Oh, how the stock of Michael Beasley has fallen

1 Comment

Thumbnail image for Beasley_Block.jpgRemember the Michael Beasley at Kansas State? He killed people from the post. He was an amazing finisher at the rim, with either hand. He could face up and blow by anyone. He worked hard off the ball. He was so fluid. He had 13 30 point, 10 rebound games. He looked like a man among boys at Kansas State.

When he got with the men in the NBA, he looked different. Small, and bothered by the long arms and challenged shots at the next level. He was chased out of the post, last season taking more shots from 16 feet on out than he did at the rim (and not hitting them, he shot 39 percent on long twos and 27.5 percent from three). Then there was spending last summer in league-imposed substance-abuse treatment. He has not been terrible, but he has been pretty average on the court. Which is not what is expected out of the number two pick overall.

How far has he fallen? He was offered to the New Jersey Nets for Keyon Dooling, and the Nets said no. That came up on ESPN’s daily NBA podcast Wednesday.

Our own Ira Winderman said in the South Florida Sun Sentinel the reason is it is all about the money.

While Keyon is due $3.6 million next season, his contract can be bought out for $500,000 by June 29. So, in essence, the Heat can launder Beasley’s contract through a Dooling trade, release Dooling, and then benefit by the extra cap space. I would not be surprised if the Heat made such an offer. That said, I made a bunch of calls after ESPN mentioned the possibility on one of its podcasts and came to the realization that the Nets simply have no interest in Beasley and would rather maximize their own cap space. I requested comment from the Heat and got the expected no comment. Still, it would not surprise me at all if the Heat, at this stage, was willing to deal Michael for mere cap space. The greater question is whether there is anyone out there willing to take on Michael and his off-court baggage, especially another space team.

This fall is just a little reminder of how precarious any draft pick, even ones that seem the sure thing, can be.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

Leave a comment

Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Cavaliers on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. Especially against a team going small — the Cavaliers start Kevin Love at center — Embiid should be fed down low.

Instead, look at his shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

Getty Images
5 Comments

NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

Getty Images
Leave a comment

DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

3 Comments

This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.