Last season, Carlos Boozer averaged 11.8 points a game and shot 49.9 percent from the floor for the Lakers. He added 6.8 rebounds a night. He had a PER of 16.8, above the league average. His numbers are not gaudy, but you can see him as a scoring big off the bench who can run the pick-and-pop well.
So why is he still available as a free agent late in August? Defense, one exec told Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops.
“What Boozer scores on the offensive end, he quickly gives back on defense,” one NBA general manager told SheridanHoops.
No doubt. Boozer’s defensive lapses are obvious and frustrated Tom Thibodeau to no end, then had Byron Scott shaking his head at points last season in LA (of course, a lot of things with those Lakers should have had Scott shaking his head).
However, if a team can get Boozer for the bi-annual exception ($2.8 million) and use him as a scoring big man off the bench, isn’t he better than a lot of guys who have already inked deals? The guy can put up points.
Which is to say, if he stays in shape someone is going to come calling, likely early in training camp if not before. Of course, if he’s waiting for a contender, or even a playoff team, to call, he needs to be patient. Maybe very patient.
If not, there’s always China.
The New York Knicks are loaded with big men.
Robin Lopez will start at center, with Kyle O’Quinn behind on him. Kristaps Porzingis probably starts at the four, and there are Derrick Williams and Lou Amundson behind him.
Now add Kevin Seraphin to the mix, reports Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops.
This is a solid deal for the Knicks, Seraphin is a good backup center and they got him at a fair price, he can battle O’Quinn for minutes.
Seraphin had spent his entire five-season NBA career as a reserve with the Washington Wizards. He had hoped to find a place to be a starter, but that market was not out there. Playing on a one-year deal gives him a chance to prove he deserves that next summer, and he will be in line to try and cash in when the television money floods the system.
But Seraphin needs to prove he deserves that starting role and money. The French center has yet to do so.
He’s an undersized center at 6’9″ who played 15 minutes a night last season, scored 6.6 points on 51.3 percent shooting, grabbed 3.3 boards and was solid but unspectacular. He improved last season addressing weaknesses such as not fouling, plus his passing looked better. That said he has no shooting range — nearly 50 percent of his shots come within eight feet of the rim, and while he can step out a little along the baselines he’s not exactly a floor spacer.
Because of that shooting range he’s a center only, and Lopez is the main man there. But Seraphin will be solid and get the chance to prove he is more than that.
The best big man still truly available on the free agent market? (Tristan Thompson isn’t truly available to anybody but Cleveland.)
He’s a respectable NBA backup center who thought he could find a starting role but learned the hard way that’s not happening. Last season with the Wizards he averaged 15 minutes a night, scored 6.6 points on 51.3 percent shooting, grabbed 3.3 boards and was reliable. He doesn’t have much shooting range, and in the past there have been issues with fouls and turnovers. Still, he can give a team quality minutes.
He’s likely going to do that next season somewhere on a short, veteran minimum kind of deal. Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops lists the most recent possibilities.
The Mavericks, Suns, and Spurs have in the past expressed some interest.
The smart money has him landing in Washington, where he would play behind Marcin Gortat in the rotation again.
The Knicks and Lakers don’t make a lot of sense. The Knicks have Robin Lopez and Kyle O’Quinn, so there are not minutes to be had. The Lakers have Roy Hibbert and Robert Sacre under contract, plus they are bringing in rookie Robert Upshaw and to see if he can make the roster.
Unfortunately for Seraphin, the music has stopped and he doesn’t have a chair. Or leverage. Or many options. Someone will grab him before the season starts, but he’s going to have to show an improved game to get more run (then eventually, more money).
Depth along the front line was a serious issue for the Clippers last season. There was Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, then… Spencer Hawes.
Now the Clippers are going to have a couple very nice reserves, they are expected to bring back Ekpe Udoh.
Now come reports that the Clippers have landed Josh Smith. Michael Scotto of Sheridanhoops.com had it first, others have since confirmed.
The Clippers could only sign him for the league minimum (all they had left) but Smith was good with it since the Pistons still will pay him $5.4 million as part of their waiving and stretch of his contract. (What the Clippers will pay him will be offset from the money Detroit owes him.)
At that price, Smith is a steal.
Smith has his flaws, starting with his love of the three ball — he’s a career 28 percent shooter from three who last season knocked down a barely passable 33 percent with Houston. But coming off the bench, Smith is a massive upgrade for the Clippers — he provides physicality and defense, plus he can still get points and rebounds and defend at a quality level. He brings some legit depth and versatility to the Clippers front line, plus he has stepped up in the playoffs.
Doc Rivers the GM has really helped out Doc Rivers the coach this summer. The formerly anemic Clipper bench will now have Jamal Crawford, Lance Stephenson, Udoh (probably) and Smith (plus guys like Austin Rivers that will get some run).
When you talk serious NBA title contenders next season, do not leave the Clippers off the list.
Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis was rumored to be worthy of the number one overall selection in this summer’s NBA Draft, and since then, has been projected to go with one of the top three picks.
While teams evaluating Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay will ultimately be the ones making the decision, should Porzingis fall out of the top four, there appear to be plenty of teams ready and waiting that would be more than happy to scoop him up.
From Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops:
Sources: Kristaps Porzingis will draw significant interest from Orlando Magic (No. 5), Sacramento Kings (No. 6) and Detroit Pistons (No. 8).
When drafting this high on the board, and especially for the teams mentioned, this isn’t necessarily about an incoming prospect’s potential fit.
It’s almost always about getting the best player available, and the skill set Porzingis possesses makes him an intriguing selection really at any position once you get past the top two or three picks.
Porzingis is 7’1″, and averaged 10.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots in international play this past season, while knocking down 37.9 percent of his shots from three-point distance.