Kidd-Gilchrist told Calipari he was “scared to death” he couldn’t make it in NBA

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Charlotte’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist shows a lot of promise as a rookie. Oh, there are flaws in his game (the jump shot) but he rebounds, hustles, defends and gets to the rim and out of that he has a PER of 17 — well above the league average.

Kidd-Gilchrist looks like a guy who could have a nice long NBA career.

But he didn’t think so during training camp. Kidd-Gilchrist was so freaked out at one point he texted John Calipari at Kentucky, reports Rock Bonnell at the Charlotte Observer.

Kentucky coach John Calipari, speaking with local media in Lexington, revealed Friday that Kidd-Gilchrist sent him text messages that “I may have made a mistake” turning pro, and “I don’t think I’m good enough.”

“He was scared to death,” Calipari recalled….

Calipari said he told his former star, “What? Are you kidding me? You may not shoot it as well. You may not bounce it as well. But the thing you do, no one else does. So you keep playing hard and competing. That’s what you do.”

That is what he does. He also makes really good decisions on the floor, something rare for a rookie and a really good sign for the future.

Kidd-Gilchrist’s jump shot is a mess — it looks awkward and he has hit just 18.1 percent of his shots outside three feet all season (via Hoopdata). So he doesn’t shoot from there much — through post ups, slashing and picking up broken plays he gets to the rim and takes 5.1 shots per game there, finishing 67.1 percent of them. The result is 10.8 points a game at 45.8 percent shooting overall. Combine that with some fantastic rebounding for a three (he’s dangerous and attacks the offensive glass) and you have a guy that can be a key part of what the Bobcats are building.

Kidd-Gilchrist is good enough to play in the NBA. For a long time.

Nets’ DeMarre Carroll has ankle surgery on eve of season

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NEW YORK (AP) — Brooklyn Nets forward DeMarre Carroll has undergone right ankle surgery and will miss the start of the season.

The team says Carroll had a right ankle arthroscopy. It was performed Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Carroll started 73 games at forward for the Nets last season, averaging 13.5 points and 6.6 rebounds.

The Nets say updates regarding Carroll’s return will be issued as appropriate.

Brooklyn opens its season Wednesday at Detroit.

 

PBT Extra: Five players to watch in NBA’s MVP race

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It was difficult to limit this list to just five.

The NBA’s race for the MVP award seems wide open this season. LeBron James is the favorite of the Las Vegas books (thank Lakers’ fans for that) and James Harden has been first or second three of the past four years, so he cannot be counted out. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have each won it before, although they tend to cancel each other out on the same team.

This year feels like we could see new blood winning the award. Maybe Anthony Davis of the Pelicans. Maybe Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks. Maybe Kawhi Leonard is back to form in Toronto and we shouldn’t count him out. Joel Embiid is touting himself in Philly.

I make my prediction and talk about the players to watch in this new PBT Extra video.

Warriors reveal reversible championship rings

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The Golden State Warriors received their championship rings on Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, even with Patrick McCaw not in attendance.

The 2017-18 NBA champions have grabbed three titles in four years, and as such you’d expect them to get inventive with their hardware at this point.

Enter this season’s championship ring.

The Warriors revealed the ring’s design on social media on Tuesday, and it has one very specific feature. Specifically, the center area of the ring is completely reversible.

Check it out:

Championship rings are objectively ugly, gaudy things. But if someone offered you one, you certainly wouldn’t turn it down. Everyone wants to have a championship under their belt, and having a ridiculous ring with 74 diamonds in it and a twist-off top is just wild.

Glen Taylor says Tom Thibodeau’s job isn’t in danger

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Jimmy Butler is a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, at least until the team finds a suitable trade partner. It seems the talks between the Wolves and the Miami Heat have gone dormant, and there isn’t an openly-interested party in sight.

Meanwhile, Butler is attending practices and is expected to play in the first game of the year for Minnesota against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. As the team looks for trade partners, the question remains what will happen with head coach Tom Thibodeau. Things have quickly gone south under his watch, and many are calling for his firing from the outside.

In a conversation with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which Taylor owns, Taylor said that Thibodeau’s job is safe.

Via Star-Tribune:

Thibodeau has three years left on a five-year contract worth about $40 million. Is he coaching for his job?

“No, no, the only thing now is that we are starting to play games and I am asking him to concentrate on coaching,” Taylor said. “GM Scott Layden will help to see if any trades are available.”

Is Taylor still happy he hired Thibodeau in April 2016?

“Yes, yes, he is a good coach and I have faith in him,” he said.

Meanwhile Taylor says that he’s not thinking about selling the team, and that they will try to grit themselves through from here on out.

It’s a tougher Western Conference this year, and it was already up in the air whether the Timberwolves were going to be a playoff team. Now, it seems as though they are destined to miss the postseason yet again after making it last year.