Tag: Orlando Magic

Adam Silver

NBA tips-off season-long All-Star charitable outreach program in New York area

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The NBA brought out all the big guns Monday afternoon. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was there, as was New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Also on hand was Knicks head coach Derek Fisher, Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko, Knicks big man Cole Aldrich, Orlando Magic guard Willie Green, and on her first day on the job officially players union Executive Director Michele Roberts.

All of them came to the Midland Beach area of Staten Island — an area ravaged by Hurricane Sandy — to open the playground there (and the coaches and players ran an NBA FIT basketball clinic for more than 150 students).

Adam Silver made headlines for other things said while at the event, but he was there for a very good cause — to tip-off for the season long, All-Star Game tied effort from the NBA family to reach out to youth in the greater New York area, something that should reach more than 100,000 students in the area.

“New York City is a mecca for basketball and this season’s NBA All-Star Game is the perfect opportunity to give back to the city that has meant so much to the game,” said Silver. “Beginning today and throughout the season, we will celebrate the game by bringing to the youth of New York, across all five boroughs, community-based programs that focus on basketball, fitness, nutrition and healthy living.”

“New York City has a unique and richly deserved connection with the game of basketball and the city has been the home and headquarters of the NBPA for almost fifty years,” according to Roberts. “On behalf of all of our players, we are delighted to contribute to the annual celebration of the game during NBA All-Star 2015. NBA players take special pride in using the game that they love to assist many of the diverse communities that help make New York the extraordinary city that it is.”

Every year, wherever the NBA All-Star Game is hosted, the league comes in with a number of programs through NBA Cares to reach out to that community, to help youth in that city.

With this year’s All-Star Game coming New York (Friday and Saturday events in Brooklyn, the main game Sunday at Madison Square Garden in Brooklyn), you knew things were going to be bigger. Not so coincidentally the league office and players union offices are there.

There will be community programs all over the city, three school cafeteria makeovers, and a host of other steps in the coming months.

The NBA All-Star Game can seem all about the glamour, the parties, and who made it to the big game. But it is much more than that, something that started to roll out Monday.

ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards - NBA Global Games Rio 2013

Last season: Derrick Rose appeared in just 19 games after suffering an injury that would sideline him for the season for the second straight year. Luol Deng was traded at the deadline in a cost-cutting move, after being far apart on a contract extension and in advance of him becoming an unrestricted free agent. As usual, the Bulls made the most of what they had, finishing with a record of 48-34 that was good enough for fourth place in the East, before being bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Washington Wizards.

Signature highlight from last season: Rose missed all of the 2012-13 season due to injury, so when he returned for the home opener on Halloween against the Knicks, there was obviously an electric atmosphere. Rose didn’t disappoint, and finished with 18 points while hitting the game-winning shot.

Key Player changes:

Keys to the Bulls Season:

Derrick Rose: As has been the case since the wildly skilled point guard won the league MVP in 2011, the success of the Bulls begins and ends with Rose. One of the game’s most dynamic playmakers when healthy, Rose is a cornerstone superstar who is more than capable of leading his team to the promised land. Injuries have derailed him for the past two seasons, however, and it obviously remains to be seen whether or not he can not only stay healthy for the bulk of the 82-game regular season, but be able to return to playing at an All-NBA level along the way, while still having enough in the tank to be ready for the playoffs.

The good news is that Rose got an extended training camp of sorts by playing for Team USA at the FIBA World Cup, and by all accounts, came away feeling as good as ever. He showed flashes of his former self there, but is traditionally patient in an All-Star type setting, so his numbers didn’t necessarily jump off the page. But his time spent with USA Basketball should give him some confidence heading into the season.

Pau Gasol: The big man who spent six and a half seasons with the Lakers and helped the team win back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010 was marginalized by the team in recent years, which, along with L.A.’s recent slide into lottery land made his decision to sign with a contender like Chicago an easy one. Not only was Gasol’s name constantly mentioned in trade rumors, but he wasn’t utilized properly in Mike D’Antoni’s system, which led to his being less than pleased with his new role in Los Angeles.

But as we saw with Spain during FIBA World Cup Play this summer, Gasol remains one of the most skilled bigs in the league. And on a team where he’s properly motivated and allowed to do what he does, it’s easy to envision him returning to All-Star form — and no coach consistently gets more out of his players than Tom Thibodeau.

Continue to dominate defensively: The Bulls were second in the league in defensive efficiency a season ago, allowing just 97.8 points per 100 possessions. They have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Joakim Noah, who should continue to be an absolute menace inside. Jimmy Butler applies pressure on the wing and the perimeter, and Rose has proven to be tenacious on that end of the floor, as well. Defense wins championships, as the saying goes, and to get out of the East against a Cavaliers team that’s loaded offensively, this, along with the health of Rose, will be the biggest factor in determining just how far Chicago can go this season.

Why you should watch: Rose is one of the game’s most entertaining guards, a player whose speed and athleticism are capable of producing a dazzling highlight every time he touches the ball. Gasol’s fit will be interesting, too, and guys like Noah and Taj Gibson are so active around the basket that their intensity simply makes the game a joy to watch.

Prediction: Going out on a bit of a limb here, considering how stacked the Cavaliers are with the additions of LeBron James and Kevin Love. But I like the continuity in Chicago under Thibodeau, and the effort with which he gets his guys to play should put the Bulls over the top, and help them finish with the best record in the Eastern Conference.

If the pieces come together as expected, the Bulls should at minimum find themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals, with a trip to the championship round a real possibility.

Friday And-1 links: Wizards reach out to Ray Allen again. Why not?

2014 NBA Finals - Practice Day And Media Availability

Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• The Washington Wizards checked in again to see if Ray Allen maybe changed his mind and would want to come play for then next to Paul Pierce, reports friend-of-this-blog J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. Honestly, this isn’t going to happen. Either Allen is going to hang them up or he’s going to play for Cleveland and go for a ring. It doesn’t hurt to ask if you’re the Wizards — and it really doesn’t hurt to leak it and say to the fan base “look how hard we’re trying” — but Allen is not going to a cold weather city where the team is not a strong title contender. Sorry.

• There have been rumors of a Minnesota/Chicago trade coming out of Minnesota, Kevin Martin for Mike Dunleavy Jr./Tony Snell. There’s not enough beer at Octoberfest to make the Bulls agree to that deal.

• Good on Kevin Love for being involved in the “It’s On Us” campaign to stop sexual assault, particularly on college campuses.

• Deron Williams says the Nets are flying under the radar this season. He knows they play in Brooklyn, right?

A man has been arrested in connection with the burglary of Paul George’s home while he was playing in a playoff game last season.

• A little off topic, but a great read from a former NFL wife on what their life is like and what the teams tell them. NBA wives tell similar “just don’t disrupt or distract the team” stories.

• A Q&A with Magic rookie Elfrid Payton.

• After watching Andrew Drummond on Team USA this summer Pistons teammate Jodie Meeks said he has the goal of making the national team for the 2016 Rio Olympics. We should all dream big.

• Jonas Jerebko wants to be the stretch for the Pistons need this upcoming season. We should all dream big. (To be fair he did shoot 41.9 percent from three when he got on the court last season and if he can evolve into that role Stan Van Gundy will play him.)

• The Spurs gave a make good (training camp) contract to power forward Josh Davis, who went undrafted out of San Diego State.

• Mehmet Okur will be a special consultant for the Utah Jazz this season.