A lot of energy is expended discussing pre-draft workouts — this year’s headlines were Lonzo Ball not working out for the Celtics, then not blowing away the Lakers in his first workout — but the reality is these workouts are one piece in a much larger puzzle. For the guys in the lottery, the workouts may not move the needle that much, but the further down the draft you go the more they matter. What teams want to see in these workouts, besides getting an up-close look at things like shooting form, is how the player takes to coaching, or how he responds when physically tired (does he push through or wilt).
This year’s Knicks workouts are a little different — they’re trying to see how guys grasp the triangle, so they’re teaching it, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post.
“It was more teaching than all the other ones,’’ (North Carolina forward Justin) Jackson told The Post in a phone interview. “With the triangle and the other types of offenses they run, I would say it was a little more mental than physical…
“I picked it up pretty easily — everyone picked it up as time went on,’’ he said. “That helped a lot as far the workout, going into different actions. For me it was just basketball, making plays and reads.
“Phil [Jackson] stepped in a few times to say what he wanted to see, but it was mostly coach [Jeff] Hornacek running the workout.”
Since the Knicks are committed to running the triangle next season (whether they should is an entirely different discussion), what they’re doing makes sense. They should see how a player picks up the concepts, and how he interacts with the coach.
In our latest PBT mock draft — it and a podcast on it should be out in the next 24 hours — we have the Knicks taking Malik Monk of Kentucky with the No. 8 pick. How he picks up the triangle matters less than the fact Monk can flat out shoot the rock, and the Knicks need that no matter what offense they run.
James Harden had a historic season in Houston.
Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.
Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.
That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.
Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.
Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.
The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.
Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.
Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:
I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.
Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.
But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.
Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction
On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.
The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.
Now, we know when.
The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11
After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.