Mike Brown is a defensive minded coach. That is his reputation.
If you see the Cavaliers as a playoff team in the East (and I do) then you are counting on a healthy Kyrie Irving, somebody stepping up in the frontcourt, and Mike Brown improving a defense that was 27th in the NBA in points per possession last season.
Brown’s defensive focus led to some frustration and discussions with second-year two guard Dion Waiters and Brown on Tuesday night. Waiters was matched up on Gerald Henderson and getting torched pretty good as the Cavaliers were losing to the Bobcats, reports the Morning Journal.
“He takes me out, talks to me and then puts me back in,” Waiters said after the Cavs’ 92-74 loss to the Bobcats on Tuesday before a sold-out crowd of 4,047 at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.
Brown did that three times on Tuesday night.
“You’re better than this,” (Brown said he) told Waiters. “To his credit, he tried harder. He has a lot of room to grow.”
The good news out of this was Waiters was receptive and open to the tough-love coaching. That’s the attitude you want.
Waiters, Irving and Jarrett Jack need to be solid defensively out top while the Cavaliers hope Earl Clark or Alonzo Gee grow into the “3-and-D” role at the three. Then they just need someone up front (Anderson Varejao, eventually Andrew Bynum) who can be a rim protector in the paint.
But in the NBA, effort and guys buying into the system can raise a bad defensive team up to average — everybody in the NBA is athletic so if they bring some energy to defense they can be solid. Ray Allen was considered a minus defender but in the strong Boston and Miami systems he’s been passable.
If the Cavaliers are going to make the playoffs, they need everyone to step up and be solid on D. Including Waiters.
Caris LeVert‘s injury last night looked so severe, his Nets teammates cried and the Timberwolves prayed.
Thankfully, that all turned out to be an overreaction. (Or, if you believe, the compassion and prayer worked.)
Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert returned to New York with the team last night and was evaluated today by Nets’ Team Orthopedist Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Following the evaluation, LeVert was diagnosed with a subtalar dislocation of the right foot.
“Fortunately, tests performed this morning revealed that there are no fractures and only moderate ligament damage,” said Dr. O’Malley. “While the optics of this injury may have appeared to be more severe, surgery will not be required. Caris will begin a period of rehabilitation with the Nets’ performance staff, following which he is expected to return to full strength and resume all basketball activities without any limitations this season.”
This is fantastic news. LeVert is one of the NBA’s up-and-comers and well-liked by nearly everyone who knows him. People all around the league wished him well in the wake of this injury.
It’s still unclear how much time LeVert will miss. A dislocated foot is a small matter only relative to the feared severity of LeVert’s injury. This will probably derail his Most Improved Player campaign.
But LeVert returning to the court this season will be a joyous occasion on its own.
Jimmy Butler is in Philadelphia.
Carmelo Anthony is in Houston, but not for much longer.
And the Lakers have Tyson Chandler and a three-game winning streak — there is never a dull moment in the NBA. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports welcomes in Eric Pincus, who covers the Lakers for Bleacher Report plus is a salary cap expert you have seen on NBA TV, to talk about it all. The pair talk about what the Sixers need to do next to capitalize on their window with Butler, are there landing spots for Carmelo Anthony, and then a deep dive on the Lakers: What is the team doing right? Does Lonzo Ball fit with LeBron James? What about Brandon Ingram? And who is the next big star the Lakers will be able to add to their mix?
We want your questions for the podcast, and your comments, email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com. As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.
Markelle Fultz has had few more vocal backers than Drew Hanlen, who trained the 76ers guard over the offseason.
Hanlen said Fultz would be an All-Star this season if 100%. With Fultz still struggling to shoot, Hanlen said Fultz wasn’t fully healthy.
But Fultz contradicted that, calling himself generally healthy. Fultz also rebuffed Hanlen’s assertion Fultz had the yips, as Fultz stressed his problems were due to injury.
Apparently, they became even more divided.
Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype:
Hanlen brought himself plenty of fame through his work with Fultz. This moves Hanlen back closer to the anonymity of most trainers.
More importantly, it suggests Fultz needs yet another plan for fixing his shooting form.
Many in Houston are convinced Carmelo Anthony is done with the Rockets.
If so, where will he play next?
Like when he was a free agent just a few months ago, speculation has centered on teams with his banana-boat buddies. Chris Paul and the Rockets already tried. But LeBron James‘ Lakers and Dwyane Wade‘s Heat seem viable.
Marc J. Spears on ESPN:
I am hearing that not the Lakers. I think the Lakers are done.
The Lakers already have scoring power forwards in Kyle Kuzma and Michael Beasley, and LeBron can obviously play that position. I’d rather have the incumbents than Anthony.
So how about Miami? Wade has been Anthony’s most outspoken backer, after all. But the Heat also have a superior offensive power forward in Kelly Olynyk, and Justise Winslow and Derrick Jones Jr. provide a fair amount of depth at the position.
Really, this is probably the wrong conversation. Maybe there is a bad team or two with a deficiency so glaring, Anthony is worth a roll of the dice. But he might just be finished as an NBA player, regardless of the fit.