Joakim Noah is playing 40.1 minutes a game, a healthy jump from the 30.4 points per game we saw last season.
Luol Deng is playing 41 minutes a game (but he did play more than 39 a game the two previous seasons.
With Derrick Rose out, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is leaning heavily on his stars — Deng and Noah are playing more minutes per game than any players in the NBA. It’s working, Bulls are 12-9 and tied for the lead in the Central Division.
But is it too much?
Tom Thibodeau doesn’t thinks so and got defensive when asked about Noah. Via ESPN Chicago:
“Look, here’s the thing, OK?” he said. “I sat on the opposing bench when Phil [Jackson] was coaching the Bulls. I used to sit there and say, ‘When’s he going to take those guys out, because I don’t want to see them on the floor.’ He never did.”
About the jump of Noah’s minutes in particular Thibs was unconcerned.
“No,” Thibodeau said. “It doesn’t matter. He’s in his 20s.”
I get why Thibodeau is doing this — he wants to win and he doesn’t have a lot of options and players to lean on. And he’s right, this is a young team, but you can wear them down. There’s a reason coaches like Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers rest players late in the season. Thibodeau doesn’t have to worry about the minutes in December, but he might want to think about his rotations after the All Star Break.
Andre Drummond is a terrible free-throw shooter…except, apparently, when he’s shooting from the other free-throw line. Monday night against the Raptors, Drummond cut Detroit’s deficit to five at the end of the third quarter with this three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer:
Now, if only he could work on his accuracy from his own free-throw line.
Not a lot has gone right for the Nets this season, but an impressive clutch shot by seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson gave them their 14th win of the season on Monday. With time expiring, Johnson banked in a long three-pointer to put Brooklyn up 105-104 over Denver and secure the victory:
Johnson had 12 points on the night.
For about a week, word has circulated throughout the NBA that George Karl’s days in Sacramento were numbered. They’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, and players have more or less checked out on him. Remember, it’s only been a year since the Kings unceremoniously ousted interim head coach Ty Corbin to bring Karl in, which came on the heels of their puzzling dismissal of Mike Malone in December 2014.
Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the Kings have made the decision to let Karl go:
The decision itself isn’t surprising—it always seemed to be a matter of “when,” not “if” Karl would be fired. But the optics here are not good. If everybody knows it’s coming, it makes no sense to leak that the change is going to happen hours or even days before it’s made official.
The report of the Kings’ decision on Karl comes on the heels of a concerning bombshell Rajon Rondo dropped following Sacramento’s 120-100 loss to the Cavaliers on Monday night.
Via the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones:
Sports Illustrated‘s Jake Fischer further reported that only three players indeed showed up on Monday morning:
That’s a bad look for everybody involved. An optional shootaround is more or less unheard of in the NBA, and if only three players bothered to come, that’s an unignorable sign that the team has quit on Karl.
Since he came into the league, Karl-Anthony Towns‘ offensive footwork has been unusually advanced for a rookie. He showed off his impressive moves again on Monday night, getting to the basket around Luke Babbitt with this spin: