Can Brad Stevens connect with NBA players?
That was one of the biggest questions facing Stevens when the Celtics hired him from Butler, the only other place he’d coached, including as an assistant. It’s much different running a team of unpaid students (and that’s closer to the truth at Butler than, say, Kentucky) than running a team of millionaires.
Plus, Boston’s top player and new alpha dog is Rajon Rondo, who admits he can be tough on coaches. Unless the Celtics trade Rondo – certainly possible – his relationship with Stevens could determine whether the coach sticks.
So far, so good.
Gary Dzen of Boston.com:
Rondo said he was impressed when Stevens showed up at Rondo’s basketball camp in Kentucky earlier this summer. The two have had lunch, text nightly, and regularly share books and YouTube videos over email.”Me and Brad have become best friends,” said Rondo. “We talk every day, we laugh and joke. We just had dinner the other night. I’m going to help him, he’s going to help me.”He has my full support. I told him from Day 1 when he came to my camp that I’m behind him 100 percent. Whatever he wants to do, whatever he wants to change, I have an open mind. I’m ready to listen and to be accountable for what he wants to do.”
That sounds great, but maybe Rondo just throws around the “best friend” tag a little too easily. Dzen:
Rondo has been riding the stationary bike (he called the bike, along with Stevens, his “best friend”).
Sorry, Brad. That’s gotta sting.
But I really can see Rondo and Stevens, connected by their high intelligence, becoming BFFs. Like all coaches and star players, they will surely have their spats. But as long as Rondo doesn’t go running back to the bike at the first disagreement, he and Stevens can last.
Andre Drummond is a terrible free-throw shooter…except, apparently, when he’s shooting from the other free-throw line. Monday night against the Raptors, Drummond cut Detroit’s deficit to five at the end of the third quarter with this three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer:
Now, if only he could work on his accuracy from his own free-throw line.
Not a lot has gone right for the Nets this season, but an impressive clutch shot by seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson gave them their 14th win of the season on Monday. With time expiring, Johnson banked in a long three-pointer to put Brooklyn up 105-104 over Denver and secure the victory:
Johnson had 12 points on the night.
For about a week, word has circulated throughout the NBA that George Karl’s days in Sacramento were numbered. They’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, and players have more or less checked out on him. Remember, it’s only been a year since the Kings unceremoniously ousted interim head coach Ty Corbin to bring Karl in, which came on the heels of their puzzling dismissal of Mike Malone in December 2014.
Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the Kings have made the decision to let Karl go:
The decision itself isn’t surprising—it always seemed to be a matter of “when,” not “if” Karl would be fired. But the optics here are not good. If everybody knows it’s coming, it makes no sense to leak that the change is going to happen hours or even days before it’s made official.
The report of the Kings’ decision on Karl comes on the heels of a concerning bombshell Rajon Rondo dropped following Sacramento’s 120-100 loss to the Cavaliers on Monday night.
Via the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones:
Sports Illustrated‘s Jake Fischer further reported that only three players indeed showed up on Monday morning:
That’s a bad look for everybody involved. An optional shootaround is more or less unheard of in the NBA, and if only three players bothered to come, that’s an unignorable sign that the team has quit on Karl.
Since he came into the league, Karl-Anthony Towns‘ offensive footwork has been unusually advanced for a rookie. He showed off his impressive moves again on Monday night, getting to the basket around Luke Babbitt with this spin: