Tag: Lamar Odom

DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin

Video: Griffin, Clippers dance Gangnam style on the bench

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If DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin are doing the dance on the bench, has said dance jumped the shark? Can we move on now?

Well their ain’t no dance party like a Caron Butler dance party, and it was going onto Psy’s “Gangnam Style”  during the Clippers final preseason game. What I enjoy most is Butler messing up Lamar Odom’s hair, or trying to at least.

And yes, Gangnam style will be infecting NBA arenas pretty much for at least the first half of this season.

Hat tip to the Los Angeles Times.

Lamar Odom says he doesn’t think he’ll be ready for opener

Lamar Odom

Lamar Odom was expected to be a steal for the Clippers — they needed frontcourt depth behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and if the former Sixth Man of the Year could return to form them could provide that and more.

Well, he can when he’s on the court.

Which may well not be season opener next Wednesday against Memphis. Odom bruised a bone in his foot against the Heat in China a couple weeks ago and hasn’t even practiced with the team since then. And this was not a guy who showed up to camp in peak shape to start with.

Odom himself told the Los Angeles Times he may not be ready to go in the opener.

“I don’t know,” Odom said Thursday after sitting out the Clippers’ final preseason game. “I want to. But I’ve got to be a mature Lamar and realize what this team is really trying to do….

“So, however my body responds the next five or six days, then that will be my guide,” Odom said. “I’ve got to take this body on a test run in practice, take it for a couple of turns around the corner to see how I feel…. I know myself. I can go out there with adrenaline and play well and then be saying ‘ouch’ the next day.”

This can post a challenge for the Clippers against the big front line of Memphis — without Odom they have little depth along that front line.

The Clippers second game? The Lakers. Another team with a monster front line.

But Odom is right, the season is a marathon. He can’t push himself for the first two games. But the Clips will miss him.

Cuban says no final decision, Delonte West could return to Mavs

Mavericks owner Cuban waves to fans before the start of Mavericks versus 76ers NBA basketball game in Philadelphia

When the Dallas Mavericks suspended Delonte West this week, it had a pretty permanent feeling. There’s the part where the Mavs said it was indefinite. Or the reports they were negotiating with his agent on a buyout. Or the part where they went out and got Eddy Curry and Chris Douglas-Roberts to potentially fill in the roster space.

But owner Marc Cuban told the Dallas Morning News no decision on West’s future with the team.

“No decisions have been made one way or another; otherwise we would have made it,” Cuban said, adding, “It’s just a process that’s pretty much down to me making a decision.”

West played well for the Mavs last year scoring 9.2 points a game off the bench with a PER right at the league average — and Dallas could use that kind of production this year. That’s why they gave him a guaranteed contract for $1.2 million, if Dallas waives him they have to eat that salary (and West gets paid). But it was something else from last year — the Dallas experience with Lamar Odom — that could doom West with the Mavs.

“Do you not remember last year?” Obviously referring to Lamar Odom, Cuban added, “Let’s just say we won’t give as many chances as we gave people last year.”

Cuban said he was “too forgiving when everybody else was telling me not to be. So I’ll take that one. I won’t be as forgiving this year. I learned my lessons.”

We’ll see. But my guess is West will be a free agent soon.

Grant Hill to get another knee exam, miss season opener

Grant Hill Clippers
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We told you a couple days ago that it looked like Grant Hill would be out for the season opener, and that because he was not able to get the Phoenix Suns training staff to come to Los Angeles with him Clippers fans should be a little nervous.

Hill owned up to the fact he will not be ready when the season starts reports told the Los Angeles Times, and he added that more doctors will be taking a look at his ailing knee. Because you can never have too many doctors.

Grant Hill, who has already had one MRI exam that showed he has a bone bruise in his right knee, said Wednesday night that he plans to get another examination soon….

“I think I’ll be out another two weeks or so, I hope,” Hill said. “I just want to make sure it’s right. We don’t want to rush it.”

No, it’s still early and there is a marathon of a season ahead. But the Clippers certainly could use him. And when you bring in older veterans for your bench, this is one of the risks.

As for a Lamar Odom update, coach Vinny Del Negro is hopeful he is ready next week when the season opens. Odom is trying to recover from a bone bruise in his knee.

“He was trying to battle through [the injury], but it got to the point where it was not making sense,” Del Negro said. “So that was when he changed the process for him. He knows he needed to be in better shape coming in. They tried to tax his body a little bit and this is the result.”

NBA Season Preview: Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) reacts after hitting a three point shot during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz  in Salt Lake City, Utah

Last Season: Coming off their incredible championship season, the Mavericks let defensive anchor Tyson Chandler go to New York in order to retain future cap flexibility. While that decision certainly hurt the chances of a true title defense, the acquisition of Lamar Odom probably buried it altogether. Despite those massive offseason failings, the veteran Mavs grinded out the regular season and survived a few nagging injuries en route to a return appearance to the playoffs. The young Thunder would ultimately take out the reigning champs, but the Mavs put up a strong fight and proved once again that if you have Dirk Nowitzki, you have a chance.

Key Departures: The championship backcourt is now completely gone. Jason Terry was the Mavericks second best offensive option by a wide margin, and now he’s in Boston. That hurts, but Jason Kidd joining Chandler in New York also deprives the Mavs of some stability on both ends of the floor. Backup big man Ian Mahinmi is now in Indiana. Shipping Lamar Odom back to Los Angeles was addition by subtraction.

Key Additions: The Mavericks went into scramble mode after swinging and missing for Deron Williams, but considering the circumstances, they added some nice pieces. You could make a strong case that Elton Brand was the Defensive Player of the Year last season, and although he’s a different type of defender, he’ll fill a void that was left unfilled by Chandler’s departure last year. The Mavs also added Dirk’s German Olympic teammate Chris Kaman to the frontcourt, who should provide some stretch if he can somehow manage to finally stay healthy. Lightning bug Darren Collison will take over as starting point guard, and O.J. Mayo gets a chance to live up to the hype and fill the Jet’s shoes as a big time scorer.

Three Keys to the Mavericks season:

1) Will the defense be elite?

It’s not easy to build a top defense with so many rotating parts, but Rick Carlisle’s defensive schemes are more important than the individual personnel. Dallas ranked second in defensive efficiency in the West last season (8th overall) despite trotting out a few undesirable defenders on the wing (Terry and Vince Carter), missing Kidd for much of the year, and having no real “plus” defender regularly on the court outside of Shawn Marion and Delonte West. It’s scary, but the Mavericks should be even better defensively this season and really have legitimate top 5 defensive efficiency potential. Collison will provide plenty of ball pressure and annoy opposing point guards, while O.J. Mayo is capable of playing a very physical style of perimeter defense when he’s motivated to do so. Kaman and Brand have years of experience playing together from their Clipper days and should solidify the backline. The defensive ace in the hole here is second round draft pick Jae Crowder, who can help the Mavs tremendously when they employ the trapping schemes this defense is built on.

2) A few veterans are still there, but it’s time to focus on developing young talent.

What direction is this going? Dirk Nowitzki has at least one or two killer seasons left in him, but he’ll soon be approaching the twilight of his career. Although it may not always be pretty, the Mavs would be well served to really see what they have in guys like Rodrigue Beaubois, Jared Cunningham, Dominique Jones and Jae Crowder and begin to wean themselves off of Carter, Marion and West. The great Mavericks rebuild looks more and more inevitable by the day, but it can’t truly begin until the Mavericks know if they have future pieces in place right now.

3) Can Dirk carry even more of the load offensively?

Already a high usage player (29.21 usage percentage, 13th in league), Nowitzki will be relied upon even more than usual to pace the Mavericks offensively. Although a 34-year-old with knee trouble taking that much of the scoring load would typically set off all kinds of alarms, no one makes more impossible shots than Nowitzki. He’s indefensible in the sense that degree of difficulty means nothing to him, as evidenced by his insane shooting percentages from 16-23 feet over his career (50 percent last year), which is the most inefficient shot in basketball for regular humans. All that said, Nowitzki is already slated to miss time this season, and the Mavs are ill-equipped to handle that. Can O.J. Mayo step up as a number one option? It’s a scary thought, but it may be a reality for the Mavericks, who could sport one of the league’s worst offenses (20th in offensive efficiency last year with Terry) without Dirk’s magic touch.

What Mavericks fans should fear: Basketball purgatory. The Mavericks don’t have enough offensive punch to be considered among the West’s elite any more, even though their defense is good enough to have them battle it out with Utah and Minnesota for one of the last seeds out West. Dallas is a franchise truly tied to their one star — if Nowitzki is healthy and at his best, they’ve got a puncher’s chance against anyone. But with that blue sky looking less and less likely, the Mavericks may be headed for another first round exit or a narrow miss of the playoffs, and may have an ugly decision awaiting them that their fanbase won’t love.

How it likely works out: Carlisle and Nowitzki should keep the ship afloat for another year and have the Mavs contend for a playoff spot, but the big challenges will come during survival mode without Nowitzki. So long as their big star is still in big D, the Mavs can’t truly justify being a seller or a buyer at the deadline, so they may just have to punt this season and hope they don’t butcher another chance this summer to acquire a star.

Prediction: 43-39, winning the 8th seed in a battle with Minnesota down the stretch. Another first round tilt with the Thunder would likely be on deck, which would spell doom for the Mavs hopes at another miraculous playoff run.