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Archive for November, 2013


By Robert Littal 

 jameis-winston

This doesn’t mean Jameis is guilty of rape, what it does mean is at some point his DNA got on his accuser’s underwear.

How that specifically happened we still don’t know, but she is accusing of him of rape (read her statement here), so it isn’t a far fetched to say it was probably from some sort of sexual activities.

A DNA analysis completed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Tuesday confirmed that DNA provided by Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston matched the sample taken from the underwear of a woman who has accused him of sexual battery.

According to the DNA analysis report, a copy of which was viewed by ESPN.com on Wednesday, the Florida state crime lab determined that the chances of the DNA in the woman’s underwear are a match for someone other than Winston was one in 2.2 trillion.

Once again, it doesn’t make him guilty of anything and we don’t know specifically what this means, but the notion he wasn’t there at all or was a bystander obviously isn’t true.

Something happened in that apartment, we don’t know the truth at this point, but hopefully we will soon.

 

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Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports

Nearly three weeks into the regular season, the excuse about how it’s too early to judge anyone harshly is gone by the wayside. Such is hoops life when approximately 12% of the schedule is already in the rear view mirror. As such, here’s a look at which teams have been most disappointing, which players may be the most disappointed, and what it all means in terms of possible forthcoming changes.

THE “BATTLE” FOR NEW YORK

Embattled is more like it.

Remember when the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks were not only in a colossal cage match for Big Apple supremacy but considered championship contenders? October suddenly seems so long ago.

The Nets (3-6 entering Monday) aren’t playing winning basketball and have very little reason for hope at this point. First-year coach Jason Kidd’s job is considered completely safe for now, as management assumed all along that this project would require patience and they see signs of growth he develops his bench style. Injuries to Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko and Brook Lopez have played a part and take some of the onus off the coach. As far as possible roster changes, the Nets are all-in with this high-priced bunch and simply don’t have the valuable assets that could lead to a deal of much consequence before the Feb. 15 trade deadline.

As for the 3-6 Knicks, the fireworks are just getting started inside Madison Square Garden. Coach Mike Woodson is certainly under fire, though — like Kidd — he has more than enough injuries on his roster to point to as an excuse for the horrid start. (The biggest is center Tyson Chandler being out four to six weeks after fracturing his right fibula earlier this month.)

By 

 Midway through the third quarter tonight, I looked down at the Pacers box score which was yet again showcasing a beautiful bevy of balanced basketball. George Hill and Lance Stephenson each had 13 points while Luis Scola, David West, and Paul George stood at 10, 8, and 8 respectively.

If you prefer outstanding individual offensive performances, Pacer box scores may fool you into thinking that they are boring. And yet, despite the balance, several Pacers did in fact submit fantastic individual offensive performances tonight.

Starting anywhere other than the budding 23-year-old superstars would be a waste of time. From the get-go, good Lance showed up, snatching down rebounds with his trademark ferocity while also showcasing his improved playmaking ability. He ended up finishing with twelve assists as he seemingly looked to pad his assist total throughout the entire 4th quarter, but it’s hard to imagine someone playing a more complete and consistent first half than the one Lance submitted (despite this ridiculous technical that the officials felt necessary to whistle him for). By halftime, he had 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists while also harassing the offensively challenged Tony Allen at every turn. To be honest, Lance played one of the few games where even his triple-double stat line understated his performance.

For his part, Paul George started out slowly, missing two decent looks from downtown in the first quarter before once again, sitting out the first eight minutes and change of the second. Still, it wasn’t one of those “Paul George just doesn’t look engaged” types of games that have plagued him in previous seasons. He kept attacking openings in the defense and hauled down several big rebounds – he was simply missing shots he has normally made so far this season. He would break out of his mini shooting slump in the third quarter by going 5-6 from the field for 13 points as the Pacers broke the game wide open. George now sits in elite company with Hakeem and Shaq as the only players in NBA history to score at least 20 points in every game of an 8-0 start.

Both guys are only 23-years old (starts hyperventilating a little bit).

In all, it was a dominating and complete performance from the league’s only remaining undefeated team. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Pacers led 80-55 before stepping off the gas a little bit in garbage time. Luis Scola was brilliant, yet again off the bench with 10 first half points. CJ Watson, after playing quite well in the starting lineup in George Hill’s absence, looked completely comfortable leading the second unit. In the first half alone, he contributed four assists and had several “Everybody, let’s calm down” moments in important spots. Even Ian Mahimni displayed some Roy Hibbert-like defense in the paint and rolled to the basket several times for easy buckets and trips to the free throw line.

I’ll stop now before I spout off some hyperbole about the Pacers being unbeatable when they play like this, because rash statements like that can only come back to haunt you.

By Glenn Erby 

melo-not-a-winner

As Carmelo Anthony heads towards his impending free agency, his reputation and value among some NBA executives might surprise even him.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard spoke with several league executives about Anthony, asking them about Anthony’s strengths and weaknesses and if they thought he had enough drive to win a title on his own.

The answers are revealing, but not that shocking.

One executive compared him to Stephon Marbury. and another said worse.

“He’s probably Robin on a championship team instead of Batman. He has Batman talent, but the intangibles are missing.”

“He’s not a winner.”

I think Anthony will continue to open himself to such criticism as long as refuses to change his game to make his teammates better.

Anthony has had stretches this year where he’s jacked up 26 shots or more in a game, while having 3 assist or less.  He must make a concerted effort to make his teammates better or he’ll never be considered a winner in this league.

 

 Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Carter-Williams must really not want to play for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Relax, I’m kidding. But that is one way his recent comments could be interpreted.

“Every game I try to prove that I could’ve been the No. 1 pick,” Carter-Williams toldYahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears recently. “I have confidence in myself that I should’ve been.”

No doubt being selected first overall would’ve immediately boosted his status, but it also means he wouldn’t be playing for the Sixers. Furthermore, he’d also be with theCleveland Cavaliers, buried behind Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters unless they traded him.

Let’s just read this as a mission statement, then. That’s what it is, after all; Carter-Williams just wants to prove he was good enough to be taken higher than No. 11.

So far, so good there.

Anthony Bennett, the actual No. 1 pick, didn’t convert his first shot of the season until Game 5. Philly’s point guard, meanwhile, has been tearing it up.

Michael Carter-Williams vs. Anthony Bennett
Player GP MPG PTS REBS ASTS FG% 3P% PER
Bennett 5 12.2 1.0 3.2 0.2 0.050 0.091 1.5
Carter-Williams 5 35.4 19.8 5.0 7.6 40.0 35.7 21.3

Via Basketball-Reference

 Admittedly, comparisons to Bennett don’t mean much at this point. Cleveland’s rookie is off to a historically bad start and it would also be cause for alarm if Carter-Williams was doing the same.

Proving he should have been the top pick is about more than outperforming Bennett, though—it’s about separating himself from everyone in his draft class, which he’s already done.

 MCW has fared better than Bennett…and every other rookie.

 Currently, Carter-Williams leads all rookies who have played in at least two games in points, assists, steals and PER. He’s also third in rebounding.

Averages of 20.7 points, 9.0 assists and 4.3 steals through his first three games earned him Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors, too, making him the first rookie since Shaquille O’Neal to win the award after his first week.

 In his first game of the year against the Miami Heat, he also led the Sixers to an improbable victory while becoming the only player in NBA history to record nine steals in a regular-season debut.

 At every turn, there has been Carter-Williams, soaring above fellow neophytes and cementing himself as the present Rookie of the Year favorite.

 Sustaining this kind of production will grow more difficult as the season trudges on and opposing teams and scouts become familiar with his play style. But his preliminary results are beyond encouraging.

“He patted me on the back and said, ‘Good job,'” Carter-Williams told Spears of his interaction with LeBron James after the Sixers took down the Heat. “Coming from a great player like that, yeah, it did mean something.”

If Carter-Williams’ early performance means anything, then he’s well on his way to playing like a No. 1 pick.

 

Long Will Get A Shot To Start For Siena

By Mark Singelais
 Patsos high on Saints’ freshman forward going into exhibition game
 Incoming freshman Lavon Long drives up court during a pickup basketball game with his new teammates on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at Siena College in Loudenville, N.Y. (Cindy Schultz / Times Union) Photo: Cindy Schultz / 00022962A
  • Incoming freshman Lavon Long drives up court during a pickup basketball game with his new teammates on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at Siena College in Loudenville, N.Y. (Cindy Schultz / Times Union)

Lavon Long hasn’t played an official game forSiena College yet. Nevertheless, head coachJimmy Patsos is already impressed.

“There’s days he doesn’t practice great, but he’s like our best player,” Patsos said. “Consistently.”

That explains why Long, a 6-foot-6, 234-pound freshman forward, will start when the Saints face Division III New Jersey City University in an exhibition game at Alumni Recreation Center at 7 p.m. on Saturday. It’s also the return to campus of former Siena great Marc Brown, the NJCU head coach.

“I’m excited,” Long said. “Hope it’s a big game and everyone comes out to support us. I think it’s a really big honor and I want to show what I can do because (Patsos) has a lot of faith in me to maybe start as a freshman.”

Though Patsos has publicly discussed many different lineups during the preseason, he has been steady in saying that Long will be in the starting five when the Saints face the University at Albany in the regular-season opener at Times Union Center on Friday night.

“He’s just a player,” he said. “He’s a passer, a rebounder, a competitor.”

Siena views Long, who comes from Columbia, Md., as a matchup problem who can play either power forward or small forward. He showed flashes in Siena’s tour of Montreal this summer, averaging 9.6 points over five games against Canadian colleges.

“I’m a guard and a big man at the same time,” Long said. “So if a big man plays me, I can score on him, just take him off the dribble. If a guard plays me, I can post him up.”

He’s also a lefty shooter, which he said throws off defenders.

“It helps a lot,” Long said. “Most people are not used to guarding left-handed people at all.”

Long credits his well-rounded game to his mother, Lisa, a former Division I forward at the University of Iowa. She led the Hawkeyes in rebounding for three straight seasons before graduating in 1987.

“She made sure I learned all that early,” Long said. “She was my coach for a while, so she drilled it into me.”

Lisa Long is in the process of moving to the Capital Region from Maryland to be closer to her son. She has already attended at least one Siena practice and she’ll be a vocal presence at games, according to her son.

“Very loud fan,” Lavon Long said. “Always hear her. Getting on me mostly.”

He played for Mount St. Joseph, a private school in Baltimore, before the high cost of tuition led him to transfer to Oakland Mills for his senior year. There he averaged 15 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game while leading Oakland Mills to a 24-1 record.

Long first committed to Loyola (Md.), where Patsos was head coach. When Patsos decided to leave for Siena, Long had no problem following him.

“I wanted him to be my coach, so it wasn’t really a hard decision,” Long said.

Long chose Siena in part for the cozy campus and said he hasn’t been disappointed so far.

“Everything’s close and you never get lost, so that’s nice,” he said. “And you always see a familiar face and I know a lot of people on campus.”

A lot of people will know Long soon if he lives up to his early potential.

Note: Siena will likely start point guard Marquis Wright, shooting guard Evan Hymes, small forward Rob Poole, Long at power forward and either Javion Ogunyemi or Imoh Silas at center against NJCU. … Tickets are $12 for adults, $7 for children and can be purchased at the door.

 Most expect Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins to be the top pick in the 2014 NBA draft—should he decide to come out. While that remains to be seen, Wiggins made it abundantly clear that he plans on being a one-and-done player for the Jayhawks in a recent interview for ESPN The Magazine, according to ESPN.com.

Wiggins enters the 2013-14 season as the odds-on favorite to be named the most outstanding freshman in the nation, and many consider him to be a Naismith National Player of the Year candidate as well.

Wiggins seems fully cognizant of that, and he apparently plans to cash in on his potential success by entering the draft after just one collegiate campaign.

When asked what he has enjoyed most while at Kansas, Wiggins didn’t exactly veil his response.

“I would say just being able to enjoy my last year of school,” Wiggins said.

 That is certainly more than a hint that Wiggins intends to leave Kansas once the year is up. One-and-done players have dominated the top of the NBA draft in recent years, and Wiggins hopes to do the same—but after winning a national title, if all goes well.

“Win another championship, a national championship,” he said. “Follow in Anthony Bennett’s footsteps of going No. 1.”

Regardless of how far Kansas goes this season, though, it’s difficult to imagine Wiggins returning to school.

The 6’7″ small forward has drawn comparisons to future Hall of Famers such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant already. While he has a long way to go before he can even come close to living up to those expectations, it says a lot about how Wiggins is already being perceived by talent evaluators.

Unless Wiggins has an unforeseen disastrous season, it’s difficult to argue with the notion that he should enter the draft. Wiggins seems to realize that, so it appears as though the NBA’s worst teams will be trying to out-lose each other in hopes of landing a generational talent.

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