PRO BASKETBALL TALKPBT Select Team

Clippers and Cavaliers talked Mo Williams, Moon for Baron Davis this summer

Leave a comment

The Cavaliers were desperate this summer. They needed another name to bring in hopes of keeping LeBron James in town. They talked to Toronto but Chris Bosh didn’t want to go to Cleveland. That was just one of the steps, they asked around everywhere.

The Cavs got desperate enough to look to Baron Davis as a savior, according to Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Times.

An NBA source says the Cavaliers then offered Mo Williams and Jamario Moon for the Clippers’ Baron Davis, desperate to please James, who likes Baron and was down on Mo … even with newly hired Coach Byron Scott having clashed with Davis in New Orleans.

That has disaster written all over it for the Cavaliers — and I have no idea why the Clippers would turn it down.

If James liked Davis — likely for quality beard advice — then the Cavs ahd to try. But it would have good poorly. For starters, there is the personality issue Heisler mentioned: Davis and Scott are not a good mix. At all.

But on the court Davis and James are a bad fit. Both need the ball in their hands to be at all effective, but while James is efficient Davis is that only in spurts. He mentally checks out of games and starts jacking up threes six seconds into the shot clock. Davis put up solid numbers last season but he was not a leader, he was not the Baron that led Golden State to upset Dallas in the playoffs. You can argue that being on a contender with LeBron means “good Baron” would have shown up most nights, but history would beg to differ. Good Baron is a rare and special sighting these days, and the real Davis would have clashed with the coach and LeBron.

As for the Clippers… why did they not do this? Mo Williams is a solid staring point guard with numbers close to Davis; Moon a good guy to bring off the bench for the three, where the Clippers are weakest. What’s more, with the return of Blake Griffin, the biggest question about the Clippers is how much Davis holds the team back. Will he jack up threes rather than feed the quality front line the Clippers have? Davis will have more freedom under Vinny Del Negro and that could be bad for getting the ball to the Clippers strengths.

Mo Williams does not have the upside of Davis, but he is reliable night-to-night. Last season Williams shot 42 percent from three, Davis 27.7 percent. Their PERs are not that different, and Williams is consistent. He might listen to the coach, he might run the offense. And you get an athletic wing player in Moon to throw in the mix.

Not sure why this deal died, or how far along it got, but if it was the Clippers that killed it they made a mistake. If it was Cleveland, they wised up.

Phil Jackson’s reaction to Kristaps Porzingis getting turned upside down feels about right

Leave a comment

New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis is the future of the franchise, so any time he’s upended and nearly lands on his noggin it’s a cause for concern. To say the least.

That’s what happened on Monday night, as Porzingis got turned upside down during a play near the basket during a game against the Detroit Pistons.

Porzingis was OK on the play, and Detroit big man Andre Drummond did his best to help catch him so nothing too scary happened.

Still, Knicks president Phil Jackson had a pretty hilarious reaction to the whole thing. I guess that’s what happens when you watch your basketball life flash before your eyes.

Porzingis was unhurt and played a full 37 minutes. New York beat Detroit, 109-95.

Jimmy Butler won’t pick LeBron over Durant as toughest matchup in NBA, and for good reason

Getty
Leave a comment

Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler is a smart dude. He’s spent years of offseason work turning himself into a max-level player, and that shows he knows not only how to work but how to attack the game of basketball.

He’s also smart enough to know he shouldn’t go poking the bear when it comes to two future Hall of Fame players in LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

When asked whether the Cleveland Cavaliers star or the Golden State Warriors scorer was the toughest matchup in the NBA, Butler made sure he wasn’t adding any kind of blackboard material to rile up either player.

Via Twitter:

The best way to defend LeBron or Durant: don’t make them angry.

Smart move, Jimmy.

Likely top-10 pick Dennis Smith Jr. of North Carolina State declares for draft

Getty Images
1 Comment

This had long been expected, but now it is official.

North Carolina State freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has declared for the NBA Draft. He made the announcement on ESPN saying playing in the NBA is his dream, reports the News & Observer.

“It was definitely an obtainable dream for me,” said in an interview on SportsCenter. “I knew I would chase it with all of my might.”

Smith is considered a top-10 pick (DraftExpress.com has him going seventh currently).

Smith had missed his senior year of high school ball with an ACL injury, but was named ACC Freshman of the Year after averaging 18.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. He had two triple-doubles as a freshman. He was also inconsistent. Smith had brilliant games and ones where he looked disinterested.

Smith is unquestionably explosive and athletic, and that makes him a threat both in the open court and getting to the rim off a pick-and-roll. He’s got good handles, he knows how to draw fouls, and you can see his potential to get buckets at the next level. His jump shot needs to be far more consistent to thrive at the next level, however. The questions about Smith are more about his ability to make good decisions and be a floor general. He knows how to survey the floor and create for himself, but can he figure out when to pass to set up teammates? Can he defend consistently? He needs smooth out the rough edges of his game, but the potential to be very good is there.

James Harden says playing in every game should matter in MVP voting

Getty Images
1 Comment

James Harden has played in every Houston Rocket game this season so far. Russell Westbrook has done the same thing for Oklahoma City.

When voters sit down in a few weeks to choose the league’s Most Valuable Player — in one of the most wide-open races in memory, with Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James making legitimate cases as well — Harden says they should take playing every game into account. It’s the latest part of the rest discussion going on around the league. Here’s what Harden told Calvin Watkins of ESPN.

“Yeah, because you’re not leaving your teammates out there to dry, ” Harden said Tuesday morning, before the Rockets’ game against the Warriors. “For me, I worry about always having my teammates’ back and always being out there….

“I’m going to have [my teammates’] back and they know that they have mine as well,” said Harden, who is second in the league in points and first in assists. “For the coaching staff and the fans, especially here in Houston, the front office, I’m here to play.”

Both LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard have had rest nights.

This injects Harden into the rest debate, where recently Harden’s teammate Patrick Beverley came out and said players are “disrespecting the game” when they rest. Gregg Popovich sees more nuance in the debate and certainly backs resting players. On the latest PBT Podcast, former Bull B.J. Armstrong told me that they didn’t have rest days back in his day, but players were kept out of games for things they could play through to get right for the playoffs, it was just listed differently. He added that the rest situation might have been different back in the day if the data about the increased chance of player injuries on the second night of a back-to-back (and it goes up from there with four games in five nights) had been available.

In this case, Harden lobbying for his case in the MVP voting. The thing is, his numbers make the case for him: Harden is averaging 29.4 points per game, leading the league with 11.3 assists a night, and he’s creating the most points per game 27.5 (buckets and direct assists. He has taken on the point guard duties in Mike D’Antoni’s offense and has taken on the largest load on offense he has in his career — and he has continued to do it efficiently.

However, one can make a strong statistical case for Westbrook (who carries a larger load for an OKC team that has less talent around its star than Houston), Leonard (best defender of the group), and LeBron (the Cavs recent struggles may doom his chances).

Little details are going to divide this group, and Harden is trying to get his point out there.

That said, the Rockets are almost certainly locked into the three seed in the West, and once it’s clear they are in that slot team management should discuss giving Harden a night off before the playoffs, to let his body rest. Whether he wants to or not.

Powered by WordPress.com VIP