Kurt Helin

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

Report: Pelicans have second interview with Alvin Gentry

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Tom Thibodeau is available. Jeff Van Gundy wants the job.

But Alvin Gentry is the guy that New Orleans GM Dell Demps has had his eye on. The former NBA head coach and current lead assistant of the Golden State Warriors just got his second interview with the Pelicans (this time with VP Micky Loomis in the room), reports John Reid of the Times-Picayune.

But unlike nine days ago when he was interviewed for the first time in San Francisco, Gentry’s second interview occurred in New Orleans, sources say.

Gentry is the first known candidate to be extended a second interview by the Pelicans. But sources confirm that Jeff Van Gundy is still in the mix, along with Tom Thibodeau and Vinny Del Negro.

Nothing is going to happen imminently here; Gentry is helping the Warriors gameplan for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals right now. Having more than a week off before the start of the Finals allowed Gentry time to get to New Orleans for the interview, but he’ll be busy for the next couple of weeks.

Gentry would be different in style than the recently-fired Monty Williams (and sort of the polar opposite of Thibodeau) — he’s a player’s coach whose specialty is on the offensive end of the court. Gentry is the best offensive mind available on the open coaching market, having helped Steve Kerr put the powerhouse Warriors offense together this season. The season before that he was the right hand to Doc Rivers in Los Angeles and handled that offense, where he led Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to being the most inefficient offense in the NBA. Gentry runs a modern NBA offense with ball-screens, motion, up-tempo play and plenty of three-point shooting to space the floor.

Imagine what he could do to better utilize Anthony Davis (especially with a healthy Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson). That said, the Pelicans had a top 10 offense last season, the problem was their bottom 10 defense. It would be interesting to see if Gentry would bring in a defensive specialist as his lead assistant.

Gentry has more than 700 games as an NBA head coach and a .475 win percentage in them.

 

PBT Extra: Houston Rockets face interesting off-season

Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets - Game One
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While some would make the argument the Houston Rockets overachieved this season, I don’t see it that way. This is one of the five or six best teams in the NBA — even if you think the Clippers and Spurs were better squads — and they showed some real resilience in the playoffs. James Harden was a stud (despite the last game).

But it’s not going to be easy for them to replicate that success next season, which is what Jenna Corrado and I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

There are questions about the future of Josh Smith, Patrick Beverley and others with the team. Plus you know Daryl Morey is going big game hunting this summer. He always does.

LeBron James on how to slow Stephen Curry: “The same way you slow me down … You can’t.”

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 12:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors goes in for a layup over LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat at ORACLE Arena on February 12, 2014 in Oakland, California. 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 Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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LeBron James vs. Stephen Curry.

The two most popular players in the NBA this season (with Kevin Durant out) go head-to-head on the NBA’s biggest stage. These are two guys who will get their points, and LeBron James attests to that in a quote given Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

The truth is more complex.

I’m not sure we’ll see a 40 point game from either this series — both teams have the defensive players and systems that can make things difficult for those stars. Draymond Green will draw LeBron, Iman Shumpert and Kyrie Irving will draw Curry. Make no mistake, LeBron and Curry will get their points, but don’t expect LeBron to go off for 42 like he did in the last meeting.

But if you commit resources to stopping the stars, other opportunities will open up. The Warriors depth and flexibility puts them in a better position to take advantage. That’s why they are the favorite.

PBT Extra with NBASavant.com: Cleveland may want to cover Curry in the left corner

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five
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Mike Conley did as good a job sticking with Stephen Curry as a coach could hope when the Memphis Grizzlies took on Golden State. The Houston Rockets’ defenders… not so much.

Curry got open looks — he was 7-of-7 against the Rockets from the left corner. But even when they covered him it didn’t help.

PBT has partnered with the fantastic NBASavant.com to break down the Sports VU Camera data and look more closely at the advanced stats of the NBA playoffs and what decided a series.

Cleveland’s defense has looked better in the playoffs than it has all season, but starting next Thursday it will get the biggest test it has had all season.

It’s official: Scott Skiles hired as head coach of Orlando Magic

150523_skiles
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We told you it was coming, now it is official:

Scott Skiles is the next head coach of the Orlando Magic.

“Scott (Skiles) clearly distinguished himself as a tremendous fit,” Magic GM Rob Hennigan said in a released statement. “Our young roster will benefit greatly from Scott’s extensive head coaching experience and commitment to teaching smart, physical, unselfish basketball. We believe in Scott’s ability to establish a culture of winning habits and accountability that will help guide our team in a positive direction.”

“As we began our search, our internal discussions centered on finding a head coach with a solid resume of NBA head coaching experience, great leadership qualities, a motivating communication style, and someone with a strong strategic acumen,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “We feel Scott (Skiles) brings a balanced approach in all those qualities and we look forward, with great confidence, to him leading our young men in helping us reach our collective goal of sustainable success.”

Skiles, a former Magic player from 1989 through 1994, who had a 30-assist game with the team, has spent all or part of 13 seasons as a head coach, compiling a record of443-433 (.506) with Phoenix, Chicago, and Milwaukee.

Skiles the coach is a hard-driving, defense first coach who will improve the Magic on that end of the floor. Maybe enough to have them in the playoff mix in the Eastern Conference.

However, this is a young team — Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic, plus this this year’s No. 5 pick — and Skiles is not known as a player development guy. Nor a guy with creative lineups.

But he’s getting the chance in Orlando.