajosa broke his leg during a game in Boston on March 26, 2007.
March 17, 2008


Sports Reporter

The Toronto Raptors are suing the Spanish basketball federation for what could amount to more than $14 million (Canadian) the team says it is owed on an insurance claim involving injured forward Jorge Garbajosa.

The Raptors' parent company, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., filed a statement of claim against the Federacion Espanola de Baloncesto in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice last Friday.

In the 19-page document, MLSE seeks 6 million Euros ($9,440,000 Canadian) in damages for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and negligence if Garbajosa has suffered permanent disability or 1.5 million Euros ($2,517,000 Canadian) for temporary disability.

Garbajosa, who earned $3,416,667 (U.S.) last season, is to earn $3,666,667 for the current NBA season and $3,916,666 for 2008-09.

"He was a hard-working player and a solid defender and his absence from the starting lineup is a significant loss to the team," the Raptors stated in their claim.

MLSE is also asking for $5 million (Canadian) in punitive damages.

Garbajosa injured his left leg last March that caused him to miss the final 12 games of the season as well as the playoffs. The Raptors wanted him to concentrate on rehabilitation rather than playing for Spain in last summer's European championships.

But when the Spanish Federation persisted in its request that the Raptors allow him to play, the team agreed only after the Spaniards took out a $1 million (U.S.) insurance policy against further injury to Garbajosa's leg, the claim states.

The suit states that the Federation advised the Raptors it had obtained permanent disability coverage in the amount of 6 million Euros and 1.6 million Euros for temporary disability. While the policy was written in Spanish, the Federation agreed to provide an accurate and certified translation, according to the Raptors' allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law.
While Garbajosa did not seem to re-injure his leg in the tournament, it was apparent he was having difficulty with it as the current NBA season began in November. In December, tests showed the fracture had not completely healed and he was also suffering from avascular necrosis of the left tibia, a potentially career-ending injury, according to doctors.

He underwent further surgery and has not returned to the Raptors' lineup, although he has started to work out with the team in practice.

The Raptors made a claim under the terms of the insurance policy, but it was denied by the insurance company.

In their suit, the Raptors say the translation of the Spanish insurance policy was inaccurate and incomplete and are now without coverage for the disability of Garbajosa.

"The Federation knew or ought to have known that it was of crucial importance that the translation be complete and accurate and that the Raptors would rely on the Federation's representation with respect to the certification exclusively," according to the claim.

"The Raptors have suffered significant damages as a result of the Federation's actions," the document goes on to state. The team is contractually bound to pay Garbajosa's salary, even if he never plays again, which is a distinct possibility.

"The defendant's action ... amounted to wanton and intentional disregard for the interests of the Raptors for its own benefit."

Raptors' general manager Bryan Colangelo is on a European scouting trip and he was expected to meet with Spanish Federation officials to discuss the lawsuit.