No Jeremy Lin, No Amar’e: Just Carmelo Anthony. And thanks to his 43 points and this absolutely cold-blooded 3-pointer against Chicago on Sunday, the Knicks are back to being Melo’s team. But you know what the best thing about that shot is? Anthony hit that same shot against Luol Deng two years again when he was still with the Nuggets. (see video here)
You’d think Derrick Rose feels a little shortchanged this season for his lack of MVP talk. I mean, it’s understandable since the Bulls are so deep that they’re winning games whenever Rose is injured. But I don’t think that’s it. I think this kid is just so hungry to be a winner in this league that he’s killing nearly every point guard he comes across, especially Brandon Jennings. Whenever Jennings plays Rose, he gets torched; Every. Time. He’s just too small, not as strong and not as fast to keep up with Rose and it almost seems unfair.
In fact, according to basketball-reference.com, Jennings averages 13.2 points against Rose but shoots a horrid 36% from the floor (32% from 3s). As for Rose, he averages 21.7 points while shooting 47% from the floor. I hope you enjoyed watching the video above as much as I did. He broke Jennings off, big time.
Derrick Rose, the former league MVP, is easily the most liked player in the game. Sure, maybe some feel that he needs to enjoy himself more, especially after him stating that the All-Star game was no place for dancing (although it’s an event where you can relax and have fun), but Rose is who he is; He’s a shy, quiet kid from the streets of South Chicago. And although he’s the franchise player for the Chicago Bulls and the No. 1b point guard in the league (Chris Paul’s still the best), Rose isn’t going to change. No for anyone. He’s strictly business and takes the game of basketball very seriously, which, you always want from your star player.
Behind Rose’s 22.4 points per game and 7.7 assists, and missing 10 games, the Bulls are sitting at 32-8 — which, to me, makes them the best team in basketball — and put together a 30-second legacy video of their point guard for the season ticket waiting list, where Derrick has a pretty deep quote at the end.
Incase you’ve been under a rock these past few days – Blake Griffin MOZGOV’D Kendrick Perkins while LeBron James JUMPED OVER John Lucas III for the alley-oop. Both players are not human. Who’s the better dunker? And for all you dunk enthusiasts out there, enjoy 2 bonus dunks after the jump: LeBron posterizing Bill Walker and Andre Iguodala going off the glass to himself.
He might have lost a little bit of his explosiveness and speed since his knee surgery but one thing is for certain: Chris Paul still has the best handles in the NBA.
After squeezing out a win at the Staples Center on Christmas Day, Derrick Rose led his troops yet again into ‘Tinseltown’ to battle who many believe is the best point guard in the game, CP3, and the new-faced Clippers.
Shot after shot, speed after speed and dunk after dunk, both Paul and Rose went at it tonight. Period. But in the end, it was Rose and his Chicago Bulls who walked away with the victory and a ridiculous stat-line for the former league MVP: 29 points, 16 assists and 8 rebounds to Paul’s 14 point, 15 assist outing.
Oh, and don’t think Rose didn’t get some get-back on CP3, either:
Not all good things stay together, or great for that matter. Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won 6 NBA championships during their partnership (could have been 8 had he not retired twice and left basketball for a mind-boggling baseball decision), as well as Kobe and Shaq winning 3 rings together as a duo in Los Angeles. And now, sadly, those kind of conversations are now starting to include arguably the best, and youngest duo in the league: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
They’ve been best friends since the beginning, they’ve been All-Stars together and they’re both the go-to guys on the Oklahoma City Thunder (although the word “go-to” should only describe Durant in crunch-time, not Westbrook. He’s a point-guard.), but there’s something in the middle. Something that just isn’t quite right, and that’s Westbrook.
I’m not saying that Russ was a bad fit from the start, I’m saying that he’s slowly grown into that category the last two seasons. He’s never been a great shooter, 3-point shooter and ball handler for that matter, and that’s coming back to his UCLA days. He’s a shooting-guard playing a point-guard role in OKC (which doesn’t end well when you have a franchise player in Durant who averages nearly 30 points a night).
Remember a guy by the name of Allen Iverson? He’s a Hall of Fame player and the best that ever played the game under 6-foot, but he was forced to play the point guard role throughout his career when he couldn’t. He’s naturally a shooter. That’s why teams gave him a bad reputation that he’s a ball-hog and won’t help your team win a championship because he’ll always need it in his hands. It’s an addiction.
During the ’08-09 season, Westbrook averaged 14 shots a night (41.8 percent) for 16 points, 8 assists and 3.3 turnovers. In 2010-11, he averaged 21.9 points (17 shots, 44 percent), 8 assists and 3.9 turnovers. This season? 15.3 points (17 shots, 31 percent), 6 assists and 6 turnovers.
For a point guard, that’s not a good look.
As for shots, he should be somewhere between the 9 and 11 range while shooting in the high 40s from the field. Prior to this season, his 8 assists were excellent but they could a tad higher (10?), but his turnovers are atrocious. Westbrook has been so focused on scoring the basketball for so long in his life that for the most part, his decision making is where it should be. Where it needs to be is a whole ‘nother story. He needs to slow the pace down and make smarter passes, take smarter shots, ect. if he plans on manning the ship for the Thunder.
They’re built to play that way.
When trade rumors arose during the lockout that a possible trade between OKC and the Boston Celtics could take place — with Boston trading Rajon Rondo to Oklahoma City while the Celtics received Westbrook in return — most said it was crazy, but the truth is, having Rondo control the Thunder’ offense would take them to a championship a lot quicker than it will with Westbrook.
When the “Argument Heard Around The World” went viral Wednesday night — detailed by The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry — where Westbrook was overheard yelling at Thabo Sefolosha for passing up an open shot and when Durant tried to calm him down, Westbrook snapped at Durant (Something to make a report about, and talk about it for 24 hours on ESPN? No, not at all. It happens, teammates argue all the time. Friends, family, whatever, arguments happen).
24 hours later, ESPN beat writer J.A. Adande wrote an interesting piece on why Westbrook won’t work in OKC for not only the long-run, but financially as well:
The Rose Rule already bumped Durant’s paycheck by an extra $2.5 million a year, and Westbrook could be living in that same $18 million-a-season neighborhood. Depending on what other moves the Thunder make, a huge boost to Westbrook’s salary could put Oklahoma City in luxury tax territory next season and beyond. Starting in 2013-14 the tax will be progressively more punitive than the simple dollar-for-dollar surcharge in place now, and there are additional penalties for repeat tax “offenders.” In addition tax teams have restrictions on their abilities to make trades and sign players to the full mid-level exception.
To sum it up, Adande is stating that by the Thunder locking up Westbrook to a huge deal will ultimately hurt them in the long run when it comes to re-signing other key attributes and going after other appealing talent in free agency. One thing, though, that was really brought to my attention (it’s actually the reason why I’m writing this in the first place) is when J.A. threw out a trade idea that would send Westbrook to Golden State in exchange for Steph Curry (very interesting):
Curry is still on his rookie contract through 2012-13 (when he’ll make $4 million) so he would almost guarantee the Thunder stay below the tax threshold for another year, and he probably won’t be eligible for the Rose Rule pay boost, which would keep his maximum salary 5 percent lower than what Westbrook’s might be when it’s time to re-sign him.
Curry would also give the Thunder more scoring punch from the starting 2-guard spot than they currently have from Sefolosha. From Golden State’s perspective, Westbrook is a better defender than Curry, and that should count a lot for the new-look Warriors. (Believe it or not, Mark Jackson’s squad is among the top 10 defenses for fewest opponent points allowed so far.) And Westbrook is more likely to cause sprained ankles than suffer as many as Curry has.
Interesting enough, Curry was a fan favorite in OKC during the ’09 NBA Draft when the volume shooter was coming out of Davidson (many wanted him over James Harden). Although it’s an intriguing idea, Adande failed to mention one thing: Monta Ellis.
Trading Ellis for Westbrook makes a lot more sense for Golden State than it does by shipping Curry out the door, but it’s almost an identical swap. On paper it seems that Westbrook would help the Warriors out more than Ellis already does, but it’s somewhat misleading.
Golden State would still have the same problems defensively that they do now, and they’d still have the same turnover issues that Ellis provides and the out-of-control shooting outbursts throughout the night.
This what happens when you put a shooter at a facilitators position.
Lets say for a minute that Westbrook does end up in Golden State at some point between this season and the next (this isn’t a rumor, this is just a discussion), what’s the guarantee that he would automatically turn into a facilitator on a team built for running? As for Curry, yes, he’s had issues with his ankle, but at the end of the day he has the higher basketball IQ, and that includes his shooting, passing skills, and the ability to spread the floor substantially better than Russ.
If the Warriors are in a “win now” situation — which I don’t believe they are since they just hired a brand new coach in Mark Jackson — and if the front office believes Curry is going to be an injury-prone player from here on out, I could see them offering this kind of trade. Other than that, no. It doesn’t make enough sense because at this point I’d rather pay Curry $3 million less to run my offense like a point guard should, than pay Westbrook $3 million more to run it like a shooter.
Above (from l-r): Carmelo Anthony wore his Jordan Melo M8 Christmas Day kicks in a win against the C’s, Chris Paul wore his Jordan CP3.V XMas day kicks in his debut with the Clippers, and D-Wade rocked his Jordan Fly Wade 2 XMas day kicks in the Heat’s blowout over the Mavericks.
Below (from l-r): KD rocked the Nike Zoom KD IV “Coppers” against the Magic, LeBron put on the XMas Day LeBron 9′s, Kobe laced up Nike Zoom Kobe VII “Cheetahs” in a loss against the Bulls, and Amare wore his special XMas colored Air Max Sweep Thrus.
All of the shoes are in stores now!
I love camouflage, especially cargo shorts. If you wear it right, your swag will be at a high level, but if you wear it wrong, you’ll just end up with a bunch of people wondering, “what the hell was this guy thinking?” In this case, I’m doing the same after I saw photos of the Toronto Raptors camouflage jerseys they’ll be sporting in four games this season in order to show support the Canadian Military (nice gesture, though).
The Raptors are terrible — even some went as far as to say they were the worst franchise in the league — but lets not get that carried away. These uniforms are terrible and I don’t see them helping the Raptors in hopes of trying to fix being the somewhat of the league’s laughingstock. It might be a showing of respect, but most will choose to overlook that and try to hold in a few giggles when the world lays their eyes on these uniforms March 21 against the Bulls.
We all knew this was coming, it was just one of those situations of when it was going to happen. Derrick Rose, the NBA’s reigning MVP, blew up last season with career highs in nearly every statistical category, minus FG percentage (25 points per game, 7.7 assists, 85.8% from FT line and 33 percent from 3s (still mediocre).
According to the Chicago Tribune, both Rose and the Bulls agreed to contract terms of a five-year, $94 million extension to stay in Chicago making roughly around $18.9 million a year (the Tribune also reported that by becoming the youngest MVP in the league history, an additional $10 million was added).
Luckily for Rose, he’s going to benefit from his own rule — the Derrick Rose Rule –, which allows a player to receive a larger percentage of his team’s salary cap money if he has been voted to an All-Star game twice, twice been voted All-NBA, or won an MVP award during his rookie deal. He might have deeper pockets, but he’s also going to have a lot of work to do this season in hopes of coming out on top in the Eastern Conference because as of right now, the Knicks have the best front-court in the league with the addition of Tyson Chandler while both Miami (who relatively stayed the same but still have their Big Three) and Boston (who upgraded, but lost Jeff Green for the season), remain in the Top 3 out east.
Announced late Wednesday night by the Bulls front office; they’ve officially signed veteran and former NBA champion shooting guard, Rip Hamilton. Rip’s deal is a guaranteed 2 years/$10 million with a third year team option with partial guarantees on $5,150,00. Bulls fans should be ecstatic right now; the Keith Bogans era is officially over and Hamilton will be competing for the starting SG spot on Thursday against Ronnie Brewer at the Bulls practice facility in Deerfield, Il (it really shouldn’t even be a competition since Brewer isn’t starting material. Plus, Chicago will need his defense for a quick 6 to 10 minutes).
Now that Rip is signed, the question that everyone seems to be asking is whether or not he’s the final piece to Chicago’s puzzle? Well, if you’re familiar with Bulls.com beat writer Sam Smith, you’d know by now that he was thinking the same thing. Here are a few samples from Sam’s piece on what areas he believe Rip will help Chicago the most:
Hamilton is in the mold of Reggie Miller running around screens to get open and is one of the clever masters of using screens and all the little tricks you see with players now like Ray Allen to run defenders off or pin them in traffic so he can get open for shots despite his age.
And you need someone like that to play Allen and Wade in the playoffs. After all, those are the players you need to defend and beat. And a player like Hamilton gives you credibility with the referees as well as the opponents. At 6-6 Hamilton has the size to bother the top shooting guards and he is a player known for his energy and an underrated defender.
Sam’s right; Hamilton is going to have his hands full guarding guys like Allen and Wade in the playoffs, but he knows these guys. He knows exactly what they’re capable of and their favorite spots on the court. As far as what those guys will have to lookout for when guarding Hamilton, they better keep and eye out on the three-point line:
Although not a great three point shooter like Miller and Allen, Hamilton did lead the NBA in threes in 2005-06 and is a career 34.7 percent shooter, which is above the average considered necessary to shoot threes, 33.3. Hamilton will shoot the three better from the corner, where it is shorter, much like Luol Deng. Hamilton also is tall enough to swap positions with Deng depending on matchups, giving the Bulls additional flexibility.
I’m actually shocked that a lot of Bulls fans were upset that they didn’t pursue Jamal Crawford or Jason Richardson a little bit harder but there’s a few reasons most don’t pay attention to: 1. Those guys are highly inconsistent and put forth almost zero effort on the defensive end, 2. They’re spot-up shooters, which makes them easier to guard. As previously mentioned, a guy like Hamilton is going to make you work all night long and make you feel like you just ran a 200 meter dash against Usain Bolt. He’s constantly moving and constantly looking for the open shot, which is something Bogans lacked entirely. He’s only signed to a two-year deal which means Chicago has flexibility and options, and if you’ve played close attention to Jerry Reinsdorf, you know he loves having options.