Posts Tagged ‘John Lucas III’

Reports: Jazz’s Burke To Make NBA Debut


VIDEO: Trey Burke suffers a broken right index finger in a preseason game

From NBA.com staff reports

At 1-11, the Utah Jazz have the worst record in the league and have given Jamaal Tinsley, John Lucas III and, most recently, Alec Burks, the nod as their starting point guard. The Jazz have mostly had this revolving door at point guard because their star rookie, point guard Trey Burke, has been going through rehab after suffering a broken right index finger during a preseason loss to the L.A. Clippers in October.

The Jazz have reason to be a little more excited about their point guard play, now, though as Burke has been cleared to play and is expected to make his regular-season debut tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans (8 ET, League Pass). Jazz play-by-play man David Locke first reported the news via Twitter:

According to the Twitter feed of the Deseret NewsJody Gennesy, Burke will not start tonight:

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.

Clark Ready For Opportunity With Jazz

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HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — Advanced metrics are at the heart of measuring a pro prospect’s potential. But as newly signed Utah Jazz guard Ian Clark is out to prove, number-crunching can’t measure heart.

He’s used to the doubts.

The skinny kid from Memphis didn’t get a scholarship offer from his hometown Tigers after four stellar years at Germantown High School. And after four tremendous seasons at Belmont as a knock-down shooter on three NCAA Tournament teams and an all-conference defender, not even the hometown Grizzlies, rooted in defense and desperate for perimeter shooting, showed much interest in this 6-foot-3 ‘tweener — undersized by NBA standards to play shooting guard and not a natural point guard.

“Not that I know of,” Clark said from Memphis in a Tuesday morning phone interview about 18 hours after he signed his contract in Salt Lake City and was introduced as the latest member of the youth-movement Jazz.

“I guess it’s kind of instilled in me now since I’ve been growing up,” the 175-pound Clark said of being a perennial underdog. “I’ve never been the premiere player, per se, and getting all the attention, so I’ve kind of gotten used to that. At the same time, it’s a sense of pride and sense of confidence that you have in yourself that you want to prove you can compete with anybody. So that’s kind of the chip I’ve had since high school and throughout college and now I have to do it at this level.”

NBA TV’s David Aldridge covered every angle of Clark’s basketball journey through the Summer League, including his awesome 33-point championship game with the Golden State Warriors that Clark’s agent Bill Duffy said put his client “over the top.”

Clark, 22, said he picked the Jazz over a few other interested teams as well as some lucrative options overseas because of the team’s foundation of young players and the opportunity to break in quickly.

The Jazz totally revamped their backcourt outside of shooting guards Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks. They acquired shooting guard Brandon Rush, drafted point guard Trey Burke out of Michigan and signed journeyman point guard John Lucas III. Clearly, the point guard position could provide plenty of opportunity for a player who seizes it.

So now the question is: Can Clark, a high-character person play the point at a high enough level in the NBA? At Belmont, he shot better than 48 percent for his career and 42.5 percent from beyond the arc. He only averaged 2.2 assists in his career, but he wasn’t asked to set people up; he got set up to let it fly.

“I look at myself as a combo guard, being able to utilize my shooting ability when needed, but also being able to bring the ball upcourt and initiate the offense and get guys going,” Clark said. “I’m definitely not a pure 1 (point guard), but I’ve been working a lot this summer on my ballhandling and making the right reads, ball screens and defense.”

Playing for Miami in the Orlando Summer League, Clark scored 15 points on Burke and the Heat. With Golden State in Las Vegas, he averaged 9.0 ppg until he scorched the  Suns for seven 3-pointers and was named the title game’s MVP. He averaged 1.4 apg while the Warriors up-and-coming shooting guard Kent Bazemore handled the point the majority of the time.

“I’ve been playing 2-guard my whole life,” Clark said. “I think it’s definitely going to be a transition, but once I get used to it, once I get with Utah and coach [Ty Corbin] really helps me out, I think I’ll be able to transition into a combo guard.”

That’s the Jazz’s hope.

Sixers Hope To Enjoy ‘Holiday’ Weekend




Jrue Holiday’s numbers went down across the board this season, a trend that continued in the Philadelphia 76ers’ playoff opener against the Chicago Bulls last weekend.

It’s a trend, however, that may be over. After sputtering through a forgettable performance in Game 1 against the Chicago Bulls, Holiday was the best player on the floor for the Sixers when they fired back Tuesday to even the best-of-seven series at one game each. The Eastern Conference first-round clash resumes Friday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, and Holiday sounds determined to pick up where he left off.

“This is the stage you dream to be on,” Holiday said after his team’s 109-92 handling of an emotionally drained Bulls club in Game 2, a team coping with the loss of MVP Derrick Rose and what that means for the rest of its postseason.

For one thing, it means an elusive, scoring-minded point guard such as Holiday has less worries freedom against Bulls backups C.J. Watson and John Lucas III than he did when Rose was around for Game 1. In that one, Holiday scored 16 points and had seven rebounds, but he finished with two assists and three turnovers and never seemed fully in synch. (more…)

Rose practices, still might not play





DEERFIELD, Ill. – The sounds of Derrick Rose‘s first practice in more than three weeks Wednesday were encouraging, in as much as there was no discernible “squeak-squeak-tap, squeak-squeak-tap” from behind the closed doors and shaded windows at the Chicago Bulls’ practice court.

So in his most significant test yet since he suffered a serious groin strain March 13, the Bulls’ and NBA’s reigning MVP didn’t require a cane.

Whether Rose will be able to face the Boston Celtics Thursday night at United Center, however, remains in doubt. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was upbeat in comments after the practice about his point guard’s participation, condition and recovery.

Rose sounded more iffy, saying he wasn’t at top speed and didn’t know if he would be capable of playing against Boston’s elusive Rajon Rondo and the rest of the Celtics. As for the media, well, they heard practice but they never go to see Rose do more than shoot free throws and 3-pointers, mixing in at most some one-dribble moves.

“I’m running, able to move a little bit more. So I’m getting healthy,” Rose said in a brief interview before heading for more rehab and treatment. He has missed the past 11 games and 21 overall due to earlier toe and back injuries (Chicago is 14-7). “Taking three weeks off or two weeks off, however [long] I took off, my conditioning is definitely a worry. But in basketball, you should be able to fight through it.”

Thibodeau labeled Rose a “game-time decision” with a little more half-full tone than usual. Normally, that means “fuhgeddabouddit” in Thibs-ese. (more…)

LeBron Over Lucas … Worth Another Look!





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We’ve been debating the merits of this dunk (above and from a different angle than you’ve probably seen) all day here at the hideout.

Man jumps over another man, you’re supposed to be impressed.

But the dissenters suggest that Heat star LeBron James needed to just over someone a hair taller than Bulls guard John Lucas III for this to be celebrated the way it has been since yesterday afternoon.

Our main man and Dunk Ladder guru LeMont Calloway has already weighed in, and if he’s impressed … who are we to argue!

Boozer’s Son Picks A Side In Rivalry





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – LeBron James stepping on the head of John Lucas III for a dunk was one of the more remarkable things we saw this weekend here at the hideout.

James riding his bike to work was another pleasant surprise. Who needs that Phantom anyway?

But the unquestioned most staggering video of the weekend had to be this shot of the oldest son of Bulls forward Carlos Boozer chanting “Let’s go Heat” as his dad and the Bulls battled their Eastern Conference nemesis Sunday afternoon.

I don’t know how they’d handle this at the Boozer residence, but somebody would have some explaining to do!

Clearly, young Boozer doesn’t realize (or doesn’t care) which side of the rivalry his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches come from …

Bulls Have To Grind With/Without Deng





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Few teams in the league have shown a better understanding of how to survive without a key player than the league-leading Chicago Bulls.

They lose reigning MVP Derrick Rose for a few games with that bad toe and don’t miss a beat.

So while it’s obvious that the Bulls know exactly what to do when one of their big dogs is out of the lineup, it will be interesting to see what they do with Luol Deng on the shelf with that “Kobe Bryant” (torn ligament) in his left wrist.

It’s strange how Deng and Bryant’s names have criss-crossed over the course of Deng’s career. Don’t forget, it was reportedly Deng that the Bulls tried to send to the Lakers in a deal that would have brought Kobe to Chicago years ago. Reports that Bryant was objecting to any deal that included Deng (he wanted to make sure the Bulls had enough talent to compete for a title) is a testament to the value Deng’s peers place on his game.

That’s impressive for a player with no All-Star appearances on his resume yet and is one who is often overlooked when the conversation of the best small forwards in the game comes up.

Even more impressive will be the Bulls’ continued ability to grind through the avalanche of nicks, bumps and bruises that they’ve been able to brush aside so far (16-3 and atop the Eastern Conference and the league). They host the Pacers tonight at 8 p.m. ET on NBA TV.

“I know it’s a bad injury and it sounds terrible, but really, I think it will fine,” Deng, who is trying to avoid surgery, told reporters yesterday. “We’ve got a good team, and I think I’m going to be fine.”

(more…)

Arrested Development?

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — John Wall is struggling.

Maybe you’ve heard.

In addition to his shooting issues, he was taken to the shed Wednesday night in Chicago, not by Derrick Rose but John Lucas III, who had  25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. No offense to JL3, but this was a new low for Wall, the former No. 1 pick who came into the league with “star” stamped on his forehead.

If it’s any consolation to Wall, he isn’t alone. A few other young-uns are finding it rough as they try to take that next step to being established and bona fide stars. And why is this? Maybe they played too many summer league games during the lockout.

Maybe they were overhyped.

Or maybe they just need time.

Whatever, here’s a sampling:

– DeMar DeRozan, 22 years old: Double D is shooting 41 percent and had three straight games where he didn’t get double figures. The Raptors were hoping he’d be at least a borderline All-Star this year, and he might still break out. But it’s coming very slowly at the moment for a guy with obvious skills. Here’s DeRozan on his issues, courtesy of Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun:

“I just got to play better,” DeRozan said after an 11 point game that saw him hit just one of his first 10 field goal attempts.

“I take a lot of the (blame) when we’re not doing as well because I got to step up and start being consistent on both ends of the floor.”

(more…)

Rose Still Needs Help In Chi-Town

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HANG TIME, TEXAS – The Bulls won more games than any other team in the league a year ago. The Bulls have the second-best record in the NBA this season. The Bulls have the President of the United States talking about welcoming them to the White House next year to celebrate a championship. The Bulls have the reigning MVP Derrick Rose playing like he’s ready to go back-to-back.

So are there really any questions about the Bulls?

Well, as our good friend Sam Smith of Bulls.com points out, maybe just one:

But it would be nice, also, if someone could score some points.

Yes, Derrick Rose, despite increasing defensive pressure, had 22 points and eight assists. And Carlos Boozer had one of his best games as a Bull with 23 points on nine of 13 shooting and eight rebounds, including a dive on the floor for a loose ball and aggressive fronting the post on Greg Monroe, which we don’t often see from Boozer.

That sort of play enabled the Bulls not only never to trail in beating the Pistons for the 13th straight time, but with an 18-3 run to start the fourth quarter with mostly reserves playing the Bulls broke open a game they controlled but primarily with leads around 10 points.

The Bulls Monday started their lone three in three nights set and are about halfway through playing nine games in 12 nights with nine of the first 13 of the season on the road. Though everyone has scheduling like that to play through this season.

So it doesn’t fully answer whether this Bulls team can score enough to truly be taken seriously.

(more…)