Back in 2012-13, when the Denver Nuggets were racking up 57 wins under George Karl, Ty Lawson and Corey Brewer meshed well together. When those two shared the court the Nuggets played at a fast 100.5 possessions per game (that’s the Warriors pace from last season) and the team scored 108.3 points per 100 possessions (that would have been third best in the NBA).
You can see why Brewer is pumped to be playing with Lawson again.
They are teammates in Houston and Brewer told James Herbert of CBSSports.com’s Eye on Basketball expects they can recapture that magic.
“I had some good years in Denver with Ty so I know how to play with him and I love the way he plays because he plays fast like I do and he’s going to push the pace, push the tempo. That’s what we need here. That’s what we like to do. We like to run.”
But before that can happen, Ty Lawson needs to get past his personal battle with alcohol, which has led to two DUI arrests this year. Brewer clearly subscribes to the theory that put on a contender with a lot on the line, Lawson will get his life back in order.
“Yeah he’s going to be able to do a lot. You got to think about the different guys he’s going to play with. Denver had some good players, they didn’t have James Harden or Dwight Howard. It’s very different when you play with guys like that.”
For Lawson’s sake, I hope so. It may not be that simple, but I hope so.
Lawson and Brewer did generate offense together, but they also didn’t get a lot of stops — they outscored opponents by just two points per 48 minutes because the defense wasn’t good. It will be interesting to see how Kevin McHale mixes and matches with them to keep the defense solid.
No doubt, however, that the Lawson/Brewer punch can put some points on the board while James Harden rests his beard on the sidelines. The Rockets need that.
There’s not a major international tournament this year, but it’s still a crucial year for USA Basketball. The Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero are coming up next year, and Mike Krzyzewski and Jerry Colangelo have until then to whittle their roster down. This year’s minicamp will provide a hint as to which players are and are not in the running. Recently, it was reported that Dwight Howard is planning to attend the camp in Las Vegas. Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting that another Team USA veteran is in: Chris Paul.
Paul has won two Olympic gold medals with Team USA, in Bejing in 2008 and in London in 2012. He’ll be 31 by the time the Rio Olympics roll around, so it’s likely his last chance to add a third medal to his collection. The younger point guards like Kyrie Irving and John Wall will probably be focal points of the program by that time, but Paul will still be extremely valuable to have around for his experience.
Apparently Dwight Howard still might want a trip to Rio next summer.
USA Basketball’s mini-camp is coming up and players who do not attend are not likely to be invited to the tryouts for the Rio Olympics next summer (unless your name is LeBron, then you can pretty much do what you want). A few players frustrated with the USA Basketball process and decisions — Damian Lillard and John Wall in particular — have been hesitant in saying they would go.
Dwight Howard, on the other hand, seems to have had a change of heart, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Howard, because of his defense and mobility, would stand a good chance to make Team USA because he fits Mike Krzyzewski’s style of play. Howard protects the paint, can cover out on the perimeter on defense, and knows how to run the floor and finish on offense. Tyson Chandler was on the roster in London, Howard could slide right into that slot.
Predicting who will be available a year from now is next to impossible, there’s an entire NBA season still to be played. But if you don’t show up to the mini-camp this season you probably miss out next year, so it doesn’t hurt to show up (even for guys like Kevin Love and Kevin Durant, who cannot participate due to injury). This is the smart play for Howard.
Damian Lillard doesn’t sound like someone who will attend Team USA’s minicamp next month.
He might not be the only one.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said camp attendance – though not necessarily on-court participation – was mandatory for players to make the 2016 Olympic team.
If Dwight Howard and John Wall don’t show up, they’re probably out for the Rio Games. They surely know that, though Colangelo’s rules are only as binding as he wants them to be. Given how he has run the program in the past, though, I wouldn’t test him.
Wall didn’t make the World Cup roster last year, and he wasn’t pleased. There was a report Howard intended to play in the 2014 World Cup and maybe 2016 Olympics, but he wasn’t even in the player pool for the World Cup.
Both Howard and Wall are talented enough to make Olympic roster. But if they don’t attend the minicamp, that’s probably the end of their association with USA Basketball.
Chuck Hayes spent the first six years of his NBA career in Houston, never giving them many points but instead giving them good defense in the post, strength on the glass, and hustle everywhere on the court.
Now he’s back.
After a down year in Toronto, Hayes is heading to Houston to help round out a deep front court, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.
The Rockets are close to rounding out their roster, but don’t expect them to be spending much to do it, notes former Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks.
Teammates love Hayes and love playing with him, which is why this is a good pickup for Houston. All Hayes does is work hard and do the little things — battles on the boards, sets hard screens, and play physical defense. He is a consummate professional.
He’s also one that has battled injuries and had a couple down seasons in a row.
That said, it’s a low-risk move for Houston to help round out a strong frontcourt already. Dwight Howard and probably Terrence Jones will start, behind them is the underrated Donatas Motiejunas, plus youngsters Clint Capela and Montrezl Harrell. This could mean fewer minutes for Capela and Harrell, but there should be chances for everyone.
This is simply another solid addition to a title contending team.