Sylven Landesberg signs with Maccabi Haifa

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It seems that there is money out there for the glut of talented, undrafted free agents this summer, it’s just not in the States. Following a number of college stars and productive Summer Leaguers who have already made the jump, Sylven Landesberg has signed a two-year deal with Maccabi Haifa, according to the Associated Press. Landesberg played with the Sacramento Kings in the Vegas Summer League, but wasn’t afforded the chance to really showcase his skills with the depth on that Kings roster.

If Landesberg had secured an NBA deal for next season, it’s unlikely that he would have played much, anyway. He definitely has NBA talent, but Landesberg’s game is still a good year or two away from being viable in the big leagues.

Playing for Haifa should give him a chance to hone his craft while getting a legitimate opportunity for playing time, and I definitely see this as more of a step in a process rather than an end in itself. There are plenty of players forced to go overseas because they’re not talented enough to play in the NBA, but Landesberg isn’t one of them. He just hasn’t figured it all out yet.

Landesberg has a very natural feel for the game, but his skill set still has some holes. He was never a very good finisher at Virginia, and that skill is rather important for off guards in the NBA. However, his biggest limitations are on the defensive end, where Sylven will need to figure out how to compensate for his relative lack of athleticism (he’s not a bad athlete, but far from a standout). Two years down the road, we should be looking at a new and improved Sylven Landesberg, hopefully complete with NBA contract in-hand.

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.