Ex-NBA player Rex Chapman accused of shoplifting

Police: Ex-NBA player Rex Chapman accused of shoplifting $14K in items from a Scottsdale store

      
 

 

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Celtics’ Gerald Wallace Ranked Fourth-Most Overpaid Player In NBA

The following will not surprise Boston Celtics fans in the slightest:
Gerald Wallace, the 32-year-old veteran forward, was listed as the fourth-most overpaid player in the NBA in a ranking by the Sporting News. Wallace, came to Boston in the blockbuster deal that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets, has two years left on the four-year, $40 million contract two years ago.
Last February, Wallace tore the meniscus in his left knee and was ruled out for the rest of the season. In his 58 games played before the injury, he posted averages of 5.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists-per-game.
Of course, Wallace’s outsize contract did serve a purpose. If not for Wallace’s $10 million salary, the Celtics never would have been able to make the math work in the trade to reboot their rebuilding efforts — not to mention shed Garnett’s $12 million salary, ranked No. 9 on the same list by the Sporting News.
Also worth noting is the No. 1 guy on Sporting News’ list: fo…

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Which Los Angeles Clippers Player Has the Most Upside Right Now?

Upside is often a term thrown around to describe young players who have either accomplished nothing or have yet to scratch the surface of what they might become. This term typically is not reserved for someone of Blake Griffin’s caliber.

But perhaps it should be.

Although Griffin missed his entire first season due to injury, he exploded out of the gates as a rookie, scoring 22.5 points per game to go along with 12.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists. He was assertive with the ball, searching out contact and finishing with power, going to the line a career-high 8.5 times.

His second year was impressive as well. Griffin averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds for the second consecutive season. However, teams became increasingly more physical, beginning to force Griffin away from the rim and further out onto the perimeter.

By his third season in the league Griffin’s scoring dropped to 18.0 points per game and his rebounding fell to 8.3 per game. The arrival of Chris Paul took some of the weight off Griffin’s shoulders to be the primary option, but Griffin’s game needed to evolve in order to be more complete offensive player. Defenses were now frustrating him and leaving him open for mid-range jumpers, expecting him to miss.

The hiring of Doc Rivers might have been the best thing to happen to Griffin, as the head coach refocused the offense around Griffin’s strengths. Rivers, a former NBA point guard who once played a season with the Los Angeles Clippers, has been able to convince Paul to play at a faster pace. This increased pace might not be ideal to Paul, but it has allowed Griffin to flourish in an open-court system.

Griffin’s unique ability to create off the dribble, pass, finish above the rim and hit mid-range jumpers are now being taken advantage of in lieu of Paul’s methodical, preferred style of play. The increased tempo allows Paul and Griffin to share playmaking responsibilities without taking away possessions from each other, let alone role players.

New system aside, Griffin’s offensive talents are still in development. That might be a scary realization for the rest of the conference, considering he is already a 21 point per game scorer for his career. But why is his game still improving and which area of his game will be the next to develop?

 

Offense

One of the most blatantly inaccurate talking points surrounding Griffin over the years was that he was merely a dunker. How many times did you hear that Griffin had no post moves, or that he couldn’t shoot outside of 10 feet?

Those who watched Griffin closely over the years were the largest proponents of his development. Fortunately, the numbers back Griffin’s supporters.

Griffin’s jumper has improved noticeably since coming into the league, especially the last two seasons. According to basketball reference, Griffin took 15.4 percent of his field-goal attempts from 16 feet and further as a rookie and made a lousy 29.8 percent of them. Last season, Griffin took 26.7 percent of his field-goal attempts from the same distance, but made 37.2 percent.

The development of Griffin’s jumper is likely to continue to improve. Imagine if Griffin’s range and consistency eventually extend to the three-point line? Griffin will be a nightmare to defend, and that is exactly where his game seems to be heading.

Griffin’s jumper is improving and it is worth noting, according to Grantland’s Kirk Goldberry.

Away from the basket on offense, Griffin has never been great, but this isn’t unusual in young power forwards. The key questions with him involve trajectories: Is he getting better? Is he diversifying his scoring portfolio? The answers there are definitely “yes” and “yes.” His rookie season, Griffin made only 33 percent of his midrange jumpers. That’s bad; as a whole, the league makes 39 percent of these shots. However, his second season that number rose to 36 percent, and this year he’s at 39 percent. In four seasons, Griffin has gone from a bad jump-shooter to an average one.

Griffin’s extended range coincided with Clippers finishing as the highest-scoring team in the league last season. Teams can no longer afford to sag off Griffin on pick-and-pop situations to prevent Paul from attacking the rim. To make matters worse, teams also have to fear Griffin’s playmaking ability.

There are not many forwards in the league who can handle the ball well enough in the open court to beat a point guard off the dribble, let alone prevent said point guard from turning them over. Griffin is one of the few bigs in the league able to handle the ball well enough to create for himself and others.

Need more evidence? Digest this statistic for a second: According to basketball reference, since Griffin entered the league in 2010, only 14 players have shot 50 percent or better from the field while assisting on at least 16 percent of their teammates’ field goals for a season. Griffin and LeBron James are the only players on that list in each of the last four seasons.

Griffin’s court vision and passing ability combined with his physical tools make him an extraordinarily difficult matchup. Furthermore, when sharing the floor with Chris Paul, Griffin’s talents are elevated even further because the defense has to key on Paul just as much. Pick your poison.

While there is plenty for Griffin to improve on offensively—his post moves need more refinement—his upside is also calculated based on the other players on the floor. J.J. Redick and Spencer Hawes are key complementary pieces. Both can keep the floor spread with their outside shooting, but they are also good passers who can set up Griffin for scoring opportunities.

Pieces like Redick and Hawes are key to Griffin’s development. The better Griffin’s teammates complement his skill set, the more realistic fulfilling his upside becomes. His game begins to develop because the other players on the floor are themselves threats when combined with Griffin’s talents.

 

Defense

Never known as a good defender, Griffin’s upside here is somewhat limited due to his physical attributes. According to Draft Express, he does not have a large wingspan (6’11.25”) and at 6’8″ he is of average height for his position.

Fortunately, physical abilities do not solely make a good defender. Griffin’s focus during his first three seasons was scoring as much as possible, in as many ways as he could. Rivers is attempting to change that mindset and already seems to be making progress, according to Los Angeles Times reporter Broderick Turner, who quoted Griffin as saying:

The past few years or so, all I’ve ever heard is everything I can’t do…I take pride in those things people say I can’t do, and [defense,] that’s one of them. There’s a long list…So, I just use that as motivation and try to get better. Obviously there are areas I need to get better in, but at the same time, I think sometimes people get a little carried away.

The fact that Griffin realizes what his deficiencies are and is now using them as motivation to improve says a lot. There are plenty of players who knew exactly what they needed to improve upon early in their career, but never were able to do so.

Heck, Dwyane Wade still can’t shoot threes.

Griffin’s attention to detail, understanding of Rivers’ defensive principles and nightly commitment on the defensive end of the floor seemed to be improving as the 2013-14 season came to a close. This season, Griffin must take the next step as a defender, because the Clippers are going to need him engaged to force stops and close out tight games.

What Griffin needs to focus on is his awareness and effort level defensively. Far too often Griffin was slow to hustle back on defense, or rotate properly, thus allowing an easy basket. Those are the types of effort plays that Rivers will demand from his entire team, because they will be the difference between reaching the conference finals and failing again to advance past the second round. Additionally, that level of commitment will be critical if Griffin is to reach his potential on defense.

Adding up the sum from both ends of the floor it is clear that Griffin has, by far, the most upside of anyone on the roster. At age 25, he has already developed into one of the league’s best players. Still, demanding more from him is certainly a legitimate request.

Griffin’s desire to improve is the final characteristic that sets his upside apart from anyone else’s on the roster. Combining all of the aspects above with hard work will allow Griffin’s upside to be realized; converted from myth into reality.

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Who’s the better offensive player: LeBron or Stephen Curry?

Eddie Johnson breaks down what makes these two players so special on the offensive side of the floor.

      
 

 

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NBA 2K15 Player Ratings Leaked for Cleveland Cavaliers

Ah, the age old-NBA 2K player rating system. It’s a time when players and fans alike receive a numerical value or “rating” for every single player in the NBA. Certain aspects such as layups, dunks, three-pointers, steals, and rebounding are measured and all taken into account when assigning this “player rating.”
Every year, before the NBA 2K video game is even released, these player ratings are published online. Although these rankings mean nothing in the real world, they do hold some significance as far as players’ egos are concerned. We managed to obtain every single player rating for your Cleveland Cavaliers, so without further ado.
LeBron James: 98 

Kevin Love: 89

Kyrie Irving: 88

Dion Waiters: 78

Shawn Marion: 77

Tristan Thompson: 76

Anderson Varejao: 75

Mike Miller: 74
Matthew Dellavedova: 72
John Lucas: 69
James Jones: 69
Malcolm Thomas: 66
Brendan Haywood: 65
The post NBA 2K15 Player Ratings Leaked for Cleveland Cavaliers appeared first on Cavs Nation.

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Is This DeMarcus Cousins’ Last Chance to Prove He’s a Franchise Player?

If this ends up being the year DeMarcus Cousins finally seizes the opportunity laid out in front of him—if he becomes the leader so many of us want—know this: he laid groundwork with Team USA.

Cousins underwent nothing less than a full redemption at the FIBA World Cup in Spain. Never assured of actually making the team in the first place, Cousins rapidly became the best reserve big man on the roster.

He never embarrassed himself or his country, never hurt his team by complaining, never loafed or whined or scowled. Even when presented with a chance to justify the skeptics—a chance very few level-headed players could have resisted—Cousins didn’t bite.

Instead, he went about his international business, completing the tournament with averages of 9.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 70.2 percent shooting in 13.9 minutes per game. Quietly, Cousins was one of Team USA’s very best contributors.

And then, not so quietly, he assured the U.S. of a gold medal by stepping up in the final:

All in all, Cousins had himself a nice little tournament—if you consider a potentially career-altering, reputation-rehabilitating run to be a “nice little tournament.”

 

Will It Translate?

The Sacramento Kings won’t be satisfied with 9.6 points and 5.6 rebounds from Cousins this season, which is fine because Boogie has never had an issue producing big numbers. He posted a career year in 2013-14 with averages of 22.7 points, 11.7 rebounds. 2.9 assists and 49.6 percent shooting.

What the Kings really want is for Cousins to bring his new demeanor back from Spain.

All the positive reinforcement he’s been getting of late makes that a possibility, as Cousins has recently gone from being a frustrating talent with a victim’s mentality to a surprisingly beloved object of national pride.

Separately, patriotism and redemption stories are powerful things. What we’re seeing with Cousins right now proves that, together, they’re transformative.

Despite that, it’ll be harder for Big Cuz to maintain his poise and maturity in Sacramento. The opportunities for frustration will be frequent, as the Kings don’t figure to threaten the playoffs. Simply returning to an environment that had so much to do with negatively influencing Cousins’ personality could pull him back toward his old ways.

The Kings have been a model of dysfunction over the past decade, featuring seven head coaches in the past eight seasons, zero playoff appearances and no track record of player development. Anyone criticizing Cousins’ lack of development in any way has to acknowledge that he’s spent his entire NBA career in a culture of inconsistency and instability.

Consider this, too: For all the growth Cousins showed with Team USA, he never had to be a leader. Not even close, really.

He was a very good player on a very good team already loaded with veterans, stars and tone-setters. Not to mention head coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose gravitas negated the need for an on-court alpha.

 

Leadership Vacancy

Cousins won’t enjoy any such luck with the Kings, where head coach Mike Malone has just last year’s 54-loss campaign on his coaching resume, and Rudy Gay occupies a default leadership role because of his veteran status.

Neither of those two are ideal leaders, and neither has really earned such a distinction to this point. That means Cousins—if he’s ready—has a golden opportunity in front of him.

We have to be careful about overstating what Cousins proved with Team USA, though. He showed he could function as a terrific role player, that he could go about fulfilling his duties as part of a team without bringing attitude or distraction into the equation.

He didn’t show he could be an unquestioned franchise figurehead.

The Kings’ flimsy power structure is screaming out for somebody to take control, and in a perfect world, the team’s best player would be that somebody. Rest assured, the organization wants nothing more than for Cousins to step to the fore and assert himself as an on-court captain and off-court commodity.

Remember, the Kings are going to market Cousins like crazy—no matter what.

“We want to create a global brand here, a global franchise, and I said, ‘I’d like nothing better than a billion Indians to know who DeMarcus Cousins is,’” Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said in a press conference before last season, per The Associated Press.

Ideally, Cousins will be someone the Kings someday won’t have to work so hard to market. He’ll be someone fans want to support.

Maybe he already is.

He’s easily the organization’s most recognizable player, easily its most talented and still its most promising. Sacramento desperately needs Cousins to mature into the man who dominates on the court and sets the tone off of it.

It’s just hard to know if that will ever be possible. We learned plenty about Cousins in Spain—most of which, unfortunately, doesn’t mean as much as it might seem for his NBA career. It’s unquestionably a good thing that Cousins suppressed the antics that have hurt his reputation, and we can certainly view that as a sign of hope for his overall progress as a player and person.

We just can’t be sure he’s ready to be the centerpiece around which a good NBA team can be built until he proves it in Sacramento.

 

The Power of Urgency

Is it too late for Cousins to be a legitimate franchise player? Maybe.

But it’s a little crazy to say that about someone who just turned 24.

What’s more, we now know Cousins can shape up when presented with a last chance. Another bad camp or emotional outburst and Boogie’s shot at ever being part of Team USA would have disappeared forever this past summer. He’d sabotaged his chances in each of his two previous tries and knew perfect behavior (and excellent play) were necessary to make the most of his final shot.

Cousins delivered when he absolutely had to.

So if you want to say this season marks Cousins’ last chance to prove he’s capable of taking that next step, maybe that’s a good thing. Urgency has motivated Boogie in the past.

The Kings have to be hoping it happens again.

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Nebraska player shaves head to support coach’s child who is battling cancer

Avery has been battling cancer since 2009, when he was diagnosed during the Final Four.

      
 

 

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Texas basketball player Martez Walker suspended

University of Texas basketball player Martez Walker charged with assault, suspended from team

      
 

 

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Texas basketball player Martez Walker suspended (Yahoo Sports)

FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2013, file photo, Texas' Martez Walker shoots during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against BYU in Kansas City, Mo. Walker was suspended indefinitely from all team activities Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, after he was charged with misdemeanor assault of a woman at a campus residence hall. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Texas guard Martez Walker was suspended indefinitely from all team activities Friday after he was charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly beating his girlfriend in a campus dormitory. According to campus police, Travis County Emergency Medical Services was called to the dorm Wednesday night, where the victim reported Walker slapped her and punched her four times in the left side. According to Walker’s arrest affidavit, Tanecia Gardner said Walker became angry because she went to happy hour with a male supervisor from her job.


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Texas basketball player Walker suspended (Yahoo Sports)

Texas guard Martez Walker shoots during a practice session for their NCAA college basketball tournament game Wednesday, March 19, 2014, in Milwaukee. Texas plays Arizona State on Thursday. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Texas guard Martez Walker was suspended indefinitely from all team activities Friday after he was charged with misdemeanor assault of a woman at a campus residence hall, According to campus police, authorities were called to the dorm Wednesday night, where the woman reported being assaulted by Walker, who she described as her boyfriend. She was taken to a hospital for treatment and a warrant was issued for Walker’s arrest on a charge of assault with injury/dating violence, a class A misdemeanor. Football coach Charlie Strong dismissed football players Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander after they were arrested in July on felony sexual assault charges.


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