The Phoenix Suns’ start to the season was certainly memorable, if not all that successful. Steve Nash had roughly one bajillion turnovers in his efforts to keep the Suns’ offense up to snuff, but Phoenix completely fell apart in the fourth while the Blazers attacked from all angles. Hedo Turkoglu was even worse defensively than you’d expect, as his nonchalance enabled Nic Batum to play the hero for Portland. Then, there was the rebounding.
Oh, the rebounding.
These Phoenix Suns have the potential to be one of the most truly awful rebounding teams we’ve seen in some time. We’re but one game in and it’s hard to imagine things getting much worse for Phoenix on the glass…so they have that going for them. Nowhere to go but up, I suppose, or at least vaguely up in some slightly elevated slope. The Blazers had 18 offensive rebounds, good for an otherworldly .438 offensive rebounding rate (meaning the Blazers grabbed 43.8% of available rebounds while on offense). That mark would easily have led the entire NBA last season, and Phoenix’s correspondingly low defensive rebounding rate would have been far and away the worst in the league.
It’s unfair to predict the Suns’ rebounding performance on this game alone (Portland, after all, was an elite team last season on the offensive glass), but with Hedo Turkoglu, Channing Frye, Hakim Warrick, and Robin Lopez — all relatively poor rebounders — playing the majority of the “big” minutes, Suns fans should get used to these kinds of nights. The Suns’ defensive deficiencies also fueled their rebounding woes, as attempts to hide Steve Nash on defense ended up with some unfortunate cross-matching. It’s no coincidence that Batum, who had Nash defending him as a product of Alvin Gentry’s scramble to find an effective defensive orientation, grabbed five offensive boards.
The Suns’ weaknesses seem to flow into each other; their defensive problems beget rebounding problems, and their rebounding problems beget more defensive problems, forever and ever, amen. All of this means that while Phoenix may not be quite this bad on the glass every night, they still be regularly awful throughout the season.
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.
There were a couple of good ones, however.
Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.
One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.
The NBA, at the Pacers’ request, is investigating whether the Lakers tampered by making impressible contact with Paul George.
Bob Kravitz of WTHR
In fact, there’s word that other small- and mid-market team officials have reached out to the Pacers and told them, “Good for you. Fight the good fight.”
Small-market teams whine too much about the disadvantages they face, but tampering isn’t really a market-size issue. Remember, under Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers were known as the only team that didn’t tamper.
The Lakers have advantages because George is from the area, and Los Angeles offers immense marketability. That’d be true whether or not they contacted George or his agent before he officially became a free agent.
I understand the desire to take down the big, bad Lakers – especially now that they appear poised to become truly big and bad again. But it’s hard to find a team that can cast a stone at them from anywhere other than a glass house.
The power dynamics within the Clippers are shifting, and the ground apparently hasn’t settled yet.
Doc Rivers has been stripped of his presidency. Jerry West became a consultant. Lawrence Frank now holds the most prestigious title in the front office, and newly hired Michael Winger will report to him. Also falling under Frank in the organizational chart? Trent Redden.
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:
Longtime Cleveland Cavaliers executive Trent Redden will join the LA Clippers’ front-office staff as assistant general manager, league sources said on Monday.
Redden was ousted in Cleveland with David Griffin. He’ll help the Clippers simply by providing another capable executive. They’ve long needed to add front-office employees (and pay for them).
But Redden also exacerbates the issue of Frank’s underlings having far more front-office experience than him. As the Clippers try to establish their new setup, we’ll see whether that creates complications.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr has missed significant time the last two seasons due to complications from back surgery.
Could those issues derail his career?
Kerr, via Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“I fully expect to coach all year,” Kerr says in a no-nonsense tone. “That’s my expectation. And for many years to come.”
On the most basic level, it’d be good if Kerr feels well enough to coach. The headaches sound miserable, regardless of his job.
But it’d also be ideal if the NBA didn’t lose one of its best coaches just as he’s getting started. The 51-year-old Kerr might wind up the greatest coach of all time. Obviously that’s a long way off, but he has that potential – health permitting.