Cavaliers interested in Kelvin Sampson?

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According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Cleveland Cavaliers have some interest in former college coach and current NBA assistant Kelvin Sampson. As of right now, the Cavs are reportedly just doing some “fact-finding” on Sampson, and have not yet zeroed in on Sampson as their next head coach. 

Sampson was a college coach from 1981-2008, and was a head coach for all but two of those seasons. As the head coach of Montana Tech, Washington State, Oklahoma, and Indiana, Sampson’s career record as a college head coach was 496-271. Sampson’s teams made the NCAA tournament 13 times, including one Sweet Sixteen appearance, one Elite Eight appearance, and one Final Four appearance. Sampson was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 1991, the Big Eight Coach of the Year in 1995 (he was also named the AP Coach of the Year that season), and the NABC National Coach of the Year in 2002. 
His impressive college career ended in controversy, as he was forced to resign from his head coaching job at Indiana because of a recruiting scandal. Sampson currently has a “show-clause” attached to him, which means any college team that wants to hire Sampson before 2013 must prove to the NCAA that Sampson has served his punishment. 
Sampson was hired in 2008 in an “advisory role” with the San Antonio Spurs, and became an assistant coach with the Bucks a month later. The Cavs’ coaching search involves something of a paradox: they need a coach with enough name recognition and “star power” to draw big free agents to their team (most notably LeBron) this summer, but they also want someone who has proven that he knows the NBA game and can get the Cavaliers the championship they so crave. Sampson has (for better or for worse) lots of name recognition from his time as a college coach, and his pedigree as a Popovich/Skiles student at the pro level is something the Cavs have to love — remember that Danny Ferry has close ties with the Spurs organization, and that Mike Brown was a former Spurs assistant. We’ll see what happens with this. 

Kristaps Porzingis grew up a Kobe fan. Still is one.


When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.

So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.

Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.

“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”

There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.

In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.

There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.

(Hat tip NBA reddit)

Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton’s car stolen

Luke Walton

If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.

Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.

Yikes. That’s serious.

I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.

Pacers guard George Hill returns Tuesday against Wizards

Paul George, Marcus Morris
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.

Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.

Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.

Hassan Whiteside on intentional fouls: “It’s not working, so keep fouling me”

Hassan Whiteside

Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.

Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.

And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”

He’s even smart at not getting fouled.

Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.

“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”

Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.

And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.