Posts Tagged ‘Jamaal Tinsley’

Are Jazz Primed For A Rare Stop In Western Conference’s Cellar?

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HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – The last time the Jazz finished last in the Western Conference was 1979-80, their first season in Salt Lake after the team packed up and left New Orleans. There’s been only a few close calls over the decades, most recently a 26-win, second-to-last finish in 2004-05.

But not dead last.

At 24-58, Utah finished the ’79-’80 campaign tied with Golden State at the bottom of the 11-team West and pulled up the rear in a Midwest Division that went Milwaukee, Kansas City, Denver, Chicago. The Jazz had a 32-year-old “Pistol” Pete Maravich, whose knees were so shot that he played in just 17 games and retired, and a 23-year-old Bernard King, who played in just 19 games and sought help for a drinking problem.

Future Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley, then 23, averaged 28.0 ppg and found a home in the NBA. Shooting guards Ron Boone (12.8 ppg) and Terry Furlow (16.0 ppg) provided the majority of the backcourt scoring. Duck Williams chipped in 6.6 ppg off the bench, ABA vet Mack Calvin averaged 6.4 ppg in 48 games and 24-year-old journeyman Brad Davis signed late and played 13 games before spending the next 12 seasons in Dallas, who retired his No. 15 jersey.

As this mostly unrecognizable and already banged-up 2013-14 team tumbles toward the starting gate, they could use any of those old guards — forget John Stockton — for a little backcourt help. With non-playoff teams like Minnesota, Portland, New Orleans and Dallas looking improved, and new coaches and philosophies in Phoenix (led by ex-Jazz assistant and legend Jeff Hornacek) and Sacramento, could re-booting Utah be in jeopardy of its first last-place finish in three-plus decades?

That might not be all that bad — or even, wink, wink, the plan — considering the anticipated bumper crop of the 2014 Draft. Even money is on the Jazz equaling the 24 wins of ’79-80 when Tom Nissalke‘s club averaged 102.2 ppg to also finish dead last in scoring in a much different 22-team NBA. Through five preseason games, Utah is averaging 87.0 ppg and 18.8 apg, both of which would have ranked last last season.

The Jazz certainly didn’t intend to lose top Draft pick and starting point guard Trey Burke to a busted right index finger in the preseason. He was averaging 7.0 ppg (on dreadful shooting) and 4.0 apg before undergoing surgery to repair the bone. He’ll miss 8-12 weeks, delaying his development. Plus, this team is not one built to endure injuries anywhere.

In the interim, the always game, if not so venerable, John Lucas III appears to be the Jazz’s starting point guard. The next game he starts will be his third entering a sixth season bouncing in and out of the league since 2005. He’ll pair in the backcourt with either Alec Burks or Gordon Hayward, who whether starting at shooting guard or small forward (Richard Jefferson has started three preseason games here), will have to be this team’s Dantley.

Backcourt depth isn’t inspiring. Brandon Rush has yet to play as he recovers from last season’s torn ACL. Undrafted rookie combo guard Ian Clark has managed just 11.8 mpg in four preseason games. Lester Hudson and Scott Machado are scrapping for minutes.

After Burke’s broken finger there were rumblings of interest in bringing back free agent Jamaal Tinsley. Considering the Jazz aren’t exactly worried about losing ground in November — this season’s writing is on the wall — they might be more inclined simply to ride out Burke’s injury.

Just don’t expect smooth sailing. The Jazz get something of a break in their first six games, likely missing Russell Westbrook in their Oct. 30 opener against Oklahoma City, Rajon Rondo at Boston on Nov. 6 and perhaps Deron Williams the night before in Brooklyn. In the other three games they’ll face Phoenix’s new tandem of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe on Nov. 1, Houston’s James Harden and Jeremy Lin on Nov. 2 and Chicago’s Derrick Rose on Nov. 8. Then comes this six-pack of opposing point guards: Ty Lawson, Jrue Holiday, Tony Parker, Steph Curry in a home-and-home series and Holiday again.

Ever-knowledgeable Jazz fans have shown a level of understanding as the franchise shifts directions and amasses Draft picks. Now comes the hard part — showing patience. They stand to witness more losses this season than since well before coach Jerry Sloan walked through that door.

Morning Shootaround — Oct. 16

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Durant torches Nuggets | Jazz ponder point guard options | Knicks’ Smith interested in starting role | Kings’ new arena may have standing-room only sections

No. 1: Durant in regular-season form vs. NuggetsDon’t tell Kevin Durant that preseason games don’t count. And don’t ask the Denver Nuggets if he plays like they don’t count. Durant looked like he was in midseason form last night, pouring in 36 points against Denver and making it look all-too easy at times as well. The always excellent Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman has plenty of great nuggets on Durant’s monster game (and we’ve got the highlights of his night below, too):

Kevin Durant is starting to make it look easy. Easier? Too easy?? The way he’s controlling the game and downright dominating with such confidence is incredible. He’s been hailed the second best player in the world for a while now. But something about the way he’s carrying himself now leaves no doubt. Perhaps it’s Russell Westbrook’s absence. How KD is now taking patchwork lineups and carrying them while his team thumps opponents. Maybe he’s just that much better at the start of Year 6. Either way, this is shaping up to be a fun, fun season. Forget what you heard.

Durant posted 36 points in 23 minutes. He made 13 of 20 shots, half of his eight 3-pointers and six of seven free throws. For good measure, he added six boards, four assists, a steal, a blocked shot and turned it over only once.

If you’re scoring at home, that’s now a 12-assist game (really 11) and a 36-pointer for KD this preseason. Think he knows these games don’t count?

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No. 2: Burke’s surgery may lead to Tinsley’s returnJazz rookie point guard Trey Burke had successful surgery to repair a fractured finger he suffered in a preseason loss to the Clippers. While Burke will miss the next 8-12 weeks while the injury heals and he goes through the rehabilitation process, Utah is looking to round out its guard corps while he’s out. Veteran Jamaal Tinsley spent his last two seasons with the Jazz and could be an option for Utah, writes Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune:

Burke’s injured finger has been placed in a “cast/splint,” the Jazz said in a statement. His condition will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

Utah opens the regular season Oct. 30 against Oklahoma City. With Burke out, the Jazz have talked to veteran point guard Jamaal Tinsley about a return to the team.

Tinsley, 35, spent the past two seasons in Utah. He played in 103 games, including 33 starts.

“There has been mutual interest,” Raymond Brothers, Tinsley’s agent, told The Tribune. Said coach Tyrone Corbin: “He has some interest, we have some interest. … He’s a guy who knows our system.”

Burke’s injury could provide Scott Machado the chance to make an impact in Utah. Depending on what the Jazz do with their roster while Burke is out, Machado might not only make the team but he could inherit a significant role.

“I came in fighting for life,” Machado said. “… It’s so bad something like that had to happen [to Burke]. But when the opportunity shows, I have to take advantage of it.”

Machado spent most of last season in the NBA Development League, but he also played briefly with Houston and spent time with Golden State.

“I feel like I know how to lead a team,” he said. “I know how to help a team get a good shot. … [I] just try to run a team as well as possible.”

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No. 3: J.R. Smith OK with reserve role again, but … — The reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner, J.R. Smith of the Knicks, isn’t likely to be a starter for New York as coach Mike Woodson is likely going with Raymond Felton at point guard and Iman Shumpert or Pablo Prigioni as his backcourt tandem. That means Smith will again start the season in a reserve role, which he is fine with, but tells ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian Bagley he’d be more than fine with a starting role, too:

“I’ve always wanted to start. Everybody knows that,” Smith said. “I won the Sixth Man [Award] last year, so I felt as though there’s nothing left to prove at the sixth-man spot. But at the same time, if that’s what my team needs me to do, that’s what I’ll do. If Coach wants me to be a sixth man, I’ll be a sixth man. If he wants me to start, I’ll start. That’s up to him.”

Smith will compete with third-year guard Iman Shumpert for the starting shooting guard spot in Mike Woodson’s lineup.

Shumpert, though, has an early edge because Smith is sidelined due to offseason knee surgery.

Smith has missed the Knicks’ first three preseason games and hopes to play in the final preseason contest on Oct. 25. He ran on the practice floor Tuesday for the first time since undergoing surgery in July to repair his left patella tendon and a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee.

Smith, who signed a three-year, $18 million contract with the Knicks shortly before his surgery, has yet to face contact in practice.

Once Smith is deemed healthy enough to return to the floor by team doctors and an independent doctor appointed by the NBA, he will serve a five-game suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug ban. If Smith plays in the Knicks’ final preseason game, he can start serving his suspension when the Knicks open the regular season.

Woodson has made it clear that both players will have an equal chance to win the job once Smith returns to the floor.

“When [Woodson] decides to make the choice we both have to live with it, between myself and Shump,” Smith said. “It’s a competition at this point, he’s winning. He’s healthy, he’s able to play. When I’m back ready, I’ll be ready.”

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No. 4: Kings’ new arena may have less seats, more standing room — Undoubtedly, fans and followers of the Sacramento Kings are excited for the day when the team’s new arena will open three years from now. But details about the new building are emerging, some of which may be taken as a good-and-bad news scenario. According to The Sacramento Bee‘s Tony Bizjak and Dale Kasler, the new arena may have fewer seats than the Kings’ current home, Sleep Train Arena. But on the good news side of things, there may be special standing-room only areas for fans to enjoy:

Still three years away from its planned opening, Sacramento’s proposed downtown arena is drawing attention from fans for several innovative design ideas, but also drew a potentially tough new opponent Tuesday.

Speaking at a series of recent public arena planning workshops, Kings President Chris Granger dropped the surprise news that the $448 million Downtown Plaza facility may have far fewer seats than originally proposed, possibly fewer than at old Sleep Train Arena, but could pack more patrons in, nonetheless, by offering special standing-room-only ticket sections and a dramatic outdoor plaza seating area.

Sleep Train, with 17,317 seats, is among the smallest arenas in the National Basketball Association. Most NBA arenas have seating numbers ranging from 18,000 to 20,000. Notably, though, the league’s newest arena, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, has only 17,732, the first arena in years to be built with fewer than 18,000 seats.

Granger said the team and its architecture firm, AECOM, believe limited seating would create intimacy and allow designers to add elements no other arena has. That doesn’t mean there would be fewer fans, he said. The Kings are talking about offering a number of standing-room-only tickets for fans to watch the game in open areas behind the arena’s lower seating bowl or on what officials say would be a dramatic “bridgeway” over one end of the arena, offering bar seating, couches, and a railing overlooking the event floor.

Overall, the new arena is expected to be 50 percent larger in square footage than Sleep Train, allowing event-goers more leg room, wider seats, and wider concourses.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Veteran Corey Maggette among those recently released by the Spurs … Cavs big man Andrew Bynum showed up at practice, but didn’t do anything there … Former prep-to-pro New York phenom Sebastian Telfair signed with a team in ChinaRoyce White is still shaking the rust off his game in Philly

ICYMI Of The Night: The Celtics’ Jeff Green had one of the dunks of the season in 2012-13 (victimizing Al Jefferson). He’s starting early this season, getting one over on Reggie Evans of the Nets …

Can Leftovers Make A Free-Agent Dish?

HANG TIME, Texas – OK, let’s say it’s the middle of August, we just won the entire Powerball lottery and, in a grand farewell gesture, outgoing commissioner David Stern says he’ll let us buy a new NBA franchise.

We can play our home games on Maui or Mars. We can have our team wear those tight-fitting jerseys with sleeves, just like the Golden State Warriors or even sprint up and down the court wearing Capri pants, if we choose.

There’s just one catch. The only players available to fill out our roster are those still dangling on the list of unsigned free agents. Now that Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Andre Iguodala, Andrei Kirilenko and even Greg Oden are long gone, is it too late to put together a respectable team? Or even one that could outperform the infamous 9-73 record of the 1972-73 Sixers or the 7-59 mark of the 2011-12 Bobcats?

So for all those last-minute bargain hunters who don’t start their holiday shopping until Christmas Eve, here are the Leftovers:

Antawn Jamison, Forward – The 37-year-old veteran is coming out of the lost season with the Lakers where he played 21.5 minutes per game and showed that he can still shoot enough from the wings to score in double figures. After 15 years in the league, he’s still a reliable enough producer and ranks higher in efficiency rating than even two regular members of the starting lineup for the two-time champion Heat (Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier). The Leftovers will have to put points on the board somehow.

Lamar Odom, Forward – You’ve got to have faith that Odom hasn’t simply lost the spark and lost interest after his past two dismal years. Following the horrible flameout in Dallas, last season was supposed to be a shot at redemption as a key role player and solid influence in the locker room with the Clippers. Odom was particularly ineffective in the first-round playoff loss to Memphis. The birth certificate says he won’t turn 34 until the start of next season, but the odometer has racked up more miles than an old pickup truck. The Leftovers will keep believing that you don’t simply forget how to pass, rebound and do the little things and give Odom another chance.

Cole Aldrich, Center – After being taken with the 11th pick by New Orleans in 2010 and traded to OKC on draft night, Aldrich has never been able to establish himself as anything more than a space eater at the end of the bench for the Thunder, Rockets and most recently the Kings. Aldrich finally got onto the floor for 15 games in Sacramento at the end of last season and pulled down a respectable four rebounds in 11 minutes of playing time per night. He’s the epitome of the old adage: “You can’t teach height.” That’s why he’ll keep getting chances and the Leftovers are hoping that this is the one that will pay off.

Mikael Pietrus, Guard – We’re going to plug the swingman into our lineup in the backcourt and hope to ride that streaky outside shooting and penchant for playing in-your-face defense for production at both ends of the court. He played just 19 games last season with the Raptors before tendinitis in his knee forced him to the sidelines for good in the middle of March. But he’s too young (31), too athletic, too active, too disruptive on defense and potentially still too good not to have him on our side.

Sebastian Telfair, Guard – In a league where it has become increasingly critical to have an elite level point guard running the offense, you don’t simply find them in the discount bin. There’s a reason why the Clippers have gone from pretender to contender and his name is Chris Paul. From a free agent list that ranges from 35-year-old Jamaal Tinsley to 25-year-old Rodrigue Beaubois, we’ll split the difference and take the 28-year-old Telfair. He’s never lived up to the advance hype because though he’s quick and small, he can’t finish at the rim and has only recently become dependable as a mid-range shooter. His size hurts on defense, but he puts out the effort and when you’re a Leftover that’s good enough.

Who’s Left? A Look At The Numbers

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – It’s been 15 days since teams could start talking to free agents and six days since contracts could be signed. And at this point, pickings are slim. If you want an impact player, you’re probably going to have to settle for a guy that makes an impact only some of the time.

Here’s what’s left on the free-agent market as of Tuesday morning, according to the numbers guys put up last season.

There were 30 free agents available on July 1 (or who became available afterward) who had played at least 2,000 minutes last season. Only three remain …

Most minutes played, remaining free agents

Player Old team GP GS MIN MIN/G
Brandon Jennings MIL (R) 80 80 2,896 36.2
Gerald Henderson CHA (R) 68 58 2,133 31.4
Nate Robinson CHI 82 23 2,086 25.4
Nikola Pekovic MIN (R) 62 62 1,959 31.6
Jason Maxiell DET 72 71 1,789 24.8
Antawn Jamison LAL 76 6 1,636 21.5
Lamar Odom LAC 82 2 1,616 19.7
Alan Anderson TOR 65 2 1,495 23.0
Gary Neal SAS 68 17 1,484 21.8
Beno Udrih ORL 66 9 1,457 22.1

(R) = Restricted free agent

There were 21 free agents who played at least 200 minutes in the playoffs, and six of those guys are still left …

Most playoff minutes played, remaining free agents

Player Old team GP GS MIN MIN/G
Nate Robinson CHI 12 8 404 33.7
Gary Neal SAS 21 0 390 18.6
D.J. Augustin IND 19 1 316 16.6
Derek Fisher OKC 11 0 261 23.7
Kenyon Martin NYK 12 1 253 21.1
Devin Harris ATL 6 6 225 37.5
Brandon Jennings MIL (R) 4 4 133 33.3
Sam Young IND 15 0 130 8.7
Keyon Dooling MEM 14 0 114 8.1
Ivan Johnson ATL 6 0 108 18.0

There were 31 free agents who scored at least 800 points last season, some more efficiently than others. Only four of those guys are left …

Most points scored, remaining free agents

Player Old team GP PTS PPG eFG% TS%
Brandon Jennings MIL (R) 80 1,397 17.5 46.8% 51.0%
Nate Robinson CHI 82 1,074 13.1 51.0% 54.0%
Gerald Henderson CHA (R) 68 1,055 15.5 46.6% 53.1%
Nikola Pekovic MIN (R) 62 1,011 16.3 52.0% 57.2%
Antawn Jamison LAL 76 712 9.4 53.7% 56.1%
Alan Anderson TOR 65 693 10.7 46.0% 50.9%
Gary Neal SAS 68 645 9.5 48.7% 51.2%
Mo Williams UTA 46 592 12.9 48.5% 51.9%
Devin Harris ATL 58 577 9.9 52.5% 56.5%
Byron Mullens CHA 53 564 10.6 44.4% 46.5%

EFG% = (FGM + (0.5*3PM)) / FGA
TS% = PTS / (2 * (FGA + (0.44*FTA)))

Of the 30 free agents who grabbed at least 300 rebounds, five remain …

Most total rebounds, remaining free agents

Player Old Team GP OREB DREB REB RPG OREB% DREB% REB%
Nikola Pekovic MIN (R) 62 230 315 545 8.8 13.1% 18.8% 15.9%
Lamar Odom LAC 82 117 363 480 5.9 8.6% 25.2% 17.2%
Jason Maxiell DET 72 135 274 409 5.7 8.6% 17.7% 13.2%
Antawn Jamison LAL 76 109 253 362 4.8 7.5% 16.7% 12.2%
Byron Mullens CHA 53 71 266 337 6.4 5.3% 21.9% 13.2%
Samuel Dalembert MIL 47 105 171 276 5.9 13.9% 26.6% 19.8%
Ivan Johnson ATL 69 76 190 266 3.9 8.4% 20.9% 14.7%
Brandan Wright DAL 64 85 175 260 4.1 8.5% 16.0% 12.4%
Gerald Henderson CHA (R) 68 55 195 250 3.7 2.9% 10.9% 6.8%
Brandon Jennings MIL (R) 80 59 187 246 3.1 2.1% 7.3% 4.6%

OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds grabbed while on the floor
DREB% = Percentage of available defensive rebounds grabbed while on the floor
REB% = Percentage of available total rebounds grabbed while on the floor

Of the 24 free agents who dished out at least 200 assists last season, six remain …

Most assists, remaining free agents

Player Old Team GP AST APG TO AST/TO ASTRatio
Brandon Jennings MIL (R) 80 521 6.5 203 2.57 24.9
Nate Robinson CHI 82 358 4.4 144 2.49 23.9
Beno Udrih ORL 66 302 4.6 108 2.80 32.4
Jamaal Tinsley UTA 66 290 4.4 106 2.74 45.2
Mo Williams UTA 46 285 6.2 125 2.28 29.1
A.J. Price WAS 57 205 3.6 64 3.20 28.9
Devin Harris ATL 58 197 3.4 88 2.24 24.8
Gerald Henderson CHA (R) 68 177 2.6 108 1.64 13.9
D.J. Augustin IND 76 170 2.2 68 2.50 29.5
Luke Walton CLE 50 166 3.3 60 2.77 39.9

ASTRatio = Percentage of possessions resulting in an assist

There were 49 free agents who recorded a positive plus-minus last season, and 18 of them – including a pair who made a strong impact – remain.

Highest plus-minus, remaining free agents

Player Old Team GP +/- OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg
Lamar Odom LAC 82 +296 104.9 95.4 +9.5
Devin Harris ATL 58 +155 105.2 97.9 +7.3
Gary Neal SAS 68 +101 105.4 101.4 +4.0
Brandan Wright DAL 64 +100 107.9 102.8 +5.1
Derek Fisher OKC 33 +64 107.2 100.7 +6.5
Kenyon Martin NYK 18 +58 109.8 101.4 +8.4
Rodrigue Beaubois DAL 45 +36 102.8 99.3 +3.5
Nate Robinson CHI 82 +32 101.9 101.9 +0.0
Mike James DAL 45 +30 106.8 103.8 +3.0
Jerry Stackhouse BKN 37 +27 103.0 104.6 -1.7

OffRtg = Team points scored per 100 possessions with player on floor
DefRtg = Team points allowed per 100 possessions with player on floor
NetRtg = Team point differential per 100 possessions with player on floor

2013 Free Agents: The Numbers

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HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – At 12:01 a.m. ET on Monday, 144 free agents became available. While there are some big names at the top of the list, it’s not the deepest free-agent class we’ve seen.

Only two 2013 All-Stars — Chris Paul and Dwight Howard — are on the market. Only 19 of the 144 free agents scored at least 1,000 points last season, and only 11 started at least 50 games for a playoff team. One of those 11, of course, was Paul, who took himself off the market pretty quickly.

Two of the other 10 — Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings — started for the 38-44 Milwaukee Bucks. Jennings was a minus-289 last season. The other eight: Howard, Tony Allen, Andre Iguodala, Kyle Korver, Josh Smith, Tiago Splitter, Jeff Teague and David West.

Jennings’ minus-289 was not the worst mark of available free agents. That belongs to Byron Mullens, who was a minus-419 (in only 1,428 minutes) for the Bobcats last season. Mullens’ teammate Gerald Henderson was a minus-402.

The Bobcats were pretty awful whether or not Henderson was on the floor. The Bucks were pretty good (+6.9 points per 100 possessions) with Jennings on the bench and pretty bad (-4.4) with him in the game. His on-off-court differential of 11.2 points per 100 possessions was the worst among free agents who played at least 1,000 minutes with a single team last season.

Worst on-off-court NetRtg differential among free agents

Player Min. On NetRtg On NetRtg Off Diff.
Brandon Jennings 2,896 -4.4 +6.9 -11.2
D.J. Augustin 1,226 -1.1 +7.8 -8.9
Byron Mullens 1,428 -16.2 -7.4 -8.8
Tyler Hansbrough 1,366 -0.6 +8.0 -8.6
Al Jefferson 2,578 -3.5 +4.3 -7.8

Minimum 1,000 minutes with a single team
NetRtg = Team point differential per 100 possessions

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Devin Harris, whose Hawks were 10.0 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the floor than when he was on the bench.

Best on-off-court NetRtg differential among free agents

Player Min. On NetRtg On NetRtg Off Diff.
Devin Harris 1,421 +7.3 -2.7 +10.0
David West 2,435 +8.5 -0.9 +9.4
DeMarre Carroll 1,111 +5.4 -3.1 +8.4
Kyle Korver 2,259 +4.4 -3.7 +8.0
Brandan Wright 1,149 +5.1 -2.6 +7.7

Minimum 1,000 minutes with a single team

It shouldn’t be any surprise that, on offense, Paul was the biggest difference maker of the 145 free agents …

Best on-off-court OffRtg differential among free agents

Player Min. On OffRtg On OffRtg Off Diff.
Chris Paul 2,335 112.1 101.3 +10.8
David West 2,435 104.9 96.1 +8.8
J.J. Redick (ORL) 1,575 103.7 95.3 +8.4
Kyle Korver 2,259 105.7 98.8 +6.8
Roger Mason Jr. 1,218 107.2 100.6 +6.6

Minimum 1,000 minutes
OffRtg = Team points scored per 100 possessions

And it’s no surprise that the Lakers were much better defensively with Howard on the floor, or that the Grizzlies got more stops with Tony Allen in the game. Lamar Odom‘s DefRtg differential, combined with Paul topping the list above, makes it clear that the Clippers were an offensive team with their starters in the game and a defensive unit when they went to their bench.

Best on-off-court DefRtg differential among free agents

Player Min. On DefRtg On DefRtg Off Diff.
Lamar Odom 1,616 95.4 104.9 -9.5
Tony Allen 2,109 94.3 101.1 -6.8
Tiago Splitter 1,997 96.1 102.3 -6.3
Devin Harris 1,421 97.9 104.1 -6.2
Dwight Howard 2,722 101.7 107.8 -6.0

Minimum 1,000 minutes with a single team
DefRtg = Team points allowed per 100 possessions

Redick was a big difference maker on offense with Orlando, in part, because he shot 39 percent from 3-point range and helped spread the floor. But he shot just 32 percent from beyond the arc after being traded to Milwaukee and isn’t among the top 10 3-point shooters among free agents…

Highest 3-point percentage among free agents

Player 3PM 3PA 3PT% 3PA%
Jose Calderon 130 282 46.1% 44.4%
Kyle Korver 189 414 45.7% 68.9%
Mike Dunleavy 128 299 42.8% 47.9%
Kevin Martin 158 371 42.6% 47.7%
Martell Webster 139 329 42.2% 51.7%
Chris Copeland 59 140 42.1% 36.8%
Roger Mason Jr. 66 159 41.5% 52.1%
C.J. Watson 88 214 41.1% 46.6%
Randy Foye 178 434 41.0% 58.8%
O.J. Mayo 142 349 40.7% 34.0%

Minimum 100 3PA
3PA% = 3PA/FGA

Howard ranked second among free agents in rebounding percentage, only topped by J.J. Hickson

Highest REB% among free agents

Player MIN OREB% DREB% REB%
J.J. Hickson 2,323 13.1% 28.0% 20.5%
Dwight Howard 2,722 10.6% 27.5% 19.3%
Zaza Pachulia 1,134 13.9% 21.5% 17.7%
Marreese Speights 1,300 12.6% 22.8% 17.4%
Lamar Odom 1,616 8.6% 25.2% 17.2%

Minimum 1,000 minutes
OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds grabbed
DREB% = Percentage of available defensive rebounds grabbed
REB% = Percentage of available total rebounds grabbed

There are a good amount of distributors on the market, including a couple of guys who had more assists than field goal attempts last season…

Highest ASTRatio among free agents

Player MIN FGA AST TO ASTRatio TORatio
Jamaal Tinsley 1,221 234 290 106 45.2 16.53
Pablo Prigioni 1,263 220 236 86 42.7 15.55
Jose Calderon 2,159 635 518 126 39.4 9.59
Chris Paul 2,335 856 678 159 36.9 8.66
Beno Udrih 1,457 476 302 108 32.4 11.60

Minimum 1,000 minutes
ASTRatio = Percentage of possessions ending in an assist
TORatio = Percentage of possessions ending in an turnover

Paul doesn’t only dish dimes, but he’s pretty good at getting himself to the free throw line, ranking fourth among non-big (PG, SG, SF) free agents in free throw rate…

Highest FTA Rate among non-big free agents

Player FGA FTM FTA FT% FTA Rate
Andrei Kirilenko 560 188 250 75.2% .446
Manu Ginobili 539 164 206 79.6% .382
Darren Collison 724 242 275 88.0% .380
Chris Paul 856 286 323 88.5% .377
Gerald Henderson 855 258 313 82.4% .366

Minimum 500 FGA
FTA Rate = FTA/FGA

With No Mo, Can Jazz Stay In Playoff Hunt?

HANGTIME  SOUTHWEST – On Wednesday morning, Utah Jazz point guard Mo Williams impatiently waited for news from the doctor about his injured right thumb. Unable to twiddle his thumbs, he used his fingers to express his anxiousness on Twitter:

He felt like his thumb was getting better, so he hoped like heck the doc would ring in the new year with good news. Last thing he wanted was another thumb surgery like he had in 2008.

And then word came down Wednesday evening as the Jazz dressed in their home locker room in preparation to play the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Surgery. And it will cost Williams six to eight weeks, pinning a return perhaps some time around the All-Star break in mid-February.

After a night to absorb the news, Williams again took to Twitter:

But what about the Jazz, a team that’s teetered around the .500 mark all season, slipping in and out of the top eight? How will they respond to losing their starting point guard, who is averaging 12.9 points, a team-high 6.7 assists and had dramatically improved his 3-point shooting in December to 37.6 percent?

Williams sprained his right thumb on Dec. 22 against Miami. Utah was 1-3 without him entering Wednesday’s game.

“We came in and were focused. Everybody is a little heartbroken about Mo, but we know he’s going to be all right,” said big man Derrick Favors after the Jazz put together a complete effort in waxing the Wolves 106-84. “We just came out there and played like he was with us.”

Williams, traded from the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers during the offseason, chimed in on Twitter after the win that pushed Utah to 16-17, one game out of the eighth spot:

It’s one thing to lose a key starter for a few games, but to make due for more than a month could set up a catastrophic turn of events. Jamaal Tinsley, who has started in Williams’ place the last five games, will continue to do so.

“We just wanted to go out there and play hard for 48 minutes. It’s the situation we are in, knowing we have Mo out,” said Tinsley, who had 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting, plus six rebounds and three assists Wednesday night. “We just have to go out there and play hard no matter who we play for 48 minutes and give ourselves a chance to win.”

It won’t be easy with Utah hitting the road for five of the next six games. At 6-13 away from the friendly confines of EnergySolutions Arena, the Jazz start things off with a back-to-back Friday at Phoenix and then Saturday at Denver. The lone home game in the stretch is against a desperate Dallas club that appears to be getting better with the return of Dirk Nowitzki. A road three-pack follows at Charlotte, Atlanta and Detroit.

If the Jazz can get through those games in decent shape, they stand a good chance to finish January strong with six of their final seven in the month at home.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said after Wednesday’s win. “We can’t look around the corner and see what’s going to happen. This is who we have and we have to figure out how we can be as good as we can be with this group right now.”

Back To Future With Favors On Bench

On the official score sheet, it was the midway point through the fourth quarter on Monday night.

In the minds of those laying the foundational bricks for the Jazz, it was a hopeful glimpse into the future.

Denver’s Danilo Gallinari had missed a 3-point shot from the left wing and Enes Kanter was there to gobble up the rebound. He looked up and fired a pass to Jamaal Tinsley, who was in a full sprint up the sideline. Tinsley swung it across the court to a sprinting Gordon Hayward and, with barely time for the ball to settle into his hands, Hayward hit the runaway freight train that was Derrick Favors barreling back on the left with a perfect feed for a slam dunk.

Six seconds, three passes, two points and not once did the ball hit the floor.

Some day down the line this should be a steady part of the Utah offensive diet — a huge helping of the 6-foot-10 Favors filling the lane on the fast break and filling up the box score.

In his third season, Favors is tugging at the reins to get loose, and eventually there will come a time when coach Ty Corbin won’t be able to keep him out of the starting lineup.

There were plenty who thought that time for the third-year power forward was the beginning of this season, and they were ready to move veteran Paul Millsap or center Al Jefferson to make room.

With his team playing unevenly a little more than a week ago, Corbin made his own move to put Favors into the starting lineup in place of Marvin Williams in an attempt to go big across the front line with Millsap and Jefferson.

However, that experiment lasted only two games — wins over Washington and Houston — as Favors could not find a comfort zone with his fellow bigs, shooting just 3-for-10 and 2-for-7, respectively. Favors’ overall scoring and rebounding numbers did not go up as his minutes stayed roughly the same, and the move actually left the Jazz more vulnerable defensively with Millsap at a decided disadvantage trying to keep up with opposing small forwards.

Perhaps the biggest downside to using all of the big men together as starters was making the Jazz more deliberate and ponderous on offense at a time when the league is more about quickness and pace.

Favors scored 16 and grabbed 14 rebounds in his first game back as a reserve in Friday’s win over the Kings, then was handcuffed by foul trouble and didn’t manage a field goal in the rematch the next night in Sacramento.

With the Nuggets running the floor and making shots, they built a 16-point lead on Utah Monday night. Then, Favors came on strong — scoring 12 of his 19 points and playing powerfully around the basket to spark a second-half comeback in a 105-103 win.

The win kept the Jazz 6-0 at home, the first time they’ve started that quick since the 2008-09 season, and yet they remain rather inept on the road and appear in their current state no threat to be much different than the just-better-than-.500 team that sneaked into the No. 8 spot in the playoffs last season.

Without a sudden change in character, it will keep the heat on the Jazz to think about moving Millsap or Jefferson ahead of the February trade deadline.

Though it’s consistency out of him that would force the issue, it’s a thought that gets more tempting every time the Jazz run a break that end with Favors barreling toward the hoop with another glimpse of the future.

Wizards Leaning Toward Using Amnesty Clause On Blatche

The Washington Wizards are leaning toward using the amnesty provision by Tuesday’s deadline to waive forward Andray Blatche, according to league sources.

The Wizards have not made a final decision on the move. Teams have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to decide whether they’ll use the amnesty provision for the upcoming season. If they don’t, they cannot use it again until next July. Teams are only allowed to use the provision once during the life of the new collective bargaining agreement.

Players that are waived under the provision can be claimed by teams under the salary cap for the upcoming season. The team that submits the highest bid gets the player. If Blatche were to be waived, teams would have to submit a minimum bid of $3.79 million for him — which represents the sum of the minimum salaries a player with Blatche’s experience would receive over the next three years, the remaining length of his contract.

Washington is still wavering on whether using the amnesty provision — and writing Blatche a check for the remaining $23 million on his contract. The Wizards have been trying to deal Blatche since the end of the season, but haven’t found any deals to their liking.

They could also keep Blatche on the roster but keep him away from the team while they continue to pursue trades or, perhaps, a contract buyout, in the same way the Indiana Pacers kept guard Jamaal Tinsley at arm’s length for a year before finally reaching a settlement on his contract.

(more…)

Wizards Undecided On Blatche Amnesty



The first day that NBA teams are officially allowed to sign free agents and make trades is also the first day of the six-day window where teams are allowed to use the amnesty provision to cut players and remove them from their salary cap. The Washington Wizards are still undecided about whether to use the amnesty provision on one of the top league-wide candidates, forward Andray Blatche, according to sources.

Washington is exploring several options for Blatche, who has fallen out of favor both with fans in D.C. and with the organization after signing a contract extension in 2010 that reworked his existing contract into a five-year deal worth $35 million. The Wizards could opt for amnesty, which would remove the remaining $23 million the team owes Blatche from its salary cap, freeing up resources that the team will need in the next few years to extend players like John Wall and this year’s first-round pick, Bradley Beal.

The Wizards could trade Blatche immediately. Or, they could continue to explore trade options while removing Blatche from the daily workings of the team–in essence, paying him his salary to stay away. The Pacers used a similar strategy in 2008, forcing guard Jamaal Tinsley to sit out the whole season while not playing after he clashed with then-coach Rick Carlisle and the organization.

But asking owner Ted Leonsis to write that $23 million check is a big ask, sources allow, even though Blatche is not in the team’s future plans. The Wizards have remade their power forward group in the last year and a half, drafting Jan Vesely with the sixth pick in the 2011 Draft and acquiring Emeka Okafor from New Orleans last month (along with small forward Trevor Ariza) for Rashard Lewis. Second-year forward Trevor Booker also played extremely effectively in spots the last couple of years. Washington has Ariza and Chris Singleton penciled in to take the lion’s share of minutes at small forward. (more…)

Pacers Just Getting Started?

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Don’t bother trying to dissect that four-team, five-player deal that sent players in every direction and has executives from all four teams smiling and claiming victory.

(Besides my main man David Aldridge of TNT already broke it down for you.)

All you need to know is that the Pacers were the big winner of the day, though we love Trevor Ariza alongside Chris Paul in New Orleans and Courtney Lee in Rick Adelman‘s system in Houston could produce major fireworks for Rockets fans.

Whenever one of these multi-team, multi-player trades go down people start gushing about cap space gained or luxury tax thresholds avoided, but none of those (very important) things can … A) run a team, B) make a shot, or C) grab a rebound.

The Pacers snagged the best tangible piece of the deal in Darren Collison, a franchise (I didn’t say All-Star, yet, just franchise for now) point guard that would have been the first point guard taken in the June draft had he spent five years at UCLA instead of four.

It’s been a while since the Pacers had a player with this kind of talent, stability and clear-cut leadership potential at that position — someone suggested this morning that Mark Jackson was the last point guard to wear a Pacers uniform with the complete package of skills and make-up that Collison brings.

Pacers boss Larry Bird certainly seems pleased.

“We liked him coming out of college. I didn’t think he’d have the year he did last year,” Bird said (check for more of his thoughts in the video above). “He’s solid. He likes to defend. We know he can shoot the ball. He did a great job in college of putting the ball in the hole. We think he’s a complete player. He’s a young point guard to go with the rest of the core group we have, and we’ll just keep building on it.”

The locals seem pleased with the move as well, not to mention what could come next. Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star heralded the move as a “great deal” for the beleaguered franchise:

What’s not to love?

They get their point guard. They get a veteran with a defensive mind-set. And they rid themselves of a lousy contract — although, it should be said that Murphy was relentlessly productive here.

This is what the Pacers were planning for when they embarked on their long-term rebuilding plan. They knew they couldn’t count on hitting some kind of free agent bonanza next summer, not with the dearth of big names out there — and good luck getting Carmelo Anthony to Indiana. But they knew their increasingly favorable financial status would put them in a position to steal players from teams desperate to get under the luxury-tax threshold.

Like the New Orleans Hornets.

And this is just the beginning of the wheeling and dealing.

The Pacers still figure to go into the season with several players in the final year of their deals — Mike Dunleavy ($10,561,984), T.J. Ford ($8.5 million) and Jeff Foster ($6.655 million), and Jamaal Tinsley‘s $5.5 million will come off the books. They can trade them now, trade them near the trading deadline or hold onto them and watch their dollars come off the payroll at season’s end.

It’s been so long since the Pacers were a factor in the Eastern Conference playoff chase that one current NBA player laughed Wednesday night when we tried to explain to him that they were a power on par with the Utah Jazz, in terms of consistent playoff appearances, as recently as five years ago.

I know it sounds crazy to anyone with long-term memory issues, but there was a time (before LeBron James showed up in Cleveland and before the Detroit Pistons seized control of the East for half a decade) that the Pacers were considered a model franchise.

They had a blend of veterans and quality young talent, a stable front office and marquee value around the league.

Then the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills happened (in 2004). The Pacers long road to recovery has been going on ever since, but we must admit that the road got a lot smoother with the addition of Collison.

He’s the first young, franchise-pillar they’ve added since they lucked into All-Star swingman Danny Granger with the 17th pick in the 2005 draft (courtesy of the miscalculations of a dozen teams that drafted ahead of them).

So if the Pacers are indeed just getting started with Granger and Collison as their main cogs, we like where this is going.

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