A season full of turnover continues for the Kings. A few weeks ago, they parted ways with analytics director Dean Oliver. It was just the latest move in a controversial offseason that has seen Vlade Divac take over control of basketball operations, lots of roster turnover (including signing Rajon Rondo), a bizarre salary-dumping trade with the Sixers that also saw them give up several picks, and never-ending rumors of a rift between George Karl and DeMarcus Cousins. Whether fair or not, letting go of Oliver (one of the godfathers of basketball analytics) seemed to be the marker of a dysfunctional franchise. But ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that they have a replacement now, and it’s a very solid choice: Mavericks vice president of basketball operations Roland Beech.
ESPN sources say that the Sacramento Kings have struck a deal to hire Roland Beech to head up their new analytics department
Before working for the Mavs, Beech was the founder of the highly influential site 82games.com, which was a pioneer in tracking five-man lineups and shot-clock usage data, among other things. He’s a veteran in the basketball analytics game who is very well-regarded around the league. This is an excellent hire for the Kings.
Caron Butler has been very open about his upbringing — in high school in Racine, Wisconsin, he was a drug dealer. He spent time in jail as a teenager and was caught in the middle of all kinds of violence. He ultimately carved out a long, successful NBA career (he’s now with the Kings) and became known for his charitable work. He’s still a staple in the community in his hometown, although now he’s seen as a success story that kids can look up to, not as a casualty of gang culture.
Two-time All-Star and thirteen-year NBA veteran Caron Butler has an impressive basketball record. He was Big East Co-Player of the Year at UConn, the 10th overall pick of the 2002 NBA Draft and a key player for the Dallas Mavericks in their championship-winning season in 2011.
But before Butler had a chance to prove himself on the court, he spent his time trying to prove himself on the streets, as a gang member and drug dealer in his hometown of Racine, Wisconsin. He saw friends gunned down in the bloody street wars near his home, was arrested nearly 15 times and wound up behind bars and in solitary confinement before his 15th birthday.
Tuff Juice shares Caron Butler’s extraordinary journey from his delinquent youth in the streets of Racine to his role as an accomplished pro basketball player, dedicated husband and father, active philanthropist and burgeoning businessman. Along the way, the book explores the incredible impact his single mother’s unconditional love and his college coach’s unwavering support had on him, and what drives him to be so successful in basketball and in life.
Like The Blind Side, it’s a gripping narrative filled with hubris, dangerous obstacles and heartwarming moments that transcend sports and speak to perseverance, hope and the triumph of the human spirit.
If it’s anything like his video series with VICE Sports last fall, it’s going to be worth checking out. If you’re unfamiliar with Butler’s story, it’s well worth watching:
Austin Rivers tweets he’s ‘straight up better than a lot of those dudes playing’ in Team USA scrimmage
Rivers certainly doesn’t lack confidence – which is his biggest problem as a player. He too often takes bad shots or dribbles into trouble, because he believes he’s good enough to handle it.
This tweet gives little hope he better grasps his limitations.
To be fair, Rivers has improved each of his three NBA seasons. How dreadful he was as a rookie certainly plays a part, but Rivers has made nice progress. Most Improved Player is a good goal for him.
The rest is nonsense.
Maybe – maybe – Rivers is better than Watson, a non-Team USA minicamper invited to fill out the roster. But a lot of those dudes? It’s just insulting to them, which Rivers seemed to realize before he went further:
Didn't really mean it that way…I worded It wrong…it was me just being competitive and wanting to be out there. https://t.co/HaNbapYqRA
I rated Hunter a high second-rounder. The forward rebounds very well and can capably guard multiple positions. His offense is a work in progress. He’s hardly a can’t-miss prospect, but he’s worth this small gamble.
As Sacramento’s roster stands now, Hunter would likely make the regular-season roster. The Kings have 16 players, including David Stockton (unguaranteed). Considering most teams carry three point guards and he’s behind Rajon Rondo, Darren Collison and Seth Curry, Stockton is the most likely cut. Sacramento could also consider waiving Duje Dukan or even Seth Curry (guaranteed minimum salaries) if both Stockton and Hunter play well in training camp.
The Kings also have the $2,814,000 room exception (Carlos Boozer?), which could push Hunter down the totem pole. If they waive him, they could assign his D-League rights to their affiliate.
Either way, at this cost, Hunter is a nice addition.
Andre Drummond went off, Klay Thompson had highlight of night in Team USA scrimmage
It was a meaningless exhibition that had less defense then your Saturday morning pickup game at the Y. Or a Chinese league game. Or a Summer League game. If you catch an NFL preseason game this weekend, you’ll see more defense. I think you get the point.
Still, there were some entertaining moments out of the USA Basketball exhibition game Thursday night in Las Vegas — and everybody got out healthy, which is what really matters.
Andre Drummond seemed to take things more seriously and had 27 points and 16 rebounds. I kept thinking of Apollo Creed’s trainer in Rocky: “He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!” Aside that DeMarcus Cousins made some plays on his birthday, Victor Oladipo and Blake Griffin made some plays, and a good time was had by all.
The guy who had the roughest night? DeMar DeRozan. The Raptors wing missed a lot of jumpers on a night when nobody was contesting them. Then Klay Thompson did this to him.
I didn’t know Thompson had that in him, although he may want to work a little on the alley-oop pass at the end.