It doesn’t take much to see why Washington’s Randy Wittman is the guy many see as the coach on the hottest seat.
His team is 2-6 but with playoff aspirations. His star player is writing “playoffs” on his shoes every game (and shooting 37.9 percent). His team’s owner Ted Leonsis has talked playoffs a lot and said injuries are not an excuse. Leonsis has been a loyal and patient owner, but at some point that is going to end because he wants to win, too. On top of it all the Wizards’ veteran players are frustrated with the younger ones.
That’s a recipe for getting canned early in the season, and the oddsmakers at Bovda get that. They set these odds for the first coach to get fired.
Randy Wittman (WAS) 2/1
Tyrone Corbin (UTA) 9/4
Monty Williams (NO) 7/2
Jason Kidd (BRK) 13/2
Dwane Casey (TOR) 13/2
Mike Woodson (NY) 15/2
Mike D’Antoni (LAL) 12/1
Terry Stotts (POR) 12/1
Corbin leads a team that has gone young and wants to see development out of Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward and eventually Trey Burke (once he gets his finger healthy). If those players aren’t developing like the Jazz front office wants they could make a change, but this tends to be a very patient and loyal organization.
Monty Williams has higher expectations with the Pelicans and they are off to a 3-6 start, but expect that organization to be patient. Williams has had some success in the past and was given a radical roster overhaul, he’ll get time to show he can make this group work.
Kidd? Management hired him without experience, for them to let him go is to admit their own mistake. And when was the last time you saw a GM own up to a mistake like that?
Woodson? I’d rather predict the mood of my tween daughter at any given moment than what James Dolan will do next. Who knows what happens here.
Casey is the guy I would have second on this list. He was not hired by the current GM so he needs to get wins and prove he can make this roster work in Toronto. That said, the Raptors are 4-5 and looked better than that record, Casey will get a little time to make it work.
LeBron James is making a career-low 67% of his free throws this season.
LeBron, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
“Yeah it’s killing me, it’s killing me,” James said
But I’ll be fine for the playoffs. For the rest of the regular season I’m going to end up shooting in the 60s, which is a career-low for me, but the postseason I’ll be up there in the 80s.
LeBron has never shot better than 78% in any regular season. He has only once eclipsed 78% in a postseason, shooting 81% in 2014.
If he could simply decide to shoot better from the line, why hasn’t he done it already?
That said, the Cavaliers look like they’re just biding their time until the playoffs. Their focus should increase, and LeBron’s free-throw percentage should rise with it.
But to 80%? Though I’ve learned never to count out LeBron, I’m skeptical.
Dwight Howard‘s love for candy is infamous, though in recent years he has talked more about healthy habits.
Just how much candy did he consume at his peak?
Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
By February’s All-Star break, it was time for a full-blown intervention, and Dr. Cate Shanahan, the Lakers’ nutritionist, led the charge, speaking to Howard by phone from her office in Napa, California. Howard’s legs tingled, he complained, but she noticed he was having trouble catching passes too, as if his hands were wrapped in oven mitts. Well, he quietly admitted, his fingers also tingled. Shanahan, with two decades of experience in the field, knew Howard possessed a legendary sweet tooth, and she suspected his consumption of sugar was causing a nerve dysfunction called dysesthesia, which she’d seen in patients with prediabetes. She urged him to cut back on sugar for two weeks. If that didn’t help, she said, she vowed to resign.
To alter Howard’s diet, though, Shanahan first had to understand it. After calls with his bodyguard, chef and a personal assistant, she uncovered a startling fact: Howard had been scarfing down about two dozen chocolate bars’ worth of sugar every single day for years, possibly as long as a decade. “You name it, he ate it,” she says. Skittles, Starbursts, Rolos, Snickers, Mars bars, Twizzlers, Almond Joys, Kit Kats and oh, how he loved Reese’s Pieces. He’d eat them before lunch, after lunch, before dinner, after dinner, and like any junkie, he had stashes all over — in his kitchen, his bedroom, his car, a fix always within reach. She told his assistants to empty his house, and they hauled out his monstrous candy stash in boxes — yes, boxes, plural.
Howard is 6-foot-11 and muscular, and he does strenuous workouts daily. He can handle far more food than the average person.
Still, dear lord, that’s a lot of candy.
This anecdote was part of Holmes’ fantastic story on peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches’ place in the NBA. I suggest reading it in full.
Paul George called this “one of the most frustrating seasons I’ve been a part of.” He bemoaned the Pacers’ place as “the little brother of the league.” He pushed back against Indiana fans booing their own team. He expressed frustration about being kept in the dark on trade discussions before the deadline. Just last week, he told Zach Lowe of ESPN the Pacers lack an identity.
This all ought to strike fear into the Pacers, with George headed toward free agency in 2018 and Lakers rumors swirling.
How does Indiana convince George to stay?
One possibility: Signing Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, who has a player option after this season.
George would love to play with hometown boy Gordon Hayward, according to sources
My best guess: George doesn’t have a particular affinity for Hayward, but just wants a better supporting cast, and Hayward – who was born and grew up in Indiana and played at Butler – appears more attainable than other stars.
But the Jazz are better than the Pacers and can offer more money. If he makes an All-NBA team, Hayward might not hit the market at all. If he does become a free agent, the Celtics – with former Butler coach Brad Stevens – loom as a bigger threat to poach the forward.
This is an extreme longshot and only raises more questions about what the Pacers can actually do to keep their superstar.
LaVar Ball, father of highly touted UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, continued his media tour by discussing the difficulties LeBron James‘ sons will face due to the high expectations implicit with their dad.
LeBron didn’t like that one bit, saying: “Keep my kids’ name out of your mouth. Keep my family out of your mouth.”
LaVar Ball on Fox Sports Radio:
I don’t have a problem with LeBron.
It’s just how people, they asked me a question about, do I think superstar players’ kids are good? And just my opinion that I’ve never seen one that was really good. LeBron is going to make his kids probably one of the best players ever, according to him. Now, there’s going to be some outside opinions. I’ve just never seen superstars that have kids, because they have to live up to that – they don’t have to live up to it – but I’ve never seen none really live up to what their dad has done.
So, he could be the first or not or the last. So, like I said, it’s not about me having his kids’ mouth. I’m not worried about his family. I’m not worried about his kids. If somebody asks me a question I’ll answer it the way I feel like answering it. But I have nothing against LeBron or his kids.
So, they can go ahead and make them the best or make them the worst. It ain’t got nothing to do with me.
People just asking me questions. I’ve been talking all my life. It’s just now the cameras and the things are in front of me. So, I’m just saying, if people ask me something, I’m going to give you an answer, because I can have freedom of speech to say whatever I want. And it’s either going to be good or bad, and it’s just for conversation for the next day.
I don’t have nobody telling me nothing. I don’t have nobody telling me nothing. It’s just like people saying, “Keep my family’s mouth” – whatever they’re saying, I don’t care. They’re not going to stop me from doing what I’m doing. If they take a little edgy edge on it and they get a little touchy because I answered something a certain way, who cares? They’re not going to do nothing to me. I’m not going to do nothing to them. So, it ain’t no big deal.
LaVar Ball’s inability to say the phrase “Keep my name out of your mouth” or any variation of it is poetic.
Some advice to LeBron: Don’t respond. You’ll get nowhere with someone who can say so much publicly about something he admits “ain’t got nothing to do with me.” The elder Ball is too attention-hungry to back down, and engaging him further will only serve his agenda.