Maalik Wayns Doug Collins

Don’t ask Doug Collins when Andrew Bynum is returning


Coaches notoriously are in the “I will focus on what I can control” camp. If it is something beyond their control, they are not going to spend time worried about it.

Injuries, and when guys come back from injuries, are beyond a coach’s control.

So it’s no shock when Sixers coach Doug Collins plays dumb on when Andrew Bynum might return to the team, instead focusing on what the team can do without him. A quote from

“I have no idea,” Collins said (of when Bynum returns). “It’s all hypothetical. We’re not going to look over at (Bynum as) a lifeline. If this team feels like we can’t win without him, we won’t win.”

Philadelphia went 6-1 during the preseason. While that record matters about as a politician’s promise in the weeks before an election, it gives Collins something to build on — the Sixers need to build an identity without Bynum to start the season. An identity that likely is more up-tempo.


“We’re not waiting for Andrew to come back to decide who we are,” Collins said. “We have to decide who we are. It’s like anything else — the other night I sat Jrue Holiday out. Who are we if Jrue Holiday can’t play? I sat Jason Richardson and Dorell Wright out. Who were we with those two shooters out?”

“The most important thing you can do for your team is send the message that we’re good and we’re going to win,” Collins said. “You don’t want to look over to a lifeline. You can’t do that. From a coaching standpoint, I have to let our guys know that we’re good enough. We’re good enough to win. And when Andrew comes back, we’ll be even better. Maybe we’ll take it to another level.”

Look for the Sixers to run more and for different guys to step up — Nick Young one night, Thaddeus Young another, Jrue Holiday another. Maybe even Evan Turner. The Sixers have good athletes and if they defend well they can be solid until Bynum gets back.

Then they can work out a new identity.

Kristaps Porzingis grew up a Kobe fan. Still is one.


When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.

So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.

Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.

“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”

There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.

In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.

There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.

(Hat tip NBA reddit)

Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton’s car stolen

Luke Walton

If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.

Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.

Yikes. That’s serious.

I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.

Pacers guard George Hill returns Tuesday against Wizards

Paul George, Marcus Morris
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.

Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.

Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.

Hassan Whiteside on intentional fouls: “It’s not working, so keep fouling me”

Hassan Whiteside

Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.

Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.

And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”

He’s even smart at not getting fouled.

Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.

“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”

Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.

And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.