Points in the Paint

» December 4, 2009 5:47 PM | By Brandon Hoffman
  • Arash Markazi of SI.com:  “In Lawson the Nuggets have something they didn’t have last season — a speedy, playmaking point guard who changes the tempo of the game and causes problems for defenses that might have gotten a break last season when Chauncey Billups, 33, went to the bench. Despite his quickness, Lawson isn’t reckless, which has gone a long way in gaining the trust of Karl. Through 19 games he only has 26 turnovers and is shooting over 52.5 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. He is in the top 25 in plus-minus and two of the five-player combinations he’s on are listed in the top 25 in plus-minus as well. ‘He plays at a high speed but he’s under control,’ said Karl, who was told by North Carolina coach Roy Williams that Lawson was the best point guard he’d ever coached. ‘Most people that play at his speed lose control or lose vision or lose something but he doesn’t lose anything. People don’t understand how strong he is. He could be a running back in football. He’s built really low to the ground.’ There is already a feeling among the Nuggets that if they had a player like Lawson last season, that maybe they would have been in the NBA Finals. The Lakers have a hard time containing speedy point guards, as illustrated by Aaron Brooks, who helped the Rockets take the Lakers to seven games in the playoffs last spring and scored 33 points in a win at L.A. this season.”
  • For the past few days, while the Iverson to Philly rumors heated up and pundits debated whether A.I. could accept a reserve role when Lou Williams returns, Elton Brand has been coming off the bench. Brand has played well in both games, writes Kate Fagan, but he’s not pleased with the demotion.
  • RealGM’s Chris Reina on LBJ reportedly pulling out of the dunk contest:  “LeBron probably has more to lose by not winning than he does to gain by winning, but for as much as this is an arbitrary event, it is a legacy builder. Just about every outstanding athletic wing player, from Dr. J to Dominque to MJ to Kobe to VC has won it and joining that club has prestige. If LeBron does participate, I’m giving better than 50-50 odds he does a dunk wearing a Cowboys helmet.”"
  • Michael Wallace in today’s Miami Herald:  “Anger, a retooled body and a determination to prove any doubters wrong inspired Wade through an MVP-worthy season a year ago. He’s yet to find that proverbial chip on his shoulder this season. Something’s missing from his approach. Yes, the defenses are focusing on Wade and forcing him into tough spots. But that’s been the case for years now. And you can’t blame it totally on his teammates not consistently helping him out, because these were the same teammates he had last season when he was torching the league. He’s never had such a sustained stretch of offensive sluggishness.”
  • Mike Kurylo, writer and founder of the indispensable KnickerBlogger.net, on Mike D’Antoni’s decision to bench Nate Robinson:  “The Knicks have gotten off to one of the worst starts in team historically, and Robinson hasn’t played that much in that span. Nate has missed 12 of 19 games and has only seen 30 minutes or more in 2 games. Last year he played in 74 games and averaged 29.9 minutes per game. The biggest irony is that there is a guard that’s unconducive to winning: Chris Duhon. The Knicks point guard is shooting 40.8% ts% and averaging 7.5 pts/36 yet is first on the team in minutes played. Although not a pure point guard, Robinson blows Duhon’s productivity out of the water (54.1% ts%, 17.9 pts/36). Last year with Robinson in the rotation, New York was 17th on offense. This year they are 22nd, even with Danillo Gallinari playing excellently on that end of the floor. If Coach D’Antoni is making the case that Robinson’s benching is solely related to the team’s ability to win games, then it begs the question ‘Why is Chris Duhon leading the team in minutes?’”

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