Nate McMillan has been at the helm of a basketball renaissance in Portland. This was a team that won 21 games his first year with a roster led by Zach Randolph and Darius Miles — a roster that needed an overhaul. That overhaul came and so did the wins (and a better reputation).
Two years ago they won 54 games and were seen as the upstart team that would threaten the Lakers soon. Last season they won 50 games and made the playoffs despite a swarm of injuries.
Yet while most of the nation thinks McMillan can do no wrong, there are plenty of Blazers fans that want him gone. His teams play at a dreadfully slow pace (slowest in the NBA last year at 90 possessions a game) that may not best utilize their talents, and there was questionable handling of Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez.
This goes beyond the usual “fire the coach” crap that takes place on message boards in every city (there are Lakers fans who consistently complain about how poorly Phil Jackson coaches). There are serious and legitimate concerns about his ability to take the team to the next level, and he will have to address them come playoff time or he may well be gone. Dave at Blazers Edge explains.
(In recent interviews he did) I was fairly bold in speculating that if Portland fails to make the second round of the playoffs this year Coach McMillan’s job will be in jeopardy and my hunch is that he’ll be let go. Part of that is reasonable. This roster isn’t going to be overhauled in the near future. These specific players need to win. Failure isn’t an option. How many years can they play together and not advance in the playoffs before they begin to doubt? Part of it is environmental. When doubts start to arise in this league the first, and easiest, turn-around is to get a new coach. Sometimes the fresh voice helps. Often it only confirms the futility of the situation. Either way, it’s going to be tried. Plus you have to figure that Nate is not Rich Cho’s hire any more than he was Kevin Pritchard’s. Few coaches survive one regime change in management. Unless things go well, how do you survive two?
There are a lot of people predicting a breakout year for the Trail Blazers, that they may be the second best team in the West. A spot that looked like was theirs two years ago but injuries robbed them of last season. If they do not look like a team ready to take on that mantle, to look again like a team that is on its way to greatness, McMillan may well be gone.
1. Khloe Kardashian filed for divorce from Lamar Odom.
2. With Odom facing health problems after a drug overdose, they rescinded the filing.
3. Odom reportedly continued drinking, frustrating Kardashian.
Court records in Los Angeles show Kardashian filed for divorce Thursday, citing irreconcilable differences.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A person familiar with the situation says Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris was detained at Philadelphia International Airport and then released.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because Morris was not charged. The person did not specify why Morris was detained.
The Wizards said in a statement they “spoke with Markieff earlier today and will continue to gather more details.”
Tinicum Township Police and Morris’ lawyer did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
The 26-year-old Morris is from Philadelphia. The Wizards acquired him from the Phoenix Suns at the NBA trade deadline.
Morris and twin brother Marcus, a forward for the Detroit Pistons, were indicted by an Arizona grand jury last year on felony aggravated assault charges for allegedly beating a man outside a Phoenix recreation center. The case is still pending.
According to a Phoenix police report, Erik Hood said five people including the Morris brothers repeatedly punched and kicked him. All five then left the area in a Rolls-Royce Phantom as bystanders began to appear. Police say it is alleged that Hood was assaulted for sending an inappropriate text message to the Morris brothers’ mother.
Russell Westbrook arrived at the arena in Golden State dressed for a (very weird) funeral.
The Thunder, up 3-1 in the Western Conference finals, can end the Warriors’ season tonight. So, Westbrook dressed ready to give his condolences.
Lest you think this is coincidence, he also wore black for Game 5 against the Mavericks and Game 6 against the Spurs. Jason Potter:
This is something players sometimes do – and I love it. What a great way to who your confidence, and I’m not sure any NBA player has more than Westbrook.
The withdrawal deadline for the 2016 NBA draft is June 13.
But the NCAA, in an effort to treat players better, allowed players to declare for the draft and withdraw by May 25 while maintaining college eligibility. (Yes, this qualifies as better treatment. Giving the players the full extra couple weeks to assess their futures? Not in this cartel.)
So, any college player who wanted to play collegiately next year faced an effective deadline of yesterday.
Of the 117 players who declared early through the American system, 57 are headed back to their college teams.
This list has no big surprises. By this point, most highly touted prospects have already declared their intention.
Here are all 57:
- Abdul-Malik Abu, North Carolina State
- BeeJay Anya, North Carolina State
- Ian Baker, New Mexico State
- V.J. Beachem, Notre Dame
- James Blackmon Jr., Indiana
- Antonio Blakeney, LSU
- Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson
- Trevon Bluiett, Xavier
- Amida Brimah, Connecticut
- Isaiah Briscoe, Kentucky
- Dillon Brooks, Oregon
- Elijah Brown, New Mexico
- Deonte Burton, Iowa State
- Antonio Campbell, Ohio
- Conor Clifford, Washington State
- Charles Cooke III, Dayton
- Bakari Copeland, Maryland-Eastern Shore
- Moustapha Diagne, Northwest Florida State
- Tyler Dorsey, Oregon
- D’Andre Downey, Stillman College (AL)
- Vince Edwards, Purdue
- Jimmy Hall, Kent State
- Josh Hart, Villanova
- Josh Hawkinson, Washington State
- Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin
- Ike Iroegbu, Washington State
- Justin Jackson, North Carolina
- Kris Jenkins, Villanova
- Que Johnson, Washington State
- Peter Jok, Iowa
- Moses Kingsley, Arkansas
- Travion Kirkendoll, Centenary College (LA)
- Dedric Lawson, Memphis
- Marcus Lee, Kentucky
- Makai Mason, Yale
- Jahmal McMurray, South Florida
- Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina
- Dallas Moore, North Florida
- Jalen Moore, Utah State
- Tyrell Nelson, Gardner-Webb
- Malik Newman, Mississippi State
- Marc-Eddy Norelia, Florida Gulf Coast
- Cameron Oliver, Nevada
- Alec Peters, Valparaiso
- QJ Peterson, VMI
- Malik Pope, San Diego State
- Rodney Purvis, Connecticut
- Corey Sanders Jr., Rutgers
- Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
- Rakish Taylor, Anderson University (SC)
- Ethan Telfair, Idaho State
- Trevor Thompson, Ohio State
- Melo Trimble, Maryland
- Maurice Watson Jr., Creighton
- Andrew White III, Nebraska
- Alec Wintering, Portland
- Zeek Woodley, Northwestern State