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Posted on: February 22, 2012 12:18 pm
 

Team USA's uniforms revealed

Posted by Royce Young



Nike unveiled Team USA's newest uniform design this week, which includes a revamped "USA" design. And it's, uh, different. Is it just me or does that "S" look like the kind we all used to draw in middle school?

And it wouldn't be a Nike uniform release without them telling us how wonderful they are. Nike says, “Our lightest bball jersey. Approx 96% recycled polyester. The @usabasketball Nike Hyper Elite Uniform: #innovate.”

It doesn't matter how good you look or how much polyester is in there if you don't beat Spain. Because that's the mission in London, not looking good and recycling.

Here's the thing: Maybe those uniforms don't look all that great, but I think that's just because they're missing a key accessory. Put a gold medal around the neck and I think you've got a really slick look.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:46 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 5:40 pm
 

Is Anthony Davis the No. 1 pick? Yes. Very Yes.

Anthony Davis is the No.1 prospect by most evaluators, including CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore
 

To start you off, Jeff Goodman and I sat down to talk about the college season through the lens of th NBA draft. We talk about Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (MKG), Tony Wroten, and the quality of character and coachability of guys in this draft. You will enjoy this. Let's start there. 



Regarding Davis, this is a post about something obvious, but it needed to be written anyway.

Anthony Davis is currently averaging 13.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.8 blocks per game and shooting 64.6 percent from the field. So, just to get an idea of where he stands historically, how many freshmen have averaged 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game? (Note: round up and Davis is averaging 14, 10, and 5, but we're setting the bar low here. Just keep it in mind.) The answer is: 

1. Anthony Davis. 


Just Davis. That's it. So there's that. 

Player Efficiency Rating doesn't translate well to college. The weak schedule, different flow, all of it just makes it to where the metric isn't particularly effective in evaluating performance. But if you're into hypotheticals or interesting stat trivia, the highest PER over the past three years is 34.75 from Kennth Faried. Davis is currently on track for a PER of 35.4. 

This is all to say, Anthony Davis is a freak. And I'm not talking about the eyebrows.

Thing is, all of this is nothing compared to the scouts evaluation of him. In a loaded class with Harrison Barnes, all eleven hundred of the Kentucky kids, Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones, and Thomas Robinson, Davis is still miles ahead of the rest in terms of ability and projected ceiling. It's not just the production, that stuff can come from physical dominance at the college level. But it's that his defensive instincts and determination are so high. He's a smart, coachable player that doesn't block just the first shot. He blocks the second shot. He blocks the third shot. To say he may be the best defensive prospect since Kevin Garnett is not an exaggeration.

Davis sprouted from a guard into the power forward he is today, and his frame has a long way to go in terms of catching up. His frame isn't massive, he'll never play center in the NBA. But his athleticism and ability to attack shots will make for an easy translation.

The two biggest questions about Davis are his ability to defend in the post and his offense. Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com in the podcast above says that he's got a much better offense than he's asked to provide at Kentucky and that under a pro coach, he'll be able to showcase those abiliies. Defensively in the paint, he'll have issues. But there's no reason to think that as he grows and works under a strength and conditioning coach at the next level that he can't grow into the bulk and strength necessary to contend there.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:24 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 12:21 pm
 

Jeremy Evans replacing Shumpert in dunk contest

Posted by Royce Young



It's no secret that this year's dunk contest field is a bit lackluster. That's not to say it won't be good, but when the four names were announced -- Derrick Williams, Chase Budinger, Paul George and Iman Shumpert -- there wasn't exactly a big buzz about it.

But with Shumpert suffering from a little patellar tendinitis, and won't be participating in the dunk contest after all. His replacement? Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz. Evans opened a Twitter account Tuesday night and tweeted, "Hey everybody! I'm brand new to twitter and hopefully will have a big announcement about All Star Weekend soon," along with a video of him dunking. Assuming that's legit, combined with a report saying Evans was in and the fact the Jazz has a video on their website announcing it. So yeah, Evans is in.

Evans had some serious buzz prior to the announcement of the field with a Twitter campaign called "JeremyEvansDunk" and a bunch of other support from bloggers and media types. He was a bit of a snub originally, so he's a worthy replacement.

With no Shumpert though, that also means no Jeremy Lin helping out, which seemed to be the contest's big selling point. Don't sleep on Evans though. Watch this dunk and tell me he isn't going to impress.



Via SLC Dunk
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:48 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 1:51 pm
 

Charles Oakley calls out Garnett, Barkley

Charles Oakley called out KG and Charles Barkley over their behavior on Jime Rome's show. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore
 


Charles Oakley has opinions. And he will tell you them. And you will listen. Or he will destroy you. And now the former Knick has turned his attention to two outspoken NBA personalities in Kevin Garnett and the Chuckster, Charles Barkley. 

Oakley appeared on "The Jim Rome Show"with Jim Rome Tuesday and spoke about the two. He did not hold back. You are not surprised. To the quotes! From Sports Talk Network:
"Garnett left Minnesota and hollered and screamed and all that but he's not a tough guy. He’s one of the weakest guys to ever play the game. He’s a complimentary player and went to Paul Pierce’s team and won a championship. I wouldn’t consider him a top 10 tough guy."
via Charles Oakley rips KG, Barkley.

Oakley's claims are harsh, no shock there, but they are reflective of the other side of KG. Garnett comes off as so intense because of the screaming and pounding his head against the stanchion and whatnot. And he has been known to get into some physical altercations... usually with diminutive point guards. His M.O is usually to reach out and slap or shove someone, then to back off while being "restrained" by his teammates. 

Thing is, that's a good thing.

Garnett shows restraint, which helps his team win ball games. He protects his reputation, gets in the head of his opponents, and doesn't get ejected. It's the best of all worlds. And while Garnett is certainly not as tough as the character he portrays when the arena lights come on, to say he's one of the weakest to ever play is absurd. You can't be as great a defender as he is without being at least slightly-above-average tough.

But I'll let you tell Oakley that. Because he terrifies me.

Oaklay also weighed in on legend Charles Barkley, a friend of Michael Jordan who Oakley is also notoriously close with. He was not much nicer to the Round Mound Who Isn't So Round Anymore: 
 Barkley for his size was a good player but he’s a coward though. He was a good player for his size but, he wasn’t a leader and wasn’t a role model. Now he talks so bad about younger guys, I don’t respect that from him…He’s a fraud, he can criticize all the younger kids and if he got something to say, call them and talk to them before you just blast them. He’s wants to be funny, that whole TNT thing and all that, they’re like some clowns on that show.
via Charles Oakley rips KG, Barkley.

As Jim Rome would say, "strong."

Jeez, Oak, don't hold back. Tell us how you feel. 

("ROME with Jim Rome" debuts on CBS Sports Network April 3rd.  You can follow him on Twitter @JimRome.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 12:22 am
 

Report Card: Pop gets an A, his team gets an F

Posted by Royce Young

Popovich made a smart move, but his team didn't back him up much. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.


Gregg Popovich
The Spurs got destroyed by the Blazers, 137-97. So an A for Popovich? What? Nobody keeps the big picture in mind better than Coach Pop. Even though the Spurs were working on an 11-game win streak, Popovich decided to sit both Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, essentially conceding the game to the Blazers. The Spurs were coming off a game the night before and have another tough one Thursday against the Nuggets before the All-Star break. By sitting Parker and Duncan, Popovich was buying his guys some much-needed rest at the back end of their rodeo road trip.
Dwyane Wade
The Kings looked to be game for the Heat early on, but behind Wade's 30 points (on 11-16 shooting), 10 assists and four rebounds, the Heat were able to pull away late.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Spurs brought their b-team to the Rose Garden Tuesday, but the blowout sure was impressive regardless. In starting for Raymond Felton, Jamal Crawford was brilliant and Felton was actually solid off the bench. A night after getting it handed to them in Los Angeles, the Blazers bounced back and put it on the Spurs, a team that had won 11 straight.
Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs rallied from 17 down to come back and beat the Pistons. Not the craziest feat in the world and yeah, it was the Pistons but I continue to be intrigued by this young team. Kyrie Irving led the spark that did it finishing with 25 and any time a growing, evolving team can put these type of wins in their pocket, it means a little more than just having another tally in the win column.
Isaiah Thomas
The rookie point guard finished with 24 points and hit four 3s in the third quarter. Problem was, he didn't score in the fourth. Still, a nice game in a losing effort to one of the league's three best teams.
Detroit Pistons  They blew a 17-point lead to the Cavs and were outscored 35-22 in the fourth quarter. They wasted really nice games from Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight. In other words, just another night for the Pistons.
San Antonio Spurs
Yep, Popovich gets an A, but his team gets an F. Just because he made a smart move sitting Duncan and Parker doesn't mean the rest of the team is allowed to completely take a dump on the game.

E FOR EFFORT
Roy Hibbert (30 points on 11-for-17 shooting, 13 rebounds and three blocks in a win over the Hornets)
Antawn Jamison (32 points, 11-for-22 shooting and 10 rebounds in a win over the Pistons)
Greg Monroe (19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in a loss to Cleveland)
Marc Gasol (15 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in a win over Philadelphia)

Posted on: February 21, 2012 9:24 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 10

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

Even with all the hype, Jeremy Lin and the Knicks aren't getting their due. (Getty Images)

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the tenth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Houston Rockets at No. 9. I want to get excited about the Rockets too. They're an intriguing bunch of over-achievers with almost-stars in Kevin Martin and Luis Scola. But no way are they top 10 material quite yet. They are good at home but haven't been able to prove themselves much on the road. A 6-10 mark away from the Toyota Center has to improve if this group is to make a good case to be mentioned among the Western elite. -- RY

2. Too Low: New York Knicks at No. 15. Gauging the Knicks is all about how you want to look at the sample. They're 1-2 in their last three and they're 16-17 on the season, but they're also 9-4 in their last thirteen. All indications are that this is an above-average team that's put its early-season woes behind it. Working Carmelo Anthony back in after injury and adding J.R. Smith to the formula won't be a completely straightforward process, but this is a team that should be at least two spots higher. -- BG

3. Most Overrated: Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 14. We seem to go through this every week, but there's no chance that Minnesota should be this high, given that they're below .500, ranked above the Portland Trail Blazers, currently a game up on them, and still reside in last place of the Northwest Division. This week, they're not all that drastically overrated but placing them above New York, Portland, Memphis and Boston was a big with the heart, not the mind. Or maybe a pick made with googley eyes at Ricky Rubio. Whatever the reason, overrated. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Golden State Warriors at No. 23. Among the bottom ten teams in the league, Golden State seems the least awful. They're 5-5 in February, which counts as positive momentum after a slow start. Written off by many as early as mid-January, the Warriors are just four games out of the No. 8 playoff seed in the ultra-packed Western Conference, and even though they're 12th in the West, their No. 7 ranked offense provides enough reason to believe that they will land closer to the playoff fringes than the basement. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: San Antonio at No. 4. After back-to-back weeks of having the Spurs too low, it looks like they're finally in the right spot. Not quite as good as the Thunder, who own the West currently and certainly not among the Heat and Bulls. But absolutely a top five team with a look in them to make a strong push for the West's top spot before it's all said and done. They briefly got back Manu Ginobili, only to lose him again for a few weeks. No bother. The Spurs will just keep on. -- RY

6. Wild Card: Denver Nuggets at No. 11. At one point, it was nearly universally agreed upon that this team was legit contender material and a threat to the Thunder in the West. Then everyone started getting hurt and they started losing games by the bunches. What would've been a defining win against OKC Sunday was snuffed out by Kevin Durant. The Nuggets have shown they're almost good enough, but not quite there. If Danilo Gallinari can lift his game to another level when he returns, this could be a group to make a big Western push. -- RY
Posted on: February 21, 2012 8:32 pm
 

Chase Budinger prepares for the dunk contest

Posted by Royce Young



Most everyone wasn't exactly blown away when this year's All-Star slam dunk contest participants were announced. Derrick Williams, Paul George, Iman Shumpert and Chase Budinger isn't exactly a field that gets you pumped up.

But that's not so say those guys aren't taking things seriously and aren't going to try and put on a real show.

In what's clearly a planned video featuring teammate Chandler Parsons and a cardboard cutout of Yao Ming, Budinger is caught practicing a dunk over the likeness of the former 7-6 Houston Rocket. I don't know if that's one he's really planning, but points for thinking outside the box. Maybe we shouldn't write this dunk contest off quite yet.
Posted on: February 21, 2012 8:25 pm
 

Marvin Williams 'vehemently' denies trade rumor

Posted by Royce Young

Through the team's PR person, Atlanta Hawks forward Marvin Williams had denied making a trade request from the team. That's in reference to an ESPN.com report that said he was wanting to get away from the team because of playing time issues and a lack of participation in the offense.

Via Hawks PR guy Arthur Triche's Twitter:
The #Hawks just landed in NYC and had a convo with a very disappointed Marvin Williams, who while attending the funeral of a family friend, had to hear about his “reported” trade request. He vehemently denies ever asking for a trade and said, “you know that’s not me”.
There's obviously a difference between formally asking for a trade -- which the report did not say -- and just being frustrated with your role and indicating that you'd prefer a bigger role or a way out. Williams could've communicated his frustration to his agent or someone else which was then communicated along as "he wants out."

I don't think Williams would vehemently deny being frustrated with his position and participation in the team's offense though. He's averaging career-low minutes and the lowest point per game average since his rookie season. And this is with the Hawks being extremely banged up.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com