Andrew Bynum’s turn to be benched by Mike Brown after taking three

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Everyone made a big deal out of Kobe Bryant being “benched” a few games ago during crunch time. That wasn’t really a benching.

What happened with Andrew Bynum Tuesday night, that was a benching. And because Bynum acted like a three year old told he couldn’t have another lollipop, this issue could linger.

It all began two minutes into the third quarter. The Lakers grabbed the ball off a Warriors miss and pushed it up court, but when nothing developed they reset the offense and Bynum came down court to join the play. When he did he got a pass out near the top of the arc and…

Bynum stepped into and took a three. Which he missed to the right. Not that it mattered, the ball probably wasn’t to the rim before coach Mike Brown had called Josh McRobert’s number and told him to check in. Bynum only played a couple of minutes the rest of the way.

The bigger issue was Bynum’s immaturity when benched — he joked and laughed about the shot, refused to join team huddles or high-five teammates coming into timeouts, and generally just sulked. Then there were his post-game comments. Via Kevin Ding of the OC Register.

“I don’t know what was bench-worthy about the shot, to be honest with you,” Bynum said. “I made one (with 1.2 seconds left in the last game, a loss to Memphis), and I wanted to make another one. I swear, that’s it. I guess he took offense to it, so he put me on the bench.”

Bynum is now 1-8 for his career from three. Do you really think he doesn’t understand why a coach doesn’t care if he takes a three at the end of an already decided game versus taking one early in the shot clock of a six-point game (at that moment) early in the third quarter? As for him not getting off the bench to be in team huddles, via ESPNLosAngeles.com.

“He took me out of the game, so I just sat where he put me,” Bynum said.

Very mature, Andrew. Combine that with his saying a few weeks back he was loafing on the court, and him getting thrown out of the game in Houston, and you start to see a little pattern.

Kobe Bryant seemed to be the only guy with some sympathy for Bynum. In part because as team leader he needs to keep Bynum engaged. But as Kevin Ding noted it’s in part because Bynum is a rising young star who wants a bigger role on a team with veterans and chafes against his restrictions — a lot like Kobe when he came into the league. Kobe gets him.

Bynum has always fancied himself as more than a traditional center, even though that is his strength. It frustrated former mentor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar that a young Bynum didn’t want to work as much on his back-to-the-basket post moves as much as face-up moves from 12-15 feet out. Bynum does not want to fit in your mold.

But that doesn’t excuse not being a good teammate. Even for a night. And how he acted on the bench was the real issue, not the shot itself. Same with other recent actions.

Bynum’s career has been marked by impatience and immaturity. He is thoughtful, well read and smart, and drafted into the NBA (and one of the league’s most visible teams) at 17 he had to do a lot of growing up in the spotlight. It’s been a bumpy road at times.

Tuesday night felt like a regression to the Bynum of five years ago with his attitude. He doesn’t need to be repentant upon his return, not with the fans and media anyway, but he does need to make sure his teammates know he is still with them, that he still has their back.

This was a real benching, unlike the Bryant situation (Brown sat Kobe for a brief rest but when the Lakers went on a quick 6-0 run he decided to ride what worked, maybe for a little too long but the Lakers were +7 that quarter when Kobe sat and -2 after he returned at the end of the game). But there is a similarity:

It’s another silly “crisis” for Mike Brown to deal with that really is not much of a big deal in the locker room but will dominate the talk outside it. Welcome to coaching the Lakers.

Timberwolves to unveil new logo at final home game

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The Timberwolves’ were the trendy pick for a breakout team this season with Tom Thibodeau coaching Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.

Instead, Minnesota fell flat. At, 28-42 the Timberwolves will miss the playoffs for the 13th straight year – the NBA’s longest active postseason draught.

But they’ve shown progress lately and could carry that momentum into next season.

It’ll be a fresh start in at least one way.

Timberwolves release:

The Minnesota Timberwolves begin a new chapter in their franchise history by unveiling a new team logo as part of Fan Appreciation Night at Target Center on Tuesday, April 11. The Wolves will conclude the home portion of their regular season schedule that evening by hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder at 7 p.m.

The logo will be unveiled during a special halftime show and all fans in attendance will receive a commemorative t-shirt with the new identity featured.

While the new identity won’t fully take effect until the 2017-18 season, the unveiling marks only the fourth identity in the franchise’s 28-year history.  The announcement is also the beginning of an eventful summer as the Wolves brand continues to evolve. There will be several future announcements regarding the unveiling of the new team uniforms, new court designs and additional events throughout the coming months.

I’m glad these uniforms are coming out next year. I always enjoy when a style change coincides with a team changing on the court, and it seems the Timberwolves could truly do that.

Shaq on flat-earth claim: ‘I’m joking, you idiots’

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After Kyrie Irving claimed the Earth is flat, he doubled down and insisted he truly believed that.

After Shaquille O’Neal claimed the Earth is flat

Shaq on Art of Charm (hat tip: Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports):

The Earth is flat. Would you like to hear my theory?

The first part of the theory is, I’m joking, you idiots. That’s the first part of the theory.

This world we live in, people take things too seriously. But I’m going to give the people answers to my test. Knowing that I’m a funny guy, if something seems controversial or boom, boom, boom, you’ve got to have my funny points on, right? So now, once you have my funny points on, that should eradicate and get rid of all your negative thoughts, right? That’s what you should do when you hear Shaquille O’Neal’s statement, OK? You should know that he has funny points right over here, and what did he say? The guy had, boom, boom, boom. Add the funny points. You either laugh, or you don’t laugh. But don’t take me seriously. When I want you to take me seriously, you will know by the tone of my voice that I’m being serious.

Shaq is excellent at drawing attention to himself. The only surprise is that he didn’t keep this ruse up longer.

If Irving is pulling our collective legs to put the focus on him, at least credit the Cavaliers guard for maintaining the story longer. That Shaq lasted only a few days is revelatory.

Earl Watson, amid UCLA rumors, says ‘main focus’ is with Suns

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At least the college-coaching rumors surrounding the Celtics’ Brad Stevens and Thunder’s Billy Donovan are about an actual vacancy: Indiana.

With Suns coach Earl Watson, it’s a step removed.

But here’s the gambit: UCLA coach Steve Alford is an Indiana alum, and many believe he’ll fill the Hoosiers’ opening. That’d leave UCLA in the market for a new coach – maybe Watson, an alum.

Watson, via Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic:

“There’s no doubt that I love my school,” Watson said. “It took me out of a poverty situation and gave me hope. The school is an amazing place. I feel like it saved me. But I also feel like (former Memphis coach) Hubie Brown saved me in another way. Playing for the Utah Jazz, they were there during a difficult part of my personal life and they helped me a ton. And then, of course, the San Antonio Spurs, after the death of my brother, the love they gave me is what I needed most, and that love is genuine. So you have different points in your life where people and groups come into your life and none of them are family and they impact you for the positive.”

At the same time:

“I’m more focused on creating value for our (organization), to give management and ownership many options to build a championship contender here,” Watson said. “What I mean by that is, building the value of the young players so that their value and their game and their confidence give them the option to be financially secure in this league when they become free agents; giving our ownership the option to build around them or give ownership and management the option to make moves because their value is so high to put us in contention quicker. That’s all I can do is build value. The winning will happen. There’s a lot of questions with our program, but one thing I do realize is these players are playing amazing for their age. I love them, they’re like my little brothers. My main focus is here.”

There’s little evidence Watson is a good NBA coach. He’s 31-73 in a season and a half in Phoenix, and his players have looked especially undisciplined.

That said, the Suns are very young. Maybe they’d look even more undisciplined under another coach.

Watson’s player-development experience could suit him well for college. As little as he’s done to prove he’s a good NBA coach, he hasn’t done much to prove he’s a bad NBA coach, either.

If Alford bolts, Watson’s history with UCLA probably warrants an interview if he wants it. But if I were the Bruins, I’d also consider other candidates.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim keeps fabricating NBA draft stats

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Sophomore forward Tyler Lydon declared for the NBA draft, which Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim seized as an opportunity to spew more nonsense.

Connor Grossman of The Daily Orange:

Boeheim cautioned Lydon about jumping into the NBA Draft now, knowing he lacked the “monster year” it would’ve taken for him to get lottery pick consideration.

“He didn’t demonstrate this year that he can be a lottery pick,” Boeheim said, “but next year I know he can be. That’s what I told him. I think he can come back here and demonstrate that he can be a lottery pick.

“I think it’s a better way to go to the NBA. You make money, they draft you high, they play you. Half the picks between 20-30 are out of the league within three years.”

We don’t yet know whether anyone drafted in 2014 or later will last more than three years in the NBA. So, let’s examine the prior 10-year period: 2004-2013. I exempted Nikola Mirotic, who jumped late to the NBA and is in his third season right now (even though I’d be shocked if he’s not in the NBA next season).

In that span, 22% of players picked between 20-30 were out of the league within in three years.

That’s not even half of Boeheim’s stated figure.

A third of those picks who washed out so quickly were international players. NBA teams are pretty good at scouting and developing college players, who face fewer hurdles in translating to the to the league. So, Lydon being projected to go in the first round means something.

The most recent college player picked in this range to fall out of the league, Perry Jones, got paid for a fourth season. Even the cases that count for Boeheim are poor examples.

And who’s to say Lydon would develop into a lottery pick if he stayed another year at Syracuse? The only guarantee would be missing an opportunity at a year of NBA earnings. Lydon’s stock could fall, a precarious possibility for someone who doesn’t excel at creating shots. Lydon can develop with an NBA team, maybe even spending time in the D-League – while earning far more than the college-sports cartel allows.

Boeheim’s self-serving approach is painfully evident. He enriches himself on the backs of young college players, and when the most talented among them leave early, that hurts his stature. So, he makes up bogus figures in attempt to get what he wants.

It’s shameful.