Charles Barkley claims four or five NBA coaches called in agreement with his analytics stance

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Charles Barkley ripped analytics, calling them “crap” and saying they “don’t work at all.” For good measure, he added those who use analytics “never got the girls in high school.”

Of course, he’s not backing down.

Barkley, via Richard Deitsch of Sport Illustrated:

“I think more people agree with me who know basketball than disagree,” Barkley said. “I’ve had at least four or five NBA coaches call me loving what I said. I saw Mark Cuban said something. I also saw a couple of coaches say analytics are a small part of it but a big thing is what Charles said is correct.”

“People like for Charles to be honest unless he says something different from them,” Barkley continued. “People like you as long as you as agree with them. But that doesn’t bother me.”

First, here’s what Cuban said on KRLD-FM 105.3, as transcribed by The Dallas Morning News:

He’s half right; the Mavs have been using analytics since the day I bought the team. The fun story behind that is I took graduate level statistics at Indiana University, and after I graduated, never thought about it again, and then after I had bought the team, I’m watching Jeopardy and who should be on but my old stats prof. And then a month later, we’re in Indiana playing against the Pacers, and who should be in the stands screaming “Hi” to me, my stats prof, Wayne Winston. I met with him and pretty much hired him then. We started using advanced plus/minus to help us, and it started to help us quite a bit…it eventually helped us come back from a 2-0 deficit in the playoffs against Houston, based on what the numbers said. Putting JJ (Barea) in the mix in the championship run had a lot to do with analytics. What happens is when a couple teams are using it, you have an advantage, but now that everyone is using it, that advantage is pretty much gone, and that’s where analytics has gotten to now.

I fail to see the half of Barkley’s rant Cuban agrees with, despite the Mavericks owner’s opening line.

Barkley called analytics useless. Sure, the competitive advantage of using analytics has diminished as all teams adopt them. But if any team stops using them, it would be at a significant disadvantage. That’s hardly useless.

Besides, teams use analytics – like all tools – to varying degrees of success. Nobody claims the Spurs lack a coaching advantage with Gregg Popovich because every team has a head coach.

I also wonder whether Barkley was referring to current NBA coaches.

Sure, we’re not far removed from Lionel Hollins going out of his way to minimize the importance of statistics. But now, he’s going out of his way to say he uses statistics.

I’m not sure Hollins’ thinking has changed – and using statistics along with other information is the right way to go – but his rhetoric clearly has, and that’s emblematic of the NBA’s evolution.

There are certainly still people in the league who agree with Barkley’s line of thinking, but their ranks are shrinking. Increasingly, it’s former coaches who think like Barkley and have fallen behind the times.

But if Barkley knows four or five current NBA coaches who agree with him, more power to him. He’s not interested in learning from anyone who disagrees with him, anyway.

Report: Doc Rivers accepts deal to become Philadelphia 76ers head coach

Doc Rivers philadelphia
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Doc Rivers was not out of a job long.

Considered an elite coach and leader of men, a guy pushed out the door in Los Angeles by a frustrated owner in Steve Ballmer, Doc Rivers has accepted a deal to become the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This was expected, and it came together fast. Rivers was let go by the Clippers on Monday and by Thursday had agreed to the deal with Philly.

Philadelphia had been looking for not only a coach but other voices in the front office to work with GM Elton Brand. Rivers, who had been team president in Los Angeles at one point, had that kind of voice with the Clippers in a collaborative front office. He likely will assume a similar role with the Sixers, having input on player and personnel decisions, not just Xs and Os.

Rivers also jumps from one roster expected to contend for a title but having fit and chemistry issues to another.

Doc Rivers needs to find an offensive system in Philadelphia where both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons can thrive next to each other, along with Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson, and Al Horford. There’s not much spacing or shooting there, which is why Shake Milton was getting a lot of run from former coach Brett Brown.

Roster tweaks would be coming, but with Rivers the idea will be making better use of the existing roster — and the style of play it forces.

The buzz around the league is that Tyronn Lue will take the Clippers job, which leaves Mike D’Antoni looking at places such as Indiana and New Orleans.

Vince Carter wins NBA Sportsmanship Award

Hawks forward Vince Carter
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Vince Carter’s 22-year NBA career ended amid the chaos of coronavirus, preventing him from getting the deserved fanfare.

But fellow players will send Carter into retirement with the NBA Sportsmanship Award.

NBA release:

NBA players have selected Vince Carter as the recipient of the 2019-20 NBA Sportsmanship Award, the NBA announced today.

Carter, who spent the 2019-20 season with the Atlanta Hawks, announced his retirement from the NBA in June after playing a league-record 22 seasons.  He receives the Joe Dumars Trophy as the winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award.  Dumars, a two-time NBA champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, played 14 NBA seasons and won the inaugural Sportsmanship Award in the 1995-96 season.

Each NBA team nominated one of its players for the NBA Sportsmanship Award, which is designed to honor a player who best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.  From the list of 30 team nominees, a panel of league executives selected one finalist from each of the NBA’s six divisions.  Current NBA players selected the winner from the list of six finalists, with more than 250 players submitting their votes through confidential balloting conducted by the league office.

Full voting (with first-, second-, third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place votes and voting points):

1. Vince Carter (Hawks): 143-70-34-13-4-2-2,520

2. Garrett Temple (Nets): 22-78-63-52-25-26-1,746

3. Steven Adams (Thunder): 34-57-41-52-58-24-1,632

4. Harrison Barnes (Kings): 24-25-75-48-35-59-1,418

5. Langston Galloway (Pistons): 23-22-29-60-79-53-1,244

7. Tyus Jones (Grizzlies): 20-14-24-41-65-102-1,016

What a nice honor for Carter, who gracefully aged from high-profile star to veteran mentor.

Heat: Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic doubtful for Game 2 of NBA Finals

Heat players Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic
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Bam Adebayo‘s and Goran Dragic‘s injuries… not looking great for the Heat approaching Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Heat:

This is a disaster for Miami. The Lakers dominated Game 1, and now the Heat have two starters hobbled at best. At worst and more likely, Adebayo and Dragic are out.

Adebayo would be the bigger loss. Miami was completely overmatched when facing Anthony Davis without a center. Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard can try to keep up, but they’re far from great solutions.

At least the Heat have more options at point guard. Kendrick Nunn can get an elevated role (especially after excelling in garbage time of Game 1). Jimmy Butler can become the de facto point guard. Tyler Herro can also play the position. But Dragic was playing so well during Miami’s run through the Eastern Conference. This is also a major setback.

 

Report: Tyronn Lue ‘early favorite’ to become Clippers head coach

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Doc Rivers is gaining momentum in the 76ers’ coaching search.

As for the job Rivers left behind with the Clippers… Clippers assistant and former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, unsurprisingly, has the inside track.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Clippers are planning to interview other candidates, starting soon, sources said.

The New Orleans Pelicans are planning to interview Lue in the near future too, sources said.

Lue would be a sensible hire. He has championship experience, which would help the Clippers hit the ground running in a make-or-break season before Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can become unrestricted free agents. Lue managed stars in LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The Clippers must improve their chemistry around their stars. And the last time Lue got promoted from assistant to head coach, his team won a title.

New Orleans also has an appealing job. But the Clippers are far closer to championship contention. And if both teams want Lue, I bet Clippers owner Steve Ballmer would outspend Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.

Still, the Clippers are conducting a coaching search. Other candidates could emerge. This isn’t necessarily Lue’s job for the taking.

How long would he wait on L.A. if the Pelicans make an offer? Lue has shown he values being entrusted.