Tag: Timofey Mozgov

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets

Nuggets’ Jusuf Nurkic will be ready near start of season. Or soon after.

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Jusuf Nurkic was thrust into the starting center role for the Nuggets last season when they traded Timofey Mozgov to the Cavaliers — and he showed a lot of promise.

He’s a rookie, he was raw, and his per-game numbers were as well, but his per-minute numbers showed real promise — 15.3 points, 13.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per-36 minutes. He showed some real defensive aptitude — the Nuggets were 10.6 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the floor. This is a guy who could develop into a quality NBA center.

But the Nuggets may not have him at 100 percent to start the season. From the Denver Post.

One Nuggets player missing out on (EuroBasket) is center Jusuf Nurkic. The big man was set to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina, but knee surgery in late spring put an end to that. Nurkic has been rehabbing the knee in Denver with hopes of being ready when the season starts or soon thereafter.

Nurkic has work to do this coming season. He needs to reduce his foul rate, he seemed to struggle with the speed of the game at times. He needs to become more efficient when he does shoot, because beyond three feet he doesn’t hit 40 percent of his shots.

But there is promise, which is why if he’s not 100 percent they need to be patient. It’s about the long term, not winning games in November.

LeBron James: Championship not a requirement of a great team

LeBron James

LeBron James played for a 66-win team. Didn’t win a title.

LeBron and his teammates proved it wasn’t a fluke the next season, winning 61 games. Didn’t win a title.

LeBron joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form a team many feared would destroy the NBA’s competitive balance. Didn’t win a title.

LeBron formed yet another super team with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Didn’t win a title.

But – at least in LeBron’s eyes – that doesn’t mean those teams necessarily fell short of greatness.

LeBron, via Bleacher Report:

If you don’t know the history of the game, man, you’ll forget how many great teams didn’t win championships. And that doesn’t mean they wasn’t great, though.

LeBron was referring to the 2000 Western Conference finals. The eventual-NBA-champion Lakers beat the Trail Blazers in seven games. Portland – with a starting lineup of Damon Stoudamire, Steve Smith, Scottie Pippen, Rasheed Wallace and Arvydas Sabonis – won 59 games and crushed the Jazz and Timberwolves before running into the Lakers.

I agree with LeBron’s premise. A team can be great without winning a title. Sometimes, a team just catches the wrong breaks, like playing in a season where there are multiple great teams.

Those Trail Blazers were borderline great, with both past and future success to support their consistency. They just ran into Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Nothing Portland could do about that.

But a title is an important consideration – the most important – when determining a team’s greatness. Personally, I think the 1999-00 Trail Blazers fall just short, but either argument is reasonable.

And for what it’s worth, I think all of LeBron’s title-less teams fall short of greatness for similar reasons, though last year’s Cavaliers played great between their midseason trades for Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith and the postseason injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

Erik Spoelstra: Heat’s starting lineup needs time before it’ll succeed

Miami Heat v Detroit Pistons

Who has the NBA’s best starting lineup?

The Warriors (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut)?

The Cavaliers (Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov)?

The Spurs (Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan)?

The Clippers (Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan)?

Take your pick between those four or other contenders like the Thunder, Rockets or Bulls.

But there’s one team that belongs in the discussion despite two oddities:

  • All five projected starters played for the team last season, but its projected starting lineup didn’t log a single minute together.
  • The team missed the playoffs.

Yup, the Heat with Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside.

Bosh was sidelined for the rest of the season with blood clots just after Miami traded for Dragic. So, the lineup’s debut was postponed to this season.

On paper, the Heat have it all – offense and defense inside and out. They’re balanced, and nobody is playing out of position.

But Miami coach Erik Spoelstra cautions against expecting instant gratification.

Spoelstra, via Zach Lowe of Grantland:

“It’s not the kind of lineup where you can just throw it out there, and you know it will work,” Spoelstra says. “It’s going to take practice.”

The biggest question with the Heat’s top lineup is health, especially Wade. He’s 33 and has a history of knee problems. There are also questions about Whiteside’s ability to perform over a full season, Bosh’s rust and Deng’s longevity.

But those are all individual concerns.

Like I said, there’s a lot to like about this unit as a whole. The one area for caution is probably Dragic and Wade sharing ball-handling duties. Though they play different positions – Dragic point guard and Wade shooting guard – both are used to being the lead guard. That could take more time to sort out.

Mostly, though, I think Spoelstra is just trying to lower expectations. The less people think of a team, the more opportunity the coach has to impress (and the less blame he’ll take if the team falters).

No Timofey Mozgov, Sasha Kaun or Sergey Karasev for Russia in EuroBasket

Basketballl without Borders Moscow
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No Timofey Mozgov, who underwent knee surgery in early July.

No Sasha Kaun, who just signed with the Cavaliers

No Sergey Karasev, who dislocated his patella and tore his MCL in March.

Not even Alexey Shved, the former Knick who is suffering from back pain.

Russia announced its roster for EuroBasket, and it doesn’t include a single NBA player. The team:

  • Semen Antonov
  • Evgeny Baburin
  • Andrei Desiatnikov
  • Vitaly Fridzon
  • Dmitry Khvostov
  • Nikita Kurbanov
  • Sergey Monya
  • Ruslan Pateev
  • Anton Ponkrashov
  • Andrey Vorontsevich
  • Egor Vyaltsev
  • Andrey Zubkov

Andrei Kirilenko has his work cut out for him as president of the Russian Basketball Federation. This program was in jeopardy of not even competing in EuroBasket. There are deep problems.

But the short term doesn’t look much brighter. It’s hard to see this barren roster finishing in the top seven of EuroBasket and qualifying for the 2016 Olympics (top two) or Olympic Qualifying Tournament (third through seventh).

At least this is good news for Cleveland, which won’t expose two of its players to injury risk in the tournament.

Andrei Kirilenko named president of Russian Basketball Federation

Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four Madrid 2015 - 3rd Place Game: Fenerbahce Ulker v CSKA Moscow

FIBA lifted Russia’s ban for international competition, but Russian basketball isn’t in the clear.

The Russian Basketball Federation remains under fire from FIBA.

At least it will have a new leader to guide it out of the muck.


Former NBA All-Star Andrei Kirilenko was named president of the Russian Basketball Federation (RFB) on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Kirilenko, who was unanimously elected by all 215 members who attended the conference, said there was “a deep crisis of trust” within the RFB.

“I see and understand how to concentrate all the basketball powers in the country,” he said.

“We need to make serious changes to how the sport is run. I am sure that together we can take big steps forward and put an end to this mess.

“I want there to be at least one person in every family in our country who loves to watch or play basketball,” he added.

Kirilenko has been eyeing this position since retirement, and he clearly has grand goals.

The most immediate priority, though, must be next month’s Eurobasket. A top-two finish would get Russia into the 2016 Rio Olympics. Placing third through seventh would send Russia to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

With players like Timofey Mozgov, Sasha Kaun, Alexey Shved and Sergey Karasev, the Russians can compete right now. It’d be a shame if deeper problems hindered their present.