Archive for September 24th, 2012

NBA West remains very strong

Another NBA season is upon us with a little more than a week left before teams gather for the start of training camp.

And once again, the Western Conference is where they will play hardball.

All one has to do is look at the biggest transaction from the offseason. It could be argued that the Western Conference teams came out on the better end of a four-team, 12-player trade that sent All-Star center Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers, established forward Andre Iguodala to Denver, center Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia and emerging swingman Arron Afflalo to Orlando.

The deal serves as an indication that the West again holds the league’s overall balance of power with so many talent-rich teams. Not since the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season has the Eastern Conference’s eight playoff teams had an overall better record than the eight from the West. In those fourteen years, a West squad has won 10 NBA Championships (five for the Lakers, four for San Antonio, one for Dallas) and there appear to be more Western Conference teams — among the legitimate title contenders — poised to unseat the defending champion Miami Heat this season.

– Reported by Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal

Tristan Thompson

Tristan Thompson has spent more time at the practice facility than any Cavalier this summer. The goal for the 6-9 power forward is to average 10 rebounds and 10 to 12 points. He averaged 10.4 points and 7.5 rebounds in 28 starts last season — and they want that rebounding number to rise. He’s only 21.

A year ago, Samardo Samuels arrived at camp close to 20 pounds overweight. He has been at the facility often this season and is in excellent shape, say team sources. With Jamison gone to Lakers, power forward is wide open. Thompson is expected to start. The Cavs want four big men for center/power forward. Three spots are taken by Thompson, Varejao and rookie Tyler Zeller. That leaves Samuels competing with undrafted free agents Michael Eric (Temple), Kevin Jones (West Virginia) and Jon Leuer (acquired on waivers).

– Reported by Terry Plut of the Cleveland Plain Dealer

But after all the twists in his career, taking him from the NBA Development League to the Philippines, Italy and Israel and finally back to the NBA, Forbes’ perspective has changed as dramatically as his address. He not only could have an NBA career with diabetes, he might not be in the NBA without it.

“I think the disease has helped me become better,” said Forbes, a veteran of two NBA seasons. “I’m better … at taking care of my body, getting the right amount of sleep, eating the right foods, working out, doing the things it takes to be in this league, and not only to be in this league but to be a good diabetic.”

Forbes was heading into his sophomore year at Virginia (he transferred to UMass after his coach, Pete Gillen, left) when he developed an unquenchable thirst and began dropping weight, losing 20 pounds in a week.

“I was going to the store every five minutes to get something to drink,” Forbes said.

Even with the checklist of diabetes symptoms, he did not start to realize that he could have the disease until doctors began asking about his family history. He had watched his father check his blood-sugar level and give himself injections of insulin, but it was so routine in Forbes’ life that he did not think that he would soon follow the same regimen.

– Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle

76ers plan to use Spencer Hawes as power forward

[Doug] Collins has already said - loosely - that the preliminary plan is to move center Spencer Hawes over to power forward, teaming him early on the floor with Andrew Bynum, who will get the majority of the minutes at center and will be spelled by Kwame Brown.

Collins likes the idea of having Hawes at power forward alongside Bynum, because Hawes is skilled at manning the high post offensively and should let the Sixers take advantage of his ability to hit the elbow jumper (which will give Bynum infinitely more room to operate in the post) and use his ball skills to create more opportunities for players cutting off of him.

Hawes, who has never played power forward for extensive minutes, gave two reasons in a phone conversation earlier this week for why he expects the transition to be relatively seamless.

“I don’t think it’s a huge challenge,” Hawes said. “I’ve guarded the four a lot. Offensively, the way we’ve done it, the four and the five are pretty interchangeable. I don’t think the transition will be overwhelming.”

– Reported by John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Utah Jazz legends Karl Malone and John Stockton will join former BYU athletes Richard George, Chad Lewis and Doug Padilla next month in being inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame.

The Oct. 23 event at EnergySolutions Arena includes a 6 p.m. reception and 7 p.m. dinner. For reservations ($75), send checks or credit card information to the USHOFF, P.O. Box 95982, South Jordan 84095.

Malone and Stockton were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in consecutive years.

– Reported by the Deseret News

Baron Davis will have non-playing role with Knicks this season

Baron Davis will have a multi-faceted role with the Knicks this season: He will spend some time around the team in an advisory role; he will work with Madison Square Garden’s “Garden of Dreams” Foundation; he’s expected to provide content for MSG’s in-game entertainment and he may do some scouting for the team, according to two sources with knowledge of Davis’ agreement with the Knicks.

Davis, 33, suffered a serious right knee injury in last season’s playoffs, and is expected to miss the entire 2012-13 season.

He’s currently an unrestricted free agent, but the veteran point guard has maintained close ties with the team. He’s spent a significant time rehabbing his injury at the team facility and he maintains a close relationship with several players.

– Reported by Ian Begley of ESPN New York

Hopefully they get VH1 in China … ’cause ex-NBA’er Stephon Marbury’s super hot wife has been tapped to be on the next season of “Basketball Wives.”

Sources close to the production tell us … Tasha Marbury is in final talks to join the show — a much needed cast replacement after Royce, Jennifer and Kesha were all axed.

We’re told producers approached Tasha for two main reasons … she’s actually a basketball wife (she and Stephon married in 2002) … and secondly she’s already friends with some of the other “wives.”

– Reported by TMZ.com

Basketball blog