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There are 28 NBA teams outside Cleveland and Oakland, and as Kevin Pelton noted this week, history suggests at least one will impose postseason stress on the anointed Finalists. Cheap Eagles Jerseys .Teams below that level still have to play. Theyre not just going to forfeit. They have long-term goals, young players to develop, and looming roster choices.With that in mind, lets spotlight six of the most intriguing other players going into the season. Were ignoring superstars and long-awaited curiosities like Joel Embiid. The goal is to find sub-stars thrust into major new roles for teams with big dreams -- guys were going to learn a lot about over the next six months.THE USURPERSDennis SchroderSchroder will swing Atlantas season, a fact that triggers something ranging from dread to fidgety optimism in every member of the organization.Schroders personality occasionally rankled teammates, coaches, and higher-ups over his promising three-year stint backing up Jeff Teague. He was a pouty loner when playing time dwindled, and a yapping taskmaster who chastised veterans when his confidence bloomed. His active night life made him an awkward fit among the staid Spurs East.But the dude has that it dynamism, and the Hawks were right to promote him -- and flip Teague for a lottery pick. Schroder is a better defender than Teague, and maintaining a stout defense should stabilize Atlanta amid unusual roster turmoil. Atlanta ranked second in points allowed per possession last season, and Dwight Howards combination of rim protection and sorely needed rebounding -- teams destroyed Atlanta on the boards -- should compensate for the loss of Al Horfords mobility.Cleaning the glass would jump-start Atlantas transition game, where Schroder thrives. He has a good eye for reading waves of defenders crashing around him, and spotting shooters -- especially Kyle Korver -- in the pockets that pop up in their wake. Hes just starting to understand how much ground he can cover in the first three seconds of the shot clock, said Mike Budenholzer, Atlantas coach.The Hawks need fast-break buckets; they plummeted to 18th in points per possession last season, and struggled (again) on wide-open 3-pointers. Hitting the gas would make it harder for Schroders defenders to set their feet, slide waaaay under the first pick Atlanta sets for him, and wall off his driving lanes -- daring Schroder to pop his unreliable jumper.When defenses cant lay in wait, Schroder unleashes the full creativity of his game. He has a wicked crossover. Hes among the very best at faking toward a pick, coaxing his defender that way, and then zooming away from it -- and into the lane for a zippy drive.Thats just mean.Atlanta needs Schroder to hunt his own, but not so often that he subsumes the Hawks equal-opportunity style.Id actually encourage him to be more aggressive, Budenholzer said. He doesnt have quite the same confidence Jeff had.On most possessions, the defense will be waiting for Schroder, and thats where he needs to be better. He shot just 37 percent out of the pick-and-roll when he used the screen, among the worst marks for high-volume point guards, and coughed up a hail of wild turnovers. Good news: He has gradually improved his jumper, and his mechanics are mostly sound; the Hawks are confident he can drain enough 3s and midrangers when defenders duck under picks.But Schroder is a slithery driver at heart, and for these revamped Hawks to approach their ceiling, he needs to pilot with more craft and nuance. He sometimes telegraphs his decisions, picking up his dribble 20 feet from the rim to toss no-chance-in-hell lobs:Its admirable that Schroder wants to get rid of the ball early instead of pounding it. He just has to recalibrate his unselfishness. Hell make some early passes -- like those lobs -- that torpedo Atlantas offense, and two possessions later, charge into a thicket after looking off an open shooter.And when Schroder puts his head down, defenses know hes going full-speed-ahead to the rim. Hes not a good-enough finisher to play so predictably. Schroder shot just 53 percent in the restricted area last season. Hes not a mega-leaper, or strong enough to dislodge help defenders with a shoulder-block so he can finish over them. He resorts to thread-the-needle scoops and sky-high flip shots, only hes moving too fast to control them.He needs that live-dribble, change-of-pace game that keeps all five defenders guessing. He has shown flashes of it, including a teardrop shot, but the Hawks need more. There is not the variety in his game that will come with development, Budenholzer said. Its about shifting down a gear, so that you really freeze someone.Schroder also loves to dribble around a screen, and then cross back the other way -- right into the screeners path to the rim. Thats not an issue with Horford and Paul Millsap popping for jumpers, but Schroder has to give Howard a workable corridor to pay dirt.On a side note, Schroder is eligible for an extension ahead of the Oct. 31 deadline, and the two sides are talking, according to league sources. Its hard for either to act when no one knows what the rules will be in the new collective bargaining deal.One wrinkle in the current proposed deal, according to sources familiar with it: Cap holds attached to free agents coming off rookie contracts could jump to 250 and 300 percent of their prior salaries, up from 200 and 250 percent, to prevent teams from arranging wink-wink deals as San Antonio and Detroit did with Kawhi Leonard and Andre Drummond, respectively: Hang in free agency as a cheapo cap hold, and well sign everyone else first. That extra few million matters for teams scrounging max cap space.As of now, cap holds attached to players with more experience would stay the same, per league sources. That could change, of course. But the status quo would be huge for Golden State, which is counting on Stephen Currys under-market cap hold -- $18 million, way below his $30-million-plus max salary -- to fit Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston.Clint CapelaOur Tim McMahon broke the news that Houston management pushed coaches to play Capela over Howard last season, even though Capela was essentially a rookie learning to hold his own on the glass -- kind of a big deal for the leagues worst defensive rebounding team. And now Patrick Beverley, one of two competent perimeter defenders in Houstons projected starting lineup, is out recovering from knee surgery.No pressure, buddy. Mike DAntonis run-and-gun fun will be empty calories unless Capela can anchor an average-ish defense. He has the wheels and the length for it, and he tries hard. Capela hounds ball-handlers beyond the 3-point arc, a pressurized style that helped Houston force oodles of turnovers.He can switch onto guards, stay in front of them, and force long jumpers -- though he has a habit of committing dumb reach-ins as they rise to shoot.Capela has to expend his frenzy in the right doses. Having him switch outside leaves Houston naked on the glass. He sometimes traps ball-handlers who dont merit the attention, opening breaches elsewhere:Houston is also fretting about Capelas stamina. Nene?is a great backup, but hell miss his usual 20 games with Nene-itis.On offense, Capela is a perfect dance partner for James Harden. He slips to the rim before even really setting a pick, a must skill for any DAntoni big, and hes a surprisingly nimble finisher -- even if he has to take a dribble first:He has a soft touch with both hands, and he crams alley-oops few can even catch. If Harden wants Capela to stick around and level a sucker with a nasty screen, the big fella can do that, too.Now that Houston has actual outside shooters, Capela will need to keep his antennae up for kickout passes; he has dished just 49 career dimes, though he reads the floor pretty well:Its tempting to suggest teams put a smaller guy on Capela and switch the Harden-Capela pick-and-roll; Capela has zero post game, so hes not going to bulldoze a mismatch. But that (usually) leaves a big man guarding Ryan Anderson, and the Rockets would pivot into a Harden-Anderson play -- and rain pick-and-pop 3s.Capela looks ready for this.Myles TurnerOh, baby. Turner has the versatility on offense to be an All-Star who warps the geometry of the floor. Building block No. 1 is a silky pick-and-pop jumper defenses have usually been willing to give him -- until he does too much damage:Turn some long 2s into 3s, and the Pacers will have a unique weapon -- a stretch center who barricades the rim on defense. As is, the threat of Turners jumper drags behemoths outside their comfort zone, and that alone can bust a defense.Turner knows opponents will adjust to his jumper. A third defender will fly in from the wing to cloud his vision. When Turner gets really good, teams will scrap their base pick-and-roll defenses; instead of sloughing away from Turner to corral a Teague drive, theyll stay attached to him, or have his guy lunge briefly at Teague before rushing right back to Turner. Wacky teams might defend Turner with wings who can run with him and switch, leaving their big guy to jostle with Thad Young.Turner is ready. When that third defender darts over to him, hell flick the ball to open shooters -- something he didnt do enough last season.A ton of possessions ended with George Hill or Paul George open in the corner, doing a polite version of the Dion Waiters?beg.I know that pass is there now, Turner said, and I just have to advance the ball.Hedge out on Indy ball-handlers, and Turner can slice through the vacuum:Defend him with a little guy, and Turner will slide down into the post.. He wasnt super-efficient there last season; he settled for long turnarounds, and rarely drew fouls. He has the tools and the bully streak to be better once he adds more strength. He likes post play. He runs the floor like a madman -- seriously, hes going to torture plodders -- and when he has a smaller guy on him, he works for early position. He just couldnt hold it:I like contact, Turner said. That didnt get displayed last year. That will change.He wont draw much with fadeaways, but once he hones that shot into a 45 percent proposition, it will become a valuable fail-safe late in the shot clock -- and a crucial way to punish switches. Think LaMarcus Aldridge, an increasingly popular comp for Turner.Indiana bet big on Turners defense, and his ability to mimic Ian Mahinmis underrated work will determine their season. Hes already a nuisance around the basket. It will take him much longer to master the ballet of pick-and-roll defense. He has happy feet in space, and he was sometimes late grasping Indys coverages:I was guessing a lot last season in the pick-and-roll, Turner admitted. I feel like I know it now.He works hard, and his brain is always firing. When he felt emboldened, hed sometimes bait pick-and-roll ball-handlers by springing toward them -- and then darting back to intercept their pass heading for Turners man. He wants to dictate terms -- for the offense to turtle in fear of him. Ill do anything to make that point guard pick up his dribble, Turner said.Hes already fast enough to chase stretch power forwards all over the floor:That is the promise of Turner: opponents go small, and the Pacers can stay big. He should grow into the ideal center for the modern NBA. The Pacers need that growth to come fast, especially on the boards; Indianas stalwart defensive rebounding cratered when Turner played without Mahinmi, and bulky opponents will shove both Young and Turner almost out of bounds.THE MISSINGDeMarre CarrollCarroll isnt exciting. What he promises to bring a pseudo-contender is. A healthy Carroll, if such a thing ever exists again, is a perfect fit for the Raptors -- a shooter and cutter happy to mooch scraps on offense and defend bigger wings (hi, Bron). Its hand in glove for us, Dwane Casey said.With Jared Sullinger out, the Drakes need Carroll to soak up minutes as a small-ball power forward. That sounds good in theory, but its unclear if Carroll can take the pounding. Hes not especially heavy for a wing, and he hasnt been healthy in 18 months; the Hawks had major concerns about his long-term prognosis.Still: To earn anything but a dismissive eye-roll from LeBron, Toronto needs the kinetic unpredictability only Carroll provides. When all eyes are on Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Jonas Valanciunas, Carroll flits along the baseline or down the gut:When the ball swings to him, Carroll has just enough off-the-dribble juice to drive by defenders rushing out -- and get in the lane for floaters, layups, and slick interior passes.Hes not just a bystander, either. A lot of Torontos pet sets involve Carroll screening for their stars, and hes smart about aborting those screens when he senses a chance to fly open to the rim:He needs nearly all his bounce to make that stuff work. His finishing around the basket and from floater range dropped off horribly last season; he just didnt have the usual lift, forcing him to contort for awkward over-the-shoulder prayers.The Raptors searched a half-decade for anyone to guard big wings -- the Joe Johnson Lament. Carroll has never stood much of a chance against LeBron, but no one does. Norman Powell isnt tall enough. Bruno Caboclo may be a folk tale. Carroll represents Torontos only chance at a credible LeBron-sized defender who doesnt compromise their offense.Michael Kidd-GilchristOne of the sad stories from last season: Right as the milquetoast Hornets reinvented themselves as a fun drive-and-kick buzzsaw, they lost their most watchable player -- their irrepressible, balls-to-the-wall chaos engine -- for almost the entire season. We finally get to see how MKG fits around Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum in small-ball lineups.The Hornets have always been better with MKG on the floor, despite his wayward shooting, and they are counting on him to offset the loss of several key free agents -- plus a sneaky important early-season injury to Cody Zeller.We know how it plays out on defense: MKG will crawl into the jerseys of elite scorers across four positions, and terrorize them with a motor permanently switched to 11. Seriously: Can you imagine how miserable it is being guarded by this guy?For Charlotte to cinch another playoff berth, Kidd-Gilchrist has to make himself useful on offense beyond the odd put-back and fast-break rush. (And, holy hell, is MKG a maniac in transition. Jog back, and youre toast.) He lurks mostly off the ball, and defenders ignore him to muck up Walker and Batum pick-and-rolls:Stationing him as often as possible on the strong side -- the side of the floor where Walker and Batum end up driving -- would loosen spacing, since defenders are more cautious helping from there.But the Hornets want MKG to shoot when hes open, even from deep; he shot more 3s last season, including some from above the break, and Charlotte is optimistic hell surprise people.In my 17 years in the league, Ive never seen anyone improve his skill level the way he has, Steve Clifford said. Look: You cant be a great player if you cant shoot from range. We think MKG is going to do that. Hes going to make corner 3s.When defenses tilt back to Kidd-Gilchrist on the wing, he has to punish them with instant catch-and-drive attacks:He has a knack for weirdo floaters and hooks, and hes a nifty inside-out passer. He also has room to grow as a secondary pick-and-roll guy; hes surprisingly good at running his man into picks, driving into the teeth of the defense, and making plays.Playing alongside a stretch power forward -- Marvin Williams -- allows MKG to claim territory near the rim. Hes a slick backdoor cutter, but in hunting those cuts, he has a tendency to stand in no-mans land along the baseline -- outside the paint, but well inside the 3-point arc.Playing down there is good for him, Clifford said, but sometimes, he has to be either outside the arc or in dunking range. And he knows that.A post game would do wonders, since opponents stash weak defenders on MKG. Alas, he has only attempted two dozen shots via post-ups over his entire career, per Synergy Sports, and the coaching staff doesnt expect to see him down there much.THE LUMP OF CLAYJabari ParkerIt still feels like we know nothing about this guy -- what position he should play on offense, what position he defends, and what in the hell an allegedly Melo-style scorer is supposed to do while Point Giannis has the ball. And yet: He could lead us in scoring this season, said Jason Kidd. Not in the future. Right now.We know Parker might be the most explosive off-ball cutter in the league, a key skill now that Milwaukee has handed the rock to Giannis Antetokounmpo. But even that comes with complications. Off-ball cuts around a Greek Freak pick-and-roll are tough sledding when Antetokounmpos defender ducks under picks and Parkers guy crowds the paint; where exactly is Parker supposed to cut here?When Antetokounmpo turns the corner and draws crisis help, cutting lanes widen:Parker should be an Amare Stoudemire-style rim-rocker on the pick-and-roll, but he took only 46 shots after setting ball screens all of last season, per Synergy Sports. Opponents will defend Antetokounmpo and Parker with like-sized guys, meaning theyd just switch what would otherwise be Milwaukees go-to play. (The Cavs ran into this issue with the LeBron-Kevin Love duo.)There is some promise in a Matthew Dellavedova-Parker partnership, and Parker can step into a more ball-dominant role when Antetokounmpo rests.Parker can solve a lot of these issues by nailing 3s, and Kidd warns of a coming barrage. Hes going to shoot twice or three times as many 3s this season as he has in his career, Kidd says. He shoots it real easy. The more dangerous Parker is from deep, the closer defenders will stick -- making it easier for Parker to sneak behind them for dunks, and creating a more spacious environment for Antetokounmpos drives.Kidd will also give Parker more freedom to post up mismatches, and run his own pick-and-rolls -- as he did toward the end of last season with Milwaukees centers. (Chill on the hair-trigger long 2s, though.) Hell, to goose their spacing, the Bucks might try Parker as the nominal center in lineups featuring two guards alongside the Antetokounmpo/Parker/Mirza Teletovic trio. Im not afraid of that lineup, Kidd says.Parker holds the promise of a multi-positional shape-shifter who could become really good at almost every offensive skill. That is a unicorn. Right now, hes good at only one -- and clueless at basically every part of defense.Hes less flammable on the ball, which is why the Bucks started using him on star wings -- Gordon Hayward, Jimmy Butler, Paul George -- in the middle of last season. Antetokounmpo unlocks such flexibility, since he can guard power forwards and even centers.Still: Its hard to arrange things so that Parker is a full-time wing defender, and unclear if he could handle it over extended minutes. Hes a big dude. The Bucks need him to do some big dude stuff: contain pick-and-rolls, rotate along the backline, and rebound better than a typical shooting guard.Parker is the most interesting blank slate in the league. Let the games begin. Cheap Reggie White Jersey . Clarkson had been dealing with an elbow injury in early January and will be out of action for at least one week. He has three goals and five assists through 36 games with the Leafs this season. Cheap Brian Dawkins Jersey .Y. -- Syracuse has turned up the defence at the right time all season, and when High Point threatened to pull off a monumental upset the second-ranked Orange did what they do best with their quick hands and savvy play. . The 43-year-old closer, in his 19th and final big league season, has said hed like to play the outfield. Yankees manager Joe Girardi says hes thinking about allowing Rivera to do it this weekend, when the Yankees finish their season with a three-game series at the Houston Astros. The game was extremely popular in England in those days. Television, which came to India much later, was big there even at that time. Wherever I went I was recognised as the wicketkeeper.We enjoyed the long tour. I was a teetotaller and they used to respect it in England. Fortunately I was not vegetarian and did not face too many problems.What struck me initially was that the crowd would clap for a maiden over. A good piece of fielding and a good throw was appreciated. Everyone applauds fine batting strokes but seeing sharp fielding appreciated showed how knowledgeable the crowd was.Frank Chester was one of the greatest umpires I have seen. There was no bias at all against us among the English umpires.Peter May was the best post-war English batsman I saw. Vinoo Mankad [slow left-arm] used to bowl a floater which used to come in with the same action instead of breaking away. Peter was batting [at Lords] when Vinoo bowled the floater on middle and leg. I knew the ball would come in, but I also understood that the great batsman that Peter was, he would pick it and try to glance it. Any other player would have blocked it but Peter glanced and I caught him down the leg side. At the end of the over, umpire Chester came running towards me from square leg and said,Well caught.What a fine wicketkeeper you are. I am surprised you werent selected for all the Tests, Chester told me later. That was a great compliment, but it was decided before the tour by the selectors that I and Khokhan Sen will play two Tests each.I once met the UK Deputy High Commissioner in the 70s. He asked me whether I had lofted Douglas Wright [England and Kent legspinner] for a six in Canterbury. The ball came to me in the crowd, he said.Godfrey Evans was an excellent keeper; whether it was diving, standing up, moving down the leg side, everything was well-timed.I got 50-odd in one of the tour games, and two girls came up to congratulate me after the days play. One of them pointed out my peculiar way of plonking my front foot forward and asked me why I did so. I must have subconsciously copied this style from DB Deodhar, but no one had ever pointed it out to me before. That is how closely people watch the game in England. The grounds used to be full, even for the county games.Fred Trueman was really fast, especially for us, as we didnt get such fast bowling in India. And to think that it was his debut series.Our tour allowances used to be meagre but the value of the rupee was also quite a lot then. To put it in perspective: when I was in college I had a lot of hair and used to get it cut for four [pauses] not rupees but annas [16 annas made a rupee]. Today there is no hair left but the cut costs Rs 60. We used to get about Rs 60 for five days of cricket. We were not professional back then; it is only now that the players are contracted. We were just happy to be representing India. It was a great honour. The idea of money was not there at all. Merchant and I received tthe same amount. Wholesale Eagles Jerseys. There was no difference between what the top players got and what the others got.Vijay Merchant and Vijay Hazare were of the top class and on par. Hazare, Vijay Manjrekar and Phadkar were very good players of the hook. Pitches in England were covered only for the Test matches, not for the county games. The ball comes slowly off a wet wicket, but when it is drying it gets very difficult. It bounces, turns, shoots, skids; it all depends on the different patches on the surface.You were selected for your respective place in the side and no one bothered about things like practice. It was entirely up to you. Our own bowlers used to bowl in the nets to our batsmen. There were no county bowlers available for practice.I was having breakfast at a Norwich hotel when a lady came up to me and asked if I was an Indian cricketer. She chatted for a while and asked me to say hello to her little boy. I want him to know that the colour of the skin may be different but all people are the same, she said.Alec Bedser had a normal incoming delivery and a legcutter. I was facing him when Dattu Phadkar told me that the ball pitching on leg stump will be the legcutter. He used to bowl it with the same action and it was very difficult to pick.I was speaking to the Worcestershire groundsman about the nature of the wicket when a girl came and asked me what I was doing alone - everyone else was dancing merrily in a party in the pavilion. She asked me to dance with her but I politely refused. She was disappointed as she was sure I would relent. I later came to know that some team-mates had a bet with her to get me to the dance floor. I didnt dance on the entire tour.The concept of fielding was not given any importance then in India. Once, in the Bombay Pentangular, Muslims were nine down and needed four runs. I was fielding on the boundary, and kept a stroke down to three. Next ball, KC Ibrahim pushed to covers. Shute Banerjee, the fast bowler, just had to pick up the ball and throw, but he didnt, allowing the batsmen to get away. I am a fast bowler; I am not expected to throw, he said. No one bothered with fielding, it was only batting and bowling. If one dropped a catch, nobody said anything, even the bowlers.The basic job of a keeper during those days was keeping. They were usually sent to open the innings and take the shine off the new ball. I remember a game where the keeper opened and batted the entire day for some 30-odd runs.A keeper has something else to do apart from catching and stumping. I understood this in a charity match under CK Nayudu. A few overs after the start, CK came to me and asked whether I was observing what the bowler and the batsman were doing. I realised that keeping is also about being friend, philosopher and guide to the captain. This incident helped me when I led sides later. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' ' 

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