- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie1 day ago
There was a reason why Joe Dumars was able to hang on for so many years as Detroit Pistons general manager. He was beloved as a player; the 1990 NBA Finals MVP was the only member of the Bad Boy Pistons for whom outsiders could stand to root, kind of like the opposite of an aerial view. It wasn’t that distinction that made him so workable, though, so un-fungible. Dumars, who stepped down from his post as Pistons personnel el jefe on Monday, actually used to be damn good at his job. And people unfortunately tend to forget this.
The whiffs are notorious. This is the man who signed and dealt for both Josh Smith's and Brandon Jennings’ 20-foot jump shots last summer. He signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva in 2009 – to big contracts to actually start for his basketball team. He drafted Darko Milicic with, wait for it, the second pick in the 2003 NBA draft, when everyone knew that Chris Kaman or Travis Outlaw (or Dwyane Wade or Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh or whatever) would have been a better selection. The man hired Maurice Cheeks to coach an NBA team. In 2013.
In the early years of his run, though, Joe Dumars was ahead of his time.Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTDetroit at Oklahoma CityPreview Game
The New York Knicks still think Andrea Bargnani is 'a big piece of the puzzle,' which is sort of correct
Just when the whole of the basketball world seemed ready to feel sorry for New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson, left to dangle in the wind as silent, invading forces build above him in a season gone terribly wrong, he has to go and point to Andrea Bargnani as some sort of Knicksian salve that could have saved the team’s woeful season.
Bargnani, who the team traded a slew of expiring deals along with a 2016 first round pick and a second round pick to Toronto for last summer, hasn’t played since dropping 20 points on 7-12 shooting in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on January 22. The fact that one of Bargnani’s best games of the season couldn’t help a Knicks team beat a 76ers squad that would go on to lose 29 of its next 30 games is telling. The Knicks played terribly with Andrea in the lineup this year.
To Woodson, though, the injured Bargnani is the one that got away. Scope this out, from Friday’s Knick shootaround:Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTToronto at New YorkPreview Game
You’ve got nothing to do on Friday night. Sorry for reminding you, but you’re going to sit at home, turning on League Pass, and watch a bunch of basketball. It’s best knowing which games to pay attention to, and which ones to flip away from, as the playoffs near.
Washington at Orlando
The Wizards are snapping away – John Wall and coach Randy Wittman recently had an eventful back and forth after Wall took offense to Wittman’s assessment that his players “go through the motions,” meanwhile veteran Wiz forward Al Harrington published a lengthy (and quite moving, at times) discussion of his years-long recovery from knee injuries and a staff infection, calling out his former Magic team for a lack of professionalism, and chiding current Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan for a brusque description of Harrington’s career prospects. Orlando? They really don’t care much and just want to lose.
Playoff implications: Pretty big. The Wizards are tied with the Bobcats, looking to move up for the right not to play Miami or Indiana in the first round.Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTAtlanta at MilwaukeePreview Game
Twitter accounts are so ubiquitous these days that it feels as if only a few of our uncles and Jason Mantzoukas are the only ones who haven’t logged in. With that knowledge in hand, it’s worth pointing out that NBA team employees of any level and stature are often right there with the rest of us, churning out bad jokes and frustrations with calls gone wrong in 140 characters or less, tapping away at all hours of the night.
Still, all NBA team employees are subject to the same rules about criticizing referees as players, coaches, team owners and general managers. And even if the voice with the loudest boom in the room – in this case a team’s public address announcer – chooses to air his grievances via Twitter rather than the deafening microphone setup in front of him, the league is still going to cut down on any ref-bashing bit of dissent.Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTDallas at MemphisPreview Game
On Wednesday, the Rick Adelman-led Minnesota Timberwolves fell to the Chicago Bulls by a 102-87 score. The loss dropped the Wolves to .500, a record that in most years prior to the post-Jordan era would earn a Western Conference team a playoff berth, and a mark that would easily slide Minnesota into the eighth spot in this year’s Eastern playoffs bracket. Minnesota will not be making the playoffs this year, though.
Wolves forward Kevin Love hyper-extended his right (shooting) elbow during the game and suffered through a 7-20 night, Bulls center Joakim Noah abused both Love and impressive Minnnesota rookie big man Gorgui Dieng for a 15-point, 13-rebound, 10-assist triple-double, as the Timberwolves (who were officially eliminated from the playoffs earlier in April) continued to play out the string.Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTUtah at MinnesotaPreview Game
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie5 days ago
Larry Sanders became a Milwaukee Buck again on Wednesday night. Of course, he wasn’t allowed to join the team at the Bradley Center, as the Bucks fell to the Indiana Pacers by a 104-102 score, but he was deemed medically cleared to play after a broken orbital bone was initially deemed enough to knock him out for the rest of Milwaukee’s wildly disappointing 2013-14 season.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie5 days ago
As the New York Knicks’ 2013-14 campaign winds down, a few things are just about certain.
For one, even if some that work (or at least visit) Madison Square Garden overrated the team’s talent entering this campaign, this is still a wildly disappointing outfit. Secondly, the squad is just about sure to miss the playoffs this year. And Mike Woodson, the man who righted the team’s ship during a typically combustible 2011-12 season before leading New York to 54 wins last year, is certain to be let go after this run mercifully ends.
Whether or not this is deserved isn’t the point. Knicks owner James Dolan loves scapegoats, and Woodson was probably a goner in Dolan’s eyes well before he hired Phil Jackson to (as of this writing, before Isiah Thomas sends Dolan another text) run the Knicks. Phil Jackson, sporting that beautiful basketball mind alongside an ego the size of South Dakota, is also going to want a fresh re-boot with his own cast of characters.
The NBA is taking a little break on Monday, in deference to the NCAA Men’s Basketball title match, and it appears that Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas got a little out of hand on Sunday evening in anticipation of the day off. The second-year big man was cited by Ontario police after being spotted at a drive-through operating a vehicle with open bottles of beer visible from the outside.
He was charged with impaired driving and will appear in court later this month. Valanciunas was also found to be under the influence of alcohol by the Ontario Provincial Police.
On Monday evening, the Raptors issued a statement:
We were made aware this morning of the incident involving Jonas Valanciunas and are disappointed he has put himself in this situation. We take this matter very seriously as we have the highest expectations for all members of our organization.
At this time we are continuing to gather information and we will comment further when appropriate.
Jonas also released a statement:
Valanciunas statement: "I hold myself to a high standard and take my role as a member of the Toronto Raptors very seriously..."
Larry Brown has a unique bit of insight into how New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson has been treated as he winds down New York’s disappointing 2013-14 season. Brown was the New York Knicks’ head coach in 2005-06, a disastrous year that saw Larry attempt to both coach a team of un-coachable talents, all while attempting to secure a gig as personnel boss, in a failed bid to wrest control from Isiah Thomas. He also is no great fan of new Knicks el jefe Phil Jackson, whom Brown coached against for years while running the Clippers, Pacers, 76ers, Pistons, Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats. Brown even once alleged that Jackson gave him the “cold fish” treatment with a handshake in the moments following Detroit’s dismissal of Jackson’s Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals.
By now it’s been pretty well established Milwaukee Bucks forward Larry Sanders is winding down his starring role in the Worst Season Ever. The Bucks were built to win, at a moderate pace at least, and instead they’re going to probably finish 2013-14 with the worst record in the NBA. The team us up for sale, to varying degrees that haven’t been sussed out yet, while coach Larry Drew and general manager John Hammond await the potential purgatory that a change in ownership could create. Sanders was signed to a four-year, $44 million contract extension before the season started, and the face of the franchise has responded by getting into an alleged bar fight, responding with poor play following an injury allegedly sustained in that fight, and he was recently suspended from the NBA for marijuana use.