Perhaps you’re struggling to make any sense out of these exhibition games. Truth be told, there’s almost nothing to take away from them. They’re for the players to stay in playing shape, hang out, get taken care of by promoters, and make a few highlights. The trends we see with players shining can have vastly different impacts. For example, everyone I’ve spoken to regarding Josh Selby and his unlikely burst of relevancy has questioned whether he can convert his pick-up skills into a team setting, particularly at the pro-level. But there are players we’re seeing who seem to be improving in their young careers and becoming something more than when last we saw them. Brandon Jennings is an obvious example, and that’s not about the Kobe nonsense or the Under Armour promotion. But another example?
Wall’s healthy, and he’s playing while taking classes. He’s showing a lot of what was expected of him when he was drafted. Is it an exhibition one-off? Sure. But the burst, athleticism, and handle is there. His athleticism is going to take him a very long way and if you don’t believe that, I’d ask you to take a look at Derrick Rose’s MVP trophy.
So in the Goodman vs. Indy “Ball For It All” highlights below, you can take note of how Wall looks, how he’s finishing, (and how Jeff Teague is torching him defensively). I’m not saying this shows any indication that Wall’s going to be MIP next year or anything. I’m just adding it to your mental depository. As Indiana blog Indy Cornrows said:
“Wall was just Wall, hitting that custom boost button no one else had on the court.”
Spurs demolish Thunder to take Game 1 of second-round series
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
Hawks get another playoff shot at King James and Cavaliers
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
ESPN sources say the Warriors, meanwhile, plan to go outside the organization at season's end for a replacement to add to the current staff.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
Luke Walton's contract to coach the Lakers will be for five years and about $25 million.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.