Donté Greene has only started two preseason games for the Kings thus far, put Paul Westphal has apparently already seen enough in Greene to deem him Sacramento’s starter at small forward for the coming season. Omri Casspi gives the Kings another strong alternative should Greene slump in his third season, and Sacramento also has Francisco Garcia and Antoine Wright waiting in the wings.
Greene matured nicely over the course of his second year with the Kings. He was a high-volume scorer at Syracuse, but in his rookie season, struggled with his open looks and shot selection, not to mention his defensive awareness. Greene’s sophomore campaign was far more successful, as he not only substantially increased his measurable efficiency (Greene’s effective field goal percentage jumped from .381 to .504), but has become a pretty useful defender. At 6’11”, Greene can pester all kinds of opponents, and his length has proven quite useful on the wing. Technically speaking, Greene isn’t the most proficient defender, but just as Kevin Durant has made strides defensively by learning to better utilize his height, Greene has done reasonably well when matched up with opponents’ top perimeter threats.
Combine that defensive aptitude with .377 shooting from outside and Greene becomes a pretty interesting piece for the Kings. He’s not exactly going to challenge Tyreke Evans or DeMarcus Cousins for supremacy, but should Greene not lose his focus on the defensive end and continue to pick his spots carefully on offense, he could be a fixture alongside those two for years to come.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.