Lakers’ Journal

Are you an avid Lakers fan? How about just a sincere hoops fan who wants the scoop on the defending champions? Then I suggest you head over to the Lakers’ Journal at MVN.com to find anything and everything about the Lakers. As of recent I have become a free-lance writer for MVN and have been putting in contributions over there. Of course more is coming soon here at Basketball with Dino Gomez but if you’re in need of some news regarding Phil Jackson and the crew then I suggest MVN is your spot.

Lakers With Artest Could be Great or Terrible

The Los Angeles Lakers are only a few months past this most recent NBA championship. Of Course they took the title for a fourth time in the last decade and did so by way of a Hall of Fame coach and arguably the best 2-guard in the league.

However the Lakers had other key players that more than contributed to their 2008-2009 title. Pao Gasol did major work for them in the post while Lamar Odom provided the versatility that all teams desire from a power-forward. Lets not forget Trevor Ariza who was an amazing defensive stopper for L.A. and who came up with a few big time steals in the playoffs to seal victories for the team.ron-artest-lead

So the question begs if the Lakers had such a great chemistry on their team and perfect fit players at every position, why did they let Ariza go and bring in Ron Artest? Of course Artest may be an upgrade on the court but Ariza for this specific team is more valuable. You don’t have to worry about Trevor causing problems off the court, in the locker room, or with the media. With Artest you definitely do. Ariza also made all the plays you would have wanted him to make without taking away from Kobe’s brilliance.

Here is why Artest is probably the worst off-season acquisition the Lakers could have made. Bringing in a fellow all-star who desires and expects attention and setting him next to Kobe is simply a bad idea. It was different bringing in Gasol who is humble and isn’t a media whore. But Artest is going to want interviews and the spot light and photographs and I bet he will do what is necessary to make sure he gets all of that.

Championship caliber teams are always about chemistry and not simply about talent. Remember when the Lakers had Shaq, Kobe, Malone, and Payton all on the same starting roster. That did not work out for them. Surprising as it is you need a balance of players that compliment each other and that are not just individually talented.  The lakers had that last year and by getting rid of Ariza for Artest they may have lost it all. It will be exciting to see.

Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez.

3 Draft Picks to Watch

Summer league has passed and it is now that time for draft picks to get antsy if they haven’t signed a contract yet with their new teams. Of course there are many first round draft picks who have signed large contracts and will be players to watch shine the following years to come. However it is often exciting to keep tabs on those players who are unexpected to do well in the NBA.nbadraft2009

1) Chase Budinger- First mention goes to Chase Budinger. For those who know me well of course I’m going to talk about his recent multi-year agreement with the Houston Rockets. Here’s a player that came into Arizona recruited by Lute Olson himself who felt Budinger was the best high school recruit that Arizona had ever landed! That is a big deal coming from coach Olson who had recruited many current and past NBA players to Arizona. Budinger put up great overall numbers in his three years at U of A but never truly reached his potential. Perhaps it was due to having 3 different coaches in his 3 years with the program and off-the-court distractions. Either way he averaged 17 points a game with 5.8 rebounds in his 3 years in the desert. This resulted with him earning the 44th overall pick in the 2009 draft. He went from a McDonalds All-American to the 44th overall pick in the NBA draft? The Houston rockets were quick to catch on that Budinger must have had his problems in college but that he was still an amazing player. That is why this past week he was signed to a multi-year contract with the organization after leading the club in scoring through out summer league play. Having watched Budinger at Arizona for 3 years I think he will surprise many with his offensive talent in the league.

2) Terrance Williams With the 1tth overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft the New Jersey Nets grabbed Terrance Williams. Now williams did draft quickly and is expected to do well in the league but it seems his talent is still overlooked. Williams averaged 2.3 steals a game this past year at Louisville and is as quick as lighting for a 6’6″ wing. His average of 11 points per game in the 2008-2009 season was the result of playing amongst a team of all-stars in which he did not have to score excessively. With the exclusion of Blake Griffin in this discussion, Williams is my pick to win rookie of the year in the 2009-2010 NBA season. He will certainly have opportunities to shine on the court playing for New Jersey this year which is a huge part of winning the ROY award. Without the chance to play you can’t possibly win the award which is why I’m thinking he’s got the green light.

3) Eric MaynorSet all kinds of records for his college Virginia Commonwealth which might as well be a junior college? Maybe its just hard to keep track of all colleges these days because until the 2009 tourney I had not heard of it or of Maynor. Either way after some research and after watching his first round performance it’s easy to say that Maynor is an amazing point guard. I expect him to have a successful NBA career although I’m not sure if it will happen in Utah behind Deron Williams. Perhaps this first year he will grab some playing time when Williams needs a break and when he does, watch for him to put points on the board in a hurry. It will be fun to see how he does in his first year. Due to his circumstances in college (which was having to carry his team repeatedly against stronger and more talented teams), I  believe the adjustment to the NBA will be that much easier for him.

Who are your NBA rookies to watch for? Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez

Guy dunks basketball with his legs!

It seems like every week there is another new video that surfaces with amazing footage of a basketball play. This video is no exception. My cousin sent me the link and it is perhaps the craziest of trick shots that I’ve ever seen. Already people are claiming its fake. I would like to think its real. Everything isn’t a set up and doesn’t have some hidden underlying purpose. The lebron dunk tape incident was not some Nike stunt to increase Lebron’s hype. He has plenty of it and was seen at 3 media televised events in the two weeks in which the tape was hidden. With that said heres the video. What do you think about it? Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez

Great NBA Twitter Accounts

Since everybody and their mom is on Twitter, I thought that I would go ahead and list some of those NBA players who have also joined the bandwagon. Now not all of the following players actually tweet every message themselves… some players have ghost tweeters or people that tweet messages for them. However all the following accounts are real and do represent the players themselves.The following list is composed of those accounts which I enjoy following and those which tweet often. A more comprehensive list can be found at Blogs with Balls.nba-twit1

Handle of the Week- Peter Robert Casey

It was easy for us to decide who was most deserving of The Handle of the Week award this Friday, Peter Robert Casey. (Handle of the Week award is described at the top of this page in more detail… look above)  Peter is a one of a kind basketball intellectual as well as a networking king. He is all over the internet and has 50k plus followers on Twitter. He also does a great job with his blog, PeterRobertCasey.com, where he recently interviewed Claude Johnson, the founder and president of Black Fives, Inc. Make sure you check out how that Q. and A. went with Mr. Johnson over there and while your at it read about New Heights.

Our Handle of the Week award goes to… Peter Robert Casey.

Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez.

Peter Robert Casey: Director for Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC)

Recently I was given the opportunity to interview Peter Robert Casey, the director of sponsorships and business development for the Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC) at the legendary Rucker Park in Harlem, New York. Peter is responsible for the future coordination of the EBC’s  first ever out door AAU tournament and for operating the EBC’s online social media efforts. He has an amazing resume and is a huge name in the basketball realm.

Besides his work with the EBC, Peter is also a freelance Basketball columnist at ESPNthemag.com, Bouncemaruckerjayg.com, and Slamonline.com. He most recently wrote an article on his own blog that is a must read titled, “150 Reasons to love the game basketball.” With that said, lets check out his responses to a few questions I threw at him.

Peter:

1) You are the Director of Sponsorships and Business Development for the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic at Rucker Park in Harlem, New York. That sounds awesome but I have no idea what that encompasses? What is it you do for EBC?

Peter Robert Casey: “My role with the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic at Rucker Park (herein EBC) has shifted recently. I am now responsible for building an online community for the EBC using a combination of social media tools. My former role focused on researching, targeting, and approaching prospective corporate sponsors to help underwrite our well-recognized summer league and special events. Sponsorship development is just one aspect of marketing. Now, I’m focused more on leveraging marketing strategies to enhance our brand’s reach and to build community with and between our intended audience.

2)You were also responsible for coordinating the first ever outdoor AAU tournament. How was that turn out? Any amazing hoops moments or player appearances? Did the tourney work well outside?

Peter Robert Casey: “The AAU tournament had to be deferred until next year. Our current economic climate forced us to trim down on the number of special events that we could coordinate and execute this year. Unfortunately, the AAU tournament will have to wait.”

3)So you have this great career going for you which involves a ton of basketball. Plus you have the best slogan for your personal website that I’ve ever seen ( 3 first names, one love, basketball). How did you end up with this all of this going for you? Do you think you could give us a quick step by step play of how you came into working for EBC and how you came into coordinating these big events?

Peter Robert Casey: “Funny you ask the former question. The slogan was born out of frustration for having such a common name (Thanks, mom! JK): Peter Casey. While hard to mispronounce, there are already two famous Peter Caseys – an Australian music composer and an American television producer – roaming this Earth and search engines are well aware of it. Pete Casey was too competitive as a keyword and P.R. Casey is a Senate Minority Counsel in the Ohio Senate. Thus, I decided to brand myself with first, middle, and last name (Peter Robert Casey, and each happen to be acceptable first names.

My involvement with the EBC spawned from a LinkedIn connection and follow-up phone call. As you can probably discern, I’m a huge proponent of using social media to build relationships. I start the process online and grow the relationship offline. The greater majority of my writing, consulting, and marketing work in basketball have either started from, or were a byproduct of, relationships forged on social media. The rest carried over from my former playing and coaching days.”

My interview with Peter ended there as I did not want to take too much of his time away from the game we all love so much. I want to again thank Peter for his valuable insight. What I really have taken to heart from his responses is how he explained that he is a huge proponent of using social media to build relationships. Of course he used relationships from former playing and coaching days as well but you get the sense that not all people use social media as effectively as possible. For example, my interview with Peter was done through email. We have never met in person but have now connected and served to help one another out. Peter gave me an interview and I hope to return the favor by giving him a good name and sending readers from here over to his blog. Social Media really makes sense when you use it properly. Perhaps in the future I will actually get to hang out with Peter. It would be great to make it to one of his future events and even better to play him on the court.

Handle of the Week- Talk hoops

Supposedly the footage of Brandon Jennings dismissing the New York Knicks and his fellow teammates on the Milwaukee Bucks was no longer available on Youtube. After checking out TalkHoops.net , I found that to be false. After reading a few more published articles at there site, it was easy to see that they have a great handle on basketball news and it made sense that they were up to date with the Jennings video footage.

Congrats to Talk Hoop. You are… this week’s Handle of the Week award winner.

Chris Denker from NetScouts Basketball

NetScouts Basketball is an organization that specializes in connecting players with professional teams. They work to bring players visibility and the opportunity to play professionally. In the same breath, Netscouts helps to lead teams to the best available players or to those players which would compliment their team. They operate the largest database of collegiate scouting reports combined with player footage and have an organization of basketball gurus who have experience coaching, playing, and scouting.

Today I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview Chris Denker, the co-founder and managing partner of NetScouts Basketball LLC. I spoke with him over the phone for half an hour in regards to his wealth and knowledge of the game of Basketball. I learned a great deal very quickly.il1n0s00

The following responses from Chris Denker are summarized as close to his actual responses as possible but in no way may be accounted for as completely accurate.

1). Chris, I see you’re the co-founder of NetScouts Basketball LLC. How did you go about creating such an organization and what led you to do so?

Chris Denker: ” Well I’ve coached basketball for over 20 years now. I coached 14 years at the division one level and I have coached internationally in Europe. I’ve coached both men’s and women’s basketball. I’ve been over in London and have spent a good amount of time in England all together. I ran a few clubs there for men and women’s teams. Before long, people started to get to know me and I became an ambassador of sorts overseas. I began introducing the game to younger kids and players. Of course basketball is not big in some places overases. Soccer comes first and then you have rugby, baseball, and football.  Basketball is growing huge right now however.

Then I came back to the States to coach some semi-professional all-star teams and before long was coaching at a few big camps. Ones with extremely talented players who could potentially turn pro… I started helping some of these players to make their way to a professional level internationally. Then I realized that there was a niche to help players find pro teams. Soon after I helped start NetScouts… it’s great… I have friends who play in the NBA,  I scouted the NBA summer league last year. Met some people who were interested in my scouting and draft reports… started offering scouting as a service. Now I’ve scouted over 1200 players and have reports available for teams on players all over the world… there are so many different professional basketball leagues in Asia and all over…”

2). I see you also act as a shooting and drill instructor for your own basketball camp (Denker Basketball Academy of Instruction). Can you tell us a little about that? Did you play basketball in college any?

Chris Denker: “It’s something I’ve done for a while as a coach. I would run individual workouts. Yes I played in college and started coaching actually while I was still in college. When I graduated I began at the high school level and worked with players to improve their game. Once I moved up to the college level, well I could no longer run workouts for players that weren’t yet in college because of recruiting violations. So I stopped instruction for a while when I coached at the college level and now that I’m not associated with any specific collegiate team, I have began instructing again. Also I’ve met players who have asked for my assistance on the court…”

3). Your speaking in Las Vegas this weekend at the SMWW conference/NBA conference and then your off to scout the NBA summer league. Any players your looking out for?

Chris Denker: ” It’s always fun to see the draft picks play… of course you want to see Blake Griffin… for me I like and this goes along with NetScouts but to watch those players who are on the cusp of playing in the NBA. Not all players go straight from college into the NBA, some have played all over and are working there way back up to the league… all NBA teams have their own scouts so its fun to find those players that they overlooked… this past year Dahntay Jones broke into the starting lineup for the Denver Nuggets but previously was not given a chance to play on the court. (side note- Jones’ salary was under 800k this year as a result of not playing much in the past but after starting with the Nuggets, he was just offered $11 mil over the next four years with the Indiana Pacers.) The biggest story of this past year would probably be Anthony Morrow. He was undrafted out of Georgia Tech and really didn’t play much when he was in college. But last year in the summer league this guy never missed a shot during warm ups. Now granted its warm ups but still you wondered if that would carry to the game. So you got this 6’6″ skinny shooter who doesn’t play in any of the first 3 summer league games but who lights it up in the remaining few games of the summer and earns himself a spot in the NBA. He now plays on the Golden State Warriors… its great just looking for that golden nugget that nobody else sees.”

I stopped bombarding Chris with questions there and want to thank him again for his time and for such powerful responses. Just hearing about everything that goes on inside the scouting world really makes you want to fly out to Vegas immediately  in order to watch these players develop. Hopefully someday… until then I recommend you all follow Chris Denker on Twitter and stay current with news from the NBA summer league by checking out his blog.

Jennings: Making life hard on himself

Brandon Jennings hasn’t done anything in his career yet to warrant the media attention he has been given. He didin’t play well in Italy last year but continually insists that his greatness is yet to come in the NBA. RecentlAAGZ201_16x20-2006Logoy video footage was release of Jennings talking on speaker phone with rapper Joe Budden about Jennings upcoming rookie season. In the footage which has since been removed from Youtube, Jennings insists that guard Ramon Sessions would be cut from the Milwaukee Bucks this season with his addition and that he would easily be able to beat out Luke Ridnour to become the starting point guard for the team. Since footage of Jennings talking trash has been released to the press, Jennings has been quick to apologize as he should.  Here is a player who hasn’t played a game in the NBA yet and has already lost his teammates respect. All I know is that Jennings better be absolutely amazing this year as he so claims because every point guard he matches up against will bring their best game in order to shut him up. His teammates are not going to be excited to help him out either, especially Luke Ridnour who I’m hoping puts him in his place.