Breaking Down the NBA
Attn Western Conference: Take the Clippers seriously
A healthy Los Angeles Clippers team could be a very tough one to beat.
Hoopsvibe's Quick Call: They may be in a stacked Western conference, but don't sleep on the Clipshow this season.
Both Clippers superstars, point guard Chris Paul and center Blake Griffin, underwent surgeries this offseason. Paul just had surgery on his thumb a few days ago and is said to be out eight weeks. Regardless, he will be ready for the start of this upcoming season.
Griffin, who had knee surgery on July 16th after doctors discovered a meniscus tear in his knee that forced him to miss this summer's London Olympics, came out and said Tuesday that he is 100% healed and ready to go.
"I'm doing all my normal movements," Griffin said. "I feel like I'm at 100 percent."
The Clippers All-Star center has been training and rehabbing hard all summer, after he signed a five-year contract extension with the franchise in July that could be worth up to $95 million.
Not being able to participate in the Olympics forced the 7-footer to work on areas of his game, mainly his jump shot and free throws, that needed to improve. Griffin said he spent time "trying to become a more complete player, working on my shot and working on free throws."
Last season, Griffin shot an impressive 54.9% from the field but a not-so-impressive 52.1% from the free-throw line.
And once Paul and Griffin are fully healthy, they are going to be complimented by some strong new talent. In addition to extending Griffin's contract, the Clippers re-signed Chauncey Billups, brought in Lamar Odom (who I think will be much better with the Clippers than he was with the Mavs), as well as Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill, Willie Green, Ronny Turiaf and Ryan Hollins. Keep in mind, they also have DeAndre Jordan, Kenyon Martin, Caron Butler and Eric Bledsoe, all who have made an impact in the past.
"This year we want to take a step forward and I think the pieces that we've added, the guys we have returning and the work guys have put in this offseason have been tremendous. We look to take that next step as a franchise," Griffin said.
Translation: The Clippers aren't like they used to be.
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Image source: AP images
The Return of DRose Episode 1 "Belief"
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: The road back from an ACL tear isn't easy, but D Rose shows us what it takes to be the best.
Who is the Best Laker's center of all-time.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Dwight, you're not even in the top 4.
Dwight Howard has officially been traded to the LA Lakers in a four team deal.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Are we dreaming? Did this deal actually, finally go down? I almost don't believe it.
Argentina's Campazzo cheap shots Carmelo Anthony and we got the video.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Careful what you ask for Argentina. Melo might just drop 37 points on you to shut you up.
The incident happened at the end of the 3rd quarter with the U.S. leading Argentina 102-76. The game was likely out of reach, although Argentina had come back from a 20 point deficit on the U.S. in an earlier game just weaks before to only lose by 4.
Carmelo Anthony was squaring up to take a transition 3-pointer when Argentina's smallest player Facundo Campazzo, their feisty reserve point guard, decided to punch Anthony in the groin. Anthony immediately fell the to floor in pain. Note, the shot went it. Just goes to show you punching Melo in the family jewels won't throw off his shot. You'd have better luck simply talking trash about his inability to win a ring or play selfishly. (Just an idea)
The incident immediately resulted in a possible serious situation and team U.S.A. players came over to defend their attacked teammate and Argentine players ran over to make sure someone didn't decide to make tiny little Campazzo into a hood ornament on their Bentley.
Mike Krzyzweski former-Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni both saw the cheap shot and erupted off the bench screaming at both the referee and the player, but the international refs somehow missed it. This is actually completely believable because these refs have managed to miss a lot of fouls. They appear to be watching more games than reffing them.
"He got hit in the groin," said coach K. ""That's why he buckled over. He wasn't celebrating the shot."
"We saw it all," said Anthony's Knick teammate, Tyson Chandler. "It was a cheap shot. He hit him in an area where you don't want to get hit. We all represent our countries. This is the Olympics. You never want to go like that."
After the game Campazzo insisted he didn't intentionally hit Anthony in the groin. Yeah, good luck selling that one. Oh, he made himself look even more innocent by then insisting Chris Paul had hit him earlier in the game. So then I guess you did intentionally hit Anthony. He can't have it both ways. He can't say, he didn't intentionally hit Anthony AND Chris Paul hit him earlier so it's justified.
Anyway, it was silly because the game meant nothing to either team's standing. Team U.S.A. were already a lock to finish their grouping in first place and team Argentina was locked to finish 3rd. These two teams could meat again and if they do, it should be a chippy affair.
Photo Credit: WENN
Michelle Obama plays dirty politics to make sure the U.S. Olympic team votes Obama
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Can we get in line too? We love hugs.
After the U.S. Basketball team defeated France 98-71, the team lined up for hugs in front of Michelle Obama. We don't know if there are any republicans in the bunch, but this group of ballers looked very excited to get a big old hug from the first lady. If they weren't voting Obama before the hug, they definitely are now.
President and first lady Obama are known to be huge basketball fans, so it came as no surprise that Michelle wanted to catch the U.S. vs. France basketball game. What no one expected was the love she showed after the game. In all honesty, it looked like it all happened innocently enough with LeBron James coming over to Michelle to say thank you for watching the game. Michelle gave him a hug and before you could say "Mitt Romney got no jumper" the entire U.S. team was lined up for their own Michelle Obama hug.
All the players were 100% composed and respectful of the first lady and some even seemed a bit overwhelmed. After the players got hugs, the coaches knew this was their best shot at a Obama hug too and jumped in line. With all the hugs doled out, the team went in the locker to analyze their destroying of the French team.
Would AK-47 turn his back on Russia to rejoin the NBA? Fresh off being named the Euroleague's 2012 MVP, he is reportedly considering a return to the NBA.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: It isn't a question of if or when he will return to the NBA, but how much money it will take to get him back.
At one time Kirilenko was one of the most well rounded, efficient players in the entire league. At 6-9 and as a former 1st team All-NBA defensive player, his career averages speak to his versatility: 12.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.8 apg, 2.0 bpg, 1.4 spg all while shooting 47% from the floor, 31% from three and 76% from the line made him a rare talent and defensive nightmare for opposing teams.
AK left the US to play in Russian prior to last season . Even though he has 10 years of NBA experience under his belt, he is just 31 years old and has plenty of good run left.
Today, Kirilenko told a group of reporters what his plans for the upcoming season potentially consisted of. "I want to decide my new team before the Olympics. There are several options in the NBA, but the final choice has not been made yet."
Kirilenko also told a Russian news outlet the following, further hyping his return: "I'll continue my career in the NBA. Which club in particular, we'll know in a day or two."
Rumors are swirling that the Brooklyn Nets would have an advantage seeing as how fellow countryman Mikhail Prokhorov owns teh squad. And in some capacity, PG Deron Williams is trying to convince Kirilenko that he is the missing piece for a championship run.
But would he really accept the veteran's minimum (which is all the Nets can offer) to play in Brooklyn? Even though the new NBA trend is for veteran stars in search of a ring to take lower money in hopes of corralling a championship, it sure seems unlikely, considering the money he can get from other interested teams, most notably the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors.
Rule change means Dwight Howard will wait for free agency.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Dwight Howard wouldn't think of signing a contract extension to help complete a trade.
Howard is under contract through the 2012-2012 season. If he is traded and signs an extension now, the maximum number of years that contract can be is for three years.
Howard's agent recently explained why the new change in the labor agreement directly impacts Howard's decision. The new rule change affects players signing extensions before free agency and in Howard's case it makes no sense to sign an extension to help a trade. The new rule made it better for players to hit free agency, instead of extensions. This allows them to get more lucrative long-term deals. Signing now would likely cost Howard about $40 million.
Andrew Bynum is expected to follow the same painful path as Howard. Bynum could sign a three-year deal for $60 million or wait a year and sign a deal worth $100 million. Easy to see why under the new rules it's enticing to wait that extra year, hit free agency, and cash in.
It looks more and more like Dwight Howard will refuse to sign an extension to facilitate a trade. Orlando can't be blamed for wanting to get the best deal they can for Howard and Howard can't be blamed for wanting to cash in next year for $100 million. The problem is these two understandable issue make a Howard trade extremely difficult.
Photo Credit: AP NEWS
NBA Board Approves Changes to Uniforms, Gameplay
The associated press announced late yesterday that the NBA Board of Governors has approved changes to both uniforms and game play for upcoming seasons.
Hoopsvibe's Quick Call: The NBA is a business and business is good.
NBA commissioner David Stern said the league is looking to increase revenues by roughly $100 million by permitting small advertising patches to be sewn into uniforms beginning as early as the 2013-14 NBA season.
"The view is, that the teams would need a significant time; one, to sell the patch; and number two, for Adidas to manufacture the uniforms, because the patch that would be on the players' uniforms would also appear on the jerseys at retail," said Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, the man in charge of coordinating the change.
Essentially, in the very near future, we can all expect to see NBA uniforms beginning to look like European soccer jerseys, patched with company logos. I wonder how the world will respond to this??
My guess is, with the popularity of the NBA on an international level growing exponentially every year, the world will at first be a little skeptical but then quickly embrace the change as it becomes the new norm.
It will definitely be interesting to see how many people buy Miami Heat jerseys with Fiat logos patched on, for example.
The Board also announced that the competition committee has altered a few rules that come into effect in the final two minutes of the game. Starting as early as next season, officials will now be able to utilize video replay in the final two minutes of the game to decide whether or not a defender was in the restricted area when they took a charge. Additionally, replay will be used in the final minutes to determine whether or not a block was actually a goal tend.
In the fall, the NBA Board will also meet to discuss the penalty for flopping, which was a huge problem that plagued the NBA this season, especially in the playoffs.
"Our ratings are up 28 percent over the last decade, while television rating are down around 30 percent the last decade. We are going to have our best year ever, both in gate and sponsorship this coming year," commissioner David Stern said.
Say what you want about David Stern but one thing is for certain:
The guy knows how to bring dollars to the game.
Questions or comments?? Get at us Hoopsvibers!
Image source: AP Images.
Blake Griffin could have a very short career.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Thunderous dunks are fun, but so is having an NBA career more than 2 years long.
Blake Griffin is undeniably one of the most dynamic players in the NBA. His dunk highlight real is already the type of thing legends are made of. Unfortunately, the same thing that makes him so much fun to watch will also be the reason his NBA career is very short.
It is a little well known fact that players that soar through the air generally have short NBA careers. Yes, there are exceptions. I'm sure someone is going to write me talking about Jordan or Dominique's career. Like I said, with any general theory there are exception. Yet, ask any NBA GM and they'll all tell you the same thing. Players that make the majority of their buckets off of high-flying dunks are a liability due to the abuse their bodies and more specifically knees must endure.
Someone like Blake Griffin is a textbook example of the type of dunk-machine GM's cringe at. Without his ability to jump over everyone on the floor, Griffin quickly becomes a marginal player. He has zero outside shot, zero mid-range game, and hardly a low-post game to speak of that doesn't involve simply jumping over his defender. If Griffin loses a few inches off his vertical he becomes a bench player at best.
The reason this is of so much interest right now is Griffin recently injured his knee during the U.S. Olympic teams preparations for the 2012 London Olympics. He had arthroscopic surgery on Monday and will spend his summer not collecting gold medals in London but recovering in LA. It remains to be seen if he will be ready for the Clippers training camp. This would be a crushing loss for a team the heavily relied on his 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game.
We wish Blake a speedy recovery and hope he has a long career, but flying through the air is dangerous.
Photo Credit: AP NEWS