2013 adidas Eurocamp: Day 1 recap

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TREVISO, Italy — Lucas Nogueira was the player most eyes were focused on during the first day of adidas Eurocamp, not only because of his seven-foot frame, but also because he is the only international prospect in attendance who is projected to be taken late in the first round of this year’s NBA Draft.

Nogueira plays with a lot of activity, and is an intelligent defender who positions himself to use his size, length, and athleticism to his advantage. He proved to be an above average rim protector, and showed an ability to block shots and hold his own while defending the low post.

There wasn’t a lot of offense to his game in terms of shooting touch or strong moves inside, but he’s a more than capable finisher at the rim, and did an excellent job running the floor and finishing in transition when the ball found his hands. The concerns surround only his slight stature, and whether or not his body can support the necessary bulk he’ll need to add to succeed at the NBA level. But the skill set is certainly present.

Nogueira isn’t expected to participate in any more of the camp’s activities after his stellar showing, which included scoring 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting to go along with three rebounds and four blocked shots in his team’s eight-point victory in the third game of the day.

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Rudy Gobert from France is one of the top international prospects expected to be taken in the first round of this year’s draft, and he was scheduled to participate in one of the day’s events in here in Treviso. He measured 7’2″ with a 7’8.5″ wingspan and a 9’7″ standing reach at the combine in Chicago, both of which were record numbers.

We got word this morning, however, that Gobert would be unable to attend due to illness, which he confirmed via his Twitter account.

The translation amounts to “Damn no Treviso for me … just got out of hospital food poisoning.” Several hours later, he posted in English this time, saying “Feeling better, back to work,” however no word yet if that means he might have had a change of heart and will end up at Eurocamp before Monday’s final day.

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Dante Exum is a 6’4″ guard who is of major interest to NBA scouts and executives, just not for this year’s draft. The Australian prospect is believed to possess a skill set that has him projected to be a top five pick in 2014, but while he was in attendance for Eurocamp’s first day, a stress fracture in his foot prevented him from participating in any of the drills or games.

Exum did go through a private shooting session, and seemed to show a smooth stroke from all distances, including three-point range. But it was a very light workout, so no one really got an opportunity to see what he might be able to do in Treviso.

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source: Getty Images

Aquille Carr is a high school prospect from Princeton Day in Maryland, and is the rare Eurocamp participant from the United States. Carr is here on the advice of his agent, in order to try to impress the international community enough to earn a spot in the Euro League next season.

Carr is listed at 5’6″, though he’s even smaller than that in person. For better or worse, the Nate Robinson comparisons will be inevitable due to the way he plays the guard position, using his speed and athleticism to try to get into the paint to create for himself or his teammates.

Carr showed confidence in handling the ball while pressured defensively, but he struggled on the opposite end of the floor to slow the bigger and stronger players he was matched up against at the point guard position.

He managed to remain positive throughout a first day which may have been tougher than expected, and consistently exhibited the qualities of a good teammate while on the bench.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is a prospect from Greece who is projected as a late first-round draft choice, even though many in NBA circles had yet to see him play in person. That changed on Saturday, but not because Antetokounmpo was at Eurocamp — he was playing in a tournament with the Greek under-20 team in Jeselo, Italy, and most teams in attendance in Treviso made the 45-minute drive to finally see him in the flesh.

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Links to the box scores from all three of the relevant games from Day 1 are below, and they’re worth checking out just to see how much more information they contain than those in their NBA counterparts.

One quick note on the last game of the night, between the “All-Stars” and the USA Select team. The All-Star team wasn’t nearly that, considering most of the camp’s best players had already participated in one of the day’s previous games. And with the European squad having 3-4 years of size, strength, and experience on their opponents from the states, the result was a predictable one given the mismatch.

But Alex Robinson, a point guard from Timberview high school in Arlington, Texas, definitely seems to have all the tools to excel at the next level if he continues to develop. Quickness, strength, court vision, and athleticism were all in place.

adidas Eurocamp Game #3 – TEAM 1 vs. TEAM 4 (Day 1)

adidas Eurocamp Game #1 – TEAM 2 vsTEAM 3 (Day 1)

adidas Eurocamp Game #4 – ALL-Star vs adidas USA Select (Day 1)

Rumor: Grizzlies had to choose between Marc Gasol and David Fizdale

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David Fizdale has been linked to most of the NBA’s head-coaching vacancies.

He developed a legion of backers as lead a Heat assistant, and he did good things guiding the Grizzlies before they unexpectedly fired him. He deserves consideration.

But he also must explain his fractured relationship with Memphis star Marc Gasol. They weren’t speaking for a while.

And maybe the problem was even worse than that.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

According to a source close to Fizdale briefed on the Grizzlies’ decision, it was ownership having to make a choice — trade their All-Star center Marc Gasol, who has fallen in love with its small-market city, or fire the coach. Their relationship had gotten that bad.

If Grizzlies ownership felt it had to choose between Gasol and Fizdale, it’s not clear why.

Fizdale benched Gasol down the stretch during the coach’s last game, and Gasol publicly expressed his frustration.

But Gasol denied issuing a me-or-Fizdale ultimatum. Fizdale said focus on his relationship with Gasol was “overblown,” adding he cared far more about whether he could win with a player than whether they got along personally.

Memphis obviously sided with Gasol – probably too strongly.

LeBron James bought Cavs teammates matching designer suits to wear to game tonight

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I’m still trying to decide if this is cool or a little too Stepford.

The Cavaliers rolled into the Bakers’ Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis tonight wearing matching designer suits, all paid for by LeBron James and custom fitted to each player.

If a college team rolled into a game in four-digit designer suits, the NCAA would have questions. And not about the vests.

The Cavaliers are LeBron’s team, and if he wants to buy his teammates suits and tell them to wear them it’s going to happen. Is it a bonding thing that helps bring them together? Sure. Is it in place to make sure LeBron remembers which ones are his new teammates? Probably not.

Do the suits help on the court? No. And the Cavaliers better bring it in Game 3 because if they go down 2-1 in this series — something that is a realistic possibility — the whispers of doubt are going to get a lot louder.

Report: Knicks to discuss coaching vacancy with Hawks’ Mike Budenholzer

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Mike Budenholzer is restless in Atlanta, seeing a rebuild coming and looking at other jobs (something Hawks management is fine with). He went down the road a ways with the Suns before pulling out of that process, but he’s still looking around.

The Knicks are casting a wide net in their search, talking to virtually everyone looking for coaching jobs.

So, this seemed inevitable, right? Budenholzer and the Knicks are going to talk, according to Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

This will be very preliminary. The Knicks have already had some level of conversation with Mark Jackson, David Fizdale, Jerry Stackhouse, David Blatt, Mike Woodson, and TNT analyst Kenny Smith (Jackson and Fizdale are the rumored early leaders). Budenholzer has established a style and culture in Atlanta, giving the franchise a path forward. New York could certainly use that.

However, the Knicks job comes with real challenges, too. That starts with James Dolan as owner and the erratic, at times paranoid culture he has created there. Also, expectations in New York are always high, but the team will be without Kristaps Porzigis for at least half (maybe all) of the upcoming season as he recovers from an ACL injury, and that puts a ceiling on the team in the short term. Is all that worth leaving Atlanta for?

 

Stephen Curry to begin “modified” practices with Warriors

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Golden State has flipped the switch in the first round, going up 3-0 on overmatched San Antonio. The Warriors have been outscoring the Spurs by 20.2 points per 100 possessions in the series, allowing less than a point per possession on defense and scoring when and where they want. Kevin Durant is averaging 27.3 points per game, Klay Thompson is shooting 63.3 percent from three and scoring 25.7 points per game, and the Warriors are clicking.

But they are not yet whole — they need Stephen Curry back. Not for this round, but before the Western Conference Finals for sure.

Curry was re-evaluated Friday and will begin practicing with the team in a limited — or “modified” to use the team’s term — way.

The target has always been a return somewhere during the second round, and that still seems to be on track. That is also a little faster than traditional for a Grade 2 MCL sprain, which can take up to two months to heal (not the 4-6 weeks of the Warriors timeline), but the Warriors are being cautious here for now.

Eventually, the Warriors will need him back — their offense is built around Curry and his ball movement and movement off the ball. Curry’s gravity to draw defenders, even when he doesn’t have the ball, opens up the floor for others. Put simply, if he’s 28 feet from the bucket on the weak side defenders still have to watch and be near him, and help defenders need to be aware, which pulls the defense to wherever he is. Without Curry and the Warriors take more midrange jumpers, it’s just in the first round series against the Spurs they are hitting them.