Jeremy Lin, James Harden

Daryl Morey defends Jeremy Lin in Reddit AMA

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Rockets GM Daryl Morey did a Reddit AMA — which stands for “ask me anything.” For those who don’t know what this means, it is essentially a cool kids Q&A.

As happens pretty much every time there is public discussion of the Rockets, Jeremy Lin takes some hits. He put up a nice 13.4 points and 6.1 assists per game, and he hit the three better than he has in his career, but overall his efficiency numbers were pedestrian. Average. Not thrilling. He wasn’t the guy from the crazy run in New York.

Which frankly was to be expected, Lin was overhyped because of that but is a quality player does some things very well (attack off the pick-and-roll to the right). Last season he was injured some, the league adjusted, and now it’s up to him to improve his game. But Lin’s critics do not let up; they see him as wildly overpaid.

Morey defended Lin on Reddit (via Ben at The Point Forward):

It is amazing to me that all the time I encounter people feeling negative about Jeremy’s season with us. I have chalked this up to:

– he started off slow, mostly due to getting 100% back from injury
– very high, unrealistic expectations after his time in New York
– had a rough ending in the playoffs, again due to injury
– people generally remember starts & ends more than anything else
– people generally compare things to their expectations when forming opinions versus look at the big picture

Last year was Jeremy’s 1st full year in the league. Essentially his rookie year. If last season would have been his rookie year and he never would have played in New York, right now people would be appropriately talking about him incessantly as one of the top young rookie stars in the league. He was the starting point guard on a playoff team in West at age 24!!! Don’t get me started on this. Too late …

This is the season Lin needs to step up his game — he needs a better left hand, he has to finish better than 53.5 percent inside five feet, he needs to hit better than 39.9 percent of his midrange shots, he has to be better on the corner threes he can get, his defense needs to improve. There are a lot of areas to get better, but Lin wasn’t bad and when he plays to his strengths he’s good.

Lin is entering the couple of seasons when we normally see players make jumps in improvement and efficiency. If Lin can take even a step forward the Rockets, with all their other weapons, become all that more dangerous. It’s going to be a year that Houston’s roster learns how to play together and Lin is going to be part of that process. Like him or not.

Reggie Jackson to return to Pistons lineup Sunday vs. Orlando

AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 24: Reggie Jackson #1 of the Detroit Pistons tries to get around the first quarter defense of Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in game four of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 24, 2016 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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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.

Jakob Poeltl with huge poster dunk for Raptors. Yes, Jakob Poeltl. (VIDEO)

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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.

Hassan Whiteside: “Portland was my second option”

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 28: Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Charlotte Hornets at American Airlines Arena on October 28, 2016 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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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 McGee tries to inbound ball for wrong team, Warriors bench cracks up (VIDEO)

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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.