Tyronn Lue was favored to coach the Lakers next season before they even dumped Luke Walton. Once the Suns hired Monty Williams, the Lakers clearly turned their attention toward Lue. The Lakers and Lue opened contract negotiations. Lue even began assembling his coaching staff.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Hiring the runner-up in a coaching search as the lead assistant? That’s just asking for the head coach to get fired and replaced by that assistant. Lue knows.
There are many signs Jason Kidd is a bad coach. He also favors a slow tempo while Lue likes to play fast. This would be a rough match.
Assigning credit or blame for a player’s improvement (or lack thereof) is incredibly difficult, especially from the outside. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton developed into stars under Kidd’s watch, but they were already promising young players when Kidd arrived in Milwaukee. Jabari Parker floundered under Kidd, though injuries obviously affected the forward. Michael Carter-Williams – seemingly Kidd’s handpicked point guard – had his career completely untracked while being coached by Kidd.
Maybe Kidd would be better as an assistant coach. He was an incredibly smart player, and a lesser role could allow him to grow into coaching. But there’s a lot of rough edges to work through.
Kidd is not a good enough coach to force on Lue – not with management’s fondness for Kidd and Kidd’s campaigning to be head coach. The setup would be terrible for trust and chemistry, especially if Lue isn’t on board.
I still think the Lakers will hire Lue. They’ve gone too far down this road to simply turn back now. But this is a messy situation.
Syracuse lost to Baylor in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
So, now Syracuse returns to recruiting. That means convincing prospects with NBA aspirations that Syracuse’s infamous zone defense won’t interfere with their pro path.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, via ASAP Sports:
What I do when I start out, I say the NBA drafts for one reason: Offense. The NBA has never drafted a player for defense. At any position, even at center. Like when they drafted Tim Duncan or David Robinson, or Olajuwon or Shaq, they didn’t get one of those guys because of their defense. They didn’t draft Steph Curry, James Harden, LeBron James, go down the list. They didn’t draft one guy because of defense; they draft because of offense.
We had more first-round picks in the old Big East than any school because they draft guys based on their offense. That’s what we tell recruits and that’s the truth.
There are degrees of truth here. NBA teams generally value offense more than defense and more than they should.
But defense absolutely affects players’ draft position. Some players are drafted primarily for defense.
Maybe Syracuse’s zone helps players look good to NBA teams. But it’s a tough sell the zone actually prepares the players for the next level.
Syracuse’s first-round picks since Carmelo Anthony:
- Tyler Lydon (No. 24 in 2018)
- Malachi Richardson (No. 22 in 2017)
- Chris McCullough (No. 29 in 2016)
- Tyler Ennis (No. 18 in 2015)
- Michael Carter-Williams (No. 11 in 2014)
- Fab Melo (No. 22 in 2013)
- Dion Waiters (No. 4 in 2013)
- Wesley Johnson (No. 4 in 2011)
- Jonny Flynn (No. 6 in 2010)
- Donte Greene (No. 28 in 2009)
- Hakim Warrick (No. 19 in 2006)
We can’t know how those players would have turned out if they played elsewhere in college, but that’s an extremely uninspiring list. I would not advise a recruit on track to make the NBA to pick Syracuse.
Obviously, Boeheim is strongly incentivized to spin it the other way. He has made millions of dollars by convincing good players to help him win games.
There’s something to his sentiment here. But he goes way too far, to the point he’s wrong – as per usual.
Trading for Michael Carter-Williams in 2016 was a disaster for the Bulls in hindsight. They sent Tony Snell (a better player) to the Bucks in the deal and, because they acquired another point guard, waived Spencer Dinwiddie (another better player). Carter-Williams’ most memorable moment in Chicago was offending Derrick Rose fans by planning to wear No. 1 with the Bulls.
Chicago reacquiring Carter-Williams now shouldn’t cause as many waves.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Carter-Williams has $365,966 guaranteed remaining on his contract. Presumably, Houston covered that amount plus paid the Bulls extra for their troubles.
The Rockets are in line to save $2,101,934 in luxury vs. just waiving Carter-Williams themselves. So, there’s plenty of room for them to pay the the Bulls and still come out ahead.
Carter-Williams was a flier by a contending team in need of depth. He struggled with Houston, which found a better alternative in Austin Rivers. At this point, the 27-year-old Carter-Williams could be nearing the end of his NBA career.
Just as the Rockets were getting on a roll, having won five in a row, the basketball gods struck down Chris Paul — he limped to the locker room in Miami Thursday night with what was later described to be a strained hamstring. Houston is 0-5 in games Paul has sat this season, and that’s not counting Thursday night when Miami took the lead on a 17-4 run third-quarter run with CP3 out, and the Heat held on to win.
How long will Paul be out? An MRI was done Friday and the team announced it is a Grade 2 strain and Paul will be re-evaluated in two weeks. He could miss a little more time, hamstrings are slow to heal and tricky because players think they are 100 percent and want back out but the muscle is not yet ready for explosive movements.
The report from the team fell in line with what Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN had reported earlier.
The Rockets stumbled out of the gate 4-7, in part due to injuries and suspensions (including Paul being suspended for two games after a scuffle with the Lakers in an early season game after Rajon Rondo spit on him). All season long it has been two steps up and one step back with no real traction. The Rockets’ defense has been terrible and the offense inconsistent. That changed somewhat during the five-game win streak, when James Harden played at an MVP level again lifting the offense, while the defense improved to average.
Now we could see another step back for the Rockets. Houston will have to lean more on Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Knight, options that should make Rockets’ fans nervous. The Rockets have been looking at wings on the trade market, would GM Daryl Morey consider a move for a stop-gap point guard?
It may depend on how long Paul is out. If it really is just a few weeks, the Rockets will try to weather the storm.
The Rockets were hot from beyond the arc.
How hot were they?
Michael Carter-Williams made a 3-pointer.
His triple with 31 seconds left in a win over the Wizards tonight gave Houston the record for 3-pointers in a game (26). That broke the previous market (25), set by the Cavaliers in 2017.
The all-time leaderboard:
Several Rockets contributed to the record:
This is the type of record that could get broken again soon, maybe by the Rockets. Teams shoot so many 3s now, and nobody attempts more per game than Houston.