The Rockets are in Chicago to face the Bulls in a nationally televised contest on Thursday, and Houston head coach Kevin McHale paid the highest of compliments to the best active player on the opposing team, Joakim Noah.
That part wasn’t unusual, as head coaches will often times dole out honest and well-deserved praise to All-Stars around the league. But in this particular instance, McHale’s remarks seemed to diminish the contributions of one of his own players, if only slightly.
From ESPN Chicago:
Kevin McHale said Thursday that Bulls center Joakim Noah should win the league’s Defensive Player of the Year Award based on his performance this season.
The Houston Rockets coach knows a special defensive big man when he sees one. He was one himself, being selected multiple times to the NBA all-defense team. He has also coached two previous award winners in Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard. …
“He’s played very well,” McHale said after his team’s shootaround at Moody Bible Institute. “He should be defensive player of the year. He’s done a great job with these guys. They’ve been winning a lot just on his energy and effort, his kind of determination and toughness. Those are all qualities everybody appreciates.”
McHale is a member of the Hall of Fame and one of the more savvy coaches out there in terms of being able to relate to his players. But the Rockets are ninth in the league in defensive efficiency this season, up from 16th a year ago — and James Harden certainly isn’t the reason why.
This is likely nothing more than a motivational tactic to make sure Howard brings it against a competitor as fiery as Noah tends to be.
The Bulls’ point-guard position is a quagmire.
Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne are both injured (and not necessarily good). Jerian Grant is maybe an adequate backup pressed into starting. Ryan Arcidiacono is on a two-way contract.
Enter Kay Felder.
The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived forward Jarell Eddie and center Diamond Stone, and claimed guard Kay Felder off waivers.
Felder was waived by the Hawks, who acquired him in a salary-dump trade from the Cavaliers. Cleveland drafted Felder No. 54 last year, but ran out of roster spots this year.
Felder is only a moderate prospect. He impressed in the D-League, but at 5-foot-9, he has significant limitations. (His size also makes him incredibly fun to watch when he gets rolling.)
For Chicago, he’s a quite-noteworthy addition.
Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.
LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.
LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:
No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.
LeBron – he’s just like us!
As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.
Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.
In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).
Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.
Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.
Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.
The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.
After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.
Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).
The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.
Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.