Posts Tagged ‘court’

John Wall: Washington Wizards’ Guard Flashing Potential

July 17th, 2010

Get used to seeing the No. 2 jersey blaze down the hardwood, leaving defenders in its wake. You’ll be seeing it a lot over the next few years.

The first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, John Wall, is an electrifying talent and a point guard that the Washington Wizards will be glad to make the cornerstone of their offense for many years.

In college for the University of Kentucky, Wall was simply one of the most dynamic players in the country. He could shoot well, pass well, had great court vision and poise, and ran the fast break better than anyone else.

When Wall had the ball in his hands, the crowd held their collective breath as he would drive down the court as fast as lightning, pull off a spiffy spin move, and either lay the ball in the hole or dish it off to a wide-open Wildcat teammate.

So the question on many NBA fans’ minds going into the Summer League was whether or not Wall’s game speed would be able to translate with him to the higher level of competition. 

The resounding opinion is yes.

Thus far, Wall has without a doubt showed off the tantalizing potential that leaves Wizards fans drooling over the prospect of watching him for the next however many years. But his Summer League experience has not been without road bumps.

In Wall’s Summer League debut on July 11th against the Golden State Warriors, he experienced the rockiest start he could possibly imagine.

Instead of coolly dropping in his first shot attempt for two points, Wall missed badly from the free throw line, failing even to hit the rim before the backboard. Shortly thereafter, he displayed his trademark fast break spin move but had his shot rejected.

He would settle down to score 24 points and dish out eight assists. And while those numbers are high, they look worse when you see that he only shot seven-for-15 from the field and turned the ball over eight times. His free throw shooting impressed many though, as he made 10 of 11 from the line. 

This trend would continue.

Wall’s second professional-level game would see him matched up against fellow rookie Eric Bledsoe, a player he knew quite well from their communal time at Kentucky.

In this game, Wall finished with 18 points, 10 assists, and five steals. From the charity stripe, he shot a perfect eight-for-eight, but once again his points came on an inefficient five-for-12 shooting performance from the field and he turned the ball over eight times.

Nothing exemplified Wall’s play better than one series of possessions in the first quarter. The rookie point guard turned the ball over at the top of the key on one end, chased down the thief and stole it back, drove down the court, and found an open man who knocked down the three. Inefficient but effective.

Throughout the game, he was careless with the ball but still put together numerous plays where he made perfect passes to teammates and displayed nice fast break skills.

The third game, this time against the Dallas Mavericks, was no different.

Wall looked like a superstar at times and had a near triple-double with 21 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds. He also minimized his turnovers, only giving up the ball three times, and shot well from the free throw line with a 13-for-15 mark. But he was inefficient yet again, going four-for-19 against the tenacious defense of the rookie from South Florida, Dominique Jones.

There was more of the same in Wall’s fourth professional game.

Against the New Orleans Hornets, Wall had a personal-best 31 points on 10 of 23 shooting from the field and 10 of 13 shooting from the free throw line. He also drained his first three-pointer of the still-young Summer League season.

In addition, Wall had six rebounds, three steals, and three assists. He also kept with the trend of diminishing turnovers, only handing the ball over twice in nearly 36 minutes.

Though Wall has not even played in his first real NBA game, he is already showing the Wizards that they made a good pick when they selected him first overall. He may be playing with some inconsistency and inefficiency, but that does come with being a rookie.

Most impressively, Wall has a plus-39 plus/minus through his first four games, meaning that his team has scored 39 more points than it has allowed with him on the floor.

Wall will be fun to watch this season, so keep an eye on that Wizards jersey that will inevitably be streaking down the court. Or at least try to. 

Calipari Point Guard Project: Brandon Knight

July 17th, 2010

Every year, there's a team who comes away with the top recruiting class and all of their fans become over excited about what players from high school are coming to play for their team.

It's just something else to look forward to in the offseason or to get excited about after a disappointing performance.

However, sometimes top recruits don't always back up their hype out on the court (see North Carolina last season).

With that said, there is one team that always does, and with five players leaving for the draft after last season, they have to.

John Calipari may be known for leaving programs with probation and recruiting violations and everything like that, but while he's at a school, they will be successful. Maybe this has something to do with him always having a top point guard.

Three years ago, Derrick Rose went to Memphis to play for Calipari and took the Tigers all the way to the National Championship games where they lost a heartbreaker thanks to Mario Chalmers' clutch shooting towards the end of the second half.

However, the point was proven. Calipari started bringing in top recruiting classes to play for him and his dribble drive system.

After Rose was Tyreke Evans. Evans played small forward in high school, but Calipari moved him over to guard when he arrived in Memphis.

And after struggling for 11 games, he decided to move Evans over to point guard and the Tigers didn't lose another game until they were defeated by Missouri in the NCAA Tournament.

Finally, last season's guard was probably the most famous to play for Calipari. That probably had something to do with the move from Memphis to Kentucky, but don't tell John Wall that.

Wall was always the fastest player on the court and was one of the most explosive guards the NCAA had seen in a while.

In his first collegiate debut against Miami, Wall scored 19 points including the game winning shot with only .5 seconds left on the clock to give the Wildcats the win.

And, against Hartford in December, Wall set the Kentucky single game assist record with 16 as opposed to just one turnover.

However, Kentucky's season fell just short of a Final Four run when they lost to West Virginia in the Elite Eight.

With all of that said, though, Kentucky fans don't care about the past, Calipari could still be on the chopping block if he fails to keep bringing in this kind of talent and success.

So, let me introduce you to a name that will be known by every basketball fan in America by next December, and the new "John Calipari Point Guard Project."

Brandon Knight.

As the fourth-generation Calipari guard, Knight may not be the most athletic player on the court next season, but his physical strength and great ball handling is second to none in this year's recruiting class.

On the other side of the ball, Knight is a great defender who has a nose for the ball, and isn't afraid to grab every rebound he can.

In high school, Knight led his team to four state title appearances, including back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2009.

He averaged 31.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game throughout his high school career.

This past year, he was a McDonald's All-American and Jordan Classic All-American. He also finished his high school career second on Florida's all time scoring list.

He is obviously the best player in the 2010 class.

However, that only means that Kentucky is counting on him to come in and back up all of this hype with success as an individual and as a team.

And, with the three guards before him, he has some pretty big shoes to fill.



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The 10 Most Hated Teams in Sports

July 16th, 2010
The birth of modern free agency occurred when former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood challenged the reserve clause restricting a players movement. The clause was upheld by the supreme court 5-3 in a lawsuit by flood against MLB and commissioner Bowie Kuhn. What has gotten lost in “The Decision” and LeBron James' decision to leave Cleveland for Miami is that he was free to go wherever he wanted after fulfilling the terms of his contract. His departure for Miami has caused a ripple effect on the Miami Heat and all of sports. Cleveland is burning his jerseys and erasing any mention of LeBron downtown while talk shows are saying he might be the most hated man in sports. In addition, Chicago sports talk show has talked about printing up T-Shirts with the Miami Hate. Hating teams in Sports is nothing new. When the Yankees dominated baseball in the 1950’s, they were the most beloved and hated team in all of sports. In most cases, the teams that are the most hated are frequently the most loved. Many of these teams share the same criticisms. Their fans are too arrogant, they get every call and/or every good player, the media favors them, or they are televised too often.

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‘Ashamed’ Cavaliers G West pleads guilty (AP)

July 16th, 2010
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West pleaded guilty Thursday to weapons charges. In Prince George's County Circuit Court, Judge Graydon McKee sentenced West to eight months of electronic monitoring, two years of unsupervised probation, 40 hours of community service and psychological counseling.

Delonte West Pleads Guilty to Traffic, Weapons Charges in Maryland

July 16th, 2010

Despite his average abilities as an NBA player, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West has a knack for finding himself in the spotlight.

It’s just usually for the wrong reasons.

The 26-year-old plead guilty to weapons and traffic charges Thursday in a Maryland court stemming from his arrest in September of 2009.

Accompanied by his mother in court, a judge sentenced West to eight months of electronic monitoring, two years of probation, and 40 hours of community service and counseling.

Hopefully, the psychological counseling will do the troubled NBA journeyman some good.

West was detained after he cut off a police car on the Capital Beltway while speeding on his three-wheel motorcycle.  Officers found two loaded handguns, a shotgun, and a Bowie knife on his person.

The NBA is not expected to discipline West until reviewing court documents in the case.

The Cavaliers are desperately trying to move his contract after a season filled with distractions both on and off the court.  A buyout clause in the deal could allow the team to waive him at a fairly minimal cost.

West, normally one of the few Cavaliers who played well during the playoffs, had an awful series against the Celtics as rumors swirled of a possible relationship with Gloria James, LeBron James' mother.

In addition to the weapons charges, West’s wife filed a domestic violence complaint against him in October of 2009.

West has waged a battle with bipolar disorder throughout his seven seasons in the NBA.  He averaged 8.8 points in 60 games for the Cavaliers last season while shooting a career-low 32 percent from three-point range.

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