Author: Kurt Helin

Spurs Hammon Basketball

PBT Extra: Spurs hire Becky Hammon for basketball reasons


What you have to love about the Spurs is they don’t waste words talking about “being proactive” or energy thinking about the PR implications or whatever other corporate buzz words you want to use, they just do what they think is best.

Hiring Becky Hammon as the first full-time, fully paid female assistant coach in NBA history was done for basketball reasons alone. And it seems a good move.

In the latest edition of PBT Extra we discuss the hiring of Hammon, why San Antonio is the perfect spot to start (veteran team, coach who will deflect some of the distractions) and how at the end of the day this is what progress looks like.

Jeremy Lin dunks on his mom (Instagram)

Jeremy Lin

In regular NBA games, Lakers’ guard Jeremy Lin does not get to dunk on people often.

But on his unsuspecting mother walking into her kitchen… he can sky on her and throw it down.

Part of Lin’s popularity is that he’s good at the social media game and he is putting together an Instagram contest of these kinds of unsuspecting dunks, so he put up a few of his own. I like it.

In fact, excuse me, I’m heading over to my parent’s place to dunk on my mom. I know she will not see it coming.

Scalabrine says Mark Jackson didn’t push Warriors’ players hard enough

Boston Celtics v Golden State Warriors

There are a number of reasons Mark Jackson is not now the coach of the Golden State Warriors. While some of that is on-the-court — management thought the Warriors offense was too vanilla — a lot of it was just a divide of organizational vs. locker room culture and how both Jackson and ownership dealt with that.

But there may have been another basketball issue — did Jackson push his players hard enough?

Former Warriors’ assistant coach Brian Scalabrine — who was demoted to the D-league in the middle of last season and has an ax to grind — said he didn’t think Jackson was demanding enough. Scalabrine, who is returning to the media side of the table in Boston for this season, spoke with the Bay Area News Group about Jackson’s coaching style.

“I think to win in this league you have to drive and push, and I feel like the players will respond to that,” Scalabrine said. “And I think that was the biggest thing about this disappointment in our staff as a staff, right? We could have done more, and we didn’t, and I think he kind of sensed that.

“At the end of the day, to say it was a difference of philosophy, a difference of opinion, I mean, that’s really what it was. And I’m so used to seeing like a Doc Rivers and a Tom Thibodeau (his former coaches), and it kind of threw me for like kind of a loop and a surprise that it was not as hard-pressing as I thought it was going to be.”

Thibodeau is an old-school, grinder coach who works his guys hard, plays them hard and demands accountability each time out. Rivers is different in style, there is no coach in the league who cancels in-season practice more than Rivers (it’s not close), but he does demand a high-level of performance from a veteran team. Rivers has the advantage of having Chris Paul (and Blake Griffin and others) in his locker room to demand that accountability from teammates.

But all great coaches demand a lot of their players. Doesn’t matter the level or the sport, the best coaches set the bar high and challenge/motivate/teach players to reach it. One of Phil Jackson’s great gifts was that he convinced players that where the bar was set or what role they needed to play to get there was their own idea, not his (we all buy into our own ideas faster than those imposed on us).

Jackson certainly worked hard as a player and led teammates to get to that level, but doing it as a coach is a different dynamic.

That said, the players on that team LOVED Jackson and didn’t like how his exit went down (notice there were no “looking forward to working with Steve Kerr” tweets when he was hired). They played hard for him, if not always smart.

Whether Kerr can get that same level of commitment and whether he can push those players harder remains to be seen. But he needs to if he wants to best his predecessor.

Report: Knicks agree to trade Wayne Ellington, Jeremy Tyler to Kings for Travis Outlaw, Quincy Acy

New Orleans Pelicans v Sacramento Kings

The Knicks have been looking to unload Wayne Ellington for a little while, they have finally found a partner across the country.

And the Knicks got one of the NBA’s best beards in the process.

New York has agreed to send Wayne Ellington, Jeremy Tyler and they will take the restrictions off a second round pick already sent to Sacramento for Travis Outlaw and Quincy Acy, a story broken by Sam Amick of the USA Today.

The Kings are expected to waive Tyler and could use the stretch provision on Ellington, who is owed $2.77 million next season, to improve their salary cap situation. But that final decision has not been made.

First, this trade can’t be made until Aug. 25 because Ellington can’t be packaged in a deal until then.

Second, this could be the first of a couple deals for both sides. It feels like a lateral trade that is more about setting up the next deal.

Third, good on the Knicks for unloading Ellington without having to put Pablo Prigioni in as a sweetener, as had been rumored. They can use Pablo. That said, Prigioni is not yet safe according to Frank Isola of the Daily News.

That said. Acy’s beard may be the best part of this deal for the Knicks. To be fair, Outlaw gives the Knicks get a little depth behind Carmelo Anthony at the three if they don’t want to just rely on rookie Cleanthony Early, but it’s not a huge upgrade. Financially it’s a bit of a wash, save that if New York likes Acy he’s a restricted free agent next year. Acy is a more efficient scorer than Tyler (career .560 true shooting percentage for Acy compared to .471 for Tyler) but they are pretty much the same value on the court. I will say this, Acy plays hard every time out. In the other half of that deal, Ellington has played better in recent years than the seemingly declining Outlaw.

Knicks fans will love Acy. So there’s that. Aside that this is a pretty lateral move unless it is a precursor to another deal.

For the Kings, this seems to be about saving some money.

Hall of Famer Mitch Richmond’s Top 10 plays of his career

Portland Trail Blazers v Sacramento Kings

This weekend, Mitch Richmond deservedly gets inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Richmond was a player ahead of his time, a guy whose game would fit in beautifully in today’s NBA. He was a great shooter  in an era when the three ball was not as prevalent, but if you closed out wrong he could put it on the floor and get to the rim then finish with authority. There’s a reason he averaged 21 points a game or more for 10 consecutive seasons. He may be best remembered as part of the Warriors’ “Run TMC” years with Chris Mullin (already in the Hall of Fame) and Hardaway (who should be).

Richmond went on to be a six-time NBA All-Star, won an NBA title (2002 Lakers) and an Olympic Gold Medal (1996).

Enjoy the best of his career highlight plays.