You would be hard pressed to find a coach more respected as an offensive innovator than David Blatt.
He’s not a name known to the common fan, but the American-born coach just led Maccabi Tel Aviv to the EuroLeague title, plus he is the Russian national team coach (bronze medal winners at the London Olympics). He is a guy other coaches study, particularly his offense and transition. There have been a number of teams looking to bring him over, he has been looking for the right spot.
He may have found it — Golden State. Steve Kerr is talking to Blatt, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Blatt is engaged in talks to join Kerr’s staff as the top assistant coach, a move that Blatt had been reluctant to make in past years. Blatt has always been intrigued with coaching in the NBA, but had hoped he could make the transition from Europe into a head coaching job. Blatt has turned down NBA assistant jobs in the past.
The chance to transform Golden State’s deeply talented offensive roster could become a springboard into a head-coaching job elsewhere, and that holds appeal to Blatt, sources told Yahoo Sports. The Warriors have tremendous offensive weapons, including All-Star guard Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and Kerr is trying to put together a staff to maximize those talents.
This would be a great hire for Kerr. With all that firepower the Warriors had the 12th ranked offense in the NBA last season in points per possession, an innovative coach who could raise that ranking would be one step to the Warriors becoming legitimate contenders.
Minnesota is also said to be interested in Blatt, having him as a lead assistant and maybe a “coach in waiting” next to Flip Saunders.
But if you were Blatt, would you rather coach the Timberwolves without Kevin Love (if not this season next) or the Golden State Warriors and Curry? Exactly.
Craig Sager couldn’t be in Rio covering the Olympics for NBC, his cancer wouldn’t allow it. That didn’t stop Team USA from reaching out to him before they left. Or from Nike designing a sweet pair of shoes for him.
Now there is good news on his battle against leukemia — he will have a third bone marrow transplant, according to his son Craig Sager II.
This is fantastic news for a man and family who have been through a lot. Hopefully, this treatment is a step forward for Sager, a man beloved by everyone around the NBA.
The Oklahoma City frontcourt is crowded. Enes Kanter and Steven Adams will start, and they will have Nick Collison, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis, and now Joffrey Lauvergne behind them.
Which likely means Mitch McGary‘s done as a member of the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.
McGary has battled injuries his two seasons in the league and got on the court for only 72 minutes total last season for the Thunder (he played in more games and put up solid numbers in the D-LEague). He was not part of the future there regardless. He’s an undersized five trying to play the four and what he brought as a rookie — energy — was not enough as a sophomore.
McGary will make $1.5 million this season. He may be tough to move because he’s suspended for the first five games he’s eligible to play next season for failing the league’s drug policy (five games is the standard suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times). Maybe a team looking to develop players will give him a shot, but there is little trade value for him.
If you can knock down a 19-foot shot, then a 15-footer should be easier. Right?
Apparently that — and just basic muscle memory — is the latest attempt to improve Dwight Howard‘s free throw shooting. And, he seems to be knocking down those shots.
It’s not hard to see the logic in this approach.
The challenge is form and reps are not the problems for Howard — or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or others — when it comes to hitting free throws. Anyone who says “why don’t they just practice the shot” doesn’t pay attention, these guys put in a lot of work on the shot. Pregame and in practice (I’m Los Angeles based), Jordan probably hits 65 percent from the line. At least.
The problem is mental. That can be a tougher hurdle to clear. Maybe taking 19 footers and knocking them down will have Howard feeling more confident at the stripe this season.
But we’re going to need to see it to believe it. Just like we’re going to have to see a rejuvenated Howard in Atlanta before we believe this season will be different from the last few.
Until this season, Jason Thompson had never been to the playoffs. He spent seven seasons in Sacramento before getting traded to the Warriors last offseason, and then signing with the Raptors midseason when Golden State waived him to make room on the roster for Anderson Varejao. His NBA days appear over, at least for now. International basketball reporter David Pick reports that Thompson has agreed to a deal to play in China.
Since the CBA’s season ends in March, Thompson could theoretically join an NBA team for the stretch run next year. But he didn’t appear to have much interest on the free-agent market this summer.