Bill Laimbeer

Don’t expect to see Bill Laimbeer coaching in the NBA again


Bill Laimbeer has been as successful a coach in the WNBA as has been seen — his teams have won three titles in six years. He’s direct and harsh in an old-school kind of way that has served him well in the WNBA.

Just don’t expect to see him back on an NBA bench.

Kate Fagan at ESPNW did a fantastic profile of Laimbeer and as part of it touched on his time as an NBA assistant coach, working under Kurt Rambis for two seasons with the Timberwolves. Two bad seasons. And when Fagan asked front office people around the league about Laimbeer and his chances as an NBA coach, their comments left little room for doubt that he has almost no chance of getting back.

He’s lazy. He’s a buffoon. He can’t relate to NBA players. He treats them like it’s college. Guys just won’t play for him.

Laimbeer’s tenure with the Timberwolves is seen as a resounding failure, probably the final nail in his NBA coffin….

Perception is often reality. And in NBA circles, Laimbeer has a perception problem, compounded by his “I-don’t-give-a-s—” attitude about it. He doesn’t care how he’s viewed, even if how he’s viewed is keeping him from achieving the very thing he says is (or at least was) his ultimate goal: a head-coaching job in the league.

Being an NBA coach is not just about Xs and Os, it’s about managing players’ egos. Phil Jackson’s gift wasn’t strategy (that’s why he had Tex Winter along for the ride), rather it was his ability to get everyone pulling on the rope the same direction and to get them to think it was their idea to do so.

Laimbeer lacks that skill, and as so his ability to succeed in the NBA is questioned. Fairly or not.

Fagan describes how Laimbeer became frustrated running a drill at a 2010 NBA Draft workout and it eventually almost got out of control as he got on players who were not doing the drill the way he wanted. You can argue he was right they were not doing it his way, but this workout had a lot of team executives on hand who saw Laimbeer — who already had a reputation as hard to work with — make himself the center of the show. It’s one incident, but it played into the perception — but if someone else ran that same workout the same way it might have been seen differently (“don’t you love how X is such a stickler on getting the details right?”).

Never say never. The NBA coaching carousel seems to come back around with some odd choices now and again. However for Laimbeer it looks like the ride is not coming around again.

Hat tip to Dan writing at Piston Powered.

Kristaps Porzingis grew up a Kobe fan. Still is one.


When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.

So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.

Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.

“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”

There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.

In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.

There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.

(Hat tip NBA reddit)

Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton’s car stolen

Luke Walton

If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.

Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.

Yikes. That’s serious.

I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.

Pacers guard George Hill returns Tuesday against Wizards

Paul George, Marcus Morris
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.

Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.

Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.

Hassan Whiteside on intentional fouls: “It’s not working, so keep fouling me”

Hassan Whiteside

Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.

Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.

And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”

He’s even smart at not getting fouled.

Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.

“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”

Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.

And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.