The East could be tougher than it was a season ago, with Brooklyn aiming to break into the top-four conversation, Indiana retaining its core and Miami still the reigning world champions while adding a veteran winner in Ray Allen. Rajon Rondo believes Boston belongs at the very start of that conversation. Rondo was at a sponsor’s event in Hong Kong while he makes his way to the Philippines, and said, “”We have high expectations every year… I think we got a lot better than last year.” The report from The Standard also mentioned he says the Lakers are good just on paper right now (though even barring Dwight‘s back they’re still very, very good). The Celtics added 11 players to their roster this summer and that isn’t counting Kevin Garnett, whose re-signing kick-started the entire process. Instead of blowing up the Big Three, all the emotional hugs we watched Doc Rivers give Allen and Garnett (whose contracts were up) at Miami in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last year were all for naught. Here’s why Rondo could be right: Adding Courtney Lee and Jason Terry has been a reaction to Miami’s proven small-ball strategy. Lee’s so much better than the departed Allen on defense and has shot nearly 39 percent from three in his career. Terry is going to get points not just from three like Allen but also from taking two to three hard dribbles toward the key and pulling up fast. Jeff Green‘s contract is more of a question mark because his career consistency has varied like an EKG reading on both sides of the ball. So are they better? KG is still an elite forward, Terry and Lee’s additions mean the team did not get worse at guard, and Avery Bradley will be healthy and in the mix, as well. The Celtics may have gotten a bit better. The Heat did, too. … We’re guessing that Jeremy Lin‘s popularity in Asia makes asking a question about him almost an obligation for journalists there when another NBA player arrives. That’s our reasoning for the possible question that elicited Rondo to say he will personally beat Lin “pretty badly” when the Rockets meet the Celtics. … It’s getting ugly at Texas Tech, where players are pushing back against what they see is less-than-standard treatment by coach Billy Gillispie. ESPN said they met to talk about how long they’d practiced, and one former player told CBS it was at least eight hours one day. Gillispie is very talented (his team at UTEP had an NCAA-record 18-game turnaround once) but the reports paint a picture of someone who’s angered people along the way to one of the game’s top jobs, at Kentucky, and on the way down, too, from that peak. He deserves a second year but it does make you wonder how much support he could possibly have after an 8-23 season. … You need to read this piece on how ballers who never got their shot now can. SMAA is just an acronym right now but with its goal of giving deserving guys and gals a shot on the hardwood, it could become a household name. … Keep reading to hear about how many tickets Philly has already sold for next year …
Smack / Aug 31, 2012 / 11:00 pm
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