Anthony Davis is enjoying his rookie season and hopes to experience success in New Orleans for years to come … Jodie Meeks getting comfortable in Los Angeles … James Harden recruiting stars to Houston?
Over the past few seasons, the Houston Rockets have lots of promising young forwards, which looks great on paper but has proven difficult to manage in practice. With several players in need of playing time to prove their abilities and improve their games, it hasn’t been easy for the organization to learn which guys need more playing time in the short term, let alone which can be counted on for years. It’s a relatively nice problem to have, but it’s still a problem.
Over the first few weeks of this season, rookie Terrence Jones, the 18th overall pick in June after helping Kentucky to a national title, has been one of the losers in this battle for minutes. Jones played in only two of the Rockets’ first nine games for a total of 13 minutes, including a 30-second cameo in last Monday’s narrow loss to the Miami Heat. On Sunday, Jones got his biggest opportunity of the year so far, playing 20 minutes in a 119-108 loss to the Lakers at Staples Center. And Jones did not disappoint.
With 8:30 remaining in the second quarter, Jones took an outlet pass from teammate Omer Asik and pushed the ball ahead in the hopes of beating the Lakers defenders down the court. His driving lanes never closed, and Jones took it right to the hoop. Jodie Meeks — another former Kentucky Wildcat, although they weren’t teammates in Lexington — attempted to take a charge, but that just put him on Jones’s poster. The subsequent tomahawk jam stands as one of the best dunks of the season so far.
In today’s excellent PER Diem (Insider) on how new head coach Mike D’Antoni will impact the Lakers, John Hollinger notes that D’Antoni’s basketball philosophy will favor different players (shooters!) than Brown:
We’ll probably see a lot more of Jodie Meeks, and Antawn Jamison may see more minutes as a floor-spacing 4 rather than a fish-out-of-water 3. We may even see Steve Blake playing off the ball as a 2.
What Hollinger hints at here is that under Mike Brown, the Lakers had a tendency to “play big.
aka Don Allen
PIC OF THE DAY – Goes to Dwight Howard. He had a Monster Game on Halloween. The Lakers lost their opener but you can’t blame it on Superman. He went for 33 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in his debut as a Laker. Unbelievable
TiIME TO PANIC YET? – After losing to a shorthanded Dallas team on opening night, the Lakers lost to the Portland Trailblazers on the road 116-106. They went down by 16 at the end of the 3rd quarter after the Blazers had gone on a 13-0 run. The 4th quarter rally came up short. You certainly can’t blame Dwight Howard who went for 33 points and 19 rebounds while hitting on 9 of 15 shots. The Lakers lost even though they shot 50% from the field. Steve Nash left the game early with and injury and that certainly did not help. The other 4 starters represented 92 of the 106 points score and the bench provided squat.
BLACKED OUT FANS UPDATE – The Clipper game on Friday night might be the last game for the blacked out fans (BOF’s) until a deal is signed with their providers. After this game you will back in the dark.
11/02 – vs Clippers – ESPN and Prime Ticket (Clippers telecast)
PLAYER MATCHUPS – LAKERS VS CLIPPERS – GAME 3 ON NOV 2
CENTER – ADVANTAGE LAKERS – We all know what to expect from Dwight Howard at the center position and his first appearance as a Laker shows he will pick up right where he left off last season. DeAndre Jordan’s numbers are way up this preseason and he has shown he can actually score without using the dunk. DJ has improved but still has a ways to go to catch up with Dwight Howard.
POWER FORWARD – NO ADVANTAGE – Laker fans see Blake Griffin as the PF of the future and Pau Gasol as the veteran who has been there and done that. In many games, Blake will dominate most PF’s in the league. But the scouting report says that you guard Blake with a tall player with long arms….like Gasol. Pau’s height frustrated him last season. If Blake is going to beat Gasol, he has to do it with quickness.
SHOOTING GUARD – ADVANTAGE LAKERS – Right now the starting SG for the Clippers would normally be Chaucey Billups, who was playing really well for the Clippers before he got hurt. He should be back in the lineup shortly, but in the mean time, Kobe will have no problem with Willie Green, if he starts. Jamal Crawford has been playing well at the SG position for the Clips off the bench, but I expect they could also try to guard Kobe with Matt Barnes. Kobe will dominate no matter what they try.
SMALL FORWARD – NO ADVANTAGE – Metta World Peace is so different to Caron Butler that is hard to even compare the two. Caron is usually better at scoring and MWP is the better defender. The games this year will not be won or lost at the 3.
POINT GUARD – ADVANTAGE CLIPPERS – This is one area where the Clippers have an advantage. As much as Steve Nash is going to help the Lakers this season, Chris Paul is one of the top PG’s in the league. Not only can he score better than Nash, he is also a NBA All Defensive first team. There is a reason why he is an All Star and an Olympian. He also has been the Clippers closer last season. Steve Nash is smart, a great passer, and he can shoot. But he is slow. There will no uptempo offense and few fast breaks while he is on the floor. Moreover, he will be a liability on defense against quick guards.
THE BENCH – ADVANTAGE CLIPPERS – I know that most Lakers fans are probably not up to date on what the Clippers are doing with their bench. But this bench is eight solid players deep. They initially will bring in Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe, Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom, and Grant Hilll. They also have Ronny Turiaf, Ryan Hollis, who is playing very well, and Willie Green. The Lakers counter with Antawn Jamison, Jordan Hill, Steve Blake, Kevin Ebanks, and Jodie Meeks. The Lakers will have to rely on their starters a little more this season while the Clippers can more easily rest their startes because their bench is so deep and experienced. The Clipper bench scored 49 of the 106 points in their opener. Compare that to the 14 points the Laker bench provided in game two and that will give you and idea of where we stand.
SEASON ADVANTAGE – Anything can happen this season in the Battle For LA. We saw the Clippers sweeping the Lakers last year in the preseason, then losing the regular season series. Both teams have great starting lineups, but the Clippers have a deeper and more experienced bench.
THE TEAM – The Lakers have a starting lineup that is equal to the best in the NBA. They traded away Andrew Bynum to get Dwight Howard and signed Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison as free agents. Jodie Meeks, Jordan Hill, and Devin Ebanks could be dangerous weapons off the bench. Let’s hope that after we have a few games with everybody available, that the chemistry starts to develope and the team starts to win. So far the bench hasn’t provided much. The right pieces are in place, and the bench is going to eventually be better than advertised, they just need a few more games to get their rythym going. And our bigs need to stop any kind of penetration in the lane. Our interior defense needs to improve.
HACK-A-HOWARD – In the first game we are already starting to see a strategy of just fouling Dwight if he is close to the basket instead of letting him score. Teams are doing this consistantly against the Clippers DeAndre Jordan. Jordan and Howard both share the same deficiency in hitting free throws. Last season the Clippers literally couldn’t play Jordan late in the 4th quarter. The Lakers might be faced with the same dilemma. Dwight only hit 3 of 14 free throws in game 1. To show how the tactic can backfire, Howard hit most of his free throws in game 2.
COACHING CONTROVERCY – In our Forum you are already starting to hear the drum beat of fans wondering if Coach Mike Brown is the right guy to coach this team. If the Lakers underperform, the media and sportwriters will be next. It seems a little early for this but the expectations are high and the Lakers haven’t won a game yet. How long will they stay with the Princeton offense if they don’t start to click. Kobe can change the offense all by himself if he gets fed up with the results. The coach can go along for the ride…..or not.
After an active summer that netted All-Star center Andrew Bynum, the Philadelphia 76ers will head into the 2012-2013 NBA season with a brand new look. Gone are Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala and Jodie Meeks, who last season led the 76ers in points, assists and three-pointers made, respectively. The 76ers also amnestied their leading rebounder and shot blocker Elton Brand.
Whether you think the Philadelphia 76ers overachieved or underachieved last season, you’ve got room and evidence with which to make an argument. A glass-half-full type might look at the Sixers’ 2011-12 campaign and marvel at the team’s stingy defense (No. 3 in the league in points allowed per 100 possessions), balanced offensive attack (eight players averaged at least eight points per game) and run to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, where they pushed the Boston Celtics to a deciding seventh game. A more pessimistic sort might get hung up on the 15-17 post-All-Star-break record that sent Philly crawling into the postseason as the East’s eighth seed, the relatively punchless offense that finished 20th of 30 NBA teams in offensive efficiency and the lack of a go-to scoring option that could deliver buckets when the Sixers’ sets bogged down.
Head coach Doug Collins sounded like a half-empty guy, telling Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News during a recent sitdown at the Sixers’ practice facility that he “felt [last year's] team had reached its peak” and “we knew we were going to have to make changes.” Philly certainly did that, letting sixth man Lou Williams and long-range shooting threat Jodie Meeks walk, amnestying starter Elton Brand, bringing in embattled center Kwame Brown to pair with the re-signed Spencer Hawes and, in the biggest move of all, trading cornerstone Andre Iguodala, second-year center Nikola Vucevic and rookie Moe Harkless in a monster four-team deal that sent Dwight Howard to L.A. and brought Andrew Bynum to the Sixers, who immediately welcomed him with open arms. Ch-ch-changes .
Assistant coach Aaron McKie would like to see something else change, too. The 13-year NBA veteran, who spent parts of eight seasons in Philly, told Cooney that he’s somewhat troubled by “a sense that our guys don’t want to step on each other’s toes.” The 2000-01 NBA Sixth Man of the Year wants to see Philly’s players be a bit more willing to bare their fangs, so to speak:
We have nice guys, but I always say we need someone to turn into a dog, to get teeth into their belly. That’s when we’re going to take that next step. We enjoy these guys and there’s nothing that they wouldn’t do for you, but they have to get that mentality, that killer instinct inside of them.
The same can’t be said for the rest of the starting lineup, though.
With Andre Iguodala now a Denver Nugget, the Sixers have a hole to fill at small forward. Amnestying Elton Brand this summer opened up the starting 4 spot, too. Jodie Meeks’ departure leaves the starting 2 role for Evan Turner, presumably, but that’s no sure thing, either.
Here, we’ll look at one burning question for each of the team’s starting lineup positions.
The Philadelphia 76ers made a lot of moves this offseason, and now it’s time for head coach Doug Collins to make the most of them.
With the departures of Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams and Jodie Meeks, and the additions of Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson, Nick Young, Dorell Wright and Kwame Brown, you better believe you will see a revamped team out on the court every night.
With so many options, the lineup is nothing short of flexible. And when you have an flexible lineup, you need a serious plan to handle it.
While you were basking in the glory of the Dwight Howard acquisition (or lamenting, depending on whose side you’re on), the Los Angeles Lakers went out and signed Jodie Meeks. Here are five reasons that Meeks alone makes them a title contender.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers re-signed forward Devin Ebanks on Monday and added free agent guard Jodie Meeks.