2012 Training Camps

Mavs’ Curry To Get Shot As Starter Against Howard, Lakers

DALLASEddy Curry was all smiles Monday after the Dallas Mavericks mercifully put a wrap on their final preseason practice before Tuesday’s opener against Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers.

And why shouldn’t the slimmed-down Curry be smiling? After playing just 24 games over the last four seasons — that’s 24 total games, not an average per season — suddenly Curry will almost assuredly start at center opposite Howard at Staples Center just days after being waived by the Spurs and then signed by the desperate, injury depleted Mavs.

“That’s awesome, man,” Curry said of facing Howard in his L.A. debut. “Couldn’t ask for a better matchup, I think, just to really test me and see where I am.”

Curry’s personal good fortune, however, underscores just how miserably things have gone for Dallas this preseason. An adjustment period was coming anyway with a radically different roster from the one that claimed the franchise’s only NBA championship just 16 months ago, and even from the semi-dismantled one that feebly attempted to defend the title.

Yet, no one could have predicted that when the Mavs take the floor Tuesday night, forward Shawn Marion would be the lone starter from either of those two teams. It’s been one mess of a preseason, with injury and atypical turmoil producing one gut punch after another.

The big blow was Dirk Nowitzki’s bothersome right knee requiring arthroscopic surgery that will sideline him for at least another two to four weeks. Chris Kaman, the 7-foot and chronically injured center the Mavs crossed their fingers would start in the opener, can’t stay healthy. He wrenched his back during the very first practice and is now into his second week of a calf stain. The baffling Delonte West, the Mavs’ best option at backup point guard, was waived Monday after twice being suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.


Blake To The Future (Video)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The signature red sweatsuit, the B-list acting skills and the spot on delivery on punch lines.

Blake Griffin‘s commercial game returns for the 2012-13 season as tight as ever.


Thunder Trade Harden To Rockets

Contract extension talk between the Oklahoma City Thunder and reigning KIA Sixth Man of the Year James Harden took a wrong turn somewhere. How else to explain tonight’s shocking news, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman, that Harden has been traded to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, rookie shooting guard Jeremy Lamb, two first-round Draft picks and a second-round Draft pick?

The Thunder will also send Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to the Rockets to complete the deal.

This shakes up not only the Western Conference playoff chase but also the entire landscape of the league, what with the Thunder losing one of the most explosive scorers in the league as he enters the prime of his career. The Los Angeles Lakers remade their roster over the summer, adding Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to a nucleus of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace. And the Thunder needed to keep the core of a team that had home court in The Finals last season intact if they intended to hold off challenges from the Lakers and San Antonio Spurs for the Western Conference crown.


Camp Questions: Can The ‘Positionless’ Heat Keep Opponents Off The Glass?


HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat really figured it out last Spring.

They realized that “positionless” basketball, with the personnel they had on their roster, was pretty much unstoppable. They didn’t need a real point guard or a real center. They just needed LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and a handful of shooters.

In the 2012 postseason, the Heat were better both offensively and defensively when they played with fewer than two true big men.

Heat efficiency, 2012 Playoffs

Bigs on floor MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
Two bigs 273 88.5 105.3 99.0 +6.3 +25
One or zero bigs 840 91.5 107.4 97.9 +9.5 +138

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

In the offseason, the Heat fully embraced their positionless concept by trimming a center — Ronny Turiaf — off their roster and adding two more shooters — Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Offensively, they should be more unstoppable than ever. Defensively, they should be fine as well.

But here’s a question worth some investigating: How does playing small affect the Heat on the glass? (more…)

Metta World Therapy (Video)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Metta World Peace is doing his best to deal with all of the change going on with the Los Angeles Lakers.

But he’s not afraid to admit that he has a few issues and needs help with them. You might be surprised to see who he has turned to for that assistance, a little something called Metta World Therapy … (video courtesy of our friends at The NOC):

Add Knicks’ Chandler To Growing List Of NBA’s Walking (On Crutches) Wounded


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Amar’e Stoudemire the list of names on the NBA’s walking wounded list is growing by the day.

Add New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler to that group of players whose availability for his team’s regular season opener next week is in doubt.

A collision with Gerald Wallace in the Knicks’ win over the Brooklyn Nets last night left Chandler on crutches after the game and in need of an MRI today to determine the severity of his injury. More from Ian Begley from ESPNNewYork.com on Chandler’s injury and the mounting injury issues the Knicks are facing right now:  

“It was awkward,” Chandler said. “My foot was planted when he fell into me. It just torqued my knee outside a little bit. I kind of didn’t feel it until I started laying there.”

The team originally said Chandler’s injury was minor and he was held out of the game as a precaution.

If Chandler’s out for an extended period, it leaves a huge void for New York on the defensive end. Chandler, the reigning defensive player of the year, helped transform the Knicks into a top-10 defensive team last season, his first in New York.


No Kobe In Season Opener?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — With so much focus on Dwight Howard‘s back and whether or not he would be ready for the start of the Los Angeles Lakers’ regular season, few people worried about Kobe Bryant.

But with the opening night contest against the Dallas Mavericks just days away, it’s Bryant who could be in danger of missing the game with injury. Both of the Lakers’ stars sat out Wednesday night’s preseason loss to the Clippers and Bryant could, according to Lakers coach Mike Brown (via ESPNLosAngeles.com), be held out of the game against the Mavericks with a strained right foot:

“I don’t know if he’ll be ready,” Brown said after the Lakers 97-91 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. “So yeah, I guess there is question. I’m just going to wait for [Lakers trainer] Gary Vitti to tell me he can play because there’s nothing I can do about it until they release him anyway.”


Kevin Love And Larry Fitzgerald ‘SpreadLove’ For The Cause!

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Two of Minnesota’s favorite sons — Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love and Arizona Cardinals All-Pro and Minneapolis native Larry Fitzgerald — got together recently for a cause.

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Fitzgerald having lost his mother to the disease nine years ago, Love decided to shed his cranium stubble in support of those who have had to and are dealing with the disease.

There can’t be a better reason to go bald …

Must See PG Block (Video)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — One of two things can happen when a pair of guys used to operating above the rim head to the basket at the same time on opposing sides.

Either someone’s getting dunker on and freeze-framed forever as a player who jumped into the wrong space at the wrong time or what could have been a lasting memory suddenly becomes much ado about nothing.

Derrick Williams was on his way to a monster jam, one that would have made everybody’s top five a classic freeze frame for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ forward. And then Paul George, the Indiana Pacers’ swingman, happened:

Clippers Ready For Lakers, Season

Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro has a decidedly different approach to preseason basketball than his Los Angeles Lakers’ counterpart.

While Mike Brown isn’t worried about his team’s 0-6 preseason record, Del Negro demands that his crew treat every dress rehearsal like the real thing.

“You get paid to play and you get paid to win, I don’t care if it’s exhibition or not, you have to compete,” Del Negro told reporters after Monday night’s win over the Golden State Warriors. “If you’re not willing to compete and put it out there, you’re not a competitive person and those are not the type of people I want around here. … I understand it’s an exhibition game but when you play your minutes, play the right way so we can get better. If you don’t want to, you can come sit with me.”

Both sides will have main players sitting with the coaches when the Clippers and Lakers square off tonight (10:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV). Lakers star Kobe Bryant is set to rest his sore foot and Del Negro has talked about resting his starters for the preseason version of the Staples Center Classic.

That means tonight’s game could turn into a battle of the benches, and that’s one fight where the deeper Clippers’ appear to have an advantage over their city rivals. A roll call of the Clippers’ reserves — Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Matt Barnes, Eric Bledsoe, Ronny Turiaf, Willie Green, Ryan Hollins and Chauncey Billups (who will return from a torn Achilles tendon sometime next month or in December) — highlights an explosive supporting cast of talented players all capable of playing multiple positions.