Byron Scott wants Lakers to shoot absurdly low numbers of 3-pointers per game

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Noted Mike D’Antoni hater Magic Johnson said he never wanted to see the Lakers shoot another 3-pointer.

Lakers coach Byron Scott – whom Johnson endorsed for the job both himself and through the late Jerry Buss – won’t go that far.

But he’s offering a compromise.

Scott, via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:

“Our game plan is really to get to that basket,” said Scott after practice Tuesday. “I like the fact that we only shot 10 threes. If we shoot between 10 and 15, I think that’s a good mixture of getting to that basket and shooting threes.

“I don’t want us to be coming down, forcing up a bunch of threes. I really want us to attack the basket.”

NBA teams have averaged more than 15 3-pointers per game for each season in the last decade. In the last two years, only the Grizzlies have a season with fewer than 15 3-pointers per game.

Scott’s last seven teams, including a year in New Orleans he was fired during the season, have attempted more than 15 3-pointers per game.

What makes these Lakers so different? They have several players who made a solid clip of their outside shots last year:

  • Wayne Ellington – 42%
  • Nick Young – 39%
  • Wesley Johnson – 37%
  • Jeremy Lin – 36%
  • Xavier Henry – 35%
  • Ryan Kelly – 34%

That list includes neither Kobe Bryant (career 34 percent 3-point shooting) nor Steve Nash (career 43 percent 3-point shooting), both of whom missed most of last season due to injury. Kobe and Nash seem healthier now.

Simply, NBA teams have increasingly recognized they should shoot a healthy number of 3-pointers (i.e., more than 15 per game) to get efficient points and space the floor. Maybe some teams should buck the trend, but the Lakers aren’t one. They have enough solid 3-point shooters to threaten from beyond the arc.

If this is Scott’s shorthand way of saying he wants more shots at the rim, great. Shots are the rim are good.

But there’s a large area between the 3-point arc and the restricted area. Taking fewer 3-pointers won’t necessarily lead to more shots at the rim. It might just create more inefficient long 2s.

By focusing on reducing 3s rather than increasing shots at the rim, Scott risks his message – if it is in fact the right one – getting lost.

I get it. The Lakers don’t like D’Antoni. But if they keep trying to prove he was wrong about everything, they’re only going to spite themselves.

Rumor: Patrick Beverley may meet with five teams before Clippers

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The Los Angeles Clippers want to bring Patrick Beverley back next season, his spark was at the heart of why this team made the playoffs and impressed with their potential.

First, however, the Clippers are going big game hunting for the likes of Kawhi Leonard and/or Kevin Durant (even with the Achilles injury). Beverley isn’t just going to sit around and wait for them, reports longtime NBA reporter Sean Deveney Tweeted.

The Bulls need a point guard and Beverley — a Chicago native — has said he is interested.

The Lakers also are reportedly big game hunting, but Beverley is the kind of guard they could use around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Phoenix and other teams have been mentioned.

Beverley is going to have options, but he loved his time with the Clippers last season, and that means something.

Pelicans reportedly pick up option year on coach Alvin Gentry

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David Griffin, the guy with the hammer in New Orleans, likes Alvin Gentry. They have a relationship that goes back to Phoenix, where Gentry was the coach and Griffin was in the front office (and was eventually GM).

Gentry also has a style of play — he wants to run and be up-tempo. That should fit very well with soon-to-be No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise the Griffin and the Pelicans want to keep Gentry around, as reported by Malika Andrews of ESPN.

This is another smart, stabilizing move by Griffin. The Pelicans want to build an athletic, fast-paced team and Gentry is the right coach for that style.  Maybe it doesn’t pan out, maybe the Pelicans ultimately need to go another direction with their coach, but right now this seems a good fit.

Report: Utah “frontrunner” to land Mike Conley Jr. if Memphis trades him this week

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Utah feels like it is close — a 50-win team two seasons in a row, an elite defense, an All-NBA center in Rudy Gobert and an elite shot creator in Donovan Michell. They look at the West next season, with a depleted Warriors team, and see an opening.

Yet when Utah fell to Houston 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs this year, it was reminded of what is keeping the team from being truly elite, and another shot creator and shooter is at the top of that list.

Enter Mike Conley Jr. He averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game last season, shot 36.4 percent from three, and plays strong defense. Conley would be an upgrade over Ricky Rubio at the spot.

The almost All-Star point guard out of Memphis is available via trade. He’s the kind of veteran floor general, shooter, and shot creator Utah could use. The Jazz and Grizzlies talked but couldn’t come to an agreement at the trade deadline, but the sides are talking again and conversations are “intensifying” in the run-up to the NBA Draft Thursday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Grizzlies are intensifying talks to potentially move franchise cornerstone Mike Conley Jr., league sources told The Athletic. Memphis has been in conversations with the Jazz and Utah is a frontrunner to acquire Conley should the Grizzlies trade the point guard during draft week, league sources said.

What would be in a trade package? Certainly the No. 23 pick in this draft, plus some young players the Grizzlies like (maybe Grayson Allen, Royce O’Neal, and even someone like Jae Crowder. Reports say Derick Favors is not part of the discussion.

While anything can happen the week of the draft — and things change quickly — don’t be surprised if some version of this trade gets done.

Kawhi Leonard wins day with last laugh — his viral laugh — at end of speech

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Kawhi Leonard just won again.

He won his second NBA title leading the Toronto Raptors to the franchise’s first crown. He earned his second Finals MVP in the process.

Then on Monday he had the last laugh and won the Raptors’ championship parade in Toronto by ending his speech with his laugh, the same one that went viral at the start of the season.

Of course, what Leonard will do on July 1 was a cloud hanging over the parade, Leonard is a free agent this summer. Kyle Lowry at one point started a “five more years” chant during the parade, which is the maximum number of years Toronto can re-sign Leonard for.

Leonard, exactly as we all should have expected, dodged the question, while praising his time in Toronto.

Unfortunately, this was a parade marred by more serious concerns.