Posts Tagged ‘Keyon Dooling’

All-Stars show for labor meeting

BEVERLY HILLS — LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul were among the All-Star contingent arriving at a Beverly Hills hotel for Friday afternoon’s meeting between the league and the players.

The session was billed earlier in the week as an informational gathering open to any of the players or principal owners to attend. The two sides hadn’t met formally since November.

“I’m worried about the league,” Wade said. “It’s not just about myself, it’s the future of the NBA. We want to be able to be sure this game can continue to grow and  prosper. We want this game to go on for many, many years.”

The union was also represented by executive director Billy Hunter, executive committee president Derek Fisher, treasurer James Jones, and vice presidents Roger Mason, Theo Ratliff, Keyon Dooling, Etan Thomas and Paul. All-Stars in attendance included Kevin Durant, Amar’e Stoudemire, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Al Horford.

“We understand that a deal has to be done,” Wade said. “Both sides have to come to an agreement and neither side is going to agree until we meet halfway. Me being one of the ‘faces of the league,’ it’s just coming in and learning more and trying to understand what both sides are going through. That’s the biggest thing.”

The league negotiating team here is headed up by commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and labor relations chairman Peter Holt, owner of the San Antonio Spurs. Among other owners in the room were Michael Jordan (Charlotte Bobcats), Jerry Buss (L.A. Lakers), Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks) and Donald Sterling (L.A. Clippers).

The union is expected to hold a press conference after the meeting in downtown Los Angeles. Stern will hold one Saturday.

Rethinking The Central

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The departure of LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers and the arrival of Carlos Boozer in Chicago was supposed to dramatically shift the power in the Central Division from the shores of Lake Erie to the shores of Lake Michigan.

But what’s supposed to happen and what actually takes place are often very different things. The waters on both shores are calm at this stage of the season.

In fact, much of what we assumed about the Central Division race this season (we picked the Bucks as the surprise team not only in the Central but also in the Eastern Conference overall) has not materialized yet.

Boozer’s out with that broken finger. The Bucks have struggled. Byron Scott has the Cavaliers playing hard but they’re about what we thought they’d be without James. Two other teams that many people felt would take at least a small step up this season, Indiana and Detroit, have not. And the Pistons are on the brink of disaster, with internal strife and a new ownership situation compounding their 0-5 record.

As of this morning, the entire division is on a combined 12-game losing streak.

“It’s hard to pick any one team in that division right now,” an Eastern Conference scout friend admitted. “Chicago has the best tools to work with, but they have a new coach and really a new system that they are all trying to get adjusted to, plus they don’t have Boozer right now. I think they’ll be fine, eventually. I don’t know what to say about the Bucks. Andrew Bogut just doesn’t look comfortable yet. It seems to me that he’s still favoring that right arm. But that said, they could have easily beaten the Celtics the other night and then there’s a totally different feel about them right now. It’s still too early to make any definitive statements about how things will turn out for those two. But the rest of the division … it’s just a mess right now.”

Boozer did get the pins out (he broke his pinky Oct. 2) and the hard cast off of his hand earlier this week. He gets the stitches out next week, though there is still no specific date for his return to action, per Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com.

The Bucks looked better than their record against the Celtics. Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sees some signs of hope where Bogut’s bunch is concerned:

A lineup that included center Andrew Bogut, power forward Ersan Ilyasova, small forward Corey Maggette, shooting guard Carlos Delfino and point guard Brandon Jennings – with help from Keyon Dooling – was able to take the Celtics to the wire in a 105-102 defeat.

Maggette, who ranks as the Bucks’ second-leading scorer (15.0 points per game) and is emerging as a steady influence off the bench, played 22 minutes against Boston and had 11 points and three rebounds.

But coach Scott Skiles also was happy to see strong contributions from Ilyasova (15 points and seven rebounds) and Dooling (10 points on 4-of-7 shooting) as eight players gained significant on-court time against the Celtics.

“I’m not the only one with this opinion, but it’s got to be based on productivity,” Skiles said of his decision-making process to dole out the available minutes. “Then it will just show itself to you and everybody gets a comfort level in it.

“So far we haven’t gotten to that point where we can count on the productivity of all the guys, at least to the level we’re going to need it at.”

Things will only get more interesting tonight. All five teams in the division will be in action, with the Bucks and Pacers squaring off against each other, so the division-wide losing streak will be snapped.

It’s probably too soon to scrap our initial predictions — we’ll give them until Thanksgiving — and we still need to see how Derrick Rose and Boozer work together.

But we’ve got the eraser ready.

Start The Camp Countdown

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We can see the starting blocks now.

Training camp is around the corner.

The official start is still a few weeks away, but if you pop your head into the practice facility of just about any team today you’re guaranteed to see NBA players getting a head start on the 2010-11 season.

They realize what’s at stake. They know how important the first steps of a marathon can be for anyone with playoff or even loftier expectations.

Summer school is over folks — and don’t you wish the folks grading your papers in college were the same folks handing out these summer report cards around here (not a single F was delivered, not one)?

The pressure is on all around the league, on players, coaches and front office types that understand the time to make a move up the league’s food chain is now. Kobe Bryant and the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers were the only ones that could go into the summer with any feeling of satisfaction, knowing full well that the good vibrations could last for only so long.

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It’s time to the make the donuts again, or close to it, and that means there are questions we need answered.

(more…)

Fear The Deer (The Remix)

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Our infatuation with the Chicago Bulls this summer has angered some in the shadow of the Windy City, namely a few fans of their neighbors to the north and west in Milwaukee.

“The Bulls aren’t the only Central Division team on the rise,” one email reminded us late last week.

“We’ve got our own [potential] superstar point guard in Brandon Jennings, an All-Star caliber big man in Andrew Bogut and a proven coach in Scott Skiles,” another said, “plus we’ve got the reigning Executive of the Year in John Hammond, who has put together a solid supporting cast that is every bit as good as what the Bulls will trot out on the floor this season. Fear the Dear!”

These don’t register as simple complaints from biased observers. Bucks fans have a right to demand their team receive its due as one of the league’s up and coming outfits. They were better than the Bulls at the end of last season, playing without Bogut down the stretch and in the playoffs.

Why shouldn’t they be included in the conversation of the most promising young teams in the league?

No team in the Central Division, including the Bulls, has added more than the Bucks. They traded for assets — Corey Maggette, Chris Douglas-Roberts and the highly underrated Jon Brockman, an instant fan favorite in Fear The Deer Country. They signed free agents — John Salmons, Drew Gooden, Keyon Dooling — to fit specific needs. And they drafted plenty of talent, including Larry Sanders, Darrington Hobson, Jerome Jordan and Tiny Gallon (Sanders is the only draft pick guaranteed a roster spot).

Hammond loves his team, as he explained to the Journal Sentinel recently:

“It’s players that can help us win and players that we think are assets around the NBA,” he said. “That’s really what it comes down to when you put your roster together. If you look at guys on your roster and say that he’s not an asset around the NBA and he’s not an asset on your team, then you have yourself in a position where you need to make some moves.

“The thing I like about our roster is all 12 guys that we have are assets to us and assets around the NBA. I like that part about where we’re at.”

A healthy Bogut turns this team into a major problem inside. And having Salmons and Maggette on the wing alongside Jennings keeps things intact on the perimeter. Dependable role players like Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Mbah a Moute, should not be overlooked either.

The one player the Bucks lost that worried us was HT fave Luke Ridnour, who has moved on to that point guard festival in Minnesota. But the signing of Dooling takes care of that.

Dooling is bigger and more physical than Ridnour, giving the Bucks a veteran option behind Jennings capable of handling the bigger guards teams used to defend the surprisingly durable Jennings (he started all 89 games for the Bucks last season) in an attempt to slow him down.

Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman summed it up best:

“In today’s NBA, with the way the rules are, it’s so important to have a guy who can guard the ball on top,” Weltman said. “And Keyon has always been a premier NBA defender. He’s got length and quickness and as he’s gotten older, he’s figured it out.

“The other nice thing about Keyon is he takes pride in it. He’s a good fit with (coach) Scott (Skiles); he fits into the team we want to be.”

Plenty of folks have fallen in love with the star power the Bulls will have on display this season. And we’re on board. We believe Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and the crew will be a major factor in the Eastern Conference this season.

But the Bucks should be in the mix, too.

They’ve got all the ingredients to make some noise of their own this season.

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