By Marcus Shockley

Kobe Bryant
Flikr/Keith Allison

Most of the NBA teams are terrible at business. Wait, check that, most professional sports teams in all leagues are bad at business. Just as with corporations, sports teams are usually dysfunctional organizations that limp along from year to year barely surviving a plethora of bad decisions.

However, there are some sports teams that know what they are doing, and one of them is the Los Angeles Lakers. Over the years, the Lakers have been patient, drafted well and traded well. They’ve cut older vets loose at the right time and brought in young guys at the right time.

That’s why with the talk of a Carmelo trade to the Lakers, I find it interesting that the Lakers aren’t actually looking to shed someone else.

Kobe Bryant.

Kobe has now played more games in his career than Michael Jordan. Now, it’s true that Kobe entered the league younger than Jordan did, and Kobe does appear to have more in the tank at this point than Jordan did when he’d played this many games. But the reality is, even though Kobe has a lot of scoring left, it’s plain that the end is in sight within a few years.

That’s why now is the time for the Lakers to be looking to trade their superstar, while they can still get a maximum return. This isn’t the first time they would have done it; Shaq still had enough game left to bring a title to Miami before he became the Big Backup, but the Lakers cut him loose for the long term. It may be time for the Lakers to do the same with Kobe.

It won’t be a popular decision, but it would be a blockbuster trade that could set L.A. up for the next ten years. It might even involve multiple teams. I couldn’t tell you what the frenzy would result in or where Kobe would land. All I could say with relative certainty that he wouldn’t end up in Cleveland.

Consider this: four years from now, Kobe might not even be in the league. That’s how fast a player’s career can go from superstar to Allen Iverson. And for Kobe, that time is approaching. Each year…actually, each month…that the Lakers hold on to him, he gets closer to that reality. Sure, he might play another five, six years, but the truth is, that’s not likely. Next year, he’ll be worth less than this year. The year after that? Less.

So before the Lakers make a big trade between Carmelo and some other supporting player, I think they should be looking at a major shakeup.

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By James Blackburn

Derrick Rose
Flikr/Keith Allison

Bulls Win 92-79
Box Score

Game Recap/Thoughts

  • The Bulls missed a lot of easy baskets in the first half, when they really had an opportunity to stretch the lead.
  • The Bulls played poor transition defense early in the 2nd quarter. They became lazy and complacent, allowing Cleveland to get back into the game.
  • The Cavs are a very scrappy and hard working team.
  • The second unit for the Cavs seems more active on D and run more than the starters.
  • Turnovers and bad shots plague the Cavs. They struggle to defend the post and the paint. They have no shot blocker when Ryan Hollins is out of the game.
  • The Cavs are a decent defensive team in general, they just really struggle offensively.
  • The Cavs lost because they settled into bad habits at the end of the game, shooting contested shots and the inability to defend the paint or the pick and roll, with Hollins out.

Scouting Reports


Antawn Jamison (37 min, 12-22 FG, 4-7 3pt, 11 reb, 5 assist, 31 TP)

Strengths- Good shooter from midrange and 3. Does it all on the court- fills up the stat sheet. Versatile scorer who can create his own shot, pull up, or get to the rim. Good rebounder. A very tough cover with what he can do offensively. Good size.

Weaknesses- Struggled defending Carlos Boozer in the post. He allowed Boozer to get too deep post position. Fades to his left when he shoots 3’s, leading to an inconsistent long ball.

Overall- After LeBron James left Cleveland for the sunny beaches of Miami, Jamison has been given the load to carry the offense for this young Cavs team. In his 12th year out of Chapel Hill, Jamison has been a consistent 20-10 guy in the league for years. Jamison’s play this season has been one of the few bright spots for a struggling Cavs team.

JJ Hickson (33 min, 5-19 FG, 20 reb, 1 blk, 13 TP)

Strengths- Excellent rebounder. Very active on offensive boards. Uses athleticism and boxes out and gobble up rebounds and keep the ball alive. Above average athletically. Had a nice block on Rose early in the game. Showed the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to rim. Takes in at people- takes it strong to basket.

Weaknesses- Needs to continue to work on constancy on jumper. Takes some possessions off on defense. Likes to turn over right shoulder for turn around jumper, but showed the ability to turn over either shoulder effectively. Lacks a go to post move.

Overview- Has really improved since his days at NC State. His offense used to be a dunk or nothing, and this was his case in his early years with Cleveland. The Cavs organization is very high on Hickson, and one can see why with his 20 rebounds tonight. Needs to continue to work on being more of an offensive threat, but has time to grow.

Ryan Hollins (17 min, 1-4 FG, 4-4 FT, 4 reb, 1 blk, 6 TP)

Strengths- Very long and athletic. Good defensive player. Talks on defense and directs traffic on the defensive end. Very active player who hustles and plays hard every minute on the floor. Good shot blocker who influenced a lot of shots tonight. Good rebounder who really crashes the boards. Sets good wide screens. Good team player- great attitude and good body language through out game.

Weaknesses- Needs to get stronger in the upper body. At times he over hedges on the screen and roll and this allows screener to slip screen. Still very raw offensively- dunk or nothing. Brings the ball down too low allowing guards to strip the ball.

Overview- Intriguing player. Very hard worker who competes on every play. A player who you want to see succeed because he works so hard. Had some success last year playing for Minnesota. Hollins, who is entering his 4th year, out of UCLA, would be a great role player for a playoff team like the Spurs or Celtics.


Kyle Korver (26 min, 4-9 FG, 3-6 3pt, 3 reb, 2 assist, 2 blk, 11 TP)

Strengths- One of the top 3 shooters in the NBA. Very quick release- can shoot off the screen and with his feet set. Good passer and an underrated defender and rebounder. Has quick hands on defense. Does not try to do too much- knows his role.

Weaknesses- needs to improve ball handling- looks down when he dribbles.

Overview- Another solid game for Korver who has had a productive year so far with Chicago after spending most of his career in Utah. One of the most respected and feared shooters in the NBA.

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By Marcus Shockley

There were two reasons why I wanted to have as conversation with Ryan Blake, the Director of Scouting for the NBA.

The first is obvious; I love basketball, own a basketball site, have a large player database and scout players from time to time. There’s nothing better for me to pick the brain of someone who is one the foremost authorities on scouting players for the top basketball league in the world. Ryan Blake motorcycle
However, the second reason doesn’t have anything to do with basketball.

One of the causes I always support and pay attention to is cancer research, having lost my own mother to a brain tumor over 25 years ago, cancer was very tough on her, she even needed home care assistance from That’s why my first questions to Ryan were not about basketball, but instead about his efforts to raise awareness for cancer research with his Coaches vs. Cancer Ride, in which he embarked on an ambitious journey to attend multiple venues on a Triumph motorcycle while promoting the American Cancer Society and Coaches vs. Cancer. Accompanied by Shirley, a mannequin, Blake started his journey in Chapel Hill as North Carolina took on Lipscomb.

Blake tackled the project quickly, organizing it himself, and managed to accomplish much of what he set out to do, including hitting 6 venues in 7 days, and a grueling 1,000 mile journey between New York and South Carolina. He had to curtail his efforts due to family illness, but says he definitely intends to do another ride in the near future.

It’s a commendable effort and one to be applauded, especially by myself.

However, I couldn’t have a conversation with Ryan and not talk about basketball. So let’s turn now to some thoughts about what’s going on in the NBA, the draft and a few other topics.

The first thing I wanted to ask Ryan was about how they scout a player. Do they factor in things such as a player’s personality and attitude or do they simply observe from afar, looking at their play on the court?

Ryan says they don’t have a holistic approach to scouting; meaning, they don’t delve into everything about the player on the court and off. However, they do pay attention to more than just how a player performs during the game.

Their job is to find players and tell the teams who they should start taking a look at, and then it’s up to the individual teams to take it from there. Ryan’s organization has scouting all over the world, and they are on the NBA’s pre-draft committee. They don’t limit their scouting to games, either. They will attend practices as well.

They’ve cut back on scouting international players and D1 players, simply because NBA commissioner David Stern has decided that he wants the NBA teams to manage more of that themselves.

I asked Ryan about mock draft sites, especially now that so many have cropped up. Are they credible? Are they a nuisance? Ryan said that some are indeed, credible. “DraftExpress puts a lot of time in, actually talks to people, goes to games”, but that many online sites are not that far-fetched. There is an added wrinkle, however, as even as draft sites are updated in real time based on games occurring during the college season, no actual team is going to tell anyone who they really like as a player. In fact, a team might employ misdirection to say they like a certain player, only to throw others off of the trail as to their true intentions. Blake also says that the draft order and player position changes from minute to minute in the seconds ticking up to the first pick, and no one on the mock draft sites is privy to that. He also said that they do offer some insight, because scouts like himself cannot talk publicly about undergraduates. Scouting isn’t an exact science, and Blake says when attempting to predict the draft, “No one’s ever going to be right”.

Blake also said that the mock drafts don’t impact him or his scouts, but they do contain misinformation from time to time, such as when Ricky Rubio was thought to be a lock for playing in the NBA.

This also coincided with several highlight clips of Rubio becoming a phenomenon online, as fans got a chance to see the young point guard for the first time, albeit in an edited form.

Blake, who is well aware of what teams are looking at and the players who may be coming into the league, knew there was no chance of Rubio arriving at that time, and got blasted when he went did a television spot and said as much, because fans were convinced he was wrong from reading online reports.

Ricky Rubio basketball
Blake also said that while some sites are indeed credible, and people love the mock drafts, he said “people who say, ‘I’ve talked to all of the NBA scouts’ are lying”.

Next, I asked about the most common mistakes or areas of improvement that basketball players have when attempting to move from the college game to the pros. Ryan replied that most young players try to use their athleticism over substance, while veteran players know several key things that keep them in the league, such as:

  • How to play without the ball and play defense.
  • How to make other players better
  • How to be versatile enough to play a role. Do whatever the team needs done.

I wanted to know about high school recruiting rankings, if the NBA pays any attention to them, or what Ryan’s thoughts were. Ryan says his organization has people who keep up with the rankings and high school recruits, but that the age limit established in the NBA has helped tremendously when evaluating talent, and that after seeing players go up against D1 talent for a year, “you get to do a better evaluation.”

Ryan says that tons of players seem hyped until they reach D1, and they look like All-Stars while they are going against other high school players. The extra year tends to expose weaknesses and brings their prospects back down to reality. I mentioned to Ryan that if the one-year age limit has improved the product on the court for the NBA, would a further increase help even more? “Absolutely, it could,” he says, because more time evaluating only improves the chances of success when picking a player.

The other thing to consider about high school rankings is that NBA teams have so many players to evaluate, from the D-League to college and international, that it helps for them not to have to focus as much on high school. It’s a matter of finances and people to do the work, and focusing on scouting the veterans who want to secure jobs has made things more manageable.

One of the major topics looming over the NBA right now is the potential for a lockout, or work stoppage, in the coming year. “I just hope they can come together,” says Blake, who also added that commissioner David Stern has brought the groups together “brilliantly” in the past, and that there are so many good players who do great work in the community, it unfortunately gets overshadowed by their high paychecks and a few “bad apples”.

Finally, we discussed players entering the draft, and I asked Ryan if he felt players actually get enough quality information on their draft status and potential before entering. He said it’s a case-by-case basis. Some players do get good information, while others have people pushing them into the draft before their ready, or with inflated expectations. The numbers of early entry guys who were supposed to go in the first round but don’t are high. Blake says there are only 30 guaranteed contracts, and if you aren’t guaranteed to be a first round pick, it’s tough. Players trying to get into the league have to take a job away from a veteran, who isn’t going to want to give up his own contract for someone coming into the league. There are some cases where people with a vested interest in a player push the player to go pro because if the player can actually manage to get a contract in the second round, there’s money to be made.

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Famous coaches teach you success! GET COACHED! offers basketball scouting reports for college, high school and pro basketball.

Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (R) and Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng go for a loose ball during the fourth quarter at the United Center in Chicago on January 8, 2011. The Bulls won 90-79. UPI/Brian Kersey
By James Blackburn

Bulls Win 90-79

Box Score

Note- Noah did not play for the Bulls due to injury.

Game Recap/Thoughts

1st half

  • Game is a battle between division leaders.
  • Boston is the best passing team in the NBA- EVERYONE on the team can pass, including big men.
  • Boston is a half- court team, Bulls like to run, but also can play half-court basketball.
  • Boston did a great job on the boards early in the game. Bulls started getting a lot of second chance points at end of 1st quarter. Ended the quarter on a 10-0 run.
  • Turnovers hurt the Bulls the entire game, especially in the first half. Ended game with 21 TO’s. A lot of the TO’s were unforced. Bulls looked sloppy most of the game.
  • There is a night and day difference when Rondo comes out and N. Robinson comes in the game for Boston. Boston needs a better back up PG. Robinson is TO prone, shoots bad shots, and can’t defend very well. He is out of control on offense and reaches in too much on D.
    2nd half

  • Boston is a veteran team and they play like a veteran team. They are smart/poised/ and under control as a team. When the Bulls would go on a run, the Celtics would not panic. A lot of this can be attributed to Rondo.
  • Coach Rivers should have given more minutes to L. Harangody in the 3rd quarter. Glenn Davis did not have one of his best games.
  • The Bulls crowd started shouting “MVP” when D. Rose was at the FT line in the 3rd quarter.
  • The Bulls did a poor job of defending Davis on the perimeter. They went for his shot fake multiple times, even though Davis had missed the 15’ jumper all night, allowing Davis to get to the rim and draw the foul.
  • Big win for the Bulls ending a 2 game losing streak to 2 non-playoff teams.
  • Bulls got the win because they knocked down open perimeter shots off great ball movement in the 4th and they protected the paint.
  • Celtics lost because of the inability to guard the P/R with Shaq in the game and they turned the ball over on crucial possessions at end of game.

Scouting Reports


Derrick Rose (38 min, 10-19 FG, 15-19 FT, 5 reb, 4 TO’s, 36 TP)

Strengths- Strong/athletic/Explosive PG. Slashes to the rim hard and finishes strong. Protects ball well when attacking the basket. Showed an improved jump shot- has ability to shoot pull up off screen and roll situations. Good FT shooter and gets to the line a lot b/c he attacks the rim. Has an unusual 1 handed floater/pull up shot that he along baseline. He shoots it when he is off balance, but he hits it with surprising effenciency. Well conditioned player- played almost the entire game, but never seemed to slow down or lose speed or momentum.

Weaknesses- TO prone- jumps in the air to make passes most of the time. Forces the issue at times- shoots bad shots- plays out of control at times. Needs to continue to work on 3 pointer and show that he can hit it consistently.

Overview- One of Rose’s best games of the season. Rose has improved every year and continues to establish himself as an elite PG in the NBA.


Ray Allen (39 min, 7-13 FG, 3-5 3pt, 4 reb, 19 TP)

Strengths- Knock down shooter- who can hit the set 3, the set midrange, and has the ability to come off screens and shoot- very quick release. Underrated passer despite his 0 assists. Is a good defender especially against another shooter- shut down Kyle Korver this game.

Weaknesses- Needs to do a better job of finishing with contact at the rim. Has a tough time of creating his own shot against a good defender.

Overview- Allen shows game in and game out why he is the leader of 3 pointers made amongst active players. Defenders respect his shot so much, that Allen is able to get to the rim in a couple of dribbles because the defense plays so tight on him. Does not get the credit he deserves of being a solid overall basketball player who really knows the game, because of legendary shooting ability.

Rajon Rondo (37 min, 6-14 FG, 5 reb, 8 assist, 5 st, 13 TP)

Strengths- Changes speeds very well. Showed a nice touch on up and under lay ups and had a nice left hand finish over the defense. Great passer- if someone is even remotely open, they will get the ball. Poised, under control, a great leader. He seems to never be rushed or in a hurry. A true PG- he does a great job of directing traffic and directing the offense- making sure that guys are in the right spots to run the play. A true quarterback on the court. Does not rush his jump shot- good form- he knocked down a few 17’. Very quick hands on defense. Smart player and defender.

Weaknesses- Some times over penetrates and gets his lay up blocked. Needs to do a better job of getting over/ fighting around screens and overall P/R defense. Needs to continue to extend range of jump shot. Did knock down a couple of jumpers, but needs to make it consistent so the defense will respect it.

Overview- May be the best pure PG in the NBA this side of a healthy Steve Nash. Is like another coach on the floor. Directs the offense and is not afraid to tell fellow future Hall of Famer teammates where to go and what to do. People have been saying for years that if Rondo could develop a decent jump shot, he would be an all-star level PG. Well I am saying he is already an elite PG with out a shot, once he improves his midrange- he will undoubtedly be the best PG in the league.

Luke Harangody (13 min, 0-1 FG, 2 reb, 0 TP)

Strengths- He didn’t necessarily fill up the box score but this was a solid showing for the rookie out of Notre Dame. Strong and physical player. Very good rebounder who boxes out well. Is not very athletic but makes up for it with toughness. Is a good defender, who hedges screens well to stop the ball handler from turning the corner and then gets back to his man quickly. Hustle player who gives 110% on every play. Has a low release on his jumper and shoots it from the side of his head, but he showed this summer that he can shoot and has 3 pt range. Moves his feet well for his size.

Weaknesses- Needs to be more of a threat on offense. Had a rookie mistake at the end of the 3rd quarter- passed the ball when the shot clock was at 1, when he should of shot.

Overview- Very smart player. I thought he deserved more minutes this game. Was coming off his first double-double the night before in a win over Toronto. Even the Celtics like him, Coach Rivers minutes for the rookie have been erratic. Minutes are soon going to be hard to come by when Perkins and Garnett come back from injury. I believe Harangody will become a good player in this league. Reminds me of other players who are not the greatest athletes, but have found ways to be effective in the NBA because of heart, hustle, rebounding, defense, and strength. Such players include ex-Celtic Leon Powe, current Celtic Glenn Davis (who eats a lot of his minutes) Dejuan Blair, and Paul Millsap.

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By James Blackburn

Note: James scouted the Charlotte Bobcats vs. Oklahoma City Thunder match up a few weeks ago and offers some keen insight into the scouting reports for several players you may not be familiar with.

October 6, 2010

Thunder win 97-93

Game Notes

Notes- Shaun Livingston recorded a DNP as well as Kwame Brown for medical reasons.

Kevin Durant
Game Recap/ thoughts

1st Half

Bobcats lost the game because of turnovers (27 for the game) – first play of the game was a TO.
Too many of there TO’s were unforced as well.
Bobcat’s team defense looks terrible in first half- bad rotations- allowing too much dribble penetration- left shooters like Kevin Durant and Jeff Green wide open.
The Thunder’s PG’s ( particularly Maynor) are playing denial defense on the Bobcats PG’s in 1st quarter
Thunder is doing a great job of making the extra pass- are getting a lot of good looks from the field.
OKC picks up in a full court press at the beginning of 2nd quarter.
Thunder ran a lot of P/R action with their PG.
Bobcats look very tired and sluggish just before half- like a team that doesn’t want to be there. Thunder looks alive and active. Bobcats have no energy and no enthusiasm and are just going through the motions – the flight and travel from Cleveland last night could be partly to blame.
Thunder is ahead at the half 63-53 ( Bobcats are lucky to be down just 10)
2nd Half
The Bobcats look 10 times better from the start and full of energy – they are getting out in transition and scoring easy buckets as opposed to playing 1 on 1 basketball and settling in the 1st half. Gerald Wallace looks better in particular.
Observation- there are zero scorers for the unit for the Bobcats except Tyrus Thomas.
The Bobcats have to play the starters more minutes just to stay in the game vs. the Thunder 2nd unit.
The crowd is very quiet.
For the Thunder- Kevin Durant barely played in the second half.

Scouting Reports


DJ Augustine (21 min., 4-6 FG, 2-3 3pt, 6 ass. 1 TO, 10 TP)

Strengths- Ran the offense sets well, uses body well to shield taller defenders in the air and finishes well in the open court with good upper body strength. Is a solid 3pt. shooter. Primarily a scoring PG- will be counted on to score a good bit this season.

Weaknesses- Not the quickest or fastest guy on both sides of the ball- needs to improve passing ability, even though he did lead the team in assist tonight.

Overview- Augustine should be OK this season taking over the starting PG responsibility from the departed Felton. He is mainly a scoring guard- but so far this preseason has looked good and I think he is capable of leading the Bobcats back to the playoffs.

Sherron Collins (28 min, 2-8 FG, 0-2 3pt, 1 reb, 2 ass, 5 TO, 4 TP)

Strengths- Shows good leadership qualities and the potential to run a team. Is a decent shooter. Good upper body strength.

Weaknesses- Too may TO’s- he jumps in the air to pass and gets caught with no where to go- he also over penetrates too much at times and picks up his dribble. He does not look in shape- look winded early ( 220 lbs at 5-10, needs to lose some weight- At Kansas his playing weight was 200lbs). He is too small and not quick enough to be an NBA PG.

Overview- Collins has received the balk of minutes so far as the back up PG and has been given more than enough time to prove himself. D not be surprised to see Livingston take over the second string PG duties once healthy. The PG situation is no sure thing for the Bobcats after Augustine. They desperately need someone who can lead the second unit if they hope to return to the playoffs.

Javaris Crittenton (17 min, 0-2 FG, 2-2 FT, 2 reb, 4 ass, 2 st, 3 TO, 1 blk, 2 TP)

Strengths- Did a nice job of leading the break and made a nice pass to Brown for the dunk. Does a good job of attacking the rim.

Weaknesses- Needs to improve shooting. Has very slow feet on defense. Westbrook drove by him several times for the dunk. Needs to improve PG skills.

Overview- Crittenton is playing for a roster spot after cutting ties with the Wizards following the gun incident with Arenas. He could be a 3rd string PG or a 3rd string 2G- not good enough shooter but has good size for the 2- not good enough dribbler and does not have the speed to guard a 1. It will be interesting to see what happens. My prediction is that he makes the team.

Tyrus Thomas (20 min, 7-10 FG, 7 reb, 4 TO, 16 TP)

Strengths- Nice 15’ jumper with high release. Very long and athletic. Good rebounder and active defender.

Weaknesses- Forces the issue sometimes.

Overview- If he can stay in good favor with the coaches, Thomas will be the key and the X factor on whether the Bobcats return to the playoffs. Will be asked to take on the main scoring load for the second unit.

Boris Diaw (20 min, 6-6 FG, 2-2 3pt, 2 ass, 14 TP)

Strengths- looks trimmer and in better shape than the end of last season. He is running the floor well. Has a great spin dribble move. Takes good shots and is a great passer.

Weaknesses- Needs to make a bigger impact on defense and on the glass- 0 rebounds this game.

Overview- If Diaw can stay in shape- he is a still very underrated forward in this league, because of the matchup problems he causes. He can hit the 3 as well as put the ball on the floor and create. He has several unorthodox moves and loves the pump fake- very tough player to guard.

Matt Rogers (5 min, 0-4 FG, 0-1 3pt, 1-2 FT, 5 reb, 1 blk, 1 TP)

Matt Rogers is also fighting for a roster spot coming from Southwest Baptist, a D-II school. He had a nice block in the 4th quarter and is a decent rebounder, but other than that he did not really impress me.


Kevin Durant( 17 min, 5-10 FG, 2-6 3pt, 1 reb, 2 ass, 2 st, 12 TP)
Strengths- Great shooter with a high and quick release. Very long and athletic, with a quick first step. Quick hands on defends. Very composed player.

Weaknesses- Sometimes he looks a little too relaxed. Dribbles too high. Has slow feet on defense. He forces some shots on defense when he does not need too because his teammates do a great job of dribble penetrating to get him open shots. He sometimes holds the ball too long and plays 1 on 1 and then shoots a fade away with a hand in his face. Needs make himself more involved when he does not have the ball.

Overview- Great scorer and player- in my opinion he is a top 3 player in the world. He needs to realize that this years Thunder team is a lot more talented than the teams from the previous 2 years. He does not have to force shots and do it all himself as he used too. I agree with the GM’s and I think he will win MVP.

Cole Aldrich( 19 min, 1-5 FG, 7 reb, 2 ass, 2 st, 1 blk, 3 TP)

Strengths- Great rebounder on both ends- always grabs the ball with 2 hands. Boxes out well and sets good wide screens.

Weaknesses- Raw offensive game. Slow getting up and down the floor. Not the most athletic- but knows his limitations.

Overview- Big man, with good size who had a nice career at Kansas. Has skills that will translate to the pros. Could find his way into the rotation as a 2nd string C, with Collison out with injury.

Elijah Millsap (13 min, 0-5 FG, 6 reb, 1 ass, 1 blk, 1 TP)

Strengths- Athletic, hustles at both ends, good defensive player. Good rebounder.

Weaknesses- Has a lot to learn to make an impact at the NBA level. Not a great decision maker.

Overview- Rookie out of UAB. Good kid with a good work ethic who will be find a job in this league. I just don’t think there are enough roster spots on this deep Thunder team.

Jeff Green (27 min, 9-14 FG, 5-7 3pt, 4 reb, 1 st, 25 TP)

Strengths- Good scorer who reminds me of Carmelo Anthony in the fact that he can score from anywhere- off the dribble, shoot the 3, athletic player who will dunk on you. Well rounded.

Weaknesses- Needs to improve passing skills

Overview- Will be one of the top scorers behind Durant this season. He is a player Durant trusts. Will have another good year for a deeply talented Thunder squad.

Russell Westbrook (21 min, 2-8 FG, 6 ass, 6 TO, 9 TP)

Strengths- Very explosive and athletic. Reminds me of Derrick Rose.

Weaknesses- All right handed- no left. He is out of control going left. He needs to improve jump shot.

Overview- The Thunder have 2 great PG’s with Westbrook and Maynor. Westbrook continues to be overlooked as one of the games elite PG’s in the west.

Serge Ibaka (26 min, 5-13 FG, 11 reb, 1 blk, 12 TP)

Strengths- Is a BEAST on the boards. Has developed a nice 18-20’ midrange jumper that he can knock down with consistency.

Weaknesses- Raw back to the basket game- either a dunk or a mid range J.

Overview- Ibaka is going to surprise a lot of people this season. He has worked hard this summer and will make GM’s wish they had picked up this PF/ C in the 2008 draft.


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Phil Ford, a legend in the ACC and one of the greatest players to play for the University of North Carolina, shared his thoughts with us on the highly touted incoming UNC freshman, as well as the shifting point guard position on the Charlotte Bobcats. Ford is currently on staff with the Bobcats and Larry Brown.

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The Jump Manual

By Marcus Shockley

Honestly, Kevin? Referring to Charlie Villanueva as a ‘cancer patient’? Hey, I love to trash talk as much as the next guy, and I’ll even trash talk about things like how much faster I am at sorting the mail or ordering through the pick up window. Anything is fair game, but it has to be clever. Saying Villanueva looks like a cancer patient isn’t even remotely clever, it just sounds like a last ditch effort to hurt someone after they got under your skin.

What’s your other comeback material like? Is all of your trash talk this bad?

“Yo momma so fat…she is really fat.”

Maybe you should hire some joke writers to work up better trash talk for you. There’s no shame in it. You are a busy guy, and a lot of top comedians hire writers after they get too busy. You should look into it.

The first step is admitting you have a problem.


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Gordon Hayward was a player who many basketball fans were unfamiliar with just one year ago, but a spectacular year at Butler and a stunning run to the NCAA championship game changed all of that. Despite playing in a foul heavy title game, Hayward’s talent was obvious and within a few days the the relative unknown became a top draft pick and landed with the Utah Jazz.

In this exclusive interview, Gordon talks about his first couple of NBA games this summer, and digs into his thoughts about the NCAA title game.


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The Denver Post is reporting that the Denver Nuggets are attempting to learn from Cleveland’s struggles this summer to keep Lebron James and may be working on a way to part ways with their own star forward, Carmelo Anthony:

There is no way Denver can afford to lose the face of its franchise for nothing as a free agent.

This may be the first reaction as a backlash to Lebron’s move by team owners. After all, despite the massive salaries commanded by the players in the NBA, the teams are still the business properties of the owners and those owners are not interested in hiring players who are going to just empty the coffers. While Anthony, a likeable player who is in the prime of his career, would continue to be a solid linchpin for the Nuggets, there’s no denying that his trade value has also never been higher:

His 28-point career scoring average through seven professional seasons should attract keen interest in Anthony from a franchise looking for a star to sell tickets in the regular season or hit a big shot at the buzzer during the playoffs. Anthony’s contract situation figures to give him leverage in trade negotiations, because any team looking to add the 6-foot-8 forward would want to be assured of keeping his services long term.

This will be an interesting development to keep an eye on.

Daniel Orton was sort of an unknown commodity for Kentucky basketball fans this past season, with the massive influx of high profile talent that pushed out some of his playing time. Despite this, Orton decided to make the break for the NBA and the pro game.

Here’s some exclusive interview as Daniel talks about his approach to the game, and he shares some of the issues he has had to deal with being “overloaded” with too much coaching and information while trying to focus on his game.


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