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Eastern Conference

Raptors’ Greg Monroe Defends NBA Bigs

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Toronto Raptors big man Greg Monroe is denying the notion that the NBA game is steering away from the traditional big man and that the traditional center is becoming a thing of the past as the league moves more towards more “do everything” centers that can shoot, pass, and operate with the ball in their hands.

Monroe believes that there is still a place for the traditional center in today’s NBA.

“We all know what everybody is reacting to and it is what it is, if a team dethrones the Warriors with a big everyone is going to go out and get a big” Monroe said, according to the Toronto Sun. “I mean you saw what they (the Warriors) did this summer (signing DeMarcus Cousins). They added a centre. You need bigs. JaVale (McGee) was still playing in Golden State (Zaza Pachulia too). You still have great centers in this league – Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond, Marc Gasol. You still have guys who are productive that play so I’m not worried about it. The only thing I can control is what happens inside the lines and that is what I am focussing on.”

Monroe, who signed with the Raptors this summer, believes that the traditional center will make a return soon.

“It’s basketball. The one sport where being tall is cool and they are trying to wash it out,” Monroe said. “ It will come back around. Guys are adapting.”

Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs’ Rodney Hood Does Not Want to Be Gunner

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The Cleveland Cavaliers coaching staff has been pushing shooting guard Rodney Hood to be more aggressive, but Hood admits that he simply isn’t meant to be a gunner.

“I’m not a gunner,” Hood said, according to Cleveland.com.

“I think it’s not great for our team for me to be a gunner. We have a lot of guys who can score the ball. I draw attention. So when I draw attention, make the dump-off pass and make the right play, spray out to shooters and some nights we hit shots and it’s great and some nights we don’t hit shots and it’s like, ‘You need to shoot the ball more.’

Hood has put up 13.0 ppg this season for Cleveland and admits he is still finding his place in the offense.

“Just figuring it out,” Hood stated. “Trying to figure out the even balance of being real aggressive and making plays like I’ve been trying to do.”

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Eastern Conference

Wizards’ Trevor Ariza Talks Suns Departure

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Washington Wizards forward Trevor Ariza, who was recently acquired via trade with the Phoenix Suns appeared to take a shot at his former team when talking about his departure from the Valley of the Sun.

“They were struggling a little bit, but they couldn’t have been struggling worst than what I was struggling with (laughs),” Ariza said, according to the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner.

“So everybody have their things that they go through, it’s just about how you get through them or how do what you need to do to try to change them.”

Ariza is now focusing on the future with the Wizards.

“Being here, I plan to come in and just try to work through whatever it is we’re going through at the time.”

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Eastern Conference

Knicks’ David Fizdale Believes Emmanuel Mudiay Is Ascending

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The recent production of New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay has some questioning whether it’s just a fluky hot streak, or a marked step in his development.

Knicks’ head coach David Fizdale believed the latter.

“Now how far it goes from there, it’s going to be what he does. But you get in a third of the season and a guy is consistently putting in 20, 30, 20, 30, six rebounds, six assists constantly doing that (it’s not a fluke),” Fizdale said, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.

Over the last 9 games, Mudiay is averaging 20.0 points, 5.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds for New York.

“I think the first thing he had to prove to himself and to everyone was is he a legitimate NBA basketball player and I think that’s proven right now so now the next step is can we get him to really grow and develop and show the consistency of what a lead guard can do? But he’s really, he’s taken off and really gotten better every day.”

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