Tag: Chris Paul

Philadelphia 76ers v Los Angeles Clippers

Clippers waive Jordan Farmar, clearing way for Austin Rivers, likely others


Jordan Farmar, a backup for Chris Paul at the point for the Clippers, has been officially waived, it was announced on Friday.

This was expected, it was part of a house cleaning for the Clippers that included Austin Rivers joining the team — he will become the first son to play for his coach father in NBA history — and likely others players down the line. Austin Rivers was not with the team at shootaround but is expected to be available Friday night when the Clippers face the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Farmar is now an unrestricted free agent, he didn’t play particularly well as a backup to CP3 — scored 4.6 points a game on 38 percent shooting, had a PER of 10 — but it is possible another team picks him up.

The thing is, Austin Rivers is not really much of an upgrade. Certainly not one that would require sending out Reggie Bullock and Chris Douglas-Roberts plus a pick to get the trade done. While a lot of nepotism questions were raised, Sam Amick of the USA Today posted another rumor.

That really applies more to Farmar than CDR, but in both cases this was about trying to improve the chemistry and clearing space on the roster for future moves. That said, giving up a nice trade chip in Reggie Bullock to bring in a new backup point guard playing less than 15 minutes a night really the smart move here?

The Clippers are looking to bring in other players being waived as well. Tayshaun Prince’s name has come up and he is not alone.

If you have chemistry issues, do you want to introduce the big personality and unrepentant gunner on the court to the mix in Robinson?

The Clippers are looking for something because this team is not what they hoped it would be coming into the season — a true contender.

Jeff Teague could have undermined Hawks’ success. He’s glad they didn’t let him

Washington Wizards v Atlanta Hawks

BOSTON – Jeff Teague strolled through the Hawks’ locker room, joking with Al Horford about binging on a pregame meal (an indulgence Teague could make while sitting out the game before, something Horford was doing this night) and playfully tapping another teammate’s iPad screen as he passed.

Then, Teague returns to his locker, where he’d explain what makes these Atlanta Hawks so special.

“We have fun. We enjoy it,” Teague said Wednesday. “Guys really like one another. We hang out all time. We go out to eat. We enjoy each other’s company.”

Plenty of teams tout their off-court chemistry, and it’s essentially impossible for outsiders to gauge the veracity of those claims. But the Hawks click so well on the court, it’d be difficult to believe they’re not close off it.

The Hawks are the NBA’s feel-good story. They’ve won 10 straight and 24 of 26 since Thanksgiving to raise their record to an Eastern Conference-best 31-8. They’re playing so well, the franchise’s two (!) mostly distinct offseason racism scandals have faded to the background. Teague, Horford, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll mesh well in the starting lineup, and Thabo Sefolosha, Dennis Schroder, Pero Antic, Mike Scott, Shelvin Mack and Kent Bazemore hit the right notes of the bench. Mike Budenholzer is building a strong case for Coach of the Year.

This team just works in every way.

But just two summers ago, Teague nearly broke up this group before it achieved its current near-perfect harmony.

Teague, a restricted free agent in a stalemate with the the Hawks, signed a four-year, $32 million offer sheet with the Bucks. He even said he preferred Atlanta not match.

“It was a tactic to get a deal done,” Teague admitted. “I always wanted to be an Atlanta Hawk.”

Teague got his wish. The Hawks matched, and he said he was happy in Atlanta.

In truth, the Hawks probably weren’t that close to letting him leave. Budenholzer, hired that same offseason, said he was substantially involved in the team’s internal discussions after Milwaukee presented the offer sheet.

“I think it was easy,” Budenholzer said. “We were very, very excited to match and keep him.

“He’s such a gifted and talented player. I think we all appreciate his skill, his combination of strength and quickness and speed. And then he’s a great person. He fits in our locker room. He’s somebody that we wanted to work with and continue to help to grow and to improve. And it’s worked out well for both of us, hopefully.”

It sure has.

Teague is having the best season of his career, averaging 17.5 points, 7.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game. His PER of 23.1 ranks No. 13 in the NBA and fifth among point guards (behind only Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry).

Not that many have paid attention.

Teague is the best player who hasn’t cracked the All-Star starter voting leaderboard.

“He’s just doing a lot of things, and I think a lot of kind of little things that maybe go unnoticed,” said Budenholzer, who specifically mentioned Teague’s pick-and-roll defense and off-ball activity. “Everybody sees the points and the assists and all of those other things, but I think he’s competing at a high level.

“All the minutiae that us coaches spend hours on watching film – you can see it and feel it.”

That’s why Teague, despite his lack of fan support, has a good chance of becoming an All-Star when coaches vote on the reserves.

Teague says it’s most important the Hawks’ early success earns them at least one All-Star, no matter who it is. And if it’s him?

“That’d be great,” Teague said. “That’s like the highest honor you can get besides winning a championship in the NBA, so I’d be stoked to get that.”

Teague obviously hasn’t heard my case that All-NBA should weigh much more heavily than All-Star when assessing someone’s career accomplishments. Regardless, he’s quite possibly in store for an achievement that unquestionably ranks higher: MVP votes.

Since the NBA began awarding MVP in 1956, 117 of 118 No. 1 seeds have had a player make someone’s MVP ballot.* And the Hawks are in strong position to land the No. 1 seed. They have a four-game lead over the second-place Wizards and a chance to increase their buffer over the pack tonight against the third-place Raptors and tomorrow against the fourth-place Bulls.

*The 1969-70 Hawks are the only exception. None their top players – Bill Bridges, Lou Hudson, Joe Caldwell, Mahdi Abdul-Rahman, Jim Davis and Gary Gregor – got MVP votes. Willis Reed, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Walt Frazier, Billy Cunningham and Connie Hawkins claimed all those.

Horford and Millsap should figure prominently for anyone looking to assign credit for Atlanta’s growth, but Teague’s status as floor general will generate support.

After years of the Hawks imploring him to take control, Teague has. Atlanta performs better offensively and defensively when he’s on the court, and though playing frequently with the team’s other starters partially explains that, he’s driving a lot of the production. He’s still one of the NBA’s quickest players, but he’s capitalizing more on his ability to blow by opponents and tilt defenses. On the other end, he does a much better job of sticking with his man while still finding opportunities to get steals.

The little improvements across the board are adding up.

Teague’s PER has increased each of his six seasons. Only four current players – Mo Williams, Manu Ginobili, Pau Gasol and Kevin Garnett – have completed a six-season run of ascending PERs. Mike Conley, Stephen Curry, James Harden and DeAndre Jordan are also on pace to do it this year, but Teague has the most room for error over his PER from last season.

Here’s how Teague’s PER has progressed:


“That’s the only goal I ever set at the beginning of each season, just to get better than the previous year,” Teague said. “If I can do that, I know I’m have a good year.”

By that measure, Teague is having a good year. By others – an All-Star appearance, MVP votes, playoff success – Teague is on track to hit the mark, as well.

As he continues along this career season, Teague is grateful the Hawks ignored his request two years ago.

“I thought about that a couple weeks ago, if I was in Milwaukee right now,” Teague said. “But I’m glad to be here with Atlanta. I’m happy with how we’re playing. The group we have here is so talented and so unselfish and fun to play with.”

He’s a huge reason.

Five Things We Learned in NBA Wednesday: The Clippers top six are good. After that….

Los Angeles Clippers v Portland Trail Blazers

If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while worrying about what too much wealth would do to your soul….

The Clippers’ top six is good enough to beat Portland. Right now, if Doc Rivers wants to win a big game, he has to lean on the top six guys in his rotation and not much else — that’s what happened in the Clippers win against Portland Wednesday. When it was just the Clippers’ starting five — Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan — or when Jamal Crawford subbed in for Redick the Clippers were +13. They won by 6. This trend isn’t new — on the season the Clippers starting five is +15.6 per 48 minutes, sub Crawford in for Redick and it’s +21.7. Once you get past the top six on the Clippers roster it just drops off a cliff. Spencer Hawes looked like a great addition on paper but his shot has gone AWOL. Nobody else is stepping up, and Doc Rivers is busy on the phone lines trying to find depth (Austin Rivers is not the answer) but the Clippers don’t have the kind of assets that will likely net much in return. So it’s the top six and pray for the Clippers, but that was enough as they knocked down their midrange shots and got the win in Portland Wednesday.

It’s not just a Bulls slump, the Wizards are legit. The playoffs are all about match ups and if the Bulls draw the Wizards this postseason they should be concerned. Washington beat Chicago 105-99 Wednesday. It’s because the Wizards have the size and athleticism to match up with the Bulls. Nene is an underrated player and his physical play frustrated Pau Gasol. Nobody was going to slow Derrick Rose in the first half (20 points on 8-of-10 shooting) but John Wall did a good job on him in the second half and scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. Paul Pierce gives Washington more versatility on offense and he had 22 in this one. Remember this, the Wizards have the seventh most efficient defense in the NBA and third in the East. The Wizards are a team that — so long as Nene is healthy the Wizards are going to be a tough out in the East.

After the game, Marcin Gortat had the tweet of the night.

DeMar DeRozan is back. Fear the Raptors. Rust? What rust? DeMar DeRozan returned to the Raptors lineup after missing 21 games and fit in smoothly with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting in a win over Philly. When the Raptors came out flat to start the third quarter he made the sits so the Raptors did not have a repeat of their come-from-ahead loss to Detroit. Toronto is just a far more dangerous team with DeRozan back.

Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo could develop into something interesting in Orlando. It’s games like Wednesday night, when the Magic beat the Houston Rockets, that you think this backcourt in Orlando really could work out. Payton and Oladipo outplayed Patrick Beverley and James Harden down the stretch. Payton is a terrible jump shooter (and will never be great, maybe someday with a lot of work he could be an average shooter) but he attacks the rim well and shows a real comfort level just running the offense, plus he’s going to be a good defender. Oladipo on the other hand can shoot and more than that just flat-out score — he had 32 points on 12-of-19 shooting (plus six rebounds and assists). The Magic have scored better than 120 in consecutive games now and this is a team that is starting to look like it’s finding an identity.

The Atlanta Hawks won again. Yawn. I’m not sure what we really learned here — that the Hawks are really good? We knew that. That they are better than the Celtics? We knew that, too. But this win makes it 10 in a row for Atlanta and that needs to be recognized. Maybe the most interesting question about them right now is who makes the All-Star team from the Hawks? You can make a case for Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and Al Horford, but the reality is one, maybe two, make the roster (and they will be voted in by the coaches). Maybe the only sure thing for the Hawks is that Mike Budenholzer will coach the team because the Hawks are going to be on top of the Eastern standings for a little while.

Rumor: Kings looking to make minor deal, Ramon Sessions available

Milwaukee Bucks v Sacramento Kings

Ramon Sessions has long been a solid reserve point guard — aggressive coming off the pick-and-roll, he knows how to get to the line and is a solid floor general. However, this year in Sacramento he has taken a step back — he is shooting just 35.3 percent, he’s getting to the line less often, and his PER has dropped to 9.6 (the kind of number that suggests he should be in the D-League).

So the Kings are testing the trade market for Sessions.

That’s the word from Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.

Sessions has missed the last nine games with a back issue (it will be 10 Tuesday night), he’s going to have to prove he is healthy and can still play before any team is going to express interest.

The Clippers have not been in love with the production of Jordan Farmar backing up Chris Paul. The question is would a change of setting be the answer to Session’s woes? Also, Sessions does not bring any defense to the Clippers bench. The Clippers are likely more focused on fixing their issues at the three.

As for the Kings, this kind of move is fine but they clearly have bigger questions to answer. Like who is the coach next season? And what kind of team are they trying to build, anyway?

LeBron James retains top spot on NBA’s most popular jerseys list

LeBron James

The NBA released its latest list of most popular jerseys, based on sales from October through December of 2014.

Not surprisingly, LeBron James, after returning to play for the Cavaliers, remained at the top of the list.

It’s the fifth consecutive time that James has topped jersey sales, but we had a newcomer claim the second spot.

Stephen Curry went from seventh to second, while Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis appeared on the list for the very first time.

The complete list, via official release:

1.     LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

2.     Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

3.     Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

4.     Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

5.     Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

6.     Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

7.     Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

8.     Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

9.     Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

10.  Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

11.  Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

12.  Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

13.  Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

14.  James Harden, Houston Rockets

15.  Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

The league also ranked the top 10 teams in terms of overall merchandise sales. The Lakers remain well ahead of the Clippers in the battle of Los Angeles, despite the respective fortunes of the franchises. And the Nets, despite playing in the New York market, fell out of the top 10 for the first time since moving to Brooklyn in 2012.

1.      Cleveland Cavaliers

2.      Chicago Bulls

3.      Golden State Warriors

4.      Los Angeles Lakers

5.      San Antonio Spurs

6.      Oklahoma City Thunder

7.      New York Knicks

8.      Miami Heat

9.      Boston Celtics

10.  Los Angeles Clippers