Posts Tagged ‘Shaun Powell’

Time To Vote … DPOY?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Much like the debate that goes on every year regarding the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award,  selecting a Defensive Player of the Year is an exercise based largely on the subjectivity of the voters.

Without a clear-cut set of statistical markers a player can reach to solidify his case, the issue is left to the discretion of those with ballots. And that means 2.4 blocks per game by one player might be seen as defensive prowess while 2.4 blocks per game by another player are simply digits and a decimal attached to a name and little else.

NBA.com’s Shaun Powell had to try to make sense of the minutiae while crafting his ballot, which includes a list of the expected names (Dwight Howard, Tyson Chandler, LeBron James and Serge Ibaka). But instead of riding with the obvious and incumbent choice, Howard, Shaun went in a different direction:

Is it possible to be the team MVP when Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudamire wear the same uniform? If so, then Chandler’s that guy. The Knicks didn’t become a better team until they took a cue from their center and began to make defense a priority.

Chandler is indispensable because he means so much defensively. He bails out teammates, starts the break and does what others cannot do or will not do. He ranks in the top 20 in rebounds per game (10.0, ninth), rebounds (607, 11th), blocks per game (1.44, 18th) and blocks (88, 16th).

“Tyson is our anchor,” Anthony said. “He gets us going.”

TNT’s David Aldridge picked Serge Ibaka as his winner, giving the nod to the league’s shot-blocking king rather than the incumbent. He makes the case for Ibaka:

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Hang Time Podcast (Episode 64)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You want to talk Washington politics, go somewhere else.

But if you want to talk Washington basketball, everything from the Dallas Mavericks’ visit to the White House to whether or not John Wall and the Wizards can keep Flip Saunders from getting stuck on the hot seat, you have come to the right place.

Episode 64 of the Hang Time Podcast has a decidedly Washington flavor, courtesy of two of our guests:

– Our main man Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com joins us to talk about the reigning world champions and their recent visit to the home and workplace of President Barack Obama, among other things. (He comes on after our debate about what the Magic need to do with Dwight Howard and what the Chicago Bulls could have to do with it, courtesy of our guy Shaun Powell from NBA.com)

– Michael Lee of The Washington Post put the finishing touches on this episode, helping us break down what’s gone wrong with the Wizards, who still have issues to sort through after winning their first game of the season.

– Sandwiched between those two is an entertaining stint with Denver Nuggets strength and conditioning coach Steve Hess, who is a must-follow on Twitter (and who is trying to get to 10K followers — help the man out!). Hess gives us the scoop on the challenges teams are facing in regards to keeping their players healthy and energized on a nightly basis during this abbreviated season with the compressed schedule.

There is also a new item on the agenda (you need to listen to find out) that we’ll need your help with. So make sure to share your feedback with everybody in the comments section and on Twitter.

LISTEN HERE: 

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our superproducer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

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A Whole New World

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – With the trade deadline behind us now and the winners and losers being debated around the globe, we have a chance to sit back and survey the landscape here at the hideout.

Whatever certainty we had about a Lakers-Celtics rematch in the NBA Finals faded when the Celtics shipped off Kendrick Perkins, and even Nate Robinson, to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. In fact, the Celtics and all the other trade-happy teams have created a whole new world in the NBA for the rest of this season.

It dawned on us last night, as we were watching the Bulls’ comeback win over Miami (above). And as crazy as it might have sounded before the trade deadline, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think we could see a Bulls-Thunder NBA Finals this season (as opposed to 2013 or 2014). We’re not guaranteeing it or even predicting it. All we’re saying is it is within the realm of possibility.

Night after night, the Bulls are making it clear that they do not fear the Heat, Celtics or anyone else (you remember the way they handled the Spurs before the All-Star break).

Ask most anyone about the Bulls and Thunder before the trade deadline and they’d have told you that they were both poised to be the next teams in line to contend for titles, considering the way they’ve been built. But there’s no sense waiting in line or trying to be next when you can be right now.

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Hang Time Podcast (Episode 34)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Did we throw too much at Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder too soon?

Should Pat Riley have replaced Erik Spoelstra months ago?


And why are we just wasting our time with all these regular season games when we all know that the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are going to do their NBA Finals dance all over again in June?

Those are just three of the questions we tackled, there’s plenty more, on Episode 34 of the Hang Time Podcast with special guests Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express News and NBA.com’s very own Shaun Powell, two of the most seasoned NBA observers on the planet.

Listen Here:

Our guests weren’t short on opinions as we looked back at the first month of the regular season and revisited some summer time predictions to see how ridiculous they must seem right now.

Some of them (the Bucks were supposed to be ready for a move into the Eastern Conference penthouse) are bit more egregious than others (the Thunder will be the second best team in the Western Conference this season). But we’re not cutting any corners around here. We’re calling anyone out that needs it.

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine, our super producer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog and your host Sekou Smith on Twitter.

– To download the podcast, click here and here . To subscribe via iTunes, click here.

Nash Speaks On Trade Rumors

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – It seems a bit ridiculous now, Steve Nash having to address trade rumors a whopping seven games into the season.

But all it takes is someone raising the question, as my main man Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic did in the video above (fast forward to the 4 minute mark and see Nash’s response).

Nash responded the way you might expect, with the perfect blend of respect for the man who posed the question and disdain for the premise. Nash squashed any rumors and politely explained that he’s still in a Suns uniform because he wants to be. As for the rumors, Nash labeled them as “a lot of chatter, nothing really substantial.”

That won’t slow the conversation surrounding Nash’s future, a debate no doubt stirred by NBA.com’s Shaun Powell a couple of days ago when he legitimately raised the question about where the Suns go from here:

For a franchise that doesn’t seem willing (or able?) to spend money on big-ticket free agents, the only way to rebuild is through the Draft or with promising young players. The only way to do that is to trade an asset. Do the Suns keep Nash around for sentimental reasons and to win 45-50 games (which takes them out of the Draft lottery) and play a round or two in the playoffs? Or do they trade him and get something in return before it’s too late?

With Goran Dragic as a capable replacement for Nash, at least until they get somebody better, the Suns owe it to themselves to study the situation between now and the trade deadline.

Shaun suggested several options for the Nash and the Suns, including the Heat and Magic, needing what he brings. It’s an intriguing premise, even if it is all just hypothetical chatter.

We all play armchair GM anyway (sorry Steve, but this is what some people do in between games) and no one is off limits.

Getting a grip on rules ‘change’

I go back and forth on the new rule that puts a muzzle on players who feel they’ve been shortchanged by the refs. On one hand: They really should shuddup and play. On the other: It’s hard to bite your lip in a tense, emotional moment. Somewhere, there’s a compromise that should satisfy everyone.

But that’s really not the point here. I wonder if eventually, say in about a month or two, this new “rule” will suddenly grow old and quickly vaporize. You know, like the NBA’s supposed crackdown on palming violations 10 years ago. Whatever happened to that rule?

Back in the Allen Iverson days, the league became alarmed with the evolution of the dribble. You can blame it on Tim Hardaway, the unofficial inventor of the crossover. Hardaway’s sleight-of-hand was perfectly legal, if you saw it in slo-mo, because he was that good at pulling it off. But it spawned millions of poor imitators who lifted the ball underneath while changing directions. That’s a palm, or a carry, as they called it back in the day.

It got so bad that today, they actually teach “palming” (ahem, crossover) to little kids. Yes, pretty soon, an entire generation began lifting the ball, pulling the ball, dragging the ball, everything but legally dribbling the ball. And the high schools and colleges looked the other way. Eventually, so did the NBA, for a while.

When Iverson violated every dribble rule in the book to gain an unfair advantage on his defender, the NBA decided to crack down. The “Iverson Rule” was put to test during the preseason and, just like now, players protested. The rule was enforced for roughly two months. Then, it was back to business as usual. Only once in a while, when a palm is just too obvious to ignore, does the whistle blow. Never with two minutes left in a tight game, however.

Basically, the players took ownership of the dribble and rewrote the rule book, and the NBA essentially allowed it to happen. Jamal Crawford, the Sixth Man of the Year, owes his career to palming. So does Dwyane Wade and countless others. And it’s even gotten worse: Now players are lifting the ball for a split second, and just as the defender thinks the player is about to stop dribbling, that player continues his dribble, clearly gaining an advantage because the defender is now off-balance. Phil Jackson calls it the “discontinue dribble” and it is rarely enforced.

The league really needs to uphold the basic rules Dr. James Naismith created. Send a message to teenagers that palming will not be allowed on the highest level. And while you’re at it, clean up traveling, too (the two-steps-and-bunny-hop is especially insulting to the memory of Dr. James). And treat these obvious violations the same, whether the game is a minute old or there’s a minute left. The game will survive, because players will simply adjust, if they want to get paid.

And just think: calling players for palming will really get them steamed at the refs.

The Games Are Already Underway

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Who says you have to wait until training camp starts for the elbows to start flying?

The Magic and Heat are kicking things off early with some verbal sparring that we usually have to wait until the playoffs to enjoy. And the players on both teams haven’t even chimed in yet. All the scrapping going on now is coming from Magic GM Otis Smith (above), Heat boss Pat Riley and Magic (and former Heat) coach Stan Van Gundy.

It’s a soap opera befitting an unprecedented summer of free agent activity that will no doubt shape the league for at least the next six years.

My main man and NBA.com colleague Shaun Powell provides some of the highlights while also forecasting what is sure to be one of the league’s most heated rivalries in the coming years:

Smith said he thought LeBron was “more of a competitor” than someone who would join a stacked team, repeating sentiments expressed by Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. (My take: Magic and Jordan didn’t jump from their teams because those teams had Kareem and Worthy and Pippen and Rodman.)

Riley, in a conference call last week, said Smith “never made any kind of comment like that when he signed Rashard Lewis (to a) $126 million contract.” (My take: I’m not 100 percent sure, but sounds like Riles snuck an additional zinger in there, reminding everyone how Smith vastly overpaid for Lewis.)

Van Gundy, in an interview now up and running on the OrlandoMagic.com, said, “Pat getting on people for making moral judgments made me laugh. I was with Pat when we had all those Knicks series and he had no problem making moral judgments on my brother.” (My take: Don’t mess with family. Blood runs thick among the Van Gundys, the First Brothers of Basketball.)

While you can expect Smith, Van Gundy and Riley to suddenly tone down the rhetoric — only because that’s what people do almost by reflex — we know what bubbles underneath. We know there’s no love lost between Van Gundy and Riley partly because of what went down in Miami during the 2006 championship season. We know Smith, calm by nature, is feisty inside and ultra competitive. We know Riley just put together a potential monster threesome with [LeBron] James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and he feels the world wants to see the Heat crumble. We also have a fairly strong suspicion the road to the NBA Finals will travel down the Turnpike. Or up the Turnpike.

With so much attention on each other, we’d advise both the Heat and Magic to look out for the actual reigning Eastern Conference champions up in Boston.

They didn’t exactly take the summer off, though they have managed to stay out of the name calling parade … for now (Celtics big man Shaquille O’Neal has history in both Orlando and Miami as well, and you know he loves to trade barbs with anyone willing to step into the ring with him).

Training camp can’t get here fast enough.

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Hang Time Podcast (Episode No. 9)

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Posted By Sekou Smith

LOS ANGELES – We’re only one game deep into to the conference finals and already folks are choosing sides.

The Celtics look like they are back after snatching home court from Orlando with their Game 1 win over the Magic. And the Lakers made it look easy Monday night.

Why bother with the rest of the games?

We don’t jump to crazy conclusions like that (at least not all the time) on the Hang Time Podcast. And on Episode No. 9, we rounded up some of NBA.com’s best and brightest to help us sort through all the drama:

NBA.com veteran Shaun Powell is on the case in the Eastern Conference and Scott Howard-Cooper has the Western Conference on lock. They joined us for some in-depth discussion on the playoffs, the draft lottery and much, much more.

Here’s a a cheat sheet:

– 3:45 – Celtics Magic talk with Shaun Powell
— 5:45 – What’s wrong with today’s big men, Dwight Howard talk
— 9:00 – Is KG back?
— 12:00 – Is Orlando rusty?
— 13:30 – Rondo vs Nelson
— 16:00 – How long will the Eastern Finals go?
— 17:00 – Ray Allen’s legacy
— 24:00 – Conference Finals thoughts
— 29:35 – Scott Howard Cooper joins to talk about players’ approach when they come into the league.
— 32:00 – Comparing Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash
— 33:00 – 2010 Draft talk
— 34:30 – Will every team take John Wall #1?
— 39:00 – Which teams need a fresh start?
— 45:00 – wrap-up

As always, we welcome your feedback. Follow the Hang Time Podcast on Twitter and you can also follow both V.H. Thomas and myself.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here.