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Heat To 'Tweak' System, Gamble Less On Defense

The Miami Heat lost LeBron James in the offseason and have also made some key changes to their coaching staff, which will result in a vastly different identity.

“You will see some tweaks in how we play,” said a Heat official.

Miami's gambling defense, which left open too many three-point shooters, needs addressing.

“We can’t just show up and expect to win it in the fourth quarter any more,” said the official.

Via Barry Jackson/Miami Herald

Kenneth Faried Noticing Increased Respect From Team USA Play

Kenneth Faried has noticed the increased respect he is receiving due to his play for Team USA in the World Cup.

"I'm starting to gain respect," Faried said. "People are starting to respect me more. And I'm excited about that. But I'm more focused right now on just trying to get the gold. I want to win that gold medal so I can hang it with the rest of the accolades I've gotten that people thought I couldn't get. My mom will be ecstatic about that and my dad will be, too."

Faried said he is not concerned about his contractual status but will focus on it once he is finished with Team USA. Faried can negotiate a contract extension with the Denver Nuggets until Oct. 31.

"I'm not worried about [the Oct. 31 deadline for a contract extension] right now," Faried said. "After this is over with, then I'll focus on what's going on outside of just stepping on the court and moneywise and things like that. [But] I do feel as though I've opened eyes, and people are starting to show respect now. So that's a great honor to have and recognize who you are."

Via Marc Stein/ESPN

Derrick Rose 'Loving' His Game, Unconcerned With Shooting Woes

Derrick Rose is shooting 8-for-32 (25 percent) from the field in games for Team USA but the Chicago Bulls' guard is remaining upbeat about his health and game.

"I’m loving the way that I’m playing," Rose said. "Of course missing shots, that’s part of the game. But just conditioning-wise and how I’ve been playing defense and low turnovers the last couple games, I’m loving the way that I’m playing. I just have to continue playing defense, get in a better rhythm and knock this rust off along the way.

"I've exceeded my expectations. I’m not sore. My knees are good. I know a lot of people are concerned about that, but I think I’m playing well."

Rose recently played five games in a span of six days. He is averaging 5.4 points in 17.8 minutes.

"Missing layups, that's little rusty stuff that normally comes with not playing for two years," Rose said. "My thing is I know that why I’m missing is because of conditioning. I’m in good condition. But to be in condition to play defense like that fullcourt and still have legs under you for the shot, that’s my thing. But I’m not worried about it at all."

Both Tom Thibodeau and Mike Krzyzewski downplayed Rose's shooting woes.

"He hasn’t played in a long time (regarding shooting), so that was to be expected," Thibodeau said. "The more he plays, the more his timing will come around. Right now he’s missed some layups that are usually automatics. That will come I think as he finds the rhythm of the game."

Via K.C. Johnson/Chicago Tribune

Colangelo: James Harden Has Become USA's Leader

James Harden and Anthony Davis are the only holdovers from the 2012 Olympics team that will play for the United States in the World Cup.

“Right now, I think I would look to Harden as that leader,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said as his team continues to prepare for the tournament in which the winner earns an automatic berth in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “Harden is kind of a natural leader and he seems to be willing to accept that role. And you can just kind of feel it and sense. He’s the one.”

Harden's career trajectory changed dramatically after he was traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets.

“It’s so many things these last couple of years that’s been thrown at me, from me being traded, to people talking, just everything,” Harden said. “I try to focus on myself and how can I be a better basketball player. It’s still basketball at the end of the day. I try to do it to the best of my ability and continue to work hard.”

Harden declared himself the best player in the world recently.

“I think everybody feels that way. Every NBA player. Even growing up, growing up youngins have dreams that they want to be the best basketball players in the world,” Harden said. “As a basketball player, or any athlete, you got to have confidence, you’ve got to have confidence the whole time. You just go out there and do your job and have confidence that your abilities are good enough. Whatever is thrown at me, I just try to take it for what it is and just have fun.”

 

Via Michael Lee/Washington Post

Hinkie: Acquiring 1st Round Pick Was Key To Trade For 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers acquired a first round pick along with Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved in exchange for Thaddeus Young.

The 76ers will likely receive the pick, which originates from the Miami Heat, in 2015.

"There were several components [that were enticing] and one is the first-round pick held by Miami," Hinkie said in a conference call yesterday. "That's important. You don't see a lot of first-round picks changing hands these days. The players will be helpful, too. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had a fantastic career at UCLA. Early in his NBA career, he was an everyday lockdown defender. He's a versatile guy who could guard multiple positions.

"Alexey Shved, been around for 2 years and played at a high level in big games, a guy that we had paid attention to for many years before he joined Minnesota. He can both handle the ball and play off the ball."

Mbah a Moute is also expected to help as a mentor to Joel Embiid.

"Luc's relationship with Joel can only help," said Hinkie. "We're definitely in the mode of player development and Joel's a big part of that."

Via Bob Cooney/Philadelphia Daily News

Harden: I'm The Best All-Around Player In The NBA

During a promotional event, James Harden declared himself the best all-around player in the NBA.

"I'm the best all-around basketball player in the NBA," said Harden.

While Harden has become one of the NBA's best scorers and was an All-NBA First Team selection in 2014, he has received criticism for his lack of commitment on defense.

Via Royce Young/ESPN

Tyler Ennis Sees Crowded Suns' Backcourt As 'Good Thing'

The Phoenix Suns have a clear logjam at point guard with Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, Tyler Ennis and presumably an eventually re-signed Eric Bledsoe.

Ennis doesn't see the fight for minutes as a detriment to the development of his career. 

“I think, as a young guy, it’s a good thing,” Ennis said on Monday.

“You’re able to go in and learn from people, I think in the long run it’s definitely going to help me.”

Ennis spent just one season at Syrcause.

“Anywhere you go in the league, you’re going to compete for minutes,” said Ennis. “There are so many point guards, good point guards. It’s going to be good for me to learn from those guys.

“I think I bring a different dynamic than those guys do, being a pass-first guy, too. Me being able to score the ball as well as pass is something that’s a plus as well, I think.”

Via Doug Smith/Toronto Star

Raptors Encouraged By Bruno Caboclo's Summer Work

Bruno Caboclo has spent the summer in North America working on his game and body, along with his grasp of the English language.

“The big thing is we’ve got to get him playing,” said Toronto Raptors assistant coach Jama Mahlalela, who has worked extensively with Caboclo this summer.

“We have to get him in games to see, how can it transfer. We’ve done a summer of skill work. His skills, from where they were, are so improved it’s amazing.

“But it’s not a summer of playing every single day against NBA skill. That’s going to be the next little piece, and we’ll get the month of September to get that worked out.”

Via Doug Smith/Toronto Star
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