Posts Tagged ‘Brad Miller’

Morning shootaround — July 28

VIDEO: David Lee talks about joining the Celtics


A.D. OK with Pelicans’ flight path | Kentucky’s NBA influence pervasive | Did Jackson’s miscalculations cost Knicks? | So many jersey numbers, so few available

No. 1: A.D. OK with Pelicans’ flight path — Keeping your superstar happy is job No. 1 for any NBA general manager or head coach who aspires to job security and the latitude to purchase green bananas. So based on some comments Monday by New Orleans tent-pole guy Anthony Davis, GM Dell Demps and new bench boss Alvin Gentry are free to unpack and stay awhile. Davis, on a conference-call interview, talked to The Associated Press and others about his $145 million contract extension and the special relationship he had with the terminated (and relocated-to-OKC-staff) Monty Williams. But he apparently sounded just as enthused about the Pelicans’ new direction with Gentry:

Now Davis is eager to see how Gentry’s coaching philosophy will mesh with the Pelicans’ talent. Davis was a high-schooler when Gentry coached the Phoenix Suns to the 2010 Western Conference finals with a fast-paced, high-scoring offense featuring guard Steve Nash and power forward Amar’e Stoudemire. The Pelicans power forward remembers that squad fondly and also has been impressed by the influence Gentry, as a top offensive assistant, has had more recently on recent Western Conference contenders such as the Los Angeles Clippers and defending champion Golden State Warriors.

“I definitely love his playing style,” Davis said. “My teammates, they have a lot of confidence in Coach Gentry. I think that’s why everybody’s coming back.

“In order for us to be that contender that we want to be, we have to have a lot of chemistry, which we have from the past few years,” Davis added. “So it’s good that everybody’s going to come back and we’re going to be able to have that chemistry ready for Coach’s new system.”

Last season, the Pelicans qualified for the playoffs for the first time in Davis’ three years as a pro and lost to the Warriors in a sweep. But Gentry told Davis that he was nonetheless impressed with the Pelicans’ talent and had a plan to get the most out it.

“He stated several times he loved our team and was going to try to get everybody back,” Davis said. “That’s the first thing that he said, and I couldn’t agree more.”

It also meant a lot to Davis to see Gentry look into a TV camera during the Warriors’ locker-room celebration immediately after Golden State had won the title, saying, “AD, we’re going to be right back here!”

“That’s the biggest thing that really got me excited because he wasn’t just saying that to say it. He really believes that,” Davis said.


No. 2: Kentucky’s NBA influence pervasive — Excellence in college basketball doesn’t always translate to the professional ranks, particularly on a case-by-case basis. But in the aggregate, the “Kareem” generally rises to the top — that’s why UCLA, for example, and its John Wooden-produced players held sway for many NBA seasons, in terms of impact on the league. Other powerhouses of the NCAA game — North Carolina, Duke, Indiana — have had enviable influence as well. But according to’s Bradford Doolittle, no college program ever has asserted itself at the next level — in both quantity and quality — the way the University of Kentucky is and will, based on his projections of the near-term. Here are some pertinent excerpts of what Doolittle refers to as “historical stuff:”

…Beginning in the 1969-70 season — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s rookie year — Wooden’s players rose to the top of the NBA win shares list. Thanks to Wilt Chamberlain, Kansas had topped the list for much of the 1960s, though it was actually Indiana that held the No. 1 spot the year before UCLA took over. The Bruins proceeded to dominate the rankings for the next decade and a half, finishing No. 1 in every season through 1983-84. UCLA was then brushed aside by a long period of Michael Jordan/North Carolina dominance. Since then, the top slot has changed hands a number of times, with familiar blue-blood programs like UNC, UCLA and Duke usually winning out, but other programs like UConn, Georgetown and even Georgia Tech have taken a turn or two.

…The Bruins’ high-water mark was 71.3 win shares for the 1976-77 NBA season. UNC was No. 2 — at 28.6. Former Bruin Bill Walton led the Portland Trail Blazers to the NBA crown that season, and Abdul-Jabbar was the league’s best player. Jamaal Wilkes, Swen Nater and Sidney Wicks were other ex-Bruins producing at the time. Those 71.3 win shares stand as the record for one school in one season.

For now, anyway. Kentucky is coming on fast. Already, its totals for the past two seasons rank among the top 11 in league history.

That is indeed impressive, yet not as impressive as what might happen this season. To jump all this historical chatter back into the present, let me remind you of the obvious: [Coach John] Calipari most likely will have another seven rookies in the league this season. That could give Kentucky as many as 25 players in the NBA for 2015-16, though not all of them played for Calipari. …

The sheer number of players is impressive, but not as much as the quality. We mentioned [Karl-Anthony] Towns and [Anthony] Davis as possible award winners. Yet John Wall, [Eric] Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins could all join Davis in the top 15-20 on the win shares board. And WARP, too, for that matter. In fact, I did some rough translations of my WARP projections into win shares. That’s where the story gets really interesting.

The 25 former Kentucky players I’ve flagged as “active” collectively project to put up 90.3 win shares this season. Let me re-state that for emphasis, like I’m writing a big check: 90.3!


No. 3: Did Jackson’s miscalculations cost Knicks? — Five months can be an eternity, when something moves as quickly as the NBA economy. So perhaps one shouldn’t judge New York Knicks president Phil Jackson too harshly that some of the assumptions he held about his team and the league in February had changed significantly by July. But according to the New York Daily News, playing off interviews Jackson did with longtime friend Charley Rosen back in February, the Knicks boss was conservative in his estimates of the new salary cap and the skyrocketing contract numbers, up to and including Memphis free-agent center Marc Gasol. The report includes Jackson’s thoughts at the time, too, on Goran Dragic at the trade deadline, on the deal he did make sending J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland and on the city and state taxes that impact New York as a free-agent destination:

Specifically, Jackson told a friend in February that he was wary of giving Memphis’ Marc Gasol a contract with a starting salary of $18 million. Jackson later signed [Robin] Lopez to a four-year deal with an average salary of $13.5 million.

“It’s tricky. The question is who to offer the big money to?” Jackson said in the latest installment of his in-season interviews with his pal Charley Rosen, which was published Monday by ESPN. “A guy who’s an established player or someone who has sky-high potential? Also, there are, and always have been, really good players who are not winners − guys like Joe Barry Carroll, Glenn Robinson and many more whom I don’t care to name.

“And then there’s someone like Marc Gasol, who’s certainly a winner and would have to be paid somewhere around $18 million, a number that would severely limit what we could offer other players. We’d wind up with starters only getting about $5 million.”

It’s clear by that statement Jackson underestimated the rise in the salary cap, which jumped 11% to $70 million. As a result, the Knicks had more money to play with in free agency and Gasol signed a deal with the Grizzlies larger than Jackson’s estimate.

Gasol, a First Team All-NBA selection and former Defensive Player of the Year, averaged 17.4 points and 7.8 rebounds for the Grizzlies last season. Lopez, who lost to Gasol in the playoffs, averaged 9.6 points and 6.7 rebounds last season.

Jackson handed out contracts over the summer worth a combined $96 million to Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Derrick Williams and Kyle O’Quinn. The only max-contract candidate who seriously considered the Knicks was Greg Monroe, who instead signed with Milwaukee.


No. 4: So many jersey numbers, so few available — Some sociology major might be able to use the Boston Celtics’ jersey-number dilemma as a metaphor for a looming issue in the U.S. workplace: What happens when you’ve got more retirees than active workers? Or something like that. That seems to be a problem for the Celtics, who have retired the numbers of so many great individuals that the franchise is running short of options — at least in terms of traditional, basketball-familiar numbers — for its current and future players. The team’s introduction of some offseason signees had a couple sporting numbers seemingly more fit for the New England Patriots.

It’s a function of the Celtics’ excellence and their zeal in maintaining a tradition that soon might crowd on-court performers over the next century into triple digits. Here’s a synopsis as provided by the site:

Moving to the middle of the photo, we see Amir Johnson holding the No. 90 jersey. Johnson most recently wore No. 15 with the Raptors, and reportedly wanted the No. 5 shirt with Boston. Johnson had this (via NESN) to say about his number choice:

“Every number 1 through 34 is basically retired,” Johnson said. “My first initial number, I picked No. 5, but I know there was going to kind of be some controversy with that because Kevin Garnett won a championship. So I knew that was pretty much out of the water. My number (15), of course, was retired. And I recently posted a picture on my social network, I don’t know if you guys checked it out, it was a team back in the ’90s — like ’97, ’96 — I played for my first organized basketball team, which was the Burbank Celtics. It was a Celtics team. So I just kind of just put that together. The ’90s were good. I was born in ’87, but the ’90s were good.”

“I was born in ’87, but the ’90s were good” is an awesome sentence. Also, based on this list compiled by the great Basketball Reference, the best player in NBA history to ever wear the #90 is Drew Gooden. So it’s unique, at least!

Further left, [David] Lee chose the No. 42 he originally sported during his days with the Knicks. Nothing to see here.

And, finally, we have Perry Jones III donning that ever-so-rare No. 38. Jones wore the No. 3 shirt in OKC. Of course, Boston’s No. 3 is and forever will be that of the late, great Dennis Johnson. In case you were wondering, that same B-R list names Viktor Khryapa, Ron Knight and Kwame Brown as the best No. 38-wearers the league has ever seen. We’ve hardly even seen PJ3 play meaningful NBA minutes, yet already I feel fairly comfortable saying he’s probably better than all three of those guys.

In all, the Celtics have retired the following numbers already: 00, 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 31, 32, 33 and 35. No. 34 will surely be added to that list whenever Paul Pierce decides to hang ’em up.


SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Iceman shows he ain’t ready to go-eth quite yet … Roy Hibbert had some pointed things to say in an interview with our David Aldridge, including thoughts on Frank Vogel as a non-NBA-playing head coach … Would Mike Miller make sense back in Miami, even though his benefactor LeBron James is gone? … The late Manute Bol‘s son is developing some nice skills, something that pleased former NBA player-turned-broadcaster Eddie Johnson … Who do you consider the best undrafted players in league history? The crew ranks its top 30 (hint: Brad Miller is high on the list) …

Shaqtin’ A Fool: Top Five Hard Fouls

Shaq unveils a special edition of “Shaqtin’ A Foul” as he counts down the hardest fouls in NBA history.


Batum Eager To Play For Wolves

He was about 3,800 miles away, but Nicolas Batum’s voice was loud and clear. He wants to play with the Minnesota Timberwolves next season.

Batum, the Blazers’ restricted free agent, made his preference clear Tuesday afternoon in a telephone interview from Madrid, where he was with the French National team as it prepared for a friendly match later Tuesday against Spain, one of the top challengers to the defending U.S. men’s Olympic gold medal team at the upcoming Summer Games in London. While Portland has said it will match any offer sheet for Batum, he hopes they will let him go to play for the Wolves, who have a commitment for a four-year deal worth $45 million on the table when the July Moratorium ends Wednesday.

“I’m a restricted free agent,” Batum said. “I know the situation. Anywhere I sign, the Blazers are going to match. But my first choice was, and is, Minnesota. That’s where I want to play and that’s where I want to put my family. I’ve got nothing against the fans (in Portland) and nothing against the city. But this is a basketball decision and basketball wise, I want to be there. Last year, they impressed everybody, and that’s what I respect. To have a great young point guard like (Ricky) Rubio, and a great coach like (Rick) Adelman, I really liked that project. And I think they think I’m the missing piece at small forward. That’s what they told me.”

Batum met last week with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, team president David Kahn and Adelman, and was impressed by the direction in which the franchise is going. But the 23-year-old Batum has been a priority to retain by the Blazers through several different basketball administrations, intrigued by his ability to score either as a driver or shooter. Portland acquired Batum in a Draft night deal in 2008 from the Rockets. Last season he averaged 13.9 points and 4.6 rebounds for the Blazers, and his Player Efficiency Rating of 17.32 ranked eighth among small forwards in the league, behind only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Paul Pierce, Danny Granger, Rudy Gay and Andre Iguodala.

A source said that Batum did not want to sign an offer sheet because he was worried the Blazers would match. And, indeed, according to the Oregonian newspaper, that’s exactly what the team’s new general manager, Neil Olshey, told Batum and his representatives in a meeting last week. However, the Timberwolves have enough space to sign him outright to a sheet. They can clear $10.8 million of additional room buying out center Brad Miller (who has already announced his retirement) and guard Martell Webster, and also could create additional room by using the amnesty clause on center Darko Milicic, who is under contract next season at $5.22 million and has two years and $10.8 million left on his contract.

Batum grew frustrated by the slower pace that former Blazers coach Nate McMillan favored, and thinks he has a chance to play at a more up-tempo style in Minnesota.

“When I talked with Adelman last week, I felt like he wants me, will play me the way I ask to play,” Batum said. “Last year was tough for all of us and I think I need a new start. I think I need something else. Again, it’s nothing against the city or the fans (in Portland).”

Batum said that he thinks Portland and Minnesota will ultimately work something out.

“I know that they’re working on a sign and trade, and I’m very hopeful that both of them understand my situation, do the best both for me and for them,” he said.

Olshey, Batum said, told him last week that he could be a big part of Portland’s team going forward.


No More Joking About The Timberwolves

– For the latest updates check out:’s Free Agent Tracker

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – One of our most cherished traditions here at the hideout is coming to an end and we didn’t even realize it until just now.

All those days spent joking at the expense of the Minnesota Timberwolves could soon be a thing of the past. That laughing at Timberwolves GM David Kahn for something he either said or did might be over.

And it has everything to do with the fact that the Timberwolves had arguably the best pound-for-pound offseason of any team in the league. Rick Adelman comes aboard as coach. Heralded rookies Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams join the rotation along with solid veteran pick up and Adelman fave Brad Miller. And All-Star Kevin Love (the bearded, slender gentleman in the video above) shed a few pounds and looks like he’s in All-Star form heading into the start of training camp.

After a couple of years of trying to fit the right players into the wrong system, Adelman will bring a talent-friendly scheme to a deep and promising roster that needed just the right fit in a head coach.

While it’s far too early to set foot on thin ice and predict this team will rise into the ranks of Western Conference playoff contenders, it is fair to say that they’ve got our full attention right now.

And they also have a huge decision to make regarding Love and his immediate future. With the “Derrick Rose Rule” that is included in the new collective bargaining agreement, Love’s next contract is a front-burner issue for Kahn. And Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune says the young star is thinking big:

Much like the Wolves were faced with a franchise-defining decision whether to break the bank to sign a youngster named Kevin Garnett 14 years ago, the Wolves soon will have to decide whether the face of the franchise right now will become THE centerpiece worthy of such a deal.

If the Wolves don’t sign Love to a contract extension in the coming weeks, he could become a restricted free agent next summer.

If someone offers him a max contract then, the Wolves simply could choose to match the offer then and keep him.

If Love decides not to sign an offer sheet with another team then, he could play the 2012-13 on a $6.1 million qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2013.


Are The Wolves Finally Moving Forward?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) — At this point, we’ve come to expect the worst from David Kahn and the Timberwolves. So how does that affect our evaluation of how the Wolves did on draft night?

One thing that we know is that they did a lot…

  • Selected Derrick Williams with the No. 2 pick.
  • Traded Jonny Flynn and the No. 20 pick to Houston for Brad Miller, the No. 23 pick, and the Grizzlies’ 2013 first-round pick (lottery protected).
  • Traded the No. 23 pick to Chicago for the No. 28 pick and the No. 43 pick.
  • Traded the No. 28 pick to Miami for the No. 31 pick and a future second-round pick.
  • Traded the No. 31 pick to New Jersey for a future second-round pick and cash (not yet official).
  • Selected Malcolm Lee with the No. 43 pick.
  • Acquired the No. 57 pick from Dallas and used it to select Targuy Ngombo, who may or may not have been draft-eligible (not yet official).

Miller is recovering from microfracture surgery and probably won’t be available until at least January. So essentially, with all that movement, the Wolves are just adding Williams and Lee to their depth chart, with Ricky Rubio replacing Flynn…

PG: Rubio, Luke Ridnour, Lee
SG: Wesley Johnson, Wayne Ellington
SF: Michael Beasley, Martell Webster, Lazar Hayward
PF: Kevin Love, Williams, Anthony Randolph
C: Darko Milicic, Anthony Tolliver, Nikola Pekovic, Miller

With the additions of Rubio and Williams (and the removal of Flynn), the Wolves have five players on their roster who have been selected with a top-five pick in the last five years. Add Milicic and Webster and they have seven who have been selected in the top six in the last nine years.

So it’s probably time for the Wolves to move forward, but just how much they might improve next season is anyone’s guess. It will partially depend on who their coach will be and what they might get in exchange for Beasley if they think that Williams can play big minutes at the three.

Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune finds it all fascinating

We don’t know whether Rubio can play effectively in the NBA. We don’t know whether Love is an accumulator of numbers, or a franchise cornerstone. We don’t know whether Johnson will prove the Wolves were right to choose him over DeMarcus Cousins, or whether that choice will hang over the franchise like all of their other draft-day black clouds.

A good coach might solve many of these problems, or at least provide sound advice as the franchise claws upward. Kahn needs to prove he can hire such a coach.

A good coach, with the implicit backing of a solid front office, could push this group of athletes to play defense and share the ball, could make the Wolves worth watching for the first time in a handful of years.

Stay tuned. This team might actually start moving in the right direction one of these days…


John Schuhmann is a staff writer for Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

Rip City Karma

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We will understand if Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan spends the rest of his days looking over his shoulder, avoiding cracks in the sidewalk wherever he walks and ducking for cover at the sign of a cat any shade other than albino.

We’re just as confused here at the hideout as McMillan must be in regards to what he and the Trail Blazers have done to incur the wrath of the basketball gods the way they have the past two seasons.

Now comes word that Brandon Roy, who was already out indefinitely, will have an arthroscopic procedure on both knees next week. McMillan should have requested Ashton Kutcher deliver the news, as opposed to whatever member of the beleaguered Trail Blazers’ athletic training staff had to deliver the crushing news.

Roy’s knees give the Trail Blazers a total of seven knees that have cost players their seasons, or at least large chunks of the season. Greg Oden is out for the season after having microfracture knee surgery. Second-yard forward Jeff Pendergraph injured his knee and required season-ending surgery. And rookie guard Elliot Williams has undergone surgery this season on both knees. Veteran center Joel Pryzbilla is working his way into normal shape after missing 26 games recovering from offseason knee surgery.

Dan Gilbert and LeBron James toss the word “karma” around without knowing the true dark side of the word. Folks in Portland know all too well what the wrong side of that coin can do to a team’s hopes and dreams.


Time To Show And Prove

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — You waited all summer for this.

And now it’s here.

We get a monster three-game appetizer tonight to kick off the NBA season, Wednesday’s 13-game slate is the outlandish first course and we’ll have eight months worth of goods to work through before a champion is crowned.

Thankfully, the powers that be in the scheduling department decided to give us an opening-night preview, with three NBA Finals favorites on display.

Miami at Boston, 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Phoenix at Portland, 10 p.m. ET

Houston at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

It’s show and prove time for all of them, too, not just those cats in Miami (who obviously enter this season with unprecedented hype for a team that’s been together for mere months).

All six teams taking the floor tonight have questions that need answering, things that we need to know right now, before they dive in and pledge allegiance to a team they think is the real deal:


Who cracks first, the Heat or the competition? Erik Spoelstra‘s team (we can call them that, at least for now, right?) has already adopted the “us-against-the-world” mantra needed to chase a title. In fact, I can’t remember a team preparing itself better for a theoretical championship run than the Heat has done since July, which started with the LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade mega-merger. But now the theory must be applied in an ultra-competitive environment where the Heat will be the hunted team every single night.

That said, you have to give them credit for making all the right moves. Mike Miller goes down with a hand injury that will sideline for months, so the Heat quickly snag veteran swingman Jerry Stackhouse to fill the void (same way he did for the Bucks last year). There have been no major missteps up to this point … but now it’s time to play the games. And we’re going to see if the Heat can hold up to the pressure, internal and beyond.


With five players 32 or older, everybody is wondering the same thing: can the Celtics will hold up to the rigors of the 82-game regular season and a second straight extended playoff run? Their championship window is clearly much smaller than the one those young whippersnappers in Miami are working with, which will no doubt fuel the Celtics’ fire all season. Can the old men hold up?


Don’t Believe The Yao Hype!


Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — As far as international stirs go, nothing riles up the masses from Houston to Beijing  like these “Yao says he may quit if foot doesn’t heal” headlines you’ve probably already seen.

Here’s a little advice, don’t believe the hype.

The folks in the know, mainly Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, aren’t giving the buzz coming from China, where Yao Ming was quoted about what he’d do if he suffered another foot injury, any credence. Morey issued a statement that should calm any fears Rockets fans have of their All-Star center hanging it up anytime soon:

“Yao Ming is working diligently on his return and has consistently received positive feedback at each of his scheduled medical checkups. He is currently participating in on-court basketball workouts and we continue to expect him to be ready for the start of training camp which begins on September 25th.”

That works for us here at the hideout.

Yao’s comments to the assembled media in his native land (“If the foot injury does not heal next season, I might choose to call it quits”) sent people over the edge. And we’ll admit, Yao’s injury history — he has seen each of his last five seasons interrupted or ended by bone injuries — raises some red flags.  But big men his size always have to deal with injury issues.

That said, we’re not expecting Yao to go anywhere anytime soon. He’s 30 and should still have plenty of All-Star caliber basketball in him. In addition, Morey has assembled some quality frontcourt pieces around their big man — Luis Scola, Brad Miller, David Andersen, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries and the always-reliable Chuck Hayes will all help take the pressure off of Yao.

We’re just not buying into any of this retirement hype surrounding Yao.

And with him healthy, the Rockets could certainly make some serious noise in the Western Conference playoff chase this season.