Tag: Atlanta Hawks

Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets

DeMar DeRozan working on three-point shot this summer


Last season, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan made his living in the midrange.

Only 8.9 percent of his shots came from three (and he shot just 28.9 percent on them, although that jumped to 34 percent after the All-Star break). Instead, 56.6 percent of DeRozan’s shots came between 10 feet out and the arc, and he shot just below 38 percent on those. While the league-wide pushback on midrange jumpers can get taken too far, if you’re going to take them you better make them. Nobody complains about Dirk Nowitzki’s midrange shots — more than 60 percent of his shots are from 10 feet to the three-point line, but he hits nearly 48 percent of them. DeRozan is dynamic when he can attack the rim, but if there are obstacles in his way he too easily settles for a midrange jumper he does not hit.

This year, DeRozan going to try to become a more reliable threat from three to open things up. New Raptor DeMarre Carroll has been watching DeRozan and talked about stretching out his shot to the Toronto Sun.

“(NBA three-point leader) Kyle Korver told me the three-point shot is just more repetition. The more you shoot it, the better you’ll get at it. I feel like if DeMar will keep working on it, it will eventually come,” Carroll said…

“I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of other things he worked on in his game and he’s a dominant offensive player (already),” Carroll said. “So I think if he adds that three-point to his game it’ll take us over the top.”

The Raptors have overhauled their roster to become more defensive minded — that’s why Carroll was their top free agent target. They wanted a quality wing defender, and they got one of the best.

With this new roster look for even more threes — the Raptors were ninth in the NBA in three-pointers attempted last season and made a respectable 35.2 percent of them (12th in the NBA). If, as expected, Toronto starts Kyle Lowry, DeRozan, Carroll, and Patrick Patterson around Jonas Valanciunas, that’s potentially four three-point shooters on the floor around a big who demands a double in the post. Throw in a quicker pace (the Raptors were bottom 10) and the chance to get a few more threes in transition, and the Raptors could be bombs away from deep this season. Which will be a good thing, especially if DeRozan knocks them down.

The Raptors needed to make changes, their unimpressive first-round playoff exit (and the second half of last season) made that clear. But transitions are rarely smooth, and there are going to be some bumps early on for the Raptors as their focus shifts. Especially if those threes don’t fall for a stretch.


Al Horford: “I’m very happy in Atlanta”

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Al Horford will be a free agent next summer, but he’s already shut down speculation about his future. He isn’t going to talk about it until after the season. In a wide-ranging interview with Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated, Horford reiterated his stance, but added that he’s happy with the Hawks:

For me, I’m very happy in Atlanta. It’s one of those things where I don’t want any contract talks to be a distraction for my team and me. I feel like my focus this year is for us to build and be better. Since we can’t do anything right now, we’ll wait until the season’s over and then we can start talking about all that.

Horford also spoke about the importance of re-signing Paul Millsap, which the team did in July, and the overall continuity of the Hawks’ roster:

SI.com: How big was it for the Hawks to be able to keep Paul Millsap?

Horford: It was very important. I think that was the priority for us, to make sure we brought Paul back. Being able to add Tiago Splitter and Tim Hardaway, really was big. Unfortunately, we lost DeMarre [Carroll, who signed long-term with Toronto]—he’s such a great player, but it was the type of thing he couldn’t turn down, and it’s what’s best for him and his family.

SI.com: Was there a sense going into the offseason that you’d only be able to keep one out of Paul and DeMarre?

Horford: I honestly thought there was a chance we’d be able to keep them both. But it just didn’t work out that way. I’m happy for DeMarre, but I’m happy for us, being able to keep Paul, he’s such an important part of what we do. Just his versatility. He makes the game easier for all of us.

SI.com: How critical is keeping that continuity with the core players, especially with the style you guys play?

Horford: I feel like we’ve built chemistry, we trust each other and it’s important to have the same group of guys. This was our first full season, all of us together playing under the system. In coach [Mike Budenholzer]’s first year [2013–14] I was injured. So I’m looking forward to this season to keep building on what we have.

The Hawks had their most successful season in franchise history in 2014-15, winning 60 games and making the Eastern Conference Finals. With the exception of Carroll, the core is returning, and they’ve made some nice additions of role players. Whether they’ll be able to replicate their regular-season success from last year or not, they’re still in the mix as contenders in the East. And as long as that’s true, they remain the favorites to keep Horford next summer.

Report: LaMarcus Aldridge changes agencies, now repped by Excel Sports Management

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Fresh off a four-year, $84 million deal with the Spurs, LaMarcus Aldridge has switched representation. He was the biggest free agent of the summer, and the most high-profile player to change teams. He’s long been a client of Arn Tellem, the influential agent with Wasserman Media Group. But Eurobasket.com’s David Pick reports that Aldridge will now be represented by Excel Sports Management, whose roster features Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and Tyson Chandler:

Back in June, Tellem — whose client list includes Anthony Davis, Al Horford, both Gasol brothers and Brook Lopez — announced he was leaving Wasserman, and the agent world, to take a job with the Pistons on the business side. Aldridge’s defection is the first sign of a ripple effect created by Tellem’s departure. He is an enormously influential agent with deep ties to a lot of players. Now that he’s out of the game, don’t be surprised if more of his clients jump ship from Wasserman over the next year.

Report: Tristan Thompson rejected $80 million contract offer from Cavaliers because his perceived peers got more

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

Tristan Thompson and the Cavaliers were reportedly near a five-year, $80 million contract.

Then, they weren’t.

What happened?

Was the report inaccurate? Did the Cavaliers pull the offer? Did Thompson back out?

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

Thompson and the Cavaliers had reached an agreement early in free agency that was believed to have been centered on a five-year deal worth some $80 million. The problem with doing a deal at that number is that virtually everyone in Thompson’s talent range got substantially more, most receiving the NBA maximum salary, some for less years, but most for the same year one dollar amount.

Thompson’s camp pulled back from the $80 million number, wanting the Cavs to step up with more based on what virtually everyone else in Thompson’s peer range got.

I’m not sure who Thompson considers his peers, but I place him solidly behind Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe, Draymond Green, Brook Lopez, Paul Millsap and Tim Duncan in the next group of big-man free agents.

Does that warrant more than the $16 million per season the Cavaliers reportedly offered?

Here’s how much other free agents in the tier will get annually, using data from Basketball Insiders:

  • Enes Kanter: $17,515,007 (four years, $70,060,028)
  • Robin Lopez: $13,503,875 (four years, $54,015,500)
  • Tyson Chandler: $13,000,000 (four years, $52,000,000)
  • Thaddeus Young: $12,500,000 (four years, $50,000,000)
  • Amir Johnson: $12,000,000 (two years, $24,000,000)
  • Omer Asik: $10,595,505 (five years, $52,977,525)
  • Kosta Koufos: $8,219,750 (four years, $32,879,000)
  • Ed Davis: $6,666,667 (three years, $20,000,000)
  • Brandan Wright: $5,709,880 (three years, $17,129,640)
  • Jordan Hill: $4,000,000 (one year, $4,000,000)

Thompson might think he’s in the same group as Monroe (three-year max contract) and Green (five years, $82 million), but he’s not as good as those two. They deserve to be paid more than Thompson.

But deserve has only so much to do with it.

Thompson holds major leverage. If he takes the qualifying offer and leaves next summer, the Cavaliers won’t have the cap flexibility to find a comparable replacement. They can sign Thompson only because they have his Bird rights. That won’t be the case with outside free agents.

The Thunder were in the same boat with Kanter, which is why they matched his max offer sheet from the Trail Blazers. Thompson should point to that situation for comparison. The Cavaliers, though, would probably tell Thompson to bring them an offer sheet, like Kanter did with Oklahoma City.

But Thompson has even more leverage. He shares an agent, Rich Paul, with LeBron James. Cleveland surely wants to keep LeBron happy, and LeBron wants Thompson back.

Thompson might get more than $80 million. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got his max ($94,343,125 over five years). It just won’t be because his on-court peers all got that much. The max-level free agents – with the exception of Kanter – are a class above in actual ability.

But that Kanter comparison works for Thompson, and he and Paul should hammer it until the Cavaliers relent. No need to bring up that Kanter signed well after Thompson’s talks with Cleveland broke down. This is only minimally a discussion about logic and production.

It’s mostly about leverage, and no matter what flawed viewpoints got us here, Thompson still has leverage.

Tim Duncan wins NBA teammate award despite teammates not being allowed to vote for him

Charlotte Hornets v San Antonio Spurs

I like the idea of the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award. It’s noble to honor the NBA’s best teammate.

Chauncey Billups won the inaugural award in 2013, and Shane Battier took it last year. Both seem to be good teammates.

As does Tim Duncan, who won this year.

Watch for the fine print, though.

NBA release:

NBA players have selected the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan as the recipient of the 2014-15 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award.  The award recognizes the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team.

A panel of NBA Legends nominated six players from each conference for the award and then nearly 300 NBA players submitted their votes through confidential balloting conducted by the league office.

Ten points were awarded for a first-place vote, seven for second, five for third, three for fourth and one for fifth; players were not allowed to vote for a teammate.

Here are the full results (first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, fourth-place votes, fifth-place votes, total points):

1. Tim Duncan, San Antonio (72-59-44-49-21-1494)
2. Vince Carter, Memphis (28-39-30-28-21-818)
3. Elton Brand, Atlanta (21-27-44-23-19-707)
4. Ryan Anderson, New Orleans (31-29-12-19-23-653)
5. Jameer Nelson, Denver (39-14-13-22-33-652)
6. Mike Miller, Cleveland (16-23-26-41-29-603)
7. Steve Blake, Portland (18-23-24-27-22-564)
8. Pau Gasol, Chicago (15-24-20-21-27-508)
9. Andre Iguodala, Golden State (19-18-21-19-15-493)
10. Udonis Haslem, Miami (15-13-24-22-13-440)
11. Caron Butler, Detroit (14-17-20-17-20-430)
12. Al Jefferson, Charlotte (11-13-21-20-46-412)

In case you missed it: “Players were not allowed to vote for a teammate.”

A lot of players outside San Antonio think Duncan is a good teammate. OK. That’s nice. Is that really worth celebrating, though?

They ought to rename it the Twyman-Stokes Hearsay Award.