Tag:John Wall
Posted on: November 1, 2010 7:59 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Shootaround 11.01.10: Kobe is healthy, got it?

Kobe Bryant says his knee is healthy, questions in Houston after a slow start, two young point guards shine on Saturday, and former all star Maurice Lucas passes away. Links from around the NBA. Posted by Ben Golliver
  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant says his knee is 100% healthy, but he's a little testy about it. Writes Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com: "Bryant told a FOX Sports West reporter during an interview shown on the Staples Center video board that he is all the way back from offseason surgery to his right knee and didn't want to be asked about it again. Bryant was later asked if his statement was accurate by reporters in the locker room and he stood by it. 'Yes, so leave me the hell alone about my [expletive] knee,' Bryant said."
  • Last week, Boson Celtics guards Delonte West and Von Wafer got into a scrap after practice. In a video posted on Boston.com, West attempts to downplay the incident. "It's not that serious. We've moved past that, you know. We're competitive guys being competitive. Hopefully, it's for the benefit of the team. There's nothing wrong with healthy competition and pushing each other to get better. But things went a little too far."
  • Washington Wizards rookie point guard went off huge against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Despite the loss, CJ Hempfield of BulletsForever.com liked what he saw. "John Wall had stretches during the 3rd quarter in which he looked unstoppable. Not only was he blowing past people on 1-man breaks but he also began to blow by defenders in the half court as well as hit a jumpers. He began to show flashes of what he might become in the future and the prospects are awesome."
  • In other electric point guard news, Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the finalists for last year's Rookie of the Year award, notched his first career triple double on Saturday. Alex Boeder of BrewHoop.com was suitably impressed. "Jennings pitched a near perfect offensive game, getting all Chris Paul on the Bobcats to the tune of 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists on 6-8 from the field, 3-3 on threes, and 6-8 from the line. He bursted with channeled enthusiasm for the game of basketball tonight, looking like the most excited guy in pregame introductions, and then directing an offense that owes him a thank you card signed by all. As a game manager, this was about as good as a 21 year-old can get."
  • Rob Mahoney takes a look at some Miami Heat numbers for the New York Times. " At first glance, turnovers would appear to be one of Miami’s most glaring flaws. James and Wade combined for an abysmal 14 turnovers against Boston on Tuesday, and James followed that sloppy performance with another nine turnovers of his own against Philadelphia. Something to note, though: Miami has been turning the ball over more often than it should, but it won the turnover battle in both games. Miami posted a lower turnover rate than both of its first two opponents (the Heat had a -3.3 turnover rate differential against the Celtics and a -3.2 differential against the 76ers), suggesting that while turnovers are a problem, they’re not necessarily the problem."
  • We noted last night that former NBA all star power forward Maurice Lucas passed away Sunday at age 58. His New York Times obituary. "Lucas was a rugged defender and an outstanding rebounder, capable of a sturdy pick and a timely basket on offense. Possessing a glare that presumably intimidated many an opposing player, he became the prototype power forward when he emerged as a star for the Trail Blazers in the late 1970s."
Posted on: October 29, 2010 10:14 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:13 pm
 

The Game Changer, 10.29.10: Orlando is good

The Orlando Magic came out strong, John Wall debuts, Utah looks lost, Gordon Hayward cut his amazing hair and Hakim Warrick puts two Jazz on a poster.  Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: ORLANDO THROTTLES WASHINGTON

Somebody forgot to tell the Orlando Magic that they weren't playing the Atlanta Hawks.

The Magic brought the same brand of soul-crushing domination they used to sweep Atlanta out of the playoffs last year to their Thursday night season-opener against the Washington Wizards, and the game got ugly quickly.

The Magic nearly doubled up the Wizards in the first quarter (29-15) and suckered Washington into settling for contested jumper after contested jumper, cruising to a 128-83 win  in the new Amway Center. It was too easy, and Dwight Howard posted 23 points and 10 rebounds while barely breaking a sweat, watching his team's second unit finish off the win during the fourth quarter.

Orlando's strategy never got much more complicated than, "We'll make shots while you miss shots." Orlando finished 43-77 from the field compared to 29-78 for Washington.  Wizards rookie point guard John Wall was a major culprit, as he shot just 6-19 in his NBA debut, clanking tons of pull-up jumpers from the 15-18 foot range.

But you can't pin this all on Wall: most of his teammates didn't bother showing up to help ease his transition to the professional game. The Wizards were out-rebounded 53-25 and they had no answers defensively as Orlando moved the ball well and attacked from all sides.

(For a full recap of Wall's first game as a professional right here . It wasn't all bad, by any means.)

This felt like a statement game for Orlando. But that statement wasn't "Welcome to the NBA, John Wall." It was more like, "Take notice: We still plan on holding down the Southeast Division." After an undefeated preseason and a pretty season-opener, the Magic look more than ready to prove that point against the new-look Miami Heat on Friday night.

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

Dwight Howard:  23 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 7-9 shooting, +24 (plus/minus).

Plus, just one foul in 30 minutes of action. Dominating.

Honorable mention goes to...

Hakim Warrick:
18 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 6-11 shooting.

and...

Paul Millsap
: 19 points, 13 boards, 1 assist, 1 setal, 2 blocks, 9-13 shooting.

DON'T MISS:

Ken Berger reports that Oklahoma City's Jeff Green and Detroit's Rodney Stuckey will not be receiving contract extensions. Meanwhile, it appears free agent center Erick Dampier has made up his mind: he's taking what little talent he has to Houston.

PANIC TIME QUESTION MARK:

By Royce Young

With about five minutes left in the game, Deron Williams pulled up, looked right at rookie Gordon Hayward and screamed, "Go through!" Williams was visibly frustrated and ended up firing a one-armed strike right at Hayward to really emphasize that frustration. At the next timeout, Williams continued to pound on the rookie, demonstrably gesturing what he wanted from Hayward.

But that wasn't even the worst of it for the Jazz. With a score of 110-94 in the Suns favor at the buzzer, what was left of the Jazz's home crowd booed the team. Can you believe that? Booing, in game two.

I guess those things tend to happen when your team starts 0-2 with both games being fairly non-competitive. Especially when there were high expectations coming in to the season.

Most didn't see the Jazz coming up empty in the opening week of the season and with a made over roster, it's easy to point at the new pieces not gelling. An 0-2 start wasn't expected, especially after an 8-0 preseason, but it's early. Oh it's so early. Don't press any kind of panic button if you're a Jazz enthusiast. In fact, don't even mention anything of the like. Jerry Sloan will have this straightened out soon enough.

Last season, Utah started out the season 1-3 before closing November winning six of seven en route to 53 wins and the fifth seed in the West. It took a little time to put it together, but it was all where it needed to be eventually.

And this season, Utah is retooling after losing Carlos Boozer, Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver. The replacements are solid in Al Jefferson, Raja Bell and Hayward. But it'll take a little time for everything to be put together.

The average defeat for Utah in the first two is 19. The Jazz have given up 110 points in both games. But take into consideration that Utah has faced two quality, up-tempo teams to start the season. Not exactly ideal opponents when you're trying to work out the kinks of a new offense and defense with a number of new players.

Jazz fans aren't used to watching their guys lose at home. Especially not by double-digits. The Jazz offense was out of sync at times, playing a more one-on-one than you typically see in Sloan's flex offense. The ball didn't move well, the Jazz didn't shoot well and defensively, there were breakdowns often.

But it will get sorted out. It might take some bruises and a few more boos from the home crowd, but the October version of Utah won't at all be the same as the March version. I'm pretty sure you can count on that. 

WHIMSY:

Utah Jazz rookie Gordon Hayward showed off a new buzz cut during Thursday's loss to the Phoenix Suns.  That news was seriously lamentable, given the amazing helmet Hayward had been rocking. Take a look at the air flowing through his mullet wig.  gordon-hayward

Upon further inspection of this photo, Hayward appears to have planted Chia Pet seeds on Steve Nash's hair and then transplanted the result onto his own head with super glue.

 

VIDEO CLIP MANIA:

Phoenix Suns forward Hakim Warrick puts both Raja Bell and Paul Millsap of the Utah Jazz on a poster. Video courtesy of NBARauf on YouTube

 

ONE FINAL THOUGHT:

Poor Mickael Pietrus is buried on the Orlando Magic bench. Deep. Pietrus, noted Ben Q. Rock , didn't check into the game for Orlando until the fourth quarter, when the Magic were already up 30+.

Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.
Posted on: October 29, 2010 9:53 am
Edited on: October 29, 2010 11:25 am
 

Shootaround 10.29.10: Jokes with Shaq

Posted by Royce Young
  • Shoals, writing for Deadspin, on the Heat: "It turns out that LeBron James really isn't like physics. He's more like outer space. James is the sun, and cold, dead Cleveland, his moon — appearing to shine down on us, sometimes just as brightly, or at least bright enough that you forget it's all reflected light. Every LeBron story is also a Cavs story; every Cavs story can be tied back into LeBron. I find myself in the habit of still tagging my own stories about LeBron with "cavs" — hey, maybe Gilbert and the fans were right. He really does belong to them."
  • Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman on Jeff Green's non-extension : "By choosing to not re-sign now, Green could potentially forfeit millions of dollars. NBA commissioner David Stern has said league owners are seeking to slash player salaries by up to $800 million in the new labor contract. The new CBA also could contain cutbacks on players' annual raises, as well as the number of years contracts can be signed for. For instance, instead of signing a five-year extension with 10.5 percent annual raises, Green could have to settle for a three- or four-year deal with 8 percent raises. Additionally, Green runs the risk of injury this season, which could destroy his value on the open market. So, too, could an unproductive season."
  • Rashad Mobley of Truth About It on Washington's first outing: "At one point in the third quarter, Andray Blatche took such a bad shot, that Marv Albert and Steve Kerr, went on a two-minute rant about how demoralizing it must be for the other Wizards, when a bad shot is taken.  By my informal (yet accurate) calculations, not one of Blatche’s nine shots came in the paint in a post up position.  Instead of playing in the post, where Coach Saunders has frequently asked him to play, Blatche was content on launching outside shots, which led to long rebounds, which led to easy Orlando baskets."
  • Eddy Rivera of MagicBasketball: "A lot of kudos should be given to Orlando for emphatically beating an inferior opponent. However, the Wizards made things too easy for the Magic by offering little resistance in terms of interior defense. According to Hoopdata, Orlando shot 18-of-21 at the rim and 10-for-15 inside 10 feet. Add to the fact that the Magic were able to get to the free-throw line a total of 32 times, and it’s easy to see why this game was barely competitive after the opening tip."
  • Orlando has quite the introduction video says Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: "The Magic's pregame introduction video is astounding. I won't insult you by saying it alone is worth the cost of admission, but it's indeed powerful. It features great moments in Magic history--Nick Anderson stealing the ball from Michael Jordan and the Magic drafting Dwight Howard, for example--as projected on downtown Orlando landmarks. I admit I'm more prone to sentimentality than most folks, but I got a bit choked up watching it. My description isn't doing the video justice."
Posted on: October 29, 2010 12:32 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:14 pm
 

Grading Wizards guard John Wall's NBA debut

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall made his NBA debut on Thursday. How did Wall do and how did it compare to the debuts of other elite point guards? Posted by Ben Golliverjohn-wall

The Great Wall of China wasn’t built in a day, and neither was John Wall’s NBA Hall of Fame résumé.

Wall,  the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, made his NBA debut for the Washington Wizards on Thursday night, going head-to-head with one of the league’s perennial powers, the Orlando Magic. It wasn’t a pretty sight for the Wizards: a 112-83 defeat that, remarkably, was even more thorough than the score suggests.

Wall’s debut was a clunker – he struggled mightily with his jump shot, finishing just 6-19 from the field – but it wasn’t all bad. 

“He’s quick, he’s fearless, he seems like a floor general out there controlling the team, and that’s a good start,” Orlando Magic guard Vince Carter told TNT’s Craig Sager at halftime. A good start was about the best Wall could hope for, debuting against one of the league’s least forgiving defenses. 

Despite the blowout loss, there were both promising signs and areas for improvement. Let’s break down John Wall's NBA debut and grade it out.

Playing Time:  A-

Wall played 35 minutes tonight, including the entire first and third quarters. He committed just three fouls and pushed the pace whenever possible, so he aced two early tests for rookie point guards: avoiding unnecessarily dumb mistakes while playing defense and being properly conditioned to play heavy minutes against big, physical defenders.

Running The Offense: B-

Wall possesses a number of abilities that make him an ideal NBA point guard on the offensive side of the court. He has the off-the-dribble quickness and passing ability to be lethal in the high screen and roll. He locates his passes very well. His mentality is a solid hybrid between attacking and pass-first, so he is able to generate points for himself and open looks for his teammates simultaneously.

Tonight, the Orlando Magic dared him to shoot the pull-up jumper, and he couldn’t resist, nor could he knock it down consistently. None of his attempts were truly ill-advised, but many were far too passive. Wall will learn, and learn quickly, that just because a team gives him a good shot doesn’t mean he can’t generate a better one.

The passivity spread to his teammates too, and while he hit Washington’s perimeter shooters on the money time after time, they simply couldn’t knock down shots. The Wizards managed just 15 points in the entire first quarter and shot just 21.1% from 3-point range on the night.

The open shots that the Wizards did knock down, though, were almost all created by Wall. He found fellow guard Kirk Hinrich for multiple 3-pointers and set up both Cartier Martin and Andray Blatche for jumpers. Wall finished with nine assists; his teammates potentially left another nine on the table.

In the future, Wizards coach Flip Saunders will want Wall to increase his assertiveness, especially from the perimeter in the team’s halfcourt sets, to increase his team’s overall energy. Wall avoids a lower grade in this category because of the strength of the competition. Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard limits any attacking point guard’s ability to break down the interior of a defense, and Howard swatted Wall on multiple occasions Thursday night.

Scoring/Finishing: C

Given how often he touches the ball and his immense ability in the open court, Wall should have no trouble averaging 15+ points per game immediately. Tonight, he struggled hitting the open shot, finishing at the rim and he wasn’t able to get to the free throw line as frequently as star players in the NBA usually do. His point total reflected those struggles.

Howard’s ability to contest layups and runners played a big part, and when Wall was able to get free in transition his finishing was markedly better. In one instance, he shook Chris Duhon so hard with a head fake near the rim that Duhon wasn’t even able to gather himself to jump as Wall completed the uncontested layup. Whenever Wall was able to push the tempo, even in semi-transition against a set Orlando defense, the head start opened better creases for him to get to the rim. Washington will learn that the tempo will never be too fast with the ball in his hands: more good things will happen than bad.

Play making/Passing: B

Wall made far, far more good reads than bad reads, and his three turnovers came on the rare occasions he tried to make something out of nothing. As mentioned, his teammates did him no favors with their cold shooting. Wall was a bit tentative with his passing, preferring to hit the safe, open man rather than thread the needle. Elite NBA point guards are able to do both, and Wall didn’t show that ability on day one like he did last season at the University of Kentucky.

His best plays, both going to the basket and setting up teammates, came in transition. His first NBA basket came when Howard goaltended his coast-to-coast layup attempt, and he drew multiple fouls on Magic defenders that were trying to slow him down.

One promising playmaking flash came when Wall crossed over at the top of the key, losing his defender completely and hitting a wide open passing lane to Hilton Armstrong, who was cutting to the hoop. The Magic were forced to foul Armstrong to prevent the bucket.

On-Ball Defense: B

Wall competes very hard on the ball and his long arms caused some problems for Magic point guard Jameer Nelson. Wall was able to cleanly pick off one entry pass and he harassed Nelson into a few other bad decisions.

He gets docked points here because Magic guard Quentin Richardson was able to exploit his size advantage twice, taking Wall into the post when the two were cross-matched, getting one basket and forcing Wall to foul the second time. Wall also had a poor close out on Carter, who was able to blow by him to the basket, drawing a late slap foul for an and-one.

Team Defense: Incomplete

The Wizards didn’t play much team defense tonight, so it’s really hard to assess this properly. The Magic picked them apart with ease, shooting 55.8% as a team on the evening. Wall made the appropriate rotations, when it came to that, but was often a non-factor on the weakside as his teammates watched open Magic shooters drain from everywhere.

Rebounding: C

Wall was a non-factor on both the offensive and defensive glass, which should come as no surprise because his team was out-rebounded, 53-25. You can’t really blame a point guard for those numbers, but Wall may need to expend more energy crashing the glass as the season wears on, if his team’s bigs plan on disappearing so completely on a regular basis.

The one rebound Wall did grab was quite nice, as he immediately pushed the pace in transition, setting up Armstrong in the paint. Unfortunately, Armstrong was whistled for a player control foul.

Turnovers: A-

All three of Wall’s turnovers came in the few moments he looked like he was rushing. Two came on jump passes, and another came on the final possession of the first quarter, when he looked for a dribble drive and dish that simply wasn’t there.  Considering the quality of the Magic defense, how many touches Wall had tonight and his past problems with turnovers, like at this year’s Summer League, there’s no shame at all in committing three turnovers.

Overall: B-

It’s hard to give Wall anything better than a B- for his NBA debut, given that his team was blown out. With that said, it’s equally difficult to be hard on him given the circumstances. Wall managed to play calm, intelligent and, at times, exhilarating basketball in a showcase game on TNT against an elite defense. That’s a positive first step, despite the ugly shooting and stretches of hesitant play.

Wall finished with 14 points, one rebound, nine assists, three steals and three turnovers in 35 minutes during his NBA debut. Here’s a look at how that line compares to the NBA debuts of other elite point guards.

john-wall-table All numbers courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.
Posted on: October 27, 2010 2:16 pm
 

Arenas out for at least two games

Posted by Royce Young

Nick Young shouldn't have to thank Gilbert Arenas. I think Arenas is actually hurt this time around.

Michael Lee of The Washington Post tweeted that Arenas will likely miss the Wizards first two regular season games because of a sore ankle. Arenas strained a tendon in the ankle and has been wearing a walking boot.

So far it's just a projected two games for Arenas, but it could be more. He'll see a doctor about the slow-recovering ankle this week.

There has been a lot of curiousity as to how Arenas and rookie John Wall would work together in the backcourt, but those questions will have to wait to be answered for a bit. And because of Arenas' injury, he hasn't practiced a ton with Wall and obviously has seen very little game action together with the rookie. So here we get a chance to see Wall with the team all to himself as well as we'll have something to compare it to when Arenas returns.

How does Flip Saunders balance the lineup with Arenas out? It's looking like Al Thornton will start, meaning he'll be in at small forward. I guess that means either Kirk Hinrich or Young will get the nod as shooting guard. The Wizards are looking at a fairly non-traditional lineup with or without Arenas it looks like.

Most feel that eventually, Washington will have to move Arenas to really complete the transition of handing the team to Wall. It's just going to be two games, but it'll at least be a taste and like I said, no we have a barometer to compare Wall against how played with and without Arenas.
Posted on: October 20, 2010 12:44 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2010 12:46 pm
 

NBA F&R Podcast: Michael Lee on the Wizards

Michael Lee of the Washington Post checks in on how Arenas and Saunders are getting along, John Wall's influence, and if the Wizards are a playoff team.  Posted by Matt Moore

Michael Lee has seen quite a bit. He followed a terrible Hawks team before joining the Washington Post to cover the Wizards. After a stint covering the league on a national level, he was called back to the beat for the Wizards. This year, the Wizards come off of one of the most traumatic seasons in NBA history. But hope springs eternal with John Wall in town, even as Gilbert Arenas continues his goofy antics. Lee spoke to us about the relationship between Saunders and Arenas, about John Wall's leadership and the trust the team has in him, and if the Wizards can contend for the playoffs this season. 
Michael Lee covers the Wizards for the Washington Post. You can find him on Twitter at @MrMichaelLee.


If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
Or, make it easy on yourself and  Subscribe via iTunes .
 
Posted on: October 18, 2010 3:39 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 3:42 pm
 

John Wall's new signature shoe is... interesting

Posted by Royce Young

Reebok released pictures of John Wall's new signature shoe the ZigTech Slash Limited Edition Gold Colorway and well, let's just say the reaction has been mixed. Mixed as in most people think they are hideous.

Have a look:



Wall signed a reported $25 million deal with Reebok this summer to be one of their top endorsers. So his signature shoe is definitely one of the prized releases by the company. But as savvy NBA business-head Nate Jones said, the key to a signature shoe is both style and substance. It's got to be a shoe somebody doesn't just want to run a couple of pick-up games on, but also a pair of kicks that you can wear with some jeans and a t-shirt. I don't know if Wall's ZigTech Slashes are something you want to be seen in off the blacktop.

Reebok has a pretty good history with good shoes too. For instance, Allen Iverson's "The Question" model is one of the most famous pair of sneakers ever. They were simple and cool. And now, we have this. Quite a difference.

Now obviously this isn't the only shoe Wall has. It's just the gold colorway. But still, the whole design isn't wonderful. I'm no Russ Bengtson or Lang Whitaker, but still, I can tell a shoe that isn't something the masses will love. Paired with the Wizards blue and gold uniforms? Yeah, they'll look good. On you going to a movie with friends? Not so much.

But at the same time, if you want to pay me $25 million to wear these shoes, I'll totally do it Reebok. Just letting you know.

Via Dime
Category: NBA
Posted on: October 18, 2010 9:48 am
 

Shootaround 10.18.10: Turkaboooooo

Posted by Royce Young
  • Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star: "A fan held up a sign that summed up the purpose of an otherwise uneventful preseason walk-around: 'TURKABOO,' was the message. The rabble wasn’t exactly in midseason form, even if the Raptors pulled off a 121-100 win. ('(The booing) wasn’t as bad as Vancouver,' said Steve Nash, Turkoglu’s newly-minted teammate, speaking of the reaction of the West Coast throng that took in a Raptors-Suns exhibition 11 days previous). But Turkoglu reacted exactly as you might have expected. He openly laughed. He actually applauded the crowd during the player introductions. He even led the chorus at one point, checking in at the scorer’s table while expelling a long, 'Booooooooo!' In other words, he acted as though he didn’t care -- which is exactly how he played."
  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: "The rejuvenation of Celtics forward Kevin Garnett has been apparent since the beginning of training camp. He leaps with ease. He sprints down the floor and soars for rebounds with no fear about his surgically repaired right knee. ... One of the more important priorities for the Celtics in camp was to rebuild the confidence and increase the production of Garnett, who was healthy last season but still was favoring the knee.
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward ranks the pick-and-roll combos: "2. Baron Davis-Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers: This could be terrifying, and it really depends on how hard Baron Davis feels like working this season and if he can kick the habit of taking awful three-pointers off the bounce. Griffin could emerge as something like Stoudemire as a violent roll threat. Even in the preseason, he’s slipping screens and darting down the lane like Amar’e, and he has the athleticism and strength to finish with authority. He is going to have a highlight screen-and-roll finish every night, and he looks to have a good enough jumper to get your attention on the pick-and-pop."
  • Do the Hornets have more talent than the Bucks? And can they repeat what Milwaukee did last season? Michael McNamara of Hornets247 says so: "So across the board the Hornets have more talent than those Milwaukee Bucks and yet the perception around the country is that it is doubtful the Hornets will produce superior results. Why is that? It has to be because there has been no evidence to support the belief that the Hornets can play with that level of discipline, that level of heart, and that level of tenacity. It is because nobody knows what to expect from Monty Williams and his system. It is because people assume that at the end of the day it is talent and talent alone that wins basketball games."
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com