Jeff Van Gundy says brother Stan, Pistons will not make playoffs

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It’s hard to rule teams out of making the playoffs in the Eastern Conference — 38 wins got the eight seed last season and even in an improved conference a team hanging around .500 will have a legitimate shot (if not make it). There are only a couple of teams in the East that really have no shot at that goal (hello Philly!).

Jeff Van Gundy says his brother Stan and the Pistons are one of those teams. They have no shot

Jeff, the former NBA coach and long-time ABC analyst, was on SiriusXM NBA Radio Wednesday morning with hosts Frank Isola and Stacey King and said the Pistons (with Stan Van Gundy as coach and team president) had no shot at the postseason.

“Listen, they have a long rebuild. I think for the last five years Detroit has had the worst record in the Eastern Conference. And you think about that, that’s hard to do because a lot of the teams in the Eastern Conference over the last five years were trying to lose games. So, I mean, it’s a major rebuild. It’s a huge undertaking. I think they’ll be better. I don’t know what that translates to win-wise. I think they’ll be better but a lot depends on some of their perimeter play, how their frontcourt is going to mesh. I doubt you’re going to see the Josh Smith at small forward experiment very often. That was their starting lineup last year with Smith and [Greg] Monroe and [Andre] Drummond. I doubt you’re going to see that because you just don’t have any spacing or shooting on the floor. I’m interested to see how they play. I think there are a lot of things that they’ve got to correct and I think they are working hard at it but I just don’t see how they could make the playoffs.”

There is a lot of truth there. The Pistons have a serious rebuild ahead of them. Josh Smith playing the three is a terrible idea. Detroit’s inability to space the floor was a serious issue last year.

But I think there are things going right for Detroit that will make them a potential playoff team in the East. First, Andre Drummond is going to blossom coming out of those Team USA FIBA World Cup practices and I trust SVG will use him more wisely than the last regime. Greg Monroe is playing to get paid. The Pistons added Jodie Meeks and Caron Butler which should give them improved perimeter shooting and spacing. However the biggest thing to me is Stan Van Gundy will improve the Pistons’ defense, which was bottom 10 last year.

Is all of that enough to get them 12 more wins and up to about .500? Pretty close I think. Detroit may or may not make the playoffs but I think they are in the hunt for one of the last couple spots in the East. That’s a good first step after the past few years.

Brook Lopez ducks LeBron, then airballs two free throws (VIDEO)

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Los Angeles Lakers big man Brook Lopez is a good free-throw shooter. He is shooting 79.7% the year in 2017, and indeed is a 79.4% FT shooter for his career.

You wouldn’t know that given the sequence that happened on Thursday night as the Lakers took on the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio.

Lopez’s confidence seemed to be shaken when in the first half LeBron James was driving down the middle of the floor and came in for a dunk. Lopez was standing underneath the basket, and graciously stepped out of the way despite being the tallest player on the floor and the most likely candidate to challenge LeBron at the rim.

Via Twitter:

Just 40 seconds later, Lopez went to the line and missed too straight free throws via airball.

Via Twitter:

The sequence was topped off around 12 seconds later when Lopez racked up a goaltending violation.

It was a tough outing for all of the Lakers as Cleveland got the better of them, 121-112.

Kevin Garnett on Timberwolves ownership: “They suck”

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Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves are at odds. That should come as no surprise.

Garnett has publicly said that he would like to buy out Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor as opposed to partnering with him in someway for the team. For his part, Taylor has said that Garnett has failed to reach out after the team said they wanted to retire his number.

Then there’s the whole issue that Garnett has with how the team handled Flip Saunders’ death.

It’s a back-and-forth situation, and Garnett isn’t afraid to speak his mind as he did recently with vice sports. Speaking with Michael Pina, Garnett had some very choice words when he was describing the front office and ownership of the Timberwolves.

Via Vice Sports:

I’m more with individuals versus the teams. I’ve gotta admit that. I’ve gotta say that Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jokic, Porzingis, Damian Lillard, Curry, Durant, I’m enjoying the young bucks, watching young Ingram get better and watching little L. Ball figure it out, you know what I’m saying? I’m checking it all out. I like individuals, not so much on the organizations. Obviously I’m gonna be with Minnesota and the players. Not so much upstairs. I don’t really deal with Minnesota’s upstairs. They suck. But Boston, all day. You know I’m a C ‘till I die. I always root for Brooklyn. But other than that I don’t really get into too many of the upstairs. I’m more watching the guys and watching their progression.

How much do you want to see Kevin Garnett as owner of the Timberwolves? It would be great when he comes into the office at 6 AM every day dressed in a full suit already with a full bead of sweat on.

Kristaps Porzingis leaves game with sore left knee

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Everyone please hold your collective groans until the end.

On Thursday night, New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis had to leave with an apparent left knee injury on a non-contact play against the Brooklyn Nets.

The play happened early in the third quarter when was guarding Brooklyn’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. After the play, Porzingis came up wincing on his left knee and immediately asked out of the game.

Via Twitter:

As a publication, the team had only released for that Porzingis would not return to the game against the Nets. For Porzingis’ part, it looks like he is feeling OK for now, although he has yet to be examined for a definitive prognosis. Non-contact injuries seem to give us pause given injuries to players like Derrick Rose, but there’s no reason to panic just yet. He did walk off by his own, so that’s heartening.

Let’s hope Porzingis returns to the floor after a bit of ice and some rest.

NBA “City” jerseys appear to leak via NBA 2K18, and they’re real ugly (PHOTOS)

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We’ve seen NBA jerseys leak accidentally in the past, and the new Nike uniforms haven’t been a well-kept secret.

The new jersey sponsor announced plans for four kits for each team, with the final one supposedly coming late in the year or early in 2018. Now, it seems we have our answer for what Nike’s “City” jerseys will look like for many clubs.

According to the guys over at SportsLogos.net, the popular video game franchise NBA 2K accidentally leaked many of the city jerseys for the teams. There is a huge group of photos for these jerseys, and many of them are absolutely terrible.

Here’s a smattering of some of the worst offenders (although “smattering” is a loose term considering there are a lot to choose from):

The Magic one is an iPhone background, Utah’s is ORANGE, Oklahoma City’s looks like an abbreviation for a regional auto parts store … it just goes on and on like this.

Out of the ones leaked thus far, I see only two universally good ones (although the staggered numbers on the New Orleans ones gives me pause):

What is happening in the NBA with these uniforms?