Not many players would have been happy being shipped from a playoff bound Milwaukee Bucks to an Orlando Magic team that got routed by the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night.
But such was the atmosphere with the Bucks under former coach Scott Skiles that Beno Udrih is happy with the trade.
And he wasn’t just saying it because he was supposed to, check out the quote from the Orlando Sentinel.
“It was just a bad situation there. I’m a professional and I’m a man, so I like to be told straight-up what they expect from me. So, in Milwaukee, that never happened. They were saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, we know. We’ve got to play you a little bit more.’ But it never happened. So when I did get into the game I didn’t know what they actually wanted to do, so I was just trying to find it myself, and I never did.”
“I wanted a change. I wanted a new start, so I’m really happy to be here. I know Jacque and J.B. [James Borrego], the assistant coach. It’s just a really exciting moment for me and my wife.”
In the NBA, it’s being an Xs and Os coach isn’t enough, everyone can do that. And if you’re Phil Jackson and it’s not your forte, you hire an assistant who is a master (hello Tex Winter). For NBA coaches it’s about ego management and getting guys to buy into and fully believe in their roles.
Skiles has never been good at it. Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie found this story and laid out the trends.
This is a problem you heard about in Skiles’ earlier turns in Phoenix and Chicago, and it’s not insignificant when paired with his clashes (or, to put it in nicer terms, “chilly relationships”) with his players. And who are these players? Tyrus Thomas. Eddy Curry. Beno Udrih. Jason Kidd and Brandon Jennings at times, among other lesser lights….
It’s the high potential players that Skiles has failed with. Witness Brandon Jennings’ stagnation since his rookie year. Look at the way Thomas, who worked his tail off during his rookie and second season only to be jerked in and out of the rotation and contests, seemed to give up on the game by his third year. Look at Tyson Chandler, who needed to get out of Chicago to stop looking over his shoulder and finally flourish.
It’s going to be interesting to see what direction the Bucks go this summer. Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick can all test the free agent market (the Bucks can match any offer to Jennings). The Bucks management needs to decide what kind of team they want to build and then find a coach to execute the plan. Right now they are a collection of players, they need more of an identity.
Things just keep getting better for NBA fans when it comes to national TV broadcasts.
It was announced in August that TNT would be doing away with the “Players Only” broadcast that appeared on NBA TV. Those broadcast crews were roundly criticized as being meandering and uninformed when it came to the product on the floor.
Now fans are getting more of what they want in the form of Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor.
According to a report from Richard Deitsch, Nichols and Taylor will be the hosts of ESPN’s pregame show, NBA Countdown.
Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups Won’t return as analysts on the pregame show next year, leaving just Jalen Rose. That means there are a couple of spots open, and we don’t yet know who ESPN will fill them with. Nichols will reportedly continue to host her regular show “The Jump”.
As the league continues to get more popular, it makes sense that broadcast partners listen to the audience. Nichols is an NBA favorite, so having her be more visible makes a lot of sense.
Kyle Kuzma is going to be expected to have a big year for the Los Angeles Lakers. He thinks he can have the impact of a third star for L.A., a team that didn’t add Kawhi Leonard to go alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis this summer.
That’s big talk from Kuzma, but perhaps that talk has boosted his confidence a little bit. In a photo posted to Instagram this week, Kuzma could be seen wearing… whatever this is.
Twitter had a great time with Kuzma outfit, which looks like something pulled straight out of an early 2000s episode of TRL.
Kuzma’s contemporaries in the NBA thought he was getting a little wild with it, too, with several hopping onto the post to roast the Lakers big man.
I don’t know what this means for the upcoming Lakers season, but I’m sure it’s something interesting.
Everyone has been upset about the recent ACL tear suffered by DeMarcus Cousins. The Los Angeles Lakers big man just can’t seem to catch a break, and has injured his Achilles, quad, and now ACL in the span of two years.
Last year was supposed to be one of retribution for Cousins with the Golden State Warriors, but the results were disappointing. Even still, the Lakers decided to take a chance on Cousins as they tried to push for supremacy in the Western Conference.
Meanwhile folks have shown their support for the former Sacramento Kings All-Star, with Draymond Green being the most recent star to offer comment. The former Warriors teammate of Cousins told ESPN how he felt about the injury this week.
Via ESPN and Marc Spears of The Undefeated:
“One of my goals coming into this season was for DeMarcus to destroy everybody and come back and show how great of a player he is and get what I think he deserves,” Green told The Undefeated’s Marc Spears. “I’m really at a loss for words about it. It’s one that really hurt me for sure.”
Cousins is now 29 years old, and the question is whether he will ever return to any kind of form approaching what he had in Sacramento. His injuries have been devastating, and they are the kind that few have returned from to play at an elite level in the NBA.
Cousins appears to be fast approaching a spot in NBA history with other potential greats whose careers were ruined by injury. Hopefully he can find a way to avoid that track.
Jeremy Lin does not appear to be on the radar of any NBA teams at this juncture. It has been an up-and-down summer for Lin, who won a championship with the Toronto Raptors back in June but finds himself a free agent here in August.
Lin has already said that it’s been extremely tough for him to go without a contract this offseason, and it was reported that he turned down a deal with CSKA Moscow to pursue further NBA opportunities.
Now there are murmurs that Lin could be headed to China to play for the Beijing Ducks. According to Sportando, Chinese reporter Sonx Xiang is saying that Lin and the Ducks are closing in on a deal.
NBA players can go on to have lucrative careers in the CBA. Lin is still a decent enough scorer at the NBA level, and it’s most likely he would fit into the Chinese game quite well.
As a branding and personal opportunity, China could fit Lin nicely. He’s currently on his annual tour of Asia, helping kids across several countries with basketball camps and charitable concerns.
The South China Morning Post has reported that Lin said he would be willing to play in the CBA. Lin also told website Radii of his trips to China that, “When I go there, I feel the most at home.”
Make no bones about it, Lin would much rather play in the NBA this season. Looking at his numbers on Synergy, it’s sort of surprising that nobody would want him as a third point guard on a minimum deal. But in the meantime, Lin has spent a significant amount of time in China and feels a kind of purpose when he’s there.
If he’s got to be away from home — and away from the NBA — this might be the best option for Lin available right now.