Who will be the next head coach of the Clippers?

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The long-suffering Los Angeles Clippers are playing out the string on yet another ugly campaign. As bad as the Clippers were doing under former coach (and general manager) Mike Dunleavy, replacing him with Kim Hughes mid-season seems to have been an example of putting out a fire with gasoline. The Clippers are 5-16 under Hughes, and have allowed an embarrassing 112.3 points per 100 possessions since Hughes took the helm. 

For all the struggles the Clippers have had and the front-office drama that comes from working for Donald Sterling, the Clipper job could potentially be a very tempting offer. Think about it. The Clippers have nowhere to go but up in the standings. They’ve quietly assembled a young core of Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Blake Griffin, and a high pick in this year’s draft. They have a good amount of cap space heading into the summer of 2010. And they play in the largest basketball market in America. Plus it’s Southern California. All the pieces are there for the Clippers to be an upstart team in 2010-11, and plenty of guys could want to be the guy to put them together. 
Writing for ESPN Los Angeles, Kevin Arnovitz has compiled a list of potential coaching candidates for the other team in Los Angeles. The list includes big names (Jeff Van Gundy), younger guys (Dave Jorger), and even international coach Ettore Messina. The Clippers could go in a number of different directions with their coaching choice; it will be interesting to see who they ultimately decide is the best man to lead the Clippers into a new era. 

PBT Extra bold prediction: Is this Andrew Wiggins’ breakout season?

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Minnesota is going to be entertaining to watch this season. A healthy Ricky Rubio (hopefully) dishing at the point, Karl-Anthony Towns is already a high-IQ passer, and bench players such as Shabazz Muhammad and Adreian Payne have shown some skills.

Then there’s Andrew Wiggins. The reigning Rookie of the Year developed quickly last season — particularly his jump shot — and he should make a big leap this season. He’s going to dunk on people and end up in a lot of highlight packages while putting up a lot of points.

Enough to set the Minnesota Timberwolves single game scoring record, currently held at 52 by Mo Williams? That’s the question for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.

Derrick Rose being back for start of season in question

Fred Hoiberg, Derrick Rose
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The Bulls have said Derrick Rose is about a week away from returning after suffering a facial fracture this preseason.

The start of the NBA season is two weeks from today (Oct. 27).

So Rose will be ready to go when the Bulls start their season that first night against Cleveland, right? Don’t bet on it, says Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com, quoting coach Fred Hoiberg.

The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.

“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….

In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.

“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”

Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)

Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.

And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.

Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.