From the start of the process it seemed like Nate McMillan was the lead guy to get the Detroit Pistons job — he had meetings with both GM Nate McMillan and owner Tom Gores.
But the Pistons are not just focused on the former Sonics and Trail Blazers head coach, they looking up and down the coaching ranks — separate reports have them talking to top assistants Brian Shaw, Kelvin Sampson, and Miami assistant David Fizdale.
The Detroit Free Press reports that Lindsay Hunter — the interim coach of the Suns everybody (including Hunter) knows will be fired when the pick a new GM — also interviewed. That report also said don’t expect this to go too fast.
But remember one thing when reading about coaching search news — the process is just beginning. The Pistons are believed to be casting a wide net, which includes Pacers assistant Brian Shaw, Heat assistant David Fizdale and others.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com mention Sampson — the lead Rockets assistant to Kevin McHale — but ads this is an owner-driven process.
The Pistons are pursuing Sampson and McMillan, the former Trail Blazers coach, sources said. Team president Joe Dumars has long admired McMillan, and owner Tom Gores is taking a leading role in the search. “He’s looking to put his stamp on this one,” a person familiar with Gores’ approach said.
Shaw also is interviewing with the Sixers. Any discussions with Shaw, Sampson and Fizdale need to be worked around their current teams’ playoff schedules.
Mike D’Antoni is looking to add a defensive-minded assistant to his staff and is interested in McMillan, Berger reports. (That seems an odd pairing, even though they worked on Team USA together under Mike Krzyzewski, because McMillan’s teams were slow, grind-it-out style teams).
The Detroit Pistons’ playoff dreams hinged on them being able to hang around until point guard Reggie Jackson got back from this thumb and knee injuries. They have done just that — the Pistons are 11-10 and would be the eighth seed if the playoffs started today.
And now they get Jackson back. Stan Van Gundy made the announcement Sunday at shootaround, before the team takes on the Orlando Magic.
It will take a few games to get his conditioning back, but this is huge for Detroit. Jackson running the pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond is at the heart of Detroit’s offense – the Pistons were 2.3 points per 100 possessions better with the ball in his hands. Ish Smith played well for the Pistons in his absence — 10.8 points per game, 6.4 assists, and he’s been solid. Move his playmaking to the second unit and suddenly the Pistons become a lot more dangerous.
The scouting report on Jakob Poeltl coming out of Utah said he could run the floor well and he was a good finisher around the rim.
But we didn’t expect this.
During the Raptors win Sunday against the stumbling Hawks, Poeltl filled the lane on the break, got the rock, and nobody was going to stop that finish. Least of all Tim Hardaway Jr., he just ends up in the poster.
Entering free agency last July, Hassan Whiteside said his first choice was to stay in Miami — then Pat Riley gave him 98 million reasons to stick around. While the Heat have been up and down this season, Whiteside has thrived as the franchise player in Miami.
Last July he also met with Dallas, but it turns out that was not his second choice. Here is what Whiteside told Erik Gunderson of the Miami Herald before his team fell to the Blazers on Saturday.
“Portland was my second option,” Whiteside said at the team’s Saturday shootaround in Portland. “I would have came here.”
Interesting. There were reports the Blazers chased Whiteside, but it didn’t seem that serious. Apparently, it was. If The Blazers got Whiteside, would they still have spent $70 million on Evan Turner? Probably not. And suddenly a lot of things look better in Portland.
For Blazers fans, watching their team try to outscore opponents while playing terrible defense this season — in part because of a lack of rim protection behind their undersized guards — it’s easy to imagine how much Whiteside would have changed the picture in the Northwest. But at this point, that’s just fan fiction.
JaVale McGree has become a solid contributor for the Warriors off the bench, giving them a needed shot blocking presence. He’s not getting a ton of run (seven minutes a night), but he’s efficient when he’s out there.
Still, there is his reputation as the guy most likely to end up on Shaqtin’ a Fool. He hasn’t done anything like that for a while… until Saturday night, when after a made free throw he tried to inbound the ball for the Suns for a second.
The Warriors bench was laughing under their shirts and towels.