The Dallas Mavericks, who struck out in their pursuit of a top-level free agent this summer and subsequently passed on a potential move to acquire Al Jefferson, have but a few ways to improveme this season. Tyson Chandler, the Mavs’ most significant off-season addition, is the most obvious avenue through which to do so. Beyond Chandler, Dallas will rely on internal improvement through development and familiarity, and no incumbent Mav is expected to make a bigger leap than Rodrigue Beaubois.
Unfortunately, the Mavs will be without Beaubois services when they open the season against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday. But Chandler, who injured his hand in a preseason game last week, appears to be ready to play. From Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:
Chandler practiced Monday for the first time since injuring his thumb in a preseason loss to the Orlando Magic last week. Barring a setback Tuesday, he’ll be in the rotation for the season opener, although it isn’t clear whether he’ll start or come off the bench behind Brendan Haywood. “I was able to do everything and felt good out there,” said Chandler, who was traded from Charlotte to Dallas this offseason. “Initially going out there, I felt a little skeptical about catching the ball and stuff, but it went well. I felt good today in practice. I’m ready to go.”
Beaubois, on the other hand, is still walking around in a protective boot, and has yet to do any kind of intensive on-court work. The Mavs haven’t set any definitive timetable for Beaubois’ return, and the young guard, who played so brilliantly in limited minutes for the Mavericks last season, will have to wait a bit longer before attempting to take on the great internal and external expectations for his progress this season.
Beaubois was poised to start for Dallas, and none of the Mavs’ other guards made a definitive case to start in his stead during either training camp or the preseason. Jason Terry is probably the most likely candidate to claim the starting role, but Dominique Jones and Shawn Marion are also possibilities.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.