The Warriors’ head coaching gig is kind of an interesting mesh of issues. You’ve got a management that has pledged to provide a new coach with defensive personnel, but there’s still a roster full of guys who don’t fit that description. There’s certainly talent, but not necessarily a cohesive unit, and few experienced veterans. There’s Stephen Curry, but it’s unclear how his career is going to shape out. It’s a terrific, supportive fanbase, but it’s in a high-intensity market. The money should be great, but success in the short term is probably mitigated, and it’s rare for the coach who rebuilds a team to see them through to the promised land.
Which is why two coaching greats have elected to pass on the job.
CSN Bay Area reports that Jeff Van Gundy and Jerry Sloan both declined to interview for the Warriors’ head coaching position. Sloan declined under the “No, really, I retired and I’m done” umbrella (which is right next to the “Deron Williams killed my soul” raincoat), while Van Gundy reportedly declined because he’s still not looking to get into coaching. JVG’s name keeps popping up but never seems to really go anywhere, he hasn’t been seriously in consideration for a job in some time.
Mike Brown is considered by multiple outlets to be the front-runner for the job, which is an odd, if intriguing fit. Seeing Brown work with a team not handicapped by a megastar playing God with the franchise while the owner buckles to his will and then blames everyone else when it blows up could be interesting. Brown’s defensive coaching chops are legit, even if the offense could suffer (read: drive off a cliff) under him. We’ll keep you updated as the search continues.
yIn the NBA, a minute can be an eternity.
Trae Young didn’t think so, he thought Atlanta was going to get the upset after his assist to Alex Len for a dunk put the Hawks up 6 with less than a minute to go in the game.
Did we mention a minute can be an eternity in the NBA? Miami came back and a Jimmy Butler three sent the game to overtime. Butler finished the game with a triple-double of 20 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Miami owned the overtime and went on to win 135-121.
Butler didn’t miss the chance to mock Young on Instagram
It was a big night for the Heat’s young core. Bam Adebayo had a triple-double of 30 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, Kendrick Nunn led Miami with 36 points, and Duncan Robinson drained 10 threes.
Wednesday night, Kawhi Leonard returns to Toronto for the first time since leaving the team last summer to head to Los Angeles.
Unlike most returns in recent years, there will not be boos — Toronto will welcome Leonard back with open arms. He won them a ring, there are no hard feelings.
The Raptors already dropped a tribute video on Twitter.
Well done, Raptors.
It’s going to be fun to see his return, which will be a celebration — and should be a good game.
Monday night, Grizzlies star rookie Ja Morant returned to the court after missing four games with what was officially called “back spasms,” but in reality was him recovering from his back hitting a courtside cameraman after a fall.
Morant scored 26 to lead the Warriors to a win in Golden State, but he admitted to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes that when he drove the lane and went up he thought about his landing spot and those cameramen.
Following the contest, Morant acknowledged that instead of solely focusing on being the best version of himself, he occasionally found himself thinking about the proximity of camera operators while driving in the paint.
“It’s tough because I know I just have to do more controlled jumps now,” Morant told Yahoo Sports. “But at the same time, I’m just trying not to think about it and still try to play my game. It’s just a tough situation all the way around, honestly….
“I just think player safety should be first and foremost. How I play and where I end up, [cameramen] are right there. Personally, I like to attack the rack, and I feel like that injury came from me attacking the rack and it was just nowhere to land for me.”
Morant echoes the concern of a lot of players and coaches.
The NBA is aware of the issue, back in 2014 they reduced the number of cameramen on the baseline by half (down to 10 per side) and created a four-foot-wide “runway” on either side of the stanchion that players can run up if they have a full head of steam.
That’s not close to eliminating the problem. The NBA is not going to remove those cameras — the NBA is in the entertainment business, and those cameras provide some of the best video angles and still shots to show fans — but expect it to take another look and review its process here.
What we don’t want to happen is the game loses a promising young player like Morant for a lot more than four games after a run-in with a cameraman.
The Chicago Bulls miss Otto Porter. He was a starter on the wing for nine games, scoring 11.2 points per game, hitting 40 percent of his threes, playing solid defense, and the Bulls offense was 8.3 points per 100 possessions better on offense when he was on the court. He’s a steadying influence as a veteran.
However, he has been out the last 16 games with a foot injury, and he’s going to miss at least another month, the Bulls announced Tuesday. The Bulls said Porter saw a specialist and he “confirmed the bone injury and healing response in Porter’s left foot consistent with a small fracture that has become more clearly defined with repeated imaging over the last five weeks.”
What that means for Porter is another month in a boot.
Chandler Hutchison‘s bruised shoulder has him in street clothes, too, which means Kris Dunn will remain the starter for now. Denzel Valentine has used a bump in minutes to show some growth in his game, play fairly well, and make a push for even more run of late.
But without Porter, the Bulls are not the same.