Archives For September 2013

NBA Rank Update: 181-500 Released

Bo Churney —  September 30, 2013

We are more than halfway through ESPN’s 2013-14 NBA rank, which is probably a good time to update you on the Atlanta players that have already been released.

181. Elton Brand
246. Gustavo Ayon
258. Dennis Schröder
301. John Jenkins
302. DeMarre Carroll
394. Mike Scott
408. Jared Cunningham
431. Shelvin Mack
465. Pero Antic

Just my quick thoughts on this: Antic is probably close to the right spot considering we have no idea what to expect from him as an NBA player. It’s also hard to say Shelvin and Jared should be higher when I think that Shelvin won’t make the roster and that Jared wouldn’t either if he didn’t have guaranteed money attached to him. (he still might not make it anyways)

I have already given my thoughts on Mike Scott.

Jenkins still has promise and has shown Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 56-26 (5th in West)z-grizzlies

Playoff Result: Lost in Conference Finals

Key Additions: Dave Joerger (head coach), Mike Miller (free agency), Jamaal Franklin (draft), Kosta Koufus (trade)

Key Losses: Lionel Hollins (former head coach)

Projected 2013-14 Record: 50-32 (6th in West)*

What to Expect: The Grizzlies had the second-most dominant defense in the entire league last year, made it to the Western Conference Finals, now get to play a full season with their post-Gay era squad which far outplayed their previous installment – and they also got a lot better this offseason.

Of all the “certainties” that can be proclaimed weeks before the 2014 season begins – calling Memphis one of the West’s and league’s best teams is a sound judgement.

The Grizzlies’ biggest issue last season was their offensive spacing. As suffocating as their defense was, oftentimes their offense got them in trouble – with misses leading to transition buckets for the opposition. The problem wasn’t simplicity, more so that the roster lacked shooters to make the offense function fluently. Zach Randolph was doubled and tripled in the post in last year’s Western Conference Finals to no end, all but shutting him down because of perimeter players being unable to make San Antonio pay from outside the arc. These troubles are partially alleviated with the signing of Mike Miller. Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 24-58 (13th in East)z-cavs

Playoff Result: Missed playoffs

Key Additions: Andrew Bynum (free agent), Jarrett Jack (free agent), Earl Clark (free agent), Anthony Bennett (draft), Sergey Karasev (draft), Mike Brown (coach)

Key Losses: Wayne Ellington (free agent), Omri Casspi (free agent), Marreese Speights (free agent)

Predicted 2013-14 Record: 41-41 (8th in East)*

What to Expect: Cleveland had one of the better summers, winning the draft lottery (again) and inking free agent center Andrew Bynum.

They’re a largely unproven team, though. Bynum and Anderson Varejao’s health will be what Cleveland’s season relies on. The Cavs took a chance on Bynum, bringing in the former All-Star big who missed all of last season on a two-year, $24 million deal, with only $6 million guaranteed. Bynum’s bulky knees have caused him to sit out lengthy stretches of the season in the past.

Then, there’s Varejao, who has played a combined 81 games in the past three years. Last season it was blood clots and leg injuries that kept Cleveland’s energy guy sidelined.

Cleveland is also incredibly young, with seven players age 23 or younger. Kyrie Irving is a budding star. Anthony Bennett could fill the gapping hole at small forward as the No. 1 overall selection. Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters add to a very strong core of young talent who will be expected to step their game up as Cleveland fights for it’s first playoff birth post-LeBron. Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 27-55 (14th in West)z-pelicans

Playoff Result: N/A

Key Additions: Jrue Holiday (trade), Tyreke Evans (sign and trade), Anthony Morrow (free agent), Jeff Withey (trade)

Key Losses: Robin Lopez (trade), Greivis Vazquez (trade)

Predicted 2013-14 Record: 35-47 (10th in West)*

What to Expect: There comes a time where a team that has their franchise number one pick on the roster decides to finally build around them. With the Pelicans, the process seems to come sooner than later with how they built around Anthony Davis going into 2013-14. They acquired an All-Star in Jrue Holiday and former Rookie of the Year winner Tyreke Evans to tackle the perimeter minutes around the University of Kentucky big man. By paying such large amounts for both – along with the max contract they have in Eric Gordon – they look to not be a bottom feeder in their inaugural season under their new nickname.

Will these moves be worth it, is a much different question. The Cavs tried a very similar set of moves with Larry Hughes and Damon Jones for LeBron in 2005, and the Magic brought in a crew of characters such as Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter to help Dwight. Neither team were able to convince their stars to stay, as the cast they brought in seemed insufficient. It seems like such a far day away, but wondering what will make this experience different in New Orleans. Continue Reading…

Mike Scott Too Low at 394?

Bo Churney —  September 17, 2013

ESPN has renewed its popular NBA Rank feature, with a few Hawks being among those revealed so far at 376-500. Of those we’ve seen, Mike Scott’s rank at 394 might be the most controversial… or at least Mike thinks it is.

So the question is, where should Mike be ranked?

Let’s start with Mike’s credentials. He only played in 40 games last year, but he had some moderate success. He had a PER of 16.1 (above the league average of 15), per-36 minute averages of 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds, and a true-shooting of 53.3%, which is around the league average. Not bad for a rookie.

We also have Mike’s very promising Summer League performance. In the five games he played in Vegas, he averaged 18.6 points and 6.5 rebounds in 27.4 minutes. Yes, that was against lesser competition, but there were promising signs from watching Scott’s play. He looked more aggressive around the basket and appears to have worked on his three ball. If he can work on his quickness a bit, we could see Mike at small forward this year, where he could get a lot of minutes when you consider Atlanta’s depth at that position. Continue Reading…

HH Team Preview: LA Clippers

Chris Barnewall —  September 17, 2013

2012-13 Record: 56-26 (4th in West)z-clippers

Playoff Result: Lost in First Round

Key Additions: Chris Paul (re-signed), JJ Redick (trade), Jared Dudley (trade), Doc Rivers (coach)

Key Losses: Eric Bledsoe (trade), Caron Butler (trade)

Predicted 2013-14 Record: 58-24 (1st in West)*

What to Expect: The Clippers made some big splashes this offseason. The additions of JJ Redick and Jared Dudley improved their team immensely, but they still have some problems. While the offense is going to be hot fire, the defense is going to suffer at times. The team will be able to rain 3s and move the ball with ease, but how will all these players mesh with their new coach in Doc Rivers? They also have a bench to be concerned with.

It is in my opinion that no team made a better trade over this offseason than the Clippers when they traded Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler for JJ Redick and Jared Dudley. Two incredibly efficient players, Dudley had an effective Field Goal percentage last season of 54% and Redick had an eFG% of 52%. The two can absolutely stroke it from 3 and are awesome off the ball. They are going to add a lot of movement to the Clippers this season and that’s got to make Chris Paul happy. They aren’t other worldly defenders but Redick and Dudley decent enough on defense. Redick will chase your man all over the court with his speed and Dudley will use his strength to matchup with anybody that tries to overpower him. Continue Reading…

When the Hawks signed 27 year old DeMarre Carroll, it came with very little noise. Which is fair. His NBA career has certainly been far from a path of stardom. Playing for four different NBA teams in his first three seasons, with a stint in the D-League somewhere in the middle, Carroll was certainly far from a difference maker for a franchise. There was change this past season though, as Carroll finally stuck to one team for the first time since his rookie year. It paid off too. Carroll soon gained the moniker “The Junkyard Dog” and became a maximum effort player seeing time for the Utah Jazz. This led to Atlanta snagging him away at a cool price of $5 million over two years. The question for many Hawks fans is this: what can he deliver?

What will likely be the most important factor to Carroll’s success in Atlanta will be his fit with the other pieces, and on paper, it looks good. Carroll’s weakness on the offensive side of the floor comes in the form of being a weak jumpshooter. DeMarre needs to be surrounded with floor spacers to make up for that, which luckily, the Hawks have plenty. On the defensive end, Carroll was statistically lackluster last year, but was also surrounded in a system defensively in Utah that was void of talent on that end of the floor. (besides Derrick Favors) Continue Reading…

HH Team Preview: Boston Celtics

Raj Prashad —  September 13, 2013

2012-13 Record: 41-40 (7th in East)boston-celtics-logo-22

Playoff Result: Lost in First Round

Key Additions: Kelly Olynyk (draft), Gerald Wallace (trade), Kris Humphries (trade), Brad Stevens (coach)

Key Losses: Paul Pierce (trade), Kevin Garnett (trade), Doc Rivers (trade), Jason Terry (trade)

Predicted 2013-14 Record: 25-57 (13th in East)*

What to Expect: Boston faces their first year of a full rebuild. Gone are veterans Pierce and Garnett along with former head coach Doc Rivers.

The Celtics face a tough season of growing pains with a young core of developing players and injured stars. Rajon Rondo will be returning from an ACL tear that put him on the shelf midway through last year. Jared Sullinger underwent back surgery days after the team found out about Rondo’s knee. Rookie stud Kelly Olynyk is currently dealing with plantar fasciitis, forcing him to miss playing for the Canadian national team this summer.

This is also a team that struggled mightily on the defensive end with Garnett on the bench. They could rank near the worst in the league, defensively, while they attempt to establish a new identity under Stevens. It will also be interesting to see how the offense develops early on, with Rondo assumingly still recovering from his knee injury. Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 49-33 (4th in East) z-brooklyn

Playoff Result: Lost in First Round

Key Additions: Paul Pierce (trade), Kevin Garnett (trade), Jason Terry (trade), Andrei Kirilenko (signed), Andray Blatche (re-signed)

Key Losses: Gerald Wallace (trade), C.J. Watson (free agency), financial flexibility

Projected 2013-14 Record: 54-28 (3rd in East)

What to Expect: The Nets are a collection of superb on-paper talent with a first-time head coach who trumped this team on the court last year. Alongside newly-appointed head coach Jason Kidd is enough assistant coaches to split between 3 teams, and it’ll be their job collectively to take Brooklyn’s post-prime superstars to the promised land – or at the very least past the first few rounds of the Playoffs.

GM Billy King left the NBA world dazed for a good amount of time when he traded for Boston’s Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry for Gerald Wallace, who regressed rather drastically this past season, Kris Humphries, who underwhelmed as well, Kris Joseph and a trio of draft picks. On top of this blockbuster, King also managed to somehow sign Andrei Kirilenko for just a measly $3 million a year when a $10 million per offer was on the table in Minnesota. Continue Reading…

HH Team Preview: Indiana Pacers

Cole Patty —  September 10, 2013

2012-13 Record: 49-32 (3rd in East)z-indiana

Playoff Result: Lost Eastern Conference Finals

Key Additions: Danny Granger (injury), Luis Scola (trade), C.J. Watson (free agent), Chris Copeland (free agent), Solomon Hill (draft), Rasual Butler (sent from heaven)

Key Losses: Tyler Hansbrough (free agent), D.J. Augustin (but that’s a good thing), Miles Plumlee (trade), Gerald Green (trade)

Projected 2013-14 Record: 54-28 (2nd in East)*

What to Expect: The Pacers postseason last year is very reminiscent to when Robby Kalland and I were walking the strip together at Las Vegas Summer League. The way the building are built, in both shape and sheer size, you can really believe you are a 15 minute walk away when really there was still an hour worth of travel before you actually arrived at Treasure Island, Caeser’s Palace, or wherever your destination was for the night. Robby would look at me and go “The Venetian is right there Cole, just a little be longer.” Before too long, Robby, while exhausted from walking in the Vegas heat, would be wondering “why isn’t The Venetian getting any closer!” while I’m staring it down with hunger in my mind.

The fact is, the Pacers were really close to actually upsetting the Miami Heat. They took them to seven games, and were a LeBron buzzer beating layup away from taking game one. While they lost by the closest of margins and feel on the cusp, they actually are farther away than that margin would normally suggest. Continue Reading…