danfeld

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Report: Six to eight NBA teams expected to change coaches this offseason

9 Comments

Last offseason featured unprecedented coaching stability.

That’ll change this year.

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:

Industry sources believe at least six to eight teams—and perhaps as many as 10—will be hiring new head coaches this offseason

The Suns (Earl Watson), Grizzlies (David Fizdale) and Bucks (Jason Kidd) already fired coaches during the season. So, that’s three.

The Knicks (Jeff Hornacek) and Magic (Frank Vogel) are expected to fire their coaches. That’d bring the total to five.

The other one to five? There are plenty possibilities.

Whenever teams are as bad as the Hawks (Mike Budenholzer), Bulls (Fred Hoiberg), Kings (Dave Joerger) and Lakers (Luke Walton), it’s a mistake to assume continuity. Health concerns could cause changes with the Hornets (Steve Clifford) and Cavaliers (Tyronn Lue). The Pistons (Stan Van Gundy) appear likely to enact a front-office change, and that could always lead to a coaching change – especially when Van Gundy took the job only with president power. The Clippers (Doc Rivers) could move on – or Rivers could move on from them. The Pelicans (Alvin Gentry), Nuggets (Michael Malone) or even Timberwolves (Tom Thibodeau) could shake things up if they miss the playoffs. A team that loses earlier than expected in the postseason – looking at you, Trail Blazers (Terry Stotts) – could make a change.

There are enough possibilities to figure at least one of those teams – probably more and maybe even an unexpected one – change coaches.

Steve Kerr calls Warriors’ effort ’embarrassing’ and ‘pathetic,’ Kevin Durant: Pacers ‘came out with a better strategy’

Getty Images
15 Comments

Steve Kerr is trying to prepare the Warriors to win without Stephen Curry.

The coach warned everyone not to wait for Curry to save them. Kerr encouraged his players they were capable without the superstar point guard.

And after a 20-point loss to the Pacers last night, Kerr sent a harsh message – one Kevin Durant publicly disagreed with.

Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:

Steve Kerr was livid and made no attempt to conceal it after a 126-106 loss to Indiana, which had much more at stake and performed with appropriate vigor.

“Yeah I’m mad,” he said, a hint of despair in his voice. “I’m embarrassed. I know this game doesn’t mean anything in the seeding, but the playoffs start next week. It was an embarrassing effort. Pathetic effort.”

Durant said the Pacers “came out with a better strategy and being more aggressive than us.”

That sure sounds as if Kerr is blaming the players and Durant is blaming the coach. That’s never healthy.

These are the types of thoughts each side gets when a team is losing. Golden State has dropped eight of 14.

But the Warriors aren’t used to losing for prolonged stretches like this. They’re not accustomed to channeling that frustration into more positive responses, because they’re rarely this frustrated.

The playoffs will probably get everyone dialed in, but it’d be nice if Kerr and Durant got on the same page before then. It’d help Golden State hit the ground running come the postseason.

LeBron James, Stephen Curry headline Team USA player pool for 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
3 Comments

Carmelo Anthony capped his distinguished Olympic career in the 2016 Games by winning his third gold medal with Team USA.

Now, it’s time for the next generation of Americans to take over.

Gregg Popovich will succeed Mike Krzyzewski as coach, but the players could look similar to previous international competitions.

USA Basketball released its player pool for the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics, and it features plenty of familiar faces – just not Anthony:

This list includes nearly every very good American basketball player, but USA Basketball isn’t bound to follow it. These players are invited to a mini-camp this July, and that will give them a leg up. But if someone outside this 35-man list emerges as worthy of a World Cup or Olympic roster spot, he’ll get consideration.

The two notable snubs: LaMarcus Aldridge and Otto Porter.

Aldridge will be 36 by the 2019 World Cup and probably too far past his prim to deserve a roster spot. But Paul is even older and got invited. This could have something to do with Aldridge repeatedly withdrawing previously.

Porter is just 24, and his 3-and-D game could mesh extremely well with a team of stars. Apparently, he remains underrated.

Kris Dunn locks down point guards, but what about Bulls’ starting job?

Abbie Parr/Getty Images
3 Comments

DETROIT – For the first time in his life, Kris Dunn lost his confidence.

Dunn expected to hit the ground running in the NBA. The Timberwolves drafted him No. 5 in 2016. After four years at Providence, he looked like one of the most polished rookies in his class.

But Dunn struggled last season. He didn’t play as much as he wanted. When he did, he wasn’t always at his natural position of point guard, spending time at shooting guard and even small forward. He was tentative and, despite being more selective in shooting, inefficient. His combination of usage percentage (14.2) and true shooting percentage (43.2) was ghastly and rare.

“My whole life, that’s all I did, attack and be aggressive,” Dunn said. “I play off of instincts, and last year, I really couldn’t do that.

“That’s the first time. I always play with that swagger, always play with confidence. Everywhere else I’ve been, because I go hard and I work hard, people liked it.”

The Bulls still did. They acquired Dunn in the Jimmy Butler trade, a deal Dunn called a “restart” for him. Dunn, whom Chicago shut down late, improved across the board this season.

In the last two years, Derrick Rose, Jerian Grant, Rajon Rondo, Michael Carter-Williams, Cameron Payne and now Dunn have been the Bulls’ point guard du jour. Can Dunn seize the starting role long-term?

“If I keep working hard and keep improving, I definitely think I can be that player,” Dunn said. “It’s not going to be easy. Just got to keep improving.”

The 24-year-old Dunn is still a low-end starting point guard – better than some even younger than him and stop-gaps, but few others. But his age and attitude give him a chance to stick.

His approach starts defensively. Dunn is tied for fourth in the NBA with 2.0 steals per game:

image

Dunn gets those steals without gambling too often or losing track of his man. They’re a product of dogged defense and a 6-foot-9 wingspan on his 6-foot-4 frame.

Even in Minnesota, after a rough start on both ends and continued offensive struggles, Dunn settled in as a solid defender.

“Defense, you can control,” Dunn said. “It’s just about energy and effort. That ain’t never going to leave me. No matter what happened in Minnesota, I know I was always going to go out there and bring that. That’s one thing I was proud about.”

Dunn should also be proud of his strides as a scorer. His shooting has improved in all three phases:

  • 2-pointers: 40% to 46%
  • 3-pointers: 29% to 32%
  • Free throws: 61% to 73%

Yet, those marks all still fall below league average – 51% on 2-pointers, 36% on 3-pointers, 77% on free throws – let alone good rates for a starting point guard.

Chicago scored a dreadful 101.0 points per 100 possessions with Dunn on the floor. It’s hard on everyone when the lead ball-handler is such a limited scoring threat.

But he can continue to improve. The Bulls are only one season into rebuilding, and though they can always get impatient, there probably won’t be a worthwhile quick fix available. Dunn should get opportunities to grow.

He rediscovered his confidence this season and found a coach in Fred Hoiberg who believes in him.

“I love everything about Kris,” Hoiberg said. “And, again, I hope we’re around for a long time together.”

Jabari Parker misses dunk, makes shot on single attempt (video)

3 Comments

Jabari Parker faces an uncertain present and future with the Bucks as he heads toward the playoffs and restricted free agency.

But, sometimes, things just have a way of working out.

(That wasn’t the case last night for Milwaukee, which lost to the Nets, 119-111.)