Archive for April 11th, 2010

Nuggets sign Brian Butch, Coby Karl

The Denver Nuggets have signed C Brian Butch and G Coby Karl, team Vice President of Basketball Operations Mark Warkentien announced today.  We assume these are nonguaranteed, short-term contracts but will update this tonight.

Butch, 6-11, 240, averaged 17.7 ppg and 11.9 rpg in 39 games for the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League this season. The University of Wisconsin product also was named MVP of the 2010 NBDL All-Star game after scoring 18 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

Karl, 6-5, 215, averaged 19.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 26 games for the Idaho Stampede of the D-League. He joined the Stampede after being waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 6. Karl later signed a 10-day contract with Golden State and averaged 7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists in four games for the Warriors. On Feb. 2, Karl had 12 points, seven assists and seven rebounds – all career-highs – against the Houston Rockets.

Karl, undrafted out of Boise State University, also played 17 games for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2007-08 season, and he was a member of the Nuggets’ 2009 summer-league team, averaging 15.0 points and 4.4 rebounds.

The Nuggets’ roster now stands at the league-maximum 15 players.

Butch and Karl represent the 37th and 38th call-ups to the NBA this season.

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports:

Charlie Villanueva needs to learn defense

When Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars signed Charlie Villanueva, 25, last summer to a five-year, $35-million contract as an unrestricted free agent from the Milwaukee Bucks, eyebrows were raised.

Villanueva, a highly skilled power forward with long-distance touch and the ability to score with either hand in the paint, also was known as a defensive liability and uninterested in rebounding.

But “stretch fours,” as Pistons coach John Kuester calls power forwards with three-pointer ability, are rare, and the thinking was Villanueva could be coached up on the grittier aspects of basketball.

However, that hasn’t happened this season. Villanueva is constantly exploited by opponents on defense, and it’s hard to count the number of offensive rebounds he has allowed. He hasn’t been completely healthy all season, either.

Veteran Chauncey Billups still rocking

Benjamin Hochman  of the Denver Post reports:

Veteran Chauncey Billups still rocking

The Nuggets’ point guard is in his 13th NBA season, and this may be his best. He’s averaging 19.7 points per game, his highest ever. He was named to the all-star team, just as he was in the previous four seasons. He is, Denver’s strength-and-conditioning coach said, in the best shape of his life.

Asked if Billups’ body is younger than his age, Steve Hess answered: Absolutely.

“If you look at age, I think it’s irrelevant — I don’t think it matches everyone. . . . Chauncey’s body is not his age,” Hess said. “He’s bought into a healthy lifestyle — staying hydrated, better eating, doesn’t go out (at night), does more stretching, gets massages, does more resistance training, taps into the whole thing. That enables you to get more out of your body.

“Is his age indicative of his body? Absolutely not, because he’s continually improving it.”

Andray Blatche has bright future

Michael Lee of the Washington Post reports (via blog):

Andray Blatche has bright future

The crowd of reporters then encouraged Andray Blatche to say what was on his mind. Blatche slumped his shoulders and finally relented. “Something I can take from this season? Most improved player,” Blatche said. “I feel I worked hard for it. A couple of guys have complemented me, as well. I hope it works out for me.”

Blatche certainly has blossomed since the Wizards dealt away Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood before the trade deadline. In 30 games since the all-star break, Blatche is averaging 22.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists and has recorded 12 double-doubles over that span.

“I was a little nervous,” Blatche said of his intial reaction to the trades, “but also, I knew it was an opportunity for me. I just tried to do my best.”

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld thought that Blatche would be able to respond well after the trades, but this level of production caught him off guard as well.

Dahntay Jones needs better outside shot

Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports:

Pacers want Dahntay Jones to develop outside shot

Jones’ impact on the court has been at a minimum the past few weeks.

The reason?

He’s a poor 3-point shooter.

For Jones to be a regular in the rotation next season, he’ll likely have to improve his outside shooting stroke.

“Let me answer it this way: I like to space the court,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. “I think if we were to get a point guard that can really space the court, shoot the 3, I think you can get away with having a wing that doesn’t space the court.”

The Pacers knew Jones was not a 3-point specialist when they made him their prized free agent acquisition last summer. They signed him to a four-year contract with a player option on the fourth year.

Bob Cousy thinks Rajon Rondo is awesome

Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports:

Bob Cousy thinks Rajon Rondo is awesome

Rajon Rondo already has Bob Cousy’s Celtics record for most assists in a season, but he also has something more valuable. Cousy’s respect and admiration.

“I’ve been saying since probably the first year that it seems to me he touches all the bases for a point guard,” said the Cooz. “If there is a negative - and I don’t know how much of a negative it is - he seems to be insecure about his shooting. But, hell, the guy’s shooting almost 52 percent. How much better could he be if he looked for his shot all the time? But that’s not the function of a point guard.

“Everything else is there. He rebounds much taller than he is. He’s a tough, tough defender. And he creates well. He adds a little something, so he’s obviously getting more confident with the moves and the imagination that he shows. As far as I’m concerned, he’s their most valuable player this year.”

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