Posts Tagged ‘Vince Carter

08
Oct
09

Magic and Pistons:Who starts and comes off the bench?

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Trying to find playing time for every player on the bench is a sometimes daunting task for even some of the NBA’s best coaches. When teams are in a losing streak, sometimes coaches try and shake things up by alternating which players start and come off of the bench. Even on some rare occasions, management may decide to bring a star player back from injuries a little slow and limit their minutes by also bringing them from the bench. When the latter occurs, their is usually a backlash from the star player which sometimes creates irreparable harm to team chemistry and the player/coach relationship. For an example look no further than last season’s A.I./ Detroit Pistons fiasco.

Coach Stan Van Gundy, of the Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic has no such problem. He actually has a few players who prefer to ride the pine and be injected for instant offense or as a late game defensive specialist. I read recently that forward Mickael Pietrus, who was spectacular in the Magic’s postseason run, has told his head coach that he wants to come off the bench in games. Pietrus and newly acquired Matt Barnes were in a battle through training camp to decide who would be the starting small forward. It appears that Pietrus, who averaged 9.4 points in 24+ minutes mostly as a reserve last season, has stepped aside and made Van Gundy’s decision for him. Matt Barnes, who is entering his first season in Orlando, had been mostly a journeyman NBA player having been on 7 teams in his 6 seasons, before having perhaps his best season averaging double figures in scoring with Golden State last season. Known primarily for his defense, Barnes apparently found his offensive stroke by averaging 10.2 points while starting 40 games for the Warriors and seemed to flourish under coach Don Nelson’s system. Both Barnes and Pietrus are known to play excellent defense with Pietrus regularly getting the unenviable assignment of guarding the other team’s best player, like during the postseason when he did his best to contain Lebron and Kobe.

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Of course for the team’s first 10 games, all bets are off since Rashard Lewis who usually plays the PF spot, will not be available because of his steroid suspension and consequently will cause some roster shuffling. One would assume that Brandon Bass would take over the starting PF spot alongside Barnes or Pietrus at the 3 spot. Van Gundy may decide to go with a smaller lineup during those first ten games depending on the opponent and have Vince Carter play at SF with Jameer Nelson at SG, allowing Jason Williams some time at the point. Van Gundy definitely has some options with such deep team.

Rip hamilton

It is just refreshing to actually here a player comply with a coach’s wishes or volunteer to come off of the bench to achieve the team’s goal of winning a championship and not behave badly like Iverson’s multiple tirades(twicehe did it in Philly too when Chris Ford was coach) of taking offense at not starting. Detroit may be in for the same situation all over again with Rip Hamilton and new free agent Ben Gordon. Hamilton made it known that he also wasn’t kosher with a bench role along with A.I. last season. Gordon, I’m sure, came to Motown to start rather than be a reserve. If not, he is being handsomely paid for sitting on the bench. I speculate that Detroit isn’t big enough for the both of them and Hamilton will be traded before the season is up.

New Look Pistons Basketball

 

06
Oct
09

Top 10 NBA Players at a Career Crossroads

Which NBA Players have taken their careers for granted, and not given their team 100% effort? Which high draft picks must either step up their game or consider retirement? What NBA veterans, because of a change in coach, team, or their team’s style of play will be forced to take on a different role than they have been used to throughout their career? Which players have suffered numerous injuries and are possibly being given their last chance to be a valuable player for their team? All are important questions which will undoubtedly be played out and answered during the upcoming NBA season. Here is my list of players who must change their game or find themselves riding the pine or at the unemployment line.

Darko Milicic

Darko Milicic(NYK) – When the Knicks traded Q-Rich to Memphis for the rights to Darko, everyone in NY figured that the move was made for 2010 salary space. After 6 disappointing seasons of 5.5 ppg and 4 rebs , Darko will be given one more chance to prove he is a NBA player or forever be placed on NBA Draft Bust lists(if he isn’t already). The ’03 draft is remembered as one of the best in recent memory but not because of (#2) Milicic.

Sam Dalembert mohawk

Sam Dalembert(PHI) – Since receiving a huge contract for averaging 11.6 ppg and 12.8 rebs in a first round playoff loss to the Pistons in ’05, Slammin’ Sammy has regressed, seeing his scoring(6.4 ppg), minutes(24.8), and Blocks(1.7) drop to their lowest last year, since his rookie campaign. He has had issues with giving effort and staying out of foul trouble. With Elton Brand and Jason Smith back from injuries and 2nd year player Maurice Speights pushing for playing time, I don’t see where he fits in new coach Eddie Jordan’s rotation.

Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum(LAL) – Andrew Bynum is the definition of talented but prone to injury. After multiple knee injuries, Bynum is expected once again to be at or near 100% for the upcoming season. Although he averaged 14.3 ppg and 8 rebs in 50 games and is signed through 2012, Bynum will be given the opportunity as a major contributor. If he succumbs to another major injury, he could drift into draft bust territory as a former(’05) lottery pick.

Eddie Curry

Eddy Curry(NYK) – For Curry’s sake, he should be motivated to be in shape and contribute on a bad Knick team who is already looking forward to the 2010 free agency sweepstakes. Since averaging a career high 19.5 ppg in ’07, Curry has played in only 62 games and his scoring dipped to 13.2 and dismal 1.7 ppg. Even though it is doubtful he will remain on the Knicks roster past the trade deadline, he needs to show something if he hopes to remain on any team’s roster past next season.  His recent injury won’t help matters.

Grizzlies Media Day Basketball

Allen Iverson(MEM) – Although A.I. can still play at a high level, the future HOFer is no longer among the league’s elite players and it appears that he is having some trouble accepting that fact. After refusing to come off of the bench last season in Detroit, the team actually paid him to stay away. Hopefully the humbling experience of not receiving any long term offers this Summer. and accepting a 1 year deal in Memphis, will give him a sense of reality and finally become a team player………….lol.

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Andrew Bogut(MIL) – It’s tough to live up to being a #1 overall draft pick. Bogut has been good, but not great. He has shown flashes of potential and has has career highs of 14.3 ppg in ’08 and 10.3 rebs in ’09 and is still one of the pieces the the Bucks look to build around. One could argue that he has been hindered by a lack of a talented point guard to play with, but that will change this season with the addition of Brandon Jennings, meaning that there will be no more excuses.

Baron Davis fear the beard

Baron Davis(LAC) – Davis is coming off of his worst season in years. The 2 time All Star and 17 ppg career scorer who was once considered one of the league’s fiercest competitors saw his scoring(14.9ppg) dip to it’s lowest in the past 9 seasons. At age 30, has the toll of more than 700 NBA games taken their toll on his surgically repaired knees or did he just have a bad year. The Clippers have surrounded him in LA with some outstanding talent to return to star status. Or will Baron be overtaken by the Clipper curse?

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Michael Beasley(MIA) – Can a player be at a career crossroads after just one season? Beasley will answer just that after admitting or not to having a substance abuse problem and going into rehab. Obviously Beasley is still a young(20) man who likes to have fun and not follow the rules but he needs to mature very quickly since he has already had a few offcourt incidents which may or may not have affected his play. Most players would kill for rookie stats of 13.9 points and 5.4 rebounds but they don’t live up to the standards for a player of Beasley’s caliber. He has already been involved in trade talks as bait in bringing Utah’s Carlos Boozer to Miami.

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Vince Carter(ORL) – At age 32, Vinsanity is entering new territory in his career. Carter has amazed all of us with his ability to take over games as the go to guy in both Toronto and New Jersey. He now must become one of the best role players in the NBA since the Orlando Magic are already stacked with talent and have one of the league’s best go to guys in Dwight Howard. The knock on Carter has always been his penchant for jacking up 3 pt shots, sometimes too often and at inopportune times. How Carter adjusts to playing within coach Van Gundy’s system and becoming a complimentary player may be the Magic’s biggest question going into the season.

Amare Stoudemire

Tie, Gilbert Arenas(WAS), Tracy McGrady(HOU), Amare Stoudemire(PHO), and Elton Brand(PHI) – It’s hard to put players on this list because of injuries but each of these players have missed significant time in their careers due to injury. Arenas and McGrady are probably at the biggest crossroads since they have suffered the worst injuries. Both are supposedly almost at full strength but are returning to different situations. Arenas has a good supporting cast waiting for him on a good team while T-Mac will return to a Houston squad in rebuilding mode. Brand has missed almost two full seasons due to Achilles and shoulder issues. His outlook appears good since he is on a rising young team in Philly with plenty of talent around him and is implementing an offense which favors multi-talented big men(see Antawn Jamison and Chris Webber). Stoudemire is not so lucky to be on a young team like Brand, but is on an aging team on the way down. All Summer long there have been rumors of his departure to another NBA city.

24
Aug
09

Jameer Nelson Shows the Magic Some Brotherly Love

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If anyone had any doubts about Jameer Nelson’s injured shoulder, he proved them wrong last week by making an appearance at a Phillies home game vs the Diamondbacks,and throwing out the first pitch. Many of his Magic teammates were along to witness their point guard’s appearance and even took in some pregame batting practice and watched the game from a luxury box at the stadium.

That wasn’t the only reason that the former St. Joe’s product and National Player of the Year in ’04, was back in his hometown. He annually runs his own training camp with his Magic teammates like Vince Carter, Matt Barnes, Rashard Lewis and Philly natives and current players like Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Mo Speights, Kyle Lowery(Philly native and former Villanova pg), and Dionte Christmas(Temple). Since making it out of the crime infested Philadelphia suburb of Chester, Nelson has been a model teammate while in the NBA.

Nelson also spoke to his former Chester High coach, Fred Pickett, whom with he won 2 PA State Championships, about getting a Chester AAU basketball program under way. The Chester area has produced many Division 1 and NBA caliber talents like Tyreke Evans with the Sacramento Kings, Nasir Robinson at Pitt, Darren Govens at St. Joe’s, and Nelson with the Magic.

Most teams encourage players to work on their game during the offseason but very few actually follow through. They savor the time off and rest their aching knees and other ailments from the rigors and pounding of an NBA season. Nelson is one of the few who organize a training camp of their own to improve and get acclimated with new teammates.

The Magic need a healthy Nelson, who averaged 16.7 points and 5.4 assists and named to the All-Star Team before the injury, to compete in an ever improving Eastern Conference and get back to the Finals.

Jameer Nelson 1




About the Author:

Allen Moll is an avid NBA and College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen also writes for thehoopdoctors.com, Bleacherreport.com, and UpperDeckblog.com.

Favorite teams include everything Philly, like Sixers, Eagles, Phillies, Villanova , St. Joe's , Hoops, LaSalle, and Lehigh University Hoops.

Contact info: mollallen@yahoo.com

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