Author: Kurt Helin


Legendary Harlem Globetrotter dribbler, Hall of Famer Marques Haynes passes away at 89


There was a time in the 1940s and ’50s when the Harlem Globetrotters were the biggest attraction in basketball — and maybe the best team. The all-black Globetrotters beat the all-white Lakers lead by George Mikan in both 1948 and 1949.

One of the big stars of those Globetrotters? Marques Haynes and his dribbling exploits. Here’s why:

Haynes passed away due to natural causes Saturday morning at his home in Plano, Texas, the team announced. He was 89.

“The game of basketball has lost one of its most iconic figures,” Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider said in a released statement. “Marques was a pioneer, helping pave the way for people of all races to have opportunities to play basketball and for the sport to explode on a global scale. His unique and groundbreaking style of play set the tone for modern basketball as we know it; anyone involved with basketball worldwide is indebted to Marques. He was the consummate Globetrotter.”

The team will be dedicating its upcoming tour to Haynes.

Haynes was invited to join the Globetrotters after his ball handling and scoring led his Langston University squad to a win over the Globetrotters.

He spent parts of decades with the team (there were times he broke off over financial matters) where he was the ultimate showman and dribbler, certainly one of the greatest ball handlers of all time. That earned him the honor of being the first Globetrotter ever inducted into the Hall of Fame as such.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Hawks Kyle Korver out for remainder of playoffs with high ankle sprain

Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Two

The Hawks are down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals having dropped their first two games at home. DeMarre Carroll, the Hawks’ best perimeter defender, is hobbled by a sore knee and his backup Thabo Sefolosha is already out for the playoffs after his encounter with the NYPD.

Now this: All-Star sharpshooter Kyle Korver is out for the rest of the playoffs, the team announced Saturday.

Friday night Matthew Dellavedova rolled into Korver’s leg in the chase for a loose ball. Korver left the game not to return, but X-Rays postgame were negative. The Hawks press release takes it from there:

A follow-up MRI and examination this morning at the Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic confirmed a severe high right ankle sprain. Korver will see a foot and ankle specialist to determine the best course of treatment. He is out for the remainder of the postseason. 

Korver averaged 12.1 points a game shooting a ridiculous 49.2 percent from three. It was more than just his six three-point attempts a game that was key, his off-the-ball and weakside work created the space in the Atlanta offense that led the team to 60 wins.

It hasn’t been the same in the playoffs, Korver is shooting more threes (7.9 a game) but hitting 35.5 percent. The Hawks ball movement through the playoffs — and frankly the last month of the regular season — has not been the same. Playoff defenses take away the first and often second options, and it’s up to teams to move the ball and find other looks (think Spurs in the playoffs last year) or to have players who can just rise above that. LeBron James has done that for the Cavaliers. The Hawks have had neither.

That combined with this injury seems to suggest a short series and the Hawks golfing soon.


Report: Scott Skiles in lead to become next Orlando coach


This move would play well with the fan base. Whether it’s the best move for a developing team is another debate.

With Scott Brooks having pulled out of the Orlando coaching search, former Magic player Scott Skiles has solidified as the frontrunner to land the Magic coaching job, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Scott Skiles has emerged as the strong frontrunner to become head coach of the Orlando Magic, league sources told Yahoo Sports….

Skiles, 51, has been the preferred choice of Orlando ownership, which has been fond of him since his playing days with the Magic in the 1990s. Skiles fits the candidate profile that Hennigan privately outlined for the coaching search: a successful head-coaching résumé that includes strong emphasis on upgrading Orlando’s defense and accountability.

This process is not moving quickly, the sides have not yet discussed contract negotiations, but things are moving that way according to the report.

The Magic reportedly also have interest in Tom Thibodeau, who sources across the league expect to part ways with Chicago. However, that standoff is still going on — Chicago wants to find a trade for Thibodeau (and the $9 million left on his contract), he’s not exactly willing to help that process along. With New Orleans meeting with Alvin Gentry — and maybe Jeff Van Gundy — and now Orlando leaning toward Skiles, Chicago is running out of teams willing to talk deal (and Orlando never seriously wanted to talk trade —GM Rob Hennigan collects draft picks, not moves them). And you can forget the dream of a bidding war.

Skiles will sell well in Orlando — the scrappy point guard was a fan favorite who spent the peak of his playing career in a Magic uniform. He has plenty of head-coaching experience, with a career record of 443-433.

Skiles the coach is similar to Skiles the player — a hard-driving disciplinarian. He gets his teams to play solid defense, and Orlando was bottom 10 in that category last season (as was their offense… there’s a lot of work to do). He has turned around losing teams because of that defensive focus. The Magic have some quality pieces — Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Elfrid Payton, Tobias Harris — and if a coach can get them to defend they might be able to make the playoffs in the East.

Whether he is the best guy to develop that young talent is up for debate — that’s not his known skill set and his hard-driving style tends to burn players out. Plus in Milwaukee a few years back he did not have a good relationship with Magic restricted free agent Tobias Harris (who blossomed after being moved).

Still, the Maic would take some steps forward under Skiles watch.