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Author Topic: ¶ NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments • Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres  (Read 728420 times)
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Posts: 398

« Reply #44 on: Oct 12, 2012, 08:10:56 AM »

NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres


The latest controversy concerning the fact that Kevin Durant worked out with his friend LeBron James again this summer makes me laugh.

A commentator for ESPN, who deserves to remain nameless, severely critcized Kevin as if he was giving away government secrets and losing his competitive edge versus his greatest opponent. This is hogwash typical of the internet era where anyone and everyone can publish their opinion and as everyone knows, opinions are like...noses - everybody has one!

The web's constant need for new nourishment and also many media people's dire need to exist in this quagmire pushes some people to be hyper-aggressive and say loud, outrageous things to draw attention to themselves. This is not my favorite form of journalism, n'est-ce pas?

Look at the increasingly short shelf life of many internet articles as we speed from one thing to the next without ever taking time out to smell the roses. Such is modern day living and all us old fogeys must simply adapt.

So, Durant practiced with LeBron; big deal! They spent more than a month together practicing and playing for Team USA on the way to a gold medal in London, so if any new important inside information was to be shared between the two stars there was plenty of time for it.

Personally, I got goose bumps when the two embraced each other just after LeBron won his first title with Miami in a hard-fought NBA Finals series in June when neither one let up on his relentlessness for one second. This was a wonderful example of fair play and respect between two grand competitors who are also good human beings.

You don't have to hate someone (or stoop to low blows) to want to beat them in basketball despite what Kevin Garnett might think!

As I was growing up one of my best friends, Stan Pietkiewicz, just happened to be the best high school player in Florida and a future NBA three-point specialist. We spent thousands of hours playing together - he was Zorro and I was his sidekick - and the rare times I beat him in HORSE or playing pick-up ball felt to me like winning a gold medal!

There was no one I wanted to beat more than him but we are still friends to this day. We often played with two brothers, the Collings, who were both good college players and despite their love for each other, their desire to beat each other was off the charts; it's often like that between brothers.

I am not one of those NBA observers who waxes nostalgic about rivalries in the 1980s and 1990s where flagrant, dangerous fouls were frequent and so-called proof of an intense desire to win.

For me the Bad Boys were just bad, Riley's Knicks went overboard and I was more interested in the Lakers, Celtics and Bulls for their teamwork and artistry than for their macho mentalty.

So let's applaud Kevin and LeBron who work hard in the off-season to improve their games, are absolutely NOT dirty players and whose will to win and desire to make their teams and teammates better cannot be questioned !

George Eddy from FIBA

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Carmel BBall
Jr. Member
Posts: 399

« Reply #43 on: Sep 26, 2012, 07:02:03 AM »

NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

NBA Criss-cross

As I was doing the French TV commentary on the Final of the Spanish Supercup between Barcelona and Real Madrid, I thought to myself that a heck of a lot of the players had NBA ties or experience and were good examples of how players go back and forth between Europe and the NBA a lot more than before.

The fact that Argentinian point guard Pablo Prigioni signed his first NBA contract with the New York Knicks at the age of 35 this summer shows how much things have changed because in the recent past it was assumed that if you didn't make the NBA by the age of 26 you had little chance of doing so.

When Spanish teams like Vitoria or Real sign young talent to long term contracts with heavy buyout clauses, this slows the arrival of some top players like Luis Scola, Mirza Teletovic, Tiago Splitter and Nikola Mirotic to the NBA despite them easily having the necessary level of play.

Teletovic should be a big surprise to NBA fans this season with the Brooklyn Nets because he is in his prime and ready to perform.

Mirotic signed a long extension with Real after being voted best Euroleague Rising Star so we might have to wait a while to see what he can do with the Bulls. Many scouts find him too slow for the NBA but I remind them that Dirk Nowitzki isn't that quick and Mirotic possesses the same technical feel for the game and outside range as Dirk.

Another interesting category of players present at the Supercup has emerged in the last five years. Players like Rudy Fernandez, Juanca Navarro, Erazem Lorbek and to a lesser extent Sarunas Jasikevicius and Sergio Rodriguez. All decided to play in Europe despite having the opportunity to stay with or go to an NBA club.

The first two did well in their stints in the league but juicy long-term contracts and the chance to accumulate trophies and titles each season brought them back home to adoring fans.

The Spurs would have liked to sign Lorbek, another slow-footed, Dirk-like outside shooting big man, but a three-year extension with Barcelona kept him in Spain. Ten years ago, almost no one would have refused a chance to join the NBA!

The two best players in the Supercup Final were Rudy and Barcelona's new center from Australia, Nathan Jawai. Fernandez was like a fish rediscovering water as he led Madrid's offence with brio, raining in three-pointers and dunks, while relishing the role of go-to player, something he was never quite able to do in Portland.

Jawai is another case in point, the type of player that went to the NBA and NBDL when he was too young, got shuttled around by several teams and then came back to Europe and Australia to improve his game and get some real playing time.

From what I saw yesterday, Nathan (26) - who physically looks like a young Shaquille O'Neal - is ready to have a breakout season in the Euroleague with Barcelona before pursuing his dream to return to the NBA, because centers with 140 kilos of mobile muscle mass with decent hands are few and far between!

Another athlete who definitely has an NBA motor is Real's Sergio Lull, an unstoppable force when he is running the fast break.

Many things have evolved in the globalisation of this elite basketball work force in the last few years. For example, a player like Lithuania's Linas Kleiza has crossed the ocean more often than a cruise ship!

NBA teams and scouts now realise that the quality of the formation of young players is now superior in Europe to the NCAA system, notably because there are no limits to the amount of practice time allowed in Europe.

In the past, NBA teams wanted to form young players themselves but the weakness of the NBDL compared to  Europe's top leagues has changed their thinking to the point that the smart teams like to recuperate mature players with European experience a little later in their careers in order to have an immediate impact.

The most important thing for a young player anywhere is to PLAY and build his own experience! Picking up a big check to warm the end of an NBA bench is a sure-fire way to screw up a budding career and a lot of NBA staffs are beginning to realise this.

For the well-being of these young talents, I hope there will be an evolution in the contractual relations between the NBA and foreign clubs in coming years permitting more mobility in order to find the right career plan to assure the best progression for each player.

This certainly seems to be the logical direction we're heading for in the next decade.

George Eddy from FIBA

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Pablo Bahia
Jr. Member
Posts: 300

« Reply #42 on: Sep 11, 2012, 04:11:14 AM »

NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

Nellie Ball

If ever there was someone deserving of a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, it was Don Nelson.

Among the 12 recent inductees, he stands out as a winner of five NBA titles as a sixth man - bridging the gap between the Boston Celtics of the Bill Russell and Dave Cowens eras along with John Havlicek - but even more so, as one of the most inventive and innovative coaches of all time.

He, more or less, invented the role of point forward, running the half-court offense through a passing forward like Paul Pressey or Anthony Mason.

He liked using a three-guard offense and uptempo, high-scoring pace which became known as 'Nellie Ball' with Steve Nash in Dallas or Run TMC with Golden State.

A lot of today's small ball tendencies were influenced by Nelson's creative coaching with high-speed play, quick shots, spacing and spreading the court, dribble drives and numerous possessions leading to prolific scoring.

Nelson said that throughout his career it was always the smaller, quicker teams that won the scrimmages even when Bill Russell was the adversary.

He did coach some very tall centers like Jack Sikma, Manute Bol, Shawn Bradley and Raef LaFrentz but he liked to put them out at the three-point line to shoot and draw the opposing center away from the lane to open up drives for his guards.

He was famous for many 50-win seasons with four different teams and playoff spots but also for early exits due to the stiff competition from the 1980s Lakers and Celtics , 1990s Bulls or the Lakers and Spurs in this millenium.

Nelson was always an iconoclast in the NBA microcosm and along with his son Donnie was a pioneer for scouting and recruiting international players like Sarunas Marciulionis and Dirk Nowitzki. Remember how people laughed at the Nelsons for trading for Dirk's draft rights before he became one of the greatest players of all-time!

They also went along with the wild idea that Dirk was a seven-foot forward and three-point specialist way before the modern-day fashion of long-range shooting fours.

To say that Don Nelson was way ahead of his time is evident. His Milwaukee team played in the first McDonald's Open and he also coached Dream Team II to gold at the 1994 FIBA World Championship in Toronto.

Nelson loved to do the unexpected on and off the court. In Dallas he chose his successor, Avery Johnson, and fixed the timetable for his taking over the reins. Then he beat his old team, Dallas, in the 2007 playoffs in one of the biggest upsets of all time since Dallas was the number one seed and Golden State only eighth. This was sweet revenge for Nelson who had a financial disagreement brewing in the courts at that time with his former owner, Mark Cuban.

He was a coach who liked to run the show, choose and change his players according to gut instinct and he didn't hesitate to ruffle some feathers along the way.

In the end, he will be remembered as the winningest NBA coach of all-time, a three-time winner of the Coach of the Year award and one of the key inventors of modern basketball.

Nelson said he hopes that now that the Hall of Fame gig is over he won't ever need to wear a tuxedo again and he invites everyone to come to his coffee shop in Maui to banter about basketball.

Hey, that sounds like enlightening fun!

George Eddy from FIBA

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Trini Dad
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Posts: 299

« Reply #41 on: Sep 02, 2012, 01:30:47 AM »

NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

London to LA

Two weeks after another fabulous Final at the London Olympics, it's time to look ahead to the new NBA season where all eyes will move towards a totally revitalised Lakers team that Chris Bosh announces as the favorite on paper at least.

It's clear that adding Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison to a starting five with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol - both brillant in London - is pretty impressive even if 3 of the players are over 34.

This quintet should be unstoppable on offense, somewhat permeable on defense and most importantly, a real challenge for coach Mike Brown in terms of playing time and keeping everyone fresh for the playoffs because the bench players don't provide too many solid guarantees.

The Lakers' brass HAS succeeded in surrounding Kobe with a team capable of winning two more titles in the next three seasons which would allow the Kobester to pass Michael Jordan's six trophies, his ultimate goal.

Since Nash stays in great shape at 38 and Jamison, 36, accepted the minimum to play with Steve, the potential for greatness is there once a balance is found between the other three starters on offence.

Even moreso than with Andrew Bynum, the Lakers will be a team that starts and finishes from the inside out and Kobe will HAVE to follow suit for LA to succeed.

The ultimate weapons will be the interior passing from Gasol to Howard along with the Nash pick-and-rolls with EVERYBODY!

I see a two-way battle for western supremacy between the young guns from Oklahoma City Thunder and the old warriors from LA, a generational duel for the ages.

I am also very curious to see what Minnesota looks like once Ricky Rubio comes back because recruits Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved were often outstanding in London and should be perfectly complementary to Ricky and Kevin Love since Andrei is an all-around forward-defensive stopper and Alexey can play the two guard position at 6'6".

In the East, the reigning champs Miami Heat start the race as the undisputed favorite followed by a group of teams including Chicago, Indiana and Boston.

These three teams start off on the same level because we don't know when Derrick Rose will be back, Indiana stayed put with a proven roster and the Celtics still have a Big 3, now built around Rajon Rondo, the best NBA playmaker according to neo-Knick, Jason Kidd.

Like the Lakers, the Knicks filled out their roster with age-old experience to back up the point guard and center positions but it's the marketing war with their Brooklyn rivals that is the talk of the Big Apple media horde.

This is going to create great buzz for the NBA, a throwback to the Yankees-Dodgers fight for the hearts of New Yorkers in baseball back in the 50's!

A sidelight that noone is talking about is the arrival of Mirza Teletovic who should help Brooklyn thanks to a reasonable salary, deadly outside shooting and explosiveness to the rim. He will be a diamond in the rough similar to Nikola Pekovic with the Wolves.

Both New York teams will be in the running for a playoff spot; on the other hand, a former powerhouse like Orlando seems doomed to a long rebuilding process.

In any case, these early tendencies add interest to the series of exhibition games that will be played around the globe before the real season gets going at the end of October.

George Eddy from FIBA

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Posts: 399

« Reply #40 on: Aug 14, 2012, 01:01:41 AM »

NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

OLY - Stankovic: on how modern international basketball was born

With Team USA cruising through to the Final of the London 2012 Olympic Basketball Tournament, the comparisons with the Barcelona Dream Team – which is celebrating its 20th anniversary – will continue.

The Dream Team that graced the world 20 years ago has been talked about at length these past weeks.

What hasn’t been talked about is how it came to be and why.

What few media have addressed is why the first ever international team of NBA players came to be and how.

It all started with the coming together of two men: then FIBA Secretary General Borislav Stankovic and NBA Commissioner David Stern.

On the eve of another meeting between FIBA’s Secretary General – now Patrick Baumann – and David Stern, we talked to FIBA Secretary General Emeritus Borislav Stankovic about the broader meaning of bringing professional basketball players to the Olympics.

FIBA: Mr Stankovic, can you tell us why you pushed for professional athletes and more specifically NBA players to compete at the Olympics?
Borislav Stankovic: Everyone was so-called amateur began to believe the world had changed, that the world of top amateur sport was very close to the professional world.

There was a period of hypocrisy where there were on the one side professionals under contract, who had insurances and so on, and on the other side so-called amateurs who received money under the table from various parties.

That is when we decided that something needed to be done. We stopped this just in time.

FIBA: What were the first steps that you took?
Stankovic: We waited for the IOC – the highest ranked sporting organisation - to make the first move towards professional sport. But the federations were already prepared for this.

Everyone was actually already professional. But the true sense of the word professional means a lot more than just earning money. It is about going to practice, having proper training conditions, about taking responsibility for the health of athletes.

The solution was found in a discussion I had with David Stern at the time by chance. After that, we continued to talk, we had other meetings.

FIBA: What were the main challenges?
Stankovic: In the beginning the issue was not so much with FIBA, but between the NBA – the professional leagues – and the colleges or universities, who were considered amateur but who had big scholarships and a lot of other things on offer for their top players.

We agreed things pretty quickly with (David) Stern, but of course the American federation (USA Basketball) did not have any NBA representative on its board. Then eventually, with some political and governmental pressure we got there.

The question of women’s sport was of course also very significant as far as this issue was concerned. At the time there was no professional league for women. The highest level was college. It allowed us to give similar conditions to women’s basketball, top leagues and so on.

FIBA: How did you and David Stern, two men with very different objectives, manage to see eye to eye?
Stankovic: David Stern is first and foremost a friend with whom I have worked for many years. There always was a respect between us, a respect of the rules. There was a common idea that we needed to work together for the good of basketball in spite of having very different interests. His was that NBA become a global movement and, of course, to make money.

FIBA wanted a bigger and better basketball throughout the world, being played at a high level everywhere. And we managed to find common ground. The result is that basketball is one of the most important Olympic sports.; not only in terms of spectators, but also in terms of atmosphere.

FIBA: Has bringing professional athletes to the Olympics improved international basketball?
Stankovic: I can tell you that my idea had always been, on a technical level, that you can only get better by playing against the best. The results against NBA teams have proved this to be true. By playing with them you improve. There have even been cases when the Americans have not won the top international tournaments or the Olympics.

All of this is proof that you need all the top basketball players. They attract spectators, they attract media and press, and at the end of the day, they attract money.

Not money for me or for FIBA, but money to develop and improve the sport of basketball worldwide.


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« Reply #39 on: Aug 03, 2012, 01:50:38 AM »

NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

NBA Stars and Hopefuls

After two days of competition in the men's tournament, we already have a good feel for what's going on. As expected, Team USA is steamrolling along behing suffocating defence in the passing lanes,youth,talent and a willingness to share the ball led by LeBron James and his altruism.

All is not perfect and these stars are still learning to play together which has led some of the coaches present to announce that USA CAN be beaten on a given night. I doubt it!

The other favorite for the final, Spain, has logically beaten  two opponents but their game with Russia on Saturday looms as the battle for first place in the group, a grand matchup for all lovers of the game. Pau Gasol is as unstoppable as ever from his control tower position in the low post generating good things for his team but if Juanca Navarro can't play, I like Russia in this one.

Future NBA teammate of Andrei Kirilenko in Minnesota, Alexey Shved, is the revelation of the tournament as the assists leader after two games. As Kirilenko said, it's been a while since Russia had such a talented point guard and Shved is long, tall, bouncy and athletic and full of confidence in his own ability.

When Ricky Rubio comes back, the Wolves fans are going to have alot to cheer about this season, believe me. Russia can match Spain's height advantage and the all-around brillance of Kirilenko and Victor Khryapa should be the difference.

It's interesting to note that none of Russia's players played in the NBA last season but they are still in the top 3 teams here. Of course, on a hot shooting day Brazil or Australia can shake up the hierarchy in group B.

Each of these countries possesses a trio of stars that could pull off an upset if they all play well in the same game. In group A, French fans were worried after Team USA crushed France by 27 points but this was an efficient wake-up call for Tony Parker, Nicholas Batum and Nando DeColo who all played much better against an aging Argentina which still has a wonderful small - ball starting five but not much bench.

This time it was France the more youthful and athletic team and it showed on defence and on the boards. Argentina only scored 64 points after putting up 102 vs. Lithuania in their impressive first game when they were fresher and their shared experience over the last ten years was decisive.

France wore Argentina down and hit some big three- pointers (DeColo and Mike Gelebale each hit three) against their "grandpa" zone defence. This opens a clear path towards second place (which permits you to avoid USA until the final) in group A for the Frenchman, if they don't stumble in their next three winnable games. Playing Lithuania tommorrow at nine in the morning might be a dangerous trap!

For Argentina and France, their confirmed NBA players do the bulk of the work but future Spur Nando DeColo looked much more at ease against Manu Ginobili and company than against Team USA.

Lithuania looks like a good candidate for fourth place in the group. So far, their young center Jonas Valanciunas (Toronto) seems under-used and shy.

In general, the Gasol-Kirilenko-Scola generation of thirtysomething NBA players is still dominating play with the notable exception of Team USA but I feel as the games get tougher the older USA players like Kobe Bryant, Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and James will have bigger roles.

The ability of the latter two to D-up on opposing big men for short spurts is key.

After a thick slate of important games next monday, we will know the quarter-final matchups and the hyper-exciting "win or go home" elimination round can begin!

George Eddy from FIBA

Visit: The Basketball Statistics Blogs
Posts: 1

« Reply #38 on: Jul 07, 2012, 10:39:37 PM »

NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

Lightning fast

A lot of the things that made Miami a deserving and exemplary NBA champion also helped Spain continue its domination of world soccer.

It's the year of small ball, quickness beats height, lightning fast and crisp execution, time of possession, pass first dribble second, hit the open man, swarming defense, full court pressure, team attitude...etc.
An intelligently circulating ball will always outperform the defenders running after it!

The difference between Miami and Spain is that the Heat were toughened by having to overcome several back-to-the-wall scenarios in the second and third rounds to even qualify for the Finals.

LeBron James is finally a true King not just a marketing one after his Game 6 performance in Boston when he saved Miami from elimination with 45 points (30 in the first half on 12 for 14 shooting mostly from mid to long range!).

A matured, determined,less arrogant but highly-concentrated James confirmed his new crown by leading the Heat in every domain against the Oklahoma City Thunder, averaging a near triple-double for the series while defending admirably the best offensive player in the world, Kevin Durant.

LeBron understood after Game 1 of the NBA Finals that OKC could not stop his penetration so he put his jumper in the freezer and bulled his way to a title while also distributing the caviar assists when the defense sagged to a horde of hot-shooting role players from Shane Battier to Mike Miller without forgetting Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers.

Like Spain in the Euro2012 football final, Miami was all about making the right play.

The Thunder, who looked unbeatable after winning four in a row against the mighty San Antonio Spurs, came apart at the seams on the big stage of the NBA Finals, pressured by a smart Miami defense which took away the brillant passing game that worked so well against the Spurs.

This left coach Scotty Brooks reacting weakly to Miami's adjustements and the trio of scorers forcing alot of bad shots and making too many untimely turnovers and bad decisions whereas, on the other hand, Dwyane Wade filled perfectly his new role as second banana to LeBron.

Coach Eric Spoelstra's coming out party had Pat Riley's indelible philosophy written all over it but make no mistake, it was Spoelstra running the show from the bench.

Let's not be too severe with the young lions of OKC either, because they were just a few possessions away from leading the series 3-0!

The unwhistled foul by Lebron on Durant at the end of Game 2 was a turning point and the first four games all came down to four or five key plays as Spoelstra repeated never-endingly.

The fabulous display of sportsmanship and respect by the two superstars when it was all over sent chills down my spine. What a wonderful image to counter-balance all the big money cynicism that surrounds modern day pro sports.

Seeing friends James and Durant hug each other before Kevin broke down in tears in his mother's arms, leaves me dreaming about the wonderful basketball that will be produced in less than a month by Team USA at the London Olympics.

James and Durant PLAYING TOGETHER, are you kidding me?

Add all that they have learned about themselves but also about smart team basketball during these exciting playoffs and you've got the ingredients of a beautifully, inebriating South Beach cocktail, believe me!

Since it's looking like this will be the last Olympics where the over- 23 year old NBA players participate, let's relish at its true value the idea of seeing a small ball Team USA line-up of Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook, James and Durant pressing and sprinting up and down the court like unstoppable gazelles in an extra-terrestrial video game!

In the final analysis, this was not yet the year of the Thunder, just the year of lightning !

George Eddy from FIBA

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Posts: 199

« Reply #37 on: May 30, 2012, 10:25:40 PM »

NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres

Parker v Westbrook

Tony Parker received a nice little honor this week when he was named to the All-NBA Second Team.

What should be viewed as a compliment, though, might also be considered a slight.

Parker didn't only deserve to be on the First Team, but he also merited strong consideration for league MVP honors after being the season-long spark for a San Antonio Spurs team that is vying for the championship.

The team that could feel a Parker backlash is Oklahoma City, the side the Frenchman and San Antonio are meeting in the Western Conference Finals.

The Thunder are gunning for their first NBA title and their impending showdown with the Spurs makes mouths water.

Oklahoma City made the Los Angeles Lakers look ordinary in their 4-1 victory in the Semi-Finals.

The Thunder boast the 2010 FIBA World Championship MVP Kevin Durant, his fellow USA teammate from that gold-medal winning side Russell Westbrook, Spain's shot-blocking extraordinaire Serge Ibaka and the league's best sixth man, James Harden.

But San Antonio have Parker, who has flat out played the best basketball of his career this season and that's saying something when the point guard has already won three NBA titles and been the MVP of the Spurs’ 2007 NBA Finals triumph.

During this NBA Lockout-shortened regular season, Parker averaged 18.3 points and 7.7 assists.

In the playoffs, he's averaged 19.1 points and 7.1 assists.

Parker, 30, is a player who should be in the Hall of Fame one day.

He'll lead France this summer in their first Olympic appearance since 2000, when Les Bleus captured a silver medal.

Now is his time.

The same could be said for the fiery Westbrook, though.

He’s a dazzling player who at times is also brash.

Westbrook, too, was an All-NBA Second Team selection, an award that was richly deserved.

Averaging 24.1 points per game in the post-season, the 24-year-old has, perhaps, even more riding on this series.

Not only is he still seeking his first NBA crown, but also looking to enhance his credentials before USA Basketball name their Olympic squad.

Parker dropped 42 points on the Thunder when the teams met in early February and San Antonio won, 107-96.

In their next meeting on 16 March, Parker had 25 points and seven assists as the Spurs prevailed, 114-105.

When it comes to Oklahoma City, Parker does seem to elevate his game.

Knowing that Westbrook is on their team is the main reason why.

Westbrook was very good in their meetings with the Spurs, including a 36-point explosion in the March clash.

“He’s definitely the head of the snake on this team,” Parker said.

“Durant is obviously the best scorer in this league, but I think Westbrook is the one who makes them go.

“I’m definitely going to go at him.

“It’s not going to be like Dallas or the Lakers, where their point guards are not as aggressive.

"I’m going to go at him and make sure he works a little bit.”

France and the United States will meet each other on the opening day of Preliminary Round action on 29 July, and that means Parker v Westbrook.

San Antonio’s showdown with Oklahoma City could be a sneak preview of one of the more intriguing battles that will take place in London.

Jeff Taylor from FIBA

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Posts: 101

« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2012, 11:40:28 PM »

NBA Basketball  & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA & Comentarios Libres

Reinventing D-Rose

The overly-accelerated and dense NBA lockout season pushes on regardless as players are dropping like flies to serious injuries all in the name of making more money.

Of course I am the guy who has been preaching for many years that the NBA's 82-game regular season should be shortened to protect players from injury and prolong their careers so naturally a 66-game season squeezed into four months with so many horrid back-to-backs could not receive my approval!

In my opinion, the day the NBA eliminates back-to-backs will be the day the league takes a giant leap forward. This does go against the modern day trend of accelerating all aspects of our lives as we bounce around from screen to screen telling the world about our intimate details on Twitter or Facebook instead of actually living!

Premature aging of today's high-level athletes is not only a phenomenon in basketball. Since the NBA is all about business they are going to have to think deeply about protecting their product which means protecting the PLAYERS.

Protecting them, for example, from hard fouls which have become an unfortunate  macho culture in the league which is accentuated during the playoffs when intensity increases as the results become more crucial.

It's simple: if a defender grabs or hits an opponent without going for the ball - especially from behind - call a flagrant foul and a lot of the intimidating bully tactics would diminish.

If a player goes nuts and throws a life-threatening elbow, suspend him for a LONG time! Some of the hits that high-flyers like Blake Griffin or Derrick Rose have suffered this season make me cringe. We want to see these amazing athletes fly for many years for our viewing pleasure, not be crippled and grounded like poor Brandon Roy!  

Rose is a symbolic case in point, a player whose muscles largely outweigh his joints and who possesses a rare explosiveness that permitted him to become the youngest MVP ever.

He blew out his knee against Philadelphia after suffering numerous injuries all season long and now he's facing a long rehabilitation process where I feel he is going to have to reinvent himself physically and technically in order to have a long and fruitful career, something we should all hope and pray for because Rose is a humble and likeable superstar in the Kevin Durant vein, who represents the future of the NBA - nothing less!

Rose should be inspired by the evolution that players like Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade, Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili experienced during their careers. Going from young, hard-driving finishers who received a lot of bumps and bruises early in their careers to all-around players with better shooting range and intermediary mid-range shots which are less costly for their health.

He can and will transform himself into a point guard similar to Parker, Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo who rain in teardrop shots and who slalom around defenders and avoid straight-on hits from opposing big men by being fundamentally sound and also, slithery as a snake!

Believe me, this would be in the best interest of Derrick Rose AND the NBA.

George Eddy from FIBA

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« Reply #35 on: Apr 25, 2012, 02:10:11 AM »

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All-NBA Team

Let me take a shot at beating my US colleagues to the punch   you my All-NBA First Team long before the official voting and announcement.

At point guard, the man that took the lowly and often laughable Los Angeles Clippers from the bottom to the top of the pack in one season, Chris Paul! He's 5'11" and provides whirlwind speed, amazing passing, clutch shooting and exemplary leadership both on and off the court. Big things sometimes come in small packages even in basketball.

Improving the Clips from a team winning only 39 percent to one winning 63 percent since his arrival is all you really need to know. His closest competition comes from his boyhood idol and good friend, Tony Parker, who has been anointed by Greg Popovich AND Tim Duncan as the incredible Spurs' best player and number one option this season.

France's playmaker has never played better, dishing out a career-high in assists on the best passing and three-point shooting team in the league on the way to an unexpectedly good record atop the Western conference for a club everyone considered as too old.

Paul and Parker will probably face off in the playoffs or in London and that will be fun to watch although tough to keep up with!

At the other guard position, Kobe Bryant, who hasn't looked old either despite 16 seasons and a lot of miles on his odometer. OK, his shooting percentages are down but he's led the league in scoring all season, carried the Lakers' outside game and even defended frequently the opponent's best guard while working unbelievably hard to stay in top shape.

Even his absence for a shin problem was positive because it allowed other players to pick up their games before the playoff run.

At the two forward spots we meet up again with my two favorites for the MVP trophy, Kevin Durant and LeBron James. I went into detail concerning their qualities in my last column. Both players have played a lot of power forward recently when their coaches went to a small-ball, uptempo line-up.

Whether at the 3 or 4 position, this duo has been consistently brilliant and KD is approaching LBJ's all-around talent with his best career stats in passing, rebounds and ...dunks! Watching them play together in London should be absolutely spectacular.

Someone we won't be seeing on Team USA is my center, Dwight Howard, who is out with a back problem. He's still the best center in the world and the leading rebounder in the NBA but I would put him dead last in NBA communication skills towards his fans, coach and team!

All season long poor Dwight has been wishy-washy about his plans and desires, denying rumors that seem to emanate from his close entourage and wasting a lot of energy prying his own foot out of his mouth.

Another candidate would be Shaq's favorite, Andrew Bynum, who does some crazy things himself but is playing the best ball of his life while missing few games and even seems a BETTER option in the money time now compared to "free-throw bricking" Dwight.

Since Andrew won't play for Team USA this summer, Howard's replacement will likely be Tyson Chandler who might also replace Dwight as the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year. His impeccable leadership on the defensive end is sorely missed in Dallas but highly appreciated in New York for a revived Knicks squad.

Now I pass the ball to you to choose the Second and Third All-NBA Teams in your comments!

George Eddy from FIBA

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« Reply #34 on: Apr 03, 2012, 02:30:03 AM »

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With about 80 percent of the NBA regular season behind us, I think we can get a pretty good idea of who should be MVP and I agree with Derrick Rose - it should be Kevin Durant!

Up to the All-Star break I would have voted for LeBron James with his brillant all-around stats and Miami's domination of the league up to that point. But since the break it's been all OKC, especially in the last 10 days right up to yesterday evening's games where the Thunder sent a message to the whole league by crushing Chicago while Miami fell apart in Boston!

With Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the way, OKC has beaten handily Miami, the Lakers in LA and now Chicago during their string of six wins in a row. There is not a better time to take a stand with only 12 games left in the regular season while all the ambitious squads are gearing up for the playoffs.

The Thunder is a young team which is key during this accelerated season concerning fatigue but they play with the seriousness of a veteran team sharing the ball on offence and playing hard defence together.

Their top trio of scorers has nothing to envy compared to Miami's Big Three and I feel OKC is stronger on the inside and on the bench compared to the Heat. Both teams love to play small ball and scurrying defence to fuel their uptempo game but right now OKC is doing it better!

At only 23, Durant is the true leader of this wonderful winning machine having career stats in rebounds and assists and also playing much improved defence notably when matched up with... LeBron!

For a player who was supposed to be physically frail when he came into the league, KD plays at a very high level almost 40 minutes a contest without missing a game and has his share of Dunkorama highlights to boot.

He wants to and appears to be a lot more of a clutch player in the money time than James and we can only dream that they match up in the NBA Finals to settle all these questions once and for all.

Both players have worked arduously on improving their enormous god-given talent but somehow you get the impression that Durant has more killer instinct than LeBron despite being less dominating physically similar to the way Bill Russell had a more steely mentality than Wilt Chamberlain despite being less imposing athletically.

We know that KD wants that damn ball at the end of a close game but we are not sure that LeBron does. Durant is a player that can play all five positions and has the height of a center but the technique, shooting range and first step of a guard. He can shoot over anybody from anywhere and drive left or right.

Despite being obliged to force up a lot of tough shots at the end of possessions, Durant is shooting an incredible 50 percent from the field (38% on threes). Compare that to the actual NBA leading scorer, Kobe Bryant, who takes a lot more shots than anyone this season and who is shooting only 42 percent with 28 percent on three-point shots!

You might say that I am forgetting the reigning MVP, Rose and his Chicago team, that is at the top of the league. Yes, what they are accomplishing is extraordinary because their best player has missed 20 games and this fact alone sort of excludes him from the MVP debate but if he comes back healthy for the playoffs, we won't be able to exclude the Bulls from the debate about who will be champs!

George Eddy from FIBA

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« Reply #33 on: Mar 07, 2012, 06:30:29 AM »

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Wilt and LeBron

Last week, the NBA celebrated beautifully the 50-year anniversary of my childhood idol's 100-point game in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Wilt Chamberlain (along with the Harlem Globetrotters) drew me to basketball at the age of eight in 1964. Wilt looked so big and strong and the ball looked so small in HIS hands that I was awestruck. He was like Superman or Batman, a super-hero, except that Wilt was REAL!

Watching his duels with Bill Russell throughout the 1960s was a treat and helped me develop knowledge that would later serve me well as a TV commentator. As Wilt said, nobody cheers for Goliath... except me!

His nemesis but also longtime friend, Russell, said it best when he pointed out that if Wilt had had a mean streak in him, he would have been unstoppable and deadly dangerous!

Russell outwitted Wilt with his mind games, steely will and stronger teammates, which proved that basketball really is a team game and the best group usually wins over the brilliant individual.

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant figured this out, made their teammates better and started winning titles after being overly individualistic early on in their careers.

Wilt saw the light and won with Philadelphia as a low-post assist machine in 1967 after losing numerous battles with Russell's Celtics when scoring aplenty.

He then had his crowning achievement was with the 1972 Lakers in a Russell-like defensive and rebounding role setting up their murderous fastbreak and winning a record 32 games in a row on the way to the NBA championship trophy!

Wilt's transformation from egocentric stat machine, eternally frustrated and trying to justify himself, to ultimate team player and champion was a pleasure to see.

I see many similarities between Wilt back then and LeBron James right now.

Both were so physically dominant and larger than life that no matter what they did or how many they scored it was never enough for the fans and pundits. They both got labels as money-time chokers as well as lacking that decisive killer instinct in big games.

LeBron is playing the best ball of his life right now but all we hear about is how he passed up two chances to win games in the space of a few days, first in the All-Star Game and then against Utah on Friday.

He will have to win the title and play a decisive role in the money time come the playoffs and NBA Finals this June to finally silence his critics. Anything less and he will keep getting the Wilt treatment!

Wilt and LeBron bear the weight of their incredible but cumbersome talent while being fun-loving, generous and smiling guys which some people consider a sign of weakness.

Not many people have Russell's or Jordan's or Kobe's unique intensity and will to win and even they couldn't do it alone.

Wilt, or Jordan for that matter, finally broke through and LeBron eventually will with increasing maturity and the help of his teammates.

LeBron made the right "Decision" because he recognized his own limits (he would have wilted under the pressure going it alone in New York) and we must also give him credit for working to improve his  game through much better outside shooting and this season with a better low-post presence and technique.

When we watch James bulldoze through five defenders on his way to a coast-to-coast monster highlight jam let's just admit how lucky we are to witness such talent today the same way I was awestruck watching Wilt as a little kid!

George Eddy from FIBA

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« Reply #32 on: Feb 25, 2012, 06:50:59 PM »

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This whole Jeremy Lin story is a gift from heaven for David Stern and the NBA. Now they have a typically American feel-good story to help forget the lockout, some sloppy games and the Hornets, and a new Asian basketball icon to replace Yao Ming as a marketing locomotive!

I was sure David Stern would find a way to get him into the Rising Stars Challenge in Orlando and he did. This story is without doubt the most incredible one in the history of the league, bar none.

Lin was born in L.A. but his story was invented in Hollywood by the best modern-day screenwriters. Next to this, Slumdog Millionaire was a kids movie!

Let's see the synopsis; a 23 year old Harvard graduate who didn't even get a sports scholarship after winning the state high-school championship and best player award playing for Palo Alto, goes undrafted by the NBA, gets cut by two teams and then out of the blue puts an ailing Knicks team (without its two superstars) on his back and leads them to seven wins in a row while becoming a world-wide media phenomenon!

What? Are you kidding? Nobody is going to believe such an unbelievable scenario, the producers would respond...

Alas, it's all true and in spades! Lin is not a flash in the pan who will drift off into the oblivion of short-lived wonders as some experts would have us believe, he is a Steve Nash-like top ten NBA point guard who will have a long and storied career. He is exactly what New York and its threatened coach Mike D'Antoni needed, a playmaker with a true point guard mentality who gets the ball moving on offence and gets all his teammates involved which motivated them to play defence and transform themselves into ferocious never-say-die winners.

Lin, the first Harvard NBA player since 1955, has alterred the team's psychology says Tyson Chandler, who has benefitted the most from his presence. Lin will mesh with Amare Stoudamire like Nash did and when Carmelo Anthony comes back, HE will have to adapt to Lin and not the contrary.

This means less slow down isos for Melo and more uptempo team play for Lin and the Knicks! Melo convinced the coach to give Lin a shot and it's the best thing he's done for his team so far this season. Lin was a champion in high school and led Harvard to their best season ever (21 wins) as a senior putting up record Ivy league all-around stats.

He knew his own talent and told D'Antoni that he could do the job if given the oppurtunity. He played four years of college ball and was more mature than most rookies so when finally given his chance in his second season, he was READY! So ready that he scored more points than Jordan or Shaq in his first five career starts!

OK, nobody is perfect and once again, like Nash, he can be turnover-prone but getting everyone involved while attacking NBA defences through the pick and roll is risky business. Lin is so smart on and off the court that I am sure that he will adapt to any situation the way he adapted his savvy communications skills to the unexpected media frenzy that engulfed Jeremy and his family this month.

He is down to earth and humble in his analysis and a pun-lovers dream for reporters. With Lin, it's always about the team! What a wonderful breath of fresh air...He's in a New York state of mind...

George Eddy from FIBA

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« Reply #31 on: Feb 02, 2012, 09:47:10 PM »

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Surprising revelations

Some big time surprises have dotted the NBA landscape in the first month of the frenzied schedule.

Not so surprising, of course, are the numerous blowouts, low scores, poorly played games and player injuries which we expected from such a compact calendar after a long lockout and ultra-short pre-season preparation (the money-making show must go on!) but there has been an uptick in the quality of play in the last week from numerous teams especially in the surging Southwest Division.

I'll start there with my list of revelations because, despite a poor start, the teams in the Southwest are putting together some impressive win streaks as teamwork starts to function and players like Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies) and Kyle Lowry (Houston Rockets) are playing at an All-Star level.

Teamwork and the Gregg Popovich system are always the key in San Antonio where a great home record hides the Spurs' troubles on the road while waiting for the return of Manu Ginobili.

The reigning champs Dallas Mavericks have woken up and their revelation is Frenchman Ian Mahinmi, playing almost 20 minutes a game while averaging eight points and five rebounds.

On to the Northwest - which remains the NBA's strongest division from top to bottom - and the dominating performance of the Oklahoma City Thunder, along with the surprising strength of the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz where Danilo Galinari and Al Jefferson respectively lead their teams, which are full of useful role players and guys that are willing to share the ball.

I would say that royal rookie Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves ) and explosive sixth man Nicolas Batum (Portland Trailblazers) in a contract year have shown some hot flashes of brilliance. We expected the Thunder to be great but maybe not this great and now that Russell Westbrook has an $80 million contract, he can settle down and play with serenity.

In the weak Pacific Division, it's obvious that the LA Clippers are most improved but they share with their crosstown rivals, the Lakers, a tendency to play poorly on the road.

The big revelations in the Eastern conference are the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers are runaway leaders in the sadsack Atlantic division where all the other teams are disappointing, and the Pacers are right behind the Bulls in the Central Division where all the other teams have largely negative records.

These two teams both have balanced scoring with seven players averaging at least 10 points a game and this carries over into some tough team defence and smart play despite young rosters. Bravo! Teams like the Washington Wizards and the Sacramento Kings should take note...

The biggest revelation in the Central Division, individually, is big man Greg Monroe having a breakout season for the lowly Detroit Pistons. He's playing better than Joakim Noah right now, for example.

The Southeast Division has three teams playing at a superior level - Orlando Magic, Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks - and here it is no surprise that superstars like Dwight Howard and LeBron James are carrying a big load.

In Atlanta, a highly-experienced group is making up for the absence of All-Star Al Horford. But my biggest surprise in this division is the top notch play of Ryan Anderson and Hedo Turkoglu who complement perfectly Superman Dwight.

In the final analysis, there are only six good teams in the whole Eastern conference, while there are 10 good teams in the West!

Don't worry, I am not going to drag back out my old theory that the best 16 teams should qualify for the playoffs regardless of their conference... but then again...I just realised that a majority of my early season revelations are international players, what a coincidence!

Seriously speaking, the biggest revelations are certain TEAMS which have really stepped up on both ends of the court while playing hard, smart and together as Dean Smith liked to say!

What do you think?

George Eddy from FIBA

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Posts: 79

« Reply #30 on: Dec 16, 2011, 06:11:21 PM »

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Before the NBA season starts with a... Basketball Bazaar

Before the NBA season starts with a bang on Christmas day with five magnificent match-ups, we are going to live through two weeks of trades and free agent signings at a frenetic pace like we've never seen before.

The lockout was supposed to somewhat level the playing field and permit small market teams to compete for high-profile free agents and David West signing with the Indiana Pacers can be considered an example of that.

However, the big media frenzy is revolving around Chris Paul and Dwight Howard who have both told their teams that they will not prolong their contracts so it is in the teams' best interest to trade them well before the March 15th deadline so as to avoid a Melo-type drawn out melodrama and also get something back for superstars that can walk away for free at the end of the season!

In the case of Paul and Howard, only big market teams will be in the running which confirms an age-old tradition in the NBA, a league where adding a superstar can totally change your destiny and having a trio of stars is the best recipe for a title (see Lakers, Bulls, Celtics or Spurs over the last 50 years!).

When David Stern vetoed what seemed like a good three-way trade for New Orleans, which would have sent Paul to the Lakers, the star point guard let it be known that now his priority is the Clippers!

The big cities have always attracted NBA free agent stars because of the attention, the lifestyle and the money. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) won't change that in the next two years because the tougher luxury tax rules for the big spending teams only kick in during the third year. At that time nothing can stop a player from signing for less to play in a big city while making up the difference with side income opportunities which are more plentiful in big markets for popular stars.

Small market teams are inevitably condemned to build through the draft and smart management like San Antonio or Oklahoma City.

Howard has set his sights on the Lakers or New Jersey and their rich Russian owner and shiny new Brooklyn arena. This is hurtful news for Orlando, a small market team which has overspent and lost a lot of money the last few years trying to surround Howard with enough talent to win a championship.

They did make it to the NBA finals but the Shaquille O'Neal scenario will play itself out once again in unlucky Orlando! Another highly-prized free agent, Tyson Chandler, will play for the Knicks despite having won the title in Dallas last season. I think he would have had a better chance at a second title by staying in Dallas but it looks like Lamar Odom is going to jump on that opportunity in his place after being disappointed that the Lakers wanted to trade him.

Chandler will bring needed defence to the Knicks but he will be alone since with Chauncey Billups gone, there are no other defensive stoppers on the roster. In Dallas, guys like Jason Kidd, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson helped Chandler with the dirty work last season.

Considering the contenders for the trophy, what interests me the most is who Miami and Chicago will sign as complementary players to go along with an already solid core. I am also curious to see where the Gasol brothers end up playing, whether Jerry Buss' son can manage the Lakers as well as his father did and  what Ettore Messina can bring to the table as an assistant to Mike Brown in L.A.

I'll finish by saying that the compact season with several back to back to backs will certainly not be an advantage for aging teams like Boston and San Antonio and the coaches will have to use their benches intelligently to avoid burning out the old stars' legs, while on the other hand, teams with young rosters like Oklahoma City should benefit considerably from the ultra-tight schedule.

George Eddy from FIBA

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