Archive for October 23rd, 2009

Kings hire Bobby Jackson

Kings hire Bobby Jackson as 'Ambassador' and assistant

Former Sacramento Kings guard Bobby Jackson today announced his retirement from the NBA as a player to pursue a career with the Kings off the court. Jackson will serve as the first-ever Kings Ambassador, as well as assisting President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie in Sacramento’s scouting department.

“It’s a tough day for me because I’m retiring from professionally playing the game I love,” said Jackson. “But it’s also a happy day because I’m retiring on my own terms and I get to work in a city and for an organization and franchise that I’ve grown fond of. I’m eager to help get the community involved in supporting the Kings as well as assist the team in putting a good product on the court.”

As the team Ambassador, Jackson will represent the Kings throughout the Sacramento region, engaging with fans, promoting the team and making frequent appearances in the community to support the organization’s initiatives.

Jackson played six of his 12 NBA seasons with the Kings, averaging 10.6 points (44.0 FG%, 35.6 3pt%, 81.0 FT%), 3.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game in 365 games with Sacramento. Drafted by the Seattle Sonics with the 23rd overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft and then traded to Denver on the night of the Draft, Jackson played for six teams in his NBA career: Denver, (1997-98), Minnesota (1998-99 - 1999-00), Sacramento (2000-01 - 2004-05, 2008-09), Memphis (2005-06), New Orleans (2006-07 -2007-08), and Houston (2007-08). Jackson ranks fifth in three-pointers made (381) and sixth in attempted (1,070) in Kings franchise history. He also ranks 10th in steals (356) in the Sacramento era.

“Bobby has been one of our most beloved players with the Kings,” Petrie said. “And it’s very gratifying to see him retire as a King along with the fact that he’s going to go forward and join the organization is really exciting for all of us. I’m really looking forward to working with him in a different type of environment. I know he’ll bring the same attributes as he did on the court.”

Jackson averaged 9.7 points (41.7 FG%, 35.4 3pt%, 79.3 FT%), 3.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game in 755 career games. In eight of his 12 seasons, Jackson played in the NBA Playoffs and averaged 9.2 points (40.5 FG%, 27.0 3pt%, 80.7 FT%), 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game in 58 contests.

His best season came in 2002-03 when he earned the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award after averaging a career-best 15.2 points (46.4 FG%, 37.9 3pt%, 84.6 FT%), 3.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game in 59 games. He became just the second point guard in league history to win the award, joining Orlando’s Darrell Armstrong (1999). Jackson tallied a career-best 31 points versus the Clippers on Nov. 29, 2002.

Jackson remains one of the most beloved players in Sacramento-era history for his efforts both on and off the court. He established the Bobby Jackson Foundation in February 2004, a community-based organization created in honor of his mother, Sarah, who passed away in January 2002 after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. Additionally, he serves as the local spokesman for the Sacramento affiliate Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in memory of his mother.

Talk Kings basketball on the InsideHoops.com Sacramento Kings forum.

The NBA and the National Basketball Referees Association announced today that they have entered into a new two-year labor agreement.  The agreement, which will cover the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, ends the lockout of referees that commenced on September 18.

“We are pleased to reach this agreement,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said.  “The negotiations extended further than either side had hoped, but when our regular season tips off on Tuesday we’ll have the best referees in the world officiating our games.  We appreciate the job done by our replacement officials during the preseason.”

Per league policy, terms of the agreement will not be disclosed. InsideHoops.com will edit this page with more info over the weekend.

The NBA referees will begin a three-day training camp this weekend in order to prepare for the start of the regular season on Tuesday.

Rockets waive Brent Barry

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has waived guard Brent Barry.

Barry (6-7, 210, Oregon State) signed as a free agent with the Rockets prior to last season on July 10 and averaged 3.7 points and 1.4 assists in 56 games (one start) played.  The 14-year NBA veteran was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 15th overall selection in the 1995 NBA Draft before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers prior to his rookie season.  Barry played two and a half seasons with the Clippers before being traded to the Miami Heat on Feb. 19, 1998.  His playing career also included stops in Chicago (1998-99), Seattle (1999-2004) and San Antonio (2004-08).  He has averaged 9.3 points, 3.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds over 912 (449 starts) career games played.

The Rockets roster now stands at 15 players: David Andersen, Trevor Ariza, Shane Battier, Aaron Brooks, Chase Budinger, Brian Cook, Joey Dorsey, Chuck Hayes, Carl Landry, Kyle Lowry, Tracy McGrady, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Luis Scola, Jermaine Taylor and Yao Ming.

New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that the team has exercised its fourth-year option on forward Wilson Chandler and its third-year option on forward Danilo Gallinari.

Chandler, 6-8, 225-pounds, has averaged 12.3 points and 4.9 rebounds in 117 games over his first two NBA seasons. The Benton Harbor, MI-native enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign last season, averaging 14.4 points and 5.4 rebounds while playing in all 82 games and was also selected to play in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge at 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend in Phoenix.

Gallinari, 6-10, 225-pounds, averaged 6.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 28 games as a rookie in 2008-09. The Milan, Italy-native was selected by New York with the sixth overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

Stephen Curry missing shots early on

The Golden State Warriors have all sorts of issues. A minor one, for now, is that rookie guard Stephen Curry isn’t quite a shooting star just yet.

Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group reports:

Stephen Curry missing shots early on

The rookie No. 1 draft pick entered the game shooting 34.8 percent, including 4-for-21 from 3-point range.

Nelson said Curry is not even making shots in practice.

“I just thought it was a fluke for the first few weeks,” Nelson said.

“He was always a volume shooter,” Nelson said. “We’re having him think more as a point guard. That may be a factor, but I don’t think so. He feels free to take shots, and we encourage him to do it. I don’t really know any reason.

“He was a great shooter in college. … All I’ve been doing is just encouraging him. Keep shooting.”

Nelson has told the Warriors’ strength and conditioning personnel about cutting back Curry’s weightlifting to see if that’s the problem.

Curry said he lifts three days a week “heavy” for an hour straight. At most at Davidson, he said, he lifted “light” twice a week. But he said he doesn’t think weights are the issue.

I see this as no big deal at all. He’s shooting 35 percent now, on a team that’s making all sorts of adjustments. He’ll probably start shooting 40 percent soon, and perhaps higher in the near future. No problem just yet.

Dionte Christmas, a 6-5, 205-pound basketball player released by the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, decided to spend the next day driving badly without a license with a gun under his seat.

The AP reports:

Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore says Christmas was stopped by Highway Patrol officers at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday for erratic driving in North Philadelphia. Vanore says he was found to be driving without a license, and the vehicle had a 9mm semiautomatic pistol under the driver’s seat.

The report says he’s going to be charged with a felony.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

He was initially stopped for driving erratically, and subsequently found to be driving without a license, Vanore said.

The vehicle had a Hi-Point 9mm semiautomatic pistol under the driver’s seat with seven rounds in it, Vanore said.

Christmas was taken to the 35th Police District to be charged with felony firearms offenses. His passenger was not charged, Vanore said.

Talent-wise, Christmas might be good enough to make an NBA roster but more than likely will head to Europe for an overseas career.

Grizzlies want Mike Conley to step up

Grizzlies want Mike Conley to step up

For most of his short NBA career, Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley has merely been solid.

Entering the league in the 2007-08 season, Conley didn’t shoot particularly well and averaged 9.4 points and 4.2 assists per game.

In his second season the 6-1, 185-pound Conley improved his three-point shooting range and free throw shooting, but the rest of his game didn’t show much improvement.

The time has come for him to make a strong impression on Grizzlies management.

Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports:

Conley has received a strong message. The coaching staff is demanding he be more assertive and in charge of a group that features strong personalities and offensive wills.

Under Hollins, Conley already proved he is a credible NBA point guard. The pressure this season is for Conley to build on his personal gains and prove his position isn’t in need of an upgrade.

“I don’t want to be the weak link,” Conley said. “You want to be a key part of why a team is winning. It forces me to look at the game differently. I’ve got to be a force so that guys can’t sag off me or take me for granted.

“I know people may have given up and lost interest in me, but I use all of that as motivation. The people who doubt me, I try to go out and prove them wrong. I know I can help make this team better. I’m at the point now where I feel like people are going to realize that I belong in this league.”

Conley’s shooting has been good this preaseason. But he must soon prove that he’s capable of being a starter on a winning team.

When a team is 16-1 it is a safe assumption that they’re pretty good. Actually, more like very good, or great. But Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers judges by what his eyes tell him as he watches the team play, not the win-loss column.

Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe reports:

“Last year, I kept making a point when we were 16-1 we were horrible, that we were playing horrible,’’ Rivers said. “People were laughing; I believed that. I thought we were and it proved itself a little bit right after that. So you just watch your team.’’

Chemistry becomes a cliché after a while, but making sure roles are clear and every player is comfortable in theirs is a priority.

“A lot of the jobs for guys are new, even some of the guys that have been here, and it’s going to take them time to understand it completely,’’ Rivers said. “And that’s what we mean by, ‘We’ll be better as the year goes on.’ ’’

This reminds me of when the Houston Rockets went on their incredible 20+ game winning streak a while back. Even though they kept winning game after game, there was nothing particularly impressive about the team other than good chemistry and smart, unselfish play. Yet they kept right on winning.

Basketball blog