Kelvin Sampson

Pistons to reach out, talk to Shaw, Sampson about coaching job

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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 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).

Is Stephen Curry the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Lionel Messi
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Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.

Does that make him the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Curry was asked to compare himself to the Barcelona/Argentinian player who (arguably) is the greatest soccer player in the world, certainly as elite a finisher as that sport has ever seen. Here is his answer, via the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia. Is Curry the bigger international star now?

“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.

“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”

I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.

But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.

Jahlil Okafor fights man in Boston (video)

Jahlil Okafor

The 76ers lost a heartbreaker to the Celtics last night, dropping Philadelphia to 0-16.

Jahlil Okafor was apparently in a foul mood after the game.


We’re told everyone got up and fled the scene and no arrests were made.

We’re told the altercation began because one of the men in the other group yelled at Jahlil, “The 76ers suck.”

We spoke with a rep for Jahlil who tells us … Okafor says he was being heckled from the moment he left the club and felt threatened because people swarmed him on the street.


This video obviously doesn’t show everything, but it certainly makes Okafor look like the aggressor.

Okafor will probably face punishment from some combination of the legal system, NBA and 76ers.

Kristaps Porzingis envelops Victor Oladipo’s dunk attempt (video)

Nikola Vucevic, Kristaps Porzingis
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Scott Skiles moved Victor Oladipo to the bench, because the Magic coach wanted to give Oladipo a chance to be more aggressive.

It worked.

Oladipo scored a season-high 24 points in the Magic’s 100-91 win over the Knicks.

But Oladipo’s aggressiveness also produced this fantastic Kristaps Porzingis block: