Report: D’Antoni wants Nate McMillan as “defensive assistant”


This is not as great an idea as it sounds. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

Mike D’Antoni is reportedly interested in bringing former Sonics and Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan on his Lakers staff as a “defensive assistant,” reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com. He adds that the one lock for D’Antoni’s staff seems to be Dan D’Antoni, Mike’s brother.

McMillan and D’Antoni were both assistant coaches under Mike Krzyzewski for Team USA when they won the past two gold medals. They are both well respected by players.

This hire could well be a good one — but don’t think Nate McMillan is a defensive specialist.

No team of McMillan’s has ever finished in the top half of the league in defensive efficiency (points allowed per possession). His teams didn’t allow that many points per game because they played at a painfully slow pace (which makes this another odd pairing with D’Antoni). His team’s career defensive numbers are barely better than D’Antoni’s when you break things down by possession.

But now the pair of coaches would have Dwight Howard in the paint and solid defenders such as Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant on the perimeter. They have the pieces to be good defensive team.

And they need to be, it is their key to winning. I’m just not sold McMillan makes that happen.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.