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Tag:Roy HIbbert
Posted on: January 25, 2012 9:35 am
Edited on: January 25, 2012 11:43 pm
 

NBA Extension Buzz 1.25.12



By EOB Staff

The deadline for rookies from the 2008 draft class to receive extensions is Wednesday at 11:59 p.m.. We'll help keep track of those getting the big payday, and those left out in the cold for restricted free agency, below. 

Wednesday 10:40 p.m.
  • Yahoo Sports reports that New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon will not receive a contract extension, instead heading on the path towards restricted free agency next summer. The Hornets reportedly made a 4-year offer to Gordon but the sides could not reach an agreement.
Wednesday 7:03 p.m.
Wednesday 7:03 p.m.

Wednesday 6:34 p.m.
Wednesday 3:50 p.m. 
Wednesday 12:50 p.m. 
  • Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the Nuggets have signed Danilo Gallinari to a four-year, $42 million extension. That's great value for a player of Gallo's upside and ability. He's expanded his ball-handling abilities and is operating in a hybrid point-forward role at times in the pick and roll, attacking the rim and working the offense. Great value for a player that looks to be part of the Nuggets' contending core going forward. 
  • Fox26 TV in Houston reports that the Rockets will not be extending Hasheem Thabeet, Terrence Williams or Jonny Flynn, and Jordan Hill is still up in the air. No shockers here as none of those players have proven themselves to be legit NBA rotation players on a consistent basis. 
Wednesday 9:30 a.m.: 
  • The saga of Eric Gordon and the NBA-owned Hornets continues. Yahoo Sports reports that the league has finally given the Hornets permission to offer Gordon a four-year extension. This is clearly short of the five-year "designated player" extension. The Hornets want to hedge their bets a bet with whoever they land in the draft this season as well as Gordon's injury issues. Still, the league not granting permission until the day-of is really an absurd approach and again hinders the Hornets' ability to maximize efforts to lock up their solitary star player. 
  • Fox Sports Arizona reports that the Suns say they reached out to Robin Lopez' representatives, but that Lopez' agent preferred to see what Lopez could pull in in restricted free agency rather than take what is likely to be a lesser extension offer. No shocker. Lopez shows flashes but has yet to put together any sort of consistent ability and the safer approach is to wait and see if Lopez can boost his value in the next five months headed into free agency
  • A report surfaced Tuesday night that Kevin Love and the Wolves had agreed to a four-year, $60 million extension, but Love later tweeted that conversations were ongoing and reports indicate that the deal is not done. It's clear the Wolves will get this done today, the question will be for how much, and how much they're going to frustrate and anger their star player through this process. There's absolutely no reason the Wolves have not just offered love the max, five-year, designated-player offer. 
Earlier:
  • Roy Hibbert is unlikely to receive an extension, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. It's more than a little shocking, especially considering Hibbert is coming off one of his most dominant performances of his career against the Lakers, backing down and scoring over Andrew Bynum, even. The Pacers tried to make a bid for Nene in free agency, but without him, if they were to lose Hibbert, their center position would be a massive question mark. Hibbert has been uneven through four seasons, but there's every reason to believe he'll continue to develop ino a top-ten center in the league. A player with his abilities on both sides of the ball should not be overlooked. 
Posted on: January 19, 2012 10:41 am
Edited on: January 19, 2012 10:42 am
 

Hibbert wants to stay with Pacers

Roy Hibbert wants to return to the Pacers next year, but isn't holding his breath for a extension. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

Roy Hibbert's having a career year so far, averaging 14 and 10, with nearly two blocks per game, shooting 53 percent and racking up a 20.7 PER. In a league short on legit centers, that makes him as valuable as can be. But Hibbert, who enters the critical restricted-free-agency-coming-off-a
-rookie-deal this summer, doesn't think he's getting an extension offer before next week's deadline. That said, Hibbert doesn't think he'll be leaving Indiana in free agency. Not if he has anything to say about it. 

From the Indianapolis Star:  
"My personal gut feeling is that we'll do something in the summer, because the max guys are the ones that get extensions right away," Hibbert said. "I'm just going to follow my agent's lead."

Hibbert, who is having his best season, will become a restricted free agent, which means the Pacers can match any offer made to him this summer if the deadline passes.

Hibbert, however, said no one should dwell on his becoming a free agent.

He prefers to remain a Pacer.

"I have every intention of staying," Hibbert said. "Indiana is my home."
via Hibbert eager to stay | The Indianapolis Star | indystar.com.

Hibbert started off hot last year, too, before fading, then settling in by season's end when the Pacers made their playoff run. So there's reason to be skeptical. But the truth is that all the signs are there. Hibbert is coachable, talented, tall, has a good hook shot, gives good effort, by all accounts a likeable guy, and has solid numbers in terms of projections. In a league where every young player is challenged and questioned with his ability to put it all together, especially if he doesn't play for a large market, Hibbert gives every indication that his struggles in the past have been nothing more than acceptable growing pains.

Indiana would do well to keep their paws on him. Talented, even capable starting centers don't grow on tall trees in this league.
Posted on: August 5, 2011 6:45 pm
Edited on: August 6, 2011 1:14 am
 

The EOB Elite 100, 71-80: Young and old alike

Posted by Ben Golliver

grant-hill-old

This is the third segment of the CBSSports.com Eye on Basketball Elite 100, counting down the top-100 players in the NBA. 

Check out the earlier installments: 100-91 | 90-81

If you can play the game of basketball, the NBA will find a place for you, and this segment of CBSSports.com’s Elite 100 underscores that point in fine fashion.

This might blow your mind: Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins, ranked No. 77, was born in 1990, just weeks before Phoenix Suns wing Grant Hill showed up on campus for fall semester as a freshman at Duke University. By the time Cousins was in kindergarten, Hill had won two titles as a Blue Devil and was a highly-touted pro prospect, drafted No. 3 overall in 1994. As Cousins finished up elementary school and entered junior high, Hill looked like another talented NBA player robbed of reaching his potential due to injuries. By the time Cousins emerged on the national scene as a highly-ranked high school prospect, Hill was finding rejuvenation in the desert, extending his career and re-inventing his game as a member of the Phoenix Suns. A month or so before Cousins was drafted with the No. 5 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Hill was a key piece on a Suns team that made the Western Conference Finals.

As of last season, Cousins was the sixth-youngest player in the NBA at 20 years of age; Hill became the second oldest, one day younger than Chicago Bulls forward Kurt Thomas, after Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal retired earlier this summer.  

The two players contrast in so many ways. Hill graduated from Duke; Cousins went one-and-done at Kentucky. Hill has won sportsmanship awards; Cousins required a babysitter with the Kings and was suspended for fighting with a teammate. Hill hangs with United States President Barack Obama; Cousins has palled around with rapper Drake. Hill no longer has the explosive athleticism that was his calling card but has mastered every last veteran trick; Cousins possesses an incredibly rare combination of size, strength and quickness but has yet to harness his full potential.

Despite those differences both players have found their way to the NBA and to this list. Let’s take a look at who accompanies them here.

80. Grant Hill, F, age 38, Phoenix Suns

2011 Stats: 13.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, .8 steals, 48.4 FG%, 14.8 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 78, 73, 87 

The only modern equivalent for Grant Hill’s agelessness is Halle Berry. About to turn 39, Hill has missed just three regular season games in the last three seasons, a remarkable achievement considering he played just 47 combined games from 2000-2002. Hill never achieved his full potential as a player because of injuries, but his legacy won’t be stained because of that. His resolve, resourcefulness and consistency have made him a model teammate and league ambassador for as long as anyone can remember.

Hill still contributes in a variety of ways: scoring fairly efficiently, defending multiple positions and chipping in on the glass. His game is mostly floor-bound these days but that fact makes him potentially productive into his 40s.

79. Tyrus Thomas, F, age 24, Charlotte Bobcats

2011 Stats: 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 47.1 FG%, 18.25 PER

Composite rankings (random order):  95, 82, 61

Thomas is a bit of a forgotten man. That can be said for anyone that plays for the Bobcats but is doubly true in his case because he missed a fairly long stretch of last season with a knee injury.

A one-time high lottery pick, Thomas is a guy who is perpetually trying to figure it out. That fact didn’t stop the Bobcats from committing big dollars after acquiring him in a trade from Chicago and it hasn’t stopped him from being an excellent contributor on defense, where he blocks shots with abandon and uses his length to its full advantage. The Bobcats have cleared the decks for next season so Thomas should have every possibility to earn minutes and touches. Remarkably, he’s still just 24 and his best days are certainly ahead of him.  

78. Roy Hibbert, C, age 24, Indiana Pacers

2011 Stats: 12.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 46.1 FG%, 15.96 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 92, 91, 52

Hibbert is one of the last of a dying breed: A true back-to-the-basket center whose hulking frame and stiff game would probably have been a better fit in the 1990s. As is, he’s a solid, productive player who does what’s expected for a guy his size: rebounds, blocks shots and finishes plays around the rim.

Last season, Hibbert’s third, wasn’t all smooth sailing. He struggled with his shooting and confidence, and performed much better after Jim O’Brien was replaced as head coach by Frank Vogel. His lack of lateral quickness will likely remain an issue for the rest of his career. It’s unlikely Hibbert will ever develop into a star but he’s an excellent cog for a young, developing team like Indiana.

77. DeMarcus Cousins, F, age 20, Sacramento Kings

2011 Stats: 14.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, .8 blocks, 43.0 FG%, 14.62 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 84, 76, 72

Cousins was a top-10 knucklehead last year. He was benched for making a choke sign at an opponent during a free throw attempt. He was thrown off the team plane for fighting with a teammate. He was kicked out of practice. He was fined for undisclosed reasons. He was ejected from a game for shoving Martell Webster during a fracas. The list goes on and on.

There were two bigger concerns than all of that immaturity: turnovers and efficiency. Cousins committed 3.3 turnovers in just 28.5 minutes per game and shot just 43% from the field. It’s not unusual for young big men to deal with those issues, though, and improvement in both categories going forward is a virtual certainty, as Cousins learns how to adjust to the NBA game, NBA officials and figures out how to best use his huge frame and excellent instincts around the basket. Despite his many flaws, Cousins’ size and skill give him a chance to be a top-25 NBA player far more quickly than you might expect. The talent and potential are there, lurking beneath the surface.

76. DeMar DeRozan, F, age 21, Toronto Raptors

2011 Stats: 17.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 46.7 FG%, 14.52 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 80, 49, unranked

We’re supposed to keep the rankings anonymous but in this case I feel compelled to confess: I did not rank DeRozan in the top-100 nor do I think he belongs here. He was an inefficient scorer with no range playing on a terrible team last season, one of the least valuable things you can be.

Still, his presence on this list speaks to his upward career trajectory. DeRozan used his ridiculous leaping and finishing abilities to double his scoring average from his rookie year last season, putting up 17.2 points per game. He also boasts the physical tools – size, length, quickness – to be a plus-defender. He’s really held back by his lack of three-point range, though, and he will continue to be an incomplete offensive player until his spot-up shooting is at least passable. His highlight reel capability, solid personality and pure marketability make him a bright spot on a roster that needs them. His hard-working, positive approach on a day-in and day-out basis make him especially intriguing to watch develop over the next 3-5 years.

75. Shawn Marion, F, age 33, Dallas Mavericks

2011 Stats: 12.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, .9 steals, 52.0 FG%, 17.09 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 67, unranked, 58

2011 was such a dream season for Marion that he will forgive us for vastly underrating him on this list. A do-everything forward long known best for his unorthodox and downright hideous jumper, Marion was a crucial piece to the Mavericks championship puzzle.

Marion was big on both ends, using excellent shot selection and an underrated post game to get his points, while rebounding at a solid clip for his position. He shined brightest defensively as he was part of a corps of Mavericks defenders that limited some of the league’s elite scorers during the posteason: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James, to name a few. His unwavering confidence was crucial, too, especially when the Mavericks fell behind the Heat in the Finals. He never gave up and neither did Dallas.

74. Anderson Varejao, F, Age 28, Cleveland Cavaliers

2011 Stats: 9.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 blocks, 52.8 FG%, 15.21 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 76, 56, 92

Varejao became a permanent starting player for the first time in his career after LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal departed during the summer of 2010. He rose to the challenge nicely, posting career highs in points, rebounds and blocks until a foot injury prematurely ended his season.

Best known as an energy guy, Varejao has double-double potential now that he’s in his prime age years and playing on a roster that needs every ounce of production that he can provide. Just about everyone would like to see him traded to a contender so his hustle, defense and heady play can impact postseason games. The Cavaliers, to their credit, realize the asset they have and seem to be hoping he can help lead their rebuild.

73. Danilo Gallinari, F, Age 22, Denver Nuggets

2011 Stats: 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, .8 steals, 41.4 FG%, 15.71 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 99, 37, 86

The young Italian was a key piece in the package that landed All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony in New York. He’s a long, silky perimeter player with shot-making ability and a desire to deliver in the clutch. Given his height, 6-foot-10, his rebounding contributions are not overwhelming and he’ll need to continue improving to approach his ceiling as a player.

Gallinari is tantalizing, more than anything, given the fluidity of his play at his size. There are plenty of questions to be answered in Denver – especially concerning the future of Nene and J.R. Smith – but Gallinari’s youth provides hope should there be widespread defections in free agency. He won’t ever replace Anthony but he won’t cost nearly as much, won’t demand as many shots and he is unlikely to hijack the franchise for the foreseeable future. That package is worth something, for sure.

72. Devin Harris, G, Age 28, Utah Jazz

2011 Stats: 15.2 points, 7.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 42.2 FG%, 17.22 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 66, 69, 86

A big guard with a solid skillset, Harris needs to shake the “loser” label and questions about his durability that developed during his time in New Jersey. He was perceived as the best player on a 12-win team and that’s never, ever a good thing for a player’s legacy and reputation.

Still, Harris gets a fresh start in Utah, as he was traded to the Jazz in the deal that sent All-Star guard Deron Williams to the Nets. Utah is clearly in a rebuilding, find-itself phase now that Williams is gone and it’s no guarantee that Harris, who is theoretically entering his prime, is necessarily their point guard of the future. We will learn a lot about Harris in 2011-2012.

71. Jameer Nelson, G, Age 29, Orlando Magic

2011 Stats: 13.1 points, 6.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 44.6%, 15.47 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 72, 82, 66

Nelson has a lot going for himself. He’s tough, scrappy, productive, has three-point range and is on a reasonable contract. Nelson can beat his man off the dribble for the drive-and-kick or stretch the defense as a knock-down shooter. He isn’t a star, though, and that’s what Orlando needed last year. Indeed, a second star is what they need next year too if center Dwight Howard is to remain in town.

Nelson's turnovers and his lack of size and elite athleticism prevent him from really serving as a game-changer offensively and occasionally make him a liability defensively. Right now, Nelson falls into the fairly wide category of “too talented to dump, not good enough to get real value in return.”

Posted on: July 9, 2011 3:43 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 1:39 pm
 

What teams risk in a lockout: Central Division

A look at what is at stake for the NBA's Central Division if a whole season was lost due to the lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver.

derrick-rose-dunk

Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise.

Earlier this week, we took a look at the Southeast Division and the Atlantic Division. Let's continue this series with the Central Division.  

CHICAGO Bulls


The Bulls won the Central by a preposterous margin in 2010-2011, stacking up a league-high 62 wins and burying their division mates by a ridiculous 25 games, by far the biggest margin of any division winner. Nothing has happened yet this offseason which suggests next year's results will be any different. Even if the Milwaukee Bucks return to full health or the Indiana Pacers make a key free agent addition or the Detroit Pistons finally emerge from their slog or the Cleveland Cavaliers successfully start the Kyrie Irving era, the only thing stopping the Bulls from running away from the competition again is an injury to Derrick Rose. The Bulls are, by far, the most talented and deepest team in the division. They have the reigning MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year. They're poised to be championship title contenders for the next five years.

With so much going for them, the Bulls clearly have the most to lose in a lockout. If a season is lost, that's a title chase that evaporates. Perhaps most important, the Bulls would lose that visceral desire for redemption that comes with the ugly end to their season. It was a disappointing, frustrating loss to their new archrivals, the Miami Heat, in the Eastern Conference Finals. The pain of that loss subsides with time. It's ability to serve as unifying inspiration will fade too. The Bulls want revenge and they want rings. The pieces are in place. Besides aging teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, who face the possibility of their championship window closing, the Bulls don't want to sit around and wait. They created some amazing chemistry last season, built strong trust bonds. Losing a season risks all of that.

INDIANA PACERS

The upstart Pacers are up to something: they finally committed to Frank Vogel as their coach, they brought on former Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard to serve as Director of Player Personnel, they made a solid draft day trade to acquire point guard George Hill and they sit on a mound of cap space ready to make a splash in free agency. The Pacers risk two things if a season is lost. First, a critical development year to see how their young pieces are able to gel together. Second, A feeling of certainty in terms of team expectations.

Indiana has assembled some nice, young talent: Roy Hibbert, Darren Collison, Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough and Hill are all 25 or younger. Depending on how they use their cap space and whether they decide to move Danny Granger, that has all the makings of a promising core that could reliably make playoff runs for the foreseeable future. But the group needs time to spend together, reps to get things right and an evaluation period to see whether all four belong long-term. They look great on paper but more data -- playing together -- is needed. A lost season risks that and potentially stalls the development of those younger guys.

The real risk is free agency. Indiana has just $36 million committed in salary next season, meaning they have one of the smallest payrolls in the league. They also have an expiring contract in James Posey to move and potentially could move Granter if they were looking to make a major splash. Their combination of flexibility and talent on-hand is near the tops in the league when it comes to rebuilding teams. A delayed season pushes that promise back and while teams with space are definitely sitting in a better position than teams without space, it's unclear what additional rules might be in place that inhibit free agent movement. If you're the Pacers you'd prefer to be able to chase a guy like David West now without any messy collective bargaining negotiations getting in the way. Put simply, the Pacers are a team on the rise, but a lot has to go right for young teams to reach their potential. Even minor things can throw a team off course. The less variables, the better. Unfortunately, the CBA is a major, major variable.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

lockoutThis team is just confusing. The Stephen Jackson trade made a bit of sense, given that the Bucks needed a serviceable alternative to Brandon Jennings at point guard and got one in Beno Udrih, but this group isn't going anywhere meaningful, not even if Jennings and center Andrew Bogut are fully healthy. 

About the only thing lost in a lockout for the Bucks is another year for Jennings to bloom. His sophomore years was sidetracked by injuries and poor outside shooting, and he questioned his teammates' desire to win at the end of the regular season. Other than Jennings, Larry Sanders and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute could use more developmental minutes but the rest of the roster is essentially veterans who have reached their potential. 

From a cynical standpoint, Bucks ownership could be cheering a lost season because it would mean cash savings on ugly deals for Jackson and big man Drew Gooden. Is it worth saving the combined $15 million that will go to Jackson and Gooden in 2011-2012 to lose a year of floor leadership training for Jennings? 

DETROIT PISTONS

The Pistons are another confounding mess, but at least it feels like they've turned a corner thanks to the sale of the team, the departure of reviled coach John Kuester and the drafting of point guard Brandon Knight and wing Kyle Singler. Last year was one, long, ugly grind. 2011-2012 figures to be a step in the right direction.

Knight slipped out of the top five of the 2011 NBA Draft because of questions about his position. Is he a pure point guard? Can he run an NBA offense? Will he be able to execute something besides the pick-and-roll game? His future is incredibly bright but as a one-and-done player he absolutely needs as much playing time as possible to get a feel for the NBA style and to get comfortable with the ball in his hands and a team of professionals that look to him first. There's no other way to learn the point guard position than by on-the-job training, and recent success stories like Rose and Russell Westbrook only reinforce that idea. A year away from the game at this stage would be a critical loss for Knight and the Pistons, and that's a major risk.

The same is true, to a lesser degree, for big man Greg Monroe, who came on strong in the second half of his rookie season and appears to be a potential core piece going forward. 2011-2012 is all about letting Knight and Monroe build up a chemistry together 

A lost season would certainly be welcomed by ownership here too because Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva all failed to live up to their big-dollar contract figures last season. Hamilton and Villanueva, in particular, seem like lost causes. Weighing the savings from these deals versus the lost development of Knight, the Pistons should probably be pretty close to indifferent when it comes to losing a season. They need work, they know they need work and the rebuild can only come as these big contracts get closer to their conclusion and become more tradeable. Still, it would seem to be better to continue that journey with Knight getting more familiar and comfortable day-by-day, month-by-month than it would having him workout solo in a gym somewhere. If you've committed to a rebuild, start it immediately.
 
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Last but not least, we have the Cavaliers, the NBA's second-worst team from last season, who endured an embarrasing 26 game losing streak to set an NBA record for consecutive futility. There's significant light at the end of the tunnel for the Cavaliers, as they have an owner committed to spending money to win, the 2011 NBA Draft's No. 1 overall pick, Kyrie Irving, and Tristan Thompson, who was taken No. 4 overall. 

Cleveland is in much the same position as the Pistons: the biggest risk from losing a season is the lost reps that Irving won't get running the show. There are always some bumps and bruises for a young point guard transitioning from college to the NBA, and the potential for struggles is even more pronounced in Irving's case because he missed much of last season, his freshman year at Duke University, with a foot injury. Time away from the game is not good. The shorter, the better. Irving was clearly the most NBA-ready point guard in this year's draft crop and the Cavaliers would be smart to turn the keys over to him from Day 1, even with veterans Baron Davis, Daniel Gibson and Ramon Sessions on the roster as well. 

That raises a secondary risk of the lockout season for the Cavaliers: losing positional clarity. Cleveland clearly needs to move one, if not two, of their point guards to clear the deck for Irving and surround him with some solid complementary pieces. A lost season just delays that process. Saving the money from Davis' contract is tempting, but it's a non-factor for owner Dan Gilbert who would just as soon pay that tax to watch his young team start the rebuild. Along those same lines, an entire season lost could mean the Cavaliers aren't able to move Antawn Jamison's $15 million expiring contract, a nice trade asset that could potentially bring a rotation player in return.

Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 11:15 am
 

Pacers offered Hibbert for No. 2?

Posted by Royce Young

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com wrote yesterday that if the Timberwolves were to trade the No. 2 overall pick, they'd have to be "blown away" by an offer. Well according to Yahoo! Sports, they got another offer. Does this one blow anyone away?

Reportedly, the Pacers offered big man Roy Hibbert and their No. 15 pick to Minnesota in exchange for the No. 2 pick, which would've been used on Derrick Williams. The Wolves were not blown away and turned that one down.

Wise move, David Kahn. Hibbert doesn't necessarily give you a real building block to success, especially when you consider you're giving up Williams, a pretty quality talent, in the process.

Interesting though that the Pacers offered Hibbert. The Indiana center made some huge strides in his game last season and at 7-3, is the kind of big man most teams crave. But he's inconsistent and sometimes fades out of games and gets in foul trouble. Not exactly worth the No. 2 pick.

But if the Pacers would've taken Williams, that tells me they're also interested in maybe moving Danny Granger. Williams and Granger are similar players playing similar positions. Keepign Granger might've stunted Williams' development which means Granger could've been dealt and some of the Pacers cap space opened up.

Really, that's a much more reasonable deal anyway. Hibbert, Granger and the No. 15 pick for Minnesota's No. 2 pick. Who says no there? The Pacers are probably giving up too much, but considering they want to clear cap space, that would get done in this deal. Now that deal might've blown them away.
Posted on: April 26, 2011 11:08 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 12:09 am
 

Series in Review: Bulls-Pacers

Posted by Royce Young

The Bulls finally put away the pesky Indiana Pacers, 116-89, taking the series in five games. For once the Bulls looked like the dominant team they are, and handled the Pacers in virtually every way. Let's review:

Series MVP: Derrick Rose


No doubt about it. With his team needing him, he stepped up in a big way, on a sprained ankle, in Game 5 to drop 25 points in 30 minutes. That total included a barrage of 3s in the third to essentially sink the Pacers. He wasn't his usual, terrific self, shooting just 35 percent from the floor. And he took too many 3s (over seven a game). But Rose was deffinitely the difference in this series. The fact the Bulls got out in five despite poor contributions from the supporting cast is pretty impressive.

Best Play: Rose's block and layup

What an incredible flurry from Rose in Game 1. He had ESPN color man Jon Barry giggling manically throughout, and with good reason.



Best Moment: Korver's Game 1 3-point to seal it

Korver hit a number of big shots in this series, but his 3 in the final minute of Game 1 to give the Bulls the lead was just special. It was one of those playoff moments that Bulls' fans will remember for a long while. Rose had taken over, but in that big spot he made the right play and found his shooter open for 3. And Korver did his job.

Worst Moment: Josh McRoberts


McRoberts got away with an unprovoked elbow at Derrick Rose's head in Game 4, but the way he went after Joakim Noah in Game 5 was just ridiculous. It's one thing to take a shot at a guy, but to go for it a second time when he's backing away is pretty stupid. His last moment from the 2010-11 season wasn't a good one.



Worst Moment Runner-up: The attack of hippie camera dude

It has to be mentioned that Darren Collison was forced to miss the entire second half of Game 2 because he stepped on the foot of a cameraman on the baseline. What a shame that happened and potentially altered the outcome of that game.

Most Disappointing Player: Carlos Boozer


It's pretty bad when you could say the Bulls would've won this series with or without Boozer. He was that much of a non-factor. He had 17 points and 16 rebounds in Game 2, but even that was a bit of an aberration (he had 13 in the first half). Averaging just 12.0 points per game on 37 percent shooting isn't good enough for Boozer, especially if the Bulls want to challenge for a championship.

Most Surprising Moment: Kyle Korver made a layup

In Game 5. I swear, I saw it.

Making a Name: Paul George


The Pacer rookie got the assignment of guarding Rose down the stretch in each game, and he did pretty well. George has a little way to go offensively, but in terms of being an elite wing defender, he has potential. Frank Vogel spoke of George having some 17 deflections in Game 1, which is pretty impressive. A good wing defender is almost as valuable as a good wing scorer, and George may be that guy in the future for Indiana.

Theme of the Series: Missed opportunities

The Pacers had the chance to be up 1-0. Then they had a chance to even it at 1-1. Then they had a chance to cut it to 2-1. Of course, in the crunch, Indiana just couldn't execute. The Bulls were the better team easily, but the Pacers can certainly look back and think a bit on the "What if's" from this series.
Posted on: April 26, 2011 10:44 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 11:25 pm
 

Grading the series: Bulls top Pacers in 5

Posted by Royce Young



CHICAGO Bulls

Derrick Rose: It was a bit of an up and down series for Rose. If you just gloss over the boxscore numbers, it looks like he did pretty well (28.3 points and 6.3 assists per game). But spanning Games 3 and 4, Rose really struggled shooting the ball (35 percent for the series). A bit too often, he settled for the 3 (over seven a game), and didn't really command the game the way you'd hope a future MVP would.

That said, he was pretty excellent in Game 5 and, overall, played a good series. He's the reason the Bulls got away from the Pacers in just five games. He battled through an ankle sprain to play his best game of the series. That said a lot about his toughness, and, behind him, his team finally turned in a solid, complete game of basketball. High marks overall for Rose.

Grade: B+


Tom Thibodeau: I think, quietly, Thibodeau managed this series extremely well. It was subtle because he didn't deviate much from the regular season plan, but one move I especially took note of was his decision to stick with Kurt Thomas in Game 1 down the stretch, instead of going to Carlos Boozer. That added toughness and grit from Thomas ended up landing the Bulls a big offensive rebound to seal the game. Thibodeau didn't push every correct button, but he stayed consistent to the gameplan that worked to win Chicago 62 games this season.

And in his first playoff series, he got out in five games. Not bad.

Grade: A-

The supporting cast: If you're looking for a word, it's inconsistent. Luol Deng was solid, averaging 17.3 ppg in the series. Joakim Noah was his usual self. Kyle Korver hit some big shots. But overall, Chicago's role players didn't step up consistently the way they did during the regular season. Taj Gibson was great in Game 5, but that was really the ony game he had an impact. Ronnie Brewer was a non-factor all five games, and Carlos Boozer was pretty much a disappointment.

Going forward, they need to be better. And I'm sure they know it.

Grade: C

Overall grade: There was definitely a good push by the Bulls in Game 5 to raise this mark. They played easily their best game, making shots, rebounding, playing defense and playing together. But, other than that, the other four games were a complete struggle versus the weakest team in the playoff field. I've gone over it ad nauseum, but Chicago was just a couple minutes away from losing an extra game, or two.

Alas, they won in five. A sweep would've been ideal, but it was clear early on that this Pacer team was ready to fight. And they did. Winning is the important part in the postseason, and the East's top seed is advancing unscathed.

Grade: B

INDIANA PACERS

Danny Granger: Indiana's star was pretty good overall. He hit some big shots, made some big plays and was probably the biggest reason the Pacers stole a game. But he's also a reason they didn't steal at least one more.

Granger's disappearance in crunch time in Games 1 and 2 ultimately doomed their chances of coming out of Chicago with a big win to start the series. That's partially his fault and partially a product of the stellar Bulls defense. He could've been better, but, keep in mind, he did have Luol Deng on him for five games.

Grade: B

Frank Vogel: Indiana's interim coach earned a job next season in my mind. He had his guys convinced they could win. He talked them up. He had them believing, which is the first job of an underdog coach. The Pacers never wavered and, really, Indiana's gameplan was rock solid throughout.

A few of his rotations were a bit curious and the fact the Pacers seemed to run away from Roy Hibbert was odd. But in Vogel's maiden voyage into the postseason, without even the actual head coaching position, he should win himself a new title for next season.

Grade: A

Homecourt advantage: Down 3-0, I realize some of the excitement and air is let out of your balloon. But to let the enemy fill up half your arena? That's pretty ridiculous. The Pacer fans that were there were loud and did their part, but the ones that sold off to Bulls' fans? Shame.

Grade: D+

Overall grade: The Pacers were in that great position of not having much expected of them. Winning even a game was seen as a big victory for them. Still, being so close to actually making this a series has to be a bit disappointing. Yes, they were completely overmatched by a more talented team. But a rebound here, a few more free throws or a good stop there and this Game 5 isn't ending their season.

A great effort from them though. You can't fault that. They played the NBA's best regular season team tooth and nail for four games before running out of gas. It was admirable.

Grade: A-
Posted on: April 26, 2011 2:24 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 2:24 pm
 

Vogel: Win tonight, win the series

Posted by Royce Young



No team has ever come back from three games to zero in NBA history. There's two sides of thought that sort of stat. That means a series is over if you get yourself in a 3-0 hole or that just means NBA history is waiting to be made.

Evidently, Pacer interim coach Frank Vogel is of the latter category.

He said today, "We feel like if we win this game tonight, we’ll win the series.”

Vogel is nothing if not bold, energetic and full of optimism. That's who he is and one of the reasons he's helped pull this Pacer team together and not only get to the postseason, but make a pretty good showing against the top-seeded Bulls.

It's not like he guaranteed victory or anything. He just expressed some confidence in his group. All of us on the outside pretty much know this series is over, but the Pacers still have at least one game to play. Don't try and tell them not to show up to the United Center tonight. They have a game and they intend to win.

I remember when the 2004 Red Sox pulled off their infamous comeback over the Yankees, first baseman Kevin Millar was walking around before Game 4 saying, "They better not let us win this game. They better not." It's all about mindset. And Millar and his group of "idiots" convinced themselves that if they could just get one, they could get three more.

And this shot of confidence from Vogel is of that same line of thinking. He's telling his guys, you win this one, you can win again. And again. Because let's face it: It's not like the Bulls have completely outclassed the Pacers. Really, Chicago is fairly lucky to even be where its at. If the Pacers were to pull off another stunner tonight, they'd be taking the series to a Game 6 at home with a chance to force a Game 7.

Plus they'd have momentum and added pressure placed on the Bulls. He knows what he's doing here. He's a motivator. He's trying to comvince his guys to believe this isn't over. Win just one more for me and we can do this! It sounds pretty stupid because again, history says it's not happening but at some point the NBA will find its 2004 Red Sox. Vogel is asking his guys to write some history with him. He's asking, "Why not us?"

Here's why not: Because the Bulls have Derrick Rose and Indiana doesn't. It's fun to talk about though, right?
 
 
 
 
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