Tag:O.J. Mayo
Posted on: December 9, 2010 8:01 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2010 10:17 pm
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The problem with Memphis

Why the downturn on Beale Street? We try and get a handle on the Memphis problem. Posted by Matt Moore



And things were going so well.

The Memphis Grizzlies made no substantial changes to their lineup this year, banking on the continued development of their core, mostly made of young players, to get them to the next level.  After all, last season they greatly exceeded expectations, going from what was widely considered to be one of the worst teams in the league to a near-playoff team. I mean, sure they were dependent on a core of players none-of-whom are considered league wide to be stars and their bench was the rough equivalent of a beached whale, but hey, no team's perfect. With projected improvements, it wasn't beyond belief to consider the possibility of the Grizzlies matching last year's success, if not exceeding it.

Only, that's not happening.

The Grizzlies are 9-14, even after a Rudy Gay buzzer beater to force overtime led to a solid win over the Suns on the road Wednesday Night. Mike Conley is playing much better than we thought he would. Rudy Gay has legitimately made the jump to franchise player, improving in nearly every statistical area and taking and making huge shots such as last night. The Grizzlies added Xavier Henry for offense, Tony Allen for defense, and Darrel Arthur looks like a real pro finally.

So then, what's the problem?

There's an idea that the problem is the offense, which has been 2 points worse in offensive efficiency this year, while the defense remains largely unaffected. The following table outlines the difference in this year's stats from last year's stats for those players who have played both years in Memphis. We're going with pace adjusted stats like rebounding percentage and PER which will also help us with the per-minute issues, though not all of them. All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com .

Player PER TS% eFG% TRB% AST% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg
Marc Gasol -1 0.043 0.034 -1.8 1.9 3.7 -2.1 2 -1
Rudy Gay 2.9 0.034 0.036 0.4 2.8 1.3 1 2 -1
Mike Conley 3.8 0.025 0.016 0.6 5.2 0.9 2.3 1 -3
Zach Randolph -1.7 -0.009 0.01 1.1 -1 0.8 -1.8 -5 -1
Darrell Arthur 4.3 0.102 0.089 -0.8 -1.2 0.7 1.8 10 -1
O.J. Mayo -3.6 -0.06 -0.054 -0.4 -3.2 -0.8 0.1 -12 -1
Sam Young -1.5 -0.04 -0.039 -0.9 0.1 -2 -3.3 -8 -8
Hasheem Thabeet -8.3 -0.109 -0.121 -6.8 -0.8 7.4 -2.1 -27 3
DeMarre Carroll 5.9 0.01 -0.063 6.6 1.2 -8.9 0.6 17 -2
Hamed Haddadi -2.5 -0.267 -0.387 13.1 2.4 3.7 -4.9 -34 -11


Okay, before you freak out, Hasheem Thabeet is averaging a mere 8.4 minutes per game this year, so that Offensive Rating (team points scored per 100 possessions while the player is on the floor) being 27 points worse isn't that bad (it's not good either, but let's move on). There's no way getting around it. The plummet of O.J. Mayo is a problem for this team. He's shooting worse, distributing less, rebounding at a lower clip, and using roughly the same number of possessions.

The move to the bench hasn't been phenomenally better for him but has slightly improved things. What's been odd is that coach Lionel Hollins elected to move Mayo to the bench, which he's obviously not big on, instead of supporting him through the slump. Zach Randolph also hasn't been his normal self, but he also dealt with early season injury issues. Let's try not to start directly at Hasheem Thabeet's numbers for fear they will sear all hope from our souls. That's a number two overall pick, ladies and gents.

The good news here is that Mayo's slump is unlikely to sustain over the course of the season. Even with a bad year, it's more likely that he'll find himself back on track. However, Mayo's body language has been pretty terrible, and you have to wonder if he's not trying to work his way out of town.

In the interim, the team is going to have to either improve defensively or find a more consistent option on offense. Xavier Henry has shown flashes of why he was drafted in the last five games, but Tony Allen's favorite album is the Tony Allen ISO Project's "Throw It Up and See What Happens." If the team were to figure things out, there's no reason this team can't compete for the playoffs. But as Grizzlies blog 3 Shades of Blue points out, that time may have already passed: 
To guarantee a spot in the Western Conference playoff picture a team has to win 50 games. To reach the 50 win plateau the Grizzlies would have to win just under 75% of their home games 30-11 and win 50% of their road games 20-21. So far the Grizzlies are 6-5 at home. That means the team has to go 25-5 the rest of the season in the half full FedEx Forum to reach the home win mark. The team that has lost 5 home games out of 11 this season still has to play San Antonio twice, Dallas once, New Orleans twice, Oklahoma City twice, Denver once, Portland once and Utah twice. Thats 11 tough home games and the Grizzlies can only lose 5 of them to reach the 30 win total for home wins.
via Are the Playoffs Already Out of Reach? | 3 Shades of Blue .

With Heisley already making noise about "changes" should the team not be on pace for the playoffs, what seemed to be a rising team could be headed for the scrapyard before it even got out of port. It's not the first time a team has looked to be on the path up only to fall backwards into oblivion. The concern has to be in the $180 million the team gave out to Rudy Gay and Mike Conley in the past six months. If this isn't the path, what is?
Posted on: November 26, 2010 1:53 am
Edited on: November 26, 2010 12:43 pm
 

Black Friday: Your NBA Shopping Guide

A list of NBA deals on the biggest shopping day of the year. Posted by Matt Moore




As we speak the hording masses are overrunning exhausted store clerks in a mad Turducken-leftover fueled crush of commerce that we call Black Friday. From sweatpants to hot pants to hi-def televisions and tablets with screens two sizes too small, the countryside is alive with the sound of financial transactions, and everything is on sale.

But what about in the NBA? Surely as your aunt is busy buying you long underwear that looks like it may have been part of Carrot Top's personal brand, there are similar discount deals available across the league, and indeed, we have some. If your team is looking for that perfectly holiday gift to complete their team, here's a few of the bargain Black Friday deals they can find on sale right now.

Expiring Veteran Power Forward, 50 cents on the dollar!
Troy Murphy is healthy. Troy Murphy has a good track record of production. Troy Murphy is not with the Nets. The Nets sent him home to "get in condition" even though he says he's good to go. It's partially because he's having trouble getting up to speed with his injury and partially because Avery Johnson is as temperamental as that dynamite they found on LOST . Just because it's not working out for him so far in New Jersey doesn't mean he wouldn't work fine. He's like that toaster with the beat up box that's sold as-is.

Numbskull Wing, Buy 1, get 1 pick free!
Speaking of Avery Johnson and his endless spring of patience, Terrence Williams is also at home , after being suspended for violating team rules. Now, Ben Golliver thinks Williams is just a knucklehead , and that's certainly possible. But this is the NBA. Knuckleheads make millions of dollars and wind up winning championships. Williams is talented but apparently doesn't have a spot in Averyland. Teams looking to snag a rookie contract with some talent can likely get Williams for a kind word and low first round pick at this point. Throw the Nets a bone with some actual talent and you can likely swing Williams and one of the Nets' picks. That is if Avery doesn't let him go on Black Friday all together.

Slumping Sub-Star, 75 cents on the dollar! O.J. Mayo is in a slump. He hasn't hit a wall, he's not regressing, he is still the third best player on the Memphis Grizzlies. But he's hit a slump. And instead of the endless amount of patience spent on Mike Conley over the past four years (which is working out brilliantly for the Grizzlies, despite my being a moron and blasting him as the worst point guard in basketball which is no longer true), apparently all those games O.J. helped win them mean less as he's been jerked to the bench. Lionel Hollins says it's just because he wants scoring punch off the bench . But Xavier Henry is now starting, despite him being approximately as prepared as a 9th grade pothead for organic chemistry. With Mike Conley's (totally reasonable!) extension, and Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph also due extensions, moving Mayo would simplify matters significantly for the Grizzlies. But they have to do so while he's in a slump. Trading a brilliant scrorer while he's lighting it up just won't do. Get 'em while the Mayo's... nevermind.

"Off-Limits" Superstar, Super-Secret Bargain Find! Denver's 8-6. Which ain't bad. It's also not great. And while there have been times when Denver looked decent, there have also been times when they look like they're inches away from utter implosion. and still... Melo doesn't have an extension.

And without an extension, he's still on the market. Denver's holding out hope, but they're also swaying. It just takes the right set of pressure applied to the right time to get a crack. And from there, you've got Melo. The idea of needing him with extension is fading as teams start convincing themselves they can convince him at season's end. So the trick is to apply the pressure and get Ujiri at the right moment before the offers start increasing, driving the value up. Melo's not off the table. And as long as he's not locked down, he's for sale.

Mega-Star Up for Grabs, Inquire For Availability
. Chris Bosh can't be on the market. Right? I mean, he can't be. He just got there. But if there's one member of the team that best represents the failures of the team's promise, it's Bosh. Bosh, who never waned to play center specifically because he's not made of steel and brawn, has been seen as a failure because he isn't those things on a team that needs it. He's less of a power forward and more of a grace forward. At least LeBron's got the numbers; Bosh has a few nice games and that's all.

Moving Bosh would be nearly impossible even if the Heat wanted to, due to the fact that right now he looks like a weak-willed third wheel with a massive contract. But if some team really wanted a superstar and had a package of talented bigs to offer, it's hard to see Pat Riley not at least writing the figures down on a notepad to kick around later.

Vintage Antique, Will Accept Best Offer. Juwan Howard is easy to make jokes about at 37 years old. But he got it done for the Blazers last year and wasn't the worst Heat player this year. If your team needs a big with experience, Howard's got it in spades. Just make sure you wipe the dust off the bottle.

Posted on: November 9, 2010 5:52 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:37 pm
 

Zach Randolph on the move? His agent says no

Zach Randolph was linked to the Detroit Pistons in a trade rumor, but his agent denies it. Posted by Ben Golliverzach-randolph In its Nov. 8 issue, Sports Illustrated reported that Memphis Grizzlies power forward, who put up an amazing 23-point, 20-rebound line last night, is seeking a ride out of town.
His six-year, $84 million contract expires after this season, and a league source says he's not happy that the Grizzlies didn't offer him an extension. Randolph, 29, has put up 20 and 10 in each of the past two seasons and last year shrugged off the loser label by powering Memphis to a 16-win improvement, earning his first All-Star berth. If the Grizzlies, who committed $82 million to Rudy Gay this summer and will have to spend big to retain free agents Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, are looking to deal, multiple sources say Randolph's preferred destination is Detroit, where he would fill the gaping hole in the Pistons' frontcourt.
In response, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal quotes Randolph's agent, Raymond Brothers, shooting down the rumor.
"There's no truth to that rumor," Brothers said. "All Zach needs is a basketball and a court to play on to be happy. Zach's happy. He loves Memphis. That's nonsense."
The Grizzlies can come to terms on a contract with Randolph any time this season. If no deal is reached, then Randolph will become an unrestricted free agent. And surely, there will be a market for a 20-10 All Star. 
If I'm Memphis, having just committed massive dollars to both wing Rudy Gay and point guard Mike Conley, with guard O.J. Mayo and big man Marc Gasol due for extensions soon, moving Zach Randolph and his expiring contract at the deadline for a piece and/or draft picks makes a lot of sense. But a serious playoff run would be huge a morale boost for a franchise that needs it as badly as any in the league. In other words, Z-Bo trade talk should wait until at least January. If the Grizzlies are out of contention at that point, ship his reliable post production down the road, or up the river to Detroit if that's who is interested. The Pistons could do a lot worse than a Greg Monroe / Zach Randolph frontcourt of the (near) future.
Posted on: September 23, 2010 6:03 pm
 

Preseason Primer: Memphis Grizzlies

Posted by Matt Moore
 
Out of nowhere, the Grizzlies rose to relevance last year, nearly making the playoffs in the hyper-competitive Western Conference. Over the summer they bucked up and paid the bill to keep Rudy Gay and became embroiled in a bizarre holdout with their rookies. The team again has low expectations and is flying under the radar. The question most people have is if they can possibly succeed like they did last season, and is that nearly enough? We take a look at where the Grizzlies are as we continue our Preseason Primers...




Training camp site: Memphis Grizzlies

Training camp starts: September 28th

Key additions: Tony Allen (free agency), Acie Law (free agency), Xavier Henry (draft)

Key subtractions: Ronnie Brewer (free agency)

Likely starting lineup:
Mike Conley (PG), O.J. Mayo (SG), Rudy Gay (SF), Zach Randolph (PF), Marc Gasol (C)

Player to watch:
Xavier Henry. Why? Because we haven't seen him since Kansas finished getting eliminated by a massive underdog in the NCAA tournament. Henry was absent from Summer League due to the holdout stemming from Michael Heisley's bizarre insistance that the rookie earn his bonus by doing something extra as far as performance. Like, some sort of bonus performance. Silly man. Eyes will be on Henry, whose play could have multiple impacts on the Grizz. If he solidifies the backcourt rotation, the Grizzlies will finally gain some depth after being one of the shallowest rotations in the league last season. Furthermore, if he can work with O.J. Mayo as a pair of combo guards, it could mean less time for Mike Conley. With Conley coming up on a possible extension, these are relevant questions not just for this season, but going forward.


Chemistry quiz:
How can the frontcourt stay chipper? Marc Gasol, whose overall play may have been better than All-Star Zach Randolph last season, continues to face the fact that the Grizzlies drafted Hasheem Thabeet with the second overall pick. Hamed Haddadi occasionally looks like a player worthy of minutes. DeMarre Carroll needs to compete and compete hard in training camp if he wants to find minutes this year. The Grizzlies aren't deep in the frontcourt, but given the bizarre makeup of the players involved, its a wonder they got along so well last year. But they did. Shockingly, after Allen Iverson departed for the basketball ether, the team became very close, constantly rushing to each other in confrontations and celebrating. The team genuinely likes each other. They're like a peacful commune... that probably smells really bad at times.


Camp battles:
Backup point guard should be a good one, with Acie Law, Greivis Vasquez, and other camp invites vying for the backup slot. Okay, maybe "good one" is a bit much, but it should be competitive, especially given there's not that much of a gap between those players and Mike Conley in the point guard department.

Injury issues:
The Grizzlies are primarily healthy. Marc Gasol looked completely healthy in the FIBA tournament, though the wear and tear may have some impacts. All in all, they're a young team that's pretty healthy.

Biggest strength:
Up and down. The Grizzlies can get up and down the floor and have an efficient offense. They crash the offensive glass especially well with Randolph and Gasol. They hustle and very rarely get caught without an option to create a shot.

Glaring weakness:
Yet again, the answer is defense. The Grizzlies aren't individually terrible on defense, they're just bad within the system. Part of that function is built around their inability to get rest. The starters always play, and they get worn down. Plus, they're young. Put simply, if the team defense doesn't improve considerably, the odds of their record improving the ten games they need to make the playoffs are slim.
Posted on: August 16, 2010 8:49 am
 

Shootaround 8.16.10: Chicken and the egg edition

News and links to set the NBA table, brought to you daily...
Posted by Matt Moore

Lance Stephenson's impressive performance in Summer League was enough to make you think maybe all the talk of him being a knucklhead was overblown. Whoops. Stephenson allegedly threw his girlfriend down a flight of stairs Sunday. The question of whether the acqusition of Darren Collison by the Pacers now looks like a savvy move or if Stephenson's realization that he's been bumped down the depth charthelped contribute to the incident is a lot like the chicken and the egg. Only with guys that throw their girlfriends down stairs. Not cool, if true.

Dwyane Wade feasts on the tears of children. No, seriously, there's video evidence and everything .

Mike Miller is no longer on the list of "guys you should mess around with." He's been training with MMA fighters .

Owners-media relationships are one of the more interesting developments in new media, as owners have been at both ends of the spectrum. Michael Hiesley has done interviews with blogs before. James Dolan, on the other hand, doesn't even speak up when he needs to make sure everyone knows the house is in order.

J.J. Redick was one of the most efficient players in the NBA last season, which is particularly difficult from the perimeter. With his new nifty $20 million contract, you have to wonder if he'll be given more opportunities to showcase that efficiency.

The Warriors sold for $450 million, which isn't a bad price tag in this economy. The Detroit Pistons, with multiple championships and a much greater basketball legacy, but in a decisively lower bargaining position, are on the table and close to a deal, but the leading bidder's not willing to go over $400 million . Whether this is the kind of driving force behind the failing economy of a symptom thereof, is, naturally, another chicken-and-the-egg deal. As long as the Pistons don't move, everything should be cool.

O.J. Mayo is arguably the second best player on the Grizzlies, depending on who you talk to. And there are six spot-on reasons why he doesn't have a place on the Grizzlies roster. This has "how the Grizzlies screw up a good situation, again" written all over it.

Josh Childress, on if he can be a lockdown perimeter defender on the Suns, a team not known for its defense, even marginally acceptable defense: "That's the plan."

Andrea Bargnani isn't the worst rebounding seven-footer in the history of the league. But it's really close .

Finally, I'd like to nominate the following as our official slogan for the 2010 FIBA World Championships: "Please do not get hurt, Tyson Chandler." Really? Eric Gordon goes with the team on the next leg, and JaVale McGee, for all his issues one of the true legit bigs on the roster, and Jeff Green go home? In Coach K we trust, but....


Posted on: August 3, 2010 11:30 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2010 11:31 pm
 

NBA's 2011 MLK day is stellar as usual

Posted by Matt Moore

Along with the Christmas and opening day schedules released tonight by the NBA, the MLK Jr. Day schedule was also revealed. And just as in years past, the slate's pretty solid. If only we had a trusty NBA blog to run down the games that day.

Wait, we do have a blog like that! It's this one!

Okay, I'll stop. Here's the rundown.

1PM EST, Bulls at Grizzlies:

The Grizzlies had a huge win last year on MLK day over the Suns, a team much better than them in 2009-2010. And they'll find themselves in a similar situation this year. Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, and Ronnie Brewer make the Bulls a much better team than they were last year on paper. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, have only added a shooting guard they can't come to terms with despite the existence of a rookie pay scale. So they've got that going for them.

But still, this should be a good matchup, if the Grizzlies aren't on a back-to-back. Marc Gasol and Joakim Noah are very different but nearly equal players in terms of production and skill. Zach Randolph is the flip side of Carlos Boozer. More consistent, less injury prone, and continuosly hammered for his locker room cancerous behavior. Not that Boozer is a saint, he's just somehow been excused regularly despite his contract situation being a distraction for Utah the last two years. But their production is similar so that's nearly a wash as well. Rudy Gay is a better but younger version of Luol Deng, and O.J. Mayo's scoring punch and perimeter defensive speed counters Kyle Korver/Ronnie Brewer's specific but limited skill-sets. Unfortunately, that Derrick Rose guy exists. Advantage: Bulls.

Let's not even talk about the bench diffferential, which is considerable. Like I said, back-to-back for the Grizz would be a bad, bad thing here.

4PM EST, Kings at Hawks:

The Hawks got ran last MLK by an up and coming Western Conference team in the Thunder. So naturally the league scheduled them against a similar, and only slightly worse in the Kings. Joe Johnson versus Tyreke Evans should make for a good theater, and Al Horford versus DeMarcus Cousins could be one of the most bizarre conflicts of style and personality among players under 25 all season. And hey, what says Martin Luther King Jr. Day more than Omri Casspi and Zaza Pachulia?

8EST, Magic at Celtics:

You don't really expect me to provide you with a preview for the estimated 22nd meeting of these two teams in three years, do you? Because if you do, you expect way too much out of me.

Oh, hey, something-something, Shaquille O'Neal versus Dwight Howard. Boom.

10:30PM EST, Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers:

This is likely going to be a back-to-back for the Thunder. That's generally how these things work. But in what could well end up being an MVP season for Kevin Durant, it still should be incredibly fun. As we saw in the playoffs, these two teams are extremely well matched, and even with the Lakers' upgrades off the bench, OKC's continued development should make for a strong foil to their heavily favored position.

Plus, Cole Aldrich versus Pau Gasol could be high comedy.

Posted on: July 28, 2010 5:37 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 12:12 am
 

Team USA makes odd cuts to roster

Posted by Matt Moore

Not everyone gets to go to Istanbul (not Constantinople ). Today Team USA officials revealed the roster finalists that will head to New York for the last round of cuts before starting international play for this summer's FIBA World Championships. Royce has told you all about who made it. But who got cut?

Just as we told you earlier that FanHouse had reported , Tyreke Evans, Gerald Wallace, O.J. Mayo and JaVale McGee were cut from the roster before the team heads to New York.  Evans was known for a while, as he tweaked his ankle at the start of camp and was going to be unavailable for the team regardless. The others, though, represent a set of confusing decisions that aren't extremely perplexing, but are enough to make you scratch your head, especially when you examining who they were replaced with. Some of these could be due to conflicts, personality clashes, or injury, but based on basketball, there are some question marks.

These players who made the cut were locks, and should have been:

1. Kevin Durant: Best player available.
2. Chauncey Billups: Veteran leadership.
3. Lamar Odom: Who doesn't want a space cadet small forward with great length who occasionally is dominant?
4. Danny Granger: Good at basketball.
5. Andre Iguodala: His reputation preceds his game. By miles.
6. Tyson Chandler: Big, which USA has none of right now.
7. Brook Lopez: Ditto, despite his game not being well suited for FIBA play.
8. Stephen Curry: A prolific shooter with passing skills and range. Perfect for Coach K, perfect for FIBA.
9. Kevin Love: Seriously. No bigs. Need bigs.
10. Rudy Gay: Has looked like he actually is worth the money he earned this summer, and they need a true SF with multiple combo-forwards on roster.

But then there are these five.

11. Jeff Green: Tweener that's not a great rebounder, provides range and versatility on a roster stacked with perimeter players.
12. Rajon Rondo: Not a great mid-range shooter, seemed to dog it in the Team USA scrimmage. Coach K did say on a conference call that he and Rondo have a good relationship.
13. Russell Westbrook: Fiery, great penetration guard, but it's a roster chock full of them. Seems superfluous next to Curry, Rondo, and Billups.
14. Derrick Rose: Same deal.
15. Eric Gordon: Wait, what?

Wallace is able to play the 3 or the 4, unlike Gay, is a better rebounder than Iggy, and is a better defender than Granger. If you're shopping for a versatile player that doesn't have to score (due to the roster being stuffed with scorers), Wallace is a great combination of all of the above. Sure, he doesn't have Iguodala's inability to create his own shot or Gay's penchant for electing for 20 foot jumpers, but it's hard to see how they could have thought his effort wasn't enough.

McGee makes sense, from the perspective of needing a more well-rounded offensive attack at center. Except why then is Tyson Chandler likely to start? Terrific defender, no doubt, but his injury issues have to be a concern (even more so for the Mavs), and unless Chris Paul is lobbing him alley-oops from the other side of the planet, his offensive weaponry is largely a bust. Green was put on roster, despite being a perimeter stretch four among a sea of great three point shooters. Wouldn't McGee's energy and size been a better fit for the roster?

Mayo, however, makes up the most egregious exclusion. Apparently the plan is to throw out multiple point guard lineups and have the other spread the floor. Except that Rondo's not a tremendous three point shooter. But they did throw in Eric Gordon. Who Mayo has shown to be better at in nearly every relevant shooting and scoring category. Considering Gordon's size, defense can't be the reason. In the end, you have to wonder if this was simply a case of Mayo not being a "Coach K kind of guy" and with no real advocate on roster, fell to the side. Either that or he suffered an injury. It just seems odd to have a plan of versatile fast shooters, then leave one at home.

But then, the man did win Gold two years ago, so obviously he knows a thing or two about what he's doing. We'll see if he can pull it off without the monster-roster he had then.

The next round of cuts should come next month before the team leaves for Europe in a series of warm-up matches to the World Championships.
Posted on: July 28, 2010 11:59 am
Edited on: July 28, 2010 12:00 pm
 

Evans, Wallace and Mayo unlikely to make Team USA

Posted by Royce Young

Cuts are coming for Team USA today and while some are beginning to think Jerry Colangelo may now take 16 players to training camp, it looks like it's about to wrap up for at least three players.

O.J. Mayo, Tyreke Evans and Gerald Wallace are expected to be among the players cut today when Team USA reveals its training camp roster, Chris Tomasson of FanHouse reports . As mentioned, a fourth is likely to be cut, but that's a question being debated by the coaching staff right now.

Eric Gordon was thought to be on the chopping block, but the Indianapolis Star reported Gordon will make the cut. The Star also confirmed Danny Granger will make the team. Warriors World reported guard Golden State guard Stephen Curry has gotten his confirmation call to go to New York.

Depending on what Colangelo wants to do inside, JaVale McGee is the likely candidate to be the fourth cut. But another unlikely player makes more sense, according to Rob Mahoney of Hardwood Paroxysm :

If there is a fourth cut — and it’s entirely possible that there won’t be, yet — it’s likely to be Rajon Rondo.

The lights of the FIBA World Championships were never going to be all that kind to Rondo, as the imperfections of his game would be in full view in international basketball’s unique hue. Defensively, he falls in line with everything Team USA wants to do, but on offense, it’s unlikely the Americans would be able to overcome having two quasi-liabilities (Rondo and say, Tyson Chandler) on the floor at the same time. Rajon may have forced his way into the top tier of point guards in the NBA, but properly executed zone defenses will smother him. Rondo could find ways to be effective, but if I’m betting on one of the team’s unimpressive shooters (Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook) to succeed in FIBA-style ball, it’s not Rondo.

Which makes sense for all the internal debating going on. Rondo would be a tough cut to make, but as Mahoney points out, a necessary one. This isn't about bringing the best players to Turkey. It's about bringing the best team . And with a stacked backcourt, Rondo's game doesn't figure to translate internationally as well as some others.

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