Tag: Sacramento Kings

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game One

Who’s next? Five coaches who may replace Monty Williams in New Orleans.


It came as a bit of a surprise, but Monty Williams has been fired as the head coach in New Orleans.

This is now the best open coaching job in the NBA, and you only need two words to know why: Anthony Davis. This is a team with one of the top three players in the NBA (top five at worst). While there is work to be done. no other team with a coaching vacancy has that foundation.

But with that opportunity will come a lot of pressure on the coach — you have to get this team winning to keep Davis long term. There is pressure on the organization to make the right hire (and add talent to the roster). Next season the Pelican’s roster likely looks similar to this season’s, so a lot of the improvement will need to be internal, and that falls on the coach.

Also, this is a team that should have been better defensively than it was — 22nd in the NBA in defensive efficiency — so expect GM Dell Demps to look for a defense-first guy.

1) Tom Thibodeau. Yes, he currently has a job, and despite the flood of rumors around the league that he is done there when the season ends, we don’t know how it will shake out. Thibodeau’s name is the first that came up as a potential replacement around the league — and Thibodeau and his people reportedly would consider it if he is let go. Under him, the Pelican defense will get better instantly. There’s no way the Pelicans would find a better, harder-working coach — and one that has a relationship with Davis through USA Basketball. That said, owner Tom Benson would have to open up the checkbook to get him. Also, would the Pelicans be willing to give up a future first rounder to get Thibs out of Chicago?

2) Mike Malone. He was an assistant under Monty Williams for a couple years (not sure if that helps his cause). Malone’s .368 winning percentage in just more than a season in Sacramento wasn’t impressive, but he also didn’t have a roster that was going to do any better. What was impressive is how he was brought in after the Maloof brothers had virtually torched the place and from those ashes built up a real culture for the team. Those Kings had shown real promise before DeMarcus Cousins was hurt (then Malone was fired because the owner wanted to play more up-tempo). He’s a defense-first guy, and he got through to Cousins in a way no other coach has yet. He deserves another chance and would do a good job here, but the hire may not be high profile enough for some.

3) Scott Brooks. He certainly showed he could develop talent and bond with the stars as the coach in Oklahoma City. He’s taken a team all the way to the NBA finals. This is simply a guy who has proven he can do the job. (And if you want to live in a fantasy world where New Orleans has a shot at landing Kevin Durant in 2016, he helps there, too.) He checks off a lot of boxes for Demps. But the reasons he was let go in Oklahoma City — concerns about his conventional offense, and if he was the guy who could coach a team to a title — should give New Orleans a little pause.

4) Mark Jackson. His name will come up. It will come up for every opening. His players in Golden State loved him, and they won. He built the foundation that the Warriors grew off of this season. That said, even more than Brooks, he ran a conventional, predictable offense that was defendable. The bigger concern, he created an “us vs. the world” mentality in the locker room where the world included team management. There was a lot of friction. Do the Pelicans want to bring that into the organization? Or would they be better off looking at someone who wants another chance like Alvin Gentry?

5) Kevin Ollie. If Demps decides to go the college coach route, he could do a lot worse than the UConn coach. Ollie is a high IQ guy who comes with 13 years of NBA background as a player. Also, if you think you have a shot at Durant as a free agent (and I’m not sure that New Orleans does) he can help there, Durant is a big fan. The bigger question: does Ollie really want to give up one of the best gigs in college hoops?




Report: Dwane Casey will return next season as Raptors head coach

Dwane Casey

Since the Raptors’ season ended in a first-round sweep by the Wizards, the team has been noncommittal about the future of head coach Dwane Casey. Masai Ujiri didn’t tip his hand at the team’s exit interviews last month, but with over a third of their roster coming up on free agency this summer, it seemed likely a change was coming down the pike.

According to longtime NBA reporter Mitch Lawrence, Casey is no longer in danger of losing his job and will return to the Raptors next season.

The Toronto Sun‘s Steve Simmons confirms that, although Casey’s job is safe, there could be changes coming to his coaching staff:

Casey staying in the fold is a huge vote of confidence from Ujiri, who seemed on the verge of blowing up the roster during last season, before they made a run to the playoffs following the trade of Rudy Gay to the Kings. Casey predated him in the Raptors’ organization, and the thought was that he wanted to bring in his own guy as he reshaped the roster. Whatever he does going forward, it seems like he’s happy enough with Casey’s performance to keep him around, at least for now.

Jimmy Butler tops 29 other vote-getters to win Most Improved Player

Chicago Bulls v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Four

Most Improved Player voters honored the right player – the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler.

As far as the rest of the voting?

With a difficult-to-define award like this, let’s just say plenty of voters – intentionally or not – showed bias toward the team they covered. Thirty players received votes, and though none of the recipients are horrid choices, it’s difficult to make the case many of them were among the three most-improved players in the entire league.

Here’s the full voting:

Player (team) first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, points

  • Jimmy Butler (Chicago) 92-23-6-535
  • Draymond Green (Golden State)  11-43-16-200
  • Rudy Gobert (Utah) 12-32-33-189
  • Hassan Whiteside (Miami) 5-12-27-88
  • Klay Thompson (Golden State) 2-8-8-42
  • Anthony Davis (New Orleans) 4-2-1-27
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milw) 1-3-8-22
  • Donatas Motiejunas (Houston) 0-1-4-7
  • Dennis Schröder (Atlanta) 0-1-3-6
  • DeMarre Carroll (Atlanta) 1-0-0-5
  • Tyler Zeller (Boston) 1-0-0-5
  • DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento) 0-1-1-4
  • Khris Middleton (Milwaukee) 0-0-4-4
  • Kyrie Irving (Cleveland) 0-0-3-3
  • Victor Oladipo (Orlando) 0-1-0-3
  • DeAndre Jordan (L.A. Clippers) 0-1-0-3
  • Jae Crowder (Boston) 0-1-0-3
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Detroit) 0-0-2-2
  • Nikola Vucevic (Orlando) 0-0-2-2
  • Robert Covington (Philadelphia) 0-0-1-1
  • Tyreke Evans (New Orleans) 0-0-1-1
  • Derrick Favors (Utah) 0-0-1-1
  • Marc Gasol (Memphis) 0-0-1-1
  • Tobias Harris (Orlando) 0-0-1-1
  • Gordon Hayward (Utah) 0-0-1-1
  • George Hill (Indiana) 0-0-1-1
  • Enes Kanter (Oklahoma City) 0-0-1-1
  • Brandon Knight (Phoenix) 0-0-1-1
  • Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio) 0-0-1-1
  • Meyers Leonard (Portland) 0-0-1-1

And here’s how each voter voted. If a player looks like an outlier, there’s a decent chance his vote(s) came from someone who covers him regularly.