Adam Morrison’s 2010 NBA Finals highlights

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Revisiting the 2006 NBA Draft class

Tyrus Thomas

On the heels of what many are labeling the greatest first round NBA series of all-time, there’s already been a lot of talk about how good the recently exited Chicago Bulls can be next year. And with good reason: Derrick Rose is already on his way to becoming one of the game’s best point guards, Ben Gordon (despite the fact that he plays worse defense than the 2008 Detroit Lions) is a lights-out scorer, and Joakim Noah can do it all from a defensive and rebounding perspective.

But perhaps the most intriguing player in this year’s Celtics-Bulls classis series was Tyrus Thomas. His play was a bit of a revelation in the series, as he consistently knocked down the 18-foot jump shot NBA 4s need to make, and his athleticism continues to be off the charts. He’s got the potential to be an all-star.

There is a saying in the NFL that it takes three years to truly evaluate a draft class, and to a lesser extent this is true in the NBA as well. Since Thomas and Boston’s stud PG Rajon Rondo are both from the 2006 NBA Draft class, how about we take a look at who the top 10 picks were, and who the revised top 5 should be?

2006 Draft (the actual top 10)

1. Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors

2. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers

3. Adam Morrison, Charlotte Bobcats

4. Tyrus Thomas, Chicago Bulls

5. Shelden Williams, Atlanta Hawks

6. Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers

7. Randy Foye, Minnesota Timberwolves

8. Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies

9. Patrick O’Bryant, Golden State Warriors

10. Saer Sene, Seattle SuperSonics

2006 Draft (the should-have-been top 5)

1. Brandon Roy

2. Rajon Rondo

3. LaMarcus Aldridge

4. Rudy Gay

5. Tyrus Thomas

The ’06 class has hardly set the world on fire in its first three years, with its only redeeming value being that they’ve featured second-round gems like Utah’s Paul Millsap, Cleveland’s Daniel Gibson and Boston’s Leon Powe. But in terms of potential star power, don’t stick a fork in 2006 yet – all 5 of my revised top picks could end up as all-stars.

If the teams could do it over, who do you think they’d take?

Vladimir Radmanovic criticizes Lakers, unintentional hilarity ensues

Just hours after being traded to Charlotte, Vladimir Radmanovic criticized his old team’s game plan.

“Being a Laker was a great experience,” Radmanovic told The Charlotte Observer before Sunday’s 96-92 loss in Miami. “But it was also frustrating not knowing when and how I’d play.”

“Phil’s system, great as it is, doesn’t give a role player much opportunity,” Radmanovic said. “For Kobe Bryant, it’s great. For Pau Gasol, it’s great. But role players don’t do much.”

The Serbian pointed to the value of his versatility Sunday. He told the Observer he’s comfortable at power forward or small forward.

“I’ve been playing 3 and 4 my whole career,” Radmanovic said. “Obviously I’m a little quicker than most 6-10 guys, so I can guard smaller players.”


“I can guard smaller players.”


I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit focusing solely on Radmanovic on the defensive end. Sometimes I’ll just watch him for a series of possessions just for a laugh. The guy is absolutely lost on that end of the court. Lost.

He has no awareness, is unable to see both his man and the ball and is always caught out of position. If he were a rookie or maybe a second-year player, the Lakers could have worked with him. But he’s 28 and it’s tough to teach an old dog new tricks.

You don’t have to be the quickest guy in the world to be a decent defender. You just have to understand positioning and know where you’re supposed to be on the court. Radmanovic doesn’t, and that’s why the Lakers traded him.

I can’t wait to see what Larry Brown does with this guy. Radmanovic might very well force him into retirement again.

Lakers trade Radmanovic for Morrison

In one of the most random trades ever, the Lakers and Bobcats traded disappointments.

The Charlotte Bobcats traded managing partner Michael Jordan’s first draft pick on Saturday, sending struggling forward Adam Morrison and reserve guard Shannon Brown to the Los Angeles Lakers for forward Vladimir Radmanovic.

Jordan’s first major decision after becoming part owner with the final say on all basketball decisions was taking Morrison with the third overall pick in the 2006 draft over Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay and others.

Morrison and Brown were never a good fit. Morrison’s defensive deficiencies didn’t mesh with Brown’s style, and Morrison had failed to hit shots consistently, struggling in a starting role the past four games after small forward Gerald Wallace suffered a partially collapsed lung and a broken rib against the Lakers on Jan. 27.

Morrison, who cut his trademark hair short before this season, will get a chance to crack the Lakers’ rotation and become an outside scoring threat. Morrison, who averaged a national-best 28.1 points for Gonzaga in 2005-06, missed all of last season after tearing a knee ligament in a preseason game.

Morrison, due about $5.3 million next season in the final year of his rookie contract, was averaging just 4.5 points while shooting 36 percent from the field and 34 percent from 3-point range.

The deal also gives the Lakers some salary-cap relief. Radmanovic is owed $6.5 million next season and $6.9 million a year later in a player option.

Since he plays so little (and for the Bobcats), I haven’t seen much of Morrison since he entered the league. His PER (6.02) is brutal and his career shooting percentage (37%) is equally awful. The Lakers are rolling the dice that the guy just needs a change of scenery. He’s a decent three-point shooter (33%) and if he can get his confidence back, maybe he can help his new team. After all, he’s just 24 and still has a little upside.

With this trade, Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak rids the team of one of his worst signings — Radmanovic. He’s a good shooter, but he’s completely lost defensively and can’t be trusted on that end of the court. Morrison may turn out to be equally as bad, but the Lakers get out of the last year of Radmanovic’s contract, which runs $6.9 million in the 2010-11 season.

2008 NBA Preview: #24 Charlotte Bobcats

Offseason Movement: The Bobcats re-signed Emeka Okafor to a big contract, which will keep the big man in Charlotte for the foreseeable future. The team hired Larry Brown to take over as head coach.
Keep Your Eye On: D.J. Augustin, PG
The Ray Felton Era may be over in Charlotte. The team drafted Augustin #9 overall, and it looks like they want him to be the point guard of the future. Brown is notoriously tough on his guards, so it will be interesting to see how this position battle evolves over the course of the season. The team has talked about playing Felton at off guard, but he doesn’t shoot the ball well and Jason Richardson will likely get most of the minutes there, so I’m not sure how that’s going to work.
The Big Question: Does Larry Brown still have it in him?
Brown is known for turning teams around. With the team building around Okafor, Richardson and Gerald Wallace, he does have some talent to work with. Can Brown get something out of Adam Morrison? It’s not a given that the 68 year-old has the energy or the stamina to succeed during the grind of another NBA season.
Outlook: The potential is there for a playoff berth in the East. If Brown can coax good play out of Augustin/Felton at the point, Richardson provides efficient shooting at off guard, and Wallace and Okafor continue to produce on the front line, then the Bobcats might be in business. The bench is a question mark, but that’s true for most of the teams in the league. If the team doesn’t buy in to what Brown is selling, we could be looking at another season of New York Knicks-style griping and complaining, only no one will care because it’s Charlotte.

Check out our NBA Preview page for a look at every team. We’ll be posting three previews per business day, which will take us up to the start of the season on Tuesday, October 28th.

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