It hasn’t been the Pacers’ year this season. The Pacers are currently sitting at 20-43, are miles away from playoff contention, and the only team doing worse than the Pacers in the Eastern Conference is the Nets. In fact, some people think this year’s Pacers squad may be the worst Pacer team ever.
When a team plays like the Pacers have this season, no coach is going to be free from scrutiny. Today, Bob Kravitz
of the Indy Star is on-record with his adamant belief that the Pacers need a coaching change, and soon. Kravitz makes a pretty convincing case for why O’Brien needs to go. He cites the Pacers’ low energy level, O’Brien’s quote that the problem with the offense was that he didn’t have Jeff Foster to distribute the ball from the high post, and this incident involving Josh McRoberts:
“For me, and for the fans who still pay attention to the Pacers, the tipping point came earlier this week after Josh McRoberts’ inspired performance against the Los Angeles Lakers. O’Brien was lobbed a softball question about McRoberts, given a chance to laud a guy who rarely gets off the bench, and he slammed him by saying his performance was “irrelevant.” He then said he wanted to see McRoberts do that in a winning effort, except McRoberts never gets to play when the game is on the line. For his good work against L.A., McRoberts was rewarded with five minutes of garbage time in Portland.”
The way I see it, the Pacers have serious problems on just about every level. They’re a poorly constructed team, they don’t have enough talent, and they’ve only become more and more irrelevant with each move they’ve made since the Palace Brawl. A new coach would be the easiest major change the Pacers could make. However, it’s far from the only change that needs to be made if the Pacers want to get back to winning.
After missing two entire seasons, all signs are pointing to 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid finally taking the court this season. Last week, Sixers coach Brett Brown said that Embiid has looked great in his workouts and is on track to play in the preseason, and Embiid himself echoed that sentiment over the weekend. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Marc Narducci that he feels “100 percent.”
There’s always a possibility and fear that Embiid’s recurring foot problems will come back, but for now, all indications are that he’s feeling good and will be able to contribute this season, which should make Sixers fans excited.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.