Jacque Vaughn moves up the bench, goes from rotation afterthought to assistant coach

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jacque_vaughn_spurs.jpgJacque Vaughn made a career out of backing up the backup and stepping in as a stopgap during times of crisis. He averaged just 9.8 points and 5.5 assists per 36 minutes for his career, which are both less than exemplary marks to say the least.

Regardless, Vaughn will take that pedigree (if we can call it that) with him as he joins the San Antonio Spurs, the team with which he spent his final three NBA seasons, as an assistant coach. From Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News:

On paper, Vaughn replaces video coordinator James Borrego, who left
after seven seasons to join new coach Monty Williams’ staff in New
Orleans. In truth, Vaughn will fill a role on Popovich’s bench that
didn’t exist last season.

Tony Parker’s former backup is now an extra assistant coach.

didn’t really have a spot for him — I just made it up,” Popovich said.
“That’s how badly we wanted him. We didn’t want to lose him to someone

Vaughn may not have been an especially productive player, but having an
accomplished NBA playing career isn’t a prerequisite for coaching
success. Gregg Popovich clearly thinks enough of Vaughn’s basketball know-how to add him as a member of his staff, and Pop is not a basketball mind I’d like to make a habit out of disagreeing with.

When Popovich, who made the Spurs one of the most successful sports franchises of the decade in part due to his knack for surrounding himself with intelligent coaches and managers, tells me that Vaughn is worth a spot on his bench, I’ll nod along.

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.