By Andrew Thell
– Somebody should make a play for Sacramento Kings big man Jason Thompson. He’s wasting away in Sac Town, and it’s painful to see that kind of talent go to waste. Thompson has been pushed out of the rotation with the arrival of DeMarcus Cousins and Samuel Dalembert, but it wasn’t long ago the third-year player was considered a significant building block for this franchise. Thompson has good size, a strong offensive repertoire with decent range and plays with a lot of energy underneath. He can rebound and score around the basket, and he should only get better at those things as he fills out. He reminds me a little bit of Chris Bosh, but with more natural rebounding tendencies and less pure shooting skills.
The Kings have asked Thompson to play some small forward, but that’s a foolish idea. He’s 6-11 and 255 lbs. and needs to be playing near the glass to be effective. Paul Westphal is giving JT just 15 minutes of a run a night to this point after the he averaged 28 and 31 minutes a night in his first two seasons in the league. To me that says a lot about the third-year power forward’s availability. Any team in need of a big who can contribute now and has some pretty good upside long-term should be interested. Toronto, Cleveland, Detroit, Oklahoma City and Phoenix strike me as especially good landing spots.
Jason Thompson photo credit: Yahoo!/AP
– I know he’s been consistently filling the point and rebound columns of the box score for eight years now, but it’s a shame to see Zach Randolph coming back after the youngsters in Memphis got off to such hot starts. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that while Randolph was sidelined with a tailbone injury Rudy Gay and Mike Conley got off to blazing starts, easily the best of their careers. It’s true that Marc Gasol was also out a few games to start the season, but he plays within the offense and is nowhere near the black hole on offense Randolph is.
– The Jeff Teague era is coming in Atlanta, and it may be sooner than later. Mike Bibby brings some veteran savvy and outside shooting to the table, but that’s about it at this point. He’s turning into a liability on defense and he can no longer use his quicks to draw defenders and find the open man. Teague isn’t what you would call a pure point right now, but he’s fast and very good at penetrating and getting to the rim. Though he might not have the blinding acceleration, he reminds me of Lou Williams, but Teague’s not quite there with the offensive polish yet. Still, he’s dynamic and in the Hawks’ new motion offense I don’t think it will be long before he represents an upgrade over Bibby once the team gets acclimated to Teague’s style of play.
– Paul Millsap‘s massive game in the Jazz’s big comeback win against the Heat was an anomaly, but it wasn’t a fluke. Millsap has always worked his ass off around the basket on offense and defense, which is what has earned the former second-round pick a pretty big role with Jerry Sloan in recent years. But he’s also worked very hard on his offensive repetoire of late and it’s shown so far this season. Somewhat lost in the 46-point line from Tuesday was the fact that Millsap hit 3 threes after coming into the season having hit just 2 threes in his career. It was a desperate situation and he’s not about to start playing that far away from the basket, but it just shows how improved his jumper is and the kind of confidence Millsap is playing with right now.
Critiquing Walt “Clyde” Frazier, a look at the Dallas big men, and checking in with Charlie Murphy and Prince, after the jump…
– When I first moved to New York City five years ago I actually kind of enjoyed Walt “Clyde” Frazier‘s color analysis of Knicks games. At the time there was very little to like about the product New York was putting on the court and Frazier’s casual, folksy commentary awash with absurd alliteration (see what I did there?) was a welcome diversion. My affection for his commentary stylings quickly wore off though; the man is boring and lazy. At this point Frazier is like a video game announcer: the names may change, but I’ve already heard everything he will ever say. The mark of a good color analyst like a Hubie Brown or a Jim Barnett is you will learn something about the game from each broadcast they do. With Frazier there is no actual analysis, just sweaty clichés.
I was largely able to ignore Knicks broadcasts the last couple of years (thank you, NBA League Pass), but now that the Knicks have some guys I actually want to watch (Anthony Randolph, Amar’e Stoudemire, Ronny Turiaf, Wilson Chandler, Toney Douglas) and I’m tuning into games it’s getting painful. MSG needs to make a change. Unfortunately, Frazier is a fan favorite, so I doubt change is on the immediate horizon. Side note: if you are looking for some actual Knicks analysis, check out The Real King Fish. It’s not a hardcore sabermetric analysis site, but the guy does his homework, loves his Knicks and has a good sense of humor about it. It’s my favorite Knicks tumblr (as well as the only Knicks tumblr I know of).
– Kudos to Donnie Nelson for bringing in Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood to provide the Mavericks’ front-court with some much-needed muscle, defense and rebounding. Chandler appears to be winning the lion’s share of the minutes, but both of these guys make a lot of sense next to Dirk Nowitzki‘s more finesse-oriented game. That’s not a knock on Dirk or a generalization based on him being a Euro, but with dedicated rebounders Dirk is free focus on scoring and roam more on offense. I think that’s contributing to his current 58% shooting from the field, which is a full ten percent above his career shooting. I don’t think Dirk can keep scoring at that clip, but I do think it will help him stay fresh and be more consistent on offense all season long. And once the playoffs roll around, you can never have too many big men who can give solid defensive minutes (and fouls) when your route to the NBA Finals likely goes through Tim Duncan and Pau Gasol.
– And finally, I leave you with perhaps the best basketball-related comedy skit of all time. I know it’s old, but Charlie Murphy’s explanations of Prince will never get old to me:
|True Hollywood Stories – Prince|