I asked a trusted NBA scout to name the American lottery picks he finds most intriguing as the college season opens next week.
"I'll be curious to see what kind of year Jennings has in the Euroleague and Italian league," the scout said. "He's a highly talented guy, and I think his life has gone well over there so far. His brother is there with him, he's in a great school in Rome, his mom is over there. But the basketball -- I think he's finding out that it's really hard. The Euroleague is more than people think.
"He's left-handed and he can fly. He's a little wild, though, and he's not a great shooter. He can definitely score, and there will be nights when he'll bang out a bunch of jumpers, but that's not his forte. He's not as powerful as
On Dec. 11, Jennings matches up against
"There will be more NBA scouts that day than there will be at the Carolina-Duke game, I promise you," the scout said.
"This guy is a definite one [year] and done. He's different from
"The thing with big guys is to find guys like him who have skills, who can catch and shoot and who don't look lost down there. When you have a big man with that kinds of skill set, then you can build upon that. It's much harder to take an athlete and try to teach him a skill set. Give me a big guy with a lot of skills and I'll surround him with athletes.''
"To me, he's a lottery pick without question. He shoots threes [41.3 percent last season], he shoots free throws [88.1 percent]. If you're asking me how he compares to a guy like
"I see something of
"You notice I don't have someone like
New Knicks coach
"I still think we can make the playoffs,'' D'Antoni said stubbornly before the victory against the Bobcats. "I know it's a tough place, but the guys are going to have to get some college-like spirit and make the town fall in love with you.''
"David Lee is playing a lot, which means we have faith in him,'' Knicks president
D'Antoni runs the league's most gratifying offense, and you would think players wouldn't need to be told more than once to shoot the ball whenever possible. So far, it isn't working out that way.
"When we played against Phoenix,'' Lee said in reference to D'Antoni's tenure with the Suns, "I thought they were just running around playing street ball. I didn't realize there was as much structure as there is. I have to learn to be a lot more aggressive.
"It's a lot easier for the guards because a lot of the guards -- who have been the best player on their team before -- have had that [opportunity to shoot]. But I think we're going to be very successful as we learn the reads and how to get open.''
The offense appears to be perfect for shooting guard
"Everything you've been taught in the past is almost reversed,'' Crawford said. "Usually, teams want to work it around and work the clock down, but with him it's the opposite. He wants to get a quick shot so the defense can't set up.''
The Knicks need to learn to play off one another (rather than watch each other go one-on-one) and to exploit the seams created by their floor spacing (which could benefit small forward
"There will be good moments, and then we've taken steps back,'' Crawford said before Wednesday's game. "But if we win tonight, we'll be 2-2.'' Which they were. "And that's not bad.''
But when people try to make this suggestion, Marbury boils over. He thinks the Knicks are trying to stick it to him by not honoring his full guarantee.
Instead of playing the role of victim, Marbury should be aggressively trying to stick it to the Knicks. He can average 18 points for another team while New York is still paying him $19 million. Who will have the last laugh in that scenario? Has Marbury no understanding of revenge?
During the preseason,
"It was harder than it looked,'' he said. "We definitely went through adversity last year. We had arguments in the locker room, arguments on the bus, arguments on the plane, arguments on the court. It was just little stuff. But I think teams that don't argue are teams that don't really care enough or want it enough.
"We were fighting for it because everybody thinks they know how to do it. So together we have to come to even ground. We fought for a lot -- the players, the coaches, everybody, because we all had to give ground in order for us all to be on the same page. We really fought to be on the same page.''
Every team suffers from tension among its players. The bigger the egos, the greater the tension.
The Bulls almost certainty won't be able to trade Gordon during the season. Not only must he approve any deal, but also the Bulls will not be able to trade his Bird rights, which means that team would have to be under the cap in order to re-sign him to a contract worth more than the mid-level exception. This looks like a year that will be invested in developing Rose and finding out which players fit around him. The Bulls can make a flurry of moves next summer, including a sign-and-trade involving Gordon.
I still think the Lakers need to develop a No. 2 star behind Kobe, and they could use a tough veteran or two to come off the bench. But you may turn out to be right. Udoka, Mason and
"From a coach's perspective, I didn't have any problems with Ron. I think all of the superstars in the league -- maybe with the exception of one or two -- all have something going on where you have to coach them. You have to deal with what makes them special, that little thing that makes them who they are. You look at all walks of life and it's the same with all of the extraordinary or exceptional people. Like
"When you talk about Ron the player, the other night I watched Houston play against Dallas and I think he guarded four different guys. I miss that.
"I'm happy for him he has this opportunity. We all felt here that Ron needs to be on a team where there are people he would consider his equal, so I think he will find it a nice place there. And listen, that doesn't mean they're not going to have a couple of moments during the season when Ron's going to be Ron. But the good thing is that [
"Iverson scores more points, averages more assists and shoots a better percentage than [
"Billups was overrated defensively. One of his weaknesses was that he couldn't keep quicker guys in front of him; Iverson will be able to do that. He's going to need to gamble less and play the fundamentals, which is the way he defended when he was playing in Philly for
"The biggest thing is his intensity. As good as Billups is, he's too cool for school. Iverson is going to come in with a lot of energy, and guys like
Those affiliations changed this year as
"There was that quote, 'Republicans buy Nikes too,' " Hill said, referring to
It will be interesting to see how this plays out within the NBA's small, lucrative world. According to the conservative
"The problems that exist are far greater than the benefits of certain tax brackets and certain NBA players,'' Hill said. "During the Bush administration, a lot of guys saved a lot in taxes. But I think a lot of guys are willing to look past that to try to do what's right and make the necessary changes to improve things.''