Once again, I’ve enjoyed Peter Looker’s Jan. 22 socioeconomic analysis in The Gazette Opinion section. Allow me to add a few observations. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Sadly, it seems that advertisements for things we don’t really need continue to control our sense of well being and have blinded many of us to the conditions of those less fortunate.Maybe cutting that cord to networks controlled by Madison Avenue will help turn things around and our children and grandchildren will learn that rather than greed and excess, contentment is the key to happiness.Perhaps it’s due to the fact that I’m in the downsizing phase of my life that I can look back with nostalgia at a time when basic necessities were appreciated and keeping up with the Joneses (or Trumps and Kardashians) wasn’t a national obsession. Helping others while cherishing family and friends may be old fashioned, but I sincerely hope they haven’t permanently gone out of style.Virginia NewtonBurnt HillsMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?
The Magpies have put together a run of five successive victories, four of them in the Barclays Premier League, to completely change the complexion of their season. However, they have lost men along the way to injury, some of them on the training ground, and that is something the manager and his coaching staff will look to address as they attempt to strike a balance between achieving the highest possible fitness levels and the demands that places on the squad. Press Association Pardew told the Shields Gazette: “I met my staff and we are going to change one or two things. We are pushing these players to the limit. We’re trying to get the maximum we can out of them, and if you do that, you are going to lose players here and there. “The other players, you can tell, are really super-fit, and we’re strong. But we still need a few more bodies back. “As a group, we have to make sure we protect the players and give them the best possible chance to be at their maximum on a Saturday. “We’re pushing the players, and we’re going to get injuries. We’re pushing them because we want them to be fitter and stronger than everybody else, and so you’ve got a balance there. “We’ve just got to make sure we get that right, because we lost one or two that perhaps we shouldn’t have.” Captain Fabricio Coloccini is one of the men currently on the casualty list, although he picked up his calf problem in the 2-0 win at West Brom last time out and could be missing for several weeks. With Steven Taylor battling a similar injury, the Magpies recalled 20-year-old Remie Streete from his loan spell at Port Vale last week, although Taylor is hopeful of being fit for QPR’s visit to St James’ Park on Saturday. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is to ease the workload on his players after admitting they have been pushed to the limit.
“I’m very delighted by the move,” Gnabry told the club’s official site. “I see the opportunity that I can play, it’s a good club and I’ve heard good things. “I’m very happy that I’ve signed here. I’ve got good impressions and I feel it’s a good environment for me to play and also develop as a player.” Head coach Tony Pulis said: “We’re delighted to add Serge to our options. “He is a top player and he will bring us quality in certain areas of the pitch.” Gnabry is unlikely to face Manchester City on Monday, though, as he lacks match fitness. Press Association The Baggies spent around £10million on Brown Ideye last summer but any outlay on Rondon would eclipse that. Ideye was close to leaving in January and any move for Rondon would cast doubt over his future at The Hawthorns. Victor Anichebe may also be surplus to requirements at the Baggies after an injury-plagued two years at the club. Venezuela international Rondon started his career at Aragua in his home country and has also played for Las Palmas, Malaga and Rubin Kazan. He joined Zenit in 2014 for a reported fee of around £16million. The Baggies host Manchester City on Monday, with Joleon Lescott a minor doubt against his former club after missing two days of training this week. The Baggies have also confirmed the signing of Arsenal’s Serge Gnabry on a season-long loan. The 20-year-old midfielder joins after missing the whole of last season with a knee injury. West Brom are ready to smash their transfer record for Zenit St Petersburg striker Salomon Rondon. The forward is believed to be in the country with Albion targeting the player, Press Association Sport understands. Albion are after further firepower despite signing Rickie Lambert from Liverpool to help Saido Berahino up front.
… Still no place for Hayley MatthewsST JOHN’S, (CMC) – Leading opener Hayley Matthews has been left out of a 14-member West Indies squad to face touring India Women in the first two One-Day Internationals of the three-match series which bowls off here next Friday.The 21-year-old Barbadian was suspended last month just days before the start of Australia’s tour of the Caribbean for what Cricket West Indies (CWI) described as a breach of its Code of Conduct, and CMC Sports understands she is still not eligible to return to the side.The matter was subsequently referred to the CWI Disciplinary Tribunal but there has been no word on the outcome.Matthews, an elegant right-hander who bowls steady off-spin, has become a fixture in the international side and was a member of the squad which captured the T20 World title in India three years ago.Without her services, West Indies looked a shadow of themselves against Australia recently, suffering a 3-0 whitewash in both the one-day and T20 series.Fast bowler Shakera Selman who missed the Australia series with injury is again sidelined while no room has been found for her usual new-ball partner Shamilia Connell who managed just three wickets in six matches against the Aussies recently.Selectors have replaced them with uncapped seamer Shawnisha Hector and fast-bowling all-rounder Aaliyah Alleyne.“The selectors were impressed by the young medium pace duo of Aaliyah Alleyne and Shawnisha Hector during the training camp, meriting their inclusion in the final 14-member squad,” said newly-appointed lead selector, Anne Browne-John.The side will be led by Stafanie Taylor and includes experienced all-rounder Stacey-Ann King and Britney Cooper, with Chedean Nation and Shemaine Campbelle returning to the side after missing the Australia series through injury.However, highly-rated all-rounder Deandra Dottin has still not returned to full fitness following surgery earlier this year, and was not considered.Teenaged Guyanese pace bowler Shabika Gajnabi and 21-year-old off-spinner Sheneta Grimmond, both of whom debuted against Australia last month, have retained their spots.Browne-John, previously the team manager, said the side was a balanced one.“The selection panel chose a good balance of youth and experience when assembling this squad,” she noted.“We have the return of the experienced Chedean Nation and Shermaine Campbelle, who missed the last series against Australia due to injury.”The opening two ODIs will be played on November 1 and 3 at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, with the final game scheduled for the same venue on November 6.SQUAD – Stafanie Taylor (captain), Anisa Mohammed (vice-captain), Aaliyah Alleyne, Afy Fletcher, Britney Cooper, Chedean Nation, Chinelle Henry, Stacey-Ann King, Kyshona Knight, Natasha McLean, Shabika Gajnabi, Shawnisha Hector, Shermaine Campbelle, Sheneta Grimmond.
Facebook Twitter Google+ On Tuesday, Tim Lester had the big reveal: Drew Allen would start at quarterback on Saturday at 4 p.m. against Wagner, but Terrel Hunt would play in Syracuse’s Carrier Dome opener.The quarterbacks coach didn’t yet have a sense of how the playing time would be split. Some suggested they would split halves. Another theory left it up to the flow of the game.On Thursday, head coach Scott Shafer cleared the air at his weekly press conference in Manley Field House. Shafer said that Allen will get the first handful of series, but Hunt will be involved early.“We’ll start with Drew and get him going in the first couple three series, and then I want to get Terrel in the mix early,” he said. “I look forward to seeing both of those kids improve that position.”Allen has started each of the Orange’s first two games this season and has thrown six interceptions to one touchdown. Hunt has played just 10 snaps — all on SU’s final drive against then-No. 19 Northwestern — and ran for a touchdown to cap it.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAllen didn’t account for his first touchdown until the third quarter on Saturday.Shafer said the issue right now is a matter of consistency at the position. He’s seen some things he’s liked out of Allen, namely his completion percentage and how well he’s spread the ball around, but he has major issues in the one category that quarterbacks coach Tim Lester said on Tuesday is the one area they can’t be having problems.“We can’t have the turnovers,” Shafer said. “Turnovers will kill you.”Both Shafer and Lester said that Allen at times locks in on his receivers, but that it’s not the only source of the problem.Sometimes he stares down the wide receiver for the entirety of his route. Other times, Lester said, he just commits to one receiver and, even after the route doesn’t work out the way the coaches envision it, Allen tries to force it in.“I really need to see him do is understand that it’s OK to see a muddy picture and throw the check down,” Shafer said, “or is to have a muddy picture in front of you and throw the ball out of bounds.”Right now, Shafer said, Allen still holds a slight edge in terms of pure passing. He said Allen has a stronger arm and a quicker release, but that “Terrel has really improved in that area.”Hunt brings a different dimension. In just 10 snaps, he carried the ball three times for 30 yards and a touchdown. On his touchdown run, he missed an assignment, but was still able to scramble and turn it into a positive play.Hunt was originally recruited as a basketball player at Christ the King Regional High School in New York. He eventually gained his notoriety on the football field, but many of his instincts come from what he learned on the hardwood.Shafer doesn’t view the two quarterbacks as being that different, but that Hunt’s vision — especially as a runner — is still better than Allen’s right now.“I see his vision when he’s running the ball being a little bit stronger than Drew’s,” Shafer said. “I always think basketball players see things with a wide angle, in the run game especially.”What’s most impressed Shafer, though, is how stoic the two have been. “Don’t you change” is one of Shafer’s lesser-known catchphrases, but it’s something he frequently tells his players.Shafer saw both Allen and Hunt compete for the job in the summer without being rattled. Shafer praised Hunt for remaining focused and upbeat even after Allen started taking most of the first team reps.Now the burden has shifted to Allen. Hunt is cutting into his snaps with the first team, and both of their plays this weekend could determine the direction SU goes at quarterback for the rest of the season.“Neither of them have changed in their demeanor, which I think is a sign of maturity,” Shafer said. “They’ve both worked the same way they did when they were competing in the summer.” Comments Published on September 12, 2013 at 11:33 am Contact David: firstname.lastname@example.org | @DBWilson2
Andy Enfield photographed by Brian Chin | Daily TrojanMen’s basketball recruit J’Raan Brooks announced his decision to decommit from USC and reopen his commitment on Twitter last Friday afternoon. “Due to unforeseen circumstances stemming from the recent news that has come to light in regards to the Trojan basketball program — I have decided to reopen my commitment to examine other available options,” Brooks said in his tweet. “While USC is still very much a possibility, the uncertainty of their situation has led me to believe I should reassess my own.” Brooks, a 6-foot-8 forward from Seattle, becomes the first of head coach Andy Enfield’s three 2018 recruits to decommit from the program just three weeks after news broke of an FBI investigation of assistant coach Tony Bland and multiple other Power Five basketball schools.While Brooks is staying away from USC for the time being, the Trojans are still an option for the four-star recruit in the future — if Enfield and the rest of his staff escape NCAA sanctions.“I have nothing but the utmost respect for Coach Enfield, the rest of the staff, the school and fans of the program,” Brooks said. “However, I need to make sure what I do is best for my future, and ensure I am making an informed decision, while seeing how this process transpires.”Brooks has been quiet regarding potential schools of interest since his announcement last weekend. Washington, a school just three miles north of where Brooks played high school ball at Garfield High, is in the hunt for Brooks, along with Pac-12 rivals Cal, Stanford and Washington State.The rest of the 2018 class, four-star recruits Taeshon Cherry and Kevin Porter, remain committed to USC for the time being despite the allegations surrounding Bland, the Trojans’ head basketball recruiter.Cherry, a 6-foot-8 forward from San Diego’s Saint Augustine High, decided to come to USC due to his close relationship with Bland.“I have a good relationship with Tony and Enfield,” Cherry said in an interview withScout.com. “Their style of play really fits my style of play, and it’s a perfect fit for me.” Cherry is listed as ESPN’s 22nd-best player in the 2018 class and announced his commitment just days after Brooks.Fellow Seattle resident Porter, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from local Rainier Beach, remains committed to USC despite offers from UCLA, Memphis and Washington, among others.For now, Enfield brings back most of his 2016-17 roster, along with three top 2017 recruits in Charles O’Bannon, Jr., Victor Uyaelunmo and Jordan Usher. But questions still remain for the Trojans come 2018 and beyond. Along with senior guards Jordan McLaughlin, Kurt Karis and Elijah Stewart, starting junior forwards Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu are expected to leave school early to try their luck in next year’s NBA Draft.With starting jobs up for grabs in 2018, USC could potentially land another recruit in Brooks’ place if he decides to forgo Enfield’s offer. Of ESPN’s top 100 recruits for 2018, just three have signed letters of intent. Along with local five-star center Bol Bol, USC is still in the hunt for No. 1 overall prospect R.J. Barrett and four-star prospects Elijah Weaver, Khavon Moore and Kamaka Hepa. Considering both Bol and Barrett have fielded offers from top-flight programs like Kentucky and Arizona, USC would be more likely to land Weaver, Moore and Hepa if Brooks elects to sign with another team.If those targets aren’t interested, Enfield and company could potentially save that scholarship for a top player in the loaded 2019 class. While top overall recruit James Wiseman is likely to stay put in the southeast,11th-ranked shooting guard Cassius Stanley from Sierra Canyon or 16th-ranked forward Onyeka Okongwu from Chino Hills could be drifting toward USC. Regardless of undecided recruits in 2018 and 2019, USC awaits the verdicts in the FBI investigations with fingers crossed. The Trojans open their season at home against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 10.
He’ll be hoping teenager Jack Kennedy can strike gold for the second time in the day’s opening race – he’ll be aboard the Elliott-trained Brelade in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle. Elliott will also hope for a strong showing from Tombstone in the Coral Cup. After a barren opening day, Willie Mullins will hope for better today, with Douvan the odd-on favourite for the feature race – the Queen Mother Champion Chase. While the Nicky Henderson – Nico de Boinville tandem will hope to work wonders again with Might Bite in the RSA Chase. Today’s action is underway at 1.30.
The Ghana football fraternity is witnessing a wind of change in the developmentand production of players for our elite league and our national teams.The second tier league thus the GN Bank Division One League is receiving a lot of applauds for the way and manner in which the tournament was packaged.What is more significant about this development is the depth of quality emanating from the just ended league. This year’s Division One League is arguably the best so far in as many years and some pundits argue that it is even more attractive than the elite league which is the flagship of our domestic leagues.Sincerely, the innovations put together by the Division One League Board can largely be attributed to the transformation of our second tier league into a more formidable and attractive to the football populace and corporate world. It was therefore not surprising to see GN Bank coming on board to sponsor a hitherto orphan league.The just ended award ceremony was a masterpiece of its own. In fact we are yetto receive any qualm about the recipient of any of the awards. This indeed shows how transparent, professional and objective the process was.One area worth touching in the award categories is the prestigious player of the year.For about over 1200 players and about 48 clubs that participated across thecountry, Samudeen Ibrahim came up as best player among his colleagues. This is no mean an achievement considering the tough nature of the competition and quality that were exhibited throughout the league. Samudeen had a stiff opposition to this accolade by the highly-rated Joel Fameyeh of Asokwa Depotivo and the Discovery of the Year Enoch Atta Adjei of Windy Professionals.Indeed the standard has been raised by the performance of Joel Fameyeh in his stint with the local Black Stars coupled with his prolific scoring abilities. This invariably makes Samudeen the player to watch in the coming season of any club and league he finds himself playing for after edging out all these players to the coveted award.Saamu, as we affectionately call him, is a 19-year old footballer who played for king Solomon FC is the just ended GN Bank Division One League.He was adjudged the best year of the league. He won the most valuable player of the match 8 times, scoring 4 and assisting over 20 goals.An offensive midfielder ,Saamu became a thorn in the flesh of defenders he came facing in the league. Due to his power and strength upfront, he made the job easier for his strikers and on many occasions the main orchestra of their play. His pace and dribbling skills are delight to watch and he is a true definition of a complete player. In some occasions however he joins the central midfield to augment defensive roles when the team is under some form of pressure.Nonetheless, his rise to this enviable pinnacle did not come by a sudden flight.Even though he is young, Saamu has gone through the grinding mill and it is notsurprising that he has attained this prestigious status. He started his football career in Nungua where heroes have arisen from over the period. Notable among them are John Naawu and son Richard Naawu, Eben Dadzie and recently Bernard Dong Bortey, Harrison Afful, Gladson Awako are few of manythe town has produced over the years.Christian Stars, one of the best colts clubs in the Nungua area offered him the grassroot platform where he excelled.He moved to Sekondi Eleven Wise at a juvenile age where he played for some time and help them qualify for the premiership. He returned to Accra and joined D’International. His performance caught the eyes of sensational Inter Allies where he once again helped them qualify to the elite division. His move to King Solomon however was a shock tomany who believed it was a retrogressive decision. Saamu believed that a good player would be seen even if he plays in Jupiter.Just after two season, Saamu helped them to place second after Dreams FC who eventually qualified for the premiership.Currently, Saamu is the most sort after player on the local scene and this indeed shows that he is one of the golden eggs Ghana has laid. Gone are the days when division one players are rated mediocre and sub-standard but it’s obvious from this year’s league that division one has proven to be a vault of quality and matured players for national assignments and other elite leagues.The performances and goal scoring prowess of Bright Luqman and Joel Fameyeh is a manifestation that Ghana is not in deficit of strikers.Our focus hasbeen on the elite league and for that matter we just overlook the activities in the division one. For both players to score 30 and 28 goals respectively in 30 matches should tell us that our attention should be rightly channelled.It will not be far-fetched if Samudeen Ibrahim is invited to any of the national teams considering his age. The evidence from Joel fameyeh’s performance in the local Black Stars is enough to tell us what Samudeen can do when given the chance.It will also make the division one league very attractive to players ratherthan them joining the exodus bandwagon to Thailand, Vietnam, Afghanistan and other football unfriendly nations.Unto us a son is born and in Samudeen we see a dawn of a new era.–
1. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORSLAST SEASON: 58-24, won NBA championshipPROJECTED STARTERS: Steph Curry (26.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 6.1 apg), Kevin Durant (26.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 5.4 apg), Draymond Green (11 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 7.3 apg), Klay Thompson (20 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.5 apg), Jordan Bell (4.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1 bpg)KEY LOSSES: JaVale McGee (Lakers), Zaza Pachulia (Detroit), David West (retired), Patrick McCaw and Nick YoungKEY ADDITIONS: DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans), Jacob Evans (Cincinnati), Jonas Jerebko (Utah) OUTLOOK: Yes, Houston is trying to replace versatile defensive stoppers Ariza and Mbah a Moute with aging Carmelo (16.2 ppg) and journeyman Ennis (7.1 ppg). But it’s worth noting that the Rockets were 14-1 in games Ariza missed last season, with the lone loss coming in a meaningless season finale when the regulars sat out. The Rockets’ record with reigning MVP Harden, Paul and Capela all playing was 42-3 (plus 11-4 in the playoffs). Melo has never been one to embrace the defensive end of the floor (and has bristled at the idea of being a Sixth Man for anything but an Olympic team), but he does bring even more firepower to one of the league’s most high-octane offenses. If Paul stays healthy and if Coach Mike D’Antoni can keep this team from falling apart defensively and if the Rockets can get Anthony to embrace coming off the bench, there’s no reason they can’t play deep into the playoffs again.3. UTAH JAZZLAST SEASON: 48-34, lost to Houston in Western semifinalsPROJECTED STARTERS: Ricky Rubio (13.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 5.3 apg), Donovan Mitchell (20.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.7 apg), Joe Ingles (11.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.8 apg), Derrick Favors (12.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg), Rudy Gobert (13.5 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 2.3 bpg)KEY LOSSES: Jonas Jerebko (Golden State), Erik McCree (Pesaro) and David Stockton (Bayreuth)KEY ADDITIONS: Grayson Allen (Duke) and Tyler Cavanaugh (Atlanta)OUTLOOK: The Jazz were the best defense in the league last season and they sprinted up the conference standings once Gobert got healthy, going 29-6 from Jan. 24 through the end of the regular season, posting the league’s second-best record and best point differential during that span. Rookie of the Year runner-up Donovan Mitchell was dazzling. Presuming he improves as a pull-up shooter, he appears poised to become one of the best scoring threats in the league. The Jazz don’t have many other players who can create their own shot and they’re average at best in transition, but with virtually all of their rotation players back, they should remain cohesive and unselfish. Barring another injury to Gobert, this team should pick up where it left off and be in the hunt for a top-four seed.4. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDERLAST SEASON: 48-34, lost to Utah in first roundPROJECTED STARTERS: Russell Westbrook (25.4 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 10.3 apg), Paul George (21.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2 spg), Andre Roberson (5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.2 spg), Jerami Grant (8.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1 bpg), Steven Adams (13.9 ppg, 9 rpg, 1 bpg)KEY LOSSES: Carmelo Anthony (Houston), Corey Brewer, Nick Collison (retired), PJ Dozier (Boston), Daniel Hamilton (Atlanta), Josh Huestis and Dakari Johnson (Memphis)KEY ADDITIONS: Dennis Schroder (Atlanta), Tyler Davis (Texas A&M), Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky), Timothe Luwawu (Philadelphia) and Nerlens Noel (Dallas)OUTLOOK: Massive luxury-tax implications made dumping Melo’s salary a must, but the move might also make the Thunder a better team. OKC was minus-58 in Anthony’s 194 playoff minutes and outscored the Jazz by 32 points in the 94 minutes Melo sat during that series. After averaging a triple-double for consecutive seasons and convincing Paul George to re-sign, Russell Westbrook could run for governor and win in a landslide. His combination of athleticism and competitive fire should again have him among the league MVP candidates. The Thunder have struggled mightily when Westbrook leaves the court the last two seasons, but having a starting-caliber point guard like Schroder (19.4 ppg, 6.1 apg last season) as a backup should help, presuming Schroder embraces being a sixth man. The Thunder’s perimeter defense suffered when Roberson got hurt last season, but Noel (5.6 rpg, 1.1 spg) provides some defensive depth. OKC is never going to be a great ball movement team with Westbrook at the wheel, but it’s a physical, athletic team that should score a lot in transition and rebound well.5. LAKERSLAST SEASON: 35-47, did not make playoffsPROJECTED STARTERS: LeBron James (27.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 8.6 apg), Brandon Ingram (16.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.9 apg), Rajon Rondo (8.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 8.2 apg), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (13.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg), JaVale McGee (4.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.9 bpg)KEY LOSSES: Julius Randle (New Orleans), Brook Lopez (Milwaukee), Thomas Bryant (Washington), Isaiah Thomas (Denver) and Gary Payton II (Portland)KEY ADDITIONS: LeBron James (Cleveland), Rajon Rondo (New Orleans), Lance Stephenson (Indiana), JaVale McGee (Golden State), Michael Beasley (New York), Svi Mykhailiuk (Kansas) and Mo Wagner (Michigan)OUTLOOK: The two other times when LeBron relocated as a free agent, his new teams jumped by 11 and 20 wins, respectively, the next season. Of course, the Lakers didn’t also add Chris Bosh or Kevin Love at the same time the way Miami (2010) and Cleveland (2014) did. LeBron might be 33, but he is coming off one of his best all-around seasons. Scoring should not be a problem for this group, especially in transition, but defense will likely determine just how many rungs they can ascend in the standings. The Lakers went from worst in the league in 2016-17 to No. 12 in defensive rating last season, but many have made the observation that the best centers in the Western Conference might give this Lakers roster a lot of trouble. How well they shoot from the perimeter remains the other significant question mark, though LeBron’s presence should create more quality looks for everyone and rookie Mykhailiuk is a pure shooter who could become a rotation player. Luke Walton has a difficult coaching job ahead of him, but the Lakers’ playoff drought should come to an end.6. SAN ANTONIO SPURSLAST SEASON: 47-35, lost to Golden State in first roundPROJECTED STARTERS: Derrick White (3.2 ppg), DeMar DeRozan (23 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 5.2 apg), Rudy Gay (11.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 0.8 spg), LaMarcus Aldridge (23.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg), Pau Gasol (10.1 ppg, 8 rpg, 3.1 apg)KEY LOSSES: Kawhi Leonard (Toronto), Tony Parker (Charlotte), Manu Ginobili (retired), Danny Green (Toronto) and Kyle Anderson (Memphis)KEY ADDITIONS: DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), Jakob Poeltl (Toronto), Marco Belinelli (Philadelphia), Dante Cunningham (Brooklyn), Lonnie Walker (University of Miami) and Chimezie Metu (USC)OUTLOOK: The Leonard saga is over, but will the Spurs’ historic playoff streak come to an end as well? Their 21 consecutive postseason appearances is tied for second in NBA history after they squeezed through the door last season despite Kawhi playing only nine games. DeRozan is not the all-around player Leonard is, but he’s been the leading scorer for a playoff team each of the last five seasons. With Aldridge and DeRozan, the Spurs have a pair of go-to scorers and two of the best mid-range shooters in the league, but they don’t have many quality 3-point bombers. Losing Dejounte Murray to a season-ending torn ACL is another blow. Derrick White likely starts, so Patty Mills can remain in his bench role. Pac-12 product Poeltl could be primed for a breakout season with a bigger role in San Antonio. Gregg Popovich-coached teams are always going to play good team defense, but the franchise just lost its three most important players this century outside of Tim Duncan. With Leonard, Parker and Ginobili gone, who becomes this group’s on-court leader?7. NEW ORLEANS PELICANSLAST SEASON: 48-34, lost to Golden State in Western semifinalsPROJECTED STARTERS: Anthony Davis (28.1 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.6 bpg), Jrue Holiday (19 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6 apg), E’Twaun Moore (12.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg), Julius Randle (16.1 ppg, 8 rpg), Nikola Mirotic (14.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg)KEY LOSSES: DeMarcus Cousins (Golden State), Rajon Rondo (Lakers), Jordan Crawford, DeAndre Liggins and Emeka OkaforKEY ADDITIONS: Julius Randle (Lakers), Elfrid Payton (Phoenix), Jahlil Okafor (Brooklyn)OUTLOOK: Despite the midseason Achilles injury to Cousins, the Pelicans caught fire in the second half then carried that momentum into a first-round sweep of Portland. Davis and midseason acquisition Mirotic were effective together, but can a team that played at the league’s fastest pace keep that up with reclamation project Payton (12.7 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4.3 rpg) replacing Rondo? Ian Clark (7.4 ppg) had moments in the playoffs, but he has yet to break out. Randle is coming off the best season of his career and should still be motivated to earn a bigger payday down the road (he can opt out of his two-year deal next summer). They could use more shooting from the wings. Even if Rondo’s absence is felt early, Davis is a legitimate MVP candidate who should be able to keep this team in the playoff mix.8. DENVER NUGGETSLAST SEASON: 46-36, did not make playoffsPROJECTED STARTERS: Nikola Jokic (18.5 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 6.1 apg), Paul Millsap (14.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.8 apg), Will Barton (15.7 ppg, 5 rpg, 4.1 apg), Jamal Murray (16.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.4 apg), Gary Harris (17.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.9 apg)KEY LOSSES: Wilson Chandler (Philadelphia), Kenneth Faried (Brooklyn), Darrell Arthur (Phoenix), Devin Harris (Dallas) and Richard JeffersonKEY ADDITIONS: Isaiah Thomas (Lakers), Trey Lyles (Utah), Michael Porter (Missouri), Jarred Vanderbilt (Kentucky) and Thomas Welsh (UCLA)OUTLOOK: Denver just missed on a playoff berth last season, losing its final game of the season to Minnesota, but the Nuggets return a deep roster and a nice mix of versatile young players. This summer, the Nuggets locked up Barton and star center Jokic, whose basketball IQ keeps growing. Denver has plenty of players who can shoot the ball and/or create off the dribble and will have added firepower if Thomas (15.2 ppg) can regain the All-Star form he showed in Boston. Porter could go down as the steal of the draft, but it’s unclear what they’ll get from him this season. Denver should rebound well, and a healthy Millsap should improve the interior defense, but the Nuggets were the worst 3-point defense in the league last season. This looks like a playoff team with a promising nucleus that could contend for the Northwest Division title.9. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERSLAST SEASON: 49-33, lost to New Orleans in first roundPROJECTED STARTERS: Damian Lillard (26.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6.6 apg), CJ McCollum (21.4 ppg, 4 rpg, 3.4 apg), Al-Farouq Aminu (9.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg), Evan Turner (8.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg), Jusuf Nurkic (14.3 ppg, 9 rpg)KEY LOSSES: Ed Davis (Brooklyn), Shabazz Napier (Brooklyn), Pat Connaughton (Milwaukee) and CJ WilcoxKEY ADDITIONS: Anfernee Simons (IMG Academy), Seth Curry (Dallas) and Nik Stauskas (Brooklyn), Gary Trent Jr. (Duke)OUTLOOK: There’s a reason Lillard and McCollum tweeted their displeasure when the Blazers let Davis leave in free agency. The valuable, rugged backup center ranked third on the team in win shares last season, and losing the athletic Connaughton and Napier doesn’t help either. The Blazers were 31-26 before Lillard led them on a 13-game win streak and to the Northwest division title. After being named All-NBA first-team for the first time, will he still play with the chip on his shoulder that has made him such a competitor and one of the best closers in the league? Curry missed last season with a stress fracture in his leg, but he adds 3-point shooting, and rookie Simons averaged 11 points while leading Portland to the Summer League title. Last year’s stunning playoff sweep at the hands of New Orleans should provide motivation, but unless Zach Collins (4.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg) makes major strides, returning to the postseason in a deep Western Conference could be difficult. If they miss the playoffs again or suffer a third consecutive 4-0 exit, do the Blazers go into wholesale rebuild mode?10. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVESLAST SEASON: 47-35, lost to Houston in first roundPROJECTED STARTERS: Karl-Anthony Towns (21.3 ppg, 12.3 rpg, 1.4 bpg), Taj Gibson (12.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg), Jimmy Butler (22.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.9 apg), Andrew Wiggins (17.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.1 spg), Jeff Teague (14.2 ppg, 7 apg, 1.5 spg)KEY LOSSES: Jamal Crawford, Cole Aldrich, Nemanja Bjelica (Sacramento), Aaron Brooks and Anthony Brown (Philadelphia)KEY ADDITIONS: Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech), Anthony Tolliver (Detroit), James Nunnally (Fenerbahce/Turkey), Luol Deng (Lakers) and CJ Williams (Clippers).OUTLOOK: Despite making the playoffs for the first time since Kevin Garnett was in his prime, things have become awkward in Minnesota. Karl-Anthony Towns signed a $190 million super-max extension, but Butler, a free agent next summer, rejected a $110 million contract extension and has requested a trade. The versatile Towns is too big, quick, athletic and skilled for most opponents to handle, but the talented Wiggins remains a bit of a disappointment who seems to vanish during stretches. Minnesota thrives in the paint but made the fewest 3-pointers in the league last season. Tolliver, a fan favorite who played here from 2010-12, and Nunnally should help that issue. Okogie is the kind of tough, athletic perimeter player Coach Tom Thibodeau loves. The Butler situation makes this a difficult team to project, but even if the team defense improves, the Wolves appear among those teams in a dogfight to earn a playoff spot.11. CLIPPERSLAST SEASON: 42-40, did not make playoffsPROJECTED STARTERS: Tobias Harris (19.3 ppg, 6 rpg, 3.1 apg), Danilo Gallinari (15.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg), Marcin Gortat (8.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg), Patrick Beverley (12.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.9 apg), Avery Bradley (9.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg)KEY LOSSES: DeAndre Jordan (Dallas), Austin Rivers (Washington), CJ Williams (Minnesota) and Sam Dekker (Cleveland)KEY ADDITIONS: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky), Jerome Robinson (Boston College), Marcin Gortat (Washington), Luc Mbah a Moute (Houston) and Mike Scott (Washington)OUTLOOK: DeAndre Jordan’s departure means all of the Lob City Era cornerstones have moved on, which is one of the reasons the Clippers are expected to finish below .500 for the first time since 2010-11. Nonetheless, the Clippers have depth and will start solid players at all five positions. With Beverley, Bradley and Mbah a Moute, their perimeter defense is going to be stingy, and that’s likely to be the personality of this team. Coach Doc Rivers liked the way his team scrapped through an injury-plagued season last year, and energetic players like Montrezl Harrell remain on the roster. Tobias Harris has gotten better every year he’s spent in the league, and when Gallinari is healthy (a career-long challenge), he is another forward who can light it up. Lou Williams (22.6 ppg) is coming off a Sixth Man of the Year season, and the team is high on its pair of lottery pick rookies. The Clippers opted against making wholesale changes this summer, looking toward 2019 when they look like they’ll have salary cap space to pursue two max-contract free agents.12. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIESLAST SEASON: 22-60, did not make playoffsPROJECTED STARTERS: Mike Conley (17.1 ppg, 4.1 apg, 1 spg), Kyle Anderson (7.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.7 apg), Marc Gasol (17.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 4.2 apg), Dillon Brooks (11 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.9 spg), Jaren Jackson Jr. (10.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg at Michigan State)KEY LOSSES: Tyreke Evans (Indiana), James Ennis (Houston), Deyonta Davis (Sacramento) and Jarell Martin (Orlando)KEY ADDITIONS: Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan State), Kyle Anderson (San Antonio), Jevon Carter (West Virginia), Omri Casspi (Golden State), Shelvin Mack (Orlando) and Garrett Temple (Sacramento)OUTLOOK: Memphis is above .500 when Gasol and Conley are in the lineup together the past three seasons, but keeping them healthy has been the issue, particularly for Conley (heel surgery cost him 70 games last season). The contracts of Conley, Gasol and Chandler Parsons meant there was no pursuit of notable free agents, but the team is high on rookies Jackson and Carter. The promising Jackson, 19, is still growing into his 7-foot frame but he’s long, athletic and can play around the basket or on the perimeter, while Carter is a lockdown defender. Anderson was a nice signing who could thrive with a bigger role than he had with the Spurs. The Grizzlies are aging, not terribly athletic and won’t score a lot of easy transition points, which should keep them among the league’s lowest-scoring teams. This franchise seems like it’s approaching a complete teardown soon.13. DALLAS MAVERICKSLAST SEASON: 24-58, did not make playoffsPROJECTED STARTERS: Dirk Nowitzki (12 ppg, 5.7 rpg), Harrison Barnes (18.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg), DeAndre Jordan (12 ppg, 15.2 rpg, 0.9 bpg), Dennis Smith Jr. (15.2 ppg, 5.2 apg, 3.8 rpg), Wesley Matthews (12.7 ppg, 2.7 apg, 3.1 rpg)KEY LOSSES: Yogi Ferrell (Sacramento), Doug McDermott (Indiana), Seth Curry (Portland), Nerlens Noel (Oklahoma City), Kyle Collinsworth (Toronto)KEY ADDITIONS: Luka Doncic (Real Madrid), DeAndre Jordan (Clippers), Jalen Brunson (Villanova), Kostas Antetokounmpo (Dayton), Ray Spalding (Louisville), Devin Harris (Denver),OUTLOOK: Dallas missed the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since Dirk Nowitzki’s first two seasons in the league, and it doesn’t seem likely they’re going to make it in what he says will be his final season. Barnes, Smith (All-Rookie, second team) and Nowitzki figure to carry the offense again, but the development of crafty Slovenian Doncic alongside Smith should be the priority. Jordan’s offensive game is limited, but he’s great around the basket and gives the young playmakers a lob threat. The Mavericks’ draft didn’t stop at Doncic. They added three other interesting players in NCAA National Player of the Year Brunson, Antetokounmpo (the younger brother of Milwaukee’s Giannis) and Spalding, a big man who moves exceptionally well for his size, has some offensive skill and can defend multiple positions.14. PHOENIX SUNSLAST SEASON: 21-61, did not make playoffsPROJECTED STARTERS: Devin Booker (24.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.7 apg), Deandre Ayton (21 ppg, 11.6 rpg at Arizona), TJ Warren (19.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg), Trevor Ariza (11.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg), Tyson Chandler (6.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg)KEY LOSSES: Brandon Knight (Houston), Marquese Chriss (Houston), Alex Len (Atlanta), Jared Dudley (Brooklyn), Danuel House (Golden State) and Elfrid Payton (New Orleans)KEY ADDITIONS: Deandre Ayton (Arizona), Mikal Bridges (Villanova), Trevor Ariza (Houston), Ryan Anderson (Houston), Darrell Arthur (Denver) and De’Anthony Melton (USC), Elie Okobo (France)OUTLOOK: The 21-year-old Booker, who might miss the start of the season recovering from hand surgery, can shoot from anywhere and is becoming a reliable playmaker too. Now, the Suns added No. 1 draft pick Ayton and hope they have their cornerstones for the next decade. Ariza and Anderson are savvy veterans who have experience winning, but a team with a logjam of wing players still needs a point guard and has serious defensive issues (ranked 30th last season). The task of beginning to build the Suns into a competitive team falls to Igor Kokoskov, the first NBA coach raised mostly on international basketball. He was an outside-of-the box choice but has a solid reputation. Second-year swingman Josh Jackson averaged 18.7 points after the All-Star break but still needs to improve from 3-point range (26.3 percent).15. SACRAMENTO KINGSLAST SEASON: 27-55, did not make playoffsPROJECTED STARTERS: Marvin Bagley III (21 ppg, 11.5 rpg at Duke), De’Aaron Fox (11.5 ppg, 4.4 apg), Willie Cauley-Stein (12.8 ppg, 7 rpg, 2.4 apg), Bogdan Bogdanovic (11.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.3 apg), Justin Jackson (6.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg)KEY LOSSES: Garrett Temple (Memphis), JaKarr Sampson (Chicago), Bruno Caboclo (Houston), Vince Carter (Atlanta)KEY ADDITIONS: Marvin Bagley III (Duke), Yogi Ferrell (Dallas), Deyonta Davis (Memphis), Ben McLemore (Memphis), Jamel Artis (Orlando), Nemanja Bjelica (Minnesota)OUTLOOK: The dysfunctional, perpetually rebuilding Kings have gone 12 years (and nine head coaches) since their last winning season, but with No. 2 overall pick Bagley, 2017 first-rounder Harry Giles (missed last season, knee injuries) and Fox, there’s a young nucleus to build around. Last year’s 27-win Kings tried to weave veterans with their young core and ended up relying on aging Zach Randolph (14.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg) to be their leading scorer. Fox, Bogdanovich and Cauley-Stein had their moments, as did Buddy Hield (13.5 ppg, 43 percent from 3-point range), but the Kings were still the lowest-scoring team in the league (98.8). They signed restricted free agent Zach LaVine to an offer sheet this summer, but Chicago matched it. The 6-10 Giles is coming off a strong Summer League showing and the Kings, who say they want to push the pace more, can only hope Bagley is the franchise player they’ve been searching for. Regardless, another trip to the draft lottery seems certain. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersOUTLOOK: The league’s dominant team got better after upgrading the center position from Pachulia and McGee to Cousins. When everyone is healthy (and there’s no reason to rush Cousins’ recovery from an Achilles injury last winter), the Warriors can start five future Hall of Famers. … They’re still the best shooting team in the league, and can play lockdown defense when they need to, but don’t forget that Houston was perhaps just a Chris Paul pulled hamstring from knocking them off last spring. The Warriors’ talent should allow for stars beyond Cousins to take games off if they need to nurse injuries (Curry only played in 51 regular-season games last year because of a bothersome ankle). Still, short of Cousins being a chemistry issue on- or off-court or having a setback in his recovery, this team is a heavy favorite to win its third title in a row and its fourth in five seasons. Next summer, ownership can tend to the business of how much it is willing to spend to keep this core together.2. HOUSTON ROCKETSLAST SEASON: 65-17, lost to Golden State in Western finalsPROJECTED STARTERS: Chris Paul (18.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 7.9 apg), James Harden (30.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 8.8 apg), Clint Capela (13.9 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 1.9 bpg), Eric Gordon (18 ppg, 2.5 rpg), P.J. Tucker (6.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg)KEY LOSSES: Trevor Ariza (Phoenix), Luc Mbah a Moute (Clippers), Ryan Anderson (Phoenix)KEY ADDITIONS: Carmelo Anthony (Oklahoma City), Marquese Chriss (Phoenix), Brandon Knight (Phoenix), James Ennis (Memphis), Bruno Caboclo (Sacramento), Michael Carter-Williams (Charlotte) Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Technical Director Jill McIntosh said the Sunshine Girls have no room for error in their remaining Pool E games at the Netball World Cup, warning that their opponents are no pushovers.”We have to win our two games to be in the semi-final. We have to win,” McIntosh pointed out. “If we lose, there is no way we will be in the semi-finals, so to win is our focus.”We have to play our best. We have to go out and play our normal style of netball as we have been doing and just take it one game at a time as we go. Uganda are looking good and Malawi are very good,” observed McIntosh, the former Australia coach.Jamaica lost their opening game 55-48 to New Zealand on Tuesday and played Uganda (earlier this morning) in their second match of the group, knowing they had to win to keep their semi-final chances intact.Malawi, in the meantime, had lost to New Zealand 57-49 yesterday.”Malawi only lost to New Zealand by eight (goals), so they are a very good team,” McIntosh noted. “They are number six in the world, so we have to be very careful when we play them on Friday, that one won’t be easy,” she said.Despite that, McIntosh is confident that the Sunshine Girls will have enough in the tank for the two African nations.”We have our tactics worked out, we played them (Malawi) last year at the Commonwealth Games and we know we can beat them, but in saying that we know that they are very good, they have improved again, they play a very nice style of netball, so we have to go out and play our best game,” she continued.New Zealand leads Pool E with maximum four points from two matches, while Malawi follow with two points from two games. Prior to last night’s fixtures, Uganda had lost both their matches, while Jamaica had lost once and were yet to get off the mark.