Rajon Rondo named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team

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Former University of Kentucky basketball player Rajon Rondo has been named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. Rondo totalled 29 points overall, including 9 first team votes and 11 second team votes.

It is the fourth time that Rondo has been named to one of the All-Defensive teams. In 2010 and 2011 Rondo was voted to the All-Defensive first team, and in 2009 he was voted to the All-Defensive second team.

Rondo averaged 11.9 points, 11.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.7 steals this past season for the Boston Celtics, who with a win tonight against the 76ers, will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Rondo finished 3rd in the NBA in steals this season.

Here is a complete list of the All-Defensive teams.

2011-12 NBA All-Defensive First Team
Position Player (Team) 1st 2nd Points
Forward LeBron James (Heat) 24 5 53
Forward Serge Ibaka (Thunder) 20 7 47
Center Dwight Howard (Magic) 16 9 41
Guard Chris Paul (Clippers) 13 9 35
Guard Tony Allen (Grizzlies) 13 7 33

2011-12 NBA All-Defensive Second Team
Position Player (Team) 1st 2nd Points
Forward Kevin Garnett (Celtics) 8 10 26
Forward Luol Deng (Bulls) 6 8 20
Center Tyson Chandler (Knicks) 13 10 36
Guard Rajon Rondo (Celtics) 9 11 29
Guard Kobe Bryant (Lakers) 7 3 17
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Piston’s would love to see Michael Kidd-Gilchrist end up in Detroit

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From MLive.com

Small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could quickly become a fan favorite in Detroit if the Pistons are fortunate enough to get a shot at him in next month’s NBA Draft.

He’s the type of hard-working player fans in a blue-collar town would undoubtedly gravitate toward and adopt as one of their own.

Kidd-Gilchrist, who left Kentucky after helping deliver a national championship during his freshman year, might be raw and is no doubt still a work in progress at age 18.

And although his offensive skills still need plenty of work – especially his perimeter game – Kidd-Gilchrist does the things that NBA coaches love.

He plays good defense, is a strong rebounder and has a great work ethic.

Sounds like some of the qualities that helped deliver three NBA titles to the Motor City and an ideal player for coach Lawrence Frank’s system, eh?

Kidd-Gilchrist was one of four players Sports Illustrated put in its “hitting the jackpot” category. The others were consensus No. 1 pick Anthony Davis – Kidd-Gilchrist’s teammate at Kentucky – Thomas Robinson of Kansas and Bradley Beal of Florida.

“He was Robin to Davis’ Batman at Kentucky, in large part because of his commitment to play both ends of the floor,” wrote SI’s Sam Amick. “For all of the attention paid to Davis as Kentucky’s top talent, Kidd-Gilchrist was regarded as the team’s glue. Coach John Calipari routinely praised him for being the emotional leader and Kidd-Gilchrist was the captain of the Wildcats’ 8:30 a.m. workouts before scheduled practices.

“He might have the best motor in the draft and nothing makes scouts happier than a player who never stops. Kidd-Gilchrist is a tenacious defender with a 6-(foot)-10 wingspan. His inconsistent perimeter game is a concern but his work ethic and approach have NBA teams drooling. ‘He has all the intangibles,’ one assistant general manager said. ‘And he always plays extremely hard.'”

Kidd-Gilchrist was the driving force behind what became known as “The Breakfast Club” at Kentucky. Despite being a rookie on collegiate scene, fellow Wildcats began following Kidd-Gilchrist’s lead and arriving early for practice to do extra work.

It started when coach John “Calipari noticed that Kidd-Gilchrist was coming in early every morning to stretch, work out and take a few extra shots,” Kyle Tucker of the Louisville Courier-Journal wrote in a story published by USA Today. “Encouraged by that and impressed by the freshman’s clutch efforts in early games, Calipari thought he was ready for a leadship role and asked him to ‘drag some guys with you.’

“So he put out an invitation for teammates to join him and Kentucky’s ‘Breakfast Club’ was formed. ‘I’m ready to lead. I’m a freshman but so what?’ said Kidd-Gilchrist. ‘A lot of chemistry is building up. It’s like a brotherhood now.’ ”

Kidd-Gilchrist weighs 232 pounds, according to his profile on Kentucky’s website, and was a 2011 McDonald’s All-American in high school who was among the finalists for two national Player of the Year awards.

In 40 games for national champion Kentucky, he averaged 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 0.9 blocks while shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 74.5 percent from the free-throw line. His perimeter shooting obviously needs lots of work, however, as he shot 25.5 percent from 3-point range.

But NBA scouts and executives are apparently willing to overlook his offensive deficiencies because of his tremendous work ethic.

“Playing hard, as I’ll say for the billionth time, is a skill,” wrote NBA.com’s David Aldridge, who ranks Kidd-Gilchrist as the No. 1 small forward in the draft. “‘He’s not overly vertical,’ said a Pacific Division executive of Kidd-Gilchrist. ‘But he plays the whole game. He plays all aspects of the game. He’s a tough, tough minded kid.’

“Teams both in and out of the lottery concurred the one thing a rebuilding team has to have is someone who’ll challenge young teammates to play harder. ‘He’s going to do everything he can to help the team and he’s already been yelled at and (cursed at) by Cal, so you know he can be coached,’ said an Atlantic executive.”

For the Pistons to get a crack at Kidd-Gilchrist, they’ll likely have to strike gold in the lottery and land one of the top three picks. Otherwise, they’ll pick no higher than ninth and virtually every prognosticator has Kidd-Gilchrist being long gone by then.

ESPN Insider Chad Ford has him being taken with the No. 2 selection behind Davis, Yahoo! Sports and DraftExpress.com both project him as the No. 3 pick and NBADraft.net predicts he’ll go fifth.

Ford says the only negative when it comes to Kidd-Gilchrist is he “lacks a consistent perimeter game,”

Yahoo! dubbed him a “can’t-miss prospect” and NBAdraft.net agrees.

“Though he doesn’t have the typical upside of a top 2-5 pick, he poses zero risk when you consider his intangibles and physical tools,” NBAdraft.net said in its evaluation of Kidd-Gilchrist. “Instead of saying he has a low ceiling, it’s more appropriate to say he has a high basement.

“There’s not a team in the league that doesn’t have a need for what MKG brings to the table. He’s a two-way player that can contribute in a number of different ways and while he’s not going to compete for any scoring titles, his strengths can inspire teammates and energize a fan base.”

Thomas Robinson thinks he’s worthy of the No. 1 pick…I’m serious, he said that

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Recently Thomas Robinson said he deserved to be the No. 1 pick, ahead of Anthony Davis, the player he lost twice to in college and will lose to countless more times in the NBA.

“I think I’m very capable of being the No. 1 pick,” Robinson told Hoopsworld.com on Tuesday following a workout at an undisclosed location. “No disrespect to Anthony Davis (of Kentucky). He’s a great player. But at the same time, as a competitor, I do feel that I’m worthy of the No. 1 pick.”

#AnthonyDavisSaysShutup.

Dexter Pittman goes Jamaal Magloire on Lance Stephenson

Last night during the Heats Game 5 victory over the Pacers, Dexter Pittman went Jamaal Magloire on Lance Stephenson, elbowing him right in the throat just as Stephenson was elevating for a rebound. It was a vicious play, but quite frankly, Stephenson had it coming. Stephenson has been running his mouth to Juwan Howard, and more recently mocked Lebron James.

Plus, Stephenson pushed his girlfriend down a flight of stairs once.

Instead of fining Pittman, the NBA should give him an award.

Is this the grown up Rondo?

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A very nice article written by Paul Flannery of WEEI Sports. If you’ve got 5 minutes, it’s definitely worth a read.

“It’s just rhythm for him. It’s not tempo. It’s not even a pace, I can’t explain what it is.” – Doc Rivers, trying to describe Rajon Rondo.

Rajon Rondo’s playoff tour-de-forces have become legendary. Like the time he dropped 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists on the Cavaliers in a must-win Game 4 back in 2010 that sparked the Celtics on their improbable run to Game 7 of the NBA finals. Rondo at his best is unexplainable. He’s a sort of genetic goof foisted on the rest of the league: A 6-foot-nothing guard who can do the impossible with alarming ease, but for whom the mundane is incomprehensibly complicated.

So, it was a little surprising when a routine question about Rondo’s efficient night in Game 5 – 13 points, 14 assists, a handful of rebounds and steals – elicited the following reaction from Doc Rivers:

“I thought the second half was one of the best games he’s had for us this year in my opinion, because I thought it was more than just the basketball part of it,” the coach said. “His will, his leadership. We needed it. Whether he scored, I didn’t care what he did. He played with a force and he got us in our stuff. I can hear him barking at guys, demanding guys get into spots, and that’s not something he loves doing. He’s had better games statistically, but I thought what he did was huge for us because like I said, we needed somebody to lead us.”

For better and for worse, this Celtics team is still reliant on aging, injured players to try and carry a charmingly flawed collection of vagabond spare parts to whatever final destination awaits them. The Rondo era remains an open-ended question – imagine if Danny Ainge found players who could run with him? But for this team, the relationship between coach and point guard serves as its central nervous system.

“He’s as smart of a player as I’ve ever been around,” Rivers said. “Sometimes he’s too smart, but when he’s right, he’s good. His IQ is unbelievable. It’s nice to have a guy who wants to think the game for the team. A lot of guys want to think the game for themselves. What play can I run for me? He thinks, what play works for the team.”

The Celtics often begin games in what they call random – shorthand for letting Rondo attempt to break the code. Random is freedom. Random is trust. Random doesn’t always work, but it’s necessary.

“I need him to just go play and then we try to figure it out during the game,” Rivers said. “We need him in random. As much as any guard in the league, he needs to be in random.”

In five games of this series, Rondo has played 200 minutes and attempted 67 shots, making 48 percent of them with 33 rebounds, 73 assists and 16 turnovers. Nowhere in that string of digits is a signature Rondo game, the kind that leaves everyone with their jaws hanging open and running to basketball-reference for some kind of historical perspective.

Maybe that’s the point. Perhaps what we’re seeing is the mature Rondo: The one who picks his spots, takes his time and throws in the right amount of ridiculous to keep everyone guessing as to his true intentions.

“I always think he has the best feel,” Rivers said. “He sees things on the floor that there’s no way I can see.”

In Game 3, Rondo did something no one’s ever seen him do before. He scored 13 points before registering his first assist. No one paid much attention because Kevin Garnett was feasting like a shark in chum-filled waters, but Rondo’s aggression opened up the paint for Garnett to operate.

In Game 5, Rondo took three of the first four shots and assisted on the other. Everything was on a drive to the basket. And then … nothing. At least on the surface.

He registered just four assists and one shot the rest of the half and while the Celtics were scoring points, it wasn’t in their usual manner. Greg Stiemsma of all people scored five quick baskets on simple rolls and pops. Garnett made 4-of-7 shots in the second quarter, his most vital work, and Paul Pierce added nine of his 16 points.

Behind the box score, Rondo was handling Avery Bradley’s job guarding the ball, an energy-draining task and not his favorite defensive job. “He likes to gamble, there’s no doubt about that,” Rivers said. “If he was a football coach, he’d blitz on every down.”

The pace was also off. Like a virtuoso having to play behind an inconsistent backbeat, Rondo found himself in a game slowed down by jump shots and free throws. Rivers would say later that something felt wrong.

“I don’t know what it was, we just weren’t right in the first half,” he said. “You could just feel it.”

In the past, this is where Rondo may have tuned out. Opportunities to run and create were non-existent and the Celtics were scoring, so why get in the way?

The third quarter will live forever as Brandon Bass’ biggest moment in a Celtics uniform, but the second half was really Rondo’s show. Time and again he found Bass for dunks and his favored pick and pop jumpers. He assisted on seven of their 11 field goals in the third quarter without a turnover. Then he went for the kill.

After a quick rest to start the fourth, Rondo hit three layups including a violent twisting off-the-glass running fadeaway between two larger defenders finished off from an impossible angle that only the most cunning pool hustler would dare attempt. Rondo pushed the lead from 13 to 17, allowing Rivers to take Garnett out of the game at the six-minute mark and the Celtics were never threatened. He was the closer, even if it wasn’t in so-called crunch time.

“When they broke the game open, he was the catalyst for the whole attack,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said.

Rondo took four shots in the second half, made three of them and scored seven points to go with nine assists and zero turnovers. Not one. Eight of his 10 shots in the game were at the rim and so were six of his 14 assists. In the five games this series, he’s taken half his shots at the basket and handed out 29 assists for dunks and layups.

What we’ve seen the last three games is Rondo at his most precise and calculating. He remains a highlight waiting to happen at any moment – witness his slip and slide dish to Stiemsma – but really it’s his timing and sense of flow that has taken over. What we’ve seen is a point guard with 84 playoffs games and 14 series worth of knowledge at his disposal, and a player in command of his talent and his team.

(source: here)

Enes Kanter received votes for the NBA All-Rookie teams

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Just not enough to earn a spot on either of the teams. Kanter, the third pick in last years draft, was among 21 rookies to receive at least one vote.

It’s a real shame that Kanter didn’t get more opportunities to play this year, because if he had, he almost certainly would have made one of the All-Rookie teams.

Kanter played just 13.2 minutes per game, averaging 4.6 points and 4.2 rebounds. Had he been playing the same amount of minutes as let’s say, Tristian Thompson, who played 23.7 minutes per game, he would have been averaging closer to 8 points and 8 rebounds per game. Thompson was named to the All-Rookie second team after averaging 8.2 points and 6.2 rebounds.

Thompson had a PER of 13.37. Kanter had a 14.52.

The problem for Kanter isn’t his production, it’s his opportunities.

Hopefully next year he gets more opportunities. #FreeEnes

Rajon Rondo falls, still finds Steimsma for the jam

Rajon Rondo is amazing.

There’s a train wreck coming to KSTV tonight at 7:30

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Find out why Matt Jones called the bottom half of my body a train wreck tonight on KSTV at 7:30 and 11:00.

You have to have Insight to watch it, so if you do, make sure to check it out on channel 2.

It’s my TV debut, please take pity on me.

Rajon Rondo signature ball-fake against the 76ers

Brandon Knight named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team

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Former University of Kentucky basketball player Brandon Knight was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team today. Sadly, Enes Kanter, Josh Harrellson and DeAndre Liggins did not make any of the teams.

Last year John Wall and Demarcus Cousins both were selected to the NBA All-Rookie first team, while Eric Bledsoe made the All-Rookie second team.

The only other player from the University of Kentucky to make either of the NBA All-Rookie teams in the last 10 years was Rajon Rondo, who was named to the All-Rookie second team in 2006.

From NBA.com

Shumpert, Leonard and Knight tied for the fifth spot on the All-Rookie First Team. Shumpert averaged 9.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals. Leonard posted 7.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.1 assists. Knight tallied averages of 12.8 points, 3.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds.

The voting panel consisted of the NBA’s 30 head coaches, who were asked to select five players for the first team and five players for the second team, regardless of position. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team. Two points were awarded for first team votes and one for second team votes.

2011-12 NBA ALL-ROOKIE FIRST TEAM

Player Team First (2 pt) Second (1 Pt) Total
Kyrie Irving Cleveland 29 58
Ricky Rubio Minnesota 21 7 49
Kenneth Faried Denver 19 8 46
Klay Thompson Golden State 16 11 43
Iman Shumpert New York 15 10 40
Kawhi Leonard San Antonio 14 12 40
Brandon Knight Detroit 13 14 40

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2011-12 NBA ALL-ROOKIE SECOND TEAM

Player Team First (2 pt) Second (1 Pt) Total
Chandler Parsons Houston 10 13 33
Isaiah Thomas Sacramento 5 17 27
MarShon Brooks New Jersey 3 12 18
Derrick Williams Minnesota 2 12 16
Tristan Thompson Cleveland 2 12 16

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