Dwight Howard wants touches in the post — and he’s pretty good in the post despite not having a lot of counter moves to fall back on. He shot 44 percent on post up situations last season despite the injury, 49 percent and 50 percent the two years before that.
But in Mike D’Antoni’s style of basketball, just throwing the ball into the post and waiting for him to make a move or kick the ball back out stalls the ball and player movement out. Guys stand around, the offense withers.
Steve Nash told the Los Angeles Times that with the more versatile Pau Gasol in the post the Lakers offense will be better.
“I think [Gasol] gives a little more fluidity. The ball can move more,” Nash said Sunday at his Steve Nash Foundation Showdown/soccer match. “We can use him as a facilitator. He’s such a versatile player that it’s going to be a lot of fun to have him making plays and scoring inside.”
A couple thoughts here.
First, the Lakers offense scored 105.6 points per 100 possessions, eighth best in the NBA last season. While there certainly is room for improvement, the offense was not the side of the ball holding the Lakers back last season. And that other end of the court is where the Lakers will miss Howard more.
Secondly, Nash is right. Gasol at the five should work well for what D’Antoni wants to do (better than Gasol the stretch four, that was a flop on the scale of “Red 2”).
Howard was opposed to D’Antoni’s pick-and-roll heavy offense, but Howard would be the best roll man in the NBA if he’d just embrace it. I pointed out Howard’s post shooting above, but he has never shot worse than 74 percent as the roll man the last three years. His mobility for someone his size is his biggest asset, yet for some reason he thinks he needs to be Shaq with the ball on the block. If he’d gone with the system more in Los Angeles he would have been fine.
This is now Kevin McHale’s problem — Howard with James Harden and Jeremy Lin could make the Rockets the best pick-and-roll team in the league. But if Howard doesn’t want to run the floor to set a drag screen and just heads to the block while the defense sets the Rockets’ offense will stall out, too.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said the Pacers “could have done better” than trading Paul George to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Gilbert would have company with egg on their face if more people shared their views on the deal when it happened.
Lakers coach Luke Walton – whose team plays Indiana tonight – joined the club with an admission.
Originally, I thought it was kind of a lopsided trade, but I’m man enough to admit that I was wrong. Indiana has, I think they’re probably the surprise team of the season so far. They’re playing unbelievable. They have that three seed. And both of those players they got in the trade, they’re playing some really, really good basketball. So, obviously, a good trade for both teams.
Me too, Luke. Me too.
George is basically who we thought he was. But Oladipo and Sabonis have taken major steps forward. Sabonis’ growth as a second-year player was more predictable. Oladipo’s breakthrough seemed far less likely – and has carried far larger ramifications.
Oladipo was fine in Oklahoma City and Orlando, but he got into the best shape of his life and developed his outside shooting, particularly off the dribble. He has become a true star, putting up big offensive numbers while remaining a plus defender.
All the credit goes to Oladipo for making it happen and Pacers president Kevin Pritchard for ensuring Indiana reaped the rewards. I bet even Pritchard is surprised by Oladipo’s level of play, but Pritchard bet on Oladipo. Pritchard gets credit for the outcome.
People like Walton and myself eat crow.
Ray Allen wrote a book that spills a lot of dirt on Rajon Rondo – how Rondo told Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Allen and other Celtics he carried them to the 2008 title, how Rondo clashed with Doc Rivers.
Rondo, via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:
“He just wants attention,” Rondo said. “I need actually some sales from [the book], only [publicity] it’s been getting is from my name. I need some percentage or something.”
“Obviously, that man is hurting,” Rondo said of Allen. “I don’t know if it’s financially, I don’t know if it’s mentally. He wants to stay relevant. I am who I am. I don’t try to be something I’m not. I can’t say the same for him. He’s looking for attention. I’m a better human being than that. I take accountability for my actions. Certain [stuff] happens in my life, I man up. But he has a whole other agenda.”
“He’s been retired for whatever years, and now he comes out with a book,” Rondo said of Allen. “People do that in that situation they need money. He should have hit me up and asked me for a loan or something. It’s no hard feelings.”
Obviously, Allen wants attention. He’s promoting a book.
But that doesn’t make the stories in the book inaccurate.
Allen and Rondo, now with the Pelicans, have feuded for a while. Neither is completely reliable about the other. Both are too colored by their dislike for each other.
I doubt Rondo knows about Allen’s financial situation. Rondo is just trying to dig at Allen, like Allen dug at Rondo in the book. Famous people write books for many reasons. Financial gain isn’t necessarily Allen’s primary motivation. Allen has a lot of time in retirement.
I’d rather hear Rondo address the book’s claims. He’s extremely forthright, even admitting he’s difficult to coach. He might corroborate the stories involving himself and Rivers. Telling Garnett, Pierce and Allen he led them to the championship? I’d like to know Rondo’s side of that story.
Gorgui Dieng pushed down Chris Paul. So, Gerald Green pushed Dieng into the stands.
And now Paul is stepping up for his Rockets teammate.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Green is such a ride-or-die guy. He didn’t have a deep history against the Clippers or with Chris Paul. Yet, just a few weeks into his Houston tenure, Green was with Trevor Ariza (a longtime Paul friend) at the forefront of the Rockets’ charge into the Clippers’ locker room.
Stars like Paul respect that, and this gesture will only strengthen the ties between him and Green.
Green hasn’t been fined yet, though I expect there will be a tab for Paul to pick up.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence.
For how long?
David Aldridge of NBA.com:
Cleveland’s upcoming schedule:
- Tonight: vs. Bucks
- Wednesday: vs. Raptors
- Friday: vs. Suns
- Sunday: at Nets
- March 27: at Heat
- March 28: at Hornets
- March 30: vs. Pelicans
I’d be a little surprised if Lue returns during a road trip, though it’s just in the East. It wouldn’t be impossible. Still, March 30 against New Orleans appears to be the most likely return date based on Aldridge’s report.
Given how serious Lue’s statement sounded, that’s a relief. Hopefully, he’s healthy that quickly.
We’re also learning more about his condition.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
The first step is Lue feeling better during this rest. But, even once that happens, there will still be the challenge of him managing these issues while dealing with the stress of coaching. That’s a different animal.