Hawes, understand your role now?

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nba_hawes_250.jpgKings players have been frustrated all season — their minutes seem to fluctuate randomly under coach Paul Westphal (there are graphs to prove this, via the amazing Tom Ziller). Francisco Garcia got a rare start against the Clippers Saturday, but played just 14 minutes. Which is better than Donte Green who started Tuesday and got 14 minutes, and a few weeks back started then had just four minutes of burn.

There seems to be no set rotation and players don’t understand, and Spencer Hawes spoke for the team in a story on Tuesday:

“All year we’ve kind of been dealing with that,” he said. “When you think you have kind of gotten over that hump, it comes back up again. That’s the philosophy, so you’ve just got to deal with it.

“Everyone up and down the roster has had a taste of that, so everyone can relate. I think it’s kind of tough, the not-knowing part on a game-to-game basis, to get in that rhythm. But that’s the way it’s going and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.”

Tuesday night Hawes was on the don’t dress list for the Kings.

“I saw where he’s having a hard time understanding his role,” said Kings coach Paul Westphal. “He should understand it (after) tonight.”

Classy. Tyreke Evans spoke out about rotations too, did he get benched? What about Sean May, he was quoted as well? Oh, he got the start.

Westphal is far from the first coach to use odd and wild lineups and substitution patterns. Phil Jackson has made a career out of it. But Jackson does it to test players, to learn who can play together, then the second half of the season he starts to settle into a regular rotation. Because then the players understand their roles and can play them.

It’s a lot harder to understand your role if said role keeps shifting. Veteran coaches should understand that.

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.