2014 adidas Eurocamp: Vasilije Micic, Jaylen Brown shine in Day Two action

2 Comments

TREVISO, Italy — Day two of adidas Eurocamp was light in terms of the actual games, with the morning session being reserved for drills and scrimmages, along with guest speaking spots from Ricky Rubio and Vlade Divac.

The showcase game of the day came in the late afternoon, when an All-Star team of international players took on the USA Select team of under-18 players, which features guys still two-to-three years away from being NBA draft eligible.

As you might imagine, the contest developed into a blowout fairly early on, and when you consider you had established professionals playing against high school kids, the 119-85 victory posted by the All-Stars shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

But these games are more about the talents of the individual players and their abilities to perform and make decisions in a competitive setting, as well as whether or not those skills are at a high enough level to be considered NBA relevant.

Some notes from the second day of action:

– Vasilije Micic was more impressive on Sunday, and showed some of what scouts had seen of him that would make them believe he’d be a viable second round pick in this year’s draft. He lacks any kind of discernible speed, either in the open court or in half-court sets. But his decisions are usually the right ones, and he showed a consistent ability to find teammates for easy buckets in transition or on the secondary break.

Micic piled up 10 assists in just 25 minutes, and scored 14 points while hitting four of his six attempts from three-point distance. The highlight of the game for him was a drive to the basket where he used a Rondo-esque ball fake to lose a defender, before flipping a pass along the baseline to a cutting teammate for an easy two points.

– Thon Maker was the most impressive player from the USA team on day one, and his teammate Jaylen Brown took that crown in the second day’s action. A 6’7″ wing who can create his own shot, Brown had several impressive moments that showcased an above-average athleticism and ability to consistently make shots.

Brown pushes off at times to gain separation off the dribble, which is something he’ll need to eliminate from his game as time goes on. He has the speed to do so, and showed some incredible leaping ability on two occasions — once coming from behind to get a block in transition that the referees mistakenly ruled a foul, and then trying for an adventurous annihilation of an opponent on a baseline dunk attempt that had no chance of going down.

It was a very solid outing for Brown, who finished with a team-high 21 points and six rebounds in 27 minutes.

– While Maker was impressive during the first day of action, he showed more flaws than strengths on day two. He was out of position for rebounds more often than not, and was unable to finish through contact on multiple occasions. He did show good footwork and an ability to defend on the perimeter when he got the switch on the ball-handler, and showed a small flash of that Kevin Durant comparison he’s gotten on a dribble-spin move against a defender that resulted in two points inside.

Maker finished with 17 points, but most came on jumpers — a strength to be sure, but for someone his size (7’0″) he really needs to work on being more comfortable around the basket.

– Nemanja Dangubic was the leading scorer for the international All-Stars, and looked really strong in getting all of his 23 points. He showcased a vertical leap that was obviously the best on the floor, and showed an agility and quickness that seemed to be better than his 6’9″ frame would allow. The 21-year old from Serbia helped his chances, even against the weak competition, and could easily become a late second round pick in this year’s draft.

adidas Eurocamp 2014 – Box Score – All Star – Team USA Day 2

Stan Van Gundy speaks out again in support of protesting athletes

Getty Images
Leave a comment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy used his team’s trip to Washington to again voice his support for athletes who kneel during the national anthem and his opposition to President Donald Trump.

Van Gundy was asked before Friday night’s game against the Wizards what he hoped would result from the president’s criticism of NFL players who refuse to stand for the anthem and the resulting national dialogue about political activism by professional athletes.

“I don’t know what good can come out of anything the president has said,” Van Gundy said. “As far as the athletes’ protest, I hope people would pay attention to the issues that caused the protest in the first place and realize that we have problem disproportionately with police brutality towards men of color.”

Van Gundy also criticized fans who have booed those athletes because they believe the gesture is disrespectful to the United States military.

“I thought that one of the things the military is fighting for is the American way of life and our values, which I think starts with freedom of speech,” Van Gundy said. “Our country was founded on protest. Otherwise, we would still be a colony of England. You would think people would appreciate non-violent protests that will be made.

“If you don’t stand for freedom of speech and you don’t think those players have the right to freedom of speech, what American values are you for?”

It was not the first time Van Gundy has spoken out on these issues. When Trump was elected last November, Van Gundy told the Detroit Free Press it was the first time he had been “ashamed” of his country.

Last month on the team’s media day, he read a prepared statement in support of athletes who use their visibility for political purposes, including protests during the anthem. The NBA has a policy requiring that players stand for the anthem.

The Pistons’ visit to Washington was their first since Jan. 21, one day after Trump’s inauguration.

More NBA basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

Cavaliers’ Derrick Rose out Saturday with sprained left ankle

Getty Images
2 Comments

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cavaliers point guard Derrick Rose was held out of Saturday night’s game against the Orlando Magic because of a sprained left ankle.

Rose twisted his ankle after being fouled by Milwaukee’s Greg Monroe while driving to the basket in the fourth quarter on Friday. Monroe grabbed Rose by his neck and pulled him to the floor.

Rose landed awkwardly, but stayed in the game to shoot two free throws before going to the bench. The play was originally called a common foul but was upgraded to a flagrant 1 Saturday by the NBA.

Jose Calderon started at point guard Saturday for the Cavaliers, who have won their first two games.

Rose signed a one-year contract with Cleveland in July. He became the team’s starter when Kyrie Irving was traded to Boston. Rose was named the league’s MVP in 2011 while with the Chicago Bulls, but has battled injuries since.

 

Kyrie Irving, any regrets about using profanity toward fan? “Hell no.”

Getty Images
12 Comments

Fans yelling obscenities at NBA players and trying to goad them into a response — always while camera phones are recording — has become a thing. DeMarcus Cousins will be paying $25,000 for responding to a fan cursing at him in Memphis.

Kyrie Irving is likely going to get fined for an incident Friday night after the Celtics knocked off the Sixers in Philadephia. It made the rounds on social media Friday night, with a fan yelling at Irving as he leaves the court “Kyrie, where’s LeBron?” and Irving responding with a crude phrase. Here is the exchange as Irving leaves the court (NOTE: The language is NSFW, if offended don’t watch the video).

Saturday Irving was asked about the incident, and he admitted he should have bit his tongue, but he has no regrets, as reported by A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.

“Hell no,” Irving said (when asked if he had regrets). “Man enough to record it on video, that’s on him. I’m glad he got his ad name out there, and his five seconds of fame and it’s gone viral. That’s the social media platform we live on.

Irving added, “I take full responsibility for what I said. You move on.”

Irving also addressed the bigger issue, something Cousins discussed when talking about his fine. Via Chris Forsberg at ESPN.

“At the end of the day, we’re human. It’s in heat of the moment and frustrations arise, we were at halftime, we were down by 4, in an environment, a season-opener in Philly. Being with a young team like we have here and staying composed, handling that before we go in the locker room and addressing what we have to do in the locker room and going out and handling business and getting the W, that’s really the only thing that matters to me.

“It’s up to the league at this point. But, like I said, I’m going to take full responsibility for what I said. I don’t have any regrets for it.”

Irving is going to get fined. The league has issues with its players cursing at fans. Understandably.

That said, the league may need to step back on consider situations like this. If fans are taunting players, at what point should a player be able to respond to the fan? Should arena security (at the request of the officials, or maybe a player) intervene? Players should not be asked to bite their tongue no matter what is said, and even if a fan paid for a ticket it doesn’t give them the right to cross any line. As more fans seem to go after their 15 minutes of social media fame baiting players, the league may need to reconsider where it draws its lines.

Reports: Pelicans to sign Jameer Nelson with Rondo out

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With Rajon Rondo out 4-6 weeks with a sports hernia, the New Orleans Pelicans were looking for a solid backup point guard.

This week, to make room to sign Richard Jefferson, the Denver Nuggets waived veteran Jameer Nelson.

While other teams such as the Rockets were calling, the Pelicans and Nelson have reached a deal, reports both Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports added this.

Nelson, in his 14th NBA season, became the top free agent on the market and received interest from contenders such as the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder and several other franchises that hoped to add the respected and accomplished veteran. But for Nelson, the Pelicans represent an opportunity to play significant minutes and provide leadership.

The Pelicans had a full roster of 15 players, they could have waited until next Tuesday and gotten a disabled player exception to add a 16th player, but they decided to go with something more permanent.

Jrue Holiday starts at the point for the Pelicans but with Rondo out — he was supposed to start next to Holiday — there is no depth at the position. The Pelicans can have Nelson step in and get minutes from the first time he steps on the court.

Nelson is still a solid pick-and-roll point guard, but what he brings to the table the Pelicans need more is shooting — he shot 38.8 percent from three last season and is a good spot up player. He can penetrate and make plays off handoffs as well, but it’s his shooting on a team that needs it that will be most valued.

The Pelicans have started the season 0-2 with losses to Memphis and Golden State. They take on the Lakers in Los Angeles Sunday night.