FIVE QUICK NBA THOUGHTS
1. NBA FINALS FORMAT: I like the revised 2-2-1-1-1 format effective this season. This change was long overdue. Gives the competitive advantage to the team that has earned it with the overall No. 1 seed and that's the way it should be. At last, common sense prevails.
2. NERLENS NOEL (Sixers): Likely out for the season as he rehabs knee and Philly prepares for the 2014 NBA Lottery. Good seats readily available for these home games. Liked him at Kentucky and I'm all for him taking his time and being right for 2014-15 season. That's the cost of doing business when you decide to take a risk with an unhealthy player with great potential. Andrew Bynum and now this. Fans of this squad will be doing the math early and often on amount of Lottery balls.
3. LUIS SCOLA (Pacers): Loved this pick-up in the off-season. As crafty as they come in the post. He's a veteran who is a true pro and will give Indy a legit/reliable lane paint scoring threat in its second unit profile. He's lost a step no doubt but he's still got enough to give a contending team a boost. Coach Frank Vogel will manage his minutes effectively and his presence really makes this squad along with the returning Danny Granger an upper-tier offensive team.
4. PJ TUCKER (Suns): Raptors fans will remember their 2006 second-round pick who had a brief cup of coffee with the squad. They, like so many others, missed on Paul Milsap (Jazz) in the second round. Give Tucker credit. He's bounced around various leagues/countries and refined his craft. Was solid at end of season in Phoenix (6.4ppg and 4.4rpg) last year and brings a great deal of energy and passion to the mix for a young team. Persistence is paramount and in this case it's evident.
5. DERRICK WILLIAMS (T'Wolves): Had his contract option picked up by team president Flip Saunders. I agree with the move. He's your classic 'Tweener' 3/4 type who has yet to find his true niche. There is a good amount of potential there and he came on late in the season for them last year. Worth staying with it a bit longer to see if it comes together. I'm sure his name will continue in trade speculation rumours but his current team protected its investment and has further evaluation time to see if he can become a consistent rotation guy that impacts winning. This season determines that in Minneapolis.