Kurt Helin

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Mavs’ Rick Carlisle compares Stephen Curry to Steve Jobs

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As I sit here writing out this post on my Macbook, I don’t think I need to describe how Steve Jobs helped shape the world we live in. Even if you’re on a Samsung phone and a Toshiba laptop, Jobs’ vision changed your online experience.

In the world of the NBA, Stephen Curry is reshaping things. The astute Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle drew the comparison to the Apple founder, via Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (hat tip to Hoopshype).

“You’ve just got to try to make it hard on him. But you’re talking a guy that it’s a little bit like what Steve Jobs has done to our every day life. He’s changed the way we live. He and Bill Gates have done that, Steph Curry is changing the way the game will be played in the future.”

And here I thought Mark Jackson said he was bad for the game.

I’ve started comparing Curry to Joe Montana in this sense: Montana was a great quarterback with unique gifts, but he was the perfect QB for Bill Walsh and his offense. He had the perfect players around him to make it all work. The right guy in the right place at the right time. Curry would be fantastic anywhere, but Steve Kerr — not Mark Jackson, Kerr — put him and the other Warriors in the perfect offense to take advantage of those skills.

And that is changing the game. Not every team can mimic what the Warriors are doing with small ball, and not every team should try. But a decade from now every team will use some of the philosophy and sets we’ve seen with the Warriors, and there will be great young players bringing some of what Curry showed them to the table.

Report: Knicks among teams interested in free agent Tony Wroten

Cleveland Cavaliers v Philadelphia 76ers
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The Philadelphia 76ers waived Tony Wroten and made him a free agent so that they could sign Ish Smith (I don’t care if it’s Mike D’Antoni’s idea, it was a good one, he’s an upgrade for them).

Wroten is an athletic player who has worked hard on his game and improved, but remains a guy who struggles to knock down his shot — he is shooting 33.8 percent this season.

That doesn’t mean teams are not interested — including the Knicks. From Ian Begley of ESPN.

The Knicks are among several teams who’ve looked into the possibility of signing free agent guard Tony Wroten, league sources familiar with the team’s thinking say. The Knicks’ level of interest in Wroten, who was released by Philadelphia earlier this month, is unclear at this point. But sources say that the club has expressed interest in obtaining a guard via trade or free-agent signing in recent days. They have also been monitoring D League players as potential additions, sources say.

The Knicks have a roster spot open — just 14 players are under contract, so they don’t need to make a move to bring in Wroten or anyone else.

The Knicks start Jose Calderon at the one and bring promising rookie Jerian Grant off the bench, but they could use more steady play at the one.

We’ll see if Wroten is the guy to do that; they may be better off with someone out of the D-League that could grow with them. But expect someone to snatch up Wroten soon.

Karl-Anthony Towns defends play while holding Andrew Wiggins’ shoe

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Karl-Anthony Towns is proving to be a versatile defender. He can protect the rim, show out on pick-and-rolls, and shows a high IQ defensively for a rookie.

And he can defend while holding a shoe.

Not sure how valuable that last skill is, but when Andrew Wiggins stepped out of his shoe during a defensive possession Monday against the Spurs, Towns picked up the shoe and held on to it (rather than toss it out-of-bounds). While carrying the shoe Towns still cut off a Tony Parker drive to the basket, then chased Parker out to the corner so there was no three (Parker passed inside to LaMarcus Aldridge, but he missed the shot).

Towns looked like his leading-candidate-for-Rookie-of-the-Year self on Monday with 10 points and 12 rebounds against San Antonio. Plus he was the best defender holding a shoe in his hands on the court.

 

Report: Markieff Morris must apologize to team to return to practice

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 11:  Markieff Morris #11 and head coach Jeff Hornacek of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the Miami Heat at US Airways Center on February 11, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Heat defeated the Suns 103-97.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Markieff Morris‘ two-game suspension for arguing with coach Jeff Hornacek and throwing a towel at him ended when the final buzzer went off Monday night in the Suns loss to the Cavaliers.

Morris will be at the Suns’ practice Tuesday — but before he can set foot on the court he has to apologize to the team and coaches publicly, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports. And some in Morris’ camp are not thrilled about that.

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough has asked Morris to briefly meet with him, Hornacek and team president Lon Babby prior to Tuesday’s practice, the source said. Morris has been told he will be asked to apologize to his Suns coaches and teammates, make a renewed commitment to the team for games, practices, weight-training sessions and treatment sessions and attend all NBA and Suns community appearances, the source said.

Morris is expected to attend the meeting on Tuesday and do what is needed to return to practice afterward, the source said. Still, some within Morris’ camp are confused by the team’s requests because Morris already apologized to Hornacek and his teammates on Twitter and sent a separate apologetic text to Hornacek. Morris also has spoken with his teammates regularly during the suspension that cost him $145,455, the source said.

Morris has tweeted out an apology.

That and texts, however, are not the same as a face-to-face apology.

While he has said otherwise, Morris has not seemed engaged this season, still harboring resentment over his brother Marcus Morris being traded away last summer (part of the Suns’ efforts to chase LaMarcus Aldridge). Markieff is averaging 10.7 points a game on 37.9 percent shooting, with a PER of 9.2 — some of the worst numbers of his career. The Suns’ forced apology seems to be an effort to get Morris to acknowledge he is not all in with the team right now and an effort to get him on board.

Morris was seen as a cornerstone part of what the Suns were building, but everything the Suns thought they were doing right has backfired. The Eric Bledsoe/Brandon Knight backcourt has struggled together (and now Bledsoe is out six weeks with a torn meniscus). The big off-season acquisition of Tyson Chandler has been a bust due to injury and age (he’s coming off the bench now and Alex Len starts).

And Morris has been terrible. There has been talk of trading Morris but his stock around the league has fallen so far — both because of his play and concerns about his attitude — that the Suns would have to throw in a sweetener to get him off the roster.

All those front office miscalculations have Jeff Hornacek in trouble as the coach. Welcome to the NBA. Throw in an impatient owner in Robert Sarver and more shakeups seem inevitable.

Five Takeaways from NBA Monday: Mount Stephen Curry erupts in win

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry celebrates a score against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Here’s what you need to know from a Monday night around the NBA:

1) Stephen Curry broke out of his slump with a volcanic eruption. Curry had been in a slump for more than a week. In his prior five games coming into Monday night, he was shooting 28.1 percent from three (9-of-32). In the first quarter against the Kings Monday night it continued, he was 0-of-4 from the floor overall and 0-of-3 from beyond the arc.

Then it happened. Mount Curry erupted in the second quarter — 17 points in a just over three-minute span at the end of the first half.

So much for that slump. And so much for the Kings, despite Omri Casspi having nine threes of his own on the night. Curry finished with a triple double — 23 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists — while Klay Thompson added 29 points and Draymond Green 25 and the Warriors won again 122-103. That would make them 29-1 on the season, for those of you scoring at home. If they want 72 wins it seems a more and more reasonable goal every day.

2) DeMarcus Cousins gets ejected after arguing foul call. He should get his checkbook out now. The Kings fell victim to one of the classic blunders — the most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” — but only slightly less well-known is this: Never get into a shootout with the Golden State Warriors. George Karl wants the Kings to play fast, but once Curry got going (see above) things spiraled downward fast for Sacramento in the third.

Especially once DeMarcus Cousins got ejected for arguing a call.

This was a classic example of a Cousins’ ejection. That questionable call — Cousins does touch Curry but it seemed Ben McLemore commits the foul — was Cousins’ fifth foul of the night. He was frustrated. And when Cousins feels wronged he simply is incapable of letting it go, he needs to feel vindicated (and doesn’t channel that anger into his play). He lets his emotions get the better of him. And he does it without regard to his team — notice in that video the Kings were up two when Cousins got tossed. The Warriors went on a 15-0 run after Cousins was sent to the shower and that was the ballgame.

Cousins can expect a fine for this from the league.

Kings’ fans, if you want more in-depth breakdowns of what is going on in Sacramento I had CSNBayArea.com Kings’ insider James Ham on the PBT Podcast this week and we spent more than an hour talking all things Sacramento.

3) Kemba Walker shreds Lakers “defense” for 38 points. On the list of “most entertaining players in the NBA to watch” Kemba Walker doesn’t get mentioned enough. The man puts up points and puts on a show. Put him against the Lakers “defense” and you end up with him dropping 38 in a win.

4) Chris Paul for the Dunk Contest. The story for the Clippers Monday night should be that Paul Pierce moved into the starting lineup for the injured Blake Griffin and that lineup was +9 on the night and showed promise on both ends of the floor. Or, the story should be that the Clippers actually got good bench play for a night and that is why they beat the Wizards 108-91.

Instead, the story is that Chris Paul threw down his first two dunks of the season. The first came off some cherry picking, and he let the bench know he could do it.

With that Paul was feeling it, so he went for the dunk on a drive and got the And-1.

5) Bulls beat Raptors as parity reigns in the East. The Atlanta hawks had been hot, winners of six in a row, so they got upended by the Pacers Monday. Any team that starts to look like it could break out of the pack in the second tier of the East (it’s Cleveland then everyone else) gets knocked down a peg. Take the Raptors, who finally got healthy with DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunis back in the lineup, so… they get beat by the Bulls Monday, 104-97. The Bulls may have found a bench bigs pairing that works with Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis, and Chicago got a strong game from Tony Snell off the bench with 22. Pau Gasol also had 22. I’d say keep an eye on the Bulls to try to break out of the pack in the East, but the trend is they will come crashing back to earth soon. Everyone does.