Jim Buss says he was wrong for not bringing Kobe into coaching decision

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File under “things which would have been good to think about five days ago.”

The Los Angeles Times sat down with Lakers VP Jim Buss who has been running the show and making decisions significantly different from how his dad has handled things over the last few years. They asked specifically about the hiring of Mike Brown, and how Kobe Bryant was not brought in on the decision, and subsequently “surprised.” Buss, instead of holding firm to the party line, broke out the ol’ truth stick.

“Looking back on it, we should have contacted Kobe,” Buss says. “Kobe said it was management’s job to pick a coach. He just said, ‘Defense first.’ That’s what we were doing, but we should have reached out to him.”

via Lakers: Jim Buss has all the answers about the Lakers – latimes.com.

The Times didn’t ask if he had apologized to Bryant, but you can probably assume. Bryant will play for anyone, but only in the way Bryant plays for anyone. He broke off plays, ignored the offense, and did his own thing under Phil Jackson, the most successful coach in NBA history. The odds of him somehow reigning it in under Mike Brown, who couldn’t control LeBron James in any facet of reality, are low.

There’s an uneasiness among the Laker faithful about the direction of the team under Jimmy B. He hasn’t proven he knows what he’s doing, and his decisions run counter to those of the past ten years… decisions which have brought, you know, titles, and lots of them. The clear and succinct departure from the Phil Jackson regime in particular reeks of hubris in the face of daunting counter-evidence of success. How Buss handles upgrading the team going forward, as well as the Brown hire, will provide the reality of how the new kid will do with the reins.

For his part, Buss is denying that he is “in charge,” instead saying all decisions are made between Buss, the elder Buss, and GM Mitch Kupchak.Word from multiple media outlets is that the kiddo is still the one pushing the buttons at this point.

It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway

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Shoes? Kevin Durant don’t need no stinkin’ shoes.

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.

Durant — after deciding to play the rest of the game in shoes — had seven blocks on the night, to go with 22 points.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

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Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

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

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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

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.