The Raptors love the nightlife, got to boogie, on the disco 'round

Leave a comment

NBA players often enjoy throwing one back with the boys. Or a bunch back with the boys. In the VIP area of a club where you’d never get past the velvet rope.

And it’s hard to imagine anyone in his or her early 20s overdoing the partying to the point they showed up hungover to work the next day. Nope. I certainly never showed up to work still buzzing from the night before and confused about what happened during part of said night. Nope, not me. Never.

Now it’s being that suggested that the Raptors partied in a way I certainly never did entirely too much this year, as suggested by the Toronto Star (via Ball Don’t Lie).

But here’s a trickier question: did this team miss the playoffs because it partied too heartily? It’s impossible to say for sure, and Bryan Colangelo, the Raptors president and general manager, has declined to comment on the off-court habits of his players. But there are people close to the club who believe those habits ultimately hurt the win-loss record.

Perhaps it’s a symptom of the TMZ age, but as one team employee who was granted anonymity opined: “This year, (the partying) was a little too much.”

Toronto is a true international city, a place where the nightlife comes in all sorts of flavors and truly goes on into the hours where few good things happen. NBA players genuinely like the city and trips there. For players on the Raptors, it takes a certain level of professionalism not to get sucked into that.

But if this is true — and that is a mighty big if, mighty big — this is more about the players than the place. Frankly, if you want to find trouble in Salt Lake City you can find it. Well, maybe a bad example. If you want to find trouble in Sacramento you can find it. Or Oklahoma City. If you’re undisciplined, the trouble will find you, no need to be in Miami or New York.

If — again big if — this is true, some roster changes may be needed. Because this is about the players, not the city.

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

Leave a comment

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

AP Photo/Eric Gay
1 Comment

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
5 Comments

The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

Leave a comment

Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.