The Cavaliers are making a hard push for Tom Izzo as their next coach. That much is clear. The question is how hard.
The Northern Ohio News-Herald is reporting that an offer has been made to Izzo to become the next head coach of the Cavs as they seek to keep LeBron James, a curious choice. Adrian Wojnarowski is citing sources that refute a contract has been offered.
Izzo isn’t part of the CAA Wesley tree, but majority owner of the Cavaliers Dan Gilbert is an MSU grad. And it’s not as if Izzo doesn’t have a highly impressive resume, having been to what I believe is 7,000 Final Fours in a row. But it’s still to be seen if he can have the same success at the pro level.
It’s also interesting because of all the options to go with in an attempt to lure LeBron back to Cleveland, the Cavs have opted to go for a college coach. Relevant, since, you know, LeBron with his vital link to college history. Izzo also made his mark in college basketball by taking guys without elite level talent to the top. The NBA doesn’t really work like that.
There are also talks that GM Danny Ferry chose to resign over just such a decision, with Ferry resisting the hiring of Izzo. Either way, if Woj is right and Izzo elects not to take the offer, that’s going to seriously hurt the Cavs’ legitimacy and make them seem like even more of a sinking ship trying to get LeBron to pull them to harbor. There are a lot of huge decisions being made, and it’s hard to say that they’ve been done with the best effort to retain LeBron James.
Just a suggestion for rookie Dejounte Murray: Don’t do this in front of Gregg Popovich. You may not like his reaction.
That said, the Spurs needed to get more athletic this off-season — landing Pau Gasol certainly didn’t help that cause — so enter first-round pick Murray, who pulled this off in a recent pickup game.
Murray is going to be brought along slowly in a backcourt where Tony Parker and Patty Mills will be splitting time at the point. Murray is more of a combo guard and is going to have to shoot a lot better than he did in college (28.8 percent from three) to get some run. But this is a situation where the Spurs can groom him, bring him along slowly, and see if they have another draft steal.
He’s certainly got the athleticism.
James Harden‘s defense is not as bad as its reputation.
Well, at least it wasn’t two seasons ago — his near MVP season he was in good enough shape that he could put in a respectable effort on that end and still handle his massive offensive load. There were still some mental lapses, but his focus was better and his improvement lifted the team defense. Last season, he regressed back to youtube “highlight” defense Harden — his conditioning was not where it needed to be, he didn’t expend as much effort on that end, and it showed.
Harden got a massive contract extension this summer, and Dwight Howard is Atlanta’s problem — now Harden has to lead the Rockets. By example. Corey Brewer told ESPN you’re going to see that on defense.
“I think this year he’s going to play better defense, We’re going to let the past be in the past. It’s the future of the Rockets, man. James is going to play defense this year.”
We’re all Missourians on this one: Show me.
Remember that the Rockets will be out and running — Mike D’Antoni is the coach now, and Daryl Morey is going to get the up tempo ball he wants (which Kevin McHale had them doing, but Harden didn’t like him so…). D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix played better defense than their reputation — points per possession they were middle of the pack — but that has never been his focus.
Will Harden be able to run like he needs to on offense and still defend at a reasonable level?
If he can, it’s a big step toward the Rockets being a dangerous team in the West because if he does it others will follow. Otherwise, every Rockets game will be a shootout, which is entertaining but not going to get a team deep into the playoffs.
I can see the questions on Twitter/in the comments already so let me save you some time.
Because it’s summer.
Because it’s Drake (he’s a celebrity and an NBA hanger-on with some quasi-official position with the Raptors).
Because Stephen Curry did it, too.
Because what other hoops are you watching on a late August afternoon?
And besides, you clicked on it. You know you want to see it.
So here it is, Drake, hitting a halfcourt shot while doing a sit up. Enjoy.
Mario Chalmers was thriving with the Grizzlies after a midseason trade from the Heat when a torn Achilles ended his season.
Not the way Chalmers wanted to enter free agency.
Still unsigned, he says he’s progressing.
Can he go 100%, though? If not, when?
A few teams could use another point guard. If Chalmers shows his health, he belongs in someone’s rotation. But that might require taking a low-paying deal and working his way up from the third point guard spot – or even just onto the regular-season roster.