CSN Notebook December 12, 2016

Hello NBA fans out there!

AT AN NBA ARENA NEAR YOU – Welcome to another edition of the CSN Insider notebook that’s once again chock full of news nuggets, trade rumors and analysis that you won’t find anywhere else.

This week we start things off with a player who not that long ago seemed to have a bright future in the NBA, but now finds himself in the D-League.

We’re talking about Detroit’s Stanley Johnson, selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Not only has he fallen out of the rotation, but he now finds himself in the D-League with the Grand Rapids Drive.

In his first game with the Drive, he had 26 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Apparently head coach Stan Van Gundy approached Johnson with the idea of playing in the D-League at the end of last week.

“I was with it because I want to play,” Johnson told reporters. “It’s tough to watch games go by and obviously you want to play and catch a feel. I haven’t played (this much) in months so just to get a feel and hope I get another opportunity in the NBA and I’ll be able to play.”

CSN Chicago Insider Vincent Goodwill sheds more light on Johnson’s situation in Detroit, and the possibility that his days with the Pistons may be numbered.

D-LEAGUE NOW, TRADE LATER FOR JOHNSON?

Whatever is going on in Detroit between Stan Van Gundy and second-year swingman Stanley Johnson looks like it’s headed toward critical mass with the coach/president sending Johnson to the D-League for a short stint over the weekend.

Johnson hasn’t gotten consistent playing time and Van Gundy has called him out publicly, while also suspending him for a violation of a team rule over a week ago. Just a year ago, Johnson was trash talking LeBron James in the first round of the playoffs and was viewed as the Piston with the highest long-term potential.

Now, one has to wonder if he’s on the trading block.

Sources have told CSNChicago.com the Pistons have resisted overtures for Johnson but with the recent developments, expect executives for rival teams to be more aggressive.

No one can deny what Johnson can physically bring to the table and if teams view him as an undervalued commodity by the Pistons, things can get interesting with the trade season kicking off December 15. – by Vincent Goodwill

RUBIO: TIMBERWOLVES PLAYING WITH ‘NO HEART’

One of the biggest early-season disappointments has been in Minnesota, where the young and talented Timerwolves have stumbled to a 6-17 start.

After Friday’s 117-90 home loss to Detroit, the Timberwolves were first booed by the Target Center crowd, then after the game they were called out by veteran point guard Ricky Rubio.

“We can accept making mistakes … but playing with no heart, with no desire, it’s just awful,’’ Rubio told the St. Paul Pioneer-Press. “Right now, it’s just bad … it seems like we didn’t care.’’ – by Jason Quick

MEMPHIS HAS THE BLUEPRINT TO BEATING THE WARRIORS?

Golden State’s Stephen Curry probably summed it up best when he said “we sucked” following the Warriors’ 110-89 loss at Memphis.

But as bad as they played, the Grizzlies offered up a clear blueprint for what it takes to beat Golden State.

They played Golden State about as physical as any team has all season. They made timely shots, even getting 3’s from unlikely shooters such as Zach Randolph.

But what Memphis exposed more than anything else, is the dirty little secret that this Golden State team has trouble with aggressive, defensive-minded wing players.

Tony Allen gave Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry fits all game long, and backed up his strong play defensively with 19 points. Memphis’ 6-foot-9 JaMychal Green and 6-7 Troy Williams are also physical wings who stepped up their aggression level at both ends of the floor.

And when you look at their three losses this season to San Antonio, the Los Angeles Lakers and most recently Memphis, strong play from the wing position defensively was a key to the game’s outcome.

Does this mean Memphis has their number?

Of course not.

It wouldn’t shock anyone if the Warriors win each of their next matchups with the Grizzlies.

But Memphis knows that if they play their brand of basketball which they did last week, the Warriors become a very beatable foe. – by A. Sherrod Blakely

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