By Bruin Basketball Report
As training camps approach their final week, NBA teams are finalizing their rotations and rosters for opening day. The NBA season begins on October 31.
Many former Bruins will play key roles on their respective teams while a few continue to battle for spots on a roster. The deadline for NBA opening day rosters is October 30 at 6:00PM ET.
BBR updates the progress of all former Bruins players in NBA training camps this year. (also read report from 10/3)
Jordan Farmar, Los Angeles Lakers, Guard: Farmar has been the best Lakers point-guard on the floor the entire preseason. His ability to pick-up the triangle offense in such a short period and his high basketball IQ has won him admiration and respect from teammates and coaching staff. Forward Lamar Odom refers to Farmar as "Pro-Ready" coming in from the college ranks.
Although Farmar still needs to improve his outside shooting, his decision-making and leadership on the floor should earn him an active roster spot when the season opens. Much of it will depend on other guaranteed contract players still on the roster, namely Aaron McKie who may start off the season on the DL.
In addition, Lakers' coach Phil Jackson does not typically play rookies, although Jackson has been impressed with Farmar as well. Farmar has "given the team some inspiration when he's come in," Jackson said
Although Farmar supporters should temper their enthusiasm. Kobe Bryant, who has been out the entire preseason, will command most of the attention on offense when he returns. One still senses Farmar will earn regular minutes in the rotation by midseason.
Dan Gadzuric, Milwaukee Bucks, Center: With Andrew Bogut missing the first month of the season after tearing a ligament in his left leg, Gadzuric is battling Brian Skinner for the starting center position. Although both are expected to play plenty of minutes at center until Bogut returns.
Baron Davis, Golden State Warriors, Guard: New Warriors Head Coach Don Nelson has completely revamped the team and has built the offense around Baron Davis - and the former Bruin point-guard has thrived in it during preseason.
Last season, Davis put up a fair share of three-point attempts because he found the middle clogged and was simply trying to do too much on offense. However, Nelson wants Davis to attack the paint and create more for the team.
To accommodate Davis' new role, Nelson has appointed Mike Dunleavy Jr as a point-forward to alleviate Davis' ballhanding responsibilities and has moved Troy Murphy, a perimeter shooting big man, to center to open up the lane.
Davis recently said about former coach Mike Montgomery versus Nelson, "You know, somebody that you respect and that's going to challenge you, and at the same time you can just go out there and be a player and be coached."
Nelson thinks Davis will return to elite point-guard status this season
Earl Watson, Seattle Sonics, Guard: The starting point-guard controversy in Seattle ended almost as soon as camp opened up; however, the Sonic crisis is not over yet.
Coach Bob Hill announced Earl Watson would start off the bench and back-up Luke Ridnour at point-guard to begin the season, however, Ridnour is still unhappy because he has not been assured by the coach that he'd be playing at the end of games in the 4th quarter. Last season, even though Ridnour started, Hill played Watson instead during crunch time.
What ever happened to a player listening to the coach and doing what's best for the team? Stay tuned to the soap opera in Seattle.
Trevor Ariza, Orlando Magic, Forward: The Magic coaching staff were high on Ariza coming into training camp. Unfortunately, the forward has been unable to play in a single preseason game since it started on October 10th. Ariza has a sore right foot from a bone bruise which has not improved with treatment. He is scheduled to undergo another MRI this week.
Darrick Martin, Toronto Raptors, Guard: With T.J. Ford suffering from back pains and hamstring problems, Martin has played significant minutes during the preseason. Ford's durability and inexperience are the main reasons why Martin will be starting his 12th season in the NBA.
Jason Kapono, Miami Heat, Forward: Kapono's outside shooting has drawn praise from coaching staff but his limitations on defense may make him possible trade bait. The Heats' starting point-guard Jason Williams is currently out for the first month of season and the team may be in need of a backup point-guard.
"I can make shots, and I know the offensive sets, the spacing, screens and cuts," Kapono said. "To earn playing time, I have to improve my defense. I understand how defense is a priority with Coach Riley."
Ryan Hollins, Charlotte Bobcats, Center: Hollins has not only impressed Bobcat coaches with his athleticism and hops but also his willingness to learn. However, unless the Bobcats lose a frontcourt player to a trade or an injury, it appears Hollins may start the season in the NBDL.
Matt Barnes, Golden State Warriors, Forward: Barnes is battling for his life in Golden State. Warriors GM Chris Mullins will make a decision soon to either keep Barnes or Anthony Roberson. The Warriors like Barnes' athleticism and his ability to defend at two positions.
There is a good chance Barnes will get the nod due to the team's need for a back-up small forward for Mikael Pietrus and Barnes' pro experience.
Dijon Thompson, Golden State Warriors, Guard-Forward: Thompson was cut from the Warriors team during the first weeks of training camp. No news on whether he will play in the NBDL or pursue opportunities overseas.
Cedric Bozeman, Atlanta Hawks, Guard-Forward: Bozeman has an excellent chance of catching on with the Atlanta Hawks this season. His ability to guard three positions and handle the ball are the main reasons.
He is currently competing for a final roster spot with Royal Ivey, a player with a guaranteed contract, but the contract is only for the league minimum $744.000.
In addition, the Hawks are undersized at the point-guard position with barely six-footers, Speedy Claxton, Tyron Lue, and Salim Stoudamire. Bozeman's size as a back-up point guard is certainly a positive.
Marvin Williams' recent hand injury may create a need to have another frontcourt player on the roster. With Josh Smith likely moving up to power forward and Childress going from the bench to starter at small forward, the unfortunate injury to Wiliams may create a spot for Bozeman.
(photo credit: AP and NBA.com)
Labels: Bruins in the NBA Report