Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Two

Mark Jackson talks about “culture change” for Warriors


Mark Jackson moved to the other side of the microphone for 30 minutes and spoke to the media as head coach of the Golden State Warriors Tuesday. He did not once say “mamma, there goes that man.” Which was a little disappointing.

What he did talk about is something that has echoed through every discussion new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have had about Golden State — there needs to be a change in culture with the franchise. Here is what he said, via CSN Bay Area.

But the main thing is the culture has to change. Continue to play solid basketball. You have to be a successful team at home, take care of your business and then compete on the road. Inexcusable not to compete on the road. There are things that will no longer be tolerated.

I’m excited about changing the culture in the Bay land.

Rule No. 1 Mark: It’s Bay Area. You’ll want to get that right.

What Jackson talked about was a change in attitude and on defense, but not one of style. The Warriors have a team built to play up-tempo and that will continue.

We will push the basketball. We will look to make plays in transition. We will not just push it just to be pushing it. We’ll have a mindset to take care of the basketball, to get quality looks. But those looks are going to be earned on the defensive end. You’re not going to have a license to shoot when you’re not getting it done on the other end. They will be held accountable and there will be a price to pay. I’ve come to the mindset that the only way to win in this league and win big is defensively.

The primary questions about Jackson as a coach are that he doesn’t have experience coaching at any level. Jackson was open about that.

This is new to me. I would be the first to tell you I don’t know everything. I’m smart enough to know that I don’t know everything. I’m smart enough to be secure enough to put people around me that can put me in position to be effective and to get the job done. I’m an outstanding listener. My assistant coaches will have a great voice. I’m not a guy that’s going to put a muzzle on them. I expect them to lead. I expect them to coach, and I expect them to be an extension of me. It’s going to be a good time. And there’s not going to be any excuses from the coach on down.

It all sounds good. How it translates on the court remains to be seen, but Jackson has got the talking part down.

League executives, players wince watching this Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
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Over the last few days, we’ve written in more detail about Kobe Bryant‘s shooting troubles. He’s jacking up threes his fastest pace ever, he can’t create space to get off clean shots, he’s hitting 31.1 percent overall and 19.5 percent from three. There are flashes of vintage Kobe, but they are fleeting (and mostly because poor shot choices are falling). Byron Scott is still in Kobe’s corner, saying they just need to get the veteran better looks.

However, talk to people around the league about Kobe and you hear some variation of the phrase “hard to watch.” After 20 seasons, more than 55,000 minutes on the court, and coming off two major injuries, Kobe clearly is not the same player everyone admired for so long.

Over at the Los Angeles Times Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner got a number of sources to wince about Kobe for a story — except nobody wanted their name attached to attacking a legend of the game.

“Man, I don’t want to see Kobe go out like this, looking this bad and not able to do what he once could do,” said a retired guard who faced Bryant. “He doesn’t have anything else to prove to anybody. He was one of the greatest. I know he’s owed that $25 million, but he should just walk away now. He ain’t got it anymore.”

“He’s one of the few players in NBA history to have gotten everything possible out of his body. Now his body has nothing left to give,” (an Eastern Conference executive) said. “But that’s life in the NBA, in professional sports. At some point, the body just can’t do it anymore and Kobe’s body can’t do it anymore.”

One West scout said Bryant looked “disinterested” at times. A current player in the West went a step further.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him play and it’s disgusting,” he said. “He’s one of the best of all time. But he really hasn’t played that much in the last two or three years. He’s got nothing left. It’s sad to watch because he used to be so great, and I mean great.”

Kobe is not going to walk away mid-season, and nobody wants an injury to force him out of the game.

But it’s hard to see how anything is going to dramatically change. Kobe may shoot a little better than his current but it’s not likely going to change in a meaningful way. Which will just make things hard to watch for a full season.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.