Basketball Wiretap

Heat Continue Working On Point Guard Drills For Tyler Johnson

Aug 14, 2016 10:09 AM

The Miami Heat were 0-4 last season with Tyler Johnson as the starting point guard. Miami continues to work with Johnson to play the position behind Goran Dragic.

"All the drills that we're doing this year kind of skewed toward being a point guard," Johnson said. "So it's definitely going to be an important part of my development to continue to get better. It was kind of derailed last year obviously by sitting out so many games [due to shoulder surgery]. But I think it's still the same goal that Spo has had from last year, is to get a lot of reps at the point guard." With just 1 1/2 seasons in the NBA, Johnson said playing the point is part of his growth curve. "It's just controlling the game, where if we have a couple of bad sets in a row, being able to calm the team down, get guys in their spots and then knowing when to push the tempo, knowing when we need to just go to draw up a play," he said. "I think the game awareness is probably the biggest thing that I need to develop as time goes on."

The Heat matched Johnson's offer sheet with the Nets in free agency.

Ira Winderman/South Florida Sun Sentinel

Tags: Tyler Johnson, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

76ers To Give Ben Simmons Minutes At Point Guard

Aug 10, 2016 1:27 PM

The Philadelphia 76ers plan on playing Ben Simmons at point guard at times during his rookie season.

"I can't wait for the season to begin and all over the place I'm very, very excited to start our season," Brett Brown said. "I think [Simmons] is going to have some taste of [point guard] for sure. He'll dictate that himself when he rebounds and leads the break. I've said it many times, I think the NBA point guard is the hardest position in the NBA.

"He's never played point guard, let alone NBA point guard, so what do you think he's going to be? He has a real good chance to be that. I think initially we're going to play him in different positions and that [point guard] will certainly be one of them. I believe he's an elite passer. He has the mentality to do that first--and in a 6-foot-10 frame that weighs 240, 250 pounds, at 20 years old. That's a great package to work with to play multiple positions.

"He's going to be a facilitator. You're going to see [Simmons] making plays. The ball will be in his hands and you can call what position you want. He's certainly going to have the ball in his hands a lot, and everybody will certainly be reaping the benefits of that and truly enjoy playing with him. What we will say is we will give him the ball as much as we can."

Zach Harper/CBS Sports

Tags: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Neil Olshey: Blazers Prefer Favorable Contracts Over Cap Space

Aug 4, 2016 11:21 AM

The Portland Trail Blazers entered the 2016 offseason with substantial cap space and are now a capped-out team.

The Blazers re-signed Allen Crabbe, Meyers Leonard and Moe Harkless, extended C.J. McCollum and also signed Evan Turner as a free agent.

"Good players on favorable contracts are more valuable to us than cap room," Neil Olshey said. "Especially in an era where all 30 teams have cap room -- or the ability to get it." The Blazers don't have as much time to wait as you might think; Lillard and McCollum are 26 and 24, squarely in their primes. "With our interest in extending C.J., we weren't going to be a cap room team next year, anyway," Olshey said.

"We are probably not going to make the quantum leap the salaries might indicate," said Terry Stotts. "As a coach, you take the money out of it. We just want to grow."

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Tags: Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

Doc Rivers: It's Been Miraculous How We've Built With Minimum Contract Players

Jul 28, 2016 1:11 PM

The general manager aspect of Doc Rivers' tenure with the Los Angeles Clippers has been uneven as he tries to build a supporting cast around Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

The Clippers have cycled through a number of small forwards in particular.

"We have a good core. The problem team-building with our core is we have three max players," said Rivers. "I don't think people understand that. I think since I've taken the job, even before then, we need a 3, we need a 3, we need a 3. Yeah, we all know that but we also only have the minimum to try to go out and get a 3. I think it's been actually miraculous what we've done with just having minimum contracts. 

"One thing I've learned with teams like ours, if you have a good team, you can convince guys to take the minimum. The problem is you're going to keep losing guys. Every year we do it. Every single season we sign guys to the minimum and then we lose them to higher contracts. Cole Aldrich is the example from this year. But we're an old school version of a team.

"Things have changed. The Big 3 (in Boston), put them together, bam, we won. In Miami, put them together, bam, they win. Golden State is going to try to do it this coming year. There are teams that still poke through. Dallas did it. They kind of had their team, they had the nucleus and finally they poke through. That's what we're going to try to do."

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Tags: Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ