NBA News & Notes: Robinson, Redick and Brewer

Nate Robinson is reportedly returning to Boston.

Robinson, an unrestricted free agent, has agreed to a two-year deal that will pay him around $4 million per season to return to the Celtics, the Boston Herald reported, citing a league source.

Shortly after Yahoo! Sports first reported news of the re-signing, the Twitter-friendly Robinson seemed to acknowledge the reports of his return by Twittering a song entitled, “Welcome Back.”

Asked by a follower why he chose that, Robinson then Tweeted: “Cuz I’m back n beantown baby yeah.”

Robinson is a talented offensive player and showed some pretty good passing skills when he got some run in the playoffs. He seemed to buy into Doc Rivers’ system and gives the C’s second unit some scoring punch off the bench. I’d expect he’ll play some more now that Rivers (at least somewhat) trusts him.

The Magic matched the Bulls’ offer sheet for J.J. Redick.

As expected, the Magic have matched the Bulls’ offer of three years and $19 million, meaning Redick will stay in Orlando.

In his rookie season, Redick was something of a joke amongst some pundits, but he quietly has turned himself into a capable NBA shooting guard. Offensively, he’s going to stick to what he does best — make open shots. Defensively, he has realized that he’s going to have to put in a lot more effort than he did in college if he’s going to get minutes in the NBA. He is pretty good at chasing through screens and annoying his man.

For the Magic, this was a pretty important signing because Orlando was simply a better team when Redick was playing instead of Vince Carter. At least with Redick, Stan Van Gundy knew what he was going to get.

Chicago strikes out on Redick, turns to Ronnie Brewer.

Sources confirm report that club has agreed to three-year, $12M deal with Ronnie Brewer. Story soon on

The Bulls needed shooters, but when they extended offers to both Kyle Korver and J.J. Redick, it seemed like the two players were a little too similar. Now that Redick is out of the picture, the Bulls can sign Brewer, who is more of a defensive stopper/slasher type. He was good in Utah and showed a lot of promise, but fell out of favor this season when Wes Matthews started to emerge.

Brewer, Korver and Deng will probably rotate at the wing spots. The Bulls might struggle to score when Brewer/Deng are out there as neither player is particularly good from range. But the Bulls will be running their offense through Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer for the most part.

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ECF Game 5: We have a series

Man, between the Suns’ tying up the Lakers in the West and the Magic’s two-game winning streak in the East, the playoffs just got a whole lot more interesting.

A series of injuries to the Celtics’ bigs along with some timely buckets from Rashard Lewis (9 points in the fourth quarter) and Jameer Nelson (24-5-5) led to a decisive 113-92 win for the Magic in Game 5.

Dwight Howard posted 21-10 while J.J. Redick continued his fine play off the bench, scoring 14 points and hitting 2-of-3 threes.

Now the pressure shifts back to the Celtics, who need to close out the Magic in Game 6 or else they’ll have to try to avoid being the first team to lose a series after leading 3-0 by winning Game 7 on the Magic’s home floor.

Jeff Van Gundy didn’t think that the C’s would feel pressured since they have so much experience, but he shouldn’t underestimate the “making bad history” aspect of this scenario. No team wants to be the first in league history to suffer a collapse of this magnitude, and given the collapse of the Boston Bruins, it will definitely be on the C’s collective psyche.

Complicating matters, the Celtics will be a little unsure of the availability of certain players for Game 6. Kendrick Perkins faces suspension unless one of his technicals is rescinded (which is likely to happen) and Glen Davis may not be able to play due to a concussion he suffered in Game 5. Rasheed Wallace also left Game 5 with back spasms, so the C’s could be very thin on the front line.

If they expect to close out the series, the Celtics need better play from Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, who combined to shoot 8-for-25 from the field for just 19 points in Game 5.

The transformation of J.J. Redick

One bright spot for the Magic in this Boston series has been the play of reserve guard J.J. Redick. In four games, he has averaged 11.5 points and has hit 7-of-13 shots from long range.

So how did the former first round pick go from appearing in just 76 games in his first two seasons to playing crucial minutes in an Eastern Conference Final?

I can’t point to just one thing, though he wouldn’t be getting any minutes if he wasn’t playing good defense. He has done a nice job of chasing Ray Allen around screens, which is something that the guy starting ahead of him — Vince Carter — doesn’t do very well. Redick is a nice matchup for Allen because it takes a while for Ray Ray to put the ball on the floor, and that allows Redick, who is not fleet of foot, to cut off the drive.

He’s also making his shots, which is another area of the game where Carter is really struggling. Sure, Carter has the athleticism to penetrate, but what’s the point of having him on the court if he’s only making 37% of his shots and 18% from long range? If you’re Stan Van Gundy, wouldn’t you rather have Redick out there? At least he’ll knock down some shots when given the opportunity.

It has been an interesting road for the former college player of the year. He certainly had his detractors coming into the league, but when you can shoot like he can, there’s a place for you in the NBA, assuming you can figure out how to defend. And that’s exactly what Redick has done.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Who has the “thinnest line” in the NBA?

What is a “thin line,” you ask? Well, I’m not 100% sure I coined it, but it’s my term for a player who scores, but brings almost nothing else — rebounds, assists, steals or blocks — to the table.

In order to determine who has the thinnest line in the NBA, I divided the player’s points by the sum of their rebounds, assists, steals and blocks to come up with the Thin Line Ratio (TLR). The bigger the number, the thinner the line.

To be eligible, a player has to average at least 20 minutes per game. And to be fair to the biggest scorers in the league, if their rebounds, assists, steals and blocks add up to 10+ per game, then they’re not eligible. So players like Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Danny Granger and Kobe Bryant are in the clear. I figure any player who is posting 10+ in those four categories is bringing plenty to the table.

So here’s a look at the 10 thinnest lines in the NBA:

1. Kevin Martin (TLR: 2.89)
2. Jamal Crawford (2.79)
3. Marcus Thornton (2.69)
4. Ben Gordon (2.51)
5. Eric Gordon (2.43)
6. Ray Allen (2.43)
7. Jason Terry (2.36)
8. Richard Hamilton (2.33)
9. Corey Maggette (2.31)
10. J.J. Redick (2.28)

Surprise, surprise…that’s a list of nine or ten shooting guards, depending on how you classify Corey Maggette (and maybe Jamal Crawford). These are players whose job it is to shoot the ball and they obviously embrace that role. You won’t see these players battling for rebounds or doing a lot of penetrate and dish.

The top point guard in TLR? Aaron Brooks (2.19), winner of this year’s Most Improved Player award.

The top small forward (other than Maggette)? Josh Howard (2.12)

The top power forward? Bill Walker (2.14), but he played in just 35 games. Al Harrington (2.12) was the next highest PF on the list.

The top center? Andrea Bargnani (1.91), but is he really a center? The next highest eligible center is Channing Frye (1.33).

Who has the thickest line (i.e. the lowest TLR)?

PG – Jason Kidd (0.61)
SG – Thabo Sefolosha (0.72)
SF – Luc Mbah a Moute (0.78)
PF – Jared Jeffries (0.71)
C – Marcus Camby (0.43)

Jason Kidd plus four defensive specialists. Boy, that would be some ugly offense, but they’d be a bitch to score on.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Poll Results: Why do you hate Duke?

Over the past week, we’ve conducted a poll that asks our readers why they hate the Duke Blue Devils. Here are the results (250 respondents):

The results are interesting. While 37% of respondents freely admit that they don’t hate Duke, that means that 63% do, for one reason or another. The top reasons were “they get all the calls” with 20%, “private school, elitist student body” with 14%, and “Christian Laettner, J.J. Redick, etc.” with 8%. Surprisingly, “Coach K” (3%) and “they win too much” (4%) were not popular responses.

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