Knicks Pelicans Basketball

Brian Roberts hopes Summer League helped his chances of staying in New Orleans next season

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Brian Roberts was surprisingly productive for the Pelicans last year (when they were still called the Hornets), especially in the latter part of the season.

He was a capable scorer from the guard position, and was regularly the one name that would jump out at you when combing through the morning’s box scores late in the year when he was playing heavy minutes in the rotation.

But his contract isn’t guaranteed for next season, so Roberts has been trying to continue to make an impact with the team’s Summer League squad in Las Vegas. He hopes what he’s done has been enough to once again be added to the roster.

From John Reid of NOLA.com:

Backup point guard Brian Roberts hopes he did enough in summer league for the New Orleans Pelicans to pick up the option on his contract for this upcoming season that could increase his salary to $788,872 from last season’s $473,604.

“I thought I played pretty well,’’ Roberts said. “There were times when I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, but overall I thought I gave the effort when I was out there. Mainly, I wanted to show that I could run the team and get guys in the right positions.’’

He showed that much last season.

The problem for Roberts is the high volume of quality guards that the Pelicans brought to the team in the offseason. Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday are now in the fold, and let’s not forget about Eric Gordon, who is expected to be healthy enough to contribute meaningful minutes this season.

Add in the fact that Austin Rivers seems healthy and much-improved since suffering a broken hand that ultimately gave Roberts his chance, and despite his relative value, it may be tough for Roberts to catch on in New Orleans for a second straight season.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.