Tag Archives: Paul Millsap

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls storm back in the 4th to ground the Hawks and move in to playoff position

With the final two playoff spots up for grabs in the East, the Bulls are trying to scrape up enough wins to squeak in ahead of the Heat or the Pacers. The victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers could be chalked up to match-ups and #TNTBulls, but the Atlanta Hawks are a team the Bulls have failed to beat all season. Erasing a nine-point fourth quarter deficit with under five minutes to play, the Bulls stormed back and shocked the Hawks with a 106-104 victory, making it the Bulls’ third straight win and fourth out of their last five, as they move to 37-39 on the season.

  • Jimmy Butler came up big in this game, hitting a huge three late in the game, and draining the winning free throws with 2.1 seconds left after getting fouled on the arm late in the shot clock. He scored the Bulls’ last nine points and had 33 for the game, along with eight assists.
  • Denzel Valentine had two very big fourth quarter threes and added 13 points on 45.5% from the field. Interestingly, Nikola Mirotic led the team by a long shot in +/- with a +17, but his line wouldn’t suggest it: eight points with just two field goals, nine rebounds and five assists. Talk about being on the court at the right time(s).
  • Rajon Rondo had a very solid game with 25 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes. In an unusual shooting performance, he had 18 attempts, knocking down 11, including three of six from behind the arc. Although he had seven turnovers, he also included three steals to help pad the stat line. He and Robin Lopez combined for a +13, and while Lopez was relatively quiet on the boards (four), he played 36 minutes and was a strong presence down low.
  • After taking a six point lead into the locker room at the half, the Bulls were able to surmount a 56-46 lead early in the third quarter, but Tim Hardaway and the Hawks’ offensive boards had other plans. Hardaway took the Bulls for 11 straight points including two threes, one after a flurry of offensive rebounds. After a 13-4 run, the Hawks regained the lead, eventually taking a five point lead at the end of the third quarter. The Hawks built that lead up to ten, and even held that aforementioned nine point lead with under five minutes to go in the game before Butler and Valentine helped the Bulls claw back and steal it in the final seconds.
  • Meanwhile, Bobby Portis is still struggling to find his way. He was pretty close to dead weight: in 17 minutes, he was scoreless on 0/4, all of them from three point range, and led the team with a -15 (oops).
  • Paul Millsap was out for Atlanta, which most certainly contributed to their late-game struggles on both ends. The Hawks are vying with the Bucks for the 5th seed, and a strong game for Dennis Schroder at 29 points and seven rebounds demonstrated that the will was there, but they couldn’t get it done.
  • Next Up: The Bulls travel to New Orleans to take on Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and the Pelicans. The Hawks play in Brooklyn against the Nets.
Advertisements

Free Agency Bonanza Podcast with Jake Weiner & Jeff Berest

(D)Roses and Thorns contributors Jake Weiner and Jeff Berest connected to talk about the 76ers recent moves and a whole lot about all the free agency news. Including Danny Green, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, Greg Monroe, Khris Middleton, Brandon Knight, Wes Matthews, Tyson Chandler, LaMarcus Aldridge and much more. And of course, Jimmy Butler and Mike Dunleavy Jr. may have come up.

2013-14 NBA Preview: Southeast Division

Jake kicked off his 2013-14 season preview last week by looking at the Atlantic Division and Central Division. He’ll continue going through the divisions and predict each conference’s final standings as we rapidly approach the regular season.

We’ve arrived at the final division in the conference: the Southeast. The Heat have dominated this division the last few seasons and that’s not going to come close to changing anytime soon. Besides Atlanta, which is always somewhere in between, the rest of the Heat’s division is basically rebuilding.

giddy lebron

1. Miami Heat (Last year: 1st)- There’s a better chance that Brett Favre suits up this season (in the NFL or NBA) than Miami not winning this division. A lot of people are pegging the Heat to have a down regular season after making the last three Finals, but that won’t affect them to this extent. Miami still employs the greatest player in the world and two All-Stars next to him. Looking past the Big Three, Miami is bringing back Game 6 hero Ray Allen and the Birdman. Plus, they signed former #1 pick Greg Oden and #2 pick Michael Beasley. If even one of those guys can help them, that’s big. The Heat may have trouble fighting back to the Finals for the fourth straight time (it hasn’t been done since the 1980s), but they’ll breeze through the Southeast.

teague and horford

2. Atlanta Hawks (Last year: 2nd)- Over the last two seasons, the Hawks have completely reshaped their team while maintaining a core strong enough to make the playoffs. After ditching Joe Johnson’s Contract last summer, the Hawks let Josh Smith walk and replaced him with the insanely affordable Paul Millsap on just a two year commitment. Millsap is a really solid player who can replace most of Josh Smith’s production and none of his crazy. The Hawks also resigned Jeff Teague for four years. While they have an astronomically small shot at making it past the first round, Atlanta should be playing in the postseason.

wall and beal

3. Washington Wizards (Last year: 3rd)- Washington could definitely finish ahead of Atlanta. After John Wall returned from a knee injury, the Wizards were a good team with an elite starting lineup. That may sound crazy, but the core of Wall, Bradley Beal, Nene and Emeka Okafor was a force on both ends of the floor. Wall got paid this summer, and first round pick Otto Porter will be a terrific wing fit if he can stay healthy. It’s taken a while, but the Wiz finally look like they’re heading in the right direction.

MJ red swag

4. Charlotte Bobcats (Last year: 4th)- It’s gonna be another long year in Charlotte for Michael Jordan and co. The good news is that the Bobcats may have finally gotten a couple picks right with Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Both look like solid NBA starters at worst. I didn’t love the Cody Zeller pick, but everyone in Charlotte has been raving about the kid so far. This seems like a good time to mention that the Bulls have the Bobcats’ first round pick in 2016. Basically, this means that you should keep rooting for MJ to screw up draft picks so that the Bobcats continue sucking.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers

5. Orlando Magic (Last year: 5th)- The Magic are once again going to be abysmal, but that’s all part of GM Rob Hennigan’s plan. At just 31 years old, Hennigan, younger than some of his players, understands what to do in today’s NBA to build a contender. While it might sound crazy that the Magic want Victor Oladipo to play point guard, it’s not unlike Seattle having Kevin Durant playing shooting guard back in the day. Sometimes, the best way to tank is to have your premier players develop different skills–and struggle doing so. Look at it this way: if Oladipo has a solid season but struggles as a distributor and ball-handler, you know he was never going to be your point guard. Now, your starting shooting guard has valuable experience running the offense and finding his teammates. Nikola Vucevic was a terrific snag in the Dwight Howard deal; the man could lead the league in rebounding soon. They may be playing the long game, but I love what Orlando’s doing.

 

Buy em, Sell em, Hold em with the Stavster: Southeast Division (Part Deux)

Hey Guys,

I hope you enjoyed your independence from having to listen to me ramble.   Anyways, the NBA had its share of rumblings over the past week. Read Jake’s article. It’s much better than what you’re about to read.

As I promised, I will continue to sift through the dung of the NBA, better known as the Southeast Division.

But first, an update…

I really liked Atlanta’s signing of Paul Millsap for 2 years/$19 million.  While Bick claims that this type of move keeps a franchise in NBA purgatory, there’s so much value in this deal.  A top 25 player getting paid a reasonable amount for a reasonable amount of time. Who knew that was possible? It’ll be interesting to see if they shell out cash to Monta in the next few days.  Teague-Monta-Millsap-Horford is a solid core in a weak Eastern Conference.

Back to the main event, let’s talk about the Charlotte Bobcats.

Charlotte Bobcats: SELL

In March 2012, the New Orleans Hornets were for sale. Subsequently, one of the biggest jackpots in Powerball history was up for grabs.  A cohort of characters (three of which write for this site) made a pact that we would purchase the team if victorious.  Sad to say, we didn’t win.  Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, bought the franchise for a cool $350 million.  We were robbed.

That was that.  Point being, I want to buy the Charlotte Bobcats.  Frankly, the greatest basketball player of all-time is inept at his new position.   I can do a better job. A well-trained chimp could do a better job.

But seriously, let’s look at some the Bobcats’ off-season highlights.  The club amnestied Tyrus Thomas about four years too late (and they owe the Bulls their 2016 first round pick from trading for him).  They paid Al Jefferson to be the player (Al Jefferson) that he’s been in Minnesota and Utah. Finally, they drafted Cody Zeller in the Top 5 of the NBA Draft.  While this year’s draft crop was weak, I’d hesitate drafting Zeller in the Top 5 at Lifetime pick-up basketball.  I just assume that they fired their coach this off-season because that’s what it seems like every off-season! I’ll let the editor check me up on this for dramatic effect (editor’s note: the Bobcats have had six coaches in 10 seasons).   In an age where rebuilding a franchise is essentially a hand-me-down blueprint, the Bobcats’ copy machine must be broken.  They fuck up over and over again.  For the Bulls’ sake, I hope that this trend continues well into my post-graduation years.  I just hope Stern doesn’t give MJ Andrew Wiggins as a “Thanks for making my tenure the best in NBA history“ departing gift.

Orlando Magic: HOLD.

This one’s intriguing.  For starters, it’s hard to imagine that Orlando was a title contender just four years ago. Dwight, Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson and a cast of other characters were bound for greatness.  Then, all the Magic was suddenly gone.  See what I did there? Nevertheless, the story of the Orlando Magic goes to show you how fast teams can be built up or blown to pieces in the NBA.   Rather than commiserating any longer, let’s discuss some of those sunny spots for Florida’s second franchise.

The post-Dwight highlights include the emergence of Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris and Andrew Nicholson. Orlando management should be kissing Milwaukee’s ass for essentially giving them Harris for free. The guy’s legit. Throw in the overrated underrated Victor Oladipo and you might have the start of something.  Maybe Mickey Mouse can play the point? Why I won’t buy: I can’t understand for the life of me why Arron Afflalo wasn’t swapped for Eric Bledsoe.  If Orlando would have pulled that one off, I would have liked the roster enough to stash them away as a long-term investment. At its current juncture, there are too many other lucrative plays out there worth my financial backing.

Here’s the problem I see with the Eastern Conference.  There are too many teams trying to commit seppuku (editor’s note: ritual Japanese suicide that Steve is obsessed with. Kinda concerning?).  In other words, everybody is trying to emulate the idea that you need to be really shitty before you can be good.  If half the conference is doing the same thing at the same time, this ideology might prove to be foolish.  GMs need to remember that 16 teams make the playoffs every season and that’s not changing any time soon.  Somebody’s got to win some games.  And, gasp, it might be your team!

That’s why I kinda like what Atlanta’s doing. The team realizes that ATL won’t ever have the luster to draw in marquee free agents.  Rather than trying to suck, they’d rather scoop up value contracts and try to compete in the East.  It’s a contrarian way to try and play it.  The Hawks are so far from being bad (relative to their counterparts) that the cycle would take extraordinarily long.

So here’s today lesson for NBA GMs: Only one of you is getting Andrew Wiggins. So better have a back-up plan.  Buy Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate when everybody’s selling.  It might pay off in some way, shape or form.

Until next time, I’m out.

2013 NBA Free Agency Preview: Power Forwards

Tyler Geocaris

We’ve shifted our focus here at DRaT from the NBA Finals onto the NBA off-season. Geo continues our position-by-position free agent preview series with the power forwards.

NBA: Preseason-Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic

David West

Age: 32

Height: 6’9″ Weight: 250 lbs

Last Contract: 2 yrs/$20 million

2012-13 Stats: 17.1 PPG 7.7 RPG 2.9 APG 0.9 BPG 1.0 SPG 20.15 PER (Player Efficiency Rating)

Last Year’s Team: Indiana Pacers

Analysis: West is one of the few players I would not want to mess with on the court. With such brute strength on the low block, West is able to punish smaller power forwards and basically score at will. Although he might be aging, he is still a very effective player on the offensive end and on the glass.

After seeing stretch fours becoming more popular across the league, West is one of the very few players in his position that is capable of dominating in the low post area.

With a variety of post moves to go with a sweet mid-jumper, David West is a threat all over the court.

West has been Indiana’s locker room leader since he has been there, bringing his toughness and will to win to their organization. Since he has been there, Indiana has been considered a blue collar team, working hard on every possession regardless of the situation.

The Pacers have said that it’s their number one priority this off-season to bring the power forward back. With both sides showing mutual interest in one another, I find it hard to believe that West will sign elsewhere. Expect David West to be in a Pacers uniform next season. Update: West has reportedly agreed to a three year, $36 million deal to stay in Indiana.

Possible team(s): Indiana Pacers

jsmith

Josh Smith*

Age: 27

Height: 6’9″ Weight: 225 lbs

Last Contract: 5 yrs/$58 million

2012-13 stats: 17.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.7 BPG, 1.4 SPG, 50.1% True Shooting

Analysis: Josh Smith is probably the biggest question mark in this year’s free agency group. On one hand, he has proven to be a valuable two-way player his whole career in Atlanta. On the other hand, he still hasn’t really come close to learning the value of high percentage shots and often does not bring defensive intensity on non-highlight reel plays. However, if there’s one thing we know about the NBA, it’s that potential pay$. To clarify, it’s not as if Smith will be earning this contract off potential. He’s undoubtedly proven the ability to put up gaudy individual statistics across the board and contribute at a near All-Star level (he’s probably the best player to have not made an All-Star team, if you give him seniority over Stephen Curry–a sure thing to make the next team). In my opinion, the value of the inefficient Smith is going to depend a lot on who he signs with. If Houston is somehow able to combine Smith and fellow free agent Dwight Howard, it’s going to be virtually impossible to score on them. Even just James Harden and the litany of other shooters Daryl Morey is sure to surround him with will provide acres of floor space that should give Smith the nudge to play in the paint where he belongs. I honestly think this hypothetical team could take a run at winning the Western Conference. On the other hand, if Smith lands in Detroit, we could see more lottery finishes in the future for the Pistons. While I like the core Detroit is putting together as a whole, I don’t think making Josh Smith “the man” is ever “the answer”. Smith needs to be part of an already strong culture that can elicit the many great positives in his game and eliminate the negatives. Regardless, he’s a very valuable talent and will undoubtedly receive a max contract from some lucky or unlucky team.

Possible teams: Pistons, Rockets, Hawks

*Smith, and this section, was included in Jake’s Small Forward preview as well, but plays both positions interchangeably. He could conceivably play small forward or power forward exclusively depending on where he signs.

PMillz

Paul Millsap

Age: 28

Height: 6’8″ Weight: 253 lbs

Last Contract: 4 yrs/$26.4 million

2012-13 Stats: 14.6 PPG 7.1 RPG 2.6 APG 1.0 BPG 1.3 SPG 19.89 PER

Last Year’s Team: Utah Jazz

Analysis: He might not be the sexiest player available this off-season, but Paul Millsap sure seems to get the job done night in and night out. One of the more undersized power forwards in this league, Millsap has had success in this league with his hustle and constant energy throughout the course of a game. This type of play is needed in order to keep up with the bigger power forwards on opposing teams.

While lacking in the size department, Millsap is a great rebounder. He certainly will help any team who happens to sign him in that specific category. Most teams would love to have an energy type player like Millsap.

I do not think Utah should resign him this offseason, mainly because of the direction they are heading in. The Jazz are clearly trying to stay young and improving their organization the right way by going through the draft. With emerging young bigs like Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, it really doesn’t make sense for them to resign Millsap. Regardless, early reports have displayed a mutual interest between Millsap and Utah.

Possible teams: Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, other

shortsleenes

Carl Landry

Age: 29

Height: 6’9″ Weight: 248 lbs

Last Contract: 2 yrs/$8 million

2012-13 Stats- 10.8 PPG 6.0 RPG 0.8 APG 0.4 BPG 0.4 SPG 17.60 PER

Last Year’s Team: Golden State Warriors

Analysis- Carl Landry is one of the better bench players in the league today. A borderline starting PF, Landry is a good rebounder and has a very solid mid-range game.

Landry was a vital part of Golden State’s success last year, giving them a great spark off the bench. Playing Landry alongside David Lee last year turned out to be very successful and Landry was inserted into the lineup many times due to center Andrew Bogut battling injuries for much of the season.

Landry may not turn an entire franchise around, but he is definitely capable of being a key role player. Teams would love to have a solid big coming off the bench for them, in case their starters get in foul trouble or aren’t playing that well. Landry should receive a lot of interest around the league this off season. The Clippers are reportedly interested as Landry and Chris Paul enjoyed playing together in New Orleans.

Likely Teams- Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trailblazers