Thursday, September 30, 2010

Steve Blake Mastering the Triangle Offense

It's early in NBA training camp, but Los Angeles Lakers coaches and players are impressed with Steve Blake's understanding of the triangle offense already. From the LA Times (via Gary Williams' Twitter feed):
Lakers fans may hold Artest in high esteem now for his 2010 NBA Finals' Game 7 heroics and lovable nature, but they also painfully remember Artest trying to figure out the triangle even well into the postseason. They witnessed his questionable shot selection, confusion over where he should move on the floor and transition in becoming a secondary offensive option. Compare that with Blake, and you have the Zen Master praising his understanding, Kobe Bryant crediting his basketball IQ and Blake, himself, sharing his extra off-season work.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DJ Strawberry Signs with Hornets

DJ Strawberry (2003-07) is, at least temporarily, back in the NBA. Strawberry has signed a contract to play for the New Orleans Hornets. It's likely a partially guaranteed contract, meaning that he'll participate in the Hornets' training camp, but the contract only becomes guaranteed if he makes the opening day roster. The Hornets now have 14 players signed for training camp to compete for 12 active roster spots.

Ridiculous Upside thinks that DJ already had a good reputation as a defensive stopper, but he likely helped his chances of getting back to the NBA by playing back-up point guard in the D-League last season (and averaging 5.5 assists off the bench), showing that he can play both guard positions at the professional level.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Vasquez and Memphis Finally End Contract Stalemate

Greivis Vasquez (2006-10) and the Memphis Grizzlies have finally ended their summer-long contract stalemate, with Vasquez signing a deal that could earn him 120% of the league's pay scale for his draft position if he earns all the bonuses available in his contract. The Grizzlies had also been playing contract hardball this summer with their other first round pick, Xavier Henry, but as Testudo Times points out, Vasquez played in the summer league without a contract and stayed quiet in the media about the issue.

If you want to go back in time and follow the contract saga, Testudo Times followed the story this summer, and found stories about Vasquez and the Grizzlies here (8/1), here (9/3) and here (9/5). Also, don't miss this Venezuelan Rap Group's anthem for Greivis.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Landon Milbourne Will Play in France

Landon Milbourne will play in France next year, signing with S.O.M. Boulogne of the French Pro B league. Boulonge is moving up from the amateur French NM1 league to the Pro B league this season after winning the NM1 championship playoffs last season. Pro B is the second division of France's national basketball league, the LNB.

The team's press release (translation, which I have heavily edited for clarity below) cites a lot of positives in Landon's playing style and abilities:

An athletic player, Landon Milbourne was regarded as one of the toughest players in the NCAA last year in the USA. He fights for every loose ball to the last minute of each game. He was an undisputed leader to his teammates at the University of Maryland, both during the game and in the locker room. Originally a wing, he has also developed undeniable effective skills for the power forward position. His versatility to play multiple positions at a high-level opens many opportunities for offensive-minded head coach, Germain Castano. He is also a strong one-on-one defender.

Finally, he is a strong finisher in transition, capable of attacking the hoop without fear; he should ignite the fans with his spectacular dunks when the game allows him more freedom.

But he's a player who puts his team first, who puts all his talent and his enormous physical potential into winning games.

The University of Maryland is known as a launching pad for successful careers. With this recruitment, SOMBES has an exceptional player, which should please the fans. This recruitment completes long-term work on the part of team leaders to put our club in the best possible position to win in our first year in Pro B.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Joe Smith Signs with Nets

Joe Smith (1993-95) has signed to play for the New Jersey Nets next season. The Nets will be his 11th team in 15 seasons in the NBA. Here's the Nets' press release (excerpt):
The New Jersey Nets have signed free agent forward Joe Smith, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.

Smith, 6’10”/225, is a 15-year NBA veteran with career averages of 11.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists over 1,014 games with Golden State, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Detroit, Milwaukee, Denver, Cleveland, Chicago, Oklahoma City and Atlanta.
The New York Post says it's a one-year deal worth $1.3 million.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Terps in the NFL for the 2010 Season

Covering former Terp football players isn't really my specialty, but I'm more than happy to point out when someone else has gone to the trouble of doing that work for you. Patrick Stevens over at D1scourse put together a full list of Terps in the NFL to start the 2010 season (and those who got cut this weekend). 26 Terps made opening week rosters this season.