Paul George still hopeful of returning this season

Pacers’ Paul George remains hopeful of return to court next season after ‘freak accident’

      
 

 

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Paul George still hopeful of returning this season

Pacers’ Paul George remains hopeful of return to court next season after ‘freak accident’

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

Paul George still hopeful of returning this season (Yahoo Sports)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 28: Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers celebrates after hitting a shot against the Miami Heat during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 28, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Paul George beat the odds to become an NBA star. Two weeks after a gruesome compound fracture of his right leg, George said Friday he remains hopeful that he can make it back onto the court late next season even though it’s a longshot. George called the injury a ”freak accident.” ”All I can do at this point is sleep, watch TV and lay down, so it’s tough for me. I’m used to being active, lifting weights, being in the gym,” George said as his mother and father watched his news conference from a few feet away.


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George still hopeful of returning this season (Yahoo Sports)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 28: Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers celebrates after hitting a shot against the Miami Heat during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 28, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Paul George hopes to make it back on the court next season despite the ”freak accident” that caused a compound fracture in his right leg. Coach Frank Vogel and Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird said Tuesday that George has not been ruled out for the season though they didn’t expect to have him.


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George still hopeful of returning this season

Pacers’ George remains hopeful he’ll return from “freak accident” next season

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

Potential Impact Players Still Available in 2014 NBA Free Agency

We’ve officially hit the slow period of the NBA offseason, as most rosters are close to being filled and the big fireworks have already gone off.

Even with that being the case, there is still a very strong pool of free-agent talent available, including a few players who could make a major impact next season.

Before we get to five of the best candidates, let’s explain why a few big names didn’t make the cut.

Detroit Pistons big man Greg Monroe has informed the Detroit Pistons he plans to sign his qualifying offer, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports. That would take him off the market.

We’ll also leave out free agent center Andrew Bynum, who may take this year off based on what his agent David Lee told Marc Berman of the New York Post:

The 7-foot Bynum may not be reuniting with Phil Jackson’s Knicks or any other team next season because he is seriously contemplating sitting out 2014-15 to undergo the Germany-based knee therapy called “The Regenokine Program’’ that would require an extra long rehab, according to his agent David Lee. But he could be in play for the following season.

“He would be looking at in a longer-term situation,’’ Lee said. “He’s still a baby. If he went to college, he’d be coming off his rookie contract at age 26.’’

Veterans like Elton Brand and Ray Allen barely missed the cut, along with riskier additions like Michael Beasley and Dante Cunningham. Each might make an impact but probably not on the same level as the following five free agents could.

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Is USA Still FIBA World Cup Favorite Without Kevin Durant and Other Lost Stars?

Kevin Durant‘s withdrawal from Team USA cost the club its reigning MVP and clear leader, and it may have also done serious damage to America’s status as the team to beat at the FIBA World Cup.

Durant released a statement explaining his decision, per The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry:

It’s hard to fault Durant here, as nobody in the NBA has a stronger fatigue card to play. This guy has been killing himself on the court over the past four years to an unparalleled degree:

So far, there hasn’t been much public outcry or disappointment expressed. After Paul George‘s gruesome departure, would-be critics are keenly aware that the risks of playing for Team USA don’t just include fatigue.

Catastrophic injury is also in play.

Losing Durant hurts all the more because George’s absence had already taken away the team’s second-best big wing. Not only that, but Blake Griffin and Kevin Love withdrew earlier in the summer, leaving the 4 and 5 spots (one of which Durant would have occupied) even thinner.

Plus, a whole separate tier of major talents—LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul—took a pass on Team USA entirely, as veterans of their ilk are wont to do.

The US squad certainly isn’t hurting for talent, though. James Harden (who many forget has NBA Finals experience) is still on the roster. Derrick Rose, the only other former MVP, looks terrific and could use this opportunity to prove he’s ready to lead on a big stage again.

Anthony Davis remains a fearsome force at center, and there’s no shortage of ball-handling or shooting in the backcourt. Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving and others assure that much.

Durant, though, was the only guy who could play as a legitimate stretch 4 in the international game. He was big enough to bother power forwards on defense and created a matchup nightmare on the other end. Missing Paul Millsap, who was cut earlier this summer, stings a little extra now.

If the US is smart, it’ll be placing a call to the Atlanta Hawks forward, posthaste.

Kenneth Faried, Andre Drummond and DeMarcus Cousins will get bigger roles now, as the team may be forced to opt for size and strength instead of Durant’s frontcourt shooting. Love would have been nice for that reason as well.

Thanks to Spain, easily Team USA’s most accomplished opponent, size will matter more than ever.

Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka were going to be tough to handle even with Griffin, Love and Durant on the roster. And now that KD can’t create a mismatch on offense while handling Ibaka or Pau on defense, Team USA will have no choice but to square off against the Spaniards, big on big.

In terms of overall skill—and certainly experience—Spain has the US frontcourt smoked.

Marc Gasol is better than any big man on the US roster, and Ibaka could be awfully scary with the shorter international three-point line turning his excellent long-two accuracy into even deadlier triples. Is Team USA really ready to trust Cousins or Drummond against the Gasols? Can Faried, a substandard defender, do enough to make Ibaka‘s life difficult?

We’re about to find out.

As much as anything, Davis’ already sky-high value just jumped into the stratosphere.

Spain’s odds got an instant bump after the Durant news broke, per ESPN News Services: “USA’s odds to win went from 2-7 to 2-5 while Spain went from 5-2 to 2-1. All other odds remained the same.”

France, Brazil, Argentina and Greece all boast rosters littered with NBA players, and they collectively fill out the tier below the US and Spain on the international hierarchy. It’s hard to see any of those clubs ever being favored against Team USA, though Brazil looks dangerous up front with Nene, Tiago Splitter and Anderson Varejao.

Argentina is loaded with vets and is always a tough out. France has skill and international experience with Boris Diaw and Nicolas Batum.

Threats, perhaps. But not grave ones.

In terms of overall talent, Team USA is still tops. The danger posed by Spain all along, though, has only increased.

Matchups are going to be more conventional now, and that’s good for Spain because it never had anyone who could guard KD (who does?).

Ultimately, we should still consider Team USA the favorites. The odds say so, and the objective collection of talent remains impressive. But it wouldn’t have been an outright shock to see Spain upset the US before Durant backed out. Now that he’s joined a few other key withdrawals on the sidelines, the chances of an upset have only increased.

Rose and Davis must step up now, along with the rest of the relatively untested roster.

Crisis begets opportunity, and if the remaining players can save the US from a disappointing defeat, perhaps they’ll build their own legends through international play. Who knows, maybe if they handily cover for KD‘s absence, they’ll accrue enough cache to withdraw from the next international competition.

That’s how it works, isn’t it?

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20 best NBA free agents still available

20 Best Available NBA Free Agents By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff… 1. LeBron James – There are multiple teams trying to convince LeBron to part with the Heat, but the Heat still give him the best chance at winning and can and will pay him the most money. 2. Carmelo Anthony – During the season it looked like Melo was staying, but then it looked like he was leaving and now? Again it looks like the Knicks are the favorites to sign him and the fact that he is even recruiting Pau Gasol to New York, is a very positive sign for the Knicks are their fans. The Lakers, Dallas, Houston, New York and Chicago all have a chance to sign him, but once again, it looks like the Knicks are the favorites. They can give him the most money, he is a native and apparently his wife La La would like to stay in New York. You can never discount the family, money and hometown factors. 3. Dwyane Wade – Wade was drafted by the Heat and will retire with the Heat, there was never any real chance of h…

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The Biggest Hole Every NBA Team Still Must Fill After Draft

The NBA draft is a lot about finding the league’s next great talents, but it’s also about filling needs. Basketball is unique because so few players take the floor during the course of a game; having a massive hole in your rotation needs to be addressed.

Some teams did that in the draft and some didn’t. As we approach free agency and the offseason, where plenty of wild trades can happen, every team will assess their roster and identify what their areas of need are, both in terms of position and production.

With that in mind, we’ll mimic that approach for each of the 30 NBA teams and look at what holes they still need to fill as the free-agency period gets underway, weighing current depth charts, projected developments of young players and more. 

While the rosters of some teams look like Swiss cheese compared with others at this point, we honed in on the one positional and production need for each team moving forward.

 

All advanced efficiency and rating stats are provided by basketball-reference.com, unless otherwise noted.

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Lakers still in no hurry to hire coach

L.A. still wants to do some things in free agency before deciding on the next hire

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

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