– How Donatas Motiejunas Became Houston Rockets’ Best Low-Post Scorer Threat (from Kelly Scaletta, Bleacher Report):
” Donatas Motiejunas has turned out to be the right answer, but apparently the Houston Rockets got the question wrong. They thought he was going to be their stretch 4. Instead, he’s become the team’s best low-post scorer.
And as far as the Rockets’ philosophy goes, that’s just as good. There are two ways they like to score: inside the restricted area and outside the three-point line. While Motiejunas has shown improvement in the latter—shooting 36.6 percent from deep this year—it’s inside the smaller semi-circle he’s shown the most progress.”
Read and view it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2392055-how-donatas-motiejunas-became-houston-rockets-best-low-post-scorer-threat
– Stan Van Gundy says mercurial, emotional 2014-15 ‘seems like about 10 years’ (from David Mayo, mlive.com):
” Stan Van Gundy’s comeback to coaching has seemed like more than one season, the Detroit Pistons president of basketball operations and head coach acknowledged today.
“I say that all the time to my assistants — it seems like about 10 years, yeah,” Van Gundy said after today’s shootaround here, where the Pistons play the Los Angeles Lakers tonight.
There were the 5-23 Pistons, the post-Josh Smith Pistons, the pre-Brandon Jennings-injury Pistons, and the post-trade-deadline Pistons who have had struggled against perhaps the most difficult schedule stretch of the year.
The rebuild of a downtrodden franchise has remained the central focus, but with playoff hopes heightened at the All-Star break, and all but dashed a scant three weeks later, the ride has been emotionally taxing.”
Read it here: http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2015/03/detroit_pistons_stan_van_gundy_8.html
– 76ers Offense Adjusts (from Dan Falcone, thesixersense.com):
” The 76ers offensive attack has been altered slightly since the departure of Dribble-Drive Offensive guru Vance Walberg just a couple of weeks ago.
Walberg has taken a job with George Karl, the newly acquired head coach of the Sacramento Kings.
The 76ers allowed Vance Walberg out of his contract to reunite with Karl and move back to the west coast. Walberg had coached at both Pepperdine and Fresno City previously and also worked with Karl with the Denver Nuggets.
Philly… used some of his concepts, but mostly the Spurs Offense . One of the interesting lasting effects of Walberg will be how the Sixers incorporate some dribble-drive concepts within the larger Spurs Motion set of concepts. For much of the season, Walberg’s influence seemed apparent as the offense featured more of: an attack mentality, the utilization of gaps, the corner three, and the utilization of spacing.
For instance, in the last outing against the Hawks, the Sixers managed to combine the offensive philosophies rather well.
Read it here: http://thesixersense.com/2015/03/11/76ers-offense-adjusts-without-guru-vance-walberg/
– Andrew Wiggins’ defensive abilities and potential being tested nightly (from Zach Harper, CBS Sports):
” (T)he season has been tough for the Wolves. Various key injuries to veterans depleted an already shaky roster as they began their latest rebuilding effort they’re hoping will be more fruitful than the previous two. No matter what the lineup has looked like, they’ve asked Wiggins to be the star on the court on both sides of the ball.
Wiggins has responded well, finding his rhythm has a scorer averaging 18.6 points on 46.6 percent shooting since December 23 (36 games). More impressively, he continues to take on the best scorers around the league and makes them work for every bit of success. The recently turned 20-year old rookie is the Wolves’ leading defensive option.
Over his last eight games, he’s had to defend James Harden, Jimmy Butler, and even Chris Paul. Those players have had good games, but it’s the way Wiggins has approached each defensive match-up that has been fascinating in showing his growth as a defender. Let’s take a look at each of those very different match-ups to look at where he’s excelled and where he needs a little more work and experience.”
Read and view it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25101915/andrew-wiggins-defensive-abilities-and-potential-being-tested-nightly
– Awaiting Paul George’s return, Pacers in good playoff shape (from Shaun Powell, nba.com):
” Indiana has held down the fort all season without its superstar and is in position for a playoff push.”
Read it here: http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/shaun_powell/03/10/indiana-pacers-await-paul-georges-return-as-they-aim-for-2015-nba-playoffs/index.html
– Assistant Coach Antonio Lang enjoying new role with Jazz (from Kaz Nagatzuka, Japan Times):
“We basically do everything, all assistants,” Lang told The Japan Times in a recent interview. “We watch teams, we know exactly what we are going to execute, instead of having someone from the outside scouting for us. And that’s the quickest way to learn. I’ve been learning a lot.”
Lang said that he also helps get big men like forward Trevor Booker and center Derrick Favors into more offensive plays, while he has some responsibility for the team’s transition defense.
Lang added that although he played in the NBA for six years, he has faced some challenges being a coach in the world’s best hoop circuit.
He said that the most striking adjustment he’s had to make was to the NBA rules, because he’d worked under FIBA regulations in his previous 13 years as a player and coach in Japan and Brazil.
“That’s just a different game and a different type of players,” Lang said. “The spacing is different. Defensively, defensive strategies are different because of the spacing. Offensively, they play differently because of the spacing, because it’s an illegal defense. Stuff like that.””
Read it here: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2015/03/11/basketball/nba/former-nbl-coach-lang-enjoying-new-role-jazz/?#.VQBwF_nF_wo
– Hornets Coach Steve Clifford: The Basketball Lifer, Part One (from Sam Perley, hornets.com):
Read it here: http://www.nba.com/hornets/out-bounds-3/10/15
– Pistons scouting report never arrives a minute too soon — and isn’t wanted until then (from David Mayo, mlive.com):
” The Pistons (23-40) play the Warriors in a 10:30 p.m. game at Oracle Arena, and while their assistant coaches had the scouting report prepared in advance, Van Gundy said before Tuesday’s game against the Lakers that he doesn’t do advance preparation for situations like the current four-game, five-day western road trip.
It’s one game at a time, no matter how great the temptation to look ahead to a team as explosive as the Warriors with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and a dynamic inside game.
“I don’t work ahead because then I get confused,” Van Gundy said Tuesday. “Stay focused on the game in front of you. Like, I’ve got Golden State on my laptop already, the film, but if I watch that, I’ll come in confused between their play calls and L.A.’s play calls, and everything else.
“And it doesn’t do you any good to be early anyway, because you’ve got until tomorrow. Until we walk through as a team at noon tomorrow, then that’s when I’ve got to have everything down on how we’re going to play.”
By then, the assistant coaches already have met with players before the game-day walk-through to go over the game plan.
And before that meeting, Van Gundy said he needs four to five hours of preparation time, scouting report in hand, to be able to brief his assistants.”
Read it here: http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2015/03/pistons_patter_detroit_scoutin.html
– These Mavericks are not good (from Tim Cato, mavsmoneyball.com):
Read it here: http://www.mavsmoneyball.com/2015/3/11/8188925/dallas-mavericks-not-good-playoffs
– D-League is Testing Rule Changes (from Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com):
” Positive feedback could pave way to changes in NBA in 2015-16″
Read it here: http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/scott_howard_cooper/03/10/headsets-among-rule-changes-d-league-is-trying-out/index.html
– Nuggets’ Melvin Hunt: “I’ve always viewed myself as a head coach” (from Christopher Dempsey, Denver Post):
“For me, real coaching is when you’re not a slave to your system,” Hunt said. “For me, the best coaches I’ve been around reinvent themselves. The first time I really saw that and it stood out to me was in college. Tom Penders at Texas. The best thing about coaching to me is being able to look at what we have, evaluate it and then trying to figure out ways to get the best out of it. I’m trying to step back and trying to put the guys in position to where they can be successful.”
Read it here: http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_27685397/melvin-hunt-ive-always-viewed-myself-head-coach
– Jazz notebook: Strong play of Favors, defense help fuel Jazz resurgence (from Randy Hollis, deseretnews.com):
Read it here: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865623920/Jazz-notebook-Strong-play-of-Favors-defense-help-fuel-Jazz-resurgence.html?pg=all
– D-League Deconstruction: The Necessary Plan to Fix the NBA’s Farm System (from Arn Tellem, Grantland):
Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/d-league-deconstruction-the-necessary-plan-to-fix-the-nbas-farm-system/
And for those with access to ESPN Insider:
– C’mon, Doc; DeAndre Jordan’s not DPOY (from Tom Haberstroh):
” Despite his coach’s campaigning, the Clips’ center isn’t the NBA’s top defender”
Read it here: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12457815
Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
– Alexey Shved: http://www.newsday.com/sports/basketball/knicks/alexey-shved-making-the-most-of-his-playing-time-with-knicks-1.10043690
– Mitch McGary; http://newsok.com/okcs-healing-roster-leaves-few-minutes-for-mitch-mcgary/article/5400165
– Tony Allen: http://www.csnne.com/blog/celtics-talk/former-celtic-allen-still-doing-his-thing-griz
– Tristan Thompson: http://kingjamesgospel.com/2015/03/11/tristan-thompson-cleveland-cavaliers-x-factor/ and http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2392524-tristan-thompson-will-be-expensive-necessity-not-luxury-for-cleveland-cavs
– Gigi Datome/James Young: http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics_nba/boston_celtics/2015/03/young_celtics_must_seize_moment
– Jordan Clarkson: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2392357-jordan-clarkson-emerging-as-impressive-nba-draft-steal-for-los-angeles-lakers
– Carl Landry: http://cowbellkingdom.com/carl-landry-takes-utility-role-in-stride/
– Nerlens Noel: http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VPalNykAACgAkLmB/a-look-at-nerlens-noels-rookie-season
– LaMarcus Aldridge: http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/ian_thomsen/03/11/portland-trail-blazers-lamarcus-aldridge-attacks-adversity-in-chase-for-championship/
– Andre Miller: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/111903120/andre-miller-sacramento-kings-nba-longevity
– Nikola Pekovic: http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/shaun_powell/03/10/indiana-pacers-await-paul-georges-return-as-they-aim-for-2015-nba-playoffs/index.html
– Hassan Whiteside: http://www.complex.com/sports/2015/03/hassan-whiteside-miami-heat
– Rodney Stuckey: http://www.vigilantsports.com/2015/03/10/stuckey-was-cookin-scores-a-season-high-34-points-as-pacers-win-six-straight/