Archive for October 30th, 2013

Kenneth Faried

The Nuggets have exercised the fourth-year contract option on forward Kenneth Faried and the third-year option on guard Evan Fournier for 2014-15, general manager/executive vice president of basketball operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Faried, the 22nd overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, averaged 11.5 points and 9.2 rebounds – both career-highs – in 80 games for the Nuggets last season. He recorded 31 double-doubles and ranked ninth in the NBA in field-goal percentage (.552).

In 126 career games (119 starts), Faried has averaged 11.1 points and 8.6 rebounds, while posting 43 double-doubles. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2011-12.

In addition to his production on the court, Faried received the 2012-13 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

Fournier, the 20th overall pick in 2012, averaged 5.3 points and 1.2 assists in 38 games as a rookie last season. He scored in double-figures in six of his final nine appearances, including a career-high 24 points against the Portland Trail Blazers on April 14.

Fournier, 21, turned pro as a teenager and played for Union Poitiers Basket 86 in France’s top pro league before entering the NBA Draft. He twice was named the French League’s Most Improved Player.

Bulls

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has exercised its fourth-year option for the 2014-15 season for guard/forward Jimmy Butler, and its third-year option for the 2014-15 season for guard Marquis Teague. By exercising the respective player options, both players will be under contract with the Bulls for the 2014-15 season.

Butler (6-7, 220), appeared in all 82 games last season and posted averages of 8.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 1.4 apg in 26.0 mpg. He also shot .467 from the floor, .381 from beyond the arc and .803 from the line. During the 2013 Playoffs, Butler started in all 12 games and averaged 13.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 2.7 apg in 40.8 mpg. In Chicago’s first game of the 2013-14 season (against the Miami Heat), Butler posted 20 points, five steals, three rebounds and three assists in 29:55 of action.

Teague (6-2, 190), saw action in 48 games last season and averaged 2.1 ppg, 1.3 apg and 0.9 rpg in 8.2 mpg. He also appeared in eight playoffs games for Chicago last year.

The Wolves are looking to do big things from now on. With health and continued improvement from young, talented players, they have the potential to rise up. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Kevin Love

The Timberwolves spent $120 million last summer to add pieces around charismatic stars Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio in a league in which, more often than not, you only go as far as your best players take you.

They signed Corey Brewer for his energy and defense, Kevin Martin and Chase Budinger for their shooting and Nikola Pekovic for his muscle and low-post scoring, all in an attempt to finally reach the playoffs after a long decade away.

But if the Wolves indeed are headed that way for the first time since Kevin Garnett wore their uniform, it is Love and Rubio who will lead them with a two-man game — part old-school sensibilities, part new-school invention — that unsolicited teammates and opposing NBA coaches compare to a modern Stockton-Malone combination.

“That’s a pretty bold statement,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said, taken aback at the mention of the Utah Jazz greats, point guard John Stockton and power forward Karl Malone. “I coached against those guys and those are two Hall of Famers who played together for 18 years. They invented, I guess, the pick-and-roll between the two of them.”

Here’s Michigan Live on what the Pistons frontcourt brings to the table:

andre drummond

With Andre Drummond at center, Greg Monroe shifting from center to power forward, and [Josh] Smith at small forward, the Pistons have a powerhouse front line.

Their hope is that gains in rebounding and defensive rim protection counteract any issues in offensive spacing caused by playing Smith at small forward.

To the Pistons’ benefit, Smith and Monroe are willing passers who can operate as post hubs, while Drummond is content to rebound and run pick-and-rolls. They all seem capable of playing with any group of teammates.

That was proven to some extent in preseason, when Will Bynum was the only veteran playmaking guard who regularly participated in games. Billups took most of preseason off to preserve his 37-year-old body, Jennings missed most of it after surgery for an impacted wisdom tooth and hairline jaw fracture, and Rodney Stuckey missed most of it after surgery for a broken thumb.

The point guard position is one of the NBA’s hardest. And it’s even tougher when you are a rookie, and on a rebuilding team, and going against some nasty opponents. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Michael Carter-Williams will not get the opportunity to ease his way into the NBA.

In six of the first seven games, the 76ers’ rookie point guard will introduce himself to a Murderers Row of point guards in the league.

He will be matched up against Washington’s John Wall twice, Chicago’s Derrick Rose, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, and twice against Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving.

It’s a brutal challenge that the 6-foot-6, 185-pounder says he welcomes.

“It’s a big learning experience for me to see what I can get better on against the best of the best,” Carter-Williams said.

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