DeMarcus Cousins Sets His Sights on Maximum of 5 Technicals in 2014-15 Season

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins has been among the league leaders in technical fouls ever since entering the NBA back in 2010. He amassed 59 technical fouls over his first four seasons, and held a share of the league lead in each of the past two years.

As teammate Reggie Evans documented, Boogie has set a lofty goal for himself in 2014-15: racking up no more than five technical fouls.

Considering the mercurial big man has never recorded fewer than 12 technicals in a season, he has his work cut out for him. The Kings certainly wouldn’t mind a more reserved Boogie this season, though.

[Reggie Evans, h/t The Sacramento Bee]

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The 1 Player Who Could Torpedo the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Dream Season

The Cleveland Cavaliers will open the 2014-15 NBA season with high expectations after adding LeBron James and Kevin Love to a talented young crop of players. Who could be the one key guy that could unsettle head coach David Blatt’s team as it searches for chemistry?

Ethan Skolnick joins Stephen Nelson to give his take on the Cavs in the video above.

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Monroe focused on season for Pistons (Yahoo Sports)

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Greg Monroe had a clear message for Detroit Pistons fans Monday.

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What Boston Celtics Need from James Young This Season

Head coach Brad Stevens’ second season with the Boston Celtics should feature plenty of question marks, and rookie swingman James Young might actually be the biggest.

Young, who ended up in green after falling to No. 17 in the 2014 NBA draft, is a high-upside swingman but is just 19 years old.

On top of that, Young missed the entire Orlando Summer League, so he’ll be heading into his rookie campaign with just the preseason under his belt.

In years past, this would not be that big of a deal. Under Doc Rivers, the Celtics rarely relied on rookies, preferring to let them develop slowly.

However, the mid-rebuild C’s are going to try a variety of lineups and will likely look to get Young and fellow first-year guard Marcus Smart immediate minutes in the rotation.

This means Young will be facing expectations right away. 

He may be raw, but if Young hits the ground running, he could potentially help Boston exceed expectations in what many anticipate to be another lost year.

Let’s take a look at what Stevens and the Celtics need out of the Kentucky sharpshooter and whether it’s possible he delivers.

 

Any Semblance of Outside Shooting

If there is one thing Boston absolutely needs from Young, it is three-point shooting. 

With Rajon Rondo, Evan Turner and Smart all set to see major minutes, the team’s outside shooting could be grizzly. 

Both Jeff Green and Avery Bradley can make open threes, but neither are volume shooters who should be jacking up five or six triples per game.

Young only shot 34.9 percent from three in college, which is troubling, but he’s a threat from anywhere beyond the arc.

He’s equally adept above the break as he is from the corners, which is key.

He can’t necessarily nail tough off-the-dribble shots, but as a rookie, he’ll be doing the vast majority of his work without the ball in his hands. 

Young has the potential to be a legitimate catch-and-shoot threat who can help create driving lanes for players like Bradley and Rondo.

Boston was tied for 27th in overall three-point percentage at 33.3, something that must improve.

The Celtics aren’t suddenly going to become the San Antonio Spurs or Golden State Warriors with Rondo and Turner throwing up bricks, but if this offense hopes to show any sign of life, it will need more perimeter shooting.

Even if the other aspects of Young’s game don’t come together in year one, his season will be a success if he can log 12-14 minutes and hit 35-plus percent of his threes.

 

A Positive Disposition

Let’s be realistic: Young could exceed all expectations, and the Celtics would still wind up losing a lot of games in 2014-15.

Going from the NCAA national championship game to the NBA lottery would be a rough adjustment for any player, especially a teenager like Young who has been a winner his entire career.

On another level, Young will have to go through the same trials and tribulations as any first-year player.

When asked if he would be comfortable going to the D-League to receive heavy minutes, Young told MassLive’s Tom Westerholm, “Definitely not.”

He elaborated, “If it happens, it happens. But I just want to stay here and get better like that.”

Wanting to stay around the Celtics makes sense, but his aversion to the D-League is troubling.

A raw athlete like Young, who needs to work on his strength, defense and playmaking, would be wise to log some time against lesser competition. 

As a 6’6″, 215-pound wing, Young would be eaten alive by some of the league’s bigger 2s and 3s.

Had Young actually been drafted by a playoff team, he likely would see very sporadic playing time and potentially an extended stay in the D-League.

Just because the Celtics could struggle this season doesn’t mean Young deserves to get starting or sixth-man minutes. 

Boston also simply has a logjam in the backcourt, and Young is near the bottom of the food chain.

According to ESPN’s depth chart, Young is the C’s third 2-guard behind Bradley and Marcus Thornton.

If that stays the same, he will likely be seeing sub-double-digit minutes for much of the season.

Obviously, a potential injury could bring Young to a more prominent role, but overall, he needs to stay patient during what could be a rocky rookie year.

 

Consistent Aggression

Even if Young winds up receiving consistent minutes from the beginning of the season, there is still serious potential for him to drift in and out of games.

That simply cannot happen.

While Young is commonly known as a sharpshooter, he is at his best when he’s attacking the basket.

As you can see by his shot chart (below), Young is roughly as effective shooting from mid-range and driving to the hole as he is gunning from distance. 

Obviously, it will be harder for him to get into the paint against NBA defenders, particularly with his scrawny frame, but he needs to attack as much as possible.

Young only got to the line 4.4 times per game at Kentucky, a number he must improve on if he hopes to become a starting-caliber player in the league.

Boston already has players, like Green and Bradley, who have a tendency to settle for tough, long two-point jumpers instead of driving to the hole, a habit Young cannot get into early on.

If he runs the floor hard alongside Rondo, he should find himself with some easy looks, and while he’s not an elite dribbler, he has a decent enough handle to create some of his own offense.

If Young truly wants to avoid a prolonged trip to the D-League, he must be aggressive on offense at all times even if it hurts his field-goal percentage and leads to some questionable decisions.

Boston was 26th in the league in points per game last season (96.2) for a reason, and the biggest thing Young can do to fix that is to just to look for his shots when available.

The Celtics lack a clear first option offensively, and while Young won’t take on that role, he could alleviate some of the pressure faced by Green, Rondo and Jared Sullinger

 

Overall

Young is not going to be the Rookie of the Year or anything close to it, but he’s far from an afterthought.

The Celtics are talent-strapped enough that every player has the potential to play a major role, and Young’s upside makes him highly intriguing.

His skills, in theory, could help Boston’s woeful scoring issues, but only if he can make the most of his limited action and be prepared for trips to the D-League to see some extra burn.

Figure Young plays in roughly 55 games and averages something along the lines of 6.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 17 minutes per night.

In the end, Young will have a turbulent first season but will show enough promise that he becomes a key cog of Boston’s rebuild.

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Kobe feeling healthy for 19th season with Lakers (Yahoo Sports)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — After the longest offseason of his career, Kobe Bryant pulled on his familiar gold jersey Monday and went back to work with the Los Angeles Lakers, quietly believing his 19th NBA season will be better than almost anybody expects.

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10 NBA Players Most Likely to Be Trade Targets This Season

The wheeling and dealing that took place over the 2014 NBA offseason dramatically reshaped the basketball landscape.

The 2014-15 campaign could have a similar effect if teams are able to pry these 10 trade targets away from their current clubs.

It takes two teams (at least) to get a deal done, but one having interest in another’s assets is sometimes enough to open the lines of communication. Considering the talent level of the players on this list, that interest shouldn’t be hard to find.

Whether that dialogue will lead to anything more substantial won’t be known for some time. With so many moving pieces just now falling into place at the start of training camp, it could take a while for teams to make the self-assessments needed to willingly part with a promising, productive player.

But that won’t keep the phone calls from coming in. Not when teams can bolster their ranks, fill a void or, in some cases, even change their fortune by acquiring one of these coveted commodities.

Begin Slideshow

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NBA Records That Could Be Broken During 2014-15 Season

Dust off those NBA record books that haven’t been used in, like, a second. History is about to be broken—maybe.

New records are set every year in the NBA. As players and teams evolve, so too have the pieces of history they call their own. 

Certain milestones won’t ever be broken. They stand strong and are able to withstand their greatest challengers. Good luck to whoever believes he’ll top Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game or whichever team will topple the Chicago Bulls’ 72-win campaign in 1995-96.

Individual and collective feats like those may never be seen again. Others, though, are more attainable. 

Sometimes it’s modern-day gameplay that puts select statistical touchstones—think three-point shooting—within reach. In other instances the NBA simply plays host to unparalleled greatness (see everything the San Antonio Spurs have ever done) that knows no bounds. 

History, in some form, is made every season. These are the records most likely to fall this time around.

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Rondo: I want to stay a Celtic beyond this season (Yahoo Sports)

BOSTON (AP) — Rajon Rondo wore a black sling on his left arm to help protect the surgically repaired bone in his hand.

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DGIII? Drew Gooden has an adjustment to his jersey this season

Robert Griffin III is considered a trend setter. After being drafted with the second pick overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, the NFL changed their rule, allowing players to wear suffixes with their last names on the back of their jerseys. Then last season, Roger Mason, Jr. got the NBA to grant him the same privilege with the help of Miami Heat. Mason happened to have spent part of his career with the Washington Wizards. Now, it appears Drew Gooden (III) will follow suit. The Wizards reserve forward showed up to Media Day with his an adjustment to his jersey for the upcoming season.
Breaking news: from @WashWizards Media Day! New uniform name for Drew Gooden the third! @DrewGooden @NBA #DG3 #RG3 pic.twitter.com/Lri2wz8qRq — ChristyWintersScott (@ChristyWScott51) September 29, 2014
Looks like @DrewGooden will be going with the #DGIII look this year #WizardsMediaDay pic.twitter.com/yPOqY6SvoV — Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) September 29, 2014
[Twitter] The post DGIII? Drew Gooden ha…

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DGIII? Drew Gooden has a adjustment to his jersey this season

Robert Griffin III is considered a trend setter. After being drafted with the second pick overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, the NFL changed their rule, allowing players to wear suffixes with their last names on the back of their jerseys. Then last season, Roger Mason, Jr. got the NBA to grant him the same privilege with the help of Miami Heat. Mason happened to have spent part of his career with the Washington Wizards. Now, it appears Drew Gooden (III) will follow suit. The Wizards reserve forward showed up to Media Day with his an adjustment to his jersey for the upcoming season.
Breaking news: from @WashWizards Media Day! New uniform name for Drew Gooden the third! @DrewGooden @NBA #DG3 #RG3 pic.twitter.com/Lri2wz8qRq — ChristyWintersScott (@ChristyWScott51) September 29, 2014
Looks like @DrewGooden will be going with the #DGIII look this year #WizardsMediaDay pic.twitter.com/yPOqY6SvoV — Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) September 29, 2014
[Twitter] The post DGIII? Drew Gooden ha…

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