Summer League play — and the “defense” often played there” means guys get open, guys get breakaways in a way you don’t see in the regular season game. Washington’s JaVale McGee took full advantage of that. (He also had some nice connections with John Wall for dunks as well.)
What changed for Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac?
the sense within the organization is Divac is tempted by the prospect of pairing his center with his personally selected coach but that he has become increasingly frustrated by his center’s ongoing issues and, for the first time, is willing to test the market for the two-time All-Star.
The disconnect between Karl and Divac, and Karl and Cousins, is rivaled closely by the discord within the fragmented locker room. Apart from Rondo, Cousins has few friends among his teammates. Several players privately have complained to management about his mood swings and disrespect for those around him, including his coaches and in particular Karl.
I still doubt Sacramento trades Cousins. There’s a vast gulf between soliciting Cousins offers and actually pulling the trigger on one. He remains one of the NBA’s most valuable players – already a star, 25 and locked up for two more seasons at a reasonable $35 million combined. It’d take a haul to land him, and I doubt any team offers a package that sways Divac – though a few could have him thinking.
But Cousins’ moodiness is a problem. It gets him harmful technical fouls, takes him out of games mentally and – as we learn here – upsets his teammates.
It seems the Kings are attempting to scare him straight – reports like this leaking, including one that their next coach will have management’s backing if he wants to discipline Cousins. They have to try something. Rajon Rondo‘s leadership, while endearing to Cousins, apparently didn’t change the center significantly enough.
I wouldn’t rule out Sacramento trading Cousins. If you put a player on the market, you might just hear an offer you like. But selling low on Cousins a – franchise-level player – would be a mistake. It’s too hard to get a player with his talent just to dump him when he’s still young.
A far better outcome would be Cousins heeding these implicit messages, maturing and cutting out the nonsense that too often overshadows his immense talent.
Tony Allen is going another way.
Peter Fleischer of Fox 13 Memphis:
Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace says Conley will re-sign with Memphis. Others disagree. For his part, Conley has been vague – though he left the door open for signing with the Knicks, need a point guard and could have max cap space .
Conley will have options, and he should explore them. This will be his first free agency after the Grizzlies drafted him and signed him to a contract extension. Staying with the only NBA team he has know should be appealing – but other options could be, too.
People in Memphis clearly care about him returning.
Each in their own way.
How can new coach Scott Brooks get the underwhelming Wizards on track?
Looking back on Randy Wittman’s tenure could be instructive.
Wittman reportedly upset players by playing favorites, namely Nene and Ramon Sessions.
I’m told by multiple persons with knowledge of the situation, it was Wittman’s outright refusal to ever call out Nene that was at the heart of it.
Tensions were raised when the team would study game film and Wittman always was quick to call out the likes of Wall and Bradley Beal while Nene routinely received a free pass.
“It was all our fault. He did nothing wrong,” a player said, nodding at Nene, in the locker room in Oakland, Calif., and this came the night before Beal’s blowup following a loss the to the Sacramento Kings when he called his teammates for not playing hard or smart.
Even when it came to Ramon Sessions, who had a strong season as Wall’s backup and in the final year of his deal, Wittman curiously refused to criticize him for soft defensive coverages on pick-and-rolls. The perception became that Sessions is such a likable and great player to coach, Wittman didn’t want to mention him by name and as with Nene he’d blame the mistake on the collective instead of that individual.
Sessions, I’m told, actually challenged Wittman to call him out if he’s suggesting that he was at fault. It wasn’t a combative posture by Sessions. He wanted the coaching.
Wittman was rarely shy about criticizing his players publicly – including John Wall (here), Bradley Beal (here) and Marcin Gortat (here). That’d be especially frustrating if Wittman were also giving other players preferential treatment behind closed doors. You could see how that would create a culture of finger pointing, which extended among players.
Thankfully for Washington, Brooks seems prepared to fix these issues. He managed Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook during their ascension with the Thunder, carefully attending to each budding star’s needs without offending the other. If Brooks can walk that tightrope, the Wizards should be a breeze.
Wittman will have to defend these charges if he wants another head-coaching job, and his side of the story might leave a different impression. But it’s more important now how the players feel than whether they rightfully feel that way. Wittman is gone. Some of the players will remain, though Nene and Sessions are free agents. Even if they didn’t ask for special treatment, Nene and Sessions leaving could alleviate the negative feelings associated with them in the locker room.
Would letting Nene and Sessions walk solve everything? It could help, but probably not. It’s on Brooks to change the dynamic, and I think he can.
The on/off splits for Paul George in the Pacers-Raptors series, which Toronto leads 3-2, are jarring:
- On: +26 in 189 minutes
- Off: -29 in 51 minutes
Indiana’s problems without George came to a head in Game 5. In the 6:55 George sat, the Pacers shot 0-for-10 and got outscored 19-1. That was more than enough for the Raptors, who won by three when Solomon Hill‘s game-tying 3-pointer left his hand a fraction of a second too late.
How do the Pacers solve this problem?
Paul George said he is willing to play 48 minutes in Friday night’s Game 6 against the Toronto Raptors if needed.
“If that’s the direction that the game is going, I’m all for it,” George said after Thursday’s practice. “Whatever we got to do to win, I’m doing it.”‘
The only player to play a full this game was Rajon Rondo, who played 48 minutes in consecutive (!) Kings games in November. The last player to do it in a playoff game was Jimmy Butler, who played all 53 minutes of a Bulls’ overtime loss to the Wizards in 2014.
So, it can be done, and George is the type of athlete who can do it.
But can George sustain his elite production without a rest? That’s the main question, including how it’d affect him for a potential Game 7. With Indiana’s season on the line, it might be worth finding out.
Maybe don’t run the offense through Lawson, Stuckey and Miles at any point of a must-win game? Stagger minutes between George and Monta Ellis and maybe George Hill. Ellis is the type of player who can lead a bad team in scoring, but regularly bad would be a huge step up for the George-less Pacers. George Hill has also proven capable of handling the reins without George.
Vogel’s goal should be maximizing George’s minutes but also minimizing time Indiana spends without George, Ellis or George Hill.