Around The League
Around The League

Shootaround (Sept. 27) -- Celtics coach Brad Stevens looking for the right complements to his stars

NBA.com staff reports

Sep 27, 2017 8:27 AM ET

 

Brad Stevens previews the season ahead with TNT analyst David Aldridge.

This morning's headlines:

Stevens looking for the right complements -- The Celtics brought in the talent. Now they have to figure out who best fits around it, as Steve Bulpett writes in the Boston Herald...

The Celts know what they're going to get from Irving, Hayward and Horford, and no doubt they want people with them who maximize their abilities. But it will be critical, too, to make sure the Boston side of the scoreboard keeps moving when the All-Stars take a break.

The C's will be good — very good — when the primary trio is on the floor, but their ability to put teams away will be greatly enhanced if their pine people can take advantage of the opponent's reserves. Construction of the second unit is, therefore, key.

"I think that's going to have to come into the discussion for us," Stevens said. "And the more you look at it with our youth, that's really going to have to come into the discussion. So that's why we're not settled on anything yet. I mean, we need to have a second unit that complements each other just as well as the first unit. Obviously finding the right guys to complement Al and Gordon and Kyrie is one of the critical things now, but you know what? It may be better for guys that are in our top five and playing at the end of the game not to start, just from the standpoint of more opportunity with the ball and everything else. We'll iron all that out.

"It's never been important to me who starts, as far as it being the five best or whatever. It's more how they complement each other and how they complement your best players that are going to get the majority of the attention."

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Does Wade fit in Cleveland? -- Once Dwyane Wade clears waivers, he sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers and reunite with LeBron James. The two didn't mesh early on in Miami, but they made it work eventually. ESPN Insider's Kevin Pelton takes a look at how a Wade, a career 29 percent shooter from 3-point range, now fits in Cleveland, where the Cavs have been putting as much shooting around James as possible.

How Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue uses Wade will go a long way in determining his fit. At this stage of his career, Wade's ideal fit is probably as a sixth man capable of running the offense when James is resting. Yet Wade has come off the bench just 11 times in his 14-year NBA career, so he might prefer to remain a starter, which would be problematic in terms of spacing.

Unless Lue is bold enough to start Wade at point guard while Isaiah Thomas continues to rehab his hip injury, starting Wade would mean teaming him in the backcourt with fellow poor shooter Derrick Rose, Thomas' replacement at the point. Combined, the two guards made 58 3-pointers last season at a 28.3 percent clip. With Tristan Thompson a fixture in the starting lineup, that would leave Kevin Love as the only starter besides James who made more than one 3-pointer per 36 minutes in 2016-17.

It's worth noting that 3-point shooting isn't the only way to create spacing. During his time with James in Miami, Wade excelled at using his ability to cut to keep wary defenders close to him. When Tom Haberstroh and I quantified players' gravitational pull on opposing defenders in 2014, we found Wade ranked surprisingly well. Yet Wade's athleticism was a big part of his success as a cutter, and as he's aged -- and spent more time playing with the ball in his hands -- Wade's scoring on cuts as tracked by Synergy Sports has declined precipitously in recent seasons.

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Move to OKC gives Melo a chance to change the narrative -- Carmelo Anthony's 6 1/2 seasons in New York resulted in just three trips to the postseason, just one series win, and an inability to gel with the other high-profile players that came through New York. As the alpha dog, Anthony came up short. But he's still got a few more miles on those tires, and his move to Oklahoma City gives him another opportunity to coexist with other starts change some minds around the NBA, as Howard Beck writes in Bleacher Report...

Oklahoma City is not where Anthony, now 33, envisioned spending his twilight years as a pro. It's not where he set out to land when he began pressing the New York Knicks for a trade all those weeks ago. It would not have even made his top 25 the last time he forced a trade, in 2011.

It is, however, his last, best hope to script a happy ending; indeed to change his career narrative.

This is not about stardom, which Anthony has long enjoyed. It's not about statistics, of which he has in abundance. It's not even about his resume. With 24,156 points (25th in NBA history), three Olympic gold medals and an NCAA championship, he's a near-lock for the Hall of Fame.

No, this is about reputation, perception, legacy.

Anthony, by the way, will start at power forward.

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Cuban gives Barea team plane for hurricane relief -- The first day of training camp is important for every team in the league. But some things are bigger than basketball, so Mavs guard J.J. Barea missed Tuesday's practice to fly on the team plane to his native Puerto Rico, bringing supplies to the hurricane-damaged island and bring back his mother and grandmother. The Dallas Morning News' Eddie Sefko has the story...

The Mavericks point guard, getting a big assist from owner Mark Cuban, was given use of the team's private plane to haul supplies to his native Puerto Rico to help with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

With coach Rick Carlisle's blessing, Barea missed the first practice of training camp on Tuesday. He flew to Puerto Rico Monday evening when travel to the island was permissible.

"He'll be back tonight and be here for practice (Wednesday)," Carlisle said. "That's my understanding. That's a situation he's got to take care of. Mark gave him our team plane. They loaded up a bunch of stuff, supplies, etc., to take over to Puerto Rico.

"They're going to turn around and he's bringing his mom and his grandma back with him. And my understanding is his dad's going to stay over there and slug it out with all the recovery efforts."

Barea said on Monday that he'd gone days without hearing from his mother and father until finally getting a hold of them on Sunday, finding out only then that they were safe despite severe damage from the storms.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES:  Blake Griffin is good to go after the Clippers' first practice ... LeBron James is aging in reverse ... Magic Johnson supports James' and Stephen Curry's willingness to speak out against the president ... Vince Carter is a sage veteran in Sacramento ... but Kristaps Porzingis is not yet a vocal leader ... and while Zach LaVine is making progress, he won't be ready to play for a couple of months.


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