Tag: Darius Morris

Philadelphia 76ers v Dallas Mavericks

Sixers waive Kwame Brown, Darius Morris


If you’re a team looking for a backup big man to soak up a few minutes in the paint, Kwame Brown is available… not that your team should pick him up. Just saying he’s available.

Brown and teammate Darius Morris have been waived by the Philadelphia 76ers, something first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports and since confirmed by CSNPhilly.com.

Brown has not played a moment for Philly this season, and while that has been attributed to a injured hamstring reality is he likely wouldn’t have played healthy or not. Morris has come off the bench in Sixers this season averaging 6.9 points a game.

The Sixers are eating a little money here to clear the roster spot as Brown was due just shy of $3 million fully guaranteed (the second year of a two-year deal), Morris has a $200,000 guarantee on his deal, according to Mark Deek’s Sham Sports.

Brown has two skills on the basketball court — he is a solid on-on-one post defender against more traditional big men, and he’s a pretty good rebounder. That’s it. His help defense can best be described as clueless and on offense he has terrible hands and is not a good finisher at the rim. And one of those skills — post defense — is needed less and less in the league.

It’s unfortunate he was the mistake No. 1 pick of Michael Jordan because that gave Brown a kind of fame and pressure he didn’t really warrant.

Brett Brown: 76ers’ have just six NBA players

Brett Brown, Daniel Orton

Many advanced stats, in basketball and other sports, rely on a concept called a replacement player. A replacement player is a hypothetical player who can easily be obtained to fill out the roster.

In his definition of an NBA replacement player, Kevin Pelton says a team of replacement players would win 10 games in a season. So, that should show the level of a replacement player is pretty low.

Yet, every season, for one reason or another, there are many NBA players who produce at below replacement levels. This season, it seems many of those sub-replacement-level players will be members of the 76ers.

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:

Michael Carter-Williams, James Anderson, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, and Spencer Hawes are the clear starters. The second thing is that power forward/center Lavoy Allen is an experienced NBA player who is finding his way back into shape.

“And after that, who knows?” Sixers coach Brett Brown said before Monday’s 104-93 setback to Cleveland in Columbus, Ohio. “You have six NBA players and then you have a bunch of guys who are fighting for spots and want to be seen and need opportunity.”

The former San Antonio Spurs assistant is not including injured players – rookie Nerlens Noel (torn anterior cruciate ligament) and veterans Jason Richardson (knee), Kwame Brown (hamstring), and Arnett Moultrie (ankle). All have guaranteed contracts and are expected make the 15-man roster.

If I were Darius Morris, Tony Wroten or Daniel Orton, I’d be a little perturbed by that comment.

But only a little.

Though Morris, Wroten and Orton played in the NBA last season, they’re not necessarily NBA players anymore. Vander Blue, Mac Koshwal, Gani Lawal , Hollis Thompson, Royce White , Rodney Williams and Khalif Wyatt all want a spot on the roster, and the Riggin’-for-Wiggins 76ers are just the team to accommodate.

This is a large group of flawed players, and Philadelphia will keep whomever it believes can help most down the road. That’s obviously a difficult judgment to make with players like these, so the small margins can matter a great deal.

Experience alone won’t cut it. Brown is in a rare position to demand a lot from a large share of his roster, because the 76ers have relatively few highly paid players. These 10 players are really going to have to bust their hump to make the roster.

As Brown is all too happy to remind them, they’re not really NBA players yet.

ProBasketballTalk 2013-14 Preview: Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant

Last season: It was supposed to be yet another year spent contending for a championship for a storied Lakers franchise that already has 16 of them. L.A. loaded up with free agent talent in Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, and was on paper the team most believed would stand in the way of a second straight Miami Heat title.

Instead, it was a season full of drama and disaster. The Lakers were decimated by injuries to nearly anyone that mattered, Howard struggled to embrace head coach Mike D’Antoni’s system and playing alongside Kobe Bryant, and the team snuck into the playoffs only to be swept in the first round by the Spurs.

If all of that wasn’t bad enough, Bryant went down with a torn Achilles injury near the end of last season that will have a lingering effect on the team entering this one.

Signature highlight from last season: Bryant’s Achilles injury and subsequent free throws that helped give the Lakers a much-needed late season win to keep their playoff hopes alive was a candidate here, as was Steve Nash, literally the best teammate in the game, losing his temper Dwight Howard. But those were both bummers for Lakers fans, so instead let’s revisit some vintage Bryant heroics during one of the team’s most exciting wins of the year.

Key player changes: The loss of Dwight Howard in free agency immediately dropped the Lakers out of championship contention in the eyes of most pundits. But L.A. did a nice job of adding talented role players at below market value to support the stars still in place on the roster.

  • IN: Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, and Wesley Johnson were all signed to guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season.
  • OUT: Dwight Howard choose to sign in Houston in free agency; Earl Clark did the same with the Cavaliers, as did Antawn Jamison, now with the Clippers. Metta World Peace was waived using the amnesty provision, and was picked up by the Knicks. Other seldom-used players who are no longer Lakers: Chris Duhon, Darius Morris, Devin Ebanks.

Keys to the Lakers season:

1) The health of Kobe Bryant: Recovering from an injury as severe as a torn Achilles is no small task, even for someone with a ruthless work ethic and insanely high pain tolerance as Kobe Bryant. While his rehabilitation appears to be going well and Bryant has said that he’s ahead of schedule, the timing of his return isn’t nearly as important as the quality of his play whenever he does see the court this season for the first time.

Assuming a healthy Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, with the latter playing in a contract year as the featured big man in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, there is still legitimate star power on the Lakers roster beyond whatever Bryant brings. He puts the team over the top, however, in terms of having enough talent to do real damage — but only if he’s back playing close to the level we’ve come to expect, at least for the majority of the season.

2) Pau Gasol returning to All-Star form: Ever since coming to the Lakers via trade during the 2008 season, Gasol has been the one who largely was blamed publicly when things weren’t right with the team. He’s been the constant subject of trade rumors, and due to a variety of factors, many thought it was a long shot that he’d even be back with the Lakers this season.

Gasol appears healthy now, and after being marginalized in favor of Dwight Howard, D’Antoni has spent every opportunity praising Gasol’s abilities, and seems genuinely excited about being able to feature him in the offense. There should be a monster year on the horizon for the Spaniard, and depending on what version of Bryant we see, Gasol’s return to form could help the Lakers overachieve by most people’s standards.

On the flip side, Gasol is in the final year of his contract, and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. If he stumbles at all or the team doesn’t produce wins in spite of his stellar play, the Lakers could look to dump him at the trade deadline in order to make sure they get something in return for a player of his caliber. A lot will hinge on Gasol’s play this season, both in terms of the team’s fortunes, as well as what the future may hold for him personally.

3) One word — Defense: The good news for the Lakers is that Mike D’Antoni has had a full training camp to put in his offense, and the Lakers have added players like Nick Young and Jordan Farmar who should thrive in his system while having no trouble putting up big numbers.

But D’antoni teams have never been known for their lock-down defense, and the personnel in place this year looks to be woefully inadequate on that end of the floor. Nash, Young, and Chris Kaman have a history of struggling defensively, yet all are expected to play big minutes this season. Bryant has proven he can play above average defense over the years, but was dreadful there a season ago, largely by personal choice.

These Lakers don’t have quite enough firepower to outscore teams, and don’t have nearly enough defensively to shut their opponents down for extended stretches .That middle ground is likely going to be troublesome to escape, and along with the uncertainty surrounding Bryant, it’s the primary reason that most have the Lakers finishing out of the playoffs.

Why you should watch: Well, the first reason is you won’t have much of a choice — the Lakers will be on national television 29 times. Beyond that, the intrigue surrounding how Bryant returns, what Nash has left to give in the twilight of his Hall of Fame career, and what ends up happening with Gasol are each reasons on their own, and combined they’ll make the Lakers as interesting as usual.

Prediction: 46-36, one more regular season win than last year’s supposed world-beater squad, and enough to secure one of the final two playoff spots in the West.

Look, there are six teams that are essentially guaranteed to make the postseason in the Western Conference, which only leaves two spots up for grabs. There are a lot of “ifs” surrounding this Lakers team, but I’m taking the optimistic approach on Kobe’s health and the overall team talent being enough to finish in seventh or eighth place when the regular season is finished.