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Ian Shankster
Ian Shankster
10 posts
Cam W.
Cam W.
5 posts
Micky Deming
Micky Deming
2 posts
Frank Jenkins
Frank Jenkins
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KC Castillo
KC Castillo
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Frank Jenkins

Fired up for a fun NBA season! posted by Frank Jenkins

Hey gang!

I am excited as the new NBA season approaches. The preseason started last night and that means that we are less than four weeks away from the start of the season. I've got my Gamecenter online so that I can watch games with my computer. I'll spend time on this blog talking about what games I've watched and other exciting news and notes from the NBA. 

I have several teams that I love, but my top two teams are the Magic and the Pacers. I used to live in the Orlando area for several years and now live closest to the Pacers. If I get to any of the Pacer games live, then I'll also post pictures from those.

Let's get ready for a fun year. Over the next couple weeks, I'll give you my insights as to who might win the trophy in June.

Frank

Continue reading "Fired up for a fun NBA season!"


Micky Deming

The Need for Relevance posted by Micky Deming

As a Pacer fan, the obvious highlight of my season was the ESPN 30 for 30 story on Reggie Miller vs the New York Knicks. I loved every second of the documentary. I thought it was put together very well, and the best part was all of the memories it brought back.

On the other hand it was bitter-sweet in some ways. The Pacers have been awful for the last few years, but I have still enjoyed the NBA and told myself, "It's OK that the Pacers aren't competitive because it is still great to watch all of these high profile teams go at it in the Playoffs." 

 But that was wrong. There is something incredible about living and dying with every point in an NBA Playoff series. And Pacer fans got to experience that excitement consistently from the mid 90's to the early 00's. Honestly, I took it for granted. And seeing those old games again, I remembered how much I hated the Knicks and how much I cared about how those games turned out. It reminded me that the Pacers used to matter. And I want that again so badly. I want our games to be meaningful; relevant. I want to sit at work all day and be thinking about what is going to happen in the game tonight.

Which brings us to the lottery. The Pacers have never been a serious contender for the top pick in the lottery. In fact, the last two years they finished 9th in the East, just out of the playoffs, and a long way from the top talent in the draft. To me, it seems silly to act like a top pick in the draft is the only way the team can get good, but a glance at the top of the league shows that you have to score big with a superstar or you will never be good.

Continue reading "The Need for Relevance"


Colin Linneweber

Ron Artest is an alcoholic lunatic posted by Colin Linneweber

Psychotic Los Angeles Lakers small forward Ron Artest claimed this week that he boozed a French cognac during games when he played for the Chicago Bulls from 1999-2002.

 

“I used to drink Hennessy at halftime,” Artest, 30, said in an interview with the Sporting News. “I kept it in my locker. I’d just walk to the liquor store and get it.”

 

Artest, who was born and raised in the Queensbridge projects in Queens, New York, played college basketball at St. John’s University and he was selected by the Bulls with the 16th overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft.

 

“When I was a 19-year-old father, whew. I was a single pimp! I was wild,” said the unbalanced hoopster who infamously once attended a practice with the Indiana Pacers donning only a bath robe. “A lot of marijuana and alcohol. I still party and have fun, but not like I used to. I used to drink every night and party every night.”

 

Artest, the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year and four-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection, also revealed to the famed athletic periodical that he doesn’t regret as a Pacer inciting the violent brawl in Detroit that halted a contest against the Pistons.

 

The vicious melee “wasn’t my fault…I don’t see anything I could have done differently.”

 

Artest is simply crazier than a shithouse rat.

 

The ghetto ballplayer from Gotham needlessly mugged Pistons center Ben Wallace in the waning minutes of a Pacers blowout victory in November 2004.

Continue reading "Ron Artest is an alcoholic lunatic"


Andy Charles

Jackson just can’t get his way posted by Andy Charles

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Jackson just can’t seemingly learn how to behave – it doesn’t matter where he plays or what he does, he’s always in the headlines for the wrong reasons either on or off the court.

After a relatively quiet start to his career in San Antonio and Atlanta, ever since he arrived with the dysfunctional Indiana Pacers at the start of the 2004-5 season it has been a long downhill run for the swingman.

Within a couple of months of his Pacer debut, he was handed a 30-game ban for his role in the Palace of Auburn Hills brawl and the season after he was charged with criminal recklessness for firing his gun during an altercation outside a strip club in Indianapolis.

Although things were better for him after a trade to Golden State in early 2007, he was ejected twice during their NBA playoff series win over Dallas, but he did go on to become an important cog in Don Nelson’s team until his demand for a trade this summer.

His latest indiscretion came last week when he had a very public falling out with coach Nelson on the bench at an exhibition game with the Los Angeles Lakers and was suspended for two further games, albeit pre-season warm-ups.

Sadly for the Warriors, Jackson is their best option at the swing position and they are keen to get him back on court, but is a disgruntled player going to be much help to their younger stars in the making, players who have a big future in front of them like Stephen Curry, Anthony Randolph and Anthony Morrow.

But they cannot afford to buy Jackson out given that his contract calls for him to be paid $7.6m this season before an extension kicks in at the start of next season that will earn him $27.8m more over three years.

Continue reading "Jackson just can’t get his way"


Ian Shankster

NBA Playoff Predictions posted by Ian Shankster

At this point in the summer I am going to break down who I think is going to land in the playoffs after the nine.ten. This is based on what has happened so far around the league.

Western Conference Playoffs:

1. Los Angeles Lakers

2. San Antonio Spurs

3. Portland Trailblazers

4. Dallas Mavericks

5. Denver Nuggets

6. Utah Jazz

7. Phoenix Suns

8. New Orleans Hornets 

Easter Conference Playoffs:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

2. Boston Celtics

3. Miami Heat

4. Orlando Magic

5. Chicago Bulls

6. Atlanta Hawks

7. Toronto Raptors

8. Indiana Pacers 

The turnover from last year is small with the Suns replacing the Rockets in the Western Conference and the Raptors and Pacers replacing the Sixers and Pistons in the Eastern Conference. There is however, some movement in the standings, except at the top. 

Continue reading "NBA Playoff Predictions"


Ian Shankster

The Indiana Pacers and the nine.ten posted by Ian Shankster

As writer and editor of this blog I am going to be referring to the upcoming season as "the nine.ten" for obvious reasons. The Pacers appear to be ready to make another pretty good step towards respectability and perhaps the even the playoffs. With the waiving of Jamal Tinsley it seems they are finally putting the past behind them and with a few notable additions it seems that a leaf which was partially overturned last year is fully flipped for the nine.ten.

The Pacers have guys getting healthy, guys getting older and better and some completely new guys. I like what hustle players, Tyler Hansbrough and Dahntay Jones bring to the team. It seems that our defensive intensity will definitely be taken up a notch. When teams bring in someone like Jones who takes his defense very seriously it almost always rubs off in a positive way on teammates. This is absolutely necessary for the nine.ten if you look at last year and see how many times we scored well over 100 points but still lost games. Any improvement in defense is a good thing for a team like the Pacers. I am also excited to see how Danny Granger responds to being an all-star last year. Is he going to be a one-year wonder resting on his accomplishments of the past or is he going to work harder and try to get back and be a perennial all-star? 

A few other questions I hope to see answered.

How effective can Hansbrough be as a rookie?

Will a point guard emerge as a team leader and the future of the Pacers?

How is Mike Dunleavy going to come out and play and how many times will he score 36 points in a game?

Continue reading "The Indiana Pacers and the nine.ten"


john howard

Thunder release Watson signs with Pacers posted by john howard

Earl Watson has been released by the Thunder.  He began last year as the starting point guard.  Then, became the backup to Russell Westbrook.  Towards the end of the season, Oklahoma City picked up Shaun Livingston.  He has battled injuries in his short career.  The trade for Chucky Atkins also gives the Thunder an experienced backup.  Watson earned 2 wins using the Howard Sports win system.  I is going to sign with Indiana, but must wait 7 days.Continue reading "Thunder release Watson signs with Pacers"


Chris Strickland

Top 10 Reasons Kobe and Artest will work out posted by Chris Strickland

10) They were spotted in Kobe's escalade at an 'N and Out drive-through. And yes, they both got "animal style."

9) When on road trips in Denver, Kobe's got Artest covered for booty calls.

8) Kobe's beer preference is bottles - meaning, he'll never pour anything in a plastic cup.

7) Kobe & LeBron's Nike "puppet campaign" is being replaced by "Kobe and Ron," a new puppet ad-series. However, Nike's yielding to "Crank Yankers" for the directing of this one.

6) Like Kobe, Artest is practically another Dobermamba on defense. Only difference is, Artest may bite.

5) As a peace offering, Artest bought fellow teammate and candy-lover, Lamar Odom, a year's supply of Cookies 'n Cream.

4) Finally, Kobe has a legit MC to battle Shaq with.

3) Ron Artest also prefers Aston-Martin jumping...jump-starting them, that is.

2) Forget a "safe word," Kobe's got a "safe sentence." All he has to say is "I helped bury Michael Jackson," and Artest will back off.

1) When it comes to crazy people, Bryant's got experience. Kobe's dealt with Jack Nicholson for years.

Continue reading "Top 10 Reasons Kobe and Artest will work out"


Christopher Arroyo

National Champs send four in NBA Draft posted by Christopher Arroyo

The people who saw the 2009 NBA Draft on Thursday were in for a special treat when they saw Blake Griffin go No. 1.

 

Very predictable however.

 

Then, Hasheem Thabeet went No. 2, which was also predictable. Then things got a bit interesting.

 

The early shocker was Stephen Curry going number seven to the Golden State Warriors. But what was really neat was that all of the North Carolina players that declared were drafted.

 

The first Tar Heel chosen was Tyler Hansbrough, who went at number 13 to the Indiana Pacers. This was a good pick, for the Pacers and here is why. Indiana is not known to carry much toughness, especially in the frontcourt.

 

If you had the treat to see this guy in college then you would know that he’s the real deal for toughness. I think he will start the season on the bench, but he will emerge into that starting position around December.

 

The second Tar Heel chosen was Ty Lawson, who was picked by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Now I know many of you were wondering why Minnesota picked four guards in the first round, which three were point guards. But, rest assured, they ended up trading Lawson to the Denver Nuggets for a future first round pick.

 

This is the BEST team for Lawson. You’re putting one of the top, and under-appreciated, point guards in the draft on a team that is surrounded with rising talent. He is also going to appreciate being an apprentice to Denver’s Chauncey Billups.

 

Probably the most respected guard in the league and known for his patience and leadership on and off the court. Sadly, he will be a bench player for a few years but, learning under Billups will definitely make him one of the top point guards in the league. This was really the best move of the draft Denver should be strong under the point guard position for at least the next 10 years if all goes well.

Continue reading "National Champs send four in NBA Draft"


Chase Hughes

posted by Chase Hughes

Thursday, June the 25th has officially passed as the Washington Wizards remain in a state that few could have foreseen a week ago. After months of speculation and a calamitous draft lottery, Wizards fans can relax and look at back at what has happened. No Blake Griffin, no Ricky Rubio, no 5th overall pick, no 2nd round pick. It was fun but you kind of wish Ernie Grunfeld could have let us know that all of our mock drafts and trade scenarios would be obsolete. What’s left of the Wizards roster seems to be an incomplete project… still.
You have to think that the Wizards’ brass has something else up their sleeve, another maneuver that will balance the Wizards and give its fans the expectations of a great season. I still think that the team is improved but there seem to still linger significant holes. One large void to fill down low still remains and it is perplexing why the Wizards didn’t plug it with the “largest” plug in the draft. I am talking of course about Dejaun Blair. My friend and I were contemplating the possibility of the big man from Pitt slipping to the second round. It seemed impossible and then it happened. He was sitting there, all 270 pounds of him, just waiting for the Wizards to pick him and enable him to thrive in a reserved role on a playoff team. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones. The Washington Post covered the draft later in the night, with Michael Lee acknowledging the experts were in on it to:



“When Pitt forward DeJuan Blair was still on the board after the first round, some of us reporters were fascinated by the possibility of the Wizards adding a rugged but undersized offensive rebounding machine. I still cannot believe that dude slipped all the way to San Antonio at No. 37 after he manhandled Thabeet in Big East play.”


Continue reading ""

Indiana Pacers News

View All Indiana Pacers News


Free-agent roundup: Pacers start life without Lance, Warriors bring back Rush, Lakers steal Da

You are, by now, familiar with what we're doing here . Let's continue. *** •Less than 24 hours after losing starting shooting guard Lance Stephenson, the Indiana Pacers took a strong first step in the process of replacing him, agreeing to a one-year deal with former Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey, as first reported by Sam Amick of USA TODAY . The 28-year-old Stuckey will make only the veteran's minimum, according to Candace D. Buckner of the Indianapolis Star ; for a seven-year vet like Stuckey, that pays $1,227,985 . In terms of pure bang-for-your-buck, Stuckey at the minimum seems like a steal for Larry Bird and company, a rough equivalent of Lance's per-minute productivity for about one-eighth the cost next season. The 6-foot-5 guard isn't as strong or sturdy as Stephenson, but he can approximate his dribble penetration, registering virtually the same number of drives as Stephenson per game in 8 1/2 fewer minutes per contest, according to NBA.com's SportVU optical tracking data . He also did a solid job of finishing once he got there last season, converting 60.3 percent of his attempts inside the restricted area; that put him just outside the top 20 in at-rim conversion among guards with at least 150 attempts, according to NBA.com's stat tool. (Stephenson's 67.4 percent mark was fourth, behind only Manu Ginobili, Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic.) That might've been a one-year blip —Stuckey had never finished more than 55.5 percent of his restricted area shots in the previous half-dozen seasons —but he's still using his size and strength to seek out contact in the paint and get to the line, logging more than five free-throw attempts per 36 minutes of floor time last season, right in line with his career average. He never became the full-time "point guard of the future" that former Pistons general manager Joe Dumars envisioned after plucking him out of Eastern Washington with the No. 15 pick in the 2007 NBA draft, but Stuckey can serve as a secondary ball-handler and supplemental pick-and-roll operator. He's got a decent post-up game that he can break out against smaller defenders, and when his jumper is going, he can pose matchup problems for opposing backcourts, especially as an offensive creator off the bench. The problem with Stuckey, throughout his career, has been that his jumper doesn't get going super often. He's a career 37 percent midrange shooter, never topping 40 percent between the paint and the arc, and a career 28.6 3-point shooter, never reaching 32 percent from long distance. Unlike Stephenson, whose shooting percentages are trending upward and who provides at least a league-average threat of making defenders pay for sagging too far off him, Stuckey's mostly confirmed as the kind of guy you can give a cushion to take away driving lanes without being too scared of getting dotted. He won't unlock Indiana's seemingly forever-cramped offensive spacing. He's not in Lance's stratosphere when it comes to pitching in on the glass. He lacks Stephenson's top-end floor vision and passing ability. And while he's got the size and quickness to guard both backcourt positions, he's a significant step down from Stephenson on the defensive end. (He's also not without his own locker-room baggage, as Buckner of the Star notes .) Stuckey could benefit from a consistent role alongside good teammates with an established coach after playing under six head coaches in seven seasons in Detroit, but he isn't, on his own, a post-Lance solution at the two for the Pacers. Bird and Indy's braintrust aren't necessarily banking on him to be, though. They're hoping that between the additions of Stuckey and prior free-agent acquisition C.J. Miles, steps forward from the point guard pairing of George Hill and C.J. Watson, and the continued evolution of All-NBA small forward Paul George, they'll have enough on the wing to withstand the loss of one of their most reliable (well, in terms of being in the lineup, at least) contributors during two straight Eastern Conference Finals trips. It'll take some hard work, creativity and trust from head coach Frank Vogel to put the puzzle together, but Stuckey's a nice piece to be able to use, at a very nice price. *** •The Golden State Warriors are bringing back Brandon Rush, agreeing to terms on a two-year, $2.5 million contract with the free-agent swingman, according to Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski . Rush will hold a player option for the second season. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Free-agent roundup: Pacers start life without Lance, Warriors bring back Rush, Lakers steal Da

You are, by now, familiar with what we're doing here . Let's continue. *** •Less than 24 hours after losing starting shooting guard Lance Stephenson, the Indiana Pacers took a strong first step in the process of replacing him, agreeing to a one-year deal with former Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey, as first reported by Sam Amick of USA TODAY . The 28-year-old Stuckey will make only the veteran's minimum, according to Candace D. Buckner of the Indianapolis Star ; for a seven-year vet like Stuckey, that pays $1,227,985 . In terms of pure bang-for-your-buck, Stuckey at the minimum seems like a steal for Larry Bird and company, a rough equivalent of Lance's per-minute productivity for about one-eighth the cost next season. The 6-foot-5 guard isn't as strong or sturdy as Stephenson, but he can approximate his dribble penetration, registering virtually the same number of drives as Stephenson per game in 8 1/2 fewer minutes per contest, according to NBA.com's SportVU optical tracking data . He also did a solid job of finishing once he got there last season, converting 60.3 percent of his attempts inside the restricted area; that put him just outside the top 20 in at-rim conversion among guards with at least 150 attempts, according to NBA.com's stat tool. (Stephenson's 67.4 percent mark was fourth, behind only Manu Ginobili, Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic.) That might've been a one-year blip —Stuckey had never finished more than 55.5 percent of his restricted area shots in the previous half-dozen seasons —but he's still using his size and strength to seek out contact in the paint and get to the line, logging more than five free-throw attempts per 36 minutes of floor time last season, right in line with his career average. He never became the full-time "point guard of the future" that former Pistons general manager Joe Dumars envisioned after plucking him out of Eastern Washington with the No. 15 pick in the 2007 NBA draft, but Stuckey can serve as a secondary ball-handler and supplemental pick-and-roll operator. He's got a decent post-up game that he can break out against smaller defenders, and when his jumper is going, he can pose matchup problems for opposing backcourts, especially as an offensive creator off the bench. The problem with Stuckey, throughout his career, has been that his jumper doesn't get going super often. He's a career 37 percent midrange shooter, never topping 40 percent between the paint and the arc, and a career 28.6 3-point shooter, never reaching 32 percent from long distance. Unlike Stephenson, whose shooting percentages are trending upward and who provides at least a league-average threat of making defenders pay for sagging too far off him, Stuckey's mostly confirmed as the kind of guy you can give a cushion to take away driving lanes without being too scared of getting dotted. He won't unlock Indiana's seemingly forever-cramped offensive spacing. He's not in Lance's stratosphere when it comes to pitching in on the glass. He lacks Stephenson's top-end floor vision and passing ability. And while he's got the size and quickness to guard both backcourt positions, he's a significant step down from Stephenson on the defensive end. (He's also not without his own locker-room baggage, as Buckner of the Star notes .) Stuckey could benefit from a consistent role alongside good teammates with an established coach after playing under six head coaches in seven seasons in Detroit, but he isn't, on his own, a post-Lance solution at the two for the Pacers. Bird and Indy's braintrust aren't necessarily banking on him to be, though. They're hoping that between the additions of Stuckey and prior free-agent acquisition C.J. Miles, steps forward from the point guard pairing of George Hill and C.J. Watson, and the continued evolution of All-NBA small forward Paul George, they'll have enough on the wing to withstand the loss of one of their most reliable (well, in terms of being in the lineup, at least) contributors during two straight Eastern Conference Finals trips. It'll take some hard work, creativity and trust from head coach Frank Vogel to put the puzzle together, but Stuckey's a nice piece to be able to use, at a very nice price. *** •The Golden State Warriors are bringing back Brandon Rush, agreeing to terms on a two-year, $2.5 million contract with the free-agent swingman, according to Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski . Rush will hold a player option for the second season. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Free-agent roundup: Pacers start life without Lance, Warriors bring back Rush, Lakers steal Da

You are, by now, familiar with what we're doing here . Let's continue. *** •Less than 24 hours after losing starting shooting guard Lance Stephenson, the Indiana Pacers took a strong first step in the process of replacing him, agreeing to a one-year deal with former Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey, as first reported by Sam Amick of USA TODAY . The 28-year-old Stuckey will make only the veteran's minimum, according to Candace D. Buckner of the Indianapolis Star ; for a seven-year vet like Stuckey, that pays $1,227,985 . In terms of pure bang-for-your-buck, Stuckey at the minimum seems like a steal for Larry Bird and company, a rough equivalent of Lance's per-minute productivity for about one-eighth the cost next season. The 6-foot-5 guard isn't as strong or sturdy as Stephenson, but he can approximate his dribble penetration, registering virtually the same number of drives as Stephenson per game in 8 1/2 fewer minutes per contest, according to NBA.com's SportVU optical tracking data . He also did a solid job of finishing once he got there last season, converting 60.3 percent of his attempts inside the restricted area; that put him just outside the top 20 in at-rim conversion among guards with at least 150 attempts, according to NBA.com's stat tool. (Stephenson's 67.4 percent mark was fourth, behind only Manu Ginobili, Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic.) That might've been a one-year blip —Stuckey had never finished more than 55.5 percent of his restricted area shots in the previous half-dozen seasons —but he's still using his size and strength to seek out contact in the paint and get to the line, logging more than five free-throw attempts per 36 minutes of floor time last season, right in line with his career average. He never became the full-time "point guard of the future" that former Pistons general manager Joe Dumars envisioned after plucking him out of Eastern Washington with the No. 15 pick in the 2007 NBA draft, but Stuckey can serve as a secondary ball-handler and supplemental pick-and-roll operator. He's got a decent post-up game that he can break out against smaller defenders, and when his jumper is going, he can pose matchup problems for opposing backcourts, especially as an offensive creator off the bench. The problem with Stuckey, throughout his career, has been that his jumper doesn't get going super often. He's a career 37 percent midrange shooter, never topping 40 percent between the paint and the arc, and a career 28.6 3-point shooter, never reaching 32 percent from long distance. Unlike Stephenson, whose shooting percentages are trending upward and who provides at least a league-average threat of making defenders pay for sagging too far off him, Stuckey's mostly confirmed as the kind of guy you can give a cushion to take away driving lanes without being too scared of getting dotted. He won't unlock Indiana's seemingly forever-cramped offensive spacing. He's not in Lance's stratosphere when it comes to pitching in on the glass. He lacks Stephenson's top-end floor vision and passing ability. And while he's got the size and quickness to guard both backcourt positions, he's a significant step down from Stephenson on the defensive end. (He's also not without his own locker-room baggage, as Buckner of the Star notes .) Stuckey could benefit from a consistent role alongside good teammates with an established coach after playing under six head coaches in seven seasons in Detroit, but he isn't, on his own, a post-Lance solution at the two for the Pacers. Bird and Indy's braintrust aren't necessarily banking on him to be, though. They're hoping that between the additions of Stuckey and prior free-agent acquisition C.J. Miles, steps forward from the point guard pairing of George Hill and C.J. Watson, and the continued evolution of All-NBA small forward Paul George, they'll have enough on the wing to withstand the loss of one of their most reliable (well, in terms of being in the lineup, at least) contributors during two straight Eastern Conference Finals trips. It'll take some hard work, creativity and trust from head coach Frank Vogel to put the puzzle together, but Stuckey's a nice piece to be able to use, at a very nice price. *** •The Golden State Warriors are bringing back Brandon Rush, agreeing to terms on a two-year, $2.5 million contract with the free-agent swingman, according to Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski . Rush will hold a player option for the second season. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Free-agent roundup: Pacers start life without Lance, Warriors bring back Rush, Lakers steal Da

You are, by now, familiar with what we're doing here . Let's continue. *** •Less than 24 hours after losing starting shooting guard Lance Stephenson, the Indiana Pacers took a strong first step in the process of replacing him, agreeing to a one-year deal with former Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey, as first reported by Sam Amick of USA TODAY . The 28-year-old Stuckey will make only the veteran's minimum, according to Candace D. Buckner of the Indianapolis Star ; for a seven-year vet like Stuckey, that pays $1,227,985 . In terms of pure bang-for-your-buck, Stuckey at the minimum seems like a steal for Larry Bird and company, a rough equivalent of Lance's per-minute productivity for about one-eighth the cost next season. The 6-foot-5 guard isn't as strong or sturdy as Stephenson, but he can approximate his dribble penetration, registering virtually the same number of drives as Stephenson per game in 8 1/2 fewer minutes per contest, according to NBA.com's SportVU optical tracking data . He also did a solid job of finishing once he got there last season, converting 60.3 percent of his attempts inside the restricted area; that put him just outside the top 20 in at-rim conversion among guards with at least 150 attempts, according to NBA.com's stat tool. (Stephenson's 67.4 percent mark was fourth, behind only Manu Ginobili, Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic.) That might've been a one-year blip —Stuckey had never finished more than 55.5 percent of his restricted area shots in the previous half-dozen seasons —but he's still using his size and strength to seek out contact in the paint and get to the line, logging more than five free-throw attempts per 36 minutes of floor time last season, right in line with his career average. He never became the full-time "point guard of the future" that former Pistons general manager Joe Dumars envisioned after plucking him out of Eastern Washington with the No. 15 pick in the 2007 NBA draft, but Stuckey can serve as a secondary ball-handler and supplemental pick-and-roll operator. He's got a decent post-up game that he can break out against smaller defenders, and when his jumper is going, he can pose matchup problems for opposing backcourts, especially as an offensive creator off the bench. The problem with Stuckey, throughout his career, has been that his jumper doesn't get going super often. He's a career 37 percent midrange shooter, never topping 40 percent between the paint and the arc, and a career 28.6 3-point shooter, never reaching 32 percent from long distance. Unlike Stephenson, whose shooting percentages are trending upward and who provides at least a league-average threat of making defenders pay for sagging too far off him, Stuckey's mostly confirmed as the kind of guy you can give a cushion to take away driving lanes without being too scared of getting dotted. He won't unlock Indiana's seemingly forever-cramped offensive spacing. He's not in Lance's stratosphere when it comes to pitching in on the glass. He lacks Stephenson's top-end floor vision and passing ability. And while he's got the size and quickness to guard both backcourt positions, he's a significant step down from Stephenson on the defensive end. (He's also not without his own locker-room baggage, as Buckner of the Star notes .) Stuckey could benefit from a consistent role alongside good teammates with an established coach after playing under six head coaches in seven seasons in Detroit, but he isn't, on his own, a post-Lance solution at the two for the Pacers. Bird and Indy's braintrust aren't necessarily banking on him to be, though. They're hoping that between the additions of Stuckey and prior free-agent acquisition C.J. Miles, steps forward from the point guard pairing of George Hill and C.J. Watson, and the continued evolution of All-NBA small forward Paul George, they'll have enough on the wing to withstand the loss of one of their most reliable (well, in terms of being in the lineup, at least) contributors during two straight Eastern Conference Finals trips. It'll take some hard work, creativity and trust from head coach Frank Vogel to put the puzzle together, but Stuckey's a nice piece to be able to use, at a very nice price. *** •The Golden State Warriors are bringing back Brandon Rush, agreeing to terms on a two-year, $2.5 million contract with the free-agent swingman, according to Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski . Rush will hold a player option for the second season. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Pacers face uphill battle after signing Stuckey

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Last week, the Indiana Pacers lost Lance Stephenson. [read full article]

From FOX Sports Digital

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