Cavs coach Byron Scott wants team to run, players to stay

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New Cavaliers coach Byron Scott was introduced at a press conference on Friday, and appealed to LeBron James’ desire to run on the court and stay in his hometown off of it.

With his size, end-to-end speed, ability to change directions, and court vision, James is arguably the best open-court player in the league. One criticism of former Cavalier head coach Mike Brown was that he had LeBron and the Cavaliers play a grind-it-out style that emphasized defense and ball control instead of placing an emphasis on getting James and his teammates out into the open floor.

Scott, who spent much of his playing career as Magic Johnson’s backcourt mate on the “showtime” Lakers, says that he wants to turn the Cavaliers into more of a running team:

“I can’t let go of my roots, I want to run (on offense). We’ll still run some Princeton but emphasis is to get up & down floor.”

That may be what LeBron wants to hear, but recent history doesn’t back Scott’s claim up; in Scott’s last two full seasons as Hornets coach, New Orleans finished 26th and 28th in “pace factor,” despite the fact he had Chris Paul as a point guard.

When asked about LeBron James, Scott said that he had spoken to people “close to” LeBron, but not James himself. Regarding James’ free agency status, Scott said that he won three championships in his hometown, and that there’s “not a better feeling.”

The two other major pieces of news from Scott’s press conference were that there is NOT an opt-out clause in Scott’s contract if the Laker job becomes open, and that Paul Pressey will be Scott’s lead assistant. 

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.