Author: Dan Feldman

Cleveland Cavaliers v Denver Nuggets

Report: Nuggets sign Mike Miller

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This was a terribly kept secret, but Mike Miller cleared waivers and will sign with the Nuggets.

Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post:

Miller will provide a good presence in the locker room, something Nuggets coach Michael Malone could use as he tries to reform a roster that experienced a lot of internal turmoil last season.

Just don’t expect the 35-year-old to play much. He’ll likely get buried behind Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Randy Foye, Will Barton and Gary Harris on the wing.

Ty Lawson: Stephen Curry coasted defensively in Western Conference finals

Ty Lawson, Stephen Curry
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Stephen Curry torched the Rockets in last season’s Western Conference finals, scoring 31.2 points per game on 51% shooting and 49% 3-point shooting.

Why did Curry play so well?

Newly acquired Houston point guard Ty Lawson, via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

“Steph Curry needed someone to go back at him,” Lawson told Yahoo Sports. “I thought Steph was just chillin’ on defense – and then going crazy on offense. He looked like he was just putting shots up and not working so much on the defensive end. He would just come down and hit three or four 3’s. He can shoot when he’s got his legs under him.”

The clear implication: If the Rockets had Lawson then, he would’ve forced Curry to work harder on defense – so hard, Curry wouldn’t have scored as efficiently on the other end.

Lawson is right.

But keep in mind, Houston starting point guard Patrick Beverleywho’s competing with Lawson for the starting job this year – was out injured. So, Curry was resting defensively against a 37-year-old Jason Terry. Lawson would have obviously given the Rockets a better chance than Terry did.

The more important question: Will Lawson’s offense help Houston better defend players than Beverley’s defense will?

Lawson is unquestionably the bigger offensive threat, and his point about fatigue is logical. But Beverley is clearly stronger defensively, and that might mean more than Lawson’s indirect defense.

It’s difficult to suppose what would have happened in the conference finals if the Rockets had Lawson the best comparison might be the Warriors’ first-round win over Lawson’s Nuggets in 2013, the only playoff matchup between Lawson and Curry. Curry scored 24.3 points per game on 47% shooting and 44% 3-point shooting. That’s not as good as last year’s conference finals, but it’s still pretty darn impressive and it was two years before Curry developed into the MVP.

So will the Rockets be better off with Lawson or Beverley on the court? The beauty is they have both and don’t have to decide right now. They can experiment throughout the season, using each in different matchups.

And they won’t have to rely on Terry in the rotation, which we already know won’t sufficiently slow Curry.

Carmelo Anthony: Knicks competing for championship

Carmelo Anthony

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) The longer Carmelo Anthony plays, the further he’s gotten from a championship.

A player who had never missed the postseason in his first 10 seasons has been on two straight losing teams, and these New York Knicks aren’t expected to compete for a title.

Don’t tell that to Anthony.

“We’re competing,” he said Wednesday. “I mean, people might not believe that, but we’re definitely competing for that. That’s always going to be the goal. Whether we get there or not, it depends on us and what we do and how we do it, but that’s always our big-picture goal.”

Perhaps that’s why Anthony appears so patient.

He’s 31 years old, an age when few top players are interested in a gradual building process. But Anthony doesn’t seem disappointed or dispirited, and he certainly hasn’t been demanding – at least, not publicly.

“What I see in Melo is how he feels personally, good or bad, about anything, I think he will say it if he feels like he needs to say it, but when he doesn’t feel like it needs to be said, or people publicly need to know what he’s feeling or how he’s thinking, he doesn’t say it,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said. “And I think that says a lot about who he is.”

Kobe Bryant threw a fit in 2007 when the Lakers had fallen from title contention and even indicated he wanted out of Los Angeles. Dwyane Wade made it clear in 2009 after Miami couldn’t get out of the first round that the Heat better get him some help in South Florida.

Bryant said a couple of years ago that Anthony may need to follow his example, be so pushy that management can’t ignore him. But Anthony can’t, or won’t.

“That’s just me,” he said after practice at the U.S. Military Academy. “It’s hard for me to kind of lose my patience and get upset about something that pretty much you can’t control. Only thing I can control is what goes on on the basketball court. Everything else is out of my control.”

He has repeatedly denied reports he was angry with the Knicks’ selection of Latvian Kristaps Porzingis with the No. 4 pick in the draft. He hoped the Knicks could’ve landed one of the big prizes in free agency but seems committed to working with the newcomers they did get, organizing workouts in Puerto Rico in August that were attended by eight teammates.

“It makes you really feel like you’re part of the team, especially when the best player and a vet really invites you to come join him on a trip like that,” rookie Jerian Grant said.

Perhaps during those workouts Anthony developed a belief that the Knicks will be better than expected. Maybe he’s simply OK if they aren’t. Either way, no temper tantrum appears imminent.

“Some guys kind of like the storm or the stir that comes from saying something publicly,” Fisher said. “Other guys – not Melo – other guys around the league are for sure signaling to management what they want and what they need.

“So I don’t think he’s just biding his time because he enjoys New York City. I think he wants to win. He’s won a championship before as a player in college and he wants to win one as a pro.”

For now, Anthony is content to just be playing again. He made it through a career-low 40 games last season before knee surgery and said the time off helped put things in perspective.

“He’s put a ton of work in to get to this point,” Fisher said, “and I would assume that he’s happy with where he is right now.”