• Rockets GM Daryl Morey found a good way to kill time on an August Friday: he participated in Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit. In addition to revealing that coach Kevin McHale will experiment with a Twin Towers lineup of Dwight Howard and Omer Asik during camp, Morey offered this in-depth response to a question about possibly demoting Jeremy Lin to a back-up role ...
It is amazing to me that all the time I encounter people feeling negative about Jeremy's season with us. I have chalked this up to:
-- he started off slow, mostly due to getting 100% back from injury
-- very high, unrealistic expectations after his time in New York
-- had a rough ending in the playoffs, again due to injury
-- people generally remember starts & ends more than anything else
-- people generally compare things to their expectations when forming opinions versus look at the big picture
Last year was Jeremy's 1st full year in the league. Essentially his rookie year. If last season would have been his rookie year and he never would have played in New York, right now people would be appropriately talking about him incessantly as one of the top young rookie stars in the league. He was the starting point guard on a playoff team in West at age 24!!! Don't get me started on this. Too late ...
Figuratively as well as literally, this is Bynum's turf. After a lost season due to knee problems and major backfire on the Philadelphia 76ers, the big man -- who will turn 26 at the end of the preseason -- has more of a Greg Oden scent about him than a Derrick Rose fragrance. If healthy, he could return to his former status as the league's second-most valuable center. If not, the Cavs and their fans won't get much solace from reminding themselves they'll save $18 million of the $24 million Bynum's two-year deal theoretically is worth.
So far, so good, though it's only August. "I have absolutely been blown away by his approach," Grant said. "Literally, [from] the day we signed him, the next day he was here and he has been here every day but Sunday working. During this rehab, this progression, obviously we have a very detailed plan that he's been on and he's following it to a T."
• Matt Moore of CBSSports.com takes up the Pelicans' busy offseason.
This could be an A+, it could be an F. That's true for all NBA teams' offseasons, but it's even more pronounced with New Orleans. The Holiday trade was a big gamble. The Evans signing, gamble. Trading Vasquez and Lopez? Gamble gamble. They're banking everything on a very unorthodox lineup and hoping to find lightning in a bottle. If they can defend, it'll look like a great summer. If they can't, then it's a logjammed mess.
So instead we'll go B.
• Amin Elhassan of ESPN Insider sees Kevin Garnett as one of the top three newcomers (players to change teams during the offseason) entering the 2013-14 campaign.
While there are only a handful of players in the league with the talent to change the fortunes of a franchise, almost equally as rare are the players who can single-handedly change the culture of a franchise, and even at the ripe old age of 37, Garnett still is one of the best at this intangible. His intense competitive nature, excellent practice habits, vocal and unapologetic leadership style and demand for commitment from his teammates are all welcome additions to a Nets team that had the talent but not the discipline last year. From a basketball standpoint, he's not the All-World performer he once was, but Garnett is still an elite level team defender and communicator on-court, and should be able to raise the standards and execution of the Nets team defense to some degree. Offensively, he's automatic from the midrange, which provides a nice counterpoint to All-Star center Brook Lopez's low post attack. Garnett's passing ability from the high post also can help take the burden off of Deron Williams to create offense for his teammates.
• Meanwhile, it sounds like Nets coach Jason Kidd will be carefully managing Garnett's playing time.
I love it. We need somebody like that. We need somebody that’s gonna bring that toughness to our team. We had K-Mart, he came on later on in the season. To add a guy like Ron as well, who can guard 1 through 5, really, he’s that strong. He has that mental state to do that. Just to have him on the squad is great. And he can play the game of basketball. A lot of people don’t talk about that -- Ron Artest can play. He can shoot the ball well, he handles, he can pass. He has a great all-around perimeter game. So just to bring another guy that knows the game, has won a championship at the NBA level. The experience that he has is only gonna help us.
And he’s not an old, old guy. Like everybody was trying to say about us last year, Oh, we were too old. Whatever. Yeah we had a lot of older guys in the league, but you know, it worked for us. We had a great season. I think we had a successful season. The postseason didn’t quite go the way that we expected, the way we wanted. But as far as a season, we had great year. J-Kidd was great for us, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas before they got hurt, 'Sheed before he got hurt. It’s no knock to those guys, all those guys have played 15-plus seasons in this league, so who can talk any junk about those guys?
In the past eight months, the Grizzlies’ new front-office regime has traded away star forward Rudy Gay and allowed coach Lionel Hollins to walk away in favor of assistant coach Dave Joerger. The direction here is clear -- the Grizzlies’ bunch that has enjoyed the most successful run in franchise history is on the wane, and the front office wants to stay ahead of that decline. That means Randolph figures to be very much available this season. He is 32, and though he is still a force inside, his numbers are sinking. He has a player option in his contract next summer.
“I don’t really have to shoot the ball as much on this team,” Ellis said. “The previous teams I['ve] been on, like I said once before, I had to do 60 percent of the work no matter what the situation [was]. I think with this team here, I don’t have to do as much or take as many shots because sometimes they’re going to stop me and Dirk is going to be open, Jose [Calderon], Devin [Harris], the list goes on and. So I don’t think I have to do as much as I had to do in the previous years. “So that’s going to get me back to being efficient, that’s going to get me back to being more consistent and it’s going to get me back to playing Monta basketball.”