Posts Tagged ‘Grant Hill’

Blogtable: Are The Clips Contenders?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Blogtable Week 3: The new-look Lakers | Does a coach matter? | Are the Clips legit?

Sekou’s team-crush aside, have you seen anything that convinces you the Clippers are a title threat? If so, what?

Steve Aschburner: Nope, haven’t seen it yet. But then, I haven’t seen much that would convince me of that with most teams yet. Too early. We’ll know more about the Clippers in 10 days, for instance, after their trip to San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Brooklyn and Atlanta. But what has been impressive has been L.A.’s bench, which carried them past the Hawks in the first game the Clippers failed to score 100 points. Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe, Matt Barnes and Rony Turiaf all fit, and if Lamar Odom could approach his form of 2-3 seasons ago, look out. That depth will help the starters over the long haul. And if Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups can return and be effective in shorter minutes, well, then there’ll be some serious convincing going on.

Fran Blinebury: If the Thunder offense continues to look discombobulated, if the Lakers can’t flip the switch with D’Antoni, if one of the aging Spurs suddenly pulls something, why not the Clippers?  Jamal Crawford has juiced the offense, DeAndre Jordan has raised his game and Chris Paul is still Chris Paul.  But I still want more out of Blake Griffin at both ends to be sold.

Jeff Caplan: Yeah, I like this team. I don’t know that Blake Griffin is developing the type of dominant, low-post game so many of us envision, but they are a deep, deep team and will still get veteran leader Chauncey Billups back at some point. Six players are averaging in double figures and they’re shooting nearly 50 percent as a team while holding opponents to 43 percent. I do like the progression of DeAndre Jordan‘s game as well. Jordan and Griffin’s terrible free-throw shooting is scary and I still feel like they swoon in and out of games at times. But, with Chris Paul running the show, lots of young legs and good shooting and the West wide open, this group can contend.

Scott Howard-Cooper: I have seen Chris Paul early this season, I have seen Jamal Crawford early this season, I have seen someone appearing to be Eric Bledsoe go past in a blur early this season. So, yes, the Clippers have something. But I have not seen Grant Hill or Chauncey Billups, so it’s difficult to say for sure exactly what the Clips have, and the focus has also been inconsistent. It would not be a shock if they win the West, if that answers the question. I just don’t think they are at the very top of the list of contenders. And Sekou does not have a team crush. He has a city crush. He’s got the Los Angeles D-Fenders sweeping through the playoffs if it gets him to L.A. to cover the NBA D-League championship series.

John Schuhmann: They currently rank in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, which is where you need to be if you want to call yourself a contender. Most important is the defensive improvement, which really showed in last Wednesday’s win over the Spurs, just one of their three quality wins so far. But it’s early and we’ll see if they can sustain that over 82 games. The one thing I don’t like about the Clips is the lack of depth on the frontline, especially with how bad Lamar Odom has looked thus far. If they can’t count on him, they really have nothing behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

Sekou Smith: The Memphis “Hang Time” Grizzlies are Exhibit A in my “team-crush” case. But the Clippers absolutely have the necessary combination of superstar talent (Chris Paul, Blake Griffin), quality depth (Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe, Matt Barnes, etc.) and seasoned leadership (Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler and Paul) required for inclusion to the championship-caliber conversation. There are only a handful of teams every season that possess those things. The Clippers join the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers as the only teams in the Western Conference in that conversation. The Clippers have also shown in their bouts against the highest quality competition that they are prepared to battle with the best whenever the occasion calls for it, which is always a telling sign, even in the early stages of a season.

Clippers Need To Find Their Focus

The Clippers’ loss to the Cavaliers is not inexcusable, even with the game at Staples Center and young Cleveland playing for the third time in three cities over four nights. That flammable Kyrie IrvingDion Waiters backcourt is going to turn a lot of opponents into scorched Earth.

The inconsistent early-season energy of the Clippers is inexcusable. A veteran roster, an envious level of leadership with Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill, several nonstop workers around them and the emotional catapult of imposing their will on the Lakers in the season-opener. Yet here they are, 2-2, with the real schedule challenge ahead.

The Clippers went promising after beating the Grizzlies by nine and the Lakers by 10 to losing to the Warriors by four with Golden State on the second night of a back-to-back. Andrew Bogut was held out to help his recovering ankle, and Stephen Curry missed 10 of 16 shots while totaling more turnovers than assists. That was a giveback. Wasting the chance to respond against the Cavaliers, that was bad.

A superior team locked in, as the Clippers should have been coming off the Warriors defeat, would have stepped on Cleveland. Yet on Monday, the Cavs scored 31 points in the opening quarter, had 84 after three periods and went on to a 108-101 victory. The visitors were not even especially sharp — 43.5-percent shooting and 19 turnovers – and L.A. still couldn’t keep up. (more…)

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.


Paul Eyes 1 In October, 82 After That


A lot of teams, including the Los Angeles Clippers, are glad that the 2012-13 NBA season is going to start on time. The Clippers have to feel they’re getting a bonus, though, because Chris Paul sounds ready to start on time too.

The All-Star point guard is coming off August surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and said at a GQ promotional event Monday that his rehab has him on schedule for October basketball. Arash Markazi of wrote:

 [Paul] went through basketball drills without a protective brace around his right thumb for the first time Monday, and said he anticipates playing in at least one preseason game and being ready for the Clippers’ season opener Oct. 30 versus the Memphis Grizzlies.

“Today was the first day they actually allowed me to shoot layups so today was the best day ever,” Paul told “I hope I get a preseason game in before the season. I probably have to start off the season wearing a brace but I get to wear the brace less and less. I wear it when I go to sleep but I’m on track. I go to rehab every single morning at 6:30 a.m.”

After the Clippers guard injured the thumb during Team USA’s training camp in Las Vegas, Paul and teammates thought he might miss the London Olympics. When he learned that surgery was the next step, he opted to tape up the thumb and play for the 2012 gold medal.

“The scariest part was when I injured it in Vegas. During the 30-minute ride to the hospital, me and some of the Team USA staff were acting like we were riding to a funeral,” Paul said.

Now he’s reborn with a freshly stocked Clippers team – Grant Hill, Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes and Ronny Turiaf are among the new faces – and eager to fight for hoops control of L.A. Last season, the Clippers (40-26) finished just one game behind the Lakers (41-25), lost Chauncey Billups to an Achilles injury and, remember, didn’t have Paul until the trade with New Orleans finally cleared league hurdles on Dec. 14. The season began 11 days later. He averaged 19.8 points, 9. 1 assists and 2.5 steals in 60 appearances.

“It’s no secret; everybody in my family knows I wanted to go to the Clippers,” Paul said. “I may be different in a way but I’ve always jumped at the opportunity to do something that’s never been done, and here with the Clippers with Blake [Griffin] and DJ [DeAndre Jordan] and adding these pieces and stuff like that, I’m excited about the opportunities there.”

More than that, Paul will be around and available to chase them.

Believe It Jeremy Lin, You Are The Face Of The Rockets!

Jeremy Lin was back on a teammates’ couch his first night in Houston, huh?

Some things never change.

(According to the report in the Houston Chronicle, Chandler Parsons wins the teammate couch challenge over ex-Knicks teammate Landry Fields.)

The former Knicks sensation and new face of the Houston Rockets clearly hasn’t forgotten where he came from, even if he still seems a bit bewildered by the cosmic ride he’s been on since breaking through last season in New York.

And we hope he never does.

Hopefully Lin takes a page out of the book Grant Hill will write one day about being the consummate and humble pro that all burgeoning stars (willing and reluctant) should aspire to be.

Stay hungry and stay humble through whatever comes your way.

Lin didn’t sound like he was 100 percent ready to take the reins in Houston, telling a crowd of reporter (our main man Jonathan Feigen being one of them):

“I don’t know if I’m the face of the franchise just yet,” Lin said, while surrounded by about 40 media members. “We’re a young team, and we’re all going to buy in.

“The thing about us is it’s not going to be any one person that is going to carry us where we want to go. It’s going to be everybody.”

But he has no choice.

This is real, young fella. Believe it, you are the face of the franchise … even though we love that you are pushing back on the idea. Because it will give you much more locker room cred if you don’t embrace the Texas version of Linsanity.


Hall of Fame Ceremonies Get Started With Memorable Reunion Dinner

Two days of ceremonies at the Basketball Hall of Fame began Thursday night with the major awards short of enshrinement, with Grant Hill reinforcing that character matters, with Pat Williams flashing his signature humor, with Bill Schonely and Sam Smith telling a story a different way, and with former superstars dotting the crowd of several hundred people as part of the annual Reunion Dinner of previous inductees.

Hill, the Clippers forward, accepted the Mannie Jackson-Basketball’s Human Spirit Award in the professional division for community contributions and overcoming adversity. Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun was the recipient from the amateur ranks, and Richard Lapchick, president and CEO of the National Consortium for Academics and Sport as well as founder and director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics In Sport, in the “Grassroots” category.

Williams, the Magic’s senior vice president, received the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor from the Hall short of enshrinement. He talked through a career as general manager with four teams as few could, noting how while with the 76ers he told young Charles Barkley to get in shape, only to have Barkley respond, “Mr. Williams, round is a shape.” Or how a balanced meal to Barkley was a Big Mac in each hand.

Schonely, the former Trail Blazers play-by-play man and current community ambassador for the team, and Smith, the long-time Chicago Tribune writer and now at, stood at the podium and talked about themselves as winners of the Curt Gowdy Media Award for broadcast and print, respectively.

Wayne Embry, winner of the Chairman’s Cup, was unable to attend.

The audience at the Hall of Fame included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving, Bill WaltonMoses Malone, many others previously inducted, and most of the Class of 2012 that will be enshrined Friday night about a mile away.

15 Games You Shouldn’t Miss

Back in his playing days, Magic Johnson used to say the first thing he did was search for the dates when his Lakers would face Larry Bird and the Celtics and then he’d circle them on his calendar.

Every fan does it — scours the schedule, finds those special games with the extra story line or pop and starts to make up those early excuses to duck out on minor social commitments like weddings, bar mitzvahs and funerals in order to be in front of the big screen TV.

Here’s a fast-breaking head start on 15 games you don’t want to miss:

Tues., Oct. 30 — Celtics at Heat (TNT) — You’ve got The Heatles of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh singing, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” as they’re presented with their championship rings before the season opener. Maybe it’s the first of “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five…” And you’ve got the image of the traitorous Ray Allen suiting up for the first time against his ex-Celtics teammates. There is not a more intense rivalry in the NBA today than Miami-Boston. The enmity is visceral.

Thur., Nov. 1 — Knicks at Brooklyn Nets (TNT) — Welcome to the first regular-season home game by a major league professional sports team in Brooklyn since the Dodgers last played at Ebbets Field on Sept. 24, 1957. The sparkling Barclays Center hosts the Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and friends against the new home team led by the high-powered backcourt of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson in the new Battle of New York. The Knicks never quite took the Nets seriously while they were across the river in New Jersey. But now the resurgent Nets could own the five boroughs.

Thur., Nov. 1 — Thunder at Spurs (TNT) — It’s the season opener for Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and the rest of the young guns, coming off their loss to the Heat in The Finals. They return to the site of their most singular victory to date, the Game 5 breakthrough at the AT&T Center that propelled OKC to their stunning 4-2 reversal against the Spurs in the Western Conference finals in June. Tim Duncan is signed up for three more years, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are at his side and the Spurs believe the door is still open for them. (more…)

Clipper Nation Grows With Turiaf

HANG TIME, TEXAS — Remember how things used to be with the Clippers? They were the NBA’s version of the groundhog, coming out on rare occasion only long enough to see their shadow and then going back into hibernation.

Not anymore, Punxsutawney Phil-breath.

After a thoroughly enjoyable 40-26 season that earned them the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference and then a stirring seven-game first-round playoff series win over Memphis, the Clips have hardly spent the summer relaxing on the beach.

Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times says they have boosted their bench with another addition:

The Clippers and free-agent Ronny Turiaf have agreed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract worth $1.146 million, said NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Turiaf, a 6-10, 245-pounder, will be a backup power forward and center for the Clippers.

He becomes the fifth big man for the Clippers – behind starters DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and reserves Lamar Odom and Ryan Hollins – the 13th player on the roster.

Turiaf played his first three NBA seasons with the Lakers.

He played for the Washington Wizards and Miami Heat last season. (more…)

Report: Grant Hill To Join The Clippers

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — If there is a locker room in the NBA with better leadership than the Los Angeles Clippers, we need to see it.

Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul and now, according to reports, Grant Hill will all share space in Clippers’ locker room at Staples Center. That gives them three of the league’s most respected team leaders in the same space. The Clippers beat out their Staples Center roommates and their ace recruiter, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash, for Hill’s services, per The Los Angeles Times:

The Clippers continue to put together an impressive roster, getting free-agent forward Grant Hill to agree Tuesday to join the team, according to NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

He will be the backup small forward behind starter Caron Butler.

Hill, who will be 40 in October when training camp opens, has had a productive 17-year career despite ankle injuries that almost derailed it.

He averaged 10.2 points on 44.6% shooting last season with the Phoenix Suns, 3.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 28.1 minutes.


Hill Also Looking At Thunder, Heat

Free agent forward Grant Hill is still considering at least two other teams–the two teams in last month’s Finals, Miami and Oklahoma City–as well as the Lakers as he decides where he’s going to play next season, according to a source with knowledge of the 39-year-old forward’s thinking.

Reports Tuesday indicated that Hill has decided either to play for the Lakers or retire. But the source strongly indicated that Hill has not limited himself to Los Angeles as he makes up his mind. The Lakers emerged as a strong favorite for Hill after they agreed to terms with the Suns last week on a sign-and-trade deal that will send Steve Nash to the Lakers after the end of the July Moratorium on the 11th for four Draft picks and $3 million. But Hill is looking at the Heat and Thunder as well.

Each team has indicated an interest in the veteran, whose defensive skills and leadership are still strong. It is not known if Miami’s interest in Hill was at all affected by its agreement last week to sign guard Ray Allen from the Celtics.

Hill averaged 10.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 28 minutes a night last season in Phoenix, where he stabilized his career after losing several years to injuries while a member of the Orlando Magic. He had played in 243 out of a possible 246 games over three seasons with the Suns before suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee that needed surgery late in the regular season and caused Hill to miss the Suns’ drive towards the playoffs, which fell short.