Who will be a better NBA point guard?

For the last month we have been running a poll here that begs the question, Who will be a better NBA point guard between Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings. We just had to throw that question to our readers after Jenricky_rubio_brandon_jennings_slam_magazinenings publicy dismissed Rubio’s hype and ability on the court long before the NBA draft. Then as we all know, Rubio was drafted 5th overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves while Jennings was taken at the 10th spot to the Milwaukee Bucks. After a few NBA summer league games word is that Jennings is looking solid and quite possibly like the player he describes himself to be, which is bascially: amazing, unstoppable, Jason Kidd in his prime-esk. Meanwhile Rubio is deciding if he will be earning enough money to play here in the U.S. since part of his contract goes to his old team overseas…

Personally I expect Rubio and want Rubio to be a better NBA player. I’ve heard too much about Jennings off the court to have respect for him anymore. Either way, here is what you guys thought. In a survey of 40 participants: 75% or 30 particpants feel Rubio will be a better point guard while 25% or 10 participants feel Jennings will rise up.

Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez.

James Harden and Jordan Hill Sign

Arizona’s Jordan Hill and Arizona State’s James Harden have inked contracts for their respected NBA teams. Hnba_logo_2_z-thumbill was the 8th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft for the New York Knicks while James Harden was the 3rd overall pick for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Details of Harden’s contract were not released yet however it is rumored that Hill’s contract looks something like 4.3 million over the next 2 years. Personally I’m still waiting to hear news about Chase Budinger, another former ex-zona player and Jeff Teague, my underdog pick to turn up huge in the league.

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.

Summer League

Since I can’t personally fly down to Orlando and report on the pro summer league, I’ll do the next best thing; send you to someone who can.  That someone happens to be David Thorpe, a respected basketball coach and ESPN contributor.  He’s been tweeting his observations almost non-stop over the last few days.  Obviously the tweets, being limited by length, are not what you’d call comprehensive.  However it is nice to get a feel for what’s going on.

Moon Shot

Moon Shot

Here is a link to an insidehoops.com page with the complete summer league rosters.  Yes, if you’re wondering, the Sixers and Nets have a combined team.  If one your favorite players has flown under Mr. Thorpe’s radar don’t be alarmed.  Although it’s nice to be commended, sometimes it’s the egregious errors that earn notoriety.  Without further adieu:

Tweets day 1

Tweets day 2

Two things I saw caught my eye: 1) Coby Karl, Coach Karl’s son, is playing well.  The guy survived cancer and is now doing his best to stick with an NBA club.  2)  Psycho-T Hansbrough’s first NBA shot was blocked!  I’m sick of hearing about what a great player he is, this is the big-leagues; good luck getting by in the NBA playing the part of the goggled, gratuitously sweaty but hustling old guy at open gym. (That’s my role!)

Last few notes:

Former Cavs assistant John Kuester is the new Pistons head coach.

It’s reported that Mike Bibby has agreed to a new contract to remain with the Atlanta Hawks.

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.

Rasheed Wallace chooses Boston Celtics

Rasheed Wallace was one of the leagues best available free agents until this evening when reports surfaced that he has officially chosen Boston as his next location to play. Wallace was considering San Antonio, the Orlando Magic, and the Dallas Mavericks as other possibilities but in the end it looks like he chose Boston in order play alongside Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. Immediately the discussion on ESPN is whether Wallace will provide the lift the Celtics need to return to an NBA final. My answer is contingent upon whether Cleveland adds any more pieces to their team.Rasheed_Wallpaper_NBA

Right now I would imagine an Eastern Conference final featuring Boston and Cleveland with Boston slightly edging out Lebron and the big Diesel. However if the Cavaliers add anything more, I mean anything more like a better towel boy that keeps the players better hydrated, then it would seem the duo of Shaq and Lebron with solid complimentary players would still be too much for Boston to handle. Lets face it those Boston stars are getting up there in age. Not to say that Shaq isn’t but that is only one player compared to the core starting 4 of Boston. On paper Boston does looks better, on the court Cleveland does. This Celtics line up can be compared to that of the Los Angeles Lakers a few years back when they had 4 future hall of fame players in the starting line up: Kobe, Shaq, Malone, and Payton. That line up also looked amazing on paper but did not on the court. The NBA championship teams of the most recent years tend to be built around a perfect mesh of young talent and clutch veteran play. Big news that Wallace has chosen Boston but still no upgrade for the Celetics. Trevor Ariza would have been a better fit there with the defense that he brings, his youth, and his low-key profile.

NBA removes Liquor ban

Within the past month the NBA officially removed a long time ban on courtside advertising by spirit brand companies. The Miami Heat was the first NBA team to make the removal of this ban advantageous for their biggest sponsors, supposedly by allowing Bacardi to assume the ability to advertise court side in the upcoming 2009-2010 season.Teams which already have sponsorship deals with spirit brand companies may have signed previous contract agreements that were contingent upon the removal of court side advertising for an increase contract sum. It is estimated that these type of contracts have clauses that will increase the amount that NBA teams recieve from their spirit brand sponsors by 10%. Is it possible that the Boston Celtics court will look something similar to what is pictured below for this upcoming season? Besides the bottle neck changing the figure of the 3-point line, it really could become a possibility over the next few years.

The league had a remarkable year in regards to viewership of the NBA finals which surpasses the record setting viewership numbers of the previous year’s final between the Celtics and Lakers; so you can guarentee sponsors will be after NBA teams this upcoming season. With the economic crisis it would make sense that NBA teams accept such sponsorships while the offer is on the table. You do have to wonder about thenba-liquor-ban NBA’s social responsibility iniative which carries the slogan, “The NBA where caring happens.” After all court side advertisements which encourage  you to drink seem to run in the opposite direction and who knows what will go down at the palace in Detroit if fans are throwing back shots before the game. Indeed the NBA and everything it has to offer this upcoming season should be amazing, so amazing.

Bron Bron and Artest?

The Cavaliers are stoked.  Not only did they land the giant Saguaro Shaquille O’Neal, but now Lebron is working his star power in an attempt to convince Mr. Ron Artest to join them in Cleveland.  Signing a guy like Artest would be huge, making them the unequivocal favorites to win the east, even if the Celtics are healthy.  Also, it’s rumored Trevor Ariza’s representation is making him available to the rest of the league.  It sounds like talks with the Lakers are breaking down and the Cavaliers are possible suitors.  Ariza probably wouldn’t have the immediate impact that Artest would, but he is also much younger and his game has consistently improved since leaving UCLA for the NBA.  Ariza could be a great long-term fit but the Cavs appear unwilling to wait for a title.  In either scenario however, the Cavs will be in great shape.

In other news, Detroit has made the first big moves in the free agent market.  With their seemingly endless cap space they were able to pursue and sign both Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon.  The reported deals have Ben Gordon earning $55 million over 5 years and Villanueva raking in $40 million over 4 years.  Now all they need is a coach.

(Also it’s rumored Rudy Fernandez is pissed about the possible Hedo deal.  Watch it closely, he is reportedly considering heading back to Europe.)

You know that Heinekan commercial where a group of women scream with the sight of their friend’s new walk in closet only to over hear their husbands screaming louder with the sight of a walk in closet filled with beer? Well imagine that with Shaq and Artest joining in. Confused? Watch below.

Jordan Hill gets off the ground fast but is down to earth

When Jordan Hill showed up at the University of Arizona as a freshman, he was just tall. After 3 years in Tucson playing under 3 different coaches he is now tall and NBA caliber talented. As you may know,  Hill was drafted 8th overall in this recent 2009 NBA draft by the New York Knicks for his ability to be a beast on the court. This past season at Arizona he averaged exactly 18.3 points a game and 11 rebounds every contest even with his consistent foul trouble. What you may not know about him is that he is actually a gentle giant off the court. He is basically Sanka from Cool Runnings mon. Hill looks Jamican, acts Jamican, and may be Jamican? No but Hill is the first NBA player to join our Facebook page which is awesome. He is such a relaxed person that it is rumored that he would roll into McCale center at Arizona blasting Bob Marley from his ride as his choice of pre-game pump up music. You New York fans out there, how do you boo a player that jams to Marley? Anyways here is a great interview with th 6’10” power forward just days before he was drafted.

Lingerie Basketball League?

The Lingerie Football League is set to commence on September 4th of this year in Chicago. For those who are unfamiliar with the LFL, it began with the Lingerie bowl which was featured in the past years at half time of the Super Bowl. The Lingerie bowl was a football game in which women played full contact football in nothing but their lingerie. After the success of these half time games a brand new league is about to begin with 10 different teams representing 10 different cities. The San Diego Seduction are fast to be favored as the best team, but the real question we have here is if the Lingerie Football league is successful, will we see a Lingerie Basketball League? Were guessing probably not, but who knows?basketball15