During the regular season, guys get minutes for all kinds of reasons that have nothing at all to do with their performance — guys with big contracts get run they no longer merit because the GM demands it, or young players are out on the court longer as they get on the job training.
But in the playoffs you see what coaches are really thinking.
With that background, we bring you the news that Gilbert Arenas has lost the backup point guard job to Hedo Turkoglu, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Stan Van Gundy had to play the political game with the media — Magic GM made a big move to bring in his pal Arenas this season — but his actions spoke louder than words.
Van Gundy used SF Hedo Turkoglu as the team’s backup point guard during the second half on Tuesday.
“I don’t know what we’re doing,” Van Gundy said. “I haven’t decided exactly what we’re doing. I know Jameer’s going to play a lot of minutes. I know we’re going to use J.J. [Redick off the bench], I know we’re going to use Q[uentin Richardson] and I know we’re going to use Ryan [Anderson].
“As far as what we do at the backup point, I’m not totally sure.”
Arenas as played a total of 18 minutes in the two games so far hitting 3-of-8 shooting. He’s got four assists and four turnovers. He doesn’t defend and isn’t a spot up guy, and Van Gundy seems to prefer Turkoglu instigating the pick-and-roll (the one skill Turkoglu really brings to the table).
Just a reminder Magic fans, three years and $62 million left on the Arenas contract after this season.
It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway
Early in the second quarter of the Warriors win in New Orleans Friday, Durant came out of his shoes on a layup in the lane. He then picked up his shoe, carried it to the other end, flipped it to the bench, and played defense without it, and while he got moved out of the way allowing an offensive rebound for the Pelicans he then proceeded to block Tony Allen twice at the rim.
One shoe Kevin Durant is officially the greatest rim protector of all time.
He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.
Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said. “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”
I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.
His second frustration came from the loss to the Celtics on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”
He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. That will work especially well against teams going small (for example, the Cavaliers with Kevin Love at the five), although Friday night Boston had big man Aron Baynes starting at center (in part because of Embiid, in part because Marcus Smart was out injured). Still, Embiid can score on Baynes.
Take a look at Embiid’s shot chart from Friday night.
Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.
Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance
NEW YORK (AP)— The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.
Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.
NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.
Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling