Summer Signings, Round 1
July 4th, 2011

In lieu of having any NBA transactions to talk about, we’ll look at the world at large instead. Of all the players to have finished last season on an NBA roster, six have already signed abroad. One of the first to go was Mustaka Shakur, who started the year with the New Orleans Hornets and ended it with the Washington Wizards. For whatever reason, the Wizards did not offer him a qualifying offer, seemingly moving on from Shakur’s prolonged tryout. He thus moved to France to sign with Pau Orthez, the fallen giant who continue to rebuild. Also signing in France was Hilton Armstrong, a somewhat forgettable inclusion in the Kirk Hinrich trade whose NBA days might now be numbered. In five years of trying, Armstrong has never demonstrated much NBA talent outside of having a long neck; given that he spent much of those five years in the New Orleans Hornets rotation, he can’t lament not being given an opportunity. When he signed with the Wizards, Armstrong said he wanted to be a starter. He may now be one, but it’ll be in France. (ASVEL have a strong youth regime that often churns out good prospects. Bangaly Fofana, whose starting spot Armstrong looks likely to take, was a draft-and-stash prospect in the most recent draft, albeit a faint one, and Edwin Jackson is a solid candidate for next year’s one. But if Jackson is a legitimate draft candidate, or if Fofana had been picked 59th this year instead of Adam Hanga, isn’t it a conflict of interest for them to be taken by the Spurs? After all, Tony Parker is the Spurs’s starting point guard, and also ASVEL’s Vice President of Basketball Operations with a 20% shareholding. Even if it is done with the very best of intentions, isn’t […]

Posted by at 7:48 PM

An Unnecessarily Exhaustive Guide To The Eurocup Final Four
April 15th, 2011

The NBA playoffs are basically upon us, and with the brackets now determined, it’s high time to get some betting done. If you don’t pick a Bulls/Spurs finals, you’re a brave man. However, the onset of these playoffs is far from the only thing happening in basketball right now. After all, this is the crescendo of may league’s seasons, not just the NBA’s. This is particularly true in the cases of the intercontinental European leagues; the Euroleague, which has already been covered, and the Eurocup, which is about to be. Continuing a series of posts that take fleeting glances at every worthwhile current player in the world today – the loose theme of which is ‘Why spend all that time watching it all just to never write about any of it?’ – there follows a look at the compelling protagonists of the final four teams in this Eurocup season. Teams list in no order other than alphabetical. Look at the camera, Brian. Benetton Treviso After a thoroughly disappointing season last year, including being knocked out of the Euroleague in only the qualifying round and being unable to make it out of the Eurocup top 16, Treviso jettisoned most of their roster. The biggest addition came in the form of Devin Smith, who joined from Greek side Panellinios. Smith is both the team’s leading scorer and its best defender, averaging 16.1 points in 28 minutes per game in Eurocup play, alongside 5.0 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 0.6 blocks. Smith started out life at a post player, has slowly worked his way outwards, and is now a pretty reliable ball handler and three point shooter as well. He probably takes too many threes now, and he’s certainly not explosive, but his offensive and defensive versatility make him the best player on the […]

Posted by at 12:01 AM