Ben Gordon came off the Magic bench to hit 5-of-11 shots and zero 3-pointers for 15 points, two turnovers and not much else on Wednesday.
The Scoop:He's had a couple surprising games thus far, but we trust Evan Fournier more, and both players will take a severe hit once Victor Oladipo is back from his injury. Starting Gordon in a fantasy league is like playing with fire.
Ben Gordon (dental work) scored five points with zero 3-pointers off Orlando's bench on Tuesday, shooting 1-of-8 from the field with four rebounds in 23 minutes.
The Scoop:Gordon's contract isn't guaranteed for 2015-16 and he's motivated to prove that he's worth one more long-term deal. He may have an occasional 3-point binge, especially while Victor Oladipo is out with a facial fracture, but there's no incentive to own Gordon in 12-team leagues.
The Scoop:Gordon had some dental work done, but he's fine and should make his Orlando debut in the Magic's first game. He may get some extra time with Victor Oladipo (facial fractures) sidelined indefinitely.
The Scoop:"I think it's a huge year for me," said Gordon. "I never had a year before like last year where I basically didn't even play. This year is to re-establish myself and who I really am as a player. I want to try to be as consistent as I can be on a daily basis, whether that's putting in my work in the gym or in games. I want to let my hard work flow and take advantage of this opportunity." The Magic are very deep at the shooting guard position with Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier, and Willie Green, so it's not likely Gordon will be able to return to his days of averaging 20 points per game. Gordon has been pretty irrelevant from a fantasy standpoint for some time now, and despite his optimism heading into this season, he should not be drafted in standard leagues.
The Scoop:After averaging just 25.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc last season, the addition of a three-point shot to the 22-year-old's game would be music to fantasy owners' ears. Harris yet to live up to the hype that has surrounded him in fantasy circles, but a continued improvement on his 2013-14 averages of 14.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 0.5 three-pointers makes him well worth a a pick in the later rounds. If Harris is able to improve his outside shot, this may very well end up being the biggest contribution that Ben Gordon makes to the Magic.
It’s when you know you’re right, even though you want to be left. When you want to be wrong, because being wrong could bring about so many wonderful things. The 2013-14 Detroit Pistons were never going to work out. Josh Smith was never going to cut it as a small forward, Brandon Jennings was never going to kick it with that contract on a team like this, Maurice Cheeks was never going to be the sort of voice or bring the sort of vision that would put it all together. We knew this in July and August, and it played out from October until April. We were right, about this team’s potential to fail, even if we wanted to see something pretty cool out of this cadre of seemingly mismatched players. The Pistons lost that “seemingly” qualifier early in the season, incumbent big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond were lost in the miasma almost immediately, and Cheeks seemed helpless as the team lost five of its first seven games. Even in an Eastern Conference that was universally hailed for its awful depth beyond the top two seeds, the Pistons failed to make a dent, and Cheeks was fired after serving barely half of the first year of a three-year contract he signed with the team. Most importantly, after nearly 29-year run with the organization, a 14-year placement in the front office and 13-year stint as general manager, Joe Dumars was let go following the 2013-14 season. His latest attempts at turning the corner – after years of working through coaches, lottery picks, free agents and bum trades – failed miserably. He was ahead of the game when he started , and well behind it when he left. He was the prized asset of a franchise that struck deep in the NBA playoffs for half a decade, and its biggest millstone in the six years that followed that run. In steps another hoped-for savior in the form of Stan Van Gundy. The former Heat and Magic coach won’t act as the outright general manager, the much-respected Jeff Bower will handle that nasty work, but SVG will have the final say in all personnel decisions, while running the day to day operations from the practice court and the sidelines. He’ll coach things, and he’ll settle things; a needed presence for a team that is as unsettled as ever. Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings still remain, as nobody is lining up to deal for either of those players even as they work in their mid-to-late 20s. Greg Monroe is back for another season after failing to come to terms with the Pistons on a contract extension, working for the qualifying offer and likely counting the days until July. Andre Drummond is just as likely to receive a massive contract extension during the 2015 offseason, just as Monroe flees elsewhere. The litany of Dumars-drafted wing help – Kyle Singler, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the departed Brandon Knight – has yet to make much of an impact. This is why 2014-15 has to be a turnaround year. An attempt to drive up Smith and Jennings’ trade value. A chance to see what can be done with Caldwell-Pope (the team’s 2014 lottery pick was dealt to Charlotte by Dumars in a cash-saving maneuver, used to unload the final year of Ben Gordon’s contract). A move to turn Drummond into a franchise player. A holding pattern pitched to potentially make the playoffs under steeled leadership while keeping long term options open. In short, more a recovery effort than a rebuilding project. These Pistons have a long road ahead of them, and it’s going to take Stan Van Gundy quite a while to find his footing on Joe Dumars’ stretch of salted soil.
Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe isn’t taking an unprecedented step, respected and/or high end lottery picks like Ben Gordon, Michael Olowokandi, Stromile Swift, Spencer Hawes and Raymond Felton (amongst others) have all signed the qualifying offer with their incumbent teams, but only Hawes eventually re-signed with his team the following summer as an unrestricted free agent. At this point, we’re not sure if either side is looking forward to such a re-committing in the summer of 2015. This hardly matters in the interim. The Pistons and Monroe have decided to agree to a qualifying offer of nearly $5.48 million for the 2014-15 season, as first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski . Were Monroe an unrestricted free agent this summer, he likely would have signed for a contract starting at around twice that on the open market. As a restricted free agent during this offseason, however, teams were likely scared off at the idea that any offer sheet they approached Monroe with would be eventually matched by the Pistons, costing the moneyed approach-ers crucial time during the busiest days of the NBA’s free agent summer. We’re now in the dullest weeks of the NBA’s free agent summer, and the Pistons have won out. Reportedly, the team never offered a deal to Monroe, preferring to let restricted free agency play in their favor. As a result, they’ll be the beneficiaries as they watch one of the league’s top scorers at the power forward position plays for less than half the league’s average salary in 2014-15. The question from here is, will Greg Monroe eventually win out? Yes. A thousand times yes. Unless something goes terribly wrong, and even then, probably … yes. Monroe has his faults. He improved defensively last season and the season before, and diligent low post defense isn’t as sorely need at his position as it was in years past, but on the whole he has serious issues with help defense both near and away from the rim in the screen and roll game. He is far from a stretch four, though you still have to mind his 15-footer, and he clashed terribly with former power forward Josh Smith in a massive Pistons frontcourt last season. If my favorite team signed Greg Monroe to an eight figure yearly contract, I’d be uneasy. I’d also talk myself into it, though. And this is what NBA teams will do next summer, when the other obvious free agent candidates move to other teams, and an aching general manager/ownership combo will throw scads of dollars at Monroe, who didn’t even turn 24 this year until Detroit’s season had been over for nearly two months. Monroe has yet to play in the playoffs, less a function of his lacking play and more of a result of the massive upheaval that Pistons fans have had to watch as player after player and coach after coach (nine of them!) have come and gone under former president Joe Dumars. Dumars was ahead of his time when he put together the cap-flexible and quite versatile Pistons squad that eventually won the 2004 championship, but he’s skipped over a series of missteps in the years following, and the Pistons haven’t made the playoffs since 2009. Dumars was let go by new’ish Detroit owner Tom Gores after 2013-14, and though the widely-respected Jeff Bower is the team’s ostensible GM, coach and president Stan Van Gundy will be making all the final calls as the Pistons look to emerge from the clutches of Dumars’ mostly-misspent moves. Van Gundy has said nice things about Monroe, even calling him prior to any other NBA team as the free agent negotiation period officially began in July, but it’s clear that he didn’t want to bid against himself to commit big money to Monroe in his first months on the job – and proof of that philosophy is in this qualifyin’ puddin’. Monroe will likely be staying with the Pistons the entire season. If Detroit does develop a midseason deal involving the scoring forward, he has veto power and can decline the trade. If Greg does decide that he wants to end up where the Pistons want to send him, he’d better think twice – Monroe will lose his Bird Rights with the new team, meaning that he’d have to be dealt to a squad with significant 2015 cap space in order to re-sign a contract set to what he thinks he’s worth. Such a move would also hamper that hypothetical team’s other offseason pursuits. There’s also the fear of injury, as Monroe is banking on 2015 and beyond while hoping that he doesn’t back into a career-altering malady. As we’ve written before , though, many teams would line up for the shot to sign an injured Monroe next summer, knowing that he might not be at his best in his first season with his new team. Teams, in the summertime, can talk themselves into anything. If Monroe has a terrific season? Then Detroit can offer more money spread out over more years next summer in unrestricted free agency in order to lure him to return. If Monroe finds the return an uneasy one, and another team swoops in following the season? Those are the breaks: Van Gundy would likely move the borderline (unless Sacramento has something up its sleeve that we don’t know about) untradeable Josh Smith up to power forward, and retain his cap flexibility moving forward. It seems like a win for all sides, even if Monroe is rightfully unhappy at the moment, and even if the Pistons still lose more than they win in 2014-15. Greg Monroe and the Detroit Pistons are taking a qualified risk - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
As the summer wears on, with training camps and preseason play still off in (what feels like) the distant future, we turn our attention to the past. Join us as we while away a few late-summer moments recalling some of the most scintillating slams of yesteryear, the most thunderous throwdowns ever to sear themselves into our memories. This is Dunk History . Today, Kelly Dwyer revisits Joakim Noah making a meal out of Paul Pierce during the first round of the 2009 Eastern Conference playoffs. If you stick with the game long enough, and your team long enough, you’re usually rewarded with a couple of different generations’ worth of highlights. If your fandom sustains, the cookin’ ain’t greasy and your squad's on the right side of both luck and execution, the highlights can play out in varying, wonderful contexts. Watching Michael Jordan win a couple of Slam Dunk Contests was thrilling in the moment, but they were taken in by a kid who could barely write in cursive at the time. Those 3.9 seconds that John Paxson left on the clock in Phoenix were fretted over by a kid still learning his way around a guitar fretboard. Championships in 1996, 1997 and 1998 were celebrated with fist-pumps and laps around the basement den by a young adult who was just starting to figure out that he wouldn’t mind writing about this game for the rest of his life. Jordan retires, families grow old and often apart, and the kid’s got to get his stuff together. The Chicago Bulls have to rebuild, and they’ll pay the price for most of the next decade. You’re now legally allowed to buy beer, and your gut pays the price for most of the next decade. You get a girl, she comes with some kids, and you get a place of your own. And, if you’re lucky, you once again get a team and player of your own. Joakim Noah, for me, is that player. And he plays on my team. I’m very lucky. It wasn’t always easy for me, my team, and Joakim Noah. He was drafted to a Bulls team in 2007 that had made the second round of the playoffs the year before, taken in the lottery as a response to Isiah Thomas’ obsession with Chicago native Eddy Curry. What seemed like the perfect rookie slot on an up-and-coming team turned into an outright nightmare in 2007-08, though, as the Bulls performed terribly on both ends, and Noah was treated as a whipping boy of sorts after he chided some laughing veterans on the Bulls bench during a loss (nothing wrong with that) and argued with respected Bulls assistant Ron Adams (nothing cool about that). The bad-luck streak in dancing school changed a bit as the year moved along. The Bulls were somehow able to find a taker for Ben Wallace’s contract in a trade, which gave Joakim a proper mentor in Brad Miller while afforded starting status to Noah, who, even with his rookie quirks, was still outplaying the indifferent Wallace. Then the Bulls shot up eight slots in the 2008 lottery, allowing them to draft Chicago native Derrick Rose with the top overall selection in that year’s draft. The team also hired Vinny Del Negro to coach, because you can’t win ‘em all. The next season was designed as a holding pattern as the team celebrated backing into a franchise player in Rose, who won the Rookie of the Year that season. Chicago finished at .500, understandable for a young team still figuring things out, but possibly an underachievement considering the level of talent and sound veteran helpers (Miller, John Salmons and Ben Gordon and don’t laugh they were actually pretty good then) the rotation boasted. By the time the team hit the first round of the playoffs, they were expected to act as a road bump of sorts for the defending champion Boston Celtics, even if the C’s were working without Kevin Garnett. Rose and the Bulls caught a still-sleeping Boston squad on the first matinee game of the 2009 playoffs, with the rookie scoring 36 points to go along with 11 assists, and Noah contributing 17 boards and three blocks. The younger Bulls lost the next game, just barely, but after a blowout Boston win in Game 3, things seemed to have righted themselves. Chicago roared back to take Game 4, though, in a double-overtime battle. Boston hung on to win a disputed Game 5 at home, in yet another overtime classic. With Game 6 pitched back in Chicago, with the Bulls’ backs pushed up against the proverbial wall, Joakim Noah helped me make some memories of my own: I didn’t see this one in my parents’ basement, or in a living room I had to share. This was in my house, my living room, on my TV, with my Latrell Sprewell-styled air punches thrown and me not giving a rat’s ass if I woke up my kids who were trying to sleep in the next room. My favorite player on my team, going nearly coast-to-coast and fouling out the other team’s best player along the way. Putting these Bulls up three points (after the foul shot) in triple overtime and forcing Celtics coach and Maywood, Ill., native Doc Rivers into a state of despair. This is my memory, something I’ll never forget, and something Joakim Noah was perfectly suited for. This was a center going 79 feet after slapping a steal away from a swingman. This was a center who in no way resembled the mythical “low-post scorer that we can dump the ball into” that my father continually asked me if it was possible to deal for. This was a guy who worked his way through the lows of 2007-08, coincidentally being suspended by the team on the same day of the lowest point of my professional career, who later developed into my absolute favorite type of player — a slick-passing big man who knows how to move his feet. Chicago went on to lose the series two days later, and turned in yet another .500 effort and first-round exit next season. Cap space and Tom Thibodeau resulted in Chicago managing the league’s best record over the next two seasons, but injury and LeBron James denied the Bulls a chance at the title. The last two seasons have been spent in purgatory while Rose recovered from two different severe knee injuries, possibly placing undue stress on the heretofore indefatigable Noah, who will turn 30 midway through 2014-15. The Bulls restocked again over the summer, Rose is healthy again , and the team figures to be one of the NBA's more intriguing outfits heading into next season. If things go wonderfully, they could make it past LeBron, into those Finals, and bring a title back home to Chicago. Because I’ve been blessed in my employment, I’ll be there to watch it happen in person. I’m glad I didn’t go to the United Center to cover Game 6 of the first-round match-up between Chicago and Boston in 2009, though. I’m glad I got to celebrate that moment in my own, grown, way. By acting like a giddy child all over again. More from BDL's Dunk History series: • John Starks, the Chicago Bulls and 'The Dunk' • Tom Chambers rising like a Phoenix and taking orbit as a Sun • Taj Gibson starts the break, then breaks Dwyane Wade • Baron Davis unloads on Andrei Kirilenko, moves beyond belief • Michael Jordan embarrasses, like, all of the Knicks • The joy of hearing Scottie Pippen posterize Patrick Ewing More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
The Scoop: None.
Aug 20 1:31 ET
News (various sources)
76ers-Magic Preview (The Associated Press) (1 Day Ago | courtesy: The Associated Press) After pinning their latest loss on a listless start, the Orlando Magic acknowledged they must come out with more energy. More...