Archive for the ‘ NBA Teams ’ Category

Here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting on the Kings, whose new point guard Rajon Rondo is reportedly trying to step up early as a leader and mentor. Rondo is coming off an extremely disappointing season, so it’ll be interesting to see how he bounces back, especially in a new environment:

Even on a day at training camp when he sat out because of an injury, Rondo couldn’t be still or keep quiet. He walked around the court at UC San Diego’s Rimac Arena, pointing out spots on the floor where David Stockton might be able to better execute a play.

After Saturday’s practice, Rondo asked assistant coaches to help him show teammates how to run a set properly.

The Kings signed the four-time All-Star to a one-year deal to help them solidify the point guard spot and boost an offense short on players adept at passing.

Rondo already has taken the reins as a vocal leader, something the Kings have lacked for years.

“He’s a guy who just talks, talks, talks and tries to make the team better,” said forward Rudy Gay, who has known Rondo since high school. “That’s what you need out of your point guard.”

On the Bulls offense this season

Here’s CSN Chicago reporting on the Bulls offense this upcoming season:

[Pau] Gasol and fellow Spaniard Nikola Mirotic will be key pieces in the diversity of the Bulls offense this season, as the Bulls will employ the popular “four-out, one-in” offensive set many teams use to maximize floor spacing for drivers and open 3-pointers for shooters.

“We’ll run some four out and one in,” Hoiberg said. “We’ll run some four out and one in with two bigs on the floor, especially with Pau out there. He has proven he can make shots and he can also make plays. If you swing it to him and he doesn’t shoot it, you can get into a second side action.”

Mirotic, in theory and form, is a good 3-point shooter but the numbers say he’s a 31.6 percent shooter. Teams won’t be so quick to run out and defend a shooter with those numbers, no matter his skill set.

Apparently it’s been a point of emphasis in camp, as the Bulls hope to improve on their 35 percent efficiency last season, but they were middle in the pack in terms of attempts.

JaVale McGee a wildcard for Mavericks

JaVale McGee a wildcard for Mavericks

Here’s the Dallas Morning News reporting on new Mavs center JaVale McGee, whose ability to contribute to the team in the near future is unknown:

JaVale McGee a wildcard for Mavericks

The 7-footer who has been plagued by leg problems the last two seasons has always been a little bit of an “out there” kind of person. He’s made lots of highlight reels, but often times for the wrong reasons, such as passing the ball to nobody on the other end of the court.

He’s been a blooper-reel editor’s best friend.

But at 27, he’s still a very young center who has more athleticism than the rest of the Mavericks’ center hopefuls put together. If he ever gets healthy - and that’s admittedly a big if - and if he can stay focused on the court, he’s got oodles of talent and could be a starting center for years to come.

But he’s a long way from that right now. He hasn’t been cleared to do any real basketball work, other than take some jump shots and his ballhandling.

He’s played just 28 games the last two seasons and if he makes the Mavericks’ roster - something that everybody expects - he’s probably not going to be ready to contribute until the regular season has already begun.

Early report: Paul Pierce fitting in with Clippers

NBA preseason is just getting started, so it’s super early, but right off the bat the Clippers have reasons for optimism. Here’s the Orange County Register reporting:

Early report: Paul Pierce fitting in with Clippers

Even though it was his first start as a Clipper and even though he was joining a starting group that was one of the NBA’s best, Pierce had few problems fitting in during the Clippers’ preseason opener.

That was especially evident on a possession in the second half, where the Clippers zipped the ball around the perimeter, finding Pierce open in the corner for a 3-point shot.

“That’s what we’ve got to kind of emphasize,” Pierce said. “When you have the weapons that we have, we don’t care who gets the shot, who gets the credit, it’s tough to guard. These guys make the extra pass when it’s there; everyone is being selfless. Those are the teams usually standing at the end of the day.”

Pierce, 37, is able to fit so seamlessly partly because of his smarts, partly because of his 17 years of NBA experience and partly because a huge chunk of that experience came while playing for Doc Rivers.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated right shoulder

Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffered a dislocated right shoulder in Saturday’s preseason contest at Orlando. The injury occurred with 46 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to Florida Hospital South for x-rays and additional evaluation. X-rays taken at the hospital were negative. He will remain in Orlando overnight and is out for Sunday’s game at Miami. Kidd-Gilchrist will be further evaluated by Hornets team physicians in Charlotte on Monday. An update on his status will be provided when available.

Kings exercise 2016-17 contract option on Ben McLemore

The Sacramento Kings announced today they have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore’s contract, according to Kings Vice President and General Manager Vlade Divac.

Entering his third NBA campaign, the 6-5 guard averaged 12.1 points (.437 FG%, .358 3pt%, .813 FT%), 2.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 32.6 minutes per contest in starting all 82 games he played in last season.

Clippers waive Nikoloz Tskitishvili

The L.A. Clippers announced today the team has waived free agent forward/center Nikoloz Tskitishvili.

Tskitishvili did not appear in a preseason game for the Clippers. The former fifth overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets, Tskitishvili has appeared in 172 career games (16 starts) for Denver, Golden State, Minnesota and Phoenix averaging 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds in 11.3 minutes of play. The Tbilisi, Georgian native has played in Spain, Italy, Iran, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates post-NBA. The 32-year old played for Champville of the Lebanese Basketball League last season.

Jordan Clarkson and D`Angelo Russell developing chemistry

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles with an early look at chemistry development between key members of the Lakers’ future:

Part of the reason the two players seem to mesh well is that they believe their skill sets complement each other more than they overlap.

“His mentality is more [to] score,” Russell said. “I’m looking to pass, and he’s in a position to score most of the time.”

Said Clarkson: “We’re two totally different players. He’s an excellent passer and I’m real aggressive and it just kind of comes together.”

The players also come together outside of basketball.

“We hang [out] a lot off the court,” Clarkson said, “so it kind of makes it easy on the court.”

“We just relate to each other,” Russell said. “He’s not one of those real serious vets that you can’t crack a smile around. He’s a young dude, second year, still learning, still growing. Me, the same way. I’m a goofy guy, he’s a goofy guy. So we kind of complement each other.”

Here’s the Sacramento Bee providing insight on a key Kings big man:

On how Kosta Koufos will help the Kings

One player whom coach George Karl has raved about during training camp says he can help the Kings’ offense without scoring or making an assist.

Kosta Koufos says a good screen can be just as important as finding an open shooter, which he learned by dedication to his craft.

“Patience, experience and just being efficient – those little things (translate) to big things.” Koufos said after Friday’s practice at UC San Diego. “If you’re rolling to the basket and you’re not getting the ball, you’re still getting other guys open on the wings. Little things like that carry over in the long run.”

Koufos wasn’t Sacramento’s flashiest free-agent signing during the offseason. The 7-foot, 265-pound center enters his eighth season averaging 5.4 points and 4.7 rebounds. But Koufos’ patience in refining his game could prove to be exactly what the Kings need. His presence on offense could allow DeMarcus Cousins more freedom to play away from the basket.

Clippers win 2015-16 NBA preseason opener

DeAndre Jordan had 15 points and 12 rebounds to help the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Denver Nuggets 103-96 on Friday night in the first game of the NBA preseason.

Jordan scored 12 points in the first half on 5-for-6 shooting, including three dunks.

The Clippers spoiled Nuggets coach Michael Malone’s debut.

Nuggets: Joffrey Lauvergne scored 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting and had 11 rebounds in a reserve role. Rookie Emmanuel Mudiay missed eight of his first 11 shots and finished with 14 points.

– Associated Press

Now this is interesting. An alternate home court to go with an alternate jersey. Here’s reporting:

Bucks to use alternate court this season

The Milwaukee Bucks gave their fans the chance to buy something new, as the team announced at its Fan Fest Saturday that it will sell a four-game ticket package where the team not only will wear a new alternate jersey but will play on a completely new alternate basketball court.

“The idea has always been to take the fan experience to the next level,” said the Bucks vice president of marketing Dustin Godsey. “We rebranded with the alternate uniforms, but other teams have done that.”

No NBA team has ever played on a different surface in its home arena within the same season.

Steve Blake suffers concussion

Detroit Pistons guard Steve Blake was diagnosed with a concussion, suffered in practice on Wednesday.

Blake will undergo the NBA’s mandatory Return-to-Participation Exertion Protocol until he is deemed symptom free. No timetable has been set for his return.

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed forward John Henson to a contract extension, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

According to, it is a four-year extension worth somewhere around $45 million.

“We’re thrilled to get this deal done to keep John in a Bucks uniform for years to come,” Bucks General Manager John Hammond said. “Since we drafted him in 2012, John has made an impact on this team, especially on the defensive end, and he is an integral part of our future. We’re looking forward to continuing to watch his development as we work to become a championship-caliber team.”

Henson, 24, played in 67 games for Milwaukee last season (11 starts), and averaged 7.0 points and 4.7 rebounds. He finished 5th in NBA for blocks per game with 2.01 and is one of seven players in Bucks history to average over 2.0 blocks in a single season. Henson blocked at least one shot in 20 straight games from Dec. 26 to Feb. 22, which was the third-longest streak in the NBA last season and one game shy of the longest such streak of his career (21 from Dec. 13, 2013 to Feb. 22, 2014). On March 20 at Brooklyn, Henson tied his career high with seven blocked shots in only 21 minutes – tying the shortest time for any player to get to seven blocks last season.

“We’re excited for John and for our organization as we continue to build a consistent winner,” Bucks Head Coach Jason Kidd said. “John is a great teammate, plays unselfishly and has worked very hard to develop into a top-tier defender. We look forward to many great years together with him.”

The Bucks selected Henson with the 14th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He’s posted career averages of 8.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks over three seasons, and his field goal percentage of 53.1 ranks third on Milwaukee’s all-time list (min. 1,000 FGA). In one of his best games on April 10, 2013, at Orlando, Henson posted 17 points along with career highs of 25 rebounds and seven blocks, becoming the first player to hit all three of those numbers since Shaquille O’Neal did so during the 2003-04 season.

Henson has been to the playoffs with the Bucks twice with averages of 5.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks through 10 games. In the 2015 postseason, he notched his first career playoff double-double on April 23 vs. Chicago with postseason career highs of 15 points and 14 rebounds, and with three blocks he became the first Bucks player since Ervin Johnson on May 28, 2001, to post a double-double with at least three blocks in a playoff game.

The 6-foot-11-inch product out of North Carolina was a two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year (2011, 2012) and was named First-Team All-ACC as a junior after leading the conference in shot-blocking and rebounding. He was also named a 2009 McDonald’s All American as a senior at Sickles High School (Florida).

Minutes  may be tough to come by, however

Here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting on new Kings guard Seth Curry, brother of Stephen, who now has his best opportunity so far to solidify himself as a true NBA’er:

Seth Curry now has chance to establish himself

Seth Curry can relax a little, right?

Since going undrafted out of Duke in 2013, the 6-foot-2 guard has played in the NBA Development League and had brief stints in Memphis, Cleveland and Phoenix.

He now has a two-year guaranteed contract for $1.96 million with the Kings, assuring he will be on the opening night roster against the Los Angeles Clippers. But that’s not how Curry, the younger brother of Golden State star Stephen Curry, is approaching the season.

“I wouldn’t say more relaxed,” Curry said after Thursday’s practice at UC San Diego. “I think it just gives me a sense of trying to fit in with the team and find my role instead of just trying to make the team. But I still have the same sense of urgency that I’ve had in the past.”

Curry caught the Kings’ attention with a spectacular showing during summer league in Las Vegas, where he averaged 24.3 points for New Orleans. Curry impressed with his savvy and perimeter shooting, two assets coveted by Kings general manager Vlade Divac while revamping the roster.

Defense the focus for these Nuggets

Defense the focus for these Nuggets

Here’s the Denver Post blog with insight on this season’s Nuggets squad:

Make no mistake about it, the Nuggets will be a defense-first basketball team. And to that end, much of what was drilled during the week was on that end of the court. Against the Clippers — and then Mavericks on Tuesday — [Nuggets coach Michael] Malone wants to see progress on that end of the court first. Success there will allow the team to get on the break on offense.

“The hope is if you have a solid defensive effort that we’re able to run off of our defense,” he said. “I think we have some guys on our team that are really suited to play up tempo, open court. I think Emmanuel Mudiay, the more we can put him in open court situations, the more he’s going to thrive. Offensively we know there are going to be some growing pains, but as long as we’re not throwing the ball all over the gym and we’re trying to execute, we’ll be okay, regardless of the outcome.”

Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari reported feeling “fresh” after the first couple of days of practices. He and forward Joffrey Lauvergne are coming off of playing in the EuroBasket 2015 tournament in the first couple of weeks of September. Both will be monitored for fatigue and held out as necessary, Malone said.

Suns players get glimpse of Navy SEALs training

It’s always fun to hear about the other types of training NBA players get exposed to. Some worked out with MMA fighters. As for the Suns, here’s the Arizona Republic reporting:

The Suns got a day off of practice, but it did not feel like it for more than two hours Thursday when they got just a morsel of what Navy SEALs bite off in training.

In the name of bonding, the Suns changed up the training-camp routine after two days of two-a-day practices and turned their training over to a pair of Navy SEALs.

Dressed in camouflage pants and their Suns training shirts, 18 tall men caught double takes across campus as they went through team-building exercises across the Northern Arizona University campus.

The work began in the Wall Aquatic Center, where the private workouts were caught on video by the NAU swim team as the Suns players interlocked arms and went under lane ropes in unison. The Suns also went across fields on campus, doing push-ups, situps and carrying logs as NAU students snapped photos.

“A lot of it is team building,” said Suns Vice President of Player Relations Mark West, who helped organize the idea with the athletic training staff.

Mavs get rare day of rest

Mavs get rare day of rest

Here’s the Dallas Morning News reporting on Mavs training camp, which is serious business, though some of the older and banged up players on the squad are likely happy to get a brief break:

On Friday, the fourth day of training camp, Mavericks players will rest. No practice. Has Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle gone soft?

Not whatsoever. Time off is prudent for a team that’s been going through two-a-day practices with several injured and/or older players who haven’t as yet taken part in 5-on-5 scrimmaging.

The list includes Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Wesley Matthews, JaVale McGee and Deron Williams. That’s four of this season’s five projected starters and one-fourth of the 20-man camp roster.

“The hope is that we can get some of these guys to do a little bit more [Saturday],” Carlisle said.

With Dante Exum out, Trey Burke must step up

Here’s the Deseret News reporting on guard Trey Burke, an intriguing young member of the Utah Jazz backcourt who this season has a golden opportunity to raise his value in this league while starter Dante Exum is out with a serious injury:

With Dante Exum out, Trey Burke must step up

Burke enters his third NBA season having averaged 12.8 points per game last season, when his shooting percentages plummeted to 36.8 percent overall and 31.8 percent from 3-point range — and his struggling shooting nights were well documented. He also averaged 4.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds a game.

The 6-foot-1 guard, who was named the Collegiate Player of the Year while starring for the Michigan Wolverines in 2013, shed some weight during the offseason in an effort to improve his quickness and lateral movement.

What he can’t do, however, is replace Exum’s 6-foot-6 size and length, particularly on the defensive end of the court where guys Burke’s size often get taken advantage of.

“We’re just gonna have to have other guys pick up for (Exum),” said Utah’s leading scorer, Gordon Hayward. “We can’t really pick up his length or some of his speed on the defensive end, but the system will stay the same, the principles will stay the same, and we’ve got other guys that can step up.”

D’Angelo Russell nursing minor bruise in foot

There are always lots of very minor semi-injuries in NBA training camp and preseason. Most won’t mean anything. And here’s one setback that hopefully is gone and forgotten very quickly, reported by the Los Angeles Daily News blog:

D`Angelo Russell nursing minor bruise in foot

The Lakers absorbed their first injury of the 2015-16 season, with rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell missing the end of Thursday’s two hour morning session at Stan Sheriff Center because of a bone bruise in his right foot. Russell does not know how the injury happened, but he downplayed the severity of the injury. Russell also expressed optimism he will play in the evening scheduled later for Thursday.

“I feel fine, I’m doing the proper icing and taking care of it,” Russell said. “It’s just a little bruise.

Still, Russell conducted his post-practice interview sitting on a chair.

DeMar DeRozan looking for bounce-back year

Here’s the National Post (Canada) reporting on Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who reportedly spent extra time this summer working on his 3-point shooting:

DeMar DeRozan looking for bounce-back year

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

He went on to say that he knows if he performs well, and the team performs well, the money will take care of itself, which is true. It is also where things get interesting. DeRozan remains as polarizing as any marquee player in the league.

DeRozan followed his all-star season in 2013-14 with arguably his most dispiriting season. He missed 21 games early in the year with a groin injury, and had trouble finding his form when he returned. He shot 39 per cent on pull-up, catch-and-shoot two-pointers, and 36 per cent on pull-up two-pointers — down from 47 and 37 per cent, respectively, a year ago. DeRozan’s game, in the words of new assistant coach Jerry Stackhouse, is “an aberration” in today’s NBA because he focuses on his mid-range game. He still got to the free-throw line 7.4 times per 36 minutes, but it was not enough to prop up his falling percentages to match the efficiency of a year ago.

With that in mind, he put extra work into his three-point shot this summer, and not for the first time. DeRozan has always insisted that he could shoot the three-pointer, but he has just chosen to focus on other parts of his offensive game. Whatever the reason, he has never shot better than 31 per cent from long distance.

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