Tag: Anthony Randolph

Golden State Warriors' Harrison Barnes gets a backwards slam dunk on Denver Nuggets' Anthony Randolph in the fourth quarter of their second NBA Western Conference Quarterfinals basketball playoff series in Denver, Colorado

Harrison Barnes wicked reverse dunk over Anthony Randolph (VIDEO)


As part of the Golden State Warriors’ plan for Game 2 — “How about we just don’t miss any shots?” — Harrison Barnes took over for a while in the fourth quarter, putting up 10 points in the period.

A couple of those came on dramatic dunks. Like the one above, which is an impressive, athletic reverse throwdown over Anthony Randolph.

Barnes is making big steps forward, it felt like he was making the leap on Tuesday night. Barnes is going to be a key cog in the Warriors offense in a couple of years.

By the way, the Warriors’ strategy worked, they won 131-117, evening the series at a game a piece.

Timberwolves owner says he hasn’t decided if GM Kahn will be back


We have taken our fair share of shots at Timberwolves’ GM David Kahn over the years, and he made some bad gambles this year (Brandon Roy), but the disappointment of this season in Minnesota is not on him — injuries to Ricky Rubio (miss half of season after ACL), Kevin Love (broke his hand twice) and pretty much everyone else on the roster did this team in.

Kahn’s status is still up in the air. He may well not be back with the Timberwolves next season.

Minnesota owner Glen Taylor said as much speaking with the Star-Tribune.

Taylor must decide whether to bring back Kahn next season by picking up the final option year on his contract. Kahn drafted, wooed and ultimately brought star point guard Ricky Rubio to Minnesota, and he patiently pursued Adelman as coach for months. He also has swung and missed on a lengthy list of draft picks, including lottery choices Jonny Flynn and Wes Johnson, as well as failed experiments with gifted underachievers Michael Beasley, Darko Milicic and Anthony Randolph.

By this time last year, Taylor already had long before decided to pick up Kahn’s fourth-year option. With two games now remaining, he said he remains undecided on Kahn’s future and has no timetable once the season ends to do so.

Part of this could be tied to reports that Taylor had found a minority ownership group that would come in and slowly take over the franchise for him (keeping it in Minnesota) — a group fronted by former coach Flip Saunders, who wants a front office role.

The biggest concern in Minnesota is the future plans of coach Rick Adelman, who is considering walking away from the game to be with his ill wife. He would be very hard to replace.

But after that there is what kind of deal to strike with restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic, how much to offer unrestricted free agent Chase Budinger, will Andrei Kirilenko pick up his $10.2 million option for next season. Adelman says the off-season priority needs to be to get a real two guard (what they hoped Brandon Roy might be, but that gamble didn’t work). And there’s more. Like the two first-round picks Minnesota has in this draft.

There will be a lot on the GM’s plate. Whoever it is. But this could be a turbulent summer for a team that seems poised to be a lot better next season.

NBA Season Preview: Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl watches his team play against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of their NBA Western Conference basketball playoffs in Denver

Last season: The Nuggets continue to out-perform expectations while never really accomplishing anything of note.

They battled through all the roster turnover from one year to the next and a slew of quietly really damaging injuries to land the sixth seed last season after a hot start. Danilo Gallinari suffered two significant injuries that severely limited his ability to make the kind of impact he did at the start of the season where he looked like the best player on the team.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Faried emerged as a huge part of their future, and helped justify dumping Nene’s $13 million per year deal to get rid of an injury-riddled veteran. They brought in JaVale McGee with all his nonsense and faults, and the results were mixed. He had some genuinely electric playoff moments, but was still JaVale McGee.

They ran up against the Lakers and dug a hole. It looked over and they would quietly exit the playoffs. Instead, they battled back relentlessly and forced a game 7 against a team they were out-matched against, but didn’t have enough to get over the hump on the road. The result was the same, and the same questions lingered for Denver.

Key Departures: Arron Afflalo was the Nuggets’ best offensive weapon over the past three years, and now he’s wearing a deeper blue in Orlando. Al Harrington was a versatile scorer who put in a suprising amount of work defensively last year, and he’s also gone.

Rudy Fernandez headed home after threatening it for a half-decade, and Birdman Andersen was amnestied to make way for the future.

Key Additions: Denver snuck into the Dwight Howard trade and used their assets to grab Andre Iguodala. Iguodala gives them a hyper versatile forward who can run, rebound, pass, score, and defend at an elite level. He should fit in really well with the athleticism of Denver, and will be relied upon as the primary defensive stopper for George Karl. It cost a lot to get him but made them an overall much superior team.

They drafted Frenchman Evan Fournier in the first round and instead of sticking him overseas, have brought him over. The Nuggets already have more wings than they know what to do with, so Fournier likely won’t get many minutes this season. They also brought in Quincy Miller, who’s in a similar situation. They just have too much depth on the wings.

Anthony Randolph gives them another athletic big man to run the floor with and his ability to stretch the floor is something George Karl should get mileage out of as well.

Three keys to the Nuggets season:

1) Does speed kill the defense?: Karl has talked in the preseason about not needing to get into the elite level in traditional categories, but getting the defense overall into the good territory so that their point differential increases. There’s no plan to slow down the offense, so the question is, can you run a fast-pace team who also defends well?

To try and get it done, Karl will focus on the team’s athleticism in an attempt to pressure the ball and get into passing lanes. There will be a reliance on Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee, Kosta Koufos and Timofey Mozgov as shot-blockers to “intimidate” defensivel, as Karl said on media day.

It’s never been a reliable method for improving defense. You usually have to grind the game down to give yourself time to set into your defensive positions and rotations, and an up and down game naturally opens the floor up for both teams. That will be the biggest challenge this season.

2.) Find shooters, or invent them. Danilo Gallinari has been snakebit the past two years. Whether it was injury, adjustment or bad luck, a normally reliable shooter tailed off the past two years. It came with an improvement in driving and drawing fouls, but the Nuggets still need him to stretch the floor.

They lack shooters, and their replacement options are unproven. Corey Brewer has historically been an awful perimeter shooter. Fournier is too green to see much court time. Ty Lawson can drill, but that would require someone else running the offense a majority of the time. He’ll get his, but they still need another option. Jordan Hamilton may be that fit. The second-year man out of Texas has great length and a reliable form. If the shooters don’t come around, the offense will still be good but not good enough.

3.) The Break’s Over, Here Comes The Takeover. Ty Lawson is going to have to take over the game at times. Andre Iguodala may be the most gifted player on the team, but Lawson has the ability to own the opponent with huge shots. That’s got be his role, and helping get Iguodala going will be a big part of it. At the same time, Lawson simply has to be the primary offensive threat and make himself into a household name. It’s a big step in front of him.

What Nuggets fans should fear: The defense can’t get a grip in the fast pace, Iguodala doesn’t make enough of an impact and no center emerges to protect the rim. McGee struggles as always and that contract becomes disastrous. There are no shooters and teams know to pack the paint and let the Nuggets shoot. Kenneth Faried hits his ceiling, none of the other players make jumps, and the team bobs along at the same level it has for two years.

How it likely works out: No reason to think Denver can’t challenge for the third seed. Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Kenneth Faried alone is a triumverate worthy of consideration in the West. When you factor their style, how well the roster is built, their depth, and the likelihood of at least a few players improving to the point of relevance, the Nuggets will once again be a fun team to watch who wins a bunch of games.

And yet still not title contenders.

Prediction: 51-31. Denver cracks 50 wins without a superstar, plays at a high level, thrills fans and league pass addicts, then loses in a tough second-round series. What is what what was is what shall be.

Damian Lillard, Tobias Harris among the NBA Summer League standouts

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LAS VEGAS — The NBA Summer League unfortunately came to a close on Sunday night, ending a week and a half of wonderful basketball being played on the UNLV campus. Okay, so not all of the basketball was necessarily wonderful … but there were some players that helped themselves out quite a bit while spending time in Sin City.

There were a lot of options, of course, considering 24 teams took part in the annual extravaganza — with some ridiculous rosters listing up to 19 players — but the following players seemed to accomplish the most while playing in Vegas.

  • Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers – Not a lot of basketball fans knew what the Portland was picking when the Trail Blazers went with the Weber State point guard early in the first round of this year’s NBA Draft. Well, if Summer League wasn’t an aberration, the Blazers selected themselves a solid-to-spectacular player. Lillard was named a Summer League Co-MVP (along with Josh Selby of the Memphis Grizzlies) on his way to averaging 26.5 points, 5.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds and at least two awe-inspiring plays in each of the four games he played. The most memorable is going to be his dunk on Keith Benson, but the pinpoint passing — exhibited here on a connection with fellow rookie Will Barton — wasn’t bad either.
  • Josh Selby, Memphis Grizzlies – Selby earned a vote for the NBA’s All-Rookie team this year, but the majority of the media agreed quite strongly that it wasn’t well-deserved. The former Jayhawk earned all of his Co-MVP honors over the past ten days in Vegas, though, en route to averages of 24.2 points, 2.4 steals and a ridiculous 64.3 shooting percentage from beyond the 3-point arc (and trust us, that isn’t a small sample size as he was chucking at will). It’s tough to tell if Selby’s Summer League performance will translate to the regular season where he’ll be back to being a role player rather than the go-to guy, but it was fun while it lasted in lovely Las Vegas.
  • Adam Morrison, Los Angeles Clippers – There was a time when Morrison was regularly chided for being overrated after being the third overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. Now that he’s become a basketball vagabond, however, Morrison’s become something between a sympathetic figure and a cult hero … and, judging from the MVP chants heard in the Cox Pavilion on Sunday afternoon, we’re leaning toward the latter. Whether or not he makes an NBA roster again is still up in the air, but the 20 points and five rebounds he averaged this week were a nice reminder of how great he is at putting the ball in the bucket.
  • Malcolm Thomas, Chicago Bulls – Thomas played alongside Kawhi Leonard at San Diego State, but while Leonard made waves with the San Antonio Spurs, Thomas was relegated to a couple of NBA call-ups while playing for the NBA Development League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders this past season. After watching him this week, though, there’s little doubt he’s talented enough to make more money than the D-League has to offer next season seeing as he averaged 11.4 points and 12.4 rebounds (oh, and this didn’t hurt either).
  • Tobias Harris, Milwaukee Bucks – Depending on what one thinks about Bismack Biyombo’s birth certificate, Harris was either the youngest or second-youngest player in the NBA last season. The former Tennessee Volunteer played like anything but a youngin’ in Las Vegas, however, as he averaged 21.5 points and eight rebounds over five games. Whether or not he earned himself more minutes after an inconsistent rookie year is still up for debate, but it was clear he was better than almost everyone on the floor at Thomas & Mack Center.

Plenty of other players stood out in lovely Las Vegas, of course, but those listed above stood head and shoulders above the rest. Now only time will tell where they stack up among Summer League legends like Nate Robinson, Jerryd Bayless and Anthony Randolph.

Kevin Love happy to see “bad blood” gone from Timberwolves locker room

Kevin Love

Michael Beasley, Darko Milicic, Anthony Randolph, and Martell Webster.

Those are the four main guys Minnesota has moved out this off-season. Decide for yourself who Kevin Love was talking about when he said this to the Pioneer Press (via SLAM).

“If we get everybody back healthy, with Ricky (Rubio) back healthy, if (Brandon) Roy comes in healthy, and if we can get off to a good start, we’re going to be good. But we really have to add as many as pieces as we possibly can, veteran guys,” he said. “There was some bad blood in that locker room we were able to get out of there and smooth things out. That should help us out going forward.”

Asked to elaborate, Love responded: “Just what I said. We had bad blood in the locker room. We got that out.”

I’m not going to speculate, I’ll leave that to you.

But Love was completely back on his “We have to get better and I’m going to publicly push the organization kick” in the interview. He wants veterans, he wants to win now. Thing is, with him and Rubio they have the potential core of a good team and just veterans isn’t the answer. More talent is, regardless of age.

But Love is on Team USA where guys are showing off their title rings and he’s never made the playoffs. He wants to taste the postseason. And that drive is not a bad thing at all.