Tag: Jeff Taylor

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green

PBT’s NBA Power Rankings: It’s the Warriors world


If you’ve been wondering “when do the Western Conference powers start beating up each other?” the answer is pretty much now. As we head into the Christmas day slate of games things will get interesting, but for now the top remains the same as Golden State is just winning and winning and winning.

source:  1. Warriors (21-2, Last Week No. 1). When Andrew Bogut was out we quickly saw how much he meant to this team — the rim protection on defense was not nearly the same, and equally important his passing on offense that helps them move the ball strong to weak quickly was gone. For about a half. By the time Golden State rolled into Dallas Saturday they were again a force again in an impressive win. Still, Bogut is key for them come the playoffs, best to get him fully healthy now.

source:  2. Rockets (18-5, LW 3). The Rockets were 8-3 with Dwight Howard out (surprisingly Rockets had fifth best defense in league in last 10 without Howard) and in that time James Harden averaged 29.1 points a game, shot 39 percent from three, dished out 6.1 assist and pulled down 6 rebounds a game. James Harden is playing like an MVP, and that didn’t change on Howard’s return when Harden dropped a triple double Saturday.

source:  3. Grizzlies (19-4, LW 6) I only moved them up to third because while they beat Charlotte and Philadelphia they didn’t exactly look good doing it. This coming week is different, win these games any way you can and you move up: Warriors, Spurs, Bulls and Cavaliers.

source:  4. Trail Blazers (18-6. LW 4). They have a top 10 offense, a top 10 defense, they look like they can beat anybody, but they also are fully capable of mailing it in and losing to Minnesota. Tough stretch coming up with the Spurs twice this week, plus the Rockets and Thunder on the road to start next week.

source:  5. Spurs (17-7, LW 2). That loss to the Lakers was the kind of game which leads to the :45 second, angry Gregg Popovich press conference. What should make him feel better — not happy, Popovich is never happy — is the return of Tiago Splitter to the lineup. Splitter even started on Sunday night. That should improve their defense.

source:  6. Clippers (16-7, LW 5). Doc Rivers said the key to Chris Paul’s improved shooting this season is he is taking the first good, open look he gets. “That’s what we need him to do, take the open shot. I jokingly tell him, the option you are looking for is you. When you’re coming wide open off the pick and roll, he’ll do it tonight at least once or twice, he’ll look around and I’ll be ‘what is the better option than right now.’ And he’s doing it.”

source:  7. Mavericks (17-8, LW 7). They are 0-6 vs. Western Conference playoff teams and 17-2 vs. everyone else. That can’t make Mark Cuban comfortable. Chandler Parsons isn’t comfortable due to lower back soreness, he missed one game and could miss more.

source:  8. Cavaliers (13-9 LW 8). Has LeBron James lost some bounce this season? Probably, he’s not as aggressive going to the rim. But his playmaking skills and his desire to use them with his new teammates is part of the reason he’s not attacking as much. Also, there’s just not the space in the Cavs offense yet that there was in Miami.

source:  9. Raptors (18-6, LW 7). Kyle Lowry must make the All-Star team in the East. I know the point guard spot is loaded (Irving, Rose, Wall) but Lowry is simply playing too well (PER of 23.2, as a snapshot) to be ignored.

source:  10. Bulls (15-8, LW 12). Derrick Rose is getting his points a little differently (that floater is a weapon) but he’s starting to get them again and that’s good news in Chicago. The best sign of a title contender is a top 5 offense and defense (in terms of efficiency), the Bulls have that.

source:  11. Wizards (17-6, LW 11). Quality win over the Clippers last week, showing on the right night this team can beat anyone. Consistency is always the question, they had down games against Boston and Orlando. Still, they won those two and eight of their last nine.

source:  12. Hawks (16-7, LW 10). It wasn’t pretty when their winning streak was snapped by the Magic. The Hawks have played the easiest schedule in the NBA so far but that is about to change: Bulls, Cavaliers (twice), Rockets, Mavericks, Clippers, and Bucks (twice) make up the next eight games.

source:  13. Thunder (11-13, LW 18). Winners of five in a row and eight of nine, they could be the eight seed inside a week as after the top seven in the West things have fallen off. On Tuesday Kevin Durant should get to 15,000 points in his career, second youngest to do it behind LeBron.

source:  14. Bucks (12-12, LW 15). Maybe the most entertaining team in the league and also one of its biggest surprises at .500 and in the playoffs in the East. What’s been impressive is the quality play Jason Kidd is getting out of his bench, which is not flush with big names.

source:  15. Pelicans (11-12, LW 16). They got great guard play Sunday night from Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans but this team needs Anthony Davis back in the lineup (chest contusion) if they are going to start winning more consistently.

source:  16. Kings (11-13, LW 14). Ownership wants to play faster (more Spurs-like) and Tyrone Corbin is going to oblige now that Mike Malone has been fired. One problem: This roster really isn’t built to play faster or move the ball like the Spurs. DeMarcus Cousins is a halfcourt guy (Team USA tried to get him to run more with limited success) but at least he can pass, their starting two guard doesn’t have the handles or the passing skills, Rudy Gay’s legs aren’t as young as they once were and he’s a volume scorer, and there’s just not enough overall athleticism. We’ll see how this strategy goes.

source:  17. Suns (12-13, LW 13). P.J. Tucker was given some starts for defensive reasons and nightly he gets the toughest opponent assignments — he had DeMarcus Cousins against the Kings, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin against the Clippers. That’s versatility. His defense hasn’t helped much as they have lost five in a row and are falling fast down the Western Conference standings.

source:  18. Nuggets (10-14, LW 17). JaVale McGee is going to be out for months, just another of the guys they would normally have in their rotation who are banged up (that’s five now). This team is still dangerous, however. Just ask the Raptors.

source:  19. Nets (10-12, LW 21). They have been beating up lottery bound teams but are struggling with any team looking like a playoff squad. Which could be trouble this week against Miami, Toronto and Cleveland.

source:  20. Heat (11-13, LW 19). Josh McRoberts is out for a while and that is a blow to Miami on both ends of the floor — the team’s defense has struggled all season but the offense has become disjointed in recent weeks. Chris Bosh missing time doesn’t help.

source:  21. Magic (10-16, LW 23). There are a number of holes in Tobias Harris’ game, but if you need a game-winning play he should be in your top 10 because the guy just gets buckets in the clutch. The Hawks learned that the hard way.

source:  22. Lakers (8-16, LW 24). They get to keep their first round pick in the next draft if it is top five, they keep their second round pick if it is in the first 10 of the second round. The Lakers picked up a trio of nice wins this week — including an upset of the Spurs — and currently they sit tied for eighth worst record. Magic isn’t only Lakers fan rooting for losses.

source:  23. Celtics (7-14, LW 20). Rajon Rondo is dropping triple-doubles (three this season) but has been sat at the end of games as well. All of that has to be viewed through the prism of free agency/trades — do the Celtics need to move him so they don’t get nothing when he walks?

source:  24. Pacers (7-17, LW 23). They have Roy Hibbert and David West back in the lineup but it hasn’t mattered against a string of tough competition. The Pacers have lost eight in a row and are about to face a series of games against the deeper West, much of it on the road.

source:  25. Hornets (6-17, LW 25). Jeff Taylor can come back from his suspension due to domestic violence this week, which could make it easier on Charlotte if they can find someone to take on Lance Stephenson. Also, more Michael Kidd-Gilchrist please.

source:  26. Timberwolves (5-18, LW 26). Kobe Bryant said he saw himself 17 years ago in Andrew Wiggins. That’s high praise. But what Kobe came in the league with was a chip on his shoulder, a crazy work ethic, and a drive to prove himself every night. Does Wiggins?

source:  27. Jazz (6-17, LW 27). If you’re a Jazz fan your hope stems from the flashes you see from this team, like the win over San Antonio. They have moments but like a lot of young teams they simply are not consistent. Yet.

source:  28. Pistons (5-19, LW 29). Surprising wins over Phoenix and Sacramento on the road to end their losing streak. Now they have Jodie Meeks back in the rotation and once he shakes the rust off he will really help their outside shooting and spacing. Things they desperately need.

source:  29. Knicks (5-21, LW 28). With the New York media feeding a storm around this team — “they don’t like each other or the triangle” — they snapped their 10-game losing streak. But next week will be rough with Dallas, Chicago, Phoenix and Toronto.

source:  30. 76ers (2-21, LW 30). They are playing hard — they were up 18 on Memphis in the fourth — but are learning the hard way about closing out victories. Right now it’s about seeing what players can be part of the future, and K.J. McDaniels and Robert Covington can be.

Pelicans sign Dante Cunningham, whose domestic-assault charges were dropped

Dante Cunningham

Dante Cunningham was arrested twice in three days last Aprilonce on suspicion of domestic abuse and once on suspicion of terroristic threats.

But all the charges were dropped. According to the Associated Press, this was more clear than insufficient proof to meet the high standard of “beyond a reason doubt.” Police determined his accuser fabricated evidence.

Now, Cunningham, as rumored, will continue his career in New Orleans.

Pelicans release:

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has signed free agent forward Dante Cunningham. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cunningham, 6-8, 230, was the 33rd overall pick out of Villanova in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. A five-year veteran, Cunningham has appeared in 366 career NBA games (41 starts) with Portland, Charlotte, Memphis and Minnesota, holding career averages of 6.2 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Cunningham will be available for the Pelicans’ game tonight at Golden State. He will wear #44.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

There’s a case the NBA overstepped by suspending Jeff Taylor 24 games, but he pleaded guilty to domestic violence. The Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson incidents are bringing new attention to these situations, and the NBA is mindful of presenting itself as intolerant of domestic violence.

But Cunningham’s charges were dropped. The league should tread much more lightly here, and it apparently is.

Adam Silver has latitude to punish arbitrarily. For PR purposes, this could have been a chance to use those powers, but it’s good to see he’s not.

A cleared Cunningham deserves a chance to rebuild his career on the court.

Michele Roberts: NBA agreed to work with union before attempt to ‘prove its toughness’ with Jeff Taylor suspension

Michele Roberts, the Executive Director of National Basketball Players Association

The NBA suspended Hornets forward Jeff Taylor 24 games following him pleading guilty to domestic violence.

Despite the National Basketball Players Association’s readiness to appeal, Taylor accepted the punishment.

The union’s executive director further explains how we reached this point.

Michele Roberts, in a memo to players obtained by Sam Amick of USA Today:

“Despite having agreed to join the Players Association in focusing attention on ‘prevention’ rather than trying to out-muscle the NFL on ‘discipline,’ the NBA elected to prove its toughness by imposing a 24-game suspension on Jeff Taylor,” Roberts wrote in the memo. “Up until yesterday’s announcement, we had been working with the League to undergo a sober review of our current policies and practices to improve the services available to the NBA family in this area. However, I am disappointed that, as reflected in the sanction imposed against Jeff, the League instead chose to bend to the pressure it feels from the current media spotlight and impose punishment well beyond what is contained in the current CBA or in line with existing precedent.”

Taylor’s suspension is far longer than precedent dictates. But the union, in previous Collective Bargaining Agreements negotiations, has given the commissioner broad power to suspend players – regardless of precedent. In the aftermath of Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, it’s no surprise Silver is wielding that power now. He’s taking full advantage of the opportunity to make the NBA look superior to the NFL.

Though Roberts was ready to file an appeal on behalf of Taylor, her best fight will come in 2017, when the NBPA and NBA will likely negotiate a new CBA. Then, she can try to re-write the rules that allow Silver to suspend players so freely.

Most importantly, the league and players can’t let this disagreement undermine what they were doing before the suspension – trying to prevent domestic violence. Those efforts shouldn’t take a backseat to the squabbling, and even if the union feels betrayed, it should still work with the NBA to implement the programs Roberts wrote about.

Report: Jeff Taylor won’t appeal 24-game suspension

Jeff Taylor mug

Jeff Taylor didn’t have to accept his unprecedented 24-game suspension for pleading guilty to domestic violence.

His union was ready to appeal on his behalf.

But the Hornets forward will take the penalty.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Jeff Taylor will not file an appeal to the NBA for a 24-game suspension centered on a domestic abuse incident, league sources told Yahoo Sports on Friday.

This is the right move by Taylor.

It’s arguable which he needed more – extra game checks or his name out of the headlines. But he was not going to win his appeal, anyway, so that debate is irrelevant.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement gives Adam Silver broad power to suspend players. Perhaps, the National Basketball Players Association shouldn’t have given the commissioner such authority, but it was negotiated into the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The players have a far better chance of re-writing the rules in 2017, when they likely opt out of the CBA, than Taylor did of winning an appeal.

Now, Taylor can focus on what matters most – changing his behavior. He must address why he committed his crime and how he can prevent repeating it. If he takes the right steps, he has a chance to stick in the NBA when his contract expires after this season. Appealing would have just made his name more toxic, making it less likely a team would sign him this summer.

NBPA ready to appeal Jeffery Taylor’s 24-game suspension

Jeffery Taylor

On Wednesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver handed down a 24-game suspension to Hornets forward Jeffery Taylor, after Taylor pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of domestic assault. But it doesn’t seem as though that will be the end of the matter. National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts released a strong statement against Silver’s punishment on Thursday, promising that the players’ union is ready to appeal it if Taylor asks them to.

Here is the full statement:

New York, NY, NOVEMBER 20, 2014  The 24-game suspension imposed by Commissioner Silver against Jeff Taylor is excessive, without precedent and a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”). The CBA contemplates a minimum 10 game suspension in any case involving a conviction for a violent felony, including domestic violence. In contrast, Jeff Taylor was charged with a misdemeanor that is likely to be dismissed at the end of a probationary period. The 24-game suspension is one of the longest in the history of the league.  We have a scheme of discipline that was the result of collective bargaining between the parties that has been applied consistently over the years.  While we appreciate the sensitivity of this societal issue, the Commissioner is not entitled to rewrite the rules or otherwise ignore precedent in disciplinary matters. While ultimately this is Jeff’s decision, we stand ready to file an immediate appeal on his behalf.

The union’s stance comes as no surprise. Roberts’ job is to advocate for the players, no matter how egregious their actions. Silver’s harsh suspension for Taylor comes in the wake of widespread criticism the NFL has taken for their handling of the recent Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson cases, and Silver wants to set himself and the NBA apart as being tough on issues of domestic abuse.

This is going to be an ugly battle that won’t be over anytime soon.