David Vanterpool is far from a recognizable name to the casual NBA fan. That could be changing soon, however, because the Portland Trail Blazers’ assistant has emerged as a “serious candidate” to replace Doug Collins as the Philadelphia 76ers’ head coach.
Vanterpool has just one season of NBA coaching experience under his belt, but he made enough of an impression with the development of Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard to earn an interview for the Sixers’ coaching vacancy. And, following that interview on Monday, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that he did well enough in the process that he’s now being lumped in with current assistant Michael Curry — along with San Antonio Spurs assistant Brett Brown and Boston Celtics’ assistant Jay Larranaga — as a top candidate to take over the reigns of the rebuilding squad.
The 40-year-old seems to fit the same mold as Larranaga and Brown as lesser-known NBA assistant coaches with solid international coaching experience and reputations for developing players. Like Larranaga, Vanterpool ended a solid basketball playing career in Europe — with Euroleague powerhouse CSKA Moscow, no less — before moving onto an assistant coaching role upon retirement. He also spent time serving as a pro scout for the Oklahoma City Thunder before moving back to coaching with the Blazers this past season.
Vanterpool’s candidacy among his peers, though, seems to be interesting. Looking at the roster of assistant coaches Terry Stotts has assembled on the Blazers’ bench — Vanterpool, Jay Triano, Nate Tibbetts, Kim Hughes and Dale Osbourne — the Sixers’ head coaching candidate is likely the least familiar to insiders that keep tabs on such things as NBA assistant coaches. In fact, it would seem that the 36-year-old Tibbetts would be the more likely candidate having cut his teeth in the NBA Development League before taking on assistant roles with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers before being hired by the Blazers this past summer.
Nevertheless, Vanterpool’s an intriguing candidate for the Sixers job … and is likely worth keeping an eye on going forward, even if he’s passed over in Philadelphia.
There was a scary moment during the matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. During a change of possession, Houston’s Trevor Ariza and and Golden State’s James Michael McAdoo got tangled up and fell together on the floor.
McAdoo was under Ariza and wound up getting his head slammed into the hardwood. He was immediately taken off the floor and sent to the locker room.
The NBATV broadcast said McAdoo received stitches but did not test positive for a concussion. He is averaging 8.7 minutes, 2.9 points, and 1.7 rebounds per-game for the Warriors.
Jusuf Nurkic did not enjoy his time as a member of the Denver Nuggets. His trade to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Mason Plumlee was a welcome change of scenery.
On Tuesday night, Nurkic got to take on his old team with huge playoff implications at stake. Portland beat the Nuggets, 122-113, moving a game ahead of their rivals in the race for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and giving them the best tiebreaker between the two.
Nurkic was impressive, blasting his old squad with 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting, adding 16 rebounds, three blocks, and two assists.
Nurkic was interviewed in the arena after the game, and he was obviously happy he helped his team while also sticking it to Denver. Speaking with Portland reporter Brooke Olzendam, Nurkic took one last shot at the Nuggets, telling them to enjoy their summer.
Nurkic quite possibly sent the Nuggets packing for the year with the game at the Moda Center on Tuesday, so he might have been the guy who helped start their summer.
Still, that is ice cold.
Miami Heat forward James Johnson is one of the NBA’s best in-game dunkers. On Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons, he yammed down a huge one-handed slam that embarrassed Marcus Morris and drew gasps from the crowd at the Palace.
The play came midway through the fourth quarter with Johnson at the top of the key. After a quick pass over to him, Johnson gave a quick hesitation before driving to his left and past his defender.
With the quick step, Johnson’s only remaining opponent at the basket was Morris, who was unfortunate enough to find himself between the high-flying Heat and the rim.
This is what happened next:
Morris was whistled for a foul on the play.
The Miami Heat took until the final moments on Tuesday night to beat the Detroit Pistons, but it was worth it. With just a handful of games left to play, the Heat need to stave off the Chicago Bulls for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Thanks to a tip at the buzzer by Hassan Whiteside, they’re one step closer to achieving that goal.
The play came with just seconds left in the fourth quarter. James Johnson missed a shot with six seconds to go, and the Heat grabbed the rebound. Goran Dragic then tried his hand, but he couldn’t get it to go, either.
That’s when Whiteside came back with a tip at the buzzer that ended the game.
Miami now sits at 36-38, a game above the Bulls for the No. 8 seed.
Whiteside, meanwhile, is never going to wash that hand again: