Author: Dan Feldman

Terry Stotts

Terry Stotts, Doc Rivers yell at each other during game


Clippers coach Doc Rivers has played a central role in several feuds lately – with Draymond Green and Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr.

Lest you think it’s all Warriors on the other side, Rivers got into it with Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts last night.

Jason Quick of CSN Northwest:

The Blazers’ coach neared halfcourt and got into a shouting match on the sideline with Clippers coach Doc Rivers late in the fourth quarter, eventually dismissing his counterpart with a wave of the hand and a disgusted stomp back to his bench.

The disagreement stemmed from the Clippers’ enthusiasm during a comeback from a 35-point first-half deficit. As they continued to trim the lead, more and more Clippers players began standing on the sideline. At one point, DeAndre Jordan stood in front of the bench with a towel around his neck, and craned his mouth into the ear of Blazers guard CJ McCollum.

On that possession, McCollum nailed a three-pointer with 2:38 left to bring Portland within 107-105, which was accentuated by a long glance toward Jordan. After a timeout was called with 1:59, Jordan and McCollum got face-to-face and exchanged words.

Stotts, apparently, didn’t like how close the Clippers’ bench players were getting to his players who were in the game. According to Rivers, Stotts had words to some of the Clippers players.

He are both coaches addressing the incident:

I HATE players or coaches crowding the sideline. Beyond the safety concern,* it’s just not what basketball should be. It’s a five-on-five game. Players shouldn’t have to navigate outstretched arms and feet. The full court should be available without interference.

So, I’m 100% behind Stotts on substance.

But Rivers has a point about decorum, though his concern about a coach talking to opposing players is overstated. If Stotts wanted the Clippers to back up, the refs were most likely to make that happen.

Of course, that might not have been Stotts’ primary motivation. He might have just been trying to rally the support of his players – a tactic Rivers knows well.

*How many complain about cameras behind the baseline when giving players no escape room on the sideline? I understand the baseline is a more dangerous area, but both places can see injury.

This is why I had no problem with Jason Kidd did to Mike Woodson:

Pistons on track to start Marcus Morris over Stanley Johnson


The Pistons have basically been locked into three starters:

Small forward Marcus Morris and power forward Ersan Ilyasova were penciled in, but No. 8 pick Stanley Johnson had a chance to push either forward – more likely Morris – to the bench.

It appears Detroit will stick with Jackson/Caldwell-Pope/Morris/Ilyasova/Drummond.

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, via Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

“I just think that’s our best lineup right now,” Van Gundy said. “It gives a little bit more size, a little more experience. That’s where my comfort level is right now, but we’ll see how it goes early in the year, or even these (last) two preseason games.”

I doubt anything beyond injury would change Van Gundy’s mind before the regular season, but it’s only a matter of time until Johnson starts.

The Pistons traded for Morris as a placeholder in the starting lineup. Johnson is the long-term bet, and a strong preseason had him pushing to start sooner than most expected.

Morris, a four-year pro, is just more ready to contribute than the 19-year-old Johnson. As Johnson gains experience, his talent should overcome the gap between him and Morris.

Morris’ versatility could keep him in the starting lineup at that point, tough. Capable of playing either forward position (and Johnson might be too), Morris could outlast Ilyasova, whose contract is barely guaranteed beyond this season.

But, sooner or later, someone will have to make room for Johnson.

Jazz try hard to downplay optimism

Derrick Favors, Quin Snyder, Rudy Gobert, Gordon Hayward
1 Comment

The Jazz went 19-10 after the All-Star break last season. They allowed – by far – a league-low 94.8 points per 100 possessions in that span. They were historically young.

Rudy Gobert looks like a future star. Gordon Hayward is more confident. Derrick Favors has rounded into an impressive player. Alec Burks, Rodney Hood and Trey Burke all have potential to reach the next level.

Many are optimistic about Utah this season, myself included.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder wants to hear none of it.

Jody Genessy of the Deseret News:

Hayward has bought into the message.

Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune:

Consider my optimism only increasing. If the Jazz remain hungry to improve, that only serves them well.

Snyder is right that it’s too soon for Utah to rest on its laurels. This group hasn’t even made the playoffs, though I suspect that will change this season.

But Snyder is underselling what this team has accomplished. The Jazz are good and should be even better this season – especially if they follow his lead on this.

Bulls waive Jordan Crawford

Jordan Crawford, Jodie Meeks
1 Comment

The Bulls are shaking things up this season.

Just not to Jordan Crawford levels.

Bulls release:

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived guards Jordan Crawford and Marcus Simmons.

Crawford was the most accomplished of the four Bulls without fully guaranteed salaries – Crawford, Simmons Cameron Bairstow and Cristiano Felicio – vying for roster spots behind 13 players with guaranteed salaries. But that has also cemented Crawford’s reputation.

Crawford is an exciting, though inefficient, gunner. It would’ve been fun to see him on the court this season. Chicago is probably better off without him, especially if Fred Hoiberg can create more organic scoring opportunities based on ball and player movement.

This leaves the Bulls with the regular-season limit of 15 players, including Bairstow and Felicio. I think Bairstow, whose salary is $425,000 guaranteed, sticks. Felicio is a tougher call – especially because Chicago is in line to pay the luxury tax.

Russell Westbrook says he has never shaved

Russell Westbrook

In their annual survey, NBA general managers just picked Russell Westbrook as the league’s best athlete.

He’s fast. He’s strong. He’s explosive.

He’s on another level physically, except…

Westbrook, via Maxim:

“I have never shaved a day in my life. I just don’t really grow facial hair.”

Imagine how good he’ll be once he hits puberty.