- The Season's Over -

The Washington Wizards Have Officially Become the Franchise of Misfit Toys

February 17, 2010

Andray Blatche

Andray Blatche Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By Brian Spencer

Can we start referring to Flip Saunders, head coach of the sunken ship that is the Washington Wizards, King Moonraiser instead? Because at this point, with his team decimated and looking more and more like the Southeast Division’s version of the New Jersey Nets (they of the 5-49 record), Saunders is not as much a NBA coach as he is the caretaker of a team full of forgotten, disregarded, and, yes, unloved toys players.

It started on December 10, 2008, when the Wizards welcomed vagabond guards Mike James and Jarvaris Crittenton in a trade that sent Antonio Daniels to New Orleans. Though he did play a key role off the Detroit Pistons bench during their 2004 championship run, James is best known for lighting it up on a bad Toronto Raptors team in the 2005-06 season. That year he averaged 20 points per on 47% FG, including 2.1 triples, along with 5.8 assists, 3.3 boards, and nearly 1 steal.

The Timberwolves bit (surprise!), signing him to a four-year deal as a free agent that summer; including Minny, he’s since played for four teams. Sparingly. His contract is up after this season, and in all likelihood his NBA career will be too. Crittenton, a first-round pick by the Lakers back in ’07, is technically done for the season with a broken foot, but he was also the other guy dancing the firearms tango with Arenas. I’ll be shocked to see him ever don a NBA jersey again.

The phenomenon continued when Randy Foye, better known as The Guy Who Was Traded for Brandon Roy, came to Washington last summer. Three full seasons removed from his status as a promising lottery pick looked at as a cornerstone of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Foye joined the Wizards as an upside insurance policy for Gilbert Arenas. Sadly, that policy had to be cashed in prematurely, and though technically his success (or lack thereof) this season has yet to be determined, we know we’re looking at a career backup whose star has permanently fallen from grace.

Foye came to the Wiz with 30-year-old Mike Miller, the fifth-overall pick of the 2000 NBA Draft and the 2001 NBA Rookie of the Year. We’ve long maintained that Miller stands as the most underwhelming ROY in modern NBA history: he played less than 30 minutes a night as a rookie, and finished the season with pers of 11.9 points (on 43% FG), 4 boards, 1.7 assists, and little else. For that, he was recognized as the league’s top rookie. Oh, he’s had a fine, if indistinguishable career, but he’s on his last legs. If a contender thought there was value there, he could have been had for, say, the draft rights to a European who’ll never step foot on a NBA court.

Oberto, Josh Howard, Al Thornton, and more misfit toys after the break…

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1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 17, 2010 at 10:27pm in NBA

Pass or Fail? Five Former Lottery Picks Whose Seasons are Still Undefined

February 16, 2010

Yi Jianlian

Yi Jianlian Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By: Zachariah Blott

Fans expect lottery picks to one day become All-Stars, or at least strong contributors who flash All-Star potential. They want to see these picks steadily improve over their first few seasons, and validate their hopes that these players will become worthy cornerstones for their beloved franchises… and the sooner they make it happen, of course, the better.

Below are five such ex-lottery picks who had high expectations before things tipped off in October, and whose seasons are still being weighed in the black-or-white spectrum of good season, bad season. Here’s where each stands as we head into the final 2 months of the season, and what they need to accomplish to keep their fans’ hope in them alive and well.

Michael Beasley, Miami Heat
Key Stats: 16 points, 7 boards, 46% FG per

As the second pick in last year’s draft, Beasley joined the Heat with fans thinking he’d create a “big two” with Dwyane Wade. Beasley’s college stats (26-12, 53% FG vs 26-11, 47%) were better than Kevin Durant’s in the same conference, and he was clearly a stronger inside presence. After some off-season issues, it’s hard to say he’s improved on his rookie campaign. His shooting percentages are down and he’s just not rebounding enough. For this season to be a success, he needs to average about 50% FG and 8+ rebounds the rest of the way. Stringing together some more 20-point contests wouldn’t hurt, either.

Yi Jianlian, New Jersey Nets
Key Stats: 13 points, 7 boards, 1 block, 41% FG per

In an injury-shortened third season, Yi has improved statistically with more playing time, but he still has a long ways to go for a 7-footer. He’s too passive on the offensive end, settling for jumpers that keep his shooting percentage low, and he’s hardly an aggressive rebounder. For the minutes the Nets are giving him during this wasted season, he should be working on posting up and helping Brook Lopez on the boards. We already know he’s (unfortunately) in love with long two-point tries, but he’s just not Andrea Bargnani. To consider 2009-10 a success, Yi needs to shoot at least 45% and average 8+ boards the rest of the way.

Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
Key Stats: 10 points, 5.0-2.2 A/TO, 43% FG, 42% 3FG per

Outside of three-point shooting, this third-year PG has shown almost no improvement during his time in the league. He still relies on his incredible speed to do most things, but he needs to work on fundamentals and becoming more consistent. And with all the offensive weapons the Grizzlies now have (Mayo, Gay, Randolph, Gasol), it’s unacceptable that he has 19 games with less than 5 assists and only one in double digits. For this year to be successful for Conley, he must average 6.5 assists the rest of the way while keeping his outside shooting stroke up. Additionally, he should be getting to the rim more; he’s got Randolph and Gasol there to clean up any close misses.

What Randy Foye and LaMarcus Aldridge need to accomplish after the break…

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1 CommentPosted by ETB Contributor on Feb. 16, 2010 at 6:35pm in NBA

A Tale of Two Franchises in Transition, and Two Coaches Caught in the Crossfire

February 15, 2010

Flip Saunders

Flip Saunders Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By Brian Spencer

Two things we know in the aftermath of this past weekend’s trade between the Dallas Mavericks and Washington Wizards: first, the Dallas Mavericks are serious about competing for a title, now, or at least until the window closes on their core as presently constituted. More on that in a minute.

The second domino to fall in the deal that sent Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson to Dallas for cap space and warm bodies is the Wizards’ long-harbored (delusional?) hope that they could be a winner, a contender, hell, even an Eastern Conference powerhouse with a team built around Butler, Antawn Jamison (who’s also on his way out), and Gilbert Arenas, whom you might have heard isn’t having such a great year. The Wiz, finally, conceded it was time to move on, cut bait, shift gears, and plunge into that nebulous NBA void that is “rebuilding.”

They’ll be essentially starting from scratch this summer, armed with ample salary-cap space, draft picks, an $80+ million debt to a player (Arenas) they’ve essentially disowned, and, um… Nick Young, Andray Blatche, and JaVale McGee. Good luck, Ernie Grunfeld. You’ll need it. Depending on how strongly his sales pitch resonates with this elite class of free agents, next year we could see the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets Redux.

But while we all debate the merits and foibles of this trade for both sides, lost in the shuffle are the two head coaches, both still new to these franchises, both relatively well paid, and both with semi-successful track records on their NBA resumes. Many similarities (including stints coaching the Detroit Pistons during their dominant run in the 00s), but now facing totally different challenges.

Much more on the post-trade Mavericks and Wizards after the break…

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No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 15, 2010 at 3:11pm in ETB Articles, NBA

Do Teams Belong in the Hall of Fame?

February 15, 2010

Original Dream Team

By: Zachariah Blott

As we expectedly learned over the weekend, Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone are among the finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2010 class. Two of those 19 finalists, however, are quite unconventional: they’re teams. The 1992 Dream Team and the 1960 USA Men’s Olympic Team will be vying to become only the seventh and eighth teams enshrined in Springfield, MA.

Should we be putting teams into the Hall of Fame? How do we weigh their credentials against players, whose careers we often feel more comfortable comparing? Well, let’s first look at the six teams that are currently in the Hall, then I’ll discuss the credentials of the ’92 and ’60 USA teams.

The First Team (enshrined in 1959)
Most people know James Naismith invented the game in 1891 and taught it to some young men: these were those young men. It was 18 guys training to become executive secretaries for the YMCA, and they were “the first team.” Uh, actually the first two teams. They played their initial game to a Larry Brown-pleasing 1-0 score. Their inclusion in the Hall is hokey, but they represent the spirit of the game.

The Original Celtics (1959)
They are neither associated with the current Celtics nor are they the original team in NYC named the Celtics; that’s where the complaining ends because they truly were a revolutionary team. The Original Celtics played out of Madison Square Garden in the 1920s and did quite a bit for the sport.

First, they introduced exclusive player contracts, which organized professional teams into consistent squads. They also invented zone defenses, switching man-to-man defense, and inside post play. And most importantly, they barnstormed 200 games a year nationally, spreading basketball’s popularity across America. This team dramatically increased the sports’ reception in America and how it is played to this day.

Buffalo Germans (1961)
From 1895-1925, this team from the Buffalo YMCA toured around the world, won the 1904 Olympic demonstration tournament, and basically laid waste wherever they went. The Germans were the first great team in basketball history, winning 111 straight from 1908 to 1910 and compiling an overall record of 792-86. This club became so famous for its dominating play (and stylish jerseys, deep hair parts, and collection of tea pots) that Chuck Taylor (yeah, that one) falsely claimed to have played for them.

New York Renaissance (1963)
Like the Negro League teams that would crush MLB squads with regularity in the 1930s, the Rens barnstormed from 1923-1949, destroying white professional teams across the country. Named after the casino that housed them, they were forced to barnstorm because no league would accept a black team.

The Rens were known for their brilliant passing, which resulted in a famous 34-25 victory over the National Basketball League champion Oshkosh All-Stars in 1939. They once won 88 straight over an 86-day period, making articles like this one about back-to-backs look humorous. They were quite influential in the racial integration of the game and augmenting the popularity of basketball within the black community.

The Globetrotters, Western Miners, and verdict on this year’s nominees after the jump…

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No CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Feb. 15, 2010 at 8:47am in ETB Articles, NBA

Grading the 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend, Siskel and Ebert Style

February 12, 2010

siskebe1

By Brian Spencer and Zachariah Blott

NBA All-Star Weekend is upon us. Time to take a deep breath, watch some light-hearted entertainment featuring the NBA’s biggest stars (or at least most of them), and to make up some trade rumors in preparation for next week’s trade deadline.

Yes, it’s a busy weekend with a total of seven events on Friday and Saturday before the All-Star Game itself caps things off on Sunday. I’ve pulled in ETB ace contributor Zachariah Blott to join me with a few quick thoughts on each of them.

Enjoy the festivities, and catch you next week.

Rookie Challenge

Brian Spencer: Thumbs Way Up
The highlight of the weekend and the one event you can record, save, and watch again and again. By sheer experience alone the format tends to favor the Sophomores–after all, the selection committee has had over a season’s worth of performance to weigh, as opposed to just a few months for the Rookies–but the end result matters not. It’s all about the highlights, the dunks, the energy, and showcasing the league’s best and brightest young athletes. The closest thing to a NBA-sanctioned And-1 format featuring NBA players.

Zachariah Blott: Thumbs Up
Unlike the real game, these guys are still trying to prove themselves worthy of playing on All-Star weekend. Some of these rookies surely like all the parties and buzz (and, ahem, groupies), so they want to be invited back for their sophomore season, and will actually play hard to make it happen.

Shooting Stars Competition

Spencer: Thumbs Way Down
I just don’t get it. It’s a silly concept, mashing current stars, old stars, and WNBA players together in a half-hearted competition executed at half-speed. By now we all know the WNBA exists, but unfortunately, the NBA still won’t accept that most NBA fans don’t care if it exists or not. Off with its head!

Blott: Thumbs Down
This is an atrocity that is somehow even less fun to watch than the WNBA, whose players the NBA is clearly trying to get you familiar with with this competition. One of the teams this year isn’t even a real team location: Texas. They got Dirk Nowitzki from Dallas, Becky Hammon from San Antonio (don’t worry, I didn’t know they had a WNBA team either), and Kenny Smith representing Houston of old. Chris Webber chucking up half-court shots will be the best part of this.

NBA D-League All-Star Game

Spencer: Thumbs Up
There are far less opportunities for basketball fans to see guys from the D-League, many of whom were stars in college, some of which have NBA experiences, many more of which are on the cusp of landing a spot in the big leagues, than they do of catching the WNBA, which will have 18 regular-season games broadcast on ESPN, plus the playoffs. How many does the D-League get? None (although you can watch all games live, for free, on NBA FutureCast.

I want to see the D-League flourish and continue taking baby steps towards expansion. This showcase might not be the best selling point on the general American public–the game will likely be five times as sloppy as the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge–but it’s a step in the right direction and totally worthy of exposure on this national stage. (And now, a shameless plug for our two-part interview with D-League Digest’s Steve Weinman, which is chock full of D-League goodness. Here’s Part I, and here’s Part II.)

Blott: Thumbs Down
No offense to the D-League’s ten fans, but nobody cares. Everyone knows we’re not witnessing good basketball this weekend, so it’s obviously all about satisfying the ADD/MTV fans, and that’s it. D-Leaguers don’t fit that bill. That being said, at least they now split the teams into the East and West Conferences, and not the Red Team and Blue Team like last year.

H-O-R-S-E Competition

Spencer: Thumbs Up
Love the overall concept and that The Durantuala headlines the bill, though Rajon Rondo and Omri Casspi are puzzling choices. How in the world was Monta Ellis not invited to compete?

Blott: Thumbs up (conditional)
Kevin Durant is obviously a good player for this type of competition, and I hope he doesn’t become too important for it too soon. That being said, this would be a great contest if and only if two specific players fill the other two slots: Kevin Love and Rasheed Wallace. Geico can go to hell, by the way, for bastardizing this kid’s game.

The Skills Challenge, Slam Dunk Contest, the All-Star Game itself, and more after the jump…

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1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 12, 2010 at 4:03am in ETB Articles, NBA

Boxscore Breakfast: Odom and Gasol Dominate, and Other Oddities from the Week

February 12, 2010

Lamar OdomBy: Zachariah Blott

Odom and Gasol put Lakers on their backs: Kobe Bryant rested his injuries the week before All-Star Weekend, and the Lakers had the daunting tasking of facing three Western Conference teams on track for the playoffs: in Portland where they haven’t won in 5 years, the always tough Spurs, and in Utah against a team on a 9-game win streak. All three turned out to be easy LA victories because Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom shined big time in expanded roles.

Odom had been averaging 8 shots over 31 minutes per, but in those three games he averaged 36 minutes, 10 shots, 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 assists per. Gasol was averaging 12 shots over 36 minutes per, but during this span he averaged 42 minutes, 16 shots, 19 points, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 5 assists.

This shouldn’t be a huge surprise after last year’s championship run: Gasol single-handedly neutralized the great frontcourts of Orlando and Denver, and Odom was their most consistently brilliant 4th quarter and overtime player.

Cover Grandma’s eyes, Durant is streaking: This streak of Kevin Durant’s has gone on so long that a) I don’t need to mention it, but b) it’s starting to be embarrassing that I haven’t mentioned it. So in case you didn’t hear, Oklahoma City’s Durant has 25 straight games with 25 points or more. This is the longest such streak since Allen Iverson did it in 27 straight back in 2000-01. So how long could it go? San Antonio is the only team I see before the end of February (that’s 7 more) that is a likely candidate to end it, but they’ve been slumping and he already took the Spurs for 35 during this stretch.

You want intangibles? Look to the Moon: First, the no-crap part of this blurb: Cleveland beat New Jersey on Tuesday. James had 32 and 11, yadda yadda. But it gets weird when you look at the plus-minus for the players. The Nets starters crushed the Cavs starters; 4 of 5 NJ starters (which does not include an injured Devin Harris) were at +10 or above, while Shaq was the only Cav in the positive at +3. Cleveland reserve forward Jamario Moon, however, had a way-above-everyone +23 in 19 minutes. The athletic aerial artist did almost nothing in the boxscore (5 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 2 steals), but I’m guessing his defense and hustle had something to do with Jersey’s pitiful bench production: 9 points on 12 shots, 5 rebounds, 9 fouls.

Because it needs to be said: I’m disappointed in Derrick Rose’s decision to skip the Rookie Challenge (before the hip injury). I understand he doesn’t want to be the first player ever to participate in all three days of the All-Star Weekend (Rookie Challenge is Friday, Skills Challenge is Saturday, All-Star Game is Sunday), but he’s only looking at about 40 lackadaisical minutes of game time between the two contests, and the Skills Challenge course takes 30 seconds.

Two years ago, Brandon Roy played 25 minutes in the Rookie Challenge before logging West highs of 29 minutes and 18 points in the All-Star Game. In 2005, LeBron James played 27 minutes in the Rookie Challenge before another 31 in the actual game. I hope Rose’s big timing of the Rookie Challenge doesn’t become a trend for young stars who are asked to double-dip over the weekend.

Zachariah Blott cannot recommend Rick Telander’s “Heaven Is A Playground” enough.

Lamar Odom Photo Credit: Icon SMI

2 CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Feb. 12, 2010 at 3:44am in NBA

It’s Time to Play Make-Believe Again

February 9, 2010

Amare StoudemireBy Brian Spencer

It’s that time of the year again; actually has been for well over a month now, if not more. Time for “anonymous sources” and “sources close to X” to make things up, for NBA writers and bloggers to pick up on these myths and report them as news, for fans to argue back and forth about the merits of these mythical trade rumors.

It happens like clockwork, this slow grind of the NBA rumor mill, and after reaching its breathless peak 9 days from now on February 18 at 3pm, it stops only long enough for the playoffs to come and go before picking up where it left off as the summer sun shines on free agency and the draft. And at the end of the day, much more often than not, all this speculation and salary-matching and debate amounts to a big, steaming pile of horseshit.

And, honestly, that’s fine. It’s fun. We love to discuss these things just as much as the next fan. It’s something to talk about, it reels casual fans in and tasks them with evaluating their favorite team(s) and how it might look after Amare Stoudemire, Andre Iguodala, and/or Chris Bosh magically land on the roster in exchange for, oh, a future first-round pick and expiring contracts (since that’s all it takes these days, right?).

Perhaps the best thing to come of the unending speculation are in-depth player evaluations and discussions, like the ones we’re reading about guys like Stoudemire and Iguodala, that break down the pluses and minuses of the parties involved. You know, like the mindset of Stoudemire as it pertains to his player option next season: will he or won’t he opt out? Is he playing games with the Suns? Is he dogging it to force his way out? Is he a max-contract player?

For Iguodala, the uber-talented swingman in Philly who’s apparently not living up to expectations, it’s often about his value. Is he overpaid? Is his contract really that hard to swallow? Is he an upper-tier player still harboring the potential to become an elite one? Would he fit in better with the Suns or Cavs? (A great read on Iggie came courtesy of our man Kelly Dwyer over at Ball Don’t Lie.)

Love the analysis, the soul-searching, the number-crunching that goes into discussions about why these players’ names are popping up in the rumor mill. It gets people thinking, and careful thought is something we need more of.

So, no, don’t take this as admonishment of the rumor mill. It’s just… I don’t know, it seems to get sillier and sillier every year. Some of the rumors I’ve been reading over the past few days… look, I don’t understand why the journalistic integrity of bloggers (a term which, by the way, I don’t personally like to associate with–we’re all writers in my book, but whatever) is still constantly questioned and ridiculed when we have beat writers, guys and girls on the payroll of major, well-respected newspapers, floating made-up conjecture and passing it off as fact, or at least a rumor partially based on fact, when it most definitely is not. It’s shameless, and it’s ridiculous.

Not interested in naming names, because at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. There are gaggles of guilty parties. And, again, all this chatter is mostly harmless, except of course for the fact that it sometimes seems to severely distract those players and those teams most heavily involved in the rumors.

If you’re looking towards this year’s trade deadline and waiting for big names and big trades to shock and awe, history tells us you’re going to be disappointed. It’s rare. Sure, where there’s smoke there’s often fire, especially, I think, in the case of Stoudemire and Iguodala this year. Both of them have a fairly good chance of being moved, for various reasons.

But beyond that, in all likelihood we’re going to go from reading about all these big trades that are supposedly on the table to reading about why all these big trades didn’t happen. That, and be yawning at the low-level salary-cap clears and trades made for depth towards the middle of the bench. The big trades that do happen? It seems like they often come out of nowhere… or they don’t happen until the summer.

Keep the discussion going, by all means. Enjoy playing around with ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine and dreaming up make-believe scenarios you feel make sense for both parties involved (or at least for your team). Just don’t get too worked up about the rumors you’re going to hear over the next 9 days: there’s going to be more and more of them, they’re going to get more and more mythical, and almost none of them will actually come to pass.

Amare Stoudemire Photo Credit: Icon SMI

1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 9, 2010 at 7:25pm in NBA

Reading is Great! The Latest Rumors, News, and Updates from the NBA Blogosphere

February 8, 2010

cavaliers3d

- Yahoo! Sports – The upcoming CBA negotiations have the potential to get ugly. Real ugly.
- D-League Digest – A look at the D-League All-Stars’ potential of becoming NBA players.
- Sactown Royalty – One advantage of sucking? A higher draft pick, of course.
- Bullets Forever – Six reasons why the Wizards must absolutely trade Antawn Jamison.
- Raptor Blog – To appreciate or not to appreciate Bryan Colangelo, that is the question.
- Hoops Addict – Kris Humphries has found a new home (and playing time) in New Jersey.
- We’re Bucked – One Bucks writer makes a pitch to bring Gilbert Arenas to Milwaukee.
- TrueHoop – Baron Davis is the man on the spot for the Los Angeles Clippers.
- The Sports Hernia – Magic Johnson and Phil Jackson share an awkwardly sexy moment.
- Basketball.org – A review of the hoops/LeBron James documentary More Than a Game.
- Hardwood Paroxysm – Tom Haberstroh takes a close look at NBA shot selection.
- Blazer’s Edge – Should Portland trade for Amare Stoudemire? Here’s one resounding “no.”
- Points in the Paint – Trade-deadline advice for fantasy basketball owners.
- Clipper Blog – Reaction to Mike Dunleavy (finally) relinquishing coaching duties for LAC.
- Blog Maverick – Mark Cuban is not a fan of lazy sales pitches.
- Stacheketball – The man, the myth, the legend: Maybyner Rodney Hilário.
- Full-Court Press – Is Pistons head coach John Kuester already losing the locker room?
- The Dream Shake -Thoughts on the pros and cons of Houston trading with the 76ers.
- Ball Don’t Lie – Our money is on Danilo Gallinari in this year’s three-point shootout.
- Daily Thunder – The evolution of basketball video games, below. Yay nostalgia!

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Feb. 8, 2010 at 3:30am in NBA

NBA Teams Need Help, and These Five NBA D-League Players Want Jobs

February 5, 2010

Antonio AndersonBy: Zachariah Blott

A lot of NBA franchises feel that they are one piece away from contending, or at least one piece away from building toward respectability. And although fans want to wheel and deal half their team for Chris Bosh to make it happen (and may even think it’s possible), clubs often need to make subtle, simpler acquisitions that add a new wrinkle to their system or philosophy. Enter the NBA D-League, which we’ve recently featured on ETB in a two-part interview D-League Digest’s Steve Weinman. (In case you missed them, catch up first with Part I, then Part II.)

The NBA Development League pits hundreds of “minor leaguers” against each other for a shot at the big leagues. A lot of these guys have played out a few 10-day contracts in the NBA, but they all want to return and get some stories to tell their grandchildren, like Sundiata Gaines has. Some of them have the skills to do just that.

Here are five D-League players who could make an impact for the right club right now. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert on this league, but I’ve looked at information about numerous players such as size, production, efficiency, how they faired in the NBA if they had previous call-ups, opinions of D-League experts like Weinman, and considerations for transferable skills beyond scoring, which none of these guys will be asked to do at the next level anyway.

- Kurt Looby, C: Teams that need a defensive presence in the middle should sign Kurt Looby. The 6-10, 230-pound center gets after every shoot, swatting away 3.1 per game in only 25 minutes. When opponents do get their shots off cleanly, Looby is there to clean up misses, collecting 7.9 rebounds. He has the size and attitude to be aggressive around the hoop, something several NBA teams could use.

Additionally, he doesn’t demand the ball on offense—which he wouldn’t get in the NBA—but he hits the ones he takes (6.2 career ppg, 56% FG). He’d fit in well with a team like Portland that has lost both of their centers for the year and are currently starting the 37-year-old Juwan Howard, a 6-9 power forward, in the middle. The Trail Blazers have enough scorers, but LaMarcus Aldridge and Howard aren’t exactly prolific defenders or rebounders; they could clearly use some help.

- Dwayne Jones, FC: Jones is absolutely annihilating the D-League with a ridiculous 15.4 rebounds per, including 6.2 offensive. Nobody can hang with this guy’s talent underneath at that level, and he’s also done well in his time up in the league. In 80 career NBA games, Jones has averaged 2.4 rebounds in 7.9 minutes (3.3 min/reb, 17.4 Rebound%), and he’s connected on 33 of his 65 shots, good for 51%.

Jones is 6-11 and 250, so he could definitely handle the pounding in the paint at the next level. A team such as Golden State could use the inside presence of Jones because they’re a terrible rebounding team, and Andris Biedrins has had nagging back problems that are limiting his production. Jones could provide valuable minutes to most teams’ frontcourts, and definitely to the Warriors’.

Three more NBA Development League players highlighted after the break…

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No CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Feb. 5, 2010 at 4:09am in NBA

Boxscore Breakfast: Andre Miller Scored 52, and Other Oddities from the Week

February 5, 2010

Andre MillerBy: Zachariah Blott

Andre Miller (yes, f’ing Andre Miller) scores 52: Last Saturday in Dallas, journeyman PG Andre Miller, who is not a good shooter and not particularly quick, hit everything in sight to drop a career-high 52 points. Here’s a little perspective on that evening: he’s averaging 13 points per, and he preceded this contest with point totals of 2, 7, and 6, and so far he’s followed it up with 8 and 9.

During that fateful January 30 win in Dallas, Miller connected on 22 of 31 shots, his only triple, and 7 of 8 free throws. Sure, Portland was missing Brandon Roy and countless others to every conceivable injury, but Aldridge or Bayless were supposed to go off, not Miller. At the age of 33, Miller became the oldest player to ever set a career-high in scoring that’s over 50 points.

Collison is a quick study: New New Orleans starting PG Darren Collison has apparently channeled Chris Paul’s passing energy, because he’s done alright for himself in his three starts since the superstar’s injury. This past week, Collison collected 18, 14, and 9 assists, all against teams sniffing Western Conference playoff berths. He also started 8 games at the end of November, but he surpassed 9 assists only once during that span.

Two-Minute Warning renamed Tyreke Evans House of Kick Ass: Rookie Tyreke Evans decided the Kings weren’t going to lose to the Spurs by double digits on Wednesday night, so he went all Reggie Miller on SA in the final 1:39. Down 107-94, Evans stole the ball from George Hill and dunked home 2 points, which he rapidly followed up with 10 more points, another steal, and 3 assists. Despite his 17 4th-quarter points, the Kings still lost, but 115-113 doesn’t look so bad when you’re this dependent on a rookie to do everything.

Zachariah Blott cannot recommend Rick Telander’s “Heaven Is A Playground” enough.

Andre Miller Photo Credit: Icon SMI

No CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Feb. 5, 2010 at 3:19am in NBA

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