One of the shifting attitudes around the NBA is in regards to position — the size and skill of players today don’t fit neatly in the “point guard” or “power forward” molds of the past. How do you define the position of Dirk Nowitzki, or LeBron James, or Kevin Durant.
As teams work more into a “positionless” system what they want to see are guys that work well together.
Which is why in Phoenix they plan to see if just acquired Eric Bledsoe can play with Goran Dragic in the backcourt. New Suns GM Ryan McDonough said as much to Paul Flannery of SBN talking about what Bledsoe offers.
“I see him as a basketball player,” McDonough said during an extended sit-down interview at the end of the NBA Summer League. “I try not to differentiate (positions). That’s one of the things we had success with in Boston on a limited basis with Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. I’m hoping to see some of the same stuff with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. If guys are both tough and aggressive and can pass and shoot well, that leads to a lot of good things.”
The Suns are going to run under Jeff Hornacek, and both Bledsoe and Dragic will do well in transition. Both work well off picks and so expect the Suns bigs to set a number of drag screens (a top pick-and-roll set early in the clock before the defense sets), plus designed pick-and-rolls in the offense.
It’s a bit of an experiment, but the Suns can afford to do that. While they will deny tanking they are clearly in the “woeful for Wiggins” lottery chase for next season (and they have multiple picks in the 2015 draft as well). Here is how McDonough put it.
“This year is all about establishing a culture,” McDonough said “Playing hard, playing unselfishly, sharing the ball and developing a system. I won’t measure our success this year in terms of wins and losses. Are we getting better and are our guys buying in and playing the right way? That being said, I don’t want to be in the lottery forever.”
It’s a good plan. The Suns are not going to be good, they hope to be young and improving. Maybe in that they can find some combinations that work. Maybe Bledsoe and Dragic.
Earlier this week, reports surfaced that the Memphis Grizzlies had reached an agreement with longtime Miami Heat assistant David Fizdale to be their next head coach, replacing Dave Joerger. On Sunday, the Grizzlies made it official, announcing the move in a press release.
Here’s the official statement from Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace:
“We are pleased to welcome David to Memphis. After a comprehensive search process, and talking with a number of very bright basketball minds, we focused in on David and we are confident that he is the right person for the job. David’s achievements throughout his career, his reputation as a strong tactician, his leadership with player development, and his ability to communicate and build strong relationships with his players make him the clear choice to guide the Grizzlies on and off the court, as we move forward and collectively build on the consistent success we have attained over the last several years.”
Fizdale offered his own comments as part of the announcement:
“I am extremely excited to be in Memphis and really looking forward to building a legacy with this talented group of players. In my career, I have been fortunate to have worked with some of the greatest coaches and players in the NBA and am ready for this challenge. I am not only here to contribute to an organization that has built a history of winning, I am here to win it all and bring the wonderful people of Memphis their first Championship Parade down Beale Street. I am truly honored that Robert Pera, Chris Wallace and the organization felt that I am the right man to lead us forward and I would like to thank them for their confidence and this great opportunity.”
Fizdale had served as an assistant on Erik Spoelstra’s bench in Miami since 2008, and his now-former team offered their congratulations via Twitter:
ATHENS, Greece (AP) NBA stars Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks battled it out in Athens in a game of streetball Sunday, watched by a crowd of 5,000.
Played in an open court in Greece’s largest public high school, the “Antetokounbros Streetball Event” ended 123-123. No overtime was played.
Porzingis scored 21 points but was overshadowed by team member Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Giannis’ older brother, who scored 69. The two had played for a few games together last season, when Thanasis was signed by the Knicks on a 10-day contract. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the other team with 64 points. The other players were a mixture of veteran pros and amateurs.
On Saturday, Porzingis and the Antetonkoumpo brothers were given a private tour of the Acropolis Museum.
The Warriors’ most important adjustment in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals didn’t occur on the court — it occurred on Klay Thompson‘s feet. Thompson scored a playoff career-high 41 points against the Thunder on Saturday to force a Game 7, and afterwards, he credited it all to a pair of Yoda socks from Stance’s Star Wars lineup.
From The Vertical‘s Michael Lee:
As he quietly got dressed, Thompson rolled up a pair of Stance socks with a cartoonish image of the green, pointy-eared Jedi master from Star Wars, Yoda. Thompson packed his lucky socks especially for Game 6, knowing he’d need something a little extra to fend off the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I brought my Yoda socks to bring out my Jedi powers,” Thompson told The Vertical after a performance in which the least heralded, but no less important, member of the Splash Brothers saved Golden State’s season.
Here’s a picture of Thompson wearing the socks, which are pretty sweet:
Thompson will need whatever special powers the socks gave him again on Monday, if the Warriors hope to overcome what was once a 3-1 deficit and advance to the Finals.
The NBA Finals schedule will not be determined until Monday, when the Warriors and Thunder play Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals in Oakland. The Cavaliers already advanced to the Finals out of the Eastern Conference, but the dates of their home games are not set in stone: they’d have home-court advantage over the Thunder but not the Warriors.
On Sunday, the NBA’s official Facebook page jumped the gun slightly, listing the seven Finals games under their “Events” tab under the assumption the Warriors won Game 7. They later took the listings down.
Via SB Nation:
The mistake occurred when Ticketmaster, which controls that section of the league’s Facebook page, accidentally posted listings for Finals games under the premature assumption that the Warriors would win Game 7, and those listings were pushed to Facebook. Ticketmaster removed the listings when the error was discovered.
It was obviously an honest mistake, but if the Warriors win on Monday, this will do nothing to quiet the crowd that believes in some sort of conspiracy theory, however ridiculous that notion is.
For what it’s worth, ESPN also accidentally aired a commercial for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Cavs and Raptors, even though Cleveland has already closed out that series:
These things happen.