Putting players in a position to do what they do well and succeed is one of the biggest jobs as a coach. Look at the best — Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson — and you find systems designed to get guys to do what they do well and not play to their weaknesses.
Conversely, there is whatever the Brooklyn Nets are doing under Jason Kidd.
Kevin Garnett is having a career-worst season — 6.5 points a game, a true shooting percentage of 39.8 percent, a PER of 10.7, all career lows.
He’s frustrated and told Newsday the Nets system, such as it is, has thrown off his shooting rhythm.
“The most frustrating thing about me is I could see if I wasn’t hitting shots and I wasn’t in here working or taking —- days off,” Garnett said Wednesday before the Nets flew to Oklahoma City to meet the Thunder tonight. “I put time into my craft for it to come out, but then that’s rhythm on offense. And I don’t have that right now.”
“Honestly, I have no rhythm,” Garnett said. “I’m trying to establish some confidence and figure this whole where I fit into the offense thing. Right now I’m just not even a priority.”
Part of this is KG is losing his footrace with Father Time — he is a step slow this season, which particularly shows on the defensive end.
Most players thrive better in a structure and the Nets offense seems not to have a consistent one. Injuries and guys like Deron Williams and Brook Lopez being in and out of the lineup (in Lopez’s case now out for the year) has not helped. Still, it’s hard to find an overall structure. It’s hard to see a system that just works.
And it shows in KG’s game — he wasn’t due for this kind of step back. He’s still a better player than he has shown.
Russell Westbrook led a double-digit comeback in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Been there done, that.
Westbrook hit a defining buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Been there done, that.
Westbrook posted a historic triple-double. Been there, done that.
All three in one game?
That’s a new level for Westbrook, who lifted the Thunder to a 114-106 win over the Magic tonight while posting an incredible stat line: 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.
James Harden scored 53 in a triple-double just this season, and Westbrook has already one-upped that record.
This MVP race is one for the ages.
The Thunder trailed the Magic by 21 points in the second half and 14 points midway through the fourth quarter.
Russell Westbrook capped the incredible comeback with this 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.
This becoming the norm for Oklahoma City.
Paul George expressed extreme dismay after the Pacers’ loss to the Timberwolves last night — the latest cause for concern in Indiana with its biggest star just one season from free agency.
But perhaps George wouldn’t have sounded so disillusioned if that game featured correct officiating down the stretch.
Minnesota’s Kris Dunn got away with fouling Jeff Teague by disrupting the Pacers guard’s speed/quickness/balance rhythm with 21.6 seconds left, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
Dunn (MIN) makes contact to Teague’s (IND) arm that affects his SQBR and causes him to lose control of the ball.
Because the Timberwolves were in the penalty, a correct would’ve sent Teague — who’s making 86% of his free throws this season and 84% for his career — to the line. He would’ve had two attempts to build on Indiana’s two-point lead.
Instead, he forced an off-balance shot, which Minnesota rebounded. Ricky Rubio drew a shooting foul on a 3-pointer on the other end, and his three free throws lifted the Timberwolves to a 115-114 win.
The two-minute report featured a few other missed calls: George getting away with pushing off then Wiggins getting away with fouling George on a possession where George missed anyway, Andrew Wiggins getting away with a travel on a possession where Minnesota turned the ball over anyway. But those were effectively wash’s. Dunn’s uncalled foul was the one of consequence — especially if it contributes, even in a small way, to George’s exit from the Pacers.
Edmond Sumner has grown about five inches since high school.
That has helped turn the 6-foot-5 Xavier point guard into an intriguing NBA prospect — but also seemingly contributed to physical complications. Sumner missed nearly all of his freshman year with knee tendinitis. Then, after a promising second season and start to his third, he tore his ACL in January.
Still, he’s entering the NBA draft.
Rick Broering of Musketeer Report:
Like with Duke’s Harry Giles, medical testing will be huge with Sumner. But at least Giles ended the season on the court. Sumner might not be healthy at all during the pre-draft process.
Sumner looked like a borderline first-round pick before the injury. This probably pushes him into the second round.
His long strides provide impressive speed and quickness, and he’s still shifty. Add quality court vision, and his ability to drive by defenders is even more valuable.
A 6-foot-8 wingspan and good lateral mobility also help make him a quality defender.
But it’s also concerning that so much of his positives could be undermined by his knee issues, especially considering his unreliable jumper. If Sumner can’t move like he did before getting hurt, I don’t see how he sticks in the NBA.
If Sumner’s knees check out, it’s worth rolling the dice on him and hoping his jumper develops. He might even be OK without shooting range, though that’d lower his ceiling considerably.
Again, though, the first thing is examining his knees.