How desperate are the Denver Nuggets for another big man? Two words for you: Brian Cook.
According to Hoopsworld, Denver not only worked out Cook yesterday and are on the verge of signing the former Big 10 player of the year to a deal. He is there to fill the void left by Kenyon Martin being out to deal with his knee problem.
Cook is theoretically a “stretch four,” and those are the hot new toy everybody wants. We say theoretically because he shot just 22.2 percent from three in 15 appearances for the Rockets this season and barely ever takes a long two. But to be fair, he is a career 39 percent guy from three; he could find his touch again.
But the book on Cook is pretty simple — run at him and don’t let him set his feet at the arc. Because if he has to put the ball on the floor, shoot on the move or create his own shot things fall apart fast. More than 70% of his baskets came with an assist from someone, when that dropped to 40% last season in Houston (meaning he had to create his own shot) his shooting percentage plummeted. He does not finish well at the rim.
And the reason the Lakers early on and Orlando next let him walk was the fact they like defense and rebounding. Cook does not (he is at best an average rebounder for a four, and because he likes the wings he rarely gets offensive boards).
This is not to knock Cook, too much, his game is his game. But the fact Denver likes his game at this point speaks volumes about where they are.
It’s a good thing to be on the Golden State coaching staff — Alvin Gentry rode it to the head coaching spot in New Orleans, Luke Walton to his “dream job” with the Lakers, and quickly having “Warriors” on your resume is getting recognition like having “Spurs” on it around the NBA.
So good for Willie Green, the former NBA sharpshooter who will now be coaching a few other pretty good shooters in Golden State. Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports broke the story.
Green is a 12-year NBA veteran, who is getting his first NBA coaching job.
NBA veteran coach Mike Brown will be in the chair next to Steve Kerr next season in Golden State. Kerr keeps having to replenish his staff as they are getting better jobs elsewhere after having been around the Warriors’ organization.
If you’re going to bet on an NBA player likely to be moved before the start of the NBA season — or at least by the deadline — Bucks’ big man Greg Monroe would be a good choice. It’s no secret he is on the trade block, the Bucks just aren’t finding a team making an offering to their liking.
What would Monroe like?
He probably wants to end up in New Orleans, ESPN’s Marc Stein said on the Lowe Post podcast.
Which makes a ton of sense — he was born in New Orleans, he wants to go home. The two sides have talked about a deal multiple times in the past, but nothing got done.
The problem is the Bucks are only getting rock-bottom offers for Monroe. On the upside, he’s an efficient offensive NBA big who got the Bucks 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds a game last season. However, he’s a defensive liability who does not protect the rim, plus he’s a $17 million rental next season (he can and likely will opt out in the summer of 2017). Even teams that could use a scoring big are not going to give up much quality in a trade for a rental like Monroe.
The Pelicans already have Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca as traditional fives, and they should play Anthony Davis there more anyway. Roster wise, the Pelicans would need to make some other moves for this deal to make sense.
But eventually, the Bucks will find an offer they are willing to take.
Venezuela is in its first Olympic basketball tournament in more than 20 years — they upset Canada and Argentina to win the FIBA Americas tournament last summer and earned the right to go to Rio.
But they are going to have to play there without the one NBA player on their roster. Greivis Vasquez, who had ankle surgery last December, announced he had to pull out, via the Nets.
If you want to know what this means for the Venezuelan team heading into Rio, well, they shot just 23.9 percent in an 80-45 loss to Team USA Friday night in Chicago — and that was by far the USA’s worst performance in the exhibition run-up to the Rio Games.
Vasquez should be getting decent minutes off the bench behind Jeremy Lin in Brooklyn this season. They need him healthy as the team tries to move from “god awful” to just plain “not good” next season.
Another smart move by the Spurs.
Monty Williams is one of the better assistant coaches in the NBA right now, and he was available (remember he understandably left Oklahoma City last season after the tragic death of his wife). He’s part of Mike Krzyzewski’s staff with USA Basketball this summer — watch him in practices at age 44 and he’s a better defender plenty of players in the league — and he wanted to get back on the bench.
San Antonio has snapped him up, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Sources told ESPN that Williams — who left the Oklahoma City Thunder’s bench in February after the tragic death of his wife, Ingrid — has been urged by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to take as much of a role with the organization as he feels comfortable for the 2016-17 campaign.
The specifics of what role Williams would fill and how much time he could commit have not yet been determined, but sources say San Antonio has opened the door to either a coaching and player-development role or a front-office position (or a hybrid), depending on what he prefers.
One source close to Williams told ESPN that the 44-year-old “absolutely” intends to be a head coach in the league again after his expected stint with the Spurs. The source also said numerous teams, including Oklahoma City, have made similar offers to Williams for next season.
Williams will get another shot in the big chair down the line. In the short term, this is a smart move — nothing looks better on a resume than “Spurs” around the league right now.