Other highlights from NBA’s GM survey: Some thought Chicago had better summer than Cleveland

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We hit you with the highlights of the annual NBA GM survey already — they think LeBron James is a really good player, and his Cavaliers will face the Spurs in the Finals. Really going out on a limb there.

But as always there is more interesting stuff farther down the survey and buried in some of the answers. These are the other things that jumped out at me.

• Oddest vote of the survey — 10.7 percent of GMs thought Chicago had the best offseason of any team. Hey, I love the Pau Gasol pickup too, but did those guys notice what happened in Cleveland? One GM also said Gasol was the best addition to any team this offseason… again, did he see Cleveland?

• Speaking of odd votes, one GM picked the Wizards to come out of the East this season.

• Another GM predicted the Rockets would win the Southwest division (everyone else was same and picked the Spurs).

• What player will make the best coach when he retires? GMs said Chris Paul, who got 24 percent of the vote and certainly has a great basketball mind. Who came in second was more interesting — Steve Blake. Kirk Hinrich of the Bulls was third. Jarrett Jack tied for fourth with six percent of the vote.

• When asked what one player they would want to start a franchise with of course half the GMs chose LeBron James, but more interesting is that Anthony Davis was tied with Kevin Durant in second place, each receiving 25 percent of the vote. That tells you how much people are starting to expect out of Davis. (Davis was also voted player to most likely have a breakout year.)

• James Harden was voted best shooting guard in the league with 63 percent of the vote, no surprise there. Klay Thompson was second (18.5 percent), followed by Kobe Bryant tying Stephen Curry for third even though Curry plays primarily the point (both got 7.4 percent). Then one GM voted Kevin Durant as the best two guard.

• Best power forward was a tie between LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin, each getting 25 percent of the vote. Anthony Davis was third (21.4 percent) followed by LeBron (10.7 percent). The real surprise to me was Kevin Love was fifth (7.1 percent).

• Atlanta’s Kyle Korver was picked as the player best at moving off the ball (53.6 percent), followed by the Clippers J.J. Redick (Doc Rivers loves to run him off multiple screens).

• Dallas picking up Tyson Chandler was considered the most underrated move of the offseason (17,9 percent of the vote). The Pelicans getting Omer Asik and the Clippers getting Spencer Hawes tied for second at 14.3 percent.

• Biggest steal of the draft? GMs chose Utah getting Rodney Hood at 23 (he has looked good at Summer League and in their system). The Bulls getting Doug McDermott at 11 came in second.

• Best international player not in the NBA? Tie between former NBA player Rudy Fernandez and Dario Saric, who belongs to Philadelphia and will join the NBA in a few seasons.

• Best assistant coach? Golden State’s Alvin Gentry come on down, you’re the big winner. Sort of.

Clippers reportedly add Tyronn Lue to coaching staff

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Tyronn Lue will be coaching in Los Angeles this upcoming season, but it won’t be for the Lakers.

News broke on Tuesday that Lue had accepted a job on Doc Rivers’ staff with the Los Angeles Clippers. Lue is yet another big-name addition to a squad that already added players Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this offseason.

Lue was a championship-winning coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, and he has an innate understanding about how to deal with star players in the NBA.

Via Twitter:

It’s also important to understand what kind of culture Rivers, Steve Ballmer, and the rest of the Clippers front office is trying to build in Los Angeles. In addition to their proposed new stadium in Inglewood, the Clippers are trying to take over L.A. one big-name at a time. That includes everyone from players to coaches, even ones who won championships as the head honcho.

There’s no doubt that Los Angeles is striving for the Finals this season, and adding a guy like Lue to the bench is yet another reiteration of that fact.

Rumor: Stephen A. Smith is coming to ESPN’s NBA broadcasts

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National NBA broadcasts are about to get a little bit different this upcoming season.

We already got word that Michelle Beadle would not be on NBA Countdown on ESPN for the 2019-20 NBA calendar year. In her place will be Rachel Nichols, a favorite of most thanks to her work on The Jump, and Maria Taylor. And apparently ESPN’s studio show is about to get an analyst boost as well.

According to the big lead, Stephen A. Smith will be added to the analyst panel for ESPN studio show, likely on Wednesday nights. The bombastic First Take host will give his NBA takes either to the delight or dismay of fans nationwide.

Via The Big Lead:

Stephen A. Smith is in ESPN’s plans for NBA studio coverage this upcoming season, The Big Lead has learned from multiple people with knowledge of the situation. An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment on the news.

Our sources indicate that Wednesday night is the most likely time for him to be involved, but cautioned that plans are not yet set in stone.

People lost their collective minds on Twitter this summer when it was announced that ESPN had given another huge contract to Stephen A. to continue to do… whatever Stephen A. does. Namely, yell and act incredulous in a way so insincere it’s hard to believe anyone is entertained by it, much less could take it at face value.

No doubt Smith will fill the role, aesthetically, that Charles Barkley does for TNT. He’ll talk in big, wild soundbites that get Twitter all riled up, thereby allowing some VP at the network to pitch his superiors about “leverage” and “engagement” from Smith’s appearances.

Good luck to everyone watching the NBA on national TV this year. Maybe locate where the mute button is on your remote now so you know where it is come autumn.

Gordon Hayward says he’s feeling confident in his ankle for next season

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Gordon Hayward still wasn’t particularly good last season. He never really looked all that comfortable playing with the Boston Celtics, and Brad Stevens’ insistence on playing him led to some reported rifts in the Boston locker room.

But Hayward is expected to come back at full strength this year, and it could be just in time for him to shine in light of Kyrie Irving‘s departure to the Brooklyn Nets.

His severely dislocated left ankle is now long behind him, and it appears that Hayward has been putting in the work necessary this summer. Speaking to Mass Live, Hayward said that he is starting to get more confident in his game.

Via Mass Live:

“Reps is what gives you confidence, so being able to do things over and over and over and not worry about how my ankle’s feeling, or having to be cautious with it, has been really good, especially for my confidence,” Hayward said. “I think last year was a lot of hoping and not really knowing what was going to happen just because I didn’t have the reps… going into a summer training as hard as I want to, it’s a lot better for my confidence this year and expectations-wise as well.”

A healthy Hayward would really change the dynamic of the Celtics in the Eastern Conference this year. Losing Irving is huge, but Boston is going to have a real depth of talent on its hands if it can add Hayward to other wing talent Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart.

It seems cliche to point out at this point, but people have slept on how good Hayward was on both sides of the ball during his time with the Utah Jazz. He’s a complete player at the small forward position when healthy, and bringing back his superstar firepower could ease the pain of losing Irving to Brooklyn.

Royce White questions why Lakers have Jared Dudley not ‘Melo; Dudley, others defend move

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There are a lot of people surprised that this deep into the summer, with NBA rosters largely filled out, Carmelo Anthony isn’t playing somewhere. Whether on Team USA or training with new teammates for an upcoming NBA season.

Among those confused, former NBA draft pick Royce White, who was outspoken on the issue — and called out both LeBron James and Jared Dudley — in speaking with Fanatics View.

Dudley responded to this, not directly to White but to a retweet of this rant, and did so in Dudley’s calm, rational way. His Tweet has since been taken down, but it said:

“This isn’t Melo vs myself, That man is a 1st ballot HOFer… We all want to see him back in the league… Royce seems uninformed when he speaks and this situation in calling my name out. This league is not about who’s better then who it’s what’s players make for the best Team.”

Kendrick Perkins and Jameer Nelson had Dudley’s back.

Dudley/Perkins/Nelson are spot on here. The reason Dudley is on an NBA roster and Anthony is not is all about willingness to fit in and play a role. Dudley knows exactly how to do that, accepting limited minutes off the bench, staying ready, and when he comes in playing hard, being a pest, and knocking down threes. Anthony is unquestionably still a better scorer, but he was unwilling to accept a role in both Oklahoma City and Houston (and his game now is that of a role player/sixth man). Anthony says that’s different now, but GMs are risk averse in most situations. Teams that might have interest in ‘Melo are concerned about the possible distraction and disruption, and they wonder if that risk is worth what Anthony brings to the court right now. It was the same with Team USA.

Some team should — and one likely eventually will — give Anthony another shot. He deserves it. However, teams thinking about a deep playoff run tend to like their chemistry and are wary of disruptions, so nothing has come out yet. Even if Royce White and a lot of other people think it should have.