Let’s say the lockout does end up costing part of a season, we have already talked about how a league that has picked up so much momentum with casual fans will be kicking that to the curb and have a lot of rebuilding to do with fan bases.
But which teams will bounce back quickest.
San Antonio, Cleveland, Boston, Utah and Phoenix, according to one report.
The Scarborough Sports Marketing Group does an annual study of fan awareness and support in a community and those teams come out on top, they told the San Antonio Express-News. Those teams had the highest percentage of fans who had gone to a game, watched one on television or listened to one on the radio in the past year — the signs of real fans and awareness in the community. Those are the fans most likely to come back quickly after a lockout.
In the Spurs case, it was 61 percent of the thousands surveyed had done that — three out of five people in the city are pretty serious Spurs fans. Those other teams round out the top five, although it will be interesting to see if Cleveland (at 48 percent now) remains that high on the list a couple years into the post LeBron era.
Who was at the bottom? Well the Knicks, but that’s not really a good measurement because their metropolitan base is so large that even a small percentage of New Yorkers makes up a huge number. The Clippers are on that list too, playing in a city owned by the Lakers, but that again is a large bunch of fans just because of the size of the city and with Blake Griffin as a start they are gaining traction.
The three in trouble? The Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves and New Jersey Nets. And you can pretty much throw the Nets off the list as they will be in Brooklyn in the fall of 2012.
By the way, across all sports what team had the best market penetration? The New Orleans Saints at 87 percent. But that really shouldn’t be a surprise.
Now that former Heat assistant David Fizdale has accepted the Grizzlies’ head coaching job, he’s starting to put together his staff. One name to keep an eye on, according to John Martin of ESPN 92.9 in Memphis: J.B. Bickerstaff, who served as the Rockets’ interim coach this season after the team fired Kevin McHale in November.
The Rockets were a chemistry disaster this season, but Bickerstaff is highly regarded around the NBA in coaching circles. He was a candidate to keep the coaching job in Houston when the Rockets’ front office began their search, but he withdrew his name from consideration when he started receiving interest around the league as a lead assistant. It sounds like Memphis is one of the teams going after him, and he’d be a good hire for Fizdale’s staff.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr called Thompson “ridiculous.” That may be an understatement.
Thompson had 41 points, hit an NBA record 11 three-pointers in a playoff game, and the Golden State Warriors don’t force a Game 7 without him.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob may have had the best response, he drops to his knees and does the “we’re not worthy” bow before Thompson in the hallway postgame. (As there are reports a return trip to the Finals again could be worth $40 million to the franchise, Lacob should be bowing to Thompson for making that even possible.)
Hat tip Eye on Basketball.
The Bucks have a promising young core — led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, John Henson, and Kris Middleton — but one that took a step back this past season. Setbacks can mean changes in the power structure of an organization, and there are changes coming to Milwaukee.
However, not in the coaching ranks — Jason Kidd isn’t going anywhere, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
The Bucks are moving toward a contract extension with Kidd as coach, league sources said.
There will be changes further up the ladder.
John Hammond, the GM who was the architect of the current roster, has just one year left on his current contract, and the Bucks are bringing in Utah’s Justin Zanik as a GM in waiting, according to Wojnarowski.
Zanik, an assistant general manager with Utah, will join the Bucks with a similar job title – and an agreement that he will eventually become the successor to Milwaukee GM John Hammond, sources said.
Zanik has constructed a strong reputation within the league as a front-office executive and previously a player agent. Milwaukee was aggressive in pursuing him to eventually lead the franchise’s basketball operations.
The key is can Zanik and Kidd work together — Kidd has consistently pushed for more power in personnel decisions.
Bucks owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry have been aggressive since buying the team, and you can expect Zanik will be under orders to get this team back to the playoffs and back on an upward trajectory. That may just take time as all their young talent comes together. Well, that and they have to figure out how to make Greg Monroe fit with everyone else.
“Klay Thompson was ridiculous. His shooting was some of the most incredible shooting you will ever see.”
That was how Warrior coach Steve Kerr described Thompson’s night — a playoff record 11 three pointers on his way to 41 points, sparking Golden State’s Game 6 win on the road. It wasn’t just the threes, it was the degree of difficulty on some of those shots — he was just in the zone. Not the Blake Griffin commercial zone, the real one.