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Jerry Sloan’s old-school thoughts on Miami’s trio


Utah coach Jerry Sloan is decidedly old school. Not like Run DMC is old school, I mean more like Sinatra old school

Tough minded. Loyal. Movement off the ball not just isolation plays. No free layups. All of that in a good way. But that means sometimes he doesn’t mix as well with the new fangled things in the world. Like I feel pretty safe he is not going to log on and read this.

The Miami Heat’s moves this summer — call them the “super friends” or the “big three” or “three’s company,” I’ve stopped trying to figure it out — are decidedly new school. So when the Salt Lake Tribune asked about it and if Sloan in his playing days as a Bull would have done something like this, he gave an honest and straight forward answer.

“The way I was brought up and the way I played, that’s kind of what I thought. You stick together even though things aren’t good. That’s kind of like life: We don’t always get what we want, and you have to stick to it. Those are great lessons. Although, there’s so much money involved now I guess you have to go for the money. I never wanted to be traded when I was in Chicago. I never wanted to be fired when I was in Chicago. [Laughs] Those things happen. I’ve always been taught to stick it out when things are tough and that sort of thing. But I don’t know who’s right and wrong. You can argue that until the cows come home…

“I’m not sure a lot of those [old] guys would have done that. I think everybody kind of had their area to work in and felt comfortable trying to prove they could win where they were. And Jerry West, he never made a championship trophy for a long time. They added a couple of more guys, Wilt, a couple more guys to their team that made them very good. But I don’t think I would have seen him wonder, say ‘Do I have to go play with another team?’

“I think it’s an individual thing. You’re usually talking about guys that are pretty competitive, whoever they are, whoever it would be. Jabbar he left and went to L.A., whenever he was playing up in Milwaukee. I don’t know how it actually all works out. It’s hard to say what guys have got inside them.”

To me Sloan hits on the two key things. First, people are different and make different decisions and isn’t that supposed to be one of the reasons we all love America?

Second, the money changes everything. The free agency rules changed everything. LeBron’s choices were contextually different than what Magic or Bird or Jordan or West or Russell or any of them faced. That doesn’t make his decision the right one, it makes it different. And to say what you would or would not have done is to inject the context of your bygone era on LeBron and his choices.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.