Kurt Helin

Dave Joerger

Rumor: Slow start may have Grizzlies’ coach Dave Joerger on hot seat

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Dave Joerger can coach. In his two seasons since taking over for Lionel Hollins, his Memphis Grizzlies have won 50 and 55 games, and last season reached the second round of the playoffs (and were up 2-1 on the eventual champion Warriors before falling). That’s impressive by any reasonable standard.

So he may be on the hot seat after six games. Welcome to life as an NBA coach.

The Grizzlies are 3-3 this young season and while their three losses are to quality teams (Golden State, Cleveland, and Portland) the fact that Memphis was blown out in a couple of those and struggled on national television Thursday had the NBA rumor mill churning. According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Joerger’s seat may be getting warm:

A mere 11 days into the season, I fear we’re forced to keep our eye on the Memphis Grizzlies and the status of coach Dave Joerger….

Yet it’s the manner of the three defeats, sources say, that has led to fears within the organization that owner Robert Pera won’t wait long to make a drastic change. The Grizzlies lost their home opener to the Cavs by 30, got blitzed soon thereafter by Cleveland’s conquerors in the NBA Finals by an unfathomable 50, then fell behind by 26 points in the Pacific Northwest before settling for a 19-point defeat to the Blazers.

To put it another way: Memphis has already trailed by 20 points or more for 62 minutes this season … compared to 88 minutes for the whole of 2014-15.

Joerger has said his team looks old, which they have. And they are. Point guard Mike Conley (who is a free agent next summer) said the team is not on the same page defensively. That’s not the kind of thing you want to hear, especially this early in the season.

While the rest of the NBA is going small, playing fast, and spacing the floor with shooting, the Grizzlies have gone against the grain and stayed big. They havejust-resigned Marc Gasol and  Zach Randolph inside, they want to play slow, defend, and grind teams down. That has worked the past couple seasons, and there is no reason it couldn’t continue to work — but the Grizzlies have to execute that at a high level.

Gasol is shooting 41.2 percent this season, down from 49.4 percent last season. As a team Memphis is shooting 26.9 percent from three this season, down from 33 percent last season (and that was already a weakness). Defensively they are giving up almost eight more points per 100 possessions. They look old. They look like the game has passed them by a little

That said, with the roster handed him it’s not like Joerger can change styles — they have quality big men and a lack of shooting. It’s predictable, but you can’t shove square pegs into round holes.

The Grizzlies are playing poorly right now, however, how much of that is on Joerger is up for debate. Not that it matters — if an owner is impatient it is usually the coach who gets the walking papers. And that buzz has already started that this coach is in trouble.

Wizards’ Kelly Oubre fined $15,000 for obscene gesture

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Wizards rookie Kelly Oubre has barely touched the court for Washington (he’s played one minute this season), but he has now learned his first valuable lesson as a rookie:

The cameras catch everything.

When Bradley Beal hit a game-winner to beat the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night, from the bench Oubre did his best Michael Jackson impression grabbing his crotch and thrusting it, reports J. Michael of CSNWashington.com (the video of the shot above does not capture that moment).

For that, the NBA announced has fined Oubre $15,000.

Oubre has a lot of other lessons to learn before he gets more court time; this is a raw rookie on a relatively veteran team.

 

PBT Extra: Is Derrick Rose back?

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Nuance.

It’s a concept rarely applied to discussions of Derrick Rose. But it needs to be. After three sub-par games and reports that the this was the beginning of the end for Rose’s time with the Bulls, he bounced back Thursday night with 29 points as the Bulls beat the Thunder.

So the question for this PBT Extra: He’s answered his critics and is back, right? It’s not that simple. Rose is never going to be the old, explosive MVP Rose again (his change of direction at speed is not there anymore, which impacts his finishing inside). And this is becoming Jimmy Butler‘s team. But the Rose who was getting inside, creating offense, and knocking down midrange jumpers against the Thunder Thursday night can do a lot of damage and be part of a very good Bulls team.

As for Rose and Butler, they are going to be together for a little while yet, and more wins like Thursday will cure a lot of ills.

Dallas’ Deron Williams battling multiple nagging injuries. Shocking.

Deron Williams
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It seems like Deron Williams has been battling injuries since he was traded from Utah. Frankly, even before that, but things caught up with him a little in Brooklyn, particularly with his ankles.

Dallas was going to be a fresh start, and Williams is playing pretty well — 12.8 points per game with a true shooting percentage of 53 percent, plus he’s dishing out six assists per game — but the nagging injuries still follow.

Williams is battling through both calves being strained, plus a sprained left knee. Here is what he told Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“That’s kind of how it’s been for me the last four years, so at least I’m used to it,” Williams said of battling health issues. “I’m just trying to get through it. I know at least this time, it’s nothing serious. It’s just getting my legs under me and getting my wind.”

Dallas is off to a 2-3 start on the season with a bottom 10 offense holding them back. Certainly part of that is injuries to Chandler Parsons (on a strict minutes limit) and Wesley Matthews, but part of it is an aging Dirk Nowitzki as well. Williams will only be able to contribute so much, particularly when you consider his injuries.

Rick Carlisle has said he wants to keep D-Will’s minutes under control (meaning under 30), but unless you trust Raymond Felton and Devin Harris, he’s limited in how long the starter can sit.

Bricking Kobe Bryant gets NBA Jam parody treatment (VIDEO)

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Ouch.

Kobe Bryant is struggling this season — and he’ll be the first to admit it. He is shooting 32.6 percent overall and 20 percent from three. That has led to plenty of schadenfreude around the league by players and teams that Kobe beat down over the years. Fair or not, the man will get kicked while he’s down.

Along those lines, there is this NBA Jam parody video of Kobe missing shots. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on Kobe — he’s one of the all-time greats, hopefully he finds a better groove this season — but this was just funny.

Hat tip Eye on Basketball.