TSN's Jack Armstrong offers his thoughts on Metta World Peace, Brian Shaw, Eric Bledsoe, Trey Burke, and Jerry Sloan.
1. METTA WORLD PEACE (Lakers): The Lakers decided to exercise his $ 7.7 million player option for this upcoming season. Watching him play this past year, I see a guy whose skills are in decline and his best days are behind him. It will be interesting to see if the Lakers use their Amnesty Provision on him; wouldn't surprise me.
2. BRIAN SHAW (Nuggets): Shaw was hired as the Nuggets' new head coach. He's walking into a good situation with solid talent level. Questions about the return of Andre Iguodala, who opted out of his deal, and the health of Danilo Gallinari make the situation a little more challenging. Add to the fact that they're coming off a 57-win season when they fired George Karl and the expectations will be high. Karl only got the Nuggets to the second round of the playoffs one time. The key for Shaw will be lots of regular season wins and better playoff success than Karl. I like Shaw and think he's got the potential to be a good head coach. He paid his dues with the Lakers and Pacers after his playing days were over; he's ready. He walks into a situation that is a much more positive one than most young coaches get a chance at. He knows all about expectations from his Lakers days and will be able to handle it.
3. ERIC BLEDSOE (Clippers): Bledsoe's name is being tossed around in trade talks. A lot of teams are big fans of his and in the likely case that Chris Paul returns to LA, I see a new location being the best thing for him in his young career. He's ready to take the next step as a player and needs to be in a situation where he's counted on to play major minutes and produce as a top-flight point guard. The only way we'll find out what his true potential is, is if he gets the opportunity to be the lead guard for a team.
4. TREY BURKE (U of Michigan): Burke will likely be drafted somewhere in the first eight spots tomorrow evening in the NBA Draft. In spite of his lack of size, he has off-the-charts quickness; I like his game. He's sound fundamentally and a consistent player who knows how to play the game. He'll be a good pro. Very good or great? I'm not sure about that, but he'll be a good fit for the team that drafts him. This is a weak draft and as long as teams are realistic about players' ceilings and upside rather than looking at the draft slot he was picked in, you'll get the proper return on investment. Burke's a winning player.
5. JERRY SLOAN (Jazz): Sloan re-joined his old team as a consultant. It's a good move by the team. He's an outstanding coach and person. I'm a bit surprised that he wasn't hired as a coach by a team looking for a new boss. He obviously didn't want to deal with the frustrations of coaching a team not ready for primetime. He'll be a terrific mentor for his former assistant coach, Tyrone Corbin in Utah. The NBA needs older coaches with great wisdom to help. More teams should tap into men like this with great leadership ability to serve as consultants and advisors.