We’ll start with the Twitter-sponsored portion of Smack: Over the weekend Michael Beasley closed his Twitter account after he took some heat (no pun intended) for posting a pic that may or may not have been bags of weed. Nothing too major, but this is the exact kind of thing that kept Beasley from being a surefire #1 overall pick a year ago. No disrespect to Derrick Rose, but you take a lefty power forward with Beasley’s game and Tim Duncan or Blake Griffin‘s personality, and the only thing he needs to worry about is getting a suit to match the team colors of whoever has the top pick. Instead, this is almost like watching the early part of Lamar Odom‘s career replay itself … Ron Artest used Twitter as his bulletin board to spice up the next Lakers/Rockets game. “Houston did me dirty,” Artest tweeted. “I can’t wait til next year when we go to Houston. I’m not shooting. All defense. Somebody getting locked da f*** up.” For what it’s worth, it didn’t seem like Ron-Ron was all that eager to re-sign with the Rockets in the first place, but who knows what went on there. And we really don’t see Artest going an entire game without shooting, especially if Trevor Ariza busts him up a couple of times and the crowd gets on him … Watching so many NFL preseason games lately and seeing the guys simply fighting for a roster spot — along with the news that one-time high draft picks Cedric Simmons (Greece) and Kedrick Brown (Turkey) signed with overseas teams recently — it got us thinking of some NBA players whose careers could be made or murdered with their performances this season. On top of the list you’ve got Darko. Although he’s still just 24, with one year left on his contract and a starting spot potentially being handed to him in a system where EVERYBODY can put up numbers, this is a crucial year for Darko. If he can’t produce in Mike D’Antoni‘s system, that could be it for him. Then again, since he’s 24 with a seven-foot frame and decent shot-blocking skills, we could also see Darko getting NBA jobs well beyond the point where he’s actually useful just based on potential … Other guys who need to show something this season or start brushing up on their currency conversion rates: Dominic McGuire, Amir Johnson, Antoine Wright, Shelden Williams, Ian Mahinmi, Alando Tucker, Julian Wright, Josh Boone, Sean Williams, Shawne Williams, Dorell Wright, Adam Morrison and Renaldo Balkman … That said, Balkman picked a bad time to get in trouble. Already clinging to the few minutes he’s getting in Denver (he went from 15 mpg in the regular season to 2-3 mpg in the playoffs), Balkman didn’t endear himself to George Karl any more by getting popped for DUI on Saturday … With the FIBA Americas tournament tipping off this week, Team Mexico is having all kinds of problems. Their two biggest names, Earl Watson and Ed Najera, are out: Watson didn’t get his passport paperwork done in time, and Najera was told by the Nets he can’t play … Team USA as a whole is sitting this one out, with nothing to be gained since they don’t need to qualify for the World Championships. But if the U.S. could’ve competed, wouldn’t this have been a good opportunity to put some college kids out there and see how they fare against the likes of Argentina, Brazil and Puerto Rico? … Carlos Arroyo and J.J. Barea are back to lead a PR squad with homecourt advantage, and try once again to win some games in spite of big man P.J. Ramos, one of our office favorites because he might actually be the worst basketball player in the world (dead serious); No Ginobili, Oberto or Nocioni for Argentina, but they do have Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino; Barbosa, Varejao and the infamous Tiago Splitter suit up for Brazil sans Nene; Raja Bell, ex-Florida guard Walter Hodge and ex-Texas buckets specialist Reggie Freeman will play for the Virgin Islands; and Maryland star Greivis Vasquez will play for Venezuela … A sleeper to watch out for? The Dominican Republic squad. They’ve got Al Horford, Charlie V and Francisco Garcia signed up. Not sure about their guards, but that frontline is nice … And somebody PLEASE do us a favor and put this tourney on TV. Please? … We’re out like Najera …
Smack / Aug 24, 2009 / 6:30 am
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