Tag:All-Star Weekend
Posted on: January 26, 2011 6:23 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2011 6:24 pm

Poor Coach Popovich has to coach the All-Stars

Posted by Matt Moore

You know who has two thumbs and doesn't give a crap about the All-Star game?

This guy. 

Unfortunately, for Pop, he'll be coaching the All-Star Game after his team locked up the best record in the West at the deadline. From the San Antonio News-Express
Monday’s victory at Golden State ensured the Spurs will have the Western Conference’s top record by the Feb. 6 deadline to select All-Star coaches, meaning Popovich will be drafted into working the Feb. 20 midseason extravaganza in Los Angeles.

It marks the second All-Star nod for Popovich, who also coached the 2005 West squad. He is 0-1, having lost to the East that year 125-115.

Nobody seems giddier at the prospect of seeing Popovich prowl the Staples Center sideline than Spurs star Tim Duncan.“He’s been talking all season about how he wants to make sure he gets that position,” Duncan said, with tongue planted in cheek.“I think he’s really excited about it.”

So far, Popovich is saying all the right things, calling his All-Star selection, “a great honor.”
via Spurs Nation » Popovich gets seat on All-Star bench.

Somehow you have to think if you ask him about going to the dentist he'd call it "a great honor." Since he probably has as much enthusiasm. Popovich isn't one for platitudes or pageantry, which is most of what the All-Star game is. There's not only no concerted need to effort towards victory, there's a distinct demand to avoid contact in order to prevent injury. It's pretty much the opposite of what Popovich likes to teach, like to preach, what he brings to his team. And with Duncan only a slight favorite to make the team out of respect, and both Parker and Ginobili longshots, he won't even be coaching his guys. Not that there's much coaching to be done. 

Can't you imagine Popovich walking into practice on Saturday morning, waiting till the press leaves, sitting down, opening a paper, and waving his hand dismissively. "Shoot, or whatever." 

But hey, I'm sure the gift bags are nice, and the wine selection's probably killer out there. 
(HT: Basketball Jones)
Posted on: January 25, 2011 1:16 am

Video: Derrick Rose: "My back is killing me"

Posted by Matt Moore

Derrick Rose is hopeful that having three days off will benefit his body, which is undergoing some stress with the amount of offensive load he's having to shoulder. In an interview with reporters after the Bulls' 92-83 victory over the Bucks, Rose admitted his back was "killing" him. Comcast Sportsnet in Chicago caught his comments on video. Rose comments on the injury at the 1:50 mark:

Not what you want to hear as a Bulls' fan. But of course, that kind of injury is to be expected with the load Rose is managing. Rose is fifth overall in usage this season (the percentage of possessions used by a player while on the floor), and at point guard, the playmaker, as well as primary scorer, Rose is "everything" to the team. 

There's no indication of the injury being anything more than just the wear and tear of having the team on his back, so to speak. But the rest is still important, as will his time off during the All-Star break, outside of his time on the floor during the actual All-Star game. Rose will need to soak up as much rest as possible. As rough as things are now, it'll only get worse once the second season rolls around. 

No pain, no MVP gain, I guess.
Posted on: January 21, 2011 12:25 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 1:56 pm

Friday 5 with KB: Blake Griffin an All-Star?

Posted by Matt Moore

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger answers five questions on the week's NBA developments. This week, Ken touches on ugh ... Melo, still, Rip Hamilton's situation, and the state of the CBA negotiations in this week's Friday 5 with KB

1. Well, the Russian put the kibosh on the Melo trade. You put out the reasons why it might be best for Melo to chance things with the new CBA in order to get what he really wants, the money and playing in New York. So the question then is, should Melo just say he's not going to sign the extension, period, and push for a rental trade to Houston or Dallas, or stay put?

Ken Berger (CBSSports.com):
The best way for Melo to get the Knicks and the money is still through an extend-and-trade, if Denver will come around and accept it. But you have to look at it from the Knicks' perspective, too. The more they give up for him, the less chance they will have of competing with Boston and Miami. Melo knows this, too. It's a balancing act for him between getting the place and kind of team he wants while also giving himself the best chance of getting paid. I think Melo should continue doing what he's doing, and by that I mean leave his options open. Don't sign the extension, and don't commit to whether he'll sign it or not. That's how he maintains the most leverage. Then he can take each variable as it comes. If he gets stuck with a rental deal to a deal he doesn't want to play for long-term, he still has a card to play by opting out and taking his chances with the new CBA. As I pointed out with my Melo Math column , that may not be as risky as some people think -- but there's no question there is some element of risk.

2. So Rip Hamilton really got screwed in this. Is that situation going to get resolved or was this Rip's last chance of getting out of a bad situation in Detroit?

See the Friday Post-Ups column for a full explanation, but basically your premise is correct. And not only is Rip out of luck, but so are the Pistons. It never made sense to me why Hamilton would be included in the deal because the only people it benefited were him and Joe Dumars. Now Dumars may be stuck with an unhappy Hamilton until ownership -- whoever that is -- agrees to buy him out. If that happens, I could see Hamilton signing with the Celtics and joining UConn pal Ray Allen. He'd give the Celtics a nice jolt of bench scoring.

3. The Heat are 0-4 since LeBron tweeted about karma and the Cavs. So this question is... do you believe in karma, at least in terms of what's going on with LeBron?

No. I believe in sprained ankles and sore knees, though. That's pretty much all this is.

4. Okay, Ken, give us a teaser of your All-Star picks. Does Blake Griffin make the cut?

Griffin presents the biggest dilemma for the coaches in years. It's rare -- only four rookies since 1980 have made the All-Star team, and only one of those, Tim Duncan, was added by the coaches. (The others were Shaquille O'Neal, Grant Hill, and Yao Ming.) LeBron James and Derrick Rose didn't make the cut as rookies, and Griffin probably won't, either, considering he'd have to be elevated above Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, or both. Two things: 1) Griffin certainly deserves it, but I'm not sure the coaches will snub all-timers like Duncan and Dirk, and 2) If he doesn't make it, hide the women, children and sophomores during the rookie-sophomore game.

5. The owners will apparently meet with the players at All-Star Weekend, despite reports they were considering not. I'm of the opinion the players need to stop pouting and stomping their feet when the owners do something they don't like, and start putting together substantive strategies to get the negotiations out onto open field, so to speak. Do you agree or do you think the owners really are making that impossible with their cold blooded approach?

Well, as far as negotiating protocol, it is really incumbent on the owners to make a proposal at this point. The owners made one, the players countered, and the owners have been twiddling their thumbs ever since. That seems to be their strategy, because they want the system that they proposed about a year ago -- max contracts of three or four years, a $45 million hard cap, no exceptions, 3 and 4 percent raises, etc., etc. Conversations have continued in smaller negotiating groups, but the talks aren't going to move forward until the owners make another proposal. The longer they wait, the closer they get to their goal of locking out the players and imposing their will. What can the players do? The superstars can show up at the All-Star negotiating session again and make a big show of it, but it's the lawyers and actuaries who are going to solve this problem, not Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony. Stomping feet and throwing tantrums isn't going to do any good. My questions is: At what point does the owners' indifference and unwillingness to advance the negotiations constitute unfair labor practices? I honestly don't know the answer, but I would imagine that the players' path to advancing the talks will come through a legal channel rather than public rhetoric.

Have a burning NBA question you need answered? Email us at cbssportsnba@gmail.com, or drop Ken a question for the Friday 5 on Twitter at @cbssportsnba .
Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 9:34 am

NBA labor talks will be held at All-Star Weekend

Posted by Matt Moore

It would appear cooler heads have prevailed. After yesterday's report from NBA FanHouse regarding a refusal of owners to meet with the players' union, it would appear that report was inaccurate and the two sides will meet during NBA All-Star Weekend. NBA FanHouse reports the same, but also says the players are not kidding around about the seriousness of this meeting, and what the owners' tactics signal to them: 

"If they don't want to meet, then they don't want to meet," he said. "But we'll still be out there. We're still going to have our meeting, to update players and do our due diligence. But I think those guys, the owners, are really miscalculating and getting bad advice. Whoever is advising them is giving really poor advice. If you had heads and CEOs of these Fortune 500 companies, I don't think they would ever run one of those companies like that."
via Notebook: Labor Issues, Tyreke Evans Foot Update, Dunk Contest News -- NBA FanHouse.

So the two will talk, and try and make some progress. But the players continue to freak out throughout these negotiations, showing their inexperience. The stunning thing about all this is that the players could have a lot of leverage were they to play things differently. Instead, they freak out and walk around stomping the ground like they did at All-Star Weekend, and with quotes like the one above. That only affords the owners the ability to further entrench themselves, rather than getting out on open ground. 

Open ground means the owners are talking, negotiating, and gives the players a better chance of causing dissension among the ranks of the owners between the small and big market guys over issues like player movement and revenue sharing. With Ken Berger's report of a possible compromise on all fronts that would make for a significant push towards a deal, the players have a shot at getting more than the scraps if they can get the owners out on the table with some level of dignity. But so far, the players seem content to play softball with their initiatives, then react with stomps and spits when the owners play hardball. 

They're losing on two fronts, but at least the talks will be held. 
Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:43 am
Edited on: January 20, 2011 12:51 am

DeRozan to replace Jennings in NBA Dunk Contest

DeMar DeRozan will reportedly replace Brandon Jennings in the 2011 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest, as Jennings will be scratched due to injury. Posted by Bendemar-derozan-dunk Golliver. 

Back in December, Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings suffered a foot fracture that required surgery. So it was a bit of a surprise when, in early January, Jennings was named one of four participants in the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, along with Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee and Oklahoma City Thunder big man Serge Ibaka.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday night that Jennings will be a scratch due to his injury and that he will be replaced by Toronto Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan.
The N.B.A. will add DeMar DeRozan to the slam dunk competition, which will be held during All-Star weekend. He will assume the spot vacated by Brandon Jennings, who is returning from a fractured left foot. DeRozan’s selection is expected to be announced on Thursday.
When news of the Dunk Contest participants broke a few weeks ago, DeRozan tweeted, "Dang! I'm not in the dunk contest this year?" Apparently, wishes really do come true sometimes.

DeRozan is your prototypical slam dunk contest participant, an explosive-leaping, high-flying, hard-finishing athletic wing. He finished second in the 2010 NBA dunk contest, losing to Nate Robinson, then of the New York Knicks and now of the Boston Celtics.

In the final round of last year's contest, DeRozan caught and finished an alleyoop one-handed while jumping over a teammate.  He also took off from near the free throw line and threw down with two hands. 

Here's a look at the tape, via YouTube user melo15jr5.

The 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend will be held in Los Angeles, California, and both Jennings and DeRozan are local products, hailing from Compton.

For more on the other contest participants, click here for a full analysis.
Posted on: January 19, 2011 11:01 pm

NBA unveils 2011 All-Star jerseys

The NBA has unveiled its 2011 All-Star jerseys. Posted by Ben Golliver.

With the 2011 NBA All-Star game just a month or so away, the NBA unveiled the official jerseys for the game on NBA.com's store.

Made by NBA apparel provider Adidas, the jerseys come in two colors: red and gold for the Western Conference and blue and silver for the Eastern Conference. 

The jersey fronts are plain other than the words "The West" and "The East" in block letters highlighted by a shadow and another star above the numbers. A modified version of the official NBA logo, encased in a star, appears over the left breast while the Adidas logo is on the right breast. An All-Star logo appears on the lower left portion of the jersey. 

The jersey backs have large block numbers above the player's name in smaller lettering, with a textured star design silhouetted into the background on the bottom of the jersey. 

NBA.com also notes that the jerseys are "decorated with Heat-applied twill All-Star graphics and features stitched-down ClimaLite® mesh numbers for breathable comfort."

Take a look. Images courtesy of NBA.com.


Final verdict: not too memorable, but not terrible by any means. And, most importantly, no giant cacti like 1994

The 2011 NBA All-Star game will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on Feb. 20.

Hat Tip: Pro Basketball Talk.
Category: NBA
Posted on: January 7, 2011 2:37 pm

JaVale McGee might be a pretty good contest bet

Posted by Royce Young

Blake Griffin is the clear favorite in this year's dunk contest. Everyone knows that. He has the hype, the big name, the homecourt advanatage and the ability. Everyone assumes he's going to walk easily to the crown.

In fact, he's a pretty big favorite. According to the betting site Bodog, Griffin is a 1/2 favorite to win the dunk contest. Brandon Jennings, who some have questioned even being in the contest, is next at 5/2. JaVale McGee is at 5/1 and Serge Ibaka is the longshot at 7/1.

But check out JaVale McGee practicing for the contest via CSN Washington. In one dunk, he folds a piece of paper and puts it in the net, jumps and bites it out of the net and dunks. Not bad. With his length, size and ability, surely McGee is going to have something good in store. So at 5/1, he might be the best bet out there.

The key to being successful is being quirky and clever without being corny and overly proppy. Blowing out a candle on a cupcake? Clever. Coming out of a phone booth in a cape? Corny.

The line isn't very wide between the two, but something like a piece of paper in the net is pretty good. It accomplishes what you want. It shows just how high you can jump, how skilled you are and how creative you can be. Turn that paper into something better ($100 bill? A replica of the new CBA? An autographed picture of David Stern?) and you've really got something good.

Each player is going to have a "dunk coach" which I guess it supposed to help them come up with ideas. Griffin has Kenny Smith working with him, McGee has Chris Webber, Jennings gets former great dunker Daryl Dawkins and Ibaka has teammate Kevin Durant helping him. Smith said last night on TNT that Griffin will have at least one prop dunk for the contest. Let's hope it's more clever and not corner.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 6:26 pm

A closer look at the 4 dunk contest competitors

Posted by Royce Young

So the NBA has made it official. Your four dunkers in this year's Slam Dunk Contest are Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka, JaVale McGee and Brandon Jennings.

Some see it as a bit of a lackluster crowd and while sans Griffin it's missing a big name, I see it as an intriguing group. Griffin and Ibaka are power finishers, McGee is a stupid athletic seven-footer and Jennings is your classic small guard that can leap. Plus he's left-handed which always makes dunks look a little cooler.

One thing that's somewhat interesting to be is the dunking resumes each bring in though. According to CBSSports.com's very cool tool the Dunk-O-Meter, Griffin leads the league with 81 slams. McGee has 55 which puts him seventh. Ibaka, who plays less, has 41 finishes putting him 13th. And then there's Jennings who on the season, has only two, yes two , dunks.

A dunk contest participant with just two actual dunks. Seems a little strange.

Now Jennings is at a disadvantage because of where he plays. When you're a point guard, you don't have the luxury of standing under the rim just waiting for a guard to set you up for a dunk. So it's natural his number is lower. Russell Westbrook is the top dunking point guard with 25. After that it's Monta Ellis with 17, then John Wall with 10. So it's not like the point guard position really lends to a lot of high-flying finishers.

Plus, the contest isn't about in-game dunking. It's about flying high and showing off, something Jennings is very good at. For instance, Nate Robinson who has taken home the crown a record three times only has one dunk this season. Granted, a lot of people feel like Robinson was a problem in the contest but still, we all know he can dunk. He just hasn't had a lot of opportunity in games.

Consider some of the league's top dunkers. LaMarcus Aldridge is third with 64 crams. Roy Hibbert is in the top 20. I don't think anyone would be all that excited to see either one of those guys in the contest. So obviously it's not about how many dunks you have, it's about how good they are.

Griffin is going to be disappointing. People are expecting so much from him that no matter what, he's not going to be able to live up to their expectations. I think unless he jumps over the jumbotron or makes a dunk from the 3-point line, fans won't be satisfied. This isn't to say Griffin won't be absolutely awesome -- because he will be -- but I'm not sure he's going to give the performance people hope for.

McGee is going to impress people and will most certainly go for a free throw line punch. With his size and length, he'll easily pull it off. Ibaka already has accomplished a free throw line yam and also has one dunk contest title under his belt. Those three come with a pretty good pedigree. It's Jennings who people are wondering about.

But don't let the stats fool you. Jennings may just have two aerial attacks to his name this season but that doesn't mean he won't hold his own.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com