Eddie Sefko, Mavericks beat writer for SportsDayDFW.com and The Dallas Morning News, answered questions about the team in a live chat Monday. Here are some of the highlights:Question: Do you see Wesley Matthews on this team past the trade deadline? Sefko: Probably. This is not a team that is looking for a fast fix to this thing. They are hoping Dennis Smith Jr. is the real deal and they can grow with him and [Harrison] Barnes and maybe [Nerlens] Noel. That, plus a winning season, would set the Mavericks up to be one of the few teams with good cap space next summer that could make a run at a couple free agents of note. It’s ambitious thinking, but trading Matthews would mean taking back some salary, most likely, and that’s something the Mavericks don’t want to do. I do believe Matthews is set up to have a better season than the first two he’s had in Dallas, which include his two worst 3-point percentages of his career. Question: If you have to pick one guy on this Mavs roster, besides Dirk [Nowitzki] obviously, who has the best chance to make it to the Hall of Fame one day? Sefko: At this point????? You’d have to go with Dennis Smith Jr. Obviously, former Maverick Jason Kidd is a no-brainer. But I can’t see Harrison Barnes or J.J. Barea or anybody else qualifying. Question: Do you think [Adrian] Beltre will ever get anywhere close to Dirk-level beloved-ness in DFW? Sefko: Probably not. Playing your whole career with one team is a big deal and ingratiates a player with the community on a grand scale. Don’t weep for Beltre. He’s been awesome and will be revered for a long time. But not like Pudge, I suspect. And certainly not like Dirk. Question: Which do you think is more impressive: Dirk hitting 30,000 points or Beltre getting to 3,000 hits? Sefko: No. 6 against No. 31? I’ll go with the sixth most in one sport as opposed to something that’s happened 31 times in the other cheap jerseys sport. Not to belittle the achievement. Hitting a curveball is the hardest thing in sports. But being No. 6 at anything in history is pretty unreal. Question: Do you envision Dirk playing any more center in his NBA career or is that all a thing of the past? Sefko: The way he moves? Where else can he play? Listen, it’s not an issue offensively. That’s not going to change. He’s still going to stretch the floor. But he has to guard somebody on the other end. The person who moves around the least is the likely person. But bear in mind, the NBA doesn’t have positions anymore. Bigs and Smalls. That’s about it. So he’s a big and will play like a guard, just like he’s done the last 10 years or so.
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Look who we found playing in the famous Drew League!! Former Arizona Big Man Ryan Anderson that’s who!Team LA Loop, with Drew League Legends Frank Robinson and Patrick Rembert, were taking on the Rapper The Game’s team Birdies Revenge. Birdies Revenge had a special guest, Cleveland Cavelier Iman Shumpert. But LA Loop also had a special new player, former Arizona Wildcat Ryan Anderson. I spotted him immediately and told my co-host, Asha, to get some highlights of No. 12. At first, I was thinking, wow is that Ryan? When I saw he was wearing No. 12, it hit me that had to be Ryan Anderson, bless my lucky stars! So I went to confirm with the statisticians at the scorer’s table just in case. My iPhone was live tweeting the game, and pretty much was focused on Anderson the entire time, he had to be thinking, who is this woman? Ha ha, well, I made sure he knew after the game why I was so interested in him, and he was nice enough to grant us an interview. Anderson just completed his first season playing abroad in the Belgium Basketball League. Gabe York just signed a contract to play in the same region, so the two will be able to hang out and do some damage out in Europe. Anderson and Rembert are friends, and P- Stacks (Rembert) asked Ryan to play with him for a few weeks in the finals weeks of the Drew League before he went back to cheap jerseys China play for season No. 2 in Belgium. Anderson had just made his way to Tucson Arizona to meet and work out with the new team for 2017. He was impressed. He gives us his thoughts on the team and how his first season abroad went. He is happy, healthy and his game is strong, made me a proud Wildcats fan today. In case you missed it, former Wildcat Jordin Mayes is also playing in the Drew League. His team NWA beat Redemption in a grudge match 85-71. Here is a little of that game.
LOS ANGELES — Chris Paul and James Harden have been training together since the Houston Rockets acquired Paul from the LA Clippers in a trade last month. They made their public debut as teammates Sunday in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Los Angeles’ famed Drew League.Harden finished with game highs of 27 points and 12 rebounds, while adding six assists and two steals for his LAUNFD (pronounced “L.A. Unified”) team, which pulled out an 83-81 win over a Home Town Favorites team that featured current NBA players Jordan cheap authentic jerseys Bell, Delon Wright and Tim Hardaway Jr. In the first half, the two point guards, who now must learn to share a backcourt, seemed to trade off ballhandling and playmaking duties with one player firmly in control of the possession and the other spotting up to shoot. But as the game went on, there was more synergy to their games. It’s a harmonizing process they’ve worked on all summer, in open-court runs in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. It’ll continue in the fall as well, as Rockets teammate Bobby Brown said the team is planning to continue to train together in L.A., then again in the Bahamas in late August. It was something the Rockets did last summer as well, as they began learning coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense and facilitating Harden’s change to a lead guard position. “That really helped us jell last year,” Brown said. Despite playing for the Clippers for the previous six seasons, Paul had never played in the Drew League before Sunday’s game. Paul watched Harden the week before, though, and he shook off a slow start to finish with 13 points and 10-assists. Before the prior week’s game, Brown informed Paul that he would need to play in order to be eligible for the Drew League playoffs that will start Friday. “CP came to the game last week and he was itching to play,” Brown said. “After that, he texted me saying, ‘Yo, I want to play. Think it would be cool if I could play with y’all?’ I said, ‘No problem. It’s the Drew League, you haven’t played yet. You get your shine, you get your welcoming to the Drew on a good team, with your brother.’ “That was an easy call. He had fun,” added Brown, a four-time Drew League champion. “JH always has fun. Me and James have been playing together for the third year in a row.” It was a star-studded event for the Drew League. Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade made it to the game to watch courtside, along with Toronto Raptors All-Star DeMar DeRozan, who played earlier in the day with Nick Young of the Golden State Warriors and Julius Randle of the Los Angeles Lakers. “There were hundreds of people outside waiting, coming and going because they couldn’t get in,” Drew League commissioner Chaniel Smiley said of the packed crowd Sunday. “Today’s crowd had to be on my top-two list.” LAUNFD started the game with Harden, Paul, Bobby Brown, former NBA player Pooh Jeter, and 2018 ESPN 100 top high school player Marvin Bagley III. Home Town Favorites started Delon Wright, 12-year NBA veteran Dorell Wright, Hardaway, Golden State Warriors rookie Jordan Bell and USC sophomore DeAnthony Melton. The stakes were actually high for Harden and Paul’s LAUNFD team, as they had to win to make the league’s postseason. Home Town Favorites got off to the fast start, getting 11 first quarter points from Hardaway to lead 29-22. Home Town Favorites led at halftime 44-40, with Paul making only one-of-eight from the field. But Paul turned it on in the third quarter, making three 3-pointers and showing off his handle along the baseline at one point before making a step-back to force a Home Town Favorites timeout. LAUNFD outscored Home Town Favorites 26-9 in the third quarter before holding on to win. LAUNFD played a lot like the Houston Rockets that GM Daryl Morey has fostered this decade, making and attempting more 3-pointers (16-of-44) than 2-pointers (15-of-35). Harden (6-of-15 on 3s) and Paul (3-of-11 on 3s) were a big part of that offensive mix, something that Brown noted was intentional. “At the end of the day, our strong suit is shooting 3s,” Brown said. “We knew what type of game it was going to be. We knew the type of players we had. We just stuck through to the end and we came out with the win.” At one point late in the game, Harden was stripped of the ball by Dorell Wright, leaving Harden shaken up and holding his left thumb. Harden would finish the game, but it was an uncomfortable moment for Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown, who was sitting courtside. “It was fun,” Brown said about the game. “It got a little suspect there when James wrecked his thumb. But overall, it was fun.” It was reported that Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook would suit up for Home Town Favorites, and while Wright explained that there were conversations about Westbrook playing, he said that Westbrook is “in a different situation than a lot of us.” “We talk about it often, you know, for the past few years. He wants to get out here,” said Wright, who, like Westbrook, went to Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, California. “[Westbrook] has a lot on the table right now. I’m pretty sure that whatever he had going on today, he had to handle that. “He’ll get out here one of these days, and everybody will be pretty happy,” Wright added. If Westbrook would have played, he would have had to negotiate with Melton to wear his signature No. 0. “No, no, no, no,” Melton said when asked if he would have given up the number to Westbrook. “OK, maybe, we’ll see, I don’t know. He didn’t come, so that’s all we know,” Melton added with a smile on his face. The Drew League will continue into August as they prepare to host Jamal Crawford and the Seattle Pro-Am “The Crawsover” in Los Angeles on Wednesday for an invitational. The next two weekends will be Drew League playoffs, which Harden and Paul will now be eligible to play in.
Eurobasket preparation is starting to get underway with a month before the big international competition. Mario Hezonja is sitting out, as expected.Mario Hezonja said after the season ended he did not think he would participate in this summer’s Eurobasket after playing for his national team in each of the past two summers. He said he wanted to stick around Orlando and focus on improving his game ahead of his third season in the NBA. Judging by how poorly he played, focusing on himself seemed like the right idea. Only time will tell if that work will pay off. Hezonja’s decision to skip Eurobasket for Croatia became official this week. Croatia released its roster for Eurobasket this week and left Hezonja out of the player pool. This is no surprise. Hezonja told reporters after the season he was going to skip Eurobasket. This just makes the decision official. Hezonja averaged 4.9 points per game last year for the Orlando Magic, but he struggled to find a role with the team. He appeared in only 65 games, playing 14.8 minutes per game. Hezonja shot just 35.5 percent from the floor and 29.9 percent from beyond the arc. It was a disappointing season for the second-year player. That poor play was not foreshadowed at all in his run with the Croatian National Team. After an up-and-down rookie year, Hezonja played for Croatia at the Olympics. He averaged 9.0 points per game and made 12 of his 24 3-pointers. Croatia largely used him as a spot-up shooter, but he picked his spots to attack and made open jumpers. It looked like he was due for a good season after that. Of course, things did not play that well. Hezonja’s strong summer run with the national team did not translate to the NBA. It left fans, the team and Hezonja all frustrated. To his credit, he recognized all that frustration. He seemed eager to get his summer started. Hezonja never blamed his international play — he said he wanted to play for his national team — but admitted that playing for them may have hurt his individual growth.
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More News at Orlando Magic Daily He said he believed staying in Orlando and working out with the Magic coaching staff will help him. Only time will tell if that works out for him. Hezonja now faces a roster loaded with talented wings and a management group that did not draft him. He will have to earn every single one of his minutes this upcoming season. Eurobasket will take place beginning August 31 in four different countries across Europe. The Magic will have two other players who are expected to play in the competition. First, Evan Fournier is expected to play for France after getting left off last year’s Olympic roster. Fournier opted to sit out the Olympic Qualifying Tournament last summer as he worked out his contract with the Magic. With that worked out, he was ready to play with the Olympics. cheap jerseys China But French coach Vincent Collet opted to maintain the same guard rotation, leaving Fournier off the roster. Fournier was named to the initial 18-man roster for Eurobasket. France will open up play Aug. 31 against Finland. Nikola Vucevic is also set to play. Hehelped Montenegro qualify for the tournament last summer. It is Montenegro’s first Eurobasket since 2013. It is a big achievement for the tiny country to qualify for the European championship. Vucevic is listed on the initial roster for Montenegro on their web site. They open up play at Eurobasket on Sept. 1 against tournament-favorite Spain. It seems the Magic will still see Vucevic and Fournier play in the big international tournament in about a month. But Hezonja will be sitting this one out in hopes of building toward a strong third season.
The Los Angeles Lakers can’t afford to look back, committing to a new path the moment they traded D’Angelo Russell. Lost in the whirling news cycle and immediate analysis was the fact that the Lakers landed 29-year-old Brook Lopez, who just drained 134 shots from deep last season.That’s one less made three-pointer than Russell’s 135, and Lopez did it while shooting just .6 percent worse than D’Angelo. To boot, it was Brook’s first season even trying to be a stretch center, attempting three total shots from downtown in the 15,896 regular season minutes he’s played prior to last season. This is the one of the many lights Lakers general manager cheap jerseys nba Rob Pelinka wanted to shine on their new max contract big man during his introductory press conference, which was clear from his opening statement. “We’re incredibly excited today, and what today is not about, it’s not about players that we traded away. It’s not about creating cap space. It’s about this phenomenal human being and player that we’re so excited to have join the Lakers,” Pelinka said, directing the conversation and focus. The Lakers’ Shakespearean general manager spoke glowingly of Lopez, who he believes can be the guiding compass to a young Lakers core that he fits perfectly with on paper. Lopez’s professionalism and dedication is something Pelinka hopes sets a positive example for a young core that’s going to need a stabilizing presence. Adding the big man who’s averaged at least 20 points per game in four of his nine seasons as he enters his prime is something Pelinka believes will define the upcoming season for Los Angeles. He doesn’t see the next 82 games as a year of rebuilding, either. “Brook is going to be a key leader for us to help these young men grow into great NBA players, and we don’t see next year at all as a rebuilding year, we see it as a Lakers year, and a lot of that is going to be centered around him, and what he stands for and what we know he’ll give to this organization,” the Lakers’ general manager said. That very well may be the case. Lopez could be a great partner for Lonzo, a great mentor for Ivica Zubac and Thomas Bryant and a great teammate to all. Those details have always been on the surface, but the conversation has largely revolved around those things Pelinka said their press conference was not about.
““I think it’s a perfect fit, and I think he’s a perfect road map to our next generation of centers” – Rob Pelinka” What it was was a chance for Pelinka to tell the Lakers’ side of the story, which included the chance to evaluate Lopez for a year while the NBA tries to mold every big man into a perimeter shooter. With any luck, the Lakers may have found theirs. “Luke’s system is predicated on having bigs that can stretch the floor and create space, especially with Lonzo Ball and Jordan Clarkson as attack guards. Having bigs opens up the floor and allows them to make plays, allows Brandon Ingram to get increases, Julius running the floor, Larry… I think it’s a perfect fit, and I think he’s a perfect road map to our next generation of centers here, too,” Pelinka said. Lopez has spent his entire nine-year career with the Brooklyn Nets, and when asked about how he felt leaving the only franchise he’s played for, he compared it to the uncertainty of draft night at first. It didn’t take long for him to embrace the next chapter in his career, though. “Once I was settled I think a lot of those emotions turned into general excitement for this opportunity and this chance to come back home and play for a team I grew up cheering for, and help lead this franchise back to success. “I want to be out there teaching the young guys, helping them do whatever I can and just being a guy Luke can rely on to go out there and do whatever he asks,” Lopez said. The Lakers, as constructed, need that reliable focal point. Lopez fits the mold of being just that, slogging night in and night out for a Nets team that’s only made the playoffs twice during his tenure. It’s that perseverance, that drive, to continue improving and remain focused on being the best individual he can be on the basketball court that Pelinka believes will help drive the Lakers culture in the direction he and Magic Johnson envision. “He’s adapted to the new style of play in the NBA. Every year he’s committed to his fitness, his endurance, how he takes care of his body. How he treats other human beings. We just couldn’t be more proud of who he is and how he’s going to help us lead this new Lakers team that we’re forming,” Pelinka said. Brook Lopez isn’t D’Angelo Russell, nor is he the player that fans and the front office hope to see in Los Angeles with the elusive salary cap space the franchise created. What he could be, though, is the perfect center for this Lakers team.