Norman Powell

Community Shootaround: Shooting At The Buzzer In Decided Game

Count Courtney Lee among the latest NBA players to complain about opponents putting up shots in the final seconds of a decided game. On Friday night the Grizzlies laid waste to Lee’s Knicks, culminating in rookie Wade Baldwin IV standing at half-court with the ball and a 10-point lead as the game clock neared expiration.

Just before time ran out, however, Baldwin hoisted a deep three and nailed it. The basket pushed the Grizzlies above the triple-digit mark earning Memphis fans in attendance free chicken.

Lee, unhappy to lose by 10 but considerably angrier losing by 13, went after the rookie but was thwarted by a handful of Grizzlies veterans.

For him to do that, what are you doing it for, bro?,” Lee told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Think about the people who’s doing it. They got bad luck in this league. … I don’t know what made him want to do it.”

Lee’s reaction is a common one among NBA players but should it be?

Just last week Lance Stephenson incited his own commotion by adding a layup in the final seconds of a win over the Raptors. Then, Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan called the moot field goal “disrespectful to the game“. This, naturally, was followed up by Stephenson exposing an instance of DeRozan’s teammate Norman Powell doing similar to the Sixers earlier this season.

Ultimately, the NBA and fan community that drives it need to decide what is permissible in the waning seconds of a ball game and what’s just sour grapes. In response to the Stephenson/Raptors theatrics, Bobby Marks of The Vertical  tweeted “I’m so tired of these unwritten rules in basketball. If you don’t want a player to shoot at the end of the game then play some D.

On one hand, it’s easy to empathize with players like Lee or DeRozan who see the unnecessary field-goal attempts as salt in the wounds of a fresh defeat. On the other, its a thin line expecting everybody to subscribe to the same unwritten rules of a game.

Should players adopt Marks’ stance and play defense if preserving a spread is so important to them? Or should players on the winning end know not to shoot when the game is out of reach?

Factors to consider are that some veterans will go so far as to let the shot clock expire before hoisting a shot at the buzzer resulting in their being assigned a turnover. Another is the fan factor, such as that which was in effect for Baldwin IV. Reaching certain point milestones, usually 100 points, can sometimes trigger benefits for fans in attendance. Does this impact the appropriateness of a last second basket?

You tell us in the comments below!

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Raptors, Oakley, Lin

Sixers center Joel Embiid claims he’s “more surprised than everybody else” how well this season has gone after he was sidelined two seasons by foot injuries. During the interview with ESPN Radio, Embiid admits he entertained thoughts of retiring during those lost seasons. “I was such in a dark place, I wanted to quit basketball,” Embiid said.  “I just wanted to go back home and just leave everything behind.” Embiid pines for the Rookie of the Year award, saying it would be validation for the sacrifices he made to get back on the court. He’s hopeful of returning soon after the All-Star break after missing the last 11 games with what he describes as a left knee bone bruise, though he reportedly has a partial meniscus tear.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The  Raptors do not want to part with young assets now that they’ve made a big move by acquiring power forward Serge Ibaka, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Toronto would prefer to hold onto Delon Wright, Jakob Poeltl, Lucas Nogueira, Pascal Siakam, Norm Powell and Fred VanVleet, Smith continues. They could still package Jared Sullinger‘s expiring contract, a 2017 first-rounder and one of their backup point guards to make another move, Smith adds.
  • Charles Oakley doubts his issues with Knicks owner James Dolan will ever be resolved, Newsday’s Jim Baumbach relays via a Sports Illustrated interview. Despite a meeting with commissioner Adam Silver and Dolan earlier this week, Oakley is still fuming over his forcible removal from Madison Square Garden and arrest on February 8th.  “My life is going to change a lot because it’s just like getting a DUI sometime or going to jail for murder,” he told SI. “It’s something on my record. If you Google my name, it’s going to come up. And that hurts.”
  • Nets point guard Jeremy Lin is expected to return to action immediately after the All-Star break, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. Lin practiced on Tuesday without any setbacks, according to NetsDaily.com. Lin’s season has been wrecked by hamstring woes. Signed to a three-year, $36MM contract last summer to be the team’s No. 1 point guard, Lin has appeared in just 12 games.

Raptors Notes: Ibaka, Ujiri, Biyombo, Powell

Power forward Serge Ibaka, who was acquired Tuesday in a trade with the Magic, won’t be making his Raptors debut tonight, the team announced (Twitter link). Ibaka passed his physical and was available for the game, but Michael Grange of Rogers SportsNet tweets that Toronto coach Dwane Casey decided to hold him out after today’s walkthrough, citing a hectic past 36 hours. Ibaka’s first game in a Raptors uniform will take place after the All-Star break on February 24th.

There’s more news out of Toronto:

  • The Ibaka deal raises the stakes for the Raptors, Grange writes in a full story. Ibaka fills an obvious need for Toronto and immediately becomes the organization’s most experienced postseason player. Grange calls it a risk-free trade and notes that Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl and Lucas Nogueira have made most of the starts at power forward this season after having a combined seven career starts coming into this year. “I think our team needed a boost, to be honest,” said team president Masai Ujiri“and we’re at that point where I think everybody knows, it’s not rocket science, that [a starting power forward] was a missing link on our team.”
  • Ibaka said he heard great things about Toronto from former Magic teammate Bismack Biyombo long before the trade took place, relays Josh Lewenburg of TSN Sports (Twitter link). Biyombo spent last season with the Raptors before signing with Orlando in July. “He always told me stories,” Ibaka said. “… He loves it here.”
  • Second-year shooting guard Norman Powell can expect more playing time with Ross gone, according to Lewenburg (Twitter link). However, Casey wants Powell to concentrate more on defense and less on shooting than Ross did. Powell is averaging about 17 minutes and 7.2 points through 52 games.

Atlantic Notes: Pierce, Celtics, Powell, Nets

Long-time Celtics star Paul Pierce expects an emotional scene Sunday when he plays his final regular season game in Boston, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Pierce is finishing his 19-year NBA career as a little-used reserve with the Clippers. He has appeared in just 12 games this season, averaging about 12 minutes per night. But L.A. coach Doc Rivers plans to play him tomorrow to give Boston fans one last chance to salute one of their favorites. “I played under the lights of retired numbers, a lot of legends, man,” Pierce said. “So that right there is pressure in itself when you’re out there trying to hold the franchise down and you see the numbers and then you look up and Bill Russell, [Bob] Cousy, [John] Havlicek and all them are in the stands and you’re trying to live up to the expectations that they put [for] the franchise.”

There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:

  • Pierce would consider working for the Celtics after his playing career ends, relays Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. “That’s a possibility,” Pierce said. “Me and [general manager and president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] stay in contact, so that’s a possibility.”
  • Toronto  should consider giving a larger role to shooting guard Norman Powell, argues Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. The slumping Raptors have lost eight of their last 10 games and are dealing with injuries to DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Patterson. Smith contends that giving Powell some time at small forward would improve the team’s defense and maximize his ability to drive to the basket.
  • A long season of losing is starting to break the Nets‘ spirits, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn sank to an NBA worst 9-41 with Friday’s home loss to the Pacers. “I think it’s just human nature,” said coach Kenny Atkinson. “I think we’re searching, and when you’re searching and it’s not flowing, I think that’s where the hesitation is right now. And I’ve definitely seen that seeped in. So what we’re trying to do is show them our corrections and stuff we can get better at.”

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Porzingis, Powell, Sixers

The Celtics will include one of their main backcourt pieces if they make a major trade, Chris Mannix of The Vertical anticipates. Boston will have trouble affording the quartet of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier in the long run and can’t add an impact player without shedding one or more of them, Mannix continues. Smart is eligible for an extension next summer and will command a starting salary of at least $10MM, while Thomas and Bradley can become free agents in the summer of 2018. It will take a good chunk of the salary cap to retain both, in Mannix’s view. The starting backcourt can also have their contracts renegotiated this summer but Mannix is skeptical that GM Danny Ainge would eat into future cap space to make that happen.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis and other players with rookie contracts will get a significant boost in pay once the new CBA is ratified, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Porzingis will receive a 15% increase next season and a 30% bump in the final year of his four-year rookie-scale deal, Berman continues. Sources informed Berman that Porzingis’ revised salary will increase from $4.5MM to $5.1MM next season and from $5.6MM to $7.3MM in 2018/19.
  • The Raptors need another elite player to become true title contenders but they should try to hold onto shooting guard Norm Powell, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun opines. Powell has the ability to play three positions and could play some minutes at point guard if Toronto includes current backup Cory Joseph in a blockbuster deal, Wolstat continues. In any case, coach Dwane Casey should try to give Powell, 23, more consistent minutes, Wolstat adds.
  • Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor will continue to start together in the Sixers’ frontcourt during their upcoming West Coast swing, Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com reports. According to Seltzer’s research, that duo has 52 shared minutes over the Sixers’ last four contests, producing an offensive rating of 95.0 points per 100 possessions, and a defensive rating of 113.3 points per 100 possessions.

And-Ones: Spurs, Celtics, Sixers, Pistons, Nuggets

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili aren’t certain whether they’ll retire, as Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com details, but they’re not the only Spurs liable to hang it up in the wake of the team’s playoff elimination Thursday night. Andre Miller has strongly considered retirement, though he, too, hasn’t made up his mind yet, as he told Marc Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). San Antonio’s contract with the 40-year-old Miller expires at the end of next month while Duncan, also 40, and Ginobili, who turns 39 in July, have player options. David West also has a player option, and though he turns 36 over the offseason, the talk surrounding him isn’t of retirement but of the lack of regrets he has about sacrificing roughly $11MM to sign his two-year minimum-salary contract with San Antonio last summer, as Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio News-Express relays (Twitter links).

“It’s been a great experience,” West said of his season with the Spurs. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

See more from around the NBA:

  • The Celtics, Sixers, Pistons, Nuggets, Pacers and Trail Blazers all benefited this season from set-off rights, reducing their obligations to waived players who had guaranteed salary remaining on their contracts, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders details. Boston saved $620,306 from the money it owed David Lee because he signed a deal with the Mavs that paid more than $845,059, a figure equivalent to the one-year veteran’s minimum salary, Pincus writes. The Sixers saved $227,241 on JaVale McGee the same way. The Nuggets were spared $68,144 on Pablo Prigioni, the Pacers avoided paying $159,900 to Toney Douglas and the Trail Blazers shaved $327,064 from their bill for Mike Miller, according to Pincus. The Pistons saved $341,353 on Josh Smith, though that figure will be spread evenly over each season of the five-year obligation Detroit still has to him because the team used the stretch provision.
  • The Pistons also got cap relief for Aaron Gray, whom they owe $452,049 each season from 2015/16 through 2017/18, Pincus points out. Gray had to retire because of a heart condition, but a team can remove the cap hit for a player who had to retire because of a medical reason one year after his final game. Gray last played in 2014. Detroit still must pay the money to Gray, but it doesn’t count against the team’s cap, Pincus notes.
  • Agent Jason Glushon and the Wasserman agency mutually agreed to part ways, and Glushon will start his own agency, a source told Spears (Twitter link). Glushon has a short list of clients, with none more prominent than Hawks soon-to-be free agent Al Horford, who left Wasserman, Glushon and B.J. Armstrong to sign with Bill Duffy of BDA Sports last fall only to rejoin Wasserman a couple of months later. Jrue Holiday and Norman Powell are other Glushon clients.

Raptors Notes: Casey, DeRozan, Lowry, Biyombo

The Raptors may be looking at a complete overhaul if they lose tonight’s Game 7 against the Pacers, writes Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. GM Masai Ujiri gave coach Dwane Casey a vote of confidence before the playoffs began, but Wolstat expects a coaching change if the Raptors don’t win this series. A loss could also affect the team’s desire to give max money to shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who will become a free agent in July. The two-time All-Star has seen his production drop in the playoffs, and Wolstat says many in the organization are losing faith that he will ever become an effective postseason player. “You don’t really get caught up with what everybody’s saying, what everybody’s writing, what people who probably never played basketball in their life have got to say about it, other people’s opinions,” DeRozan said. “You just go home, whether you hang with your family, watch the film and just get ready for tomorrow.” A loss may also affect the future of point guard Kyle Lowry, who can opt out after next season and will be seeking a max deal at age 31. Center Bismack Biyombo will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the Raptors may have to move some salary if they want to keep him. That could mean not re-signing DeRozan or trading backup swingman Terrence Ross.

There’s more pregame news out of Toronto:

  • If Casey does get fired, he has done enough with the Raptors to land another head coaching job, Wolstat tweets. Casey has a 210-184 regular season record in five seasons with Toronto but has never won a playoff series.
  • The Raptors are pleased with the development of rookie shooting guard Norman Powell, but that won’t affect their decision on DeRozan, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Powell, a second-round pick whom Toronto acquired from the Bucks on draft night, spent much of the season in the D-League but averaged 5.6 points per night in 49 games with the Raptors.
  • Casey acknowledges the “heavy burden of history” hanging over the Raptors as they enter Game 7, relays Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star. Toronto, which claimed the second seed in the East with a 56-26 regular season record, is coming off playoff disappointments against the Nets and Wizards the past two seasons. “It means everything for us to advance,” DeRozan said. “The season would be a failure if we don’t make it out of this first round.”

Atlantic Notes: Afflalo, Durant, Powell, Early

Executives around the league believed Arron Afflalo was likely to turn down his $8MM player option for next season with the Knicks even before the shooting guard and interim coach Kurt Rambis began publicly disagreeing about whether they discussed Afflalo’s benching, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Afflalo’s choice is key since the team would have the cap flexibility necessary to chase middle-tier max free agents if he opts out, Begley notes. Afflalo and teammate Derrick Williams must decide on their player options no later than June 22nd, the day before the draft.

See more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Former Providence College head coach Tim Welsh said in an appearance on “Toucher & Rich” on WBZ-FM that his conversations with NBA types of late indicate that the Celtics will be on the list of teams Kevin Durant‘s will at least look at in free agency this summer, in large measure because of the allure of coach Brad Stevens (video link via Comcast Sports Net Northeast).
  • DeMarre Carroll‘s injury has given Raptors 2015 second-round pick Norman Powell more of a chance at the NBA level that first-rounder Delon Wright has had, and Powell is playing a much different role in Toronto than he did early this season on assignment with the team’s D-League affiliate, notes Eric Koreen of Sportsnet. Still, Raptors D-League coach Jesse Mermuys sees Powell’s time with Raptors 905 reflected in his play of late. “All he saw was the rim, no matter how many bodies were there,” Mermuys said of Powell’s D-League performance. “We really wanted to try to develop when he got to the paint and got to the rim and there was a crowd, [that he would be] able to make the right play and the simple play, which he dramatically improved in his time. The more time he played and worked at it, it was a pretty rapid improvement, which was a huge sign for him. His ability to improve at that rate is why he is in the position he’s in now.”
  • The Knicks have recalled Cleanthony Early from the D-League, the team announced (Twitter link). Early has made only one 19-second appearance at the NBA level since he was injured in a December shooting.

Atlantic Notes: Wroten, Okafor, Rondo, Powell

The Knicks apparently held reservations in the recent past about Tony Wroten‘s gambling style of defense, but sources tell Marc Berman of the New York Post they see him as a good defender who’s aggressive in the passing lanes. Wroten, who remains unsigned, is reportedly unlikely to see action for the Knicks this season even if he and the team do finalize a reported two-year agreement, but interim coach Kurt Rambis sees merit in adding him, as Berman relays.

“If he’s not healthy to play, we can evaluate him over summer,” Rambis said. “We see potential in him. Now we have his rights. He’s a penetrating guard. He was somebody who can really break down defenses and attack the basket, but I haven’t seen him play in a while. [There are] a lot of management reasons to do something like that, that still holds value to the team, even if he’s not actively playing the rest of the year. It’s a management and medical decision right now.”

See more on the Knicks and other teams from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers coach Brett Brown didn’t rule out the idea that Jahlil Okafor will miss the rest of the season because of lingering soreness in his right knee, though he strongly cautioned that no such decision has been made, as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays. The No. 3 overall pick from last year’s draft underwent a CAT scan Tuesday and hasn’t played since February 28th.
  • Carmelo Anthony sees soon-to-be free agent Rajon Rondo as an ideal fit for the triangle offense, but Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News argues that Rondo would be a poor free agent choice for the Knicks, citing his lack of shooting, questions about whether he’s truly an elite player and frequent involvement in controversy.
  • Norman Powell has proven a steal at the No. 46 pick last year, contends Mike Ganter of The National Post. Minutes have been inconsistent for the Raptors small forward, but he’s nonetheless getting some significant playing time and making a contribution to the Eastern Conference’s second-place team, as Ganter details.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, D-League, Davis

Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony admitted that the playoff success of LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade, all of whom he calls friends, has him questioning what he needs to do to break out of the what he termed “the worst three-year stretch” of his career, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News writes. When asked if he was envious of the trio, Anthony responded, “I don’t think envy is kind of the right word,” Anthony said. “I do look at my peers and say, ‘Damn, what am I doing wrong? I should be there.’ There was one point in time where they were looking at me like that. Made [the playoffs] 10, 11 years straight. Right now it’s kind of a rough patch for me. I’m trying to figure out a way to get out of it.

Anthony also noted that his failure to attend a mandatory team charity event on Wednesday was because of a personal commitment and not to express his displeasure over the team issuing an apology on his behalf to a fan he had a verbal run-in with, Isola adds. “I was with family,” Anthony said. “I had something to do with the family.” The veteran scorer also relayed that he and team president Phil Jackson haven’t discussed the matter, the scribe notes. “It wasn’t that big of a deal to the people that really knew what was going on,” Anthony continued. “I just accept it. I came to grips with that a long time ago, that that’s going to be the way it is.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Veteran point guard Baron Davis doesn’t want to be remembered for being carried off the court injured during his last appearance and looks at the D-League as a chance to work his way back into the NBA, Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com writes. Davis, who recently joined the Sixers‘ affiliate in Delaware, told the CSN scribe, “I wanted to start from the bottom. I think for me, it’s humbling, it’s something special. I can be around young guys, see what they think, see what it feels like. For me, it’s just working my way up. I want to start from the bottom and go as far as I can.” When asked if he would be willing to join the Sixers despite their struggles, Davis candidly responded, “I’ll play for anybody. I’m here in the D-League. I’ll play for anybody, to be honest.
  • The Raptors have recalled Bruno Caboclo, Lucas Nogueira and Norman Powell from their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This was the 12th trip on the season to the Raptors 905 for Caboclo, the sixth for Powell and the fourth for Nogueira.
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