Court Vision: NBA teams trimming rosters as deadline looms
By Ben Golliver
The NBA's deadline to set 15-man rosters is fast approaching, and a number of teams used Monday to clear out some training camp dead weight.
• The Detroit Pistons waived Jonny Flynn and Terrence Williams. Both were 2009 lottery picks: Flynn was No. 6 and Williams was No. 11. Both have bounced around, unable to find the right fit. Both face a crossroads: hang out and hope for an opening or head overseas.
• The Los Angeles Lakers released Chris Douglas-Roberts, a 2008 second-round pick. Douglas-Roberts, a stringy forward who played his college ball at Memphis, went overseas during the lockout, playing professionally in Italy, and may be headed back.
• The Indiana Pacers released Sundiata Gaines and Blake Ahearn, a pair of guards who recently spent time with the Utah Jazz. Gaines will forever be an Internet legend for his last-second buzzer-beater shortly after a D-League call-up.
• The Oklahoma City Thunder cut guard Walker Russell, who spent last season with the Detroit Pistons. OKC's backcourt is fully loaded with Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefalosha, James Harden, Eric Maynor, Reggie Jackson, Daequan Cook and second-year man DeAndre Liggins, so the move is a mere formality.
• Rob Mahoney breaks down the NBA's annual GM survey in full detail.
Spoelstra no longer uses positions to designate his players. Instead, he uses initials of players' names on his diagrams and assigns players to five spots on the floor for his go-to sets: a single man in the post, two in the corners and two in the wings.
In practice this preseason, the Heat will run their sets over and over before Spoelstra shouts “switch up” and the players play their own version of musical chairs, rotating from spot to spot. Wade replaces Bosh in the post, and Bosh goes to the top of the key, where he can take opposing centers off the dribble. Battier heads to the corner while Allen goes to the wing.
Switch up again. James goes to the block and Wade heads to the corner, where he cuts to the rim. Bosh heads to the corner, where he has developed a sharper 3-point shot. Again and again.
Ball handlers. Post guys. Screeners. Perimeter shooters. Cutters. All parts are interchangeable.
• Zach Lowe writes that it's time for Carmelo Anthony to sacrifice for the good of the Knicks in the wake of Amar'e Stoudemire's injury.