DeMarcus Cousins: NBA shouldn’t choose All-Star starters by fan vote

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DeMarcus Cousins finished a disappointing 10th among Western Conference frontcourt players in All-Star voting.

If it were up to him, All-Star starters would be chosen by a different method.

Cousins, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

“There definitely wouldn’t be fan voting,” Cousins told Yahoo. “You can’t base it off of who is on TNT and ESPN every night. Of course, it’s going to be most winning teams’ [players], the most popular players [selected]. The other guys that play for the Milwaukee Bucks, and in our case the Sacramento Kings, who are playing just as good basketball, will never be seen. I don’t think it’s fair.”

“I’m comfortable with the coaches picking and I believe they will make the right choice. They are more aware and more knowledgeable of who is an All-Star in this game.”

Cousins has a point. All nine players ahead of him played more nationally televised games this season before All-Star voting closed:

Player Team Nationally televised games
Kobe Bryant LAL 8
Kevin Durant OKC 8
Kawhi Leonard SAS 8
Zaza Pachulia DAL 3
Draymond Green GSW 11
Blake Griffin LAC 8
Enes Kanter OKC 9
Tim Duncan SAS 8
Anthony Davis NOP 5
DeMarcus Cousins SAC 2

And though the Kings are winning more than the Lakers and Pelicans this season, Kobe and Davis have reached the playoffs. Cousins hasn’t. That certainly influences voters.

I definitely agree with Cousins on that contention. It’s not his fault that his teammates have largely stunk (and have ticked up to only so-so this season). That might make it more difficult to assess his individual ability, but it doesn’t change his individual ability. The onus is on anyone who takes their vote seriously – and that’s certainly not all fans – to parse the difference.

But coaches voting might not have made Cousins an All-Star starter.

They likely would’ve put Kobe in the game, though I suppose if they controlled the entire roster, they could’ve made him a reserve. Durant and Leonard are having better seasons than Cousins. So was Green – at least until Cousins’ tear after voting closed. In his previous four games, Cousins averaged 41.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks. Green hasn’t slipped, but Cousins has taken it up a notch.

Plus, coaches might be inclined to vote against Cousins after his years of feuding with coaches – including George Karl just this season. Whatever biases fans have, coaches have their own. Remember, they didn’t pick Cousins as a reserve last season (when I believe he deserved it). Adam Silver had to name him as an injury replacement.

But Cousins has another plan to make himself an All-Star starter: Undo the change from a few years ago and put centers on the ballot at their own position.

Cousins, via Silver:

“It’s disrespectful to big men,” Cousins told Yahoo Sports. “It’s not really fair. But that’s how it is.”

If the NBA had a separate center position, Cousins might have started. Pachulia, Kanter and Duncan finished ahead of him, but if it truly mattered for starting, fans would’ve taken Cousins candidacy more seriously.

Personally, I’d rather go the other way. Eliminate positions from All-Star consideration entirely.

Cousins makes good points on All-Star selections – the importance of popularity and team success. But it doesn’t seem the system is changing.

That’s why I gave up the fight, accepted the All-Star game for what it is and push for All-NBA to serve as the more definitive measure of players.

After all, Cousins – passed over by fans and coaches in All-Star voting last year – made the All-NBA second team.

Vince Carter wins NBA Sportsmanship Award

Hawks forward Vince Carter
Jason Miller/Getty Images
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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
Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images
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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.

Report: 76ers focused on Doc Rivers and Mike D’Antoni in coaching search

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The 76ers appeared focused on Mike D’Antoni in their coaching search.

Then, Doc Rivers surprisingly became available.

The former Clippers coach met with the 76ers and is now in the center of the conversation.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

For the Sixers now, the focus is on Rivers and D’Antoni, a source told ESPN. A decision is expected this week.

Rivers would be an easier fit with this roster than D’Antoni, whose style doesn’t appear to work as well with both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Rivers also looks like he’d help Philadelphia take the next step.

But that seemed like it’d be true with the Clippers and wasn’t.

Tyronn Lue’s candidacy with the 76ers has clearly faded. Could he join the Clippers, Rockets or Pelicans? If Philadelphia hires Rivers, maybe D’Antoni still lands with the Pacers?

Rivers’ availability has definitely thrown a wrench in the coaching carousel.