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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lakers beat Nuggets 103-94 in Game 5

LOS ANGELES(AP) Kobe Bryant offered himself up as bait and the Denver Nuggets bit. That freed up Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol on the inside, where the Lakers' big men dominated.

With Bryant luring double coverage then passing to his teammates, the Lakers owned the fourth quarter in a 103-94 victory Wednesday night that gave them a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

Bryant scored 22 points - on just 13 shots - Odom had 19 points and 14 rebounds despite an aching lower back and Gasol added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

"It was a big gamble for me coming in, but I wanted to change my approach this game and be more of a decoy,'' Bryant said after adding eight assists, several out of double-teams in the fourth quarter. "The past couple games they really were loading to my side and I figured I could be a decoy and try to give chances to my teammates.''

Game 6 is Friday in Denver, where the Lakers lost Game 4 by 19 points.

"That place is going to be rocking and rolling,'' Bryant said. "We have to stay focused and poised and try to cut them up. Be cold-blooded, go out there and execute.''

Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points, hitting 12 of 13 free throws, and Kenyon Martin and Chauncey Billups added 12 points each for the Nuggets.

The teams were tied after the first, second and third quarters for just the fourth time in NBA playoff history.

So it all came down to the final 12 minutes.

Bryant, Odom and Gasol teamed for all but seven of the Lakers' 27 points in the fourth. They opened on an 11-0 run for their first lead of the second half and it was capped by Shannon Brown's jumper that beat the shot clock.

"He came in, gave us a huge spark and that's what you need,'' Bryant said of Brown. "It's about who controls momentum.''

The Nuggets used a 13-6 run to close to 93-89. Linas Kleiza scored seven straight and Anthony had six in the spurt.

But then the Lakers regained control and finished off the victory. They improved to 20-0 in Game 5s at home when a series is tied 2-2.

"The games that we've lost, they had an advantage on the inside,'' Anthony said. "The games that we've won, we had an advantage. We had to go to a smaller lineup tonight and they kept their big lineup on the court. That kind of hurt us a little bit. We've got to do a better job of keeping our big men out of foul trouble.''

Anthony hit a jumper to get Denver to 96-91 with 1:24 remaining. But the Nuggets went cold from the field over the final 3:38, while the Lakers capitalized at the line. Los Angeles outscored Denver 10-5 in that span, including making six of eight free throws.

This time, it was Denver coach George Karl's turn to complain about the officiating. Lakers coach Phil Jackson and his organization were fined $25,000 each for griping after Game 4.

"I thought they got the benefit of the whistle,'' Karl said. "Every player in my locker room is frustrated, from guards to big guys. Gasol goes after at least 20 jump shots, 20 shots to the rim and gets one foul; our big guys have 16. Nene has six fouls, three or four of them don't exist.''

Karl said he didn't want to get himself fined before agreeing with Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy, whose team leads Cleveland 3-1 in the Eastern Conference finals.

"In the post game we're lobbying for the league to help us with the refereeing,'' he said. "This is too good of a series. It's too good of teams competing that we're sitting here just confused by the whistle.''

Denver returns home needing a victory to send the series back to Los Angeles for a Game 7 on Sunday.

"We're excited about this,'' Anthony said. "We're going home. We got a chance to win at home and see what happens in Game 7.''

The good kind of history is seemingly on the Lakers' side. They haven't lost a best-of-7 series that was tied 2-2 after winning Game 5 since the 1969 NBA finals against Boston.

"This Lakers group is really connected,'' Jackson said. "They're driven and they're motivated to get to where we were last year to give us a chance to win.''

Denver twice led by seven points in the third quarter only to see the Lakers tie it at 76 on a 3-pointer by Bryant to end the period.

In a first half featuring 13 ties, the teams ended up even after both the first and second quarters.

Notes: The Lakers were involved in the other three playoff games that were tied through the first three quarters, the last was in 1964 against St. Louis. ... Nene fouled out with 4:02 remaining, with four points and eight rebounds. He has fouled out of three games. ... Famous faces in the crowd: Hugh Hefner and his three girlfriends, Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, Ron Artest of the Houston Rockets, Zac Efron and NBA centers past and present Bill Russell and Kevin Love.

I predict 4-3 Lakers

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

simbang gabi a tradition to remember..


an achivement that ive done so far this year
since december 16th.

last year i haven't completed the misa de gallo
which consists of 10 evening masses which is
a traditional way of the hispanic filipinos celebrate
their christmas.

it was a devastating failure of my whole christmas experience
not completing the misa de gallo.

as a christian i embrace this kind of tradition
because you can see the stunnishing choirs competing
with each other.

i love the commotions outside, the priest's homily ceremonies
and nevertheless the sacrifice. i walk from my house up to church
for just a distant of 9 kilometers i think.

i love the music. the christmas songs. i think of my childhood days
when i here gunter kallman choir singin. around me. its really a christmas season
for me. they are the sign of the christmas eve.

thank god ive made my own words.

as ive said before i am a man of my word. i did it. i finished my 10 day mass
alongside with my aunty and my beloved mom.

merry christmas everyone.

and have a pleasant happy new year.

everything but NAZI



Nazi - A Member of the national socialist german party founded in 1919 on fascist principles
and dominant from 1933 to 1945 in germany under the dictatorship of adolf hitler.

where it followed the principles of extreme nationalism racism totalitarian direction
of all cultural, political and economic activity and militarization while urging a destiny of world
leadership to Germany.

Fascist - one of the fascisti




- somebody who supports or advocates a system
of government characterized by dictatorship, centralized
control of private enterprise, repression of all opposition,
and extreme nationalism

Fascism - dictatorial movement: any movement,
tendency, or ideology that favors dictatorial
government, centralized control of private enterprise,
repression of all opposition, and extreme nationalism

Totalitarian - Designating or characteristic of a government controlled
exclusively by one party or faction which suppresses all opposition
and criticism and controls and regiments all social cultural and economic
activity in the country to advance its political aims

Political - pertaining to piblic policy concerned in the administration
of government

a political system distinguished from civil

belonging to the science of government treating of polity or politics

pertaining to or connected with all party or parties controlling or seeking to control
government in a state political state

Activity - the state or quality of being active action vigorous movement active force
or operation

Economic - pertaining to the science of economics money matters or wealth
management managing

Militarization - to convert to the military system

fuhrer - german boss Nazi boss

Luftwaffe - german airforce as organized by the nazi regime in 1939

SS - Schutzstaffel (defense echelon) known as the ss or black shirts in a special arm of the
german nazi party under adolf hitler founded as body guard for hitler in 1925.

the SS came under the direction of hinrich himmler in 1929.

After hitler came to power in 1933 Himmler expanded the rule of the SS making principal instrument
of the nazi germany's terror and one of the most powerful institutions of the third reich

at the height of its influence from 1939 to 1945 the ss controlled GESTAPO and all
other elements of the german police through the reich central security office (RSHA)
headed by Himmler's lieutenants, Reynard heydrich and from (1943) Ernst kaltenbrunner
and also under the RSHA where the Einsatzgruppen (special action squads) that
carried out mass execution of the jews and other racial "undesirables"

During the world war II the SS included military service called the SS Waffen (armed)
which fought alongside with the regular units of the german army.

the waffen SS eventually compromised more than 500.000 men organized into 30 divisions among them where
the death's head that guarded the nazi concentration camp.

Nazi Soviet Pact

Under these circumstances the conclusion late in August of a Pact of Non-Aggression and Friendship between National Socialist Germany and the Communist Soviet Union came as a great surprise. It doomed the Anti-Comintern Pact. Germany had previously been the leader, and wished so to regard itself, of the international struggle against Communism and the Soviet Union. Many conservative circles in the democracies had looked with complacency upon National Socialist Germany and had forgiven many of its excesses because they saw in National Socialism a bulwark against the spread of Communism. Many radicals and Marxists, on the other hand, saw in National Socialism the last stand, as they called it, of capitalism, and could therefore not believe that National Socialism and Communism had arrived at some form of cooperation.

The Pact of Friendship between Germany and the Soviet Union was primarily dictated by strategic considerations. Germany tried by this pact to impress upon Great Britain and France the futility of their promised assistance to Poland. The pact was designed to give Germany a free hand to annihilate Poland without the danger of Anglo-French interference. Should this hope not be realized, however, then the pact would make it possible for Germany to concentrate all her forces on the western front, and would at the same time open to her the vast resources of the Soviet Union, thus diminishing the effects of the blockade established by the democracies against Germany. The Soviet Government on the other hand expected that through its agreement with Germany the Soviet Union would find it possible to stay out of war, to inaugurate a policy of complete isolation, and to acquire, with the consent of Germany, certain territories and especially certain strategic outposts which would strengthen the isolation of the Soviet Union and make her more impregnable against attack. Soon, however, it became apparent that cooperation between Germany and the Soviet Union was to go further than momentary strategic advantages.

To understand that possibility, two facts should be kept in mind. First, the Soviet Union has developed under Stalin a cult of personal leadership which is completely at variance with Marxism and Leninism and which, in spite of some fundamental differences, brings the Soviet Union closer to the Fascist countries with their adherence to personal leadership. Secondly, National Socialism implied always the promise of a new "socialistic" order, of a collectivism on a strictly nationalistic or racial basis to be sure, but nevertheless in its practical consequences approaching very closely to Communism. This element had already been represented by forces in Germany which had been called Nationalbolschewismus, and by leaders like Gregor Strasser and Ernst Roehm. When Chancellor Hitler still needed the cooperation of the conservative elements in Germany and in the democratic countries, he had to liquidate these Communistic groups within the National Socialist movement, but now they could be given free scope. Whereas official Soviet circles spoke, as National Socialist propagandists did, of Great Britain and France as capitalistic imperialists and plutocracies, but denied any ideological elements in the present international conflict, the National Socialists began to stress more and more the socialistic mission of Fascism and the new Germany. This was clear in the New Year's proclamation issued on Dec. 30, 1939 by Chancellor Hitler.

Formerly the National Socialist attacks had been concentrated upon "Jewish Communism," upon an alleged "Jewish plot" which aimed at world revolution, with Moscow as its center and Marxism as its ideology. One of the leading propaganda organs of Germany, the Contra-Comintern, had published in August 1930 a leading article entitled "The Bolshevik Offensive against the World." The article was a violent attack against the Western democracies which were accused of letting Communism penetrate westwards through their friendliness towards the Soviet Union. This issue of the periodical was, however, the last under its old title. A new organ was to be devoted to an attack against "Jewish capitalism" and the conservative forces, instead of the former attack against "Jewish Communism" and world revolution. The heavily subsidized anti-Communist propaganda in Germany and in foreign countries suddenly stopped. Vast exhibitions intended to show the "horrors" of the Soviet régime disappeared. Both the Germans and the Russians were now regarded as "young and productive nations to whom belongs the future" and who are "waging this war to build up a new world." The war was presented as a great "international revolution" destined to put an end to capitalistic society in favor of socialistic planning within and among nations. The words spoken on Aug. 31 by Mr. Molotov, Prime Minister of the Soviet Union, seemed to be justified: "It would be difficult to underestimate the international importance of the Soviet-German treaty. It is a date of historic importance. It marks a turning point in the history of Europe, and not only of Europe."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Micheal Curry takes the 'DALY" Philosophy.


Micheal Curry never played for Chuck Daly. But somewhere, ol' Daddy Rich is smiling.

Anybody who recalls the heyday of the Bad Boys remembers Daly staying blithely above the fray whenever the subject of playing time for one of the NBA's all-time deepest rosters would arise.

"I don't determine playing time," he would say, in perfect earnestness, "players determine playing time."

So as Curry enters his first season as an NBA head coach with a roster of similar depth, especially in the context of the 30-time NBA, he's putting it squarely back on players to fight for every available minute.

"Guys either accept their roles or they don't play," he said after Monday's practice, the clock now down to two days before the Pistons open the 2008-09 season under their first-time head coach, "and I think guys want to play. So guys accept their roles. But you've got to reward them for their role and you've got to stay true to them playing when it calls for them to play that role."

In other words, as Curry has said over the course of camp, if he's selling Arron Afflalo on being his perimeter stopper and then Michael Redd or Paul Pierce is torching the Pistons, Afflalo had better get the chance to show he can cool them down. If not ...

"That's where problems come in," Curry said. "It never comes with guys accepting a role. As a staff, and especially for me as a head coach, I have to be able to use guys with a situation calls (for) them and I have to put them in a situation to be successful. Other than that" - and here's where Daly's ears would surely perk up - "playing time ... when you compete every day in practice, guys know who should play in front of each other.

"Guys get to compete every day. We didn't have a camp in which we had our top five guys on one team and the next five on the next team. We mixed guys up. Guys got to compete, play in a whole lot of different roles. All these guys can rank the top 10 players on the team right now."

And in case there was any chance for ambiguity, Curry met individually with all 15 players on Friday to discuss everyone's roles in all of their specifics.

So everyone knows going in exactly how he fits in the grand scheme. And Curry rates each player's every possession for each game. So there shouldn't be many surprises over the course of the season if roles change, either. A player consistently grading out in the 90s isn't going to have to worry about a diminished role, but getting frequently downgraded for missed assignments or lapses in effort or judgment will show up on the grading sheet in advance of a role suddenly being diminished.

Joe Dumars said last summer that communication was the most important aspect of being a head coach in today's NBA and Curry so far is hitting it out of the park on that score. As Joe D said in the Q&A we're posting today and Tuesday on, while Curry isn't bashful about pointing out errors, neither is he miserly with his praise. Case in point: Even as Amir Johnson's preseason statistics didn't leap off the scoresheet, Curry was lauding the way Johnson was fulfilling the role as Curry had explained it to him since July. Then, when Johnson got sloppy in the preseason finale and fouled out in 15 minutes against Atlanta, he unequivocally said that a young player could not afford such regressions.

With the opener approaching, Curry said there's a sense of readiness about his team.

"We're ready to get into it," he said. "You kind of get tired of practicing and playing against the guys. You're ready to get into the real game situations and that's natural. But we're ready to play and we'll see on Wednesday where we're at."

There's not a hint from Curry that anything about the job has him awestruck as tipoff draws near, though he admits that he deals with anticipation a little differently as a coach than he did as a player.

"The night before games, a ton of things are going through my head as a coach and I just grab my paper and pen and start writing different things down," he said. "As a player, I was OK. All you had to do was go out there and hit somebody one play" - though this generally works better for football players - "and your butterflies go away. Now when I get anxious at night, butterflies, I just grab my pen and paper and start jotting things down."

Kwame Brown, recovering from a right shoulder strain suffered a week ago, went through his first full practice on Monday and should be good to go on Wednesday. Indiana got bigger over the summer when it traded for Rasho Nesterovic and drafted Georgetown's Roy Hibbert, so it could be a game when Brown is the first big man off of Curry's bench instead of Jason Maxiell.
The Pacers will be missing Mike Dunleavy, who had a breakout season for the Pacers a year ago. Dunleavy played only 12 minutes in preseason while experiencing knee tendinitis.

Chuck daly is one of the pistons' best philosophers ever served the motor city. i believe mike will use the same thing. kwame brown? maybe he will be the next prodigy sun of detroit AKA Ben Wallace.

Joe Dumars Questions and Answers part 1


Pistons president Joe Dumars sat down with editor Keith Langlois on the eve of the 2008-09 regular season to talk about Michael Curry’s first training camp and preseason and the outlook for the Pistons on the season ahead. Here’s Part I of the transcript of their conversation. Come back to on Tuesday for Part II.
KEITH LANGLOIS: I’m going to start with an open and broad question because I don’t want to tie you down to anything specific, but I want to get your impression of training camp and the preseason. What struck you most about it?

JOE DUMARS: Much more sense of focus. I think Michael and the coaching staff have done a great job of getting us organized and committed to what we’re doing here. I think they’ve done an excellent job of that. I think the players came in open, understanding what the mandate was and how we’re going to do things going forward. From that standpoint, I’ve been pleased with what Mike and the coaching staff and how the players have come in and gravitated to the new way we’re doing things here. That’s been my general impression.

KL: The media get in to see the last 30 minutes or so of practice. Under previous coaches, basically we would see them shooting free throws. So it’s an apples and oranges comparison, I realize, but what we’ve seen of these practices, they seem extremely competitive and focused. Can you comment on that aspect of it? Mike has talked often about the need to make practices competitive.
JD: Because I think, yeah, there was a need for us to become more intense and competitive in practice. We spent a portion of this summer speaking about complacency and when you come in and make your practices intense and competitive, that’s a part of getting your team out of that. You can’t just wait until games to say, OK, we’re going to be intense and competitive. Mike and I spent the whole summer talking about this. You can’t come in and have practices totally opposite of how you’re going to play the game. There has to be some carryover there. So I think the first month or so here was really about re-establishing how we’re going to play, what our approach is going to be, the focus and commitment that you have to make to be a Detroit Piston. That’s what all of this has been about. Just to change the focus back to, we’re about business. So that’s why I say I feel good about this first month, just getting that back, first and foremost.

KL: The other day Mike said something I thought was interesting. As I’m sure you’re aware, he has his grading system – he grades every player, every game – and every drill in practice has a winner and a loser. And he said that’s all a part – he’s already looking to the postseason – he said this is all part of developing an edge that carries you through the regular season and gets you ready for the postseason. He also, when he was talking about his new offense, said we’re going to struggle at first. We’re not going to centralize the decision-making and the ballhandling quite as much and we’re going to get better shots and be less predictable, because in the postseason that’s important. Is that type of focus on the postseason something you appreciate?
JD: Yeah. I think every day you walk in here as a team you have to have a purpose and a focus on what you’re trying to do. We’ve been fortunate enough to compete at the highest level of this league for quite a few years now. So that’s the standard that we’ve set and you have to embrace that. That’s all he’s been doing. He’s coming in and embracing the standard that’s already been set here. He’s not trying to shy away from it or look for any excuses. He’s simply embracing it and saying this is what the standard is and I’m going to go for it. And I appreciate that. I respect that.

KL: You’ve touched on this a little already, but to the extent you can tell before a regular-season game has been played, can you gauge how the veterans have responded to this pretty explicit higher standard being set here?
JD: With the young guys – let me just say this first – with the young guys, new guys into the league, they’re going to latch on to whatever is laid out there, good, bad or indifferent. So more importantly is how your veteran guys, it’s how they embrace or not, what’s happening. These guys have embraced it. They’ve embraced it. I mean, I think, you watch the last half-hour of practice when you guys have been able to watch, and see how those veteran guys are competing. You watch the games, our guys will show up. You watch the bench and see how the veterans are reacting to the young guys. I think it becomes pretty evident that these guys have embraced. Because I think guys want structure. They want accountability. They want discipline. Because these guys understand that those are all the things it takes if you’re competing at the highest level and say you want to be in the NBA Finals, well then these guys understand that’s what it takes, anyway. So you may as well embrace it. You cannot have it both ways. You can’t say you want to be playing and competing for an NBA championship and be competing at the highest level, but you don’t want discipline and accountability. They go hand in hand, so you’ve got to have it.

KL: I know you had a high level of confidence in Mike to do this because you know him well enough and you were confident he knew the organization well enough that it would erase a lot of the normal concerns you would have with a first-time coach. But until a guy does it, I guess you never really know for sure. Have you been surprised at all that he’s been so self-assured and seemed so in control of every aspect of being a head coach so far?
JD: No, I’m not surprised. Michael has a presence about himself. He has those leadership qualities about himself and they’re real. He doesn’t have to gear himself up. He can walk out and talk to you guys and be himself and have a strong presence and know what’s on his mind. He’s confident about what he feels and he’ll express that. So I’m not surprised he’s made that type of transition in terms of stepping into that seat. There are 82 games in front of us. He’ll have some ups and downs. But I like who he is as a head coach. I like his presence and the way he carries himself and the way he goes about his business. I like the way he does it. That’s a good quality to have and I think the guys respect it.

KL: Talk about the staff for a second. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like a staff that – I don’t know how important getting along is – but it seems like a staff that’s all pulling the oar in the same direction.
JD: This is a good staff. This is a very good staff. It’s a very hard-working staff. They put the time in, the hours. This is a staff that has a lot of passion about what they do. I think it’s pretty clear when you’re around this staff that they have it. Not only do you and I see it, but the players sense it. They see it. I think all of that helps in the process of what we’re trying to re-establish here.

KL: Mike’s said a few things over the course of camp and he’s said them matter-of-factly. As reporters, I guess we’ve been taken aback a little bit because he’s been sometimes blunt and plain-spoken and out there, but he’s said Rasheed’s in good shape but not where he needs to be. He said last week after the Dallas game, Rip got a delay of game tech and a technical and he gave two points away and if we had lost, I’d be talking about that right now. We have to exercise better self-control. Then Rip and Chauncey didn’t get to the scorer’s table in time and he let them know about it. I just thought it was interesting that he’s been so blunt, so up front and matter-of-fact, and it seems to be received with perfect equanimity by the players. Would that have been possible if he hadn’t come with such a built-in reputation for command?
JD: First of all, those guys respect him. That’s the basis and foundation for everything. Secondly, he’s the first to let those guys know how proud he is of them. And how pleased he is with a lot of the stuff they’re doing. So it’s not just coming down on guys. No. 1, they respect him. No. 2, he compliments those guys a lot. No. 3, when it is time for him to say something to them, or get on them about something, it’s well-received. I guess what I’m saying is, there’s the right balance in how he’s dealing with those guys. It’s not all just blunt, getting on guys. It’s pretty much the gamut. I see him complimenting them, to laughing with them, to getting on them, to being very serious with them. When you’ve got a good balance like that, it’s not a problem.

My comment about the pistons

Yep i believe they are at the backwalls of their career. as sheed's final contract. i think they should extend sheed's contract also the rest of the pistons' starters like chauncey and rip.

tayshaun should mature up his game with confidence and play aggressive as like what he did to reggie 4 years ago. which is known as THE BLOCK.

I Believe Joe D will have some adjustments with the bench. specially the emergence of Aron Afflalo, Jason Maxiell, Rodney Stuckey, Amir Johnson who had been terrific these past preseason games. and the senegal sensation Cheick Samb.

one more thing. i need a sweet impact from those fresh rookies named walter sharpe whose rumored as the 2nd tayshaun prince of the team and deron washington.. this year will be the challenge for the youngsters like them.

like the lakers. the pistons' 2nd team will emerge as what happened to the lakeshow's bench scoring. (farmar's performance, Vujacic's improved skills
and sun yuo from china)

That is all i can comment for the pistons this year.

JR (admiral) De Leon IV
The Pistongun (Detroit Pistons #1 Fan)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wild West
by Keith Langlois

Editor’s note: today starts a six-part series examining the off-season moves made by the NBA’s 30 teams in a division-by-division analysis. In today’s Part I, we look at the Pacific Division: Coming in Wednesday’s Part II: Southwest.
Fitting enough that we start with the Pacific Division, because it was the startling decision by Baron Davis to opt out of the final year of his contract with Golden State that set the course for the NBA’s free agency season. When Davis opted out and immediately agreed to bolt to a divisional rival, the Los Angeles Clippers, all indications were that Davis would team up with Elton Brand to give the Clippers a shot at contending in the hypercompetitive Western Conference.

After all, it was only because Brand also made the surprising decision to opt out of the final year of his contract that the Clippers had the salary-cap space to accommodate Davis. But the eight-day moratorium period between the start of free agency and the time contracts could be signed gave Philadelphia the time it needed to clear additional cap space and bowl over Brand with an offer that sent one of the NBA’s most potent scoring and rebounding threats out of the West.

Here’s a look at the summer scoreboard for the Pacific Division’s five members in order of their significance of activity:


COMING – The Warriors responded to the loss of Davis by signing two free agents from within the division, getting Corey Maggette from the Clippers and Ronny Turiaf from the Lakers. Though they might have overpaid a little for each – the Lakers could have retained Turiaf, a restricted free agent, but passed on the chance to match the four-year, $17 million deal – they represent a pretty nice recovery from the shock of losing the dynamic Davis. Golden State also picked up LSU’s Anthony Randolph with a lottery pick and Randolph, though impossibly skinny at 6-foot-10 and barely 200 pounds, showed in Las Vegas he has potential to one day develop into a multidimensional weapon on the wing. A minor trade helped address the void at point guard when the Warriors got disappointing second-year guard Marcus Williams from the Nets.

GOING – The losses weren’t limited just to Davis. Golden State also lost two useful wing players to free agency, Mickael Pietrus and Matt Barnes, and let 2006 lottery pick Patrick O’Bryant walk away as a free agent.

PROJECTED LINEUP – Point guard: Monta Ellis (Marcus Williams, C.J. Watson); shooting guard: Stephen Jackson (Marco Belinelli); center: Andris Biedrins (Ronny Turiaf, Kosta Perovic); power forward: Al Harrington (Brandan Wright, Richard Hendrix); small forward: Corey Maggette (Kelenna Azubuike, Anthony Randolph).

BOTTOM LINE – In the long run, Golden State probably is better off not tied to a risky contract with Davis, who has had longstanding health and conditioning issues. In the short term, it remains to be seen if Ellis can be an orchestrator in addition to being the mercurial scorer he’s already proven to be. The Warriors are believed to be shopping Al Harrington to clear playing time for youngsters Wright and Randolph. How Maggette, a slasher who needs the ball to be effective, fits with Don Nelson’s spread-the-floor, manic attack, remains to be seen.


COMING – For a few giddy days after signing Baron Davis, the Clippers allowed themselves to believe they’d be a force in the West next season. Without Elton Brand as his sidekick, things don’t look quite so rosy for Los Angeles’ distant No. 2 team. The Clippers used the cap room they gained when Brand signed with Philly to take Marcus Camby off of Denver’s hands in a salary purge designed to get the Nuggets out from under their heavy luxury tax burden. They also picked up a serviceable backup point guard Jason Hart in trade from Utah for Brevin Knight, signed aging Jason Williams to further supplement the position and plucked Ricky Davis, a high-maintenance wing scorer, from the free-agent pool. The draft could yield major dividends. The Clips got Indiana freshman guard Eric Gordon, who possesses both deep shooting range and explosiveness to the rim, and a second-rounder with a high ceiling in Texas A&M’s massive DeAndre Jordan. Though a limited player, adding veteran tough guy Brian Skinner to a frontcourt that could use a little muscle was a decent pickup.

GOING – Losing Elton Brand was a major and thoroughly unexpected blow for the Clippers, though – as with Golden State and Davis – there was inherent risk in committing $80 million to a 265-pounder coming off a torn Achilles tendon. In order to add Camby and Ricky Davis, the Clips wound up renouncing a handful of journeymen, which leaves them a little thin around the edges. The one they might regret losing is Shaun Livingston, whose massive knee injury two years ago derailed what looked like a very bright career. Losing Corey Maggette leaves a scoring void, but the Clippers needed to make room for promising second-year forward Al Thornton, anyway.

PROJECTED LINEUP – Point guard: Baron Davis (Jason Williams, Jason Hart, Mike Taylor); shooting guard: Cuttino Mobley (Eric Gordon): center: Chris Kaman (Brian Skinner, DeAndre Jordan); power forward: Marcus Camby (Tim Thomas); small forward: Al Thornton (Ricky Davis).


COMING – The Kings are pretty much in rebuilding mode with Kevin Martin now entrenched as the team’s centerpiece. Their lottery pick produced the first real surprise pick of the draft when the Kings opted for Rider 7-footer Jason Thompson. Thompson will be joined by another boom-or-bust type of rookie, Syracuse freshman Donte Green, acquired in a trade that can’t be formalized until 30 days passes from Green’s July signing of his rookie contract with Houston. Point guard Beno Udrih, who enjoyed something of a breakout season, was retained in free agency after the Kings traded away Mike Bibby at the trade deadline last February to make Udrih the starter. If Bobby Jackson can stay healthy – he’s also en route from Houston – he’ll help the Kings win games. Bobby Brown’s play in the Las Vegas Summer League had several teams interested in signing him and the Kings, without much behind Udrih, made the strongest pitch.

GOING – Every team in the league explored the pluses and minuses of taking on Ron Artest and all that he entails, but in the end a late first-rounder (Green) and a veteran with a lot of wear on his tread (Jackson) was the best package the Kings could fetch. The only other loss of any significance was backup point guard Anthony Johnson, who signed with Orlando in free agency.

PROJECTED LINEUP – Point guard: Beno Udrih (Bobby Brown, Sean Singletary); shooting guard: Kevin Martin (John Salmons, Quincy Douby); center: Brad Miller (Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson); power forward: Mikki Moore (Kenny Thomas, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Shelden Williams); small forward: Francisco Garcia (Donte Green, Patrick Ewing Jr.).

BOTTOM LINE – The Kings have a glut of big men – quantity, at least – and not much in the way of wing players. They would have loved to have moved Kenny Thomas and his big contract in the Artest deal, but nobody was biting. If Thompson and Green become quality players, then the future doesn’t look so bad. But it’s a pretty safe bet Sacramento has at least one more year in the lottery.


COMING – The Suns made their big move last February when they traded for Shaquille O’Neal, to mixed results. They headed into August with only 11 players signed but capped out, meaning they’re probably looking at nothing more than adding a few journeymen to veteran’s minimum deals. The big splashes of the summer were using the pick obtained from Atlanta in the Joe Johnson deal to land Stanford big man Robin Lopez, considered less of an offensive threat than his twin brother Brook, and signing erratic but athletic Golden State wing Matt Barnes in free agency. The Suns are also hoping to add second-round European point guard Goran Dragic as the backup they currently lack to Steve Nash.

GOING – An equally uneventful summer … the only player who won’t be back who even occasionally dented last year’s rotation is Brian Skinner.

PROJECTED LINEUP – Point guard: Steve Nash (D.J. Strawberry); shooting guard: Raja Bell (Leandro Barbosa); center: Shaquille O’Neal (Robin Lopez); power forward: Amare Stoudemire (Boris Diaw); small forward: Grant Hill (Matt Barnes, Alando Tucker).

BOTTOM LINE – Given the age or frailty of O’Neal, Hill and Nash, the Suns look almost dangerously thin and without the resources to do much about it unless ownership reverses itself and commits to serious luxury taxation. Hard to project anything but a step or two back for Phoenix.


COMING – The Lakers drafted former Detroit Renaissance and Kentucky guard Joe Crawford late in the second round. If he makes the team – a pretty considerable if – he’d have to stick around a long time before anyone thinks of him rather than a certain pugnacious NBA referee whenever the name “Joe Crawford” is uttered.

GOING – The Lakers are going to miss Ronny Turiaf, though it’s hard to question the decision to not match Golden State’s offer to the restricted free agent considering the presence of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom.

PROJECTED LINEUP – Point guard: Derek Fisher (Jordan Farmar): shooting guard: Kobe Bryant (Sasha Vujacic, Coby Karl, Joe Crawford): center: Andrew Bynum (Chris Mihm); power forward: Pau Gasol (Vladimir Radmanovic); small forward: Lamar Odom (Luke Walton, Trevor Ariza).

BOTTOM LINE – The key for the Lakers is getting Bynum back with a healthy knee and playing at the level he was at in mid-season before going down, then learning how to play in tandem with Gasol. If that happens, there’s no question who’ll go into next spring’s playoffs as the favorite to emerge in the West.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Will Bynum: At the Point

Editor’s note: continues an eight-part series on the eight players from the Pistons’ NBA Las Vegas Summer League roster who have NBA futures. This week we’ll do daily stories on the three second-round draft picks, holdover center Cheikh Samb and free agent point guard Will Bynum. Next week we’ll post stories on the three players who figure to be part of the playing rotation – Rodney Stuckey, Arron Afflalo and Amir Johnson. In today’s Part II, we look at Will Bynum. Coming Wednesday: Trent Plaisted.
The Pistons thought former Illinois All-American Dee Brown was coming to Summer League with them and first in line to vie for the No. 3 slot at point guard behind Chauncey Billups and Rodney Stuckey. But when Washington offered Brown both a contract and a clearer path to playing time even before Summer League, the Pistons wasted no time in moving on to Will Bynum.

They acted with similar decisiveness in offering Bynum a guaranteed contract just hours after Summer League play wrapped up on July 20.

So it’s safe to say the Pistons saw what they were hoping to see in Bynum, a 2005 product of Georgia Tech who lifted the Yellowjackets to the 2004 NCAA title game with a driving last-second layup in a semifinal win over Oklahoma State.

That type of explosiveness and scoring ability is part of what attracted the Pistons to Bynum, but it’s been the willingness to adapt and focus on the defensive end that earned him his shot to stick in the NBA this time after a brief fling with Golden State in the 2005-06 season, when Bynum was also named NBA Development League Rookie of the Year.

“Just putting a whole bunch of pressure on the ball and trying to change the tempo of the game,” Bynum said in Las Vegas of his role. “I think that’s pretty much what I’ve got to be. I’ve got to focus every single possession on locking down my guy and putting a bunch of pressure on the ball.”

Bynum, who played with Euroleague power Maccabi Tel Aviv the last two seasons and turned down a lucrative offer in Italy to join the Pistons, averaged 11.8 points and 3.2 assists a game in Las Vegas, starting the final three games when Rodney Stuckey was idled by a minor toe injury. His seven steals tied for the team lead with Walter Sharpe.

Bynum’s season had just wound down in Israel in early July when he got an unexpected phone call from Joe Dumars, asking him if he’d like to come to Las Vegas for a chance to earn a spot in the NBA.

“It was a big shock,” Bynum said, “to get a call from a Hall of Fame player telling you he wants you to play for his team. It’s definitely a blessing. It’s a great opportunity for me.”

“Will has always been a guy that Joe has liked, as well as our staff, dating back to college when he was coming out,” Pistons vice president Scott Perry said. “I’ve watched him since he was a high school guy. Will has always been a guy with what we consider, even coming out, NBA offensive ability. The guy has a second gear. He can explode, he’s athletic, he can score, he can get in the lane and make plays – he’s always been able to do that.

“The things he had to work on when he didn’t stick around the league is defending the basketball, which he always could do but was maybe never required to do coming through high school and college, and becoming a little more responsible with the ball. He’s trying to shed himself of that and I think he’s done a nice job of that in his development.”

Bynum seemed humbled and appreciative of the opportunity the Pistons provided him and that went a long way toward convincing them that he would have the right makeup to accept the role being offered, even though Bynum has always been a big-time scorer who left the Chicago playgrounds as something of a legend.

“We all mature in life,” Perry said. “We all grow. Will is no different. Like most young kids who play, he had a dream of playing in the NBA. He got a taste of it in Golden State, but he had to go overseas, go to the D-League, go a tough route. You learn to appreciate things more. So when people tell him, because he’s a little smaller in size, ‘Hey, for you to stick on an NBA roster, you’re going to have to pick up defensively 94 feet and really get after people,’ he’s ready to do that. He accepts that.

“He’s got an opportunity now with us. He’s got a guaranteed contract and now it’s time to fulfill that dream of playing.”

Bynum has another fan in Pistons coach Michael Curry, who came to appreciate Bynum’s talents when Curry worked in NBA League Operations and spent considerable time working with D-League players and coaches.

“He’s made a concerted effort to get better defensively,” Curry said. “He’s playing the best defense I’ve ever seen him play. Sometimes he’s a little too aggressive, but we can bring that back. It’s harder to try to make a guy aggressive than calm him down.”

The role the Pistons foresee for Bynum is spot minutes behind Chauncey Billups and Rodney Stuckey, used similarly to the way they’ve employed Lindsey Hunter – coming on for four- or five-minute stretches to harass the opposition point guard and make it difficult to get into the half-court offense. Even if Hunter decides to come back and play one more season, the Pistons don’t want to put the 38-year-old veteran into a role that demanding over the course of 82 games.

But if Billups or Stuckey were to miss a week or two with a minor injury, Perry thinks Bynum would be capable of stepping up to No. 2 and giving the Pistons 12 or 15 solid minutes nightly.

“He’s got the ability to do that,” Perry said. “We looked at teams and their third point guards and went through that list of names. Hey, Will Bynum can play with that group. There’s no question in my mind.”

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