Tag: Josh McRoberts

Keith Benson, Alex Kirk

Report: Heat sign Keith Benson


James Ennis allowed the Heat to push back his guarantee date.

They’ll use that opportunity to give him a little more competition for the regular-season roster.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

The Heat have 12 players with guaranteed salaries plus Hassan Whiteside, who’s a lock to make the team. Benson will compete with Ennis and Tyler Johnson ($422,530 guaranteed) for the final two regular-season roster spots.

Benson is a 6-foot-11 center with good timing for blocking shots. The Hawks drafted him No. 48 in 2011, and he played a few games for the Warriors the following season. The Michigan native has played in the D-League and overseas since.

The Heat have several players capable of playing center – Whiteside, Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen and Amar’e Stoudemire. Udonis Haslem and Josh McRoberts could even play the position in certain small-ball lineups.

Unless Miami trades Andersen, it’s hard to see Benson sticking over Ennis or Johnson, who play positions of greater need. Most likely, the Heat waive Benson and assign his D-League rights to their affiliate. Because he hasn’t played in the D-League in two years, he’s a D-League free agent and eligible for assignment.

Phil Jackson questions whether Duke players live up to expectations in NBA

2015 NBA Draft

The Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis with the No. 4 pick, and the early returns are positive.

But they also surely considered a couple players from Duke – Jahlil Okafor (who went No. 3 to the 76ers) and Justise Winslow (No. 10 to the Heat).

Would New York have chosen either? Knicks president Phil Jackson implies he had concerns simply because of their college team.

Jackson on Okafor, via Charlie Rosen of ESPN:

Jackson thinks he might not be aggressive enough. “Also, if you look at the guys who came to the NBA from Duke, aside from Grant Hill, which ones lived up to expectations?”

Let’s take a comprehensive look rather than cherry-picking players who could support either side of the argument.

We obviously don’t know yet whether Okafor, Winslow and Tyus Jones (No. 24 this year) will live up to expectations. Jabari Parker (No. 2 in 2014) looked pretty good last year, but he missed most of the season due to injury. It’s far too soon to make any judgments on him.

Otherwise, here are all Duke players drafted in the previous 15 years:

Lived up to expectations

  • Rodney Hood (No. 23 in 2014)
  • Mason Plumlee (No. 22 in 2013)
  • Ryan Kelly (No. 48 in 2013)
  • Miles Plumlee (No. 26 in 2012)
  • Kyrie Irving (No. 1 in 2011)
  • Kyle Singler (No. 33 in 2011)
  • Josh McRoberts (No. 37 in 2007)
  • J.J. Redick (No. 11 in 2006)
  • Luol Deng (No. 7 in 2004)
  • Chris Duhon (No. 38 in 2004)
  • Carlos Boozer (No. 34 in 2002)
  • Shane Battier (No. 6 in 2001)

Didn’t live up to expectations

  • Austin Rivers (No. 10 in 2012)
  • Nolan Smith (No. 21 in 2011)
  • Gerald Henderson (No. 12 in 2009)
  • Shelden Williams (No. 5 in 2006)
  • Daniel Ewing (No. 32 in 2005)
  • Dahntay Jones (No. 20 in 2003)
  • Mike Dunleavy (No. 3 in 2002)
  • Jay Williams (No. 2 in 2002)
  • Chris Carrawell (No. 41 in 2000)

That’s 12-of-21 – a 57 percent hit rate.

By comparison, here are players drafted from North Carolina in the same span:

Lived up to expectations

  • Harrison Barnes (No. 7 in 2012)
  • John Henson (No. 14 in 2012)
  • Tyler Zeller (No. 17 in 2012)
  • Ed Davis (No. 13 in 2010)
  • Tyler Hansbrough (No. 13 in 2009)
  • Ty Lawson (No. 18 in 2009)
  • Wayne Ellington (No. 28 in 2009)
  • Danny Green (No. 46 in 2009)
  • Brandan Wright (No. 8 in 2007)
  • Brendan Haywood (No. 20 in 2001)

Didn’t live up to expectations

  • Reggie Bullock (No. 25 in 2013)
  • Kendall Marshall (No. 13 in 2012)
  • Reyshawn Terry (No. 44 in 2007)
  • David Noel (No. 39 in 2006)
  • Marvin Williams (No. 2 in 2005)
  • Raymond Felton (No. 5 in 2005)
  • Sean May (No. 13 in 2005)
  • Rashad McCants (No. 14 in 2005)
  • Joseph Forte (No. 21 in 2001)

The Tar Heels are 10-for-19 – 53 percent.

Nobody would reasonably shy from drafting players from North Carolina, and they’ve fared worse than Duke players. Making snap judgments about Duke players just because they went to Duke is foolish.

Jackson is talking about a different time, when aside from Hill, Duke had a long run of first-round picks failing to meet expectations:

  • Roshown McLeod (No. 20 in 1998)
  • Cherokee Parks (No. 12 in 1995)
  • Bobby Hurley (No. 7 in 1993)
  • Christian Laettner (No. 3 in 1992)
  • Alaa Abdelnaby (No. 25 in 1990)
  • Danny Ferry (No. 2 in 1989)

Then, it was fair to question whether Mike Krzyzewski’s coaching yielded good college players who didn’t translate to the pros. But there have been more than enough counterexamples in the years since to dismiss that theory as bunk or outdated.

Count this as another example of Jackson sounding like someone who shouldn’t run an NBA team in 2015.

To be fair, the Knicks had a decent offseason, at least once you acknowledge they couldn’t land a star (which was kind of supposed to be Jackson’s job, right?).

The questions Knicks fans must ask themselves: Do you trust Jackson because of the moves he has made or worry about the next move because of what he has said?

Udonis Haslem: “I feel like I could go three or four more years”

Udonis Haslem; Tayshaun Prince; Andre Drummond

Udonis Haslem, at age 35, will be back in Miami next season for at least one more run. Which seems fitting after a dozen seasons in South Beach already.

His game is deteriorating a little with age. However, because it was always based more on energy and effort — playing smart defense, crashing the boards, being an enforcer — he still brings some value to the court. He started 25 games and played almost 1,000 minutes for the Heat last season, averaging 4.2 points and 4.2 assists per game.

Haslem may be nearing the end of his career, but he told Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post he isn’t ready to hang up his sneakers.

“I feel pretty durable,” he said after his second straight season playing fewer than 1,000 minutes (after averaging 2,283 during his first seven seasons and playing fewer than 1,400 just once in his first 10). “I just make sure to keep myself ready and give myself a chance to play this game.

“I feel fine. I feel like I could go three or four more years depending on how Coach might need to use me or what the situation might be. When I was needed to go out there and play big minutes, I was able to put up some pretty decent numbers. If these guys need me, I’ve gotta make sure I stay ready.”

Haslem could be leaned on to prove he still has some gas in the tank next season — he did that with a few key games down the stretch last season (he scored 18 points against the Pistons, for example).

The Heat will start Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside up front, and behind them bring in Josh McRoberts, Amare Stoudemire, and Chris Andersen (although the Birdman has been mentioned as having been shopped around by the Heat). That’s an interesting front line but not the most durable one ever, and Haslem is going to have to step in some nights to make sure those guys get some rest (at the very least).

This is the last year of his contract ($2.9 million), whether the Heat will want him back remains to be seen. But he’s a veteran, stabilizing voice in the locker room, and that alone makes him a favorite of Pat Riley. So maybe three or four years isn’t out of the question.