The Hassan Adams story, and other tales
|TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO|
|Hassan Adams will have to go a little more easy on Anthony Parker during practice.|
A couple of days of no Canada games and likely no Raptor news? What’s a guy to do? Guess that calf-high grass in the backyard will get some attention.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t items, ‘cause we’ve got items.
You know who was responsible for Hassan Adams bouncing out of the NBA?
When the Nets decided to lavish Magloire with a $4 million contract a year ago, it meant someone had to go to avoid paying luxury tax and that someone was Adams, who got waived along with Clifford Robinson.
That sure worked out well for the Nets, didn’t it.
There was much hue and cry down in Jersey when that move was made. My man Dave D’Alessandro still thinks it’s one of the most egregious roster mistakes the Nets have made and there’s a rather long list of them.
Here’s how John Hollinger in the New York Sun panned the move:
To cut Adams in order to pull this move off seems shortsighted at best. I don't want to overstate things here — he wasn't going to be the next Dr.J or anything. But he was primed to be a very effective energy guy off the bench, essentially a 6-foot-4-inch version of the Knicks' Renaldo Balkman. In his rookie year after he was New Jersey's second-round choice in 2006, Adams shot 55.6% from the field and averaged an impressive-for-a-guard 6.1 rebounds per 40 minutes. He can't shoot from outside, but his running and energy were effective enough that he still averaged a point every three minutes, which is decent production for a reserve.
All told, his Player Efficiency Rating (PER, my per-minute rating of a player's statistical effectiveness) of 12.8 was solid for a reserve, especially one in his rookie season — and especially one competing with the likes of Wright (8.2) and Bernard Robinson (7.8) for playing time.
But don't feel bad for Adams — some smart team will nab him real fast, probably for much more than the Nets were scheduled to pay him. Instead, feel bad for Kidd and Carter, who just lost one of the few potentially productive supporting players for this coming season.
And most of all feel bad for Nets fans, who now must lament that their team gave up their remaining space under the luxury tax to sign a fading backup center and effectively traded up one of their most promising young players to make the deal. It's just the latest glaring example of Thorn's inability to surround his stars with the talent necessary to return this team to the conference's elite, and I'm not sure he can make enough big-picture moves to undo the damage.
Oh, and Dave chimes in with this note:
The secret to Hassan Adams’ success is that he cheats.
Or, let’s just say he has an unfair advantage that any player would want – the advantage of ambidexterity.
You may have noticed that the Nets wing has as strong a left hand as any rookie to come down the pike in a while – those right-baseline-drive-and-reverse finishes against Boston were a good example – and it’s because he is actually a natural southpaw.
He just happens to play basketball right-handed.
"I don’t even know how that happened – I really don’t,” Adams said. “I don’t even remember (consciously) switching, even though I’m a true lefty at everything. I write lefty, I eat lefty. But I can write righty, too.”
What else does he do with his right hand? Almost everything pertaining to athletics – hitting baseballs, golfing, throwing a football.
"It’s just not as natural for me to shoot left-handed for some reason,” he said. “But put me on the foul line and tell me to shoot lefty, and I’ll hit eight out of 10 that way.”
I don’t know how Adams will eventually do in Toronto – one NBA assistant coach told me his team had Adamsin for a long look and passed on him – but if he can become the fourth man in the wing rotation, that’s not a bad thing.
Speaking of Roko Ukic, and I feel we will be speaking of him often over the next few months, this being Roko Ukic Love Central and all, I was able to talk to a couple of people who know him quite well yesterday.
Gord Herbert, one of Canada’s most accomplished coaches (the most accomplished international coach, as a matter of fact) coached Aris TT Bank of Greece and the Euroleague last year and he said Ukic has more than enough game to thrive in the NBA.
And old friend Peter Guarasci, still one of the all-time good Canadian players, played in Italy against Ukic last season. He says the kid’s got some big game in him, and may not look like the greatest shooter in the world but he’s not afraid to take a big shot.
Speaking of Canada – and check back here tomorrow for lots more on how the team’s shaping up – a very nice sight unfolded at McMaster yesterday.
A couple of hours before the game, Herbert was out on the court teaching Guarasci and Greg Francis, who’s the head coach of the national junior team, some post defence moves.
It’s the kind of trickle down coaching effect this country needs to improve from top to bottom.
Not sure how it all unfolds in the future but that was good to see.
Baron Davis to the Clippers?
Man, not too many people saw that coming.
If the Clips can get Elton Brand to re-sign (he’ll have to take a tiny pay cut to do it) I think they become a playoff contender in the West for sure. Put a motivated Davis with a healthy Brand next to a guy like Al Thornton and a centre like Chris Kaman and all of a sudden the Clips are relevant again.
Gilbert Arenas maybe to the Warriors?
That’s out there and I’m thinking the Wizards should probably let it happen,
Been saying for months that I think Washington was a better “team” without Agent Zero and with Antawn Jamison. Maybe we’ll get to see now.
Let’s just finish with one from the mail so I can get into the day.
Q: Ever notice that Colangelo always acts quickly... very quickly. Do you seen any benefit/disadvantage to such a method?
A: It has been two summers in row where he’s done all his major business right off the bat – Kapono a year ago on July 1 and Calderon, Ukic and Adams this year on the first possible day.
The benefits are that he gets things settled quickly so there’s no negotiation to drive up prices. He identifies what he wants and gets it. That’s good because it lets the players know he’s serious about doing contracts rather than dithering to see what else is out there.
The disadvantage, of course, is that maybe those bold moves don’t work and he might have missed other options by having such singular focus.
But the fact is, this year, he’s got a wee bit of wiggle room financially (a small amount that we still don’t know ‘cause the cap and tax figures aren’t out yet) and he’s left himself a roster spot or two to fill if someone intriguing – and cheap – falls through the cracks.