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Instant Trade Analysis: NBA trade deadline deals

The 76ers trade everyone, control the second round of the draft
 
Indiana Pacers get: G/F Evan Turner, PF Lavoy Allen
Philadelphia 76ers get: SF Danny Granger, second round pick
 
Cleveland Cavaliers get: F/C Spencer Hawes
Philadelphia 76ers get: F Earl Clark, C Henry Sims, two second round picks
 
Washington Wizards get: PG Andre Miller
Denver Nuggets get: PF Jan Vesely
Philadelphia 76ers get: Eric Maynor, two second round picks
 
In what turned out to be the biggest deal of the day, Larry Bird resuscitated an otherwise tame trade deadline like a last second three-pointer from the corner.
 
The Pacers finally cut bait with their longest tenured player, sending the ineffective and still recovering Granger (and his expiring $14 million dollar deal) to the tank-happy Sixers, who traded two of their best four players today in separate deals. To “get” Granger, Philly dealt back-up big Lavoy Allen and former second overall pick Evan Turner, the Ohio State star who was selected in the 2010 Draft over the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Greg Monroe and Paul George, amongst others.
 
The goal for Indiana was quite simple–to get the versatile Turner who can play both guard and forward positions, handle the ball and get to the rim with some ease. While Turner isn’t a great shooter (just .288 from beyond the arc), nor is he the type of offensive spark plug off the bench, in the mold of Jamal Crawford or Manu Ginobili, he’s a solid passer and a professional hand to have on the floor. He’s an upgrade over the immobile Granger, who’s been pretty awful this year after sitting out nearly all of last season with knee troubles. Again, Turner isn’t exactly going to light the world on fire, but at this point, he’s like a very poor man’s Lance Stephenson….who was picked 38 spots later in the same draft. Four years ago, I could have never envisioned typing that last sentence while clear and sober. I like this move for Indiana, as Turner is an expiring contract that they could very well re-up in the case that “Born Ready” leaves. … Read more...

Kobe Bryant or not, LA’s shooting guards must step up

For the past decade and a half, this specific post has been, quite frankly, really, really boring.
 
“Kobe Bryant will be the Lakers’ starting shooting guard. He is going to play 35+ minutes a night and he is going to be amazing. Let’s hope that _____ can shore up anywhere between 10 and 13 minutes a night when the Mamba rests and recharges for a fourth quarter surge.”
 
And Kazaam! One 7-foot genie later, we’re done.
 
But with one wrong step on a scoring drive six months ago, this post became infinitely more intriguing. Perhaps not just for now, but for the foreseeable future.
 
Kobe Bryant most likely will not be LA’s opening night shooting guard for the first time since 2006, as he rehabs from a ruptured Achilles tendon. The team has still not given out a specific time table for the two-time Finals MVP’s return, but the usual recovery schedule from such an injury is anywhere from six to nine months. You’re on the clock, Mamba.
 
Thus, one could argue that the Lakers’ 2-guard understudies haven’t been this important in almost 20 years. Several players are going to have to play heavy minutes alongside starting point guard Steve Nash, a trend which I suspect will continue even when Bryant eventually comes back. Regardless of how competitive and relentless Kobe is, he’s still a 35-year-old man trying to make it back from what is usually an extremely debilitating injury that changes the trajectory of many, if not most careers. He won’t be able to hit the ground running at 35-40 minutes upon his return, which makes his supporting cast of 2-guards even more important than usual. This just in: Kobe Bryant is a mortal man.
 
Let’s take a detailed look at just who will be filling out Mike D’Antoni’s SG slot this season:
 
(Read on at Silver Screen & Roll)
 
 … Read more...

What went wrong with the 2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers … guards?

(“What went wrong this season?” is the question we get the most from fans at Silver Screen & Roll. The 2012-2013 team had championship expectations, but a convergence of worst case scenarios kicked down LA to the the fringes of playoff contention. In this post series, we’ll be taking a look at just what went wrong with each part of the Los Angeles Lakers this year, how it affected the organization and if this could be a problem going forward.)

 

SG Kobe Bryant: 78 games, 78 games started, 4 missed (for injury), 27.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 6.0 apg, .463/.324/.839

 

PG Steve Nash: 50 games, 50 games started, 32 missed, 12.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 6.7 apg, .497/.438/.922

 

PG Steve Blake: 45 games, 13 started, 37 missed, 7.3 ppg, 2.9, 3.8 apg, .422/.421/.771

 

SG Jodie Meeks: 78 games, 10 starts, 0 missed (for injury), 7.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.9 apg, .387/.357/.896

 

PG Darius Morris: 47 games, 17 starts, 4.0 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 1.6 apg, .388/.364/.649

 

PG Chris Duhon: 46 games, 9 starts, 2.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.9 apg, .382/.363/.462

 

What went wrong with the Lakers guards?

 

Even more than the front court, injuries, which in part led to offensive inconsistency.

 

It seems redundant to mention it, but injuries absolutely killed the Lakers guards, perhaps even to a greater degree than the bigs. The pair of points named Steve were originally forecast to have the lion’s share of minutes this year, breaking down opposing defenses and at times, playing off each other when Kobe needed a rest. Instead, they missed a combined 69 games, Blake with an abdominal tear and Nash with a broken leg and nerve irritation affecting his hip and hamstring. Bryant tore his Achilles tendon in game no. 80, which was the first step in derailing whatever shot the team had of making any noise against the San Antonio Spurs in the postseason.

 
(Read the rest over at SS&R)… Read more...

Injuries–not the coach or front office–are what’s killed the 2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers

(My latest from Silver Screen & Roll)
 
In early January, the Los Angeles Lakers went through an almost unthinkable wave of injuries. Within a two-game span, the team’s entire big man rotation crumbled with a laundry list of various maladies; Dwight Howard with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Pau Gasol with a brutal concussion after an errant JaVale McGee elbow and reserve Jordan Hill with a torn labrum in his left hip. At the time, it was frankly implausible that this could happen all at once. The Lakers had already been snake bitten all season long, with Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Gasol missing huge chunks of games with various injuries. The thought of one star going down was devastating enough–but a coach’s entire front court getting hurt? All in a 48-hour period? Ridiculous.
 
And then it happened again.
 
During Game 2 in the opening round of the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs, Mike D’Antoni’s back court rotation cratered with various physical problems. In addition to Kobe Bryant (ruptured left Achilles tendon) and Jodie Meeks (sprained left ankle) being on the shelf in the past week, Steve Blake strained his hamstring, while Steve Nash aggravated an already painful nerve irritation affecting his back, hip and hamstring. Blake has already been ruled out for tonight’s game, while Nash and Meeks are listed as doubtful. It appears that much like that fateful 48 hour period in early January, what remains of an already fragile Lakers guards corps has gone down in 3 short days.
 
The odds of this happening once, let alone twice is of course, astronomical. With the exception of Antawn Jamison (who has been playing through a painful tear in his right wrist) and Earl Clark (who only began to play during the aforementioned January apocalypse on any man 6’11” and above), every single Lakers rotation player has missed time with injury, almost all of them serious health concerns. To punch the point home, let’s go to the tape:
 
Steve Nash: Missed 32 games (Hip/back/hamstring: 8 games, fractured right fibula: 24 games)
 
Steve Blake: Missed 37 games (Torn abdominal muscle: 37 games, strained right hamstring: 0 games, but out for tonight’s game)
 
Pau Gasol: Missed 33 games (Tendinitis both knees: 8 games, concussion: 5 games, right plantar fascia tear: 20 games)
 
Jordan Hill: Missed 53 games (Torn labrum/damaged cartilage left hip: 53 games)
 
Dwight Howard: Missed 6 games (Torn labrum right shoulder: 6 games)
 
Metta World Peace: Missed 6 games (Right torn meniscus: 6 games)
 
Kobe Bryant: Missed 6 games (Left ankle sprain: 2 games, ruptured left Achilles tendon: 4 games)
 
Jodie Meeks: Missed 0 games (Left ankle sprain: 0 games, but expected to miss tonight’s contest)
 
(Read on after the jump)

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Examining the Lakers Back-Up Point Guards: Who Will Be Nash’s Understudy?

(Copped from my Silver Screen & Roll piece yesterday. Dig it!)

Did you know Steve Nash is a Laker?

It’s been five and a half months since he stunned the hoops world and signed with his once-upon-a-time rival Lakers. It’s been almost two months since Portland point guard Damian Lillard assassinated his fibula with a perfectly placed knee. After all the anticipation, Steve Nash will finally return to the court, presumably on Christmas day against the New York Knicks. Though he’s played in eight preseason contests, the point guard has started a scant two games this season, totaling 50 minutes and resulting in zero wins. Steve Nash has been a Laker since July, but he’s appeared so little on the court in a Lakers uniform, it’s still shocking to see him in purple and gold. He’s only missed 24 games, but it feels so much longer than that. Since Nash has been out, the Lakers are on their third coach, have played under-.500 ball and of course, started three different players at point guard.

Nash’s three understudies have been the punctuation mark on the roaring sentiment that a competent starting point guard is needed to run Mike D’Antoni’s system. Lakers fans have gotten far more time than expected to observe and dissect the Lakers back-up point guards, and the grades are in: none of them are particularly gifted. Overall, anyway.

(Peep the rest over at SS&R) Read more...