The Fundamentals

» August 11, 2009 10:43 AM | By Brandon Hoffman

Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman:  “Nick Collison is back in Seattle this summer, and he’s been having a virtual lovefest over his off-season home on the social networking site. There have been tweets about the weather and the activities, the sites and the sounds, the beauty and the grandeur. If you didn’t know better, you’d think he was cashing checks from the King County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Sure, the folks in the Thunder front office love it, too. That one of the team’s veterans is talking up the city that fought the franchise tooth and nail can’t be all that popular. But before anyone gets any crazy ideas — Twitter bans have become all the rage in the sports world, after all — the Thunder’s top brass needs to remember one thing. Collison’s right. Seattle is a great place. Truth be told, it’s one of the best American cities. It has culture, character and charm. Seattle isn’t as big or as glitzy as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Miami, but none of them are less than two hours from the beach and the mountains. And during the summer, it is absolutely beautiful there. The locals don’t like to publicize that. They’d like to have everyone believe that it’s always cloudy and rainy there. No better way to keep folks from moving there. But starting in May and running into September, it’s sunny and warm and amazing. Think San Diego. Any surprise Collison posted on his Twitter account a week or so ago, ‘Wondering why anyone would choose to live anywhere else?’”

John Krolik of Cavs the Blog:  “For all Powe’s strengths skill-wise, he still has major disadvantages athletically: he is much smaller than most centers and much slower than most power forwards. And he can’t stretch the floor. With Zydrunas, he’ll be relied on to show on pick-and-rolls and defend the perimeter, a dicey proposition. With Shaq, not only would he have to show on pick-and-rolls, but the floor spacing would get destroyed. With Anderson, the spacing is a concern, plus one of the two could have to guard a true 7-footer. Like a lot of Ferry’s acquisitions this off-season, the arrival of Powe seems to signal more small-ball lineups with LeBron, Moon or Parker playing the de facto 4 spot, and taking chances with Powe using his strength to guard the post. Like a lot of blue-collar, undersized 4s who PER-type stats love (Powe, Chuck Hayes, Ike Diogu), Powe looks fantastic from an efficiency standpoint because he’s a role player who’s completely aware of his own limitations, is extremely good at a few things on the court, and doesn’t deviate from what he knows he’s good at.”

Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post:  “Roster losses should be over for the Nuggets, who now need to start adding players.  Linas Kleiza’s departure from the Nuggets to Greek team Olympiakos on Monday for a two-year, $12.2 million contract means the Nuggets have lost six players off their roster from this past season. Steven Hunter, Dahntay Jones, Sonny Weems, Johan Petro and Jason Hart are gone, too, because of trades or free agency.  The Nuggets have added draft pick Ty Lawson and traded for forwards Arron Afflalo and Malik Allen. Some of the team’s recent moves appear to have been done to save money, but the savings are not as much as they might seem. While $6.1 million in salary is out the door with the loss of Kleiza and Hunter, the Nuggets have just 10 players under contract at about $69 million. Every team must carry at minimum of 13 players. So salary will be added back onto the roster, no matter whom the Nuggets sign.”

Dan Duggan of the Boston Herald:  “This offseason gave Glen Davis his first taste of the business side of the NBA, and it wasn’t an experience he particularly enjoyed. ‘It’s been tough,’ the power forward said at a press conference yesterday at the Celtics’ practice facility. ‘I think the most important thing that I got out of it is that it’s about becoming the best player you can be. . . . I feel like I’ve grown up so much this whole summer – just being a professional and just being an adult.’ Davis raised his profile with a strong showing while filling in for the injured Kevin Garnett late last season, averaging 15.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in the playoffs. But with Garnett expected to be fully healthy and free agent Rasheed Wallace added to the frontcourt, Davis will return to a reserve role. ‘I feel like my role hasn’t changed a lot,’ Davis said. ‘I feel like I just have to be ready to go out there and play. If my role is to do whatever I have to do, I’m going to do it. That’s the kind of attitude you have to have in order to be on a team like this.’”

Don Seeholzer of the Pioneer Press:  “Kahn said he expects the Wolves to be an improved defensive team under their new coach and envisions them running a fastbreak offense with low-post capability, similar to the Showtime Lakers teams Rambis played on during the 1980s. The Wolves won’t run Jackson’s triangle offense, but Kahn said Rambis could incorporate some elements of it into the team’s system. Coincidentally, the Wolves had scheduled a series of workouts for this week that many players will be attending, so Rambis will have a chance to meet them before today’s news conference. Despite reports that longtime NBA assistant Dave Wohl will be brought in as Rambis’ top aide, Kahn said he won’t be coming in with a new coaching staff. Rambis will meet individually with the Wolves’ four holdover assistant coaches on Wednesday to get to know them, with any decisions supposedly coming down the line.”

Dave of Blazers Edge:  “During a radio interview last Thursday 95.5 The Game’s Gavin Dawson asked me whether I thought the Blazers could win 60 games this year…whether that was a realistic goal.  There’s a practical answer to the question, which is that it depends largely on the progress of Greg Oden.  If Oden can become a great, consistent defensive player then yes, the Blazers have a chance.  Anything less and they’ll struggle to reach that lofty plateau. But as is often the case the practical answer isn’t as informative as the philosophical one.  In this case the best answer is probably framed by another question:  ‘Should ‘x-wins’ be on the list of Blazer goals this year at all?’ My response?  Not really. When wins are rare they become an important benchmark for success.  A 20-win team shows real progress by getting to 30.  41 wins, a .500 record, is a serious milepost when you’ve been bad for a while.  50 wins is probably the last signpost on the trip.  It’s been the barometer for good teams in the league in the modern era.  But here’s the catch.  The 50-win thing only really works the first time you achieve it.  After that it’s not about the wins, it’s about what you do with them.”

Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News:  “Pau Gasol broke his left middle finger while practicing with the Spanish national team in Seville and underwent surgery Monday, Lakers spokesman John Black said. It’s unknown how long Gasol might be sidelined. Black received the news of the power forward/center’s injury via a telephone call from Gasol’s Spain-based agent, Arturo Ortega. A Spanish Web site reported Gasol hurt his left index finger while trying to block teammate Felipe Reyes’ shot and was taken to a local hospital. ‘There is a language barrier,’ Black said when asked about the discrepancy in the injured fingers as reported by Ortega and the Web site. further reported that Gasol would be forced to wear a splint on his finger for the next 20 days. Spain was one of the favorites to win the European Championships next month in Poland, but it’s uncertain whether Gasol will be fit to play in the tournament.”

Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times:  “The show each week will put the 15-time All-Star center up against the best in sports other than basketball. He has played football with Ben Roethlisberger, has taken training tips from Serena Williams, and soon he’ll swim against Michael Phelps, play baseball against Albert Pujols, box Oscar De La Hoya and race Lance Armstrong on bike. ‘I like to think about my career as a book,’ O’Neal told The Times. ‘Imagine this book: We do a show, it gets great ratings, I’m in great shape, we win a championship, period! Shut the book, seal it, sell it. That’s the goal. That’s how I always look at it. Train with these people, come in the best shape . . . start trouble, run it, be an MVP candidate, win the whole thing, dominate, da-da-da, win the championship, go out with a bang, see ya later. That was good. I had fun. Love you. I’m out.’”

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George Vecsey of The New York Times:  “Sixty-two years ago, Wat Misaka was the darling of Madison Square Garden. When he flitted between the superstars from Kentucky or St. John’s, the crowd cheered his name, his Japanese-American name. ‘They cheered for the deprived and the unfortunates,’ Misaka recalled of the Garden crowd, rooting for a 5-foot-7 guard shutting down the great Ralph Beard of Kentucky. Misaka was so successful at the Garden in 1944 and 1947 that he became the first draft choice of the Knicks. He lasted just three games, but is remembered as the first non-Caucasian player in modern professional basketball, three years before African-Americans were included. Since the day he was cut in the fall of 1947, Misaka had not been back to New York, much less the Garden, but on Monday, he returned. In the hallway leading to the dressing room, he was shown plaques for every Knicks team, and there on the 1947-48 plaque was his name. ‘Etched in bronze,’ Misaka said.”

4 Responses to “The Fundamentals”

  1. New England Sports 24/7, Your place for the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, and Bruins :: Today’s Celtics Links 8/11 Says:

    [...] Top North Station Sports    Kevin McHale: The NBA’s Last True Big Man Ballerblogger     The Fundamentals Celtics Town Comparing The Current Boston Celtics Frontcourt To 1986’s Fernsten’s [...]

  2. mookie Says:

    Required reading, as always, Brandon.

    Gasol missing some time is a pain for the Lakers, but if they have a healthy Bynum this time around, well, it’s just a swap on last season. All the more value in Odom when these injuries happen for their big men.

  3. FLCeltsFan Daily Links • August 11, 2009 | Hardwood Houdini | A Boston Celtics Blog Says:

    [...] Return to the Top North Station Sports Kevin McHale: The NBA’s Last True Big Man Ballerblogger The Fundamentals Celtics Town Comparing The Current Boston Celtics Frontcourt To 1986’s Fernsten’s [...]

  4. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    Thanks Mookie.

    It looks like Gasol suffered a minor finger injury. The LA Times reported that he’ll be back on the hardwood by the end of the month.

    But I agree with your thoughts on Odom. He’s not only a good player, he’s also an insurance policy against injury to Gasol or Bynum since he’s versatile enough to play all three frontcourt positions.