Last season, the Brooklyn Nets were 24th in the NBA in pace (possessions per game) under old-school coach Lionel Hollins. Before than Hollins had been in Memphis and when he took them over for the 2009-10 season they were a top 10 team in pace, but by the time he was let go they were dead last in the league. He’s not seen as a running coach.
But the Nets are going to run this year if you ask Thaddeus Young.
Young was on SiriusXM NBA Radio and talked about the Nets playing faster this season under Hollins.
Look at the Brooklyn Nets likely starting five — Jarrett Jack, Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young, Brook Lopez — and you see a group that can get out and run. Reserves such as Shane Larkin, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and even Andrea Bargnani (sprinting to the arc) would love to play more in transition. They are not going to be the Warriors, but the Nets don’t need to be slow.
But we’ll see what Hollins has in store for them. If he wants to pound it in to Lopez in the post or at the elbow, things will not be fast.
Kenneth Faried doesn’t want to hear it — no competitor does — but the reality is this is going to be a bit of a rebuilding campaign in Denver. They are not a playoff bound team, certainly not in the West; rather this is a year to fit in the pieces under new coach Mike Malone and build a foundation.
But when you have a rookie point guard there will be rough patches, and the Nuggets are going to have a rookie point guard — Emmanuel Mudiay.
Faried, for one, wants to see what the kid can bring. That’s what he told rappler.com while over in the Philippines.
“I have high expectations for him because he’s basically going to be our starting point guard and the Nuggets have high expectations,” said Faried, who signed a 4-year, $50 million rookie extension with Denver in October 2014.
“I just want to make sure he’s coached – that’s the only thing I want to make sure. I’m pretty sure he is and everybody says he is so I’m excited to see what happens.”
Mudiay impressed in Las Vegas at Summer League, in part because while all the other rookies were playing frenetic ball, looking like chickens with their heads cut off, Mudiay was patient and under control. He knew how to use his body to create space and draw contact, plus he showed fantastic court vision.
He also looked like a rookie at times and his shooting needs work. Which means it’s going to be a bumpy ride in Denver while he finds his footing in the NBA.
The Nuggets have veterans who can make Mudiay’s life easier — Faried, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler — but it’s going to take time. Particularly with a new coach and a new system. Nuggets fans, who have already seen some ugly basketball the past few years, are going to get more of it this season. But this time there is some real hope for what could be built.
Last season, Toure’ Murry got a 10-day contract with the Washington Wizards. Then he played on their team at Summer League. He’s seen as a guy with size (6’5″) and potential, but it has yet to really show itself and he’s been banged up when with the Wizards.
He’ll get another chance with a training camp, non-guaranteed deal with the Washington Wizards, reports J. Michael at CSNWashington.com.
When Murry did play, he scored six points and added one assist, one rebound and one steal in five games with the Wizards.
He’s joining a team that has all 15 spots filled for the 2015-16 season with guaranteed contracts, along with center Jaleel Roberts who also played for the Wizards in Las Vegas. There’s a strong likelihood that a roster spot will come available which makes the risk worth the reward.
I wouldn’t bet on him making the roster. The Wizards have John Wall, Ramon Sessions, and Garrett Temple with guaranteed deals at the point guard spot, then Bradley Beal and Gary Neal locked in at the two. Not a lot of minutes or space there unless they make a move.
It’s the cost of winning titles — the players on your team come up for free agency and want to get paid.
The Warriors locked up Klay Thompson last summer, Draymond Green this summer, and now they are focused on keeping next year’s free agents, too: Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli.
With the salary cap about to spike and at least two-thirds of the NBA expected to have room for at least one max deal, the Warriors could be better just locking guys up at a fair deal now. Warriors GM Bob Myers was on KNBR Radio in the Bay Area and talked extensions a little bit. From Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group:
In the case of Barnes, the question is can the two sides find a number that works for them? If Michael Kidd-Gilchrist just got four-years, $52 million Barnes will want at least that and probably more. The Warriors already have five players making eight digits in salary for the 2016-17 season (Thompson, Green, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry). They are going to be bumping up against the new cap already. If you’re Barnes, do you want to see what the market will bring you next summer than ask the Warriors to match it? That might be the better option for Barnes.
With Bogut nearing the end of his deal (two seasons left), Ezeli has the ability to show the Warriors he can step into that role (guys around the team are high on him) and get paid like it. Right now, the Warriors would love to lock him down at a discount, Ezeli may want to get through the season and let the market set his price.
It’s something to watch. All summer long guys have taken discounts for security, can the Warriors get Barnes and Ezeli to do the same?
The NBA family is still mourning the loss of “Chocolate Thunder” Darryl Dawkins, who passed away at the age of 58.
Charles Barkley, appearing on the Dan Patrick Show, talked about how he never found Dawkins in a bad mood — he was always “jovial.” Dawkins had become an ambassador of the game, someone beloved by all. And someone who will be missed.