a72ef40ada2211e1ae5f12313804f9a9_7

Monday night and-1 links: See hoop players pictures tweeted from London

Leave a comment

A late-night version of our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like cowboys love oversized belt buckles.

Pixable has a really cool site put together where you can see what hoop players — NBA guys and the USA women — are taking pictures of and tweeting, mostly from London. Really fun thing to flip through.

• Stephen Jackson has promised to keep on rapping “until I can’t talk no more.”

Fantastic breakdown from Zach Lowe at Sports Illustrated of how teams will try to exploit Team USA’s weaknesses.

One Cavaliers beat writer is convinced Anderson Varejao will be traded before the deadline. I think we all kind of expect that to happen, but then again we all expected it before.

• We’re all really, really, really sick of the Dwight Howard saga. But here is a good argument from my man Brian Kamenetzky on why Lakers fans should hang in there and wait for this to play out and not give up on it.

• I flipped on some Los Angeles sports talk radio this afternoon and they were still talking Dwight to the Lakers. It is still THE topic in Los Angeles.

• Plans for a new NBA-ready arena in Seattle took a step forward Monday with a vote to approve an amended proposal from developer Chris Hanson — but there is going to be a lot more amending if he is going to get this deal done. Eight of nine Seattle City Council members signed a letter saying wanted tax money generated by the new arena to pay for improved transportation in the area where the arena would be built, money before targeted to pay off the bonds to build the arena. Transportation in the area of the arena — which is also where Safeco Field and the Port of Seattle are located — has been a concern.

• Tyson Chandler is still miffed coaches voted him on the second team NBA All-Defensive team, even in the year he won Defensive Player of the Year.

• Marc Gasol’s sore shoulder is not as serious as some would leave you to believe.

• We told you recently in another And-1 column that the NBA’s throwback jerseys next season will be from the 1990s. Here is a sneak peek at some of the looks.

Breaking down the Golden State Warriors schedule. If they can keep their heads above water early the schedule sets up for them to make a late run into a playoff spot.

• Charlie Villanueva says he is motivated by the scorn heaped on him by Pistons fans and plans to come back healthy and motivated next year. That’s great. But Pistons’ fans are pretty much going to go Missouri on this — “show me.” The Pistons are apparently pleased with his off-season conditioning. That’s a start.

• Omri Casspi says his knee is not 100 percent healthy yet but he hopes to be back there by the start of training camp.

• In case you missed it, the Sixers formally signed guard Royal Ivey to a deal, he will back up Jrue Holiday.

• Alonzo Gee may accept the qualifying offer the Cavaliers have out on the table for him.

• Former NBA guard (most recently with Toronto) Sonny Weems has signed to play next season with European power CSKA Moscow.

• French forward and former NBA player Pops Mensah-Bonsu has reached a deal to play with Maccabi Tel Aviv next season.

Report: Knicks grumbling about Jeff Hornacek’s lineups and rotations

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 17: Head coach Jeff Hornacek of the New York Knicks watches as his team plays the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on December 17, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek has seemingly steered clear of the Phil Jackson-Carmelo Anthony feud. Hornacek has even avoided Jackson, one of the greatest coaches of all time, overly interfering.

But Hornacek hasn’t sidestepped every fissure in New York.

Veteran Knicks are reportedly frustrated with the defensive scheme, though some of that resentment could be pinned on assistant coach Kurt Rambis. Derrick Rose has reportedly been increasingly frustrated with Hornacek. And apparently he’s not the only one.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

Privately, players have been grumbling about lineups and rotations during the recent losing skid, according to sources. Brandon Jennings hinted at this after Monday’s loss when he spoke with frustration about the inconsistent nature of the Knicks’ recent lineups.

“Every day is something new. So just got to be ready I guess. You never know when you’re going to play,” he said.

Jennings was asked if the inconsistent rotations make things difficult for players.

“Yeah, when you come in here you don’t really know what’s going to happen, so it’s kind of no consistency and it’s really tough right now,” he said. “Right now, you come in here you don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m struggling. It’s difficult for me, because I don’t really know what’s going on. Just take it one day at a time.”

Jennings isn’t the only player expressing dissatisfaction beyond anonymous leaks.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Rose and Hornacek yelled at each other after Rose – who called on Hornacek to coach defense harder – got beat by Dennis Schroder on this play:

Berman reports Kyle O'Quinn also glared at Hornacek after being subbed out during the Knicks’ loss to the Hawks.

After the game, Courtney Lee – whom Hornacek removed the starting lineup – posted and deleted photos of Dumb & Dumber on Instagram. Lee then followed with this caption:

I posted a pic of dumb n dumber cuz that was my mood, no jab at no1. It’s dumb that we have a talented team and we’re in position to win games n keep losing by 1 possession. We’ll figure it out collectively as a team but that was my mood after the game. Has nothing to with any change, rotation, system, players, coaches, so let that be clear.

Are we reading too much into vague social media postings and distant body language? That is a real risk.

But Hornacek still appears to have issues with these Knicks. The debate should be a matter of the depth of the problems, not whether they exist.

This is what happens when teams lose 11 of 13. Players get frustrated and grumble.

The coach also often adjusts the rotation, which Hornacek has done, including starting Ron Baker. Jennings and co. haven’t earned stability in their roles. When they had that, they were losing.

The question now: Can Hornacek reclaim the players’ trust, which would help the team break its skid? Or does the griping – and, partially as a result, the losing – continue in a season-destroying snowball?

PBT Extra: Carmelo Anthony/Phil Jackson rift just adds to Knicks stagnation

1 Comment

Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson had a chilly talk, and Anthony told Jackson the star forward wants to stay in New York. Which, based on the mind games we’re seeing, is not what Jackson wants — although you get the feeling Jackson wants to move Anthony to bring in more stop-gap, win now pieces rather than try to build a future around Kristaps Porzingis.

Which all speaks to why the Knicks have made the playoffs just three times in 13 years. What is the Knicks long-term plan?

I discuss it all in this latest PBT Extra. Well, except the long-term plan because nobody knows what that is.

Rajon Rondo strangely runs behind Rick Carlisle during play (video)

Leave a comment

This would be ignored – still odd, but ignored – if it weren’t for their history.

But Rajon Rondo running behind Rick Carlisle during the Mavericks’ win over the Bulls raised a couple eyebrows in curiosity and drew a few chuckles. What was Rondo doing?

At least Carlisle explained why he didn’t call timeout before Wesley Matthewsgame-winning 3-pointer. The Dallas coach had Rondo in mind.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Mike D’Antoni: “James Harden was the perfect superstar for how I would like to coach”

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 07: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks on against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Verizon Center on November 7, 2016 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s not exactly Seven Seconds or Less Part 2 in Houston, but it may be closer to Mike D’Antoni’s ultimate vision.

The Rockets are 32-12 with the third-best offense in the NBA (Toronto and Golden State), and it’s an analytics wet dream of threes and shots at the rim. It’s all come together because James Harden bought in. Steve Nash ran the offense brilliantly but differently — Harden is as good or better with his style (which gets him to the line more often).

The brilliant Howard Beck at Bleacher Report got everyone to talk about the Rockets rapid rise and how it all came together. It’s must read. Plus there are some brilliant quotes, starting with Harden about D’Antoni pitching the move to point guard:

“I thought he was crazy,” says Harden, who earned his stardom at shooting guard….

Or as D’Antoni put it, “James Harden was the perfect superstar for how I would like to coach.”

“People always ask, ‘You traded for him; did you know he was this good?'” (Rockets GM Daryl) Morey says. “I’m like, ‘F–k no!’ I mean, we thought he was extremely good and better than other teams probably did.”

But not top-five good or, say, top-three, which Morey would make the case for today.

Harden is MVP-level good. What’s more, the Rockets are knocking on the door of contender good. The pedestrian defense isn’t there yet (18th in the NBA for the season, 15th for the month of January), questions about depth and if young key cogs like Clint Capela can grow into the roles the Rockets need them to, and there are the health concerns considering the histories of Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson.

But the Rockets are dangerous right now and could reach the Western Conference Finals this season if healthy and things break right (their style and athleticism would be a tough test for the Spurs).  And the story of how it all came together is fascinating.