Posted on: February 3, 2012 5:26 pm
By Matt Moore
In this week's edition of the Friday 5, KB talks the best power forward in the West, how good the Bulls are, and whether Griffin-over-Perkins was a dunk . You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS.
1. Who's the best power forward in the West?
If you consider Pau Gasol to be a power forward (and I do, despite the fact that he doesn't play with much power), it's hard to do better. But in terms of all-around game, LaMarcus Aldridge is about to pass him, if he hasn't already.
2. Are the Bulls better, worse, or the same as they were last year?
Better. Rip Hamilton gives them an experienced scorer for the playoffs and makes their bench more potent -- whether he starts or Ronnie Brewer does, either way. Omer Asik will be ready to contribute in a meaningful way in the playoffs and is becoming a bear to deal with on screens. Also, I love the way Derrick Rose has responded to falling short against Miami in the conference finals, with a quiet but edgy determination to go farther this time.
3. Brian Cardinal noted to me this week that teams that can go 9, 10 deep are having success. Do you think the need for depth in this crazy compacted schedule will carry over in the playoffs or are we just going to see the usual 8-man rotation we usually see?
I think it depends on the team, but for the most part, the extra days of rest, practice and game-planning will allow teams to go with a more orthodox rotation. For teams with quality bench players (Spurs, Mavs, Thunder, Bulls, Sixers), getting them additional floor time and experience during the regular season will make them more effective in the postseason.
4. What should the Pistons do to fix this mess?
Where to begin? As I alluded to in Postups, Joe Dumars could be in for some tough times. For starters, I'd see if a financially flexible contender would be willing to take Ben Gordon off my hands between now and the deadline. Then, I'd amnesty Charlie Villanueva next summer and go from there. Where I'd be going, I'm not sure, but I'd get moving in that direction -- whatever that direction is.
5. How does the Blake Griffin/Perkins dunk measure up on your all-time scale?
I don't really keep conscious track of such things. But I enjoyed the EOB roundtable on the best dunks ever, and I'll say this: 1) Like Dwight Howard's "Superman" stunt in the dunk contest, if you don't flush the ball and make the rim snap, it ain't a dunk. Impressive that Griffin is the only player in the league who can get so high above the rim that he's literally throwing the ball through the rim from on high, but still, it ain't a dunk; and 2) Whatever it was, it still wasn't better than Vince Carter over Frederic Weis.
Posted on: February 3, 2012 1:14 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 3:45 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver, Matt Moore and Royce Young
Earlier this week, Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James and Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin treated the NBA worlrd to two of the best dunks you'll ever see.
James completedly hurdled Chicago Bulls point guard John Lucas III to finish a one-handed alley-oop pass from Heat guard Dwyane Wade. Griffin flew up and over Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins to throw down one of his power/speed/brute force specialties.
That got the CBSSports.com Eye on Basketball Staff thinking: What are the best dunks of all time? We kicked it around in a panel discussion.
So Griffin's abject demolition of Perkins and his dignity has set off a huge discussion of dunks this week. The big debate of course is how this one stacks up against Vince Carter over Frederic Weis. (Via YouTube user Supra2K8)
Everyone keeps coming back to the fact that he cleared a seven footer, which is obviously impressive. But for me, there are a number of things that make Griffin's RIPerkins better. Most importantly, Weis was trying to take the charge. Carter clears him (kind of, with some manipulation of Weis' head with his hand between his legs), but Weis isn't defending. On the other hand, Perkins is full-on trying to block, and if not block, foul Griffin. The dunk is a monumental clash of an elite shot challenger and the offensive player driving straight through his soul.
I always think a dunk being completed through a challenge is better than just dunking over a tall dude. If I wanted props I'd go to the dunk contest. That's why I tend to like this one as my second favorite of all time. (Via YouTube user DJNajeem)
I mean, come on, now. That's Anderson Varejao, an annual defensive player of the year candidate. Weis was a fine defender... but not at the NBA level. I'd still put Carter as the best dunker of all time (in-game, dunk contest, your mom's house, anywhere). But Griffin's abject annihilation of Perkins has to be considered the best. In a related story, Amar'e Stoudemire over Anthony Tolliver. (Via YouTube user TheBrosBros)
You know what dunk gets criminally overlooked? J.R. Smith's two-handed "We just saw a man fly!" finish over Gary Neal. Three things that make that dunk amazing: 1) It was with two hands 2) It was darn near a buzzer beater and 3) Kevin Harlan's call. (Via YouTube user Huff99)
See, I think that's the type of stuff that can distinguish one great dunk from another -- the little things. Because all dunks over someone are pretty incredible when you think about it. But the details like how good the call of it was, how the ball went through the net (was it a splashing flush or did it rattle in, like Griffin's?), who it was over, the significance of it and stuff like that. On that, you've got to have Pippen's destruction over Patrick Ewing. It has all of the above. Great call, major significance and it was over a seven-footer. For my money, it's the best ever. I mean, that's a total humiliation of Ewing. Pippen took Ewing's manhood and disrespect his family tree. He didn't just dunk over Ewing, he dunked through him. (Via YouTube user Funk2Dunk)
One more that I have to mention is LeBron's over Kevin Garnett in the 2008 playoffs. "With no regard for human life!" might be the all-time best dunk call. And it was over KG, which is big time. (Via YouTube user Marszall87)
Reading your responses, I basically was just nodding continuously. I guess I'm not wired for the "Best Dunk" debate. I approach YouTube more like a wine collector approaches his cellar: collect all the greats, then keep collecting, then collect some more and then collect even more. I care more about experiencing all the greats than about ranking the cream of the crop.
Similarly, I'm partial to the classics. The first one that comes to mind when I think of a dunk is Michael Jordan over Ewing.(Via YouTube User ESPN)
This one just wraps up Jordan the offensive weapon so perfectly. Incredible handle, vision, instincts, quickness, power, fearlessness and total authority. The physicality at the end is just icing on a flawless cake.
You probably guessed that Julius Erving's cradle dunk over Michael Cooper would be next on my list. (Via YouTube user diegoris23)
It didn't quite have the man-on-man violence of some of these other dunks but the beauty is in how natural and in-the-flow this one came about. It was as if Dr. J was just walking down the street, saw a basketball lying on the ground, didn't even stop to bend over and picked it up, scooped it in rhythm and then tossed it on a very good defender's head in one brilliant, swooping motion. Iconic.
Last but not least, I think Kevin Durant's dunk over Brendan Haywood during the 2011 Playoffs will wind up standing up to the test of time. It's more recent than my other two picks but I predict massive staying powero on this one. (Via YouTube user NBA).
I see this as a future classic because Durant is on track for true greatness and because this dunk shows his amazing length, probably his most obvious stand out physical attribute. It shows his handle, his hops and his swagger. This will be the dunk that Durant enthusiasts point to in 30 years when detractors try to argue that Durant was "just a shooter" or that his slim frame held him back him from becoming a top-20 type of player. The extension on this one was amazing. The replays just make it better and better.
Posted on: January 29, 2012 11:08 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 1:09 pm
By Matt Moore
DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks, as much as any team in the league, know that this is not anything like a normal season. There are games packed on top of games packed on top of games. Dirk Nowitzki is still trying to get into his normal game condition, evidenced by his struggles in his first game back. The Kardashians are prowling the arena along with the realities of their television show, and have we mentioned the schedule is insane?
Those are just some of the reasons that led Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle to call this year, "wacky" after the Mavericks' 101-100 win over the San Antonio in Dallas Sunday night.
"It's a wacky year," Carlisle said, "and there's a lot of things going on with crazy scores and leads and deficits disappearing, so you've got to be ready for anything. We're fortunate, but it's a good win. "
Wacky. Much like this up and down win that did not come easy. The Mavericks held a strong lead in the third quarter, lead by Vince Carter who finished with 21 points on 8-15 shooting. But then, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who Mavericks guard Jason Terry later called "a mastermind" and who Carlisle called "the greatest coach really ever in this game," pulled his starters. Completely. With 2:12 to go in the third quarter. From there on out it was entirely bench players, and instead of a weak surrender, the trio of Danny Green, Gary Neal, and James Anderson poured in a flurry of lay-ups and three-pointers. The bench squad scored on 8 of 9 fourth quarter possessions to take the lead. Another blown lead in a wacky year.
"We gotta keep working," Carlisle noted after the game. "I love the fact that we came back from nine down in the fourth. It's a tough position to be in, but the guys fought and got it tied and in overtime we were able to get out of here."
"Getting out of here," that's probably the theme of the NBA season for almost all the teams caught in this hellacious compacted schedule. It's some sort of weird, mutant version of the age old cliche of "survive and advance." In this year with so many outliers, teams need depth, and they need pacing, and they need some luck. The Mavericks have had little of that this year, but having the kind of veterans they do gives them the experience to get through crazy games like Sunday's.
Compared to their struggles to start the year, the Mavericks recovered, played like World Champions, and finished off the non-stars in overtime. It takes experience, it takes veterans, it takes a mindset to "survive." Oh, and Jason Terry, that helps too.
"I was locked in," Terry said after he finished with a game-high 34 points on 14-23 shooting and 4 assists in 37 minutes.
His is always the second name on the Mavericks behind the Big German, but lost in the Lamar Odom trade and the free agency departures and the injuries is the fact that Jason Terry still wears Mavericks blue. And he's a survivor. Terry has made huge shot after huge shot for the Mavericks throughout the years and on Sunday showed why the Mavericks will keep learning, keep adjusting, and keep improving as veterans do even in a wacky year, and will be there at the end, when the playoffs begin.
"I watched the film [from the first meeting between the two teams] and there were some shots that I know I would make if I got them again," Terry said. "I said if I continue to get those same looks and opportunities that I'm going to be aggressive and take them."
It was Terry taking and hitting big shots along with the kind of consistent team effort on defense and the glass that got the Mavericks back in control. It was also players like Carter, who have been around long enough to make the plays when they need to, especially against an inexperienced crew like the upstart bench mob from San Antonio. Carter later said this season comes down to simple survival.
"That's what it's going to be about it. It's going to be about survival. Every guy on the team has to be ready to play, because you just never know."
What the Mavericks do know is that they have guys who have been there, done that. Other teams may have more youth, more depth, fresher legs and more wind. But does having the veterans in a season like this, even with the wear and tear on older bodies, help the Mavs in their mindset?
"I think so," Carter said. "And just making sure your young guys are prepared."
Carter complimented Roddy Beaubois, starting at point guard yet again for the injured Jason Kidd. "My hat's off to Roddy. It gets to where he's not playing big minutes, and he plays spot minutes and then he gets the start. To play like that, it gets a salute from me."
Veterans putting the young guys in a position to make plays, and Jason Terry hitting big shots when the Mavericks need them. If the Mavericks are going to survive this year, that's the approach they want to have. It's not about the division lead the Mavericks took Sunday night with the win. It's not about getting Nowitzki back into the rotation or worrying about blowing a lead to a group of bench players.
This season is not about being perfect. It's about survival. And the Mavericks are as well prepared to survive as any team in the league.
Posted on: December 12, 2011 8:41 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 8:53 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Vince Carter has found another new NBA home. Delonte West is once again an NBA employee! And both have arrived in the same destination: the Dallas Mavericks.
The defending champs announced the signing of Carter, a 34-year-old 8-time NBA All-Star, on Monday. Terms of the details were not disclosed by the team but ESPNDallas.com reports that Carter signed a mini Mid-Level Exception deal worth $9 million over three years. Carter was bought out by the Phoenix Suns last week. Carter averaged 13.5 points and 3.6 rebounds for the Suns last season.
West, a 28-year-old free agent guard who spent the offseason applying for a job at Home Depot, contemplating selling knives, working for a furniture store and fretting about his lack of health insurance, has reportedly signed a 1-year contract with the Mavericks.
SlamOnline.com and Yahoo Sports report that West, 28, will join the defending champs. A 7-year NBA vet, West spent last season playing for the Boston Celtics, where he averaged 5.6 points and 2.7 assists per game.
Dallas is now loaded in the backcourt, bringing back Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Rodrigue Beaubois and Corey Brewer and having traded for Rudy Fernandez prior to the lockout. Second year guards Dominique Jones and Andy Rautins, recently acquired from the New York Knicks, are also currently on the roster too with Shawn Marion and Lamar Odom also fighting for playing time on the wing.
Together, West and Cater make the tenth and eleventh player who will fight for minutes at the one, two or three position for Dallas. Surely some additional roster balancing or trimming moves are coming.
Posted on: December 4, 2011 6:28 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 3:52 pm
Posted by Royce Young
UPDATE: Carter was officially waived by Phoenix Friday
Add another veteran wing player to the free agent pile as ESPN.com reports that the Suns will waive Vince Carter.
The Suns aren't using the new amnesty clause to pull the plug on Carter though. There is actually an amendment in Carter's contract that allows his current team to waive him within 72 hours before the start of free agency, otherwise his $18 million salary becomes fully guaranteed.
(This isn't exactly new news though. Back in June there were reports the Suns would buy out Carter but then that whole lockout thing happened.)
If you're like me, you just saw "$18 million" and couldn't believe why anyone wouldn't waive Carter before paying that. Also: Free Agency begins Dec. 9, so the Suns are getting this in with plenty of time.
But if the Suns are planning on keeping Hill and making a run, it seems that they are of the mind that Steve Nash would like to see his time through with the franchise. There have been rumblings that Nash would want a trade to contender, but that doesn't seem to be the case, yet.
So who could be after Carter? According to the report, the Bulls, Spurs and of course the Heat, who seem to be after every decent veteran available, will have interest in Carter. All those teams seem to be a quality fit for Carter and while he's not anywhere near the scorer he once was, he can still shoot from 3-point range and has a good 20-point night in his legs every now and then.
He's not worth $18 million, but he definitely could be a veteran gem for someone in the next couple weeks.
Posted on: November 16, 2011 1:32 pm
Posted by Royce Young
There are a lot of reasons to poke fun at Vince Carter. Despite having a pretty solid NBA career, he's been a whipping boy for being a bit soft. Well, here's more fodder: Via SI Vault, Carter was his high school's drum major at Daytona Beach. Don't take my word for it, observe this wonderful picture.
This isn't exactly breaking news. But it's news to me. And probably you. Aren't you glad you have this bit of information? Think about the next time, whenever that may be, that Carter visits your city. You should be able to have fun with this.
But the bright side for Vinsanity is that he's at least got a hobby for the NBA's extended offseason.
Via Sports Grid
Posted on: August 1, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 4:22 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Those cufflinks could be made of solid gold, the cuffs constructed from the finest ivory.
Yahoo! Sports reports that NBA commissioner David Stern could make more in salary than all but a handful of the league's players.
Many owners don’t even know what Stern makes. “I’d say three or less know,” one NBA owner told Yahoo! Sports. Several believe it’s somewhere in the range of $20 million to $23 million a year, but no one knows for sure. Maybe it’s more than that, but the fact that some owners don’t know the answer is beyond belief.That salary ballpark squares with a New York Daily News report from February -- noted by CBSSports.com's Matt Moore in a piece on the league's opulent culture -- which pegged Stern's salary at $23 million.
Only one NBA player is set to make more than $25 million during the 2011-2012 season: Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who is on the books for $25.2 million.
Only three other players are set to make more than $20 million: Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett ($21.2 million), San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan ($21.2 million) and Washington Wizards forward Rashard Lewis ($21.1 million).
Stern is reportedly set to bring home more bacon than the league's worst contracts: Orlando Magic guard Gilbert Arenas ($19.3 million) and Phoenix Suns guard Vince Carter ($18.9 million, although only a fraction of that is guaranteed). He will also reportedly make more than most of the league's biggest stars, including Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki ($19.1 million), Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol ($18.7 million), New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony ($18.5 million) and Amar'e Stoudemire ($18.2 million), Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard ($18.1 million) and all three of the Miami Heat's Big 3 of LeBron James ($16.0 million), Dwyane Wade ($15.7 million) and Chris Bosh ($16.0 million).
Two pieces of information worth pointing out. First, Stern has held the commissioner title since 1984, so he's had more than two and a half decades to rack up pay raises. There's a very good chance he is the league's highest-paid employee by leaps and bounds. Second, Stern pledged not to accept any salary in the event of a work stoppage at the 2011 All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.
Stern was asked whether he would reduce his salary to $1 if the two sides could not reach a labor agreement, as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has pledged recently. Stern said: "Last time, I ddin't take any salary. I think a dollar would be too high in the event of a work stoppage."Still, that seems like an awful lot of money for the league's chief executive. Windfall salaries for chief executives in many industries are often tied to periods of peak company performance. The NBA, though, claims never to have had a positive operating income during the duration of the last Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 12:24 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 12:36 pm
By Matt Moore
Vince Carter is 34 years old. There's only so much time left in his NBA career. So to watch the end of it spent in a lockout has to be pretty frustrating. But Carter's definitely not through. Carter told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that he's got some time left in the NBA:
"You may not know where, but you have to be ready to play. I still want to play a couple more years," said Carter, who shows no interest of playing overseas during the lockout, as others have talked about. "I'd rather just wait and see what happens."via With future uncertain, Vince anxious for lockout to end - Columns.
Carter's effectiveness has been slipping considerably over the past few years, though his decline has been exaggerated somewhat due to his unpopularity surrounding perceived minor injuries holding him out and his unceremonius exit from Toronto. He's going to receive a $4 million buyout from the Suns once the lockout ends. It's a good decision to stay at home instead of pursuing a job overseas, due to his injury situation. He needs to be in prime condition when the season resumes.
Carter's going to want to look for a contender, most likely, but it's hard to see most contenders looking to add him. Even if Carter is willing to take a reserve role, Carter still comes with ego and a very specific skill set which doesn't fit well to a certain type of role player. It'll be interesting to see who takes a shot on Carter in the twilight of his career.