Ah, preseason. It’s a time of unbridled optimism for fans, front office people, coaches and even owners.
In Dallas they have put together an interesting but kind of ragtag roster — Dirk Nowitzki is the star, Jose Calderon the point, Monta Ellis to score points then guys like Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and Samuel Dalembert to fill roles. There is potential, but the real question is how you fit all those odd pieces together.
Well, it would help if Monta Ellis would pass more and take fewer contested jumpers off the pick-and-roll.
Mark Cuban thinks that will happen, he told the Star-Telegram.
“I think he wants to be a compliment to Dirk as opposed to being the guy,’’ owner Mark Cuban said after Sunday’s practice at American Airlines Center. “He’s a good passer, a willing passer and he gets where he wants to on the court.
“He’s committed to playing defense, he’s a willing learner and he’s a got a high basketball IQ.’’
That would be the same Monta Ellis who days ago said he was going to play “Monta-ball.” Which based on recent examples suggests a lot of contested jumpers on one end and not much defense on the other.
I’ll look at this through the Missouri Test — show me. Prove it in games.
Both Ellis and Brandon Jennings said they had to take a lot of contested shots in Milwaukee because of the offensive talent around them and the system. Call me skeptical. Ellis is a fearless gunner of a shooter — which on the right night can light a team up but on other nights can mean missed shots while better options (read: Nowitzki) are on the court.
Until proven otherwise, expect more Monta-ball than sharp passing.
Bucks guard Sterling Brown said he’d sue the Milwaukee police department over his tasing and arrest last January. The now-filed lawsuit makes the involved police officers look even worse than videos of the incident already did.
Somehow, J.R. Smith and his gaffe in Game of the NBA Finals got involved.
Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post:
Lowery posted the full lawsuit here.
There is a systematic problem where police too frequently trample on the rights of people, disproportionately minorities. Celebrating that intrusion of governmental forces is disgusting and speaks to the mindset that fuels the problem.
A few suspensions won’t fix the problem. Brown’s lawsuit won’t fix the problem.
But, hopefully, it sheds light on the bigger issue and is a step toward a solution. Unfortunately, history suggests the city will settle and just views it as a cost of doing business.
It appears increasingly likely the Suns will draft DeAndre Ayton No. 1 and the Kings will take Marvin Bagley No. 2.
So, Luka Doncic – once more of a consensus top-two prospect – could fall.
All the way to the Mavericks at No. 5? They apparently hope so.
Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:
Dallas at five, they’re asking themselves, “Can we stay at five and get Luka Doncic, or do we have to move up to get the player?” Because that is the guy they have targeted for the Mavericks.
I doubt Doncic gets past the Grizzlies at No. 4, though I wouldn’t rule it out. The Hawks could even take him at No. 3.
Could Dallas trade up with Atlanta at No. 3 to get Doncic ahead of Memphis? What about swapping picks with the Grizzlies, maybe even taking Chandler Parsons‘ toxic contract (though that’d come with complications)?
This is a common situation. The Mavericks have the No. 5 pick. They want a player most people rate higher than fifth. Many teams want players rated higher than where they’re drafting.
The big question: What will Dallas do about it?
Chris Paul is reportedly recruiting LeBron James very hard to the Rockets.
Stephen A. Smith of ESPN:
According to my sources, several things are happening. A, Chris Paul is telling folks Lebron ain’t trying to come to Houston. He wants to be in L.A. These are things I’m getting through the grapevine. Chris Paul is saying LeBron wants to be in L.A.
That’s quite believable. LeBron reportedly said he doesn’t like Houston as a city, and we know he likes Los Angeles. Lifestyle matters.
But it won’t be the only consideration. LeBron is still in “championship mode,” and the Rockets are closer than anyone to beating the Warriors. Perhaps, Paul can still convince his friend to join Houston.
But it sounds as if Paul recognizes he’s playing from behind – and so are all other non-Lakers suitors for LeBron.
The Clippers have (an ideally healthier) Patrick Beverley at point guard. Lou Williams and Austin Rivers are comfortable as lead ball-handlers. With the No. 12 or 13 pick, L.A. could add another point guard – Trae Young, Collin Sexton or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Where does that leave Milos Teodosic, a 31-year-old who’s coming off a rookie season in which he missed 37 games while dealing with a foot injury?
O. Cauchi of Sportando:
The Los Angeles Clippers, in fact, are not planning to keep the Serbian point guard for the next season, a league source told Sportando.
his health is one of the main concerns behind Clippers’ decision, a source told Sportando. The team would love to add a younger player in that position and fear that Teodosic’s foot issue won’t be fixed easily, sources told Sportando.
Teodosic holds a $6.3 million player option for next season, but just $2.1 million is guaranteed until July 15. He ought to opt in and collect his $2.1 million before moving on. And if he opts in, maybe the Clippers strike out in free agency, don’t need the additional cap flexibility and keep him.
If they go through with waiving him, Teodosic could land with another NBA team or return to Europe. His foot issues could determine whether another NBA team wants him.
Teodosic is a wonderfully creative passer and good shooter. He’s also a woeful defender, and foot problems would only set him back further.