The Clippers’ coaching search is finally underway, and one lucky head coach will have the opportunity to write themselves into the Clipper lore. It’s an old franchise with lots of tradition, and one could only hope that whichever coach is eventually selected isn’t too intimidated by the great coaches of Clipper teams past.
Stand up, Mike Dunleavy.
According to Sam Amick of FanHouse, the first two names on L.A.’s list — that the Clippers reached out to, at least — are Mavs assistant Dwane Casey and all-time great player/Timberwolf-killing manager Kevin McHale. Both are among the more popular names in this summer’s coaching carousel, but Casey has been in notably more in demand than McHale.
Amick also noted that Mark Jackson and Vinny Del Negro are expected to be in the mix for the job, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, really. Jackson is completely unproven as a coach, and hasn’t inspired much confidence with his particular brand of color commentary on NBA broadcasts. Del Negro is another case entirely, and perhaps a warning against hiring coaching prospects who are too green (like Jackson); the Bulls brought in Del Negro despite his complete lack of coaching experience (in any position at any level), and struggled because of it.
Casey is flagged to make the jump from assistant to head coach at some point, and this could be as good of a job as any. The Clips’ process has only just begun, but anyone rooting for L.A.’s future would be wise to latch onto Dwane. He’s not the sexiest name in the biz, but he’s good with a clipboard and is talented enough to run his own NBA team. He’s also not Vinny Del Negro, which is always a plus.
Wesley Matthews threw this inbound pass.
Anthony Davis called himself the NBA’s best player.
He sure backed it up last night.
Davis posted a 32-16-8-3-3 to lead the Pelicans to a 19-point win over the Rockets, considered by many to be the NBA’s second-best team. The performance immediately vaults Davis to the forefront of any MVP discussions.
But for him, it was just par for the course. Davis has repeatedly dazzled in season openers. When 18-6-2-3 qualifies as the dud, you know Davis is doing something right.
Davis’ box scores in New Orleans’ first game each season:
That makes Davis’ average season-opener game score 24.1, one of the best ever. Only Michael Jordan has a higher mark on record (since 1983, as far back as Basketball-Reference records go; minimum: three games).
Here are the leaders:
Obviously, Davis cares more about how he finishes than starts. The Pelicans have made the playoffs only twice with him, getting swept in the first round in 2015 and falling in the second round last season.
But it should be clear by now: Davis comes to play as soon as the season tips.
I’ve heard it from friends. I’ve seen it on NBA Twitter. I’ve debated it with sports talk radio hosts.
“This NBA season is already decided, nobody has a chance against the Warriors.”
Boston has a shot, as I get into in this PBT Extra.
Absolutely the Warriors are the odds-on favorites to win it all, if healthy they should three-peat. They were my pick. But I believe Boston has a legitimate shot to dethrone the Warriors — they have the wing athletes, the switchability on defense, the scoring, the versatility. A Boston/Golden State Finals is going six or seven games… if we get there. It’s just day two of a long season.
But I believe in Boston.
The Nuggets had no answer for Boban Marjanovic.
Neither did L.A.’s rims.
The 7-foot-3, 290-pound Clippers center scored 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting with eight rebounds in 18 minutes. The Clippers outscored Denver by seven with Marjanovic on the floor, but got outscored by 16 otherwise in a 107-98 loss last night.
Marjanovic just doesn’t have the stamina to play huge minutes, though he caught an extra breather when officials stopped the game to check the levelness of a rim Marjanovic dunked on – with his feet still on the ground. Incredible!