Orlando to consider using giant frontcourt of doom


In recent years, what it means to be an NBA power forward has changed somewhat. You almost never see two true 7-footers in the same lineup, and it’s also rare to see a frontcourt pairing that doesn’t feature at least one player with some shooting range. No team is a better example of this than the Magic, who won the East last season by pairing Dwight Howard with long-range gunner Rashard Lewis in their starting frontcourt. 

However, if Andrew Bynum and Shaquille O’Neal are healthy come playoff time, the Lakers and Cavaliers will have a lot of size to throw at the Magic, not to mention the tandem of Perkins and Garnett on the Celtics. To counter this, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy may consider using center Marcin Gortat as a backup power forward to create a giant frontcourt of doom, according to Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. (Link via Orlando Pinstriped Post):
“Van Gundy took a pre-playoff look at backup center Marcin Gortat at power forward a little earlier in the stretch-run than expected.
Gortat joined Howard early in the second period, replacing Brandon Bass, and played for seven minutes. He had a nice steal, a turnover and a foul.
Van Gundy said he would look at Bass, Gortat and Ryan Anderson in certain situations with the season dwindling down.”
Since the hand-check rules were implemented, perimeter-oriented bigs and small-ball lineups have become more and more prevalent in the NBA. But when the league’s top teams face off in this year’s playoffs, we could easily see an old-fashioned battle of giants facing off in the frontcourt. 

Lucky? Klay Thompson reminds Doc Rivers which team lost to Rockets


There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.

The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.

Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via CSNBayArea.com.

– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”

Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.

If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.

They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.

All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.

Dwyane Wade serious as mentor, teaching Justise Winslow post moves

Third day of Miami Heat camp 10/1/2015
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Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.

Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.

Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.

“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.

“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”

This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.

It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.