Nets like what they see, but payoff on Derrick Favors well in future

1 Comment

Favors_rookie.jpgWe all knew Derrick Favors was raw. During the draft it was almost like the hyphenated end of his last name, Favors-Raw. Athletic as all get out, but needing polish. This guy was a bet on the come, not an instant big payoff guy.

But apparently he is pleasing the Nets with his progress so far. Nets GM Billy King talked with Al Iannazzone of the Bergin Record, which led to a series of tweets about Favors.

Nets GM Billy King on D. Favors: “In talking with the coaches, they said from summer league to now the progression has been incredible… He’s hitting the jump shot, dunking on people, finishing… I think the summer and all the work is starting to pay off and starting to click with him.”

With Troy Murphy in for a year, the Nets have the luxury of brining Favors along slowly. Favors can come off the bench and backup Murphy as well as center Brook Lopez. Favors can use his athleticism to block shots, board and score now and again. And refine his game.

Favors got mentioned along with some big names after his measurements came in at the Draft Combine — Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Nene. But having the same measurements and the same game are different things.

At Georgia Tech Favors created most of his offense with his superior athleticism, but that is not going to work nearly as well not. There is going to need to be a variety of moves, and some polish. And that tames time. Despite whatever progress we see now.

Favors is a microcosm o the Nets in a way — you see what could be there, but you realize it is a couple years away. And when it does get here you don’t know how good it will really be. Hopes are high, because that’s where it should be before the season.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
3 Comments

Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

Leave a comment

The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

Leave a comment

Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

Leave a comment

In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.