Projecting how a college player will do in the NBA (cont.)
A year removed from leading the University of Memphis to the NCAA championship game, Derrick Rose is trying to push the Bulls into the playoffs. An NBA scout assesses the progress of the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft.
"What sets him apart is his combination of speed and strength. He's in the top tier of those guards able to go end to end and attack a defense. He has the ability to take shots and finish on his own that other guys at the point guard position do not have.
"He's going to have to improve his jump shot and become a better defender, but his upside is pretty high. Chicago has done a good job of figuring out how to play with him, which is hard to do with a rookie point guard. He's tried to lead that team but hasn't tried to do too much. He has a fundamental understanding of how to play to win. That changes on a given night -- sometimes it's scoring, other times it's being more of a playmaker and making sure Chicago is playing at a fast pace to take advantage of its athleticism. He's already started to help them win games late. He's learned how to become a little more aggressive and become a little bit more involved in the crunch-time minutes.
"Athletically, his size and quickness give him the ability to be stronger and have a more physical presence defending the ball than he's shown. He should also be able to break up pick-and-rolls and not be a guy who is easily screened. All of that is effort at the defensive end."
They said it
"It means having a good owner, a good GM and good players equals longevity in the NBA."
"I don't even have a computer. I don't know how to turn one on. I don't know what you're talking about. I'm going to be totally honest. How would you do that?"
"I heard someone say Charlie Villanueva was tweeting, and I thought it meant he went in to take a leak at halftime. I guess that wasn't it."
"As long as he gets 25 [points] and 11 [rebounds], he can do whatever he wants. He can Twitter, Facebook, MySpace."
"It shows how I've been consistent at what I've been doing, and the next guy is my illegitimate father, Wilt Chamberlain. So just like in Star Wars, hopefully I can catch up to my father."
San Jose Mercury News: A detailed analysis of the dysfunctional mess the Warriors have become and what it could mean for the future.
The Clippers are reportedly considering stripping Mike Dunleavy of his GM duties. That seems typical Clippers, nibbling at a problem when a hearty bite is needed. Clearly, Dunleavy has done a poor job assembling parts to his dysfunctional machine, but anyone who has watched a quarter of Clippers basketball this season knows the players' effort has been lacking. That falls in part on the coach, who is ... Mike Dunleavy. And owner Donald Sterling is mulling the idea of removing only the GM duties?
A part of me loves that Shaq, via Twitter, has offered tickets to fans for finding him in a mall or hotel; few athletes make themselves so available to fans. But another part of me fears Shaq is opening himself up to any manner of unhinged fan. Fun as this Twitter craze has been, it also has broken a boundary athletes of Shaq's stature need. No, it's not fun to wall yourself off from the people who help pay your salary, but when you are worth as much as O'Neal is, and are as recognizable as he is, you are a target. By offering up your coordinates, you invite not only the well-intentioned but also the opposite. There are plenty of more controlled environments to interact with fans than by inviting them to get a piece of the Diesel.
Strap in for what is shaping up to be a busy summer. Beyond the draft is a free-agent season low on long-term impact but high on marquee names, with Allen Iverson, Carlos Boozer and Rasheed Wallace among those possibly on the move. The impact, of course, could become much bigger if Kobe Bryant elects to test the waters, which isn't likely but not impossible if the Lakers fail to win in June. And after a trade deadline in which Shaq, Amar'e Stoudemire and other big names were dangled, expect a few payroll-clearing deals amid projections of a decline in the salary cap and luxury-tax threshold. On top of that, there's also a chance that LeBron and Wade will lock in extensions rather than wait for free agency in 2010. And don't forget the coaching carousel, too.
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