Heat demote two assistants to hire Juwan Howard

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Stability for the sake of stability is often overrated, but sometimes it has its purposes.

When you have the NBA’s best player and are consistently reaching the NBA Finals, that’s not the time for radical shakeups. The status quo is working.

But once that situation changes, other dominoes start falling.

The Miami Heat, to say the least, are in transition. With LeBron James in Cleveland, the Heat will look very different next season. At this point, might as well take care of everything now.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Ron Rothstein and Bob McAdoo will no longer play significant roles on head coach Erik Spoelstra’s staff – and could be completely off the bench, according to league sources.

Those changes will clear the way for Juwan Howard to be promoted from his role in player development, league sources said.

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

"As far as being on the bench, they no longer will be," said the source, who said the two have been offered the opportunity to remain with the team in other capacities. "The staff is evolving."

"The fact is," the source said, "they were part of Pat’s group."

To his credit, Riley has empowered Spoelstra to run the team. Maybe Riley was too overbearing with Stan Van Gundy (or not, because it resulted in the 2006 championship), but that hasn’t seemed to be the team president and former coach’s approach with Spoelstra.

And I think Spoelstra is a very good coach. He deserves a chance to coach his own way, just as Riley would have wanted before he moved into the front office.

It’s an interesting departure from New York, where Phil Jackson seems to be taking a different approach. Maybe that will work for Jackson and the Knicks, but it’s definitely different. And remember, Spoelstra has earned a lot more trust than Derek Fisher, a first-time coach.

As far as Howard, he’s clearly a trusted voice in Miami. After three years with the Heat, he eased into retirement and player development last season. They know what they’re getting.

 

 

http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/05/02/phil-jackson-will-coach-through-steve-kerr-knicks-president-reportedly-tells-carmelo-anthony/

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.