Marc J. Spears

  • Anthony Davis grows into MVP candidate as New Orleans finds its star

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 13 hrs ago

    NEW ORLEANS – Anthony Davis can't help but notice the homeless people living under bridges near the New Orleans Pelicans' arena when he arrives for and leaves games.

    "Any time I see a homeless person I give them money if I have cash on me," Davis said. "You don't know what they're going through. Some people say you never know if they're lying or putting on a show. But you never know.

    "If that were me, I would want someone to help me out. I try to make sure I can help out any way possible."

    The night before Thanksgiving, Davis paid for and served meals with his family for the residents of the Salvation Army Center for Hope in downtown New Orleans. Davis' Thanksgiving dinner was the tipoff to his season-long "AD's Flight Academy," which will include monthly community events focusing on giving back to children and families in the New Orleans area.

    "Some of these guys don't have food or whatever it is. During the holidays they're feeling lonely. I'm trying to brighten up their day, make them feel special."

    Perhaps most impressive about Davis' strong start is that he has become an elite scorer.

  • NBA Power Rankings: Grizzlies looking formidable

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    1. Memphis Grizzlies (Record: 12-2; last week’s rank: 2): The Grizzlies, who have the NBA’s best record, earned a statement win Sunday by leading by as many as 25 points in a rout of the Clippers.

    2. Golden State Warriors (Record: 10-2; last week’s rank: 3): Stephen Curry will get to spend Thanksgiving in his hometown of Charlotte before playing the Hornets on Friday.

    3. Portland Trail Blazers (Record: 10-3; last week’s rank: 7): The Blazers have won seven straight, playing primarily at home.

    4. Toronto Raptors (Record: 11-2; last week’s rank: 4): The Eastern Conference’s top team earned an impressive win at Cleveland on Saturday and has won nine of 10.

    5. Houston Rockets (Record: 10-3; last week’s rank: 1) Houston center Dwight Howard, who has missed two games after undergoing platelet-rich plasma therapy to treat his strained right knee, will not play Monday night against the New York Knicks.

    6. Washington Wizards (Record: 9-3; last week’s rank: 5): The Wizards will play at Cleveland on Wednesday after beating LeBron James and Co. on Friday in Washington, 91-78.

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  • NBA Power Rankings: There's a new No. 1

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    1. Houston Rockets (Record: 9-1; last week’s rank: 3): The Rockets get a slight nod for the top spot over Memphis because they are actually undefeated when Dwight Howard plays.

    2. Memphis Grizzlies (Record: 9-1; last week’s rank: 2): The Grizzlies host the Rockets on Monday in a big early-season showdown.

    3. Golden State Warriors (Record: 8-2; last week’s rank: 1): After having assist-to-turnover woes, Stephen Curry has averaged 24.5 points, 12 assists and two turnovers the past two games.

    4. Toronto Raptors (Record: 8-2; last week’s rank: 4): Is Toronto becoming a hoops town? While the Maple Leafs were losing 6-2 at Buffalo, Canadian fans there chanted, “Let's go Raptors!”

    5. Washington Wizards (Record: 7-2; last week’s rank: 8): Wizards guard Bradley Beal is slated to practice Monday, six weeks after fracturing his left wrist. A return vs. the Cavs on Friday?

    6. Chicago Bulls (Record: 7-3; last week’s rank: 6): Lost in all the Derrick Rose drama is an All-Star-caliber start from newcomer Pau Gasol, who is averaging 18 points and 10.6 rebounds.

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  • Big dreams: Kevin Garnett interested in buying Timberwolves

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett doesn't want to be an NBA general manager or coach when his playing days are over. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ all-time leading scorer has his eye on an even higher position with his former NBA franchise.

    Garnett told Yahoo Sports he wants to one day own the Timberwolves.

    "I want to buy the Timberwolves. Put a group together and perhaps some day try to buy the team. That's what I want," Garnett said after a 107-99 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.

    The Timberwolves drafted Garnett with the fifth overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft. The 15-time All-Star played for the Timberwolves for 12 seasons before being traded to Boston, where he led the Celtics to a championship in 2008. Garnett pushed Minnesota to eight consecutive playoff appearances, and the franchise has not been to the postseason since his departure.

    Nets general manager Billy King said he wouldn’t be surprised if Garnett were to buy the Timberwolves.

    "He would be one of the best owners in the NBA because he understands what the players need and he understands what it takes to be successful in the NBA,” King told Yahoo Sports.

  • Top 10 college prospects for 2015 NBA draft

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    College freshmen have dominated the top of the NBA draft in recent years, and that trend is expected to continue in 2015. Led by Duke center Jahlil Okafor, most of the top draft prospects from the college ranks are true freshmen again, several NBA scouts told Yahoo Sports.

    At least one scout, however, says this freshman class is more sizzle than substance. Touted freshmen like Kansas' Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander, and Arizona's Stanley Johnson are struggling to adapt to the college game in practices, the scout said.

    "It's a weak freshman class in terms of skill and basketball talent," the NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. "They don't have the ability to make other players better. It's all about them. They're ball dominant."

    With the college basketball season starting, here's a look at the top-10 draft prospects from the college ranks with a scout's opinion on each player.

    1. Jahlil Okafor, 6-11, 272 pounds, Duke, Fr., C: "He has a body ready for the NBA, nimble feet and good hands. He needs to improve on his conditioning and not playing down to the competition."

  • 76ers recall rookie Drew Gordon from D-League

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago

    The Philadelphia 76ers recalled rookie forward Drew Gordon on Monday from the Delaware 87ers, the franchise’s NBA Development League affiliate, a source told Yahoo Sports.

    The Sixers cut the 6-foot-9 Gordon, 24, on Oct. 25 after he played in six preseason games, highlighted by a 16-point, six-rebound performance against Orlando.

    Gordon, undrafted out of New Mexico, has played professionally in Serbia, Italy, and Turkey since 2012.

    The San Jose, Calif., native is the older brother of Orlando Magic rookie forward Aaron Gordon.

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  • NBA Power Rankings: Warriors remain on top

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago

    1. Golden State Warriors (Record: 5-1; last week’s rank: 1): The Warriors are winning sloppily, averaging 22.5 turnovers per game with just one contest with less than 20.

    2. Memphis Grizzlies (Record: 6-1; last week’s rank: 2): The Grizzlies have allowed less than 95 points per game in six straight contests. The streak should continue against the Lakers on Tuesday.

    3. Houston Rockets (Record: 6-1; last week’s rank: 3): Ex-NBA big man Josh Powell is committed to his new player development coaching job with the Rockets and has turned down job offers to play overseas.

    4. Toronto Raptors (Record: 6-1; last week’s rank: 11): Dwane Casey needs three wins to pass Lenny Wilkens (113) and become No. 2 on Toronto’s coaching wins list. Sam Mitchell is first with 156.

    5. Los Angeles Clippers (Record: 4-2; last week’s rank: 7) While forward Blake Griffin’s jumper has improved, he has yet to reach double figures in rebounds and had one board Wednesday against the Warriors.

    6. Chicago Bulls (Record: 5-2; last week’s rank: 6): Injuries are still haunting Derrick Rose, who is questionable for Monday’s game against Detroit and has missed the past two contests.

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  • Ben Uzoh hopes for NBA return after mysterious ailment nearly derailed career

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    Ben Uzoh kept his secret away from the New Jersey Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors because he didn't want anyone to think he was crazy. He just kept shooting jumpers, passing the ball and dribbling even though his right arm continued to lose feeling.

    "I didn't know if I had diabetes," Uzoh told Yahoo Sports. "I didn't know if my heart was about to whatever. Why is my arm going numb? There are so many signs related to when you're hurt or arm goes numb. All these things were taking away from my ability to be myself.

    "You can call it frustration, you can call it fear, you can call it whatever. I was so in the dark. I was hurting not only the team but myself."

    Sports-related activities are among the common causes of thoracic outlet syndrome. While surgery is sometimes recommended – Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett had thoracic outlet surgery in July 2013 – Bennett suggested specific stretching exercises, medicine and acupuncture to treat Uzoh.

    Before hearing about the injury, Hetzel expected Uzoh to be the missing piece to help Canton make a push for a D-League championship.

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  • Source: Pacers expected to sign guard A.J. Price

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 21 days ago

    The injury-riddled Indiana Pacers are expected to sign free agent point guard A.J. Price today, a source told Yahoo Sports.

    Price appeared in six preseason games for the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging 7.2 points and 1.5 assists in 13.3 minutes per game before being waived on Nov. 1. The 6-foot-2, 181-pound guard was on his way to Boston on Thursday to join the Pacers, the source said.

    The Pacers have five players out because of injuries, including guards George Hill (knee), C.J. Watson (foot) and Rodney Stuckey (foot). Indiana has applied for the hardship exception, which allows a team to add new players if it has four roster players out with injuries for at least two weeks.

    Price began his NBA career in Indiana, playing there from 2009-12 before spending the next two seasons with the Wizards and Timberwolves, respectively. The sixth-year NBA veteran has averaged 5.9 points and 2.2 assists in his NBA career.

  • Doc Rivers can’t contain his frustration after Clippers’ poor performance

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 21 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers spent about 10 minutes Wednesday night venting to his coaching staff outside the visitors’ locker room after his team's 121-104 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

    Rivers then spent the next 10-15 minutes in the locker room, where his players discussed the rout.

    Once Rivers finally met with the media, he released his frustration while admitting he had little to communicate to his team after the disheartening performance.

    “I didn’t say much,” Rivers said. “I just let them blow smoke up each other’s [expletives] because that’s all they did in my opinion. But I let them just talk it out. But I think if you’re going to talk, you got to be real. I am not a fan of group meetings unless they are real group meetings.

    “I said something is going to happen [Wednesday night], and it’s going to be good or bad for us. We are going to find out exactly what we need to find out. And what we found out is [the Warriors] are way better than us right now.

    “If this was a playoff series, we’d lose in four games. It would be a destruction.”

    Rivers was particularly annoyed by his team’s effort and defense.

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