Morning Shootaround — April 25



VIDEO: Daily Zap for games played April 24

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Hibbert, Hill still struggling | Warriors open to name change? | Westbrook, Durant not looking for each other? | Big O says Anthony should sign with Houston

No. 1: What to do about Hibbert, Hill? — The Indiana Pacers wake up this morning staring at a 2-1 deficit in their first-round series with the Atlanta Hawks and with the knowledge that All-Star center Roy Hibbert has been a non-factor thus far. How does top-seeded Indiana get back on track? How does it get Hibbert involved in things again? And, oh yeah, how does it get point guard George Hill — who has also struggled mightily against his Hawks counter part, Jeff Teague — on track, too? Mark Montieth of Pacers.com digs into the issues with both players:

Whether Hibbert starts or not isn’t that big of a concern. It’s how long Vogel stays with him when he’s struggling. Hibbert played just 19 minutes on Thursday, one less than his backup, Ian Mahinmi. The Hawks present an impossible matchup for him defensively, and if he can’t score he has little to offer. If he only rebounded and defended the lane, he’d be the role player the Pacers need, but he’s not doing that, either.

Hibbert grabbed 16 rebounds in the season-opening win over Orlando, and hasn’t matched that since. His rebound total reached double figures in 10 of the first 20 games, and he had eight or more in five of the others. But, he’s grabbed 10 or more rebounds in just seven of the last 39 games, none in the playoffs.

Hill presents another challenge for Vogel. He hit just 1-of-11 shots on Thursday, and was guilty of a crucial turnover and defensive lapse late in the game. Hill’s a point guard who admits he doesn’t really want to be a point guard, and is usually at his best when he’s playing off-guard. He’s not assertive by nature, and seems to have to remind himself constantly to be aggressive.

Hibbert and Hill – both of whom scored four points in the game – were hardly the only factors in the loss. The effort wasn’t playoff caliber, proven by the difference in free throw attempts. Atlanta had 37, the Pacers had 21. George, although producing his third double-double of the series, hit just 3-of-11 shots, and wasn’t the defensive force he had been in Game 2.

It’s easy to call for a new starting lineup, or for benching starters altogether. The best coaches, though, avoid over-reaction, and the ever-upbeat Vogel has done that well throughout his time with Pacers. This, however, is the most desperate circumstance he’s faced. He says he loves the chess match of coaching in the playoffs, but another loss on Saturday puts him in danger of checkmate.

He has to figure a way out. And he might have to do it without two key pieces.


VIDEO: The Inside the NBA crew discusses Roy Hibbert’s struggles of late

***

No. 2: Warriors open to fan input on team’s nameOn Tuesday of this week, the Warriors announced they had purchased 12 acres of land in the Mission Bay neighborhood to construct a new arena for the team that is slated to open in the 2018-19 season. With that change of location comes news, too, that the team might be open to changing its name, writes Ramona Shelbourne of ESPN.com:

The Golden State Warriors say they will be seeking input from fans on whether they should change their name after announcing earlier this week they’d purchased a 12-acre property in the Mission Bay district of San Francisco that they plan to use for a new arena.The franchise will keep the Warriors moniker they’ve used since they were founded in Philadelphia in 1946 but could readopt the name for which they were known when they played in San Francisco from 1962-71 — the San Francisco Warriors.

“We’re very curious what our fans think of that,” Warriors president and CEO Rick Welts told ESPN.com. “I couldn’t imagine making that decision in the very near future, but we definitely want to see what our fans prefer.”

While the name change and move out of Oracle Arena in Oakland to a state-of-the-art venue before the 2018-19 season might seem a bit jarring to the blue-collar identity of the franchise, Welts said that it’s important to the franchise to preserve as much about what makes Oracle Arena one of the best home courts in the NBA.

When the Warriors purchased the 12-acre private property from Salesforce.com on Saturday, it essentially confirmed they’d scrapped plans to move to a waterfront site on Piers 30-32 near the San Francisco Giants’ ballpark.

Welts said the regulatory hoops they’d have to jump through to get that project approved became too burdensome and “there came a point in time where certainty just became the most important thing.”

While the new arena won’t sit on the piers with striking views of the Bay Bridge, Welts said the new property will also have unobstructed views of the San Francisco Bay. The only thing standing between the new arena, which will also include a practice facility and team offices, will be a five-acre park.

***

No. 3: Westbrook, Durant ignoring each other on offense?In Game 3 last night in Memphis, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 60 of OKC’s 95 points as both players logged roughly 40 minutes in the game. Their scoring, is, of course, crucial to the Thunder’s chances of winning on any night, but the duo went a combined 19 of 53 from the field and had five assists between them. That lack of passing — not just to teammates, but also each other — might be what is most troubling for the Thunder right now, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com:

There is no doubt the Grizzlies are well prepared for their opponent. Directing his first playoff series, coach Dave Joerger has schooled his team well. They generally know the Thunder’s plays, and they are routinely shutting down the first option. This, however, is typical playoff business for a well-coached and well-drilled team, which the Grizzlies are.

Where it has been going off script is what happens when the Thunder run into their first road block. Durant and Westbrook have just been breaking off the options and trying to do it themselves. It’s one thing not to pass to Kendrick Perkins or just not trust Reggie Jackson – who has been a complete nonfactor after a breakout regular season and is just 3-of-19 shooting in the three games.

But Westbrook and Durant aren’t even looking to each other much, acting as if one of them isn’t even out there at times. The number of possessions on which they go 1-on-3 or worse are piling up. Their last mistake summarized it. Down three points with 40 seconds in overtime, and not needing a 3-pointer, Westbrook launched a 27-footer while Serge Ibaka stood alone near the basket.

When chance allowed an offensive rebound, Durant hoisted a 29-footer while being covered well. That’s not to say he shouldn’t be the guy taking that shot, but not at least trying to get some help to get it off spoke to the way he’s begun pressing by himself.

This style of play is compounding, of course. When they’re at their worst, Durant and Westbrook sometimes won’t pass to or screen for each other.

“I took some bad ones,” Westbrook admitted. “A lot of them I took when we needed them.”

True enough, Westbrook led the comeback drive with a flurry of forced attacks, but his sense of “need” has always been prone to skew a bit off course. In fact, that very topic has been one of the league’s more polarizing over the past few years.

Looking at it more on a micro scale, watching Westbrook and Durant force shot after shot Thursday, regardless of the score, was more the problem than the solution. They combined for just five assists Thursday, which sort of says it all.

“We just have to be better next game, just have to be,” Durant said. “We’re down 2-1, and we don’t want to go into a bigger hole than that. We just have to believe in each other and stick together.”


VIDEO: The Inside the NBA crew discusses OKC’s style of play in Game 3

***

No. 4: Big O says ‘Melo should leave New York for Houston — If you know anything about NBA history, you know that Hall of Fame point guard Oscar Robertson was not only the only player to ever average a triple-double, but a key force in allowing free agency to take hold in the league. On Thursday, Robertson appeared on the NBA’s SiriusXM radio show and was asked his thoughts about this summer’s big free agent, Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, and what he should do this summer. Robertson didn’t mince words and thinks ‘Melo would be best suited playing alongside Dwight Howard in Houston:

“I would leave today [if I were Carmelo],” Roberston said on SiriusXM NBA radio Thursday. “… Let me tell you why: wherever that kid has gone, when he was at Denver, they had a team that fooled around with the ball, fooled around with the ball, then all of the sudden when they needed a basket, threw it to Carmelo. Then, when he shot the ball, they said he shot too much. Then when he didn’t shoot they said he didn’t shoot enough.

“No matter what he does in New York they’re going to criticize him, the people are going to criticize him, because you got guys on [the Knicks] that cannot play. You got guys that are hurt all the time.”

Robertson thinks Houston would be a perfect fit for Anthony, who was second in the NBA in scoring last season and pulled down a career-high 8.1 rebounds per game.

“If he goes to Houston, they’re gonna win everything,” Robertson told host and well-known Knicks fan Spike Lee. “You look at LeBron [James], LeBron’s got a great game and the kid down at Oklahoma, [Kevin] Durant‘s got a great game — they can’t out-shoot Carmelo. … I’ve seen him in a lot of basketball games over the years and I’m telling you right now the kid, he just can get that shot away. Now he’s gotten smarter, he’s going to the basket a lot. But what gets me is that everyone thinks that everything that happens bad is his fault.”

Anthony has been complimentary of Phil Jackson since the 13-time NBA champ took over as Knicks president last month.

He called the Knicks’ hiring of Jackson a ‘power move’ in March.

But Robertson, a 12-time All Star, downplayed Jackson’s potential impact on Anthony’s free agency.

“Let me ask you: When was the last time Phil Jackson played? … I think Phil is great to have gotten $12 million out of [Knicks owner Jim Dolan]. Super job. Take the money and run,” Roberston said. “If I were Carmelo I would say, ‘Listen, I’m not gonna stay here and take all this gruff and all this criticism. You got other guys on this team making $12, $15, $16 million and doing nothing, and here I am averaging 28, 29 points per game.’ “

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Ever wonder what star players talk to referees about before the game? Inside the NBA’s cameras captured one such conversation from last night’s Thunder-Grizzlies game … A good, if early, look at which teams have what kind of salary-cap room this summer … Warriors owner Joe Lacob vows that the team will re-sign Klay Thompson … ICYMI, at halftime of last night’s Thunder-Grizzlies broadcast on TNT, Charles Barkley issued a challenge of sorts to Kevin Durant

ICYMI(s) OF THE NIGHT: If you believe in the basketball gods, they were obviously smiling down on Jeff Teague and Russell Westbrook last night … 


VIDEO: Jeff Teague nails a one-footed, buzzer-beating 3-pointer in Game 3


VIDEO: Russell Westbrook his the amazing 3-pointer and draws the foul, too

53 Comments

  1. NBAAllDay says:

    Kevin Durant will win the regular season MVP trophy this year because Russell Westbrook was out so much. As long as Westbrook is on the floor with him, he will NEVER win MVP again. Their recent play is exactly why.

  2. nofacek1lla says:

    **YUP.. someone that shoots 12 of 34 a night is somebodyi really want on my team.. AND MELO out-shoot Durant?? LMAO your such a clown!

    • bunbury says:

      They are problably very good friends. but he did said some interesting things– the players in NY are getting injured all the time. you cant win like that. but listen big o, when a team wins the superstar gets all the credit so I think it’s fair that when the team lose the superstar should get all the blame.

  3. nofacek1lla says:

    YUP.. Shooting 12 of 34 a night is someone i really want on my team.. AND MELO out-shoot Anthony? LMAO your such a clown!

  4. edward says:

    big O is jealous with Phil

  5. dunkmycat7 says:

    OSCAR… OSCAR… OSCAR…
    Put Melo with Harden ?
    RU kidding me ?
    Who’s gonna play D on that team ?
    HEY DWIGHT !!!
    HALL of Famer PLAYER
    Totally dumb idea.

  6. exiledD says:

    seriously Big O genuinely adore Carmelo, his advise comes with no interest of saying anything but the right thing.

    hiring Phil was a great move but working from LA is not mean he is actually on the job.

    Houston might need to let Parson go which is hard , this guy can be the next Pippen. and NY might not take Lin for sure unless someone think Phil is not so smart , hopefully will work out somehow

  7. The NBA just want to show us the 3-22 FG of Paul Gearge and the dunks of the rookies who average 3.2PPG, 21%FG, 6.1 Turnovers and the people here and Youtube made NBA mix about guys who dunks good, they thinks the players who dunks good are the best and the Heat in NBA Finals was lucky (JUST LUCKY).

    Great players ? Ginobili is one.

    Best Team ever is San Antonio every year a strong team since last 18 years.

    SPURS OLD ? TRY TO BEAT US!!!

    Bye Heat fans.

  8. nba finals says:

    Melo just go to Nola

  9. Nino says:

    Who has to pay attention to OR’s opinion? Anthony should stay in NY to prove himself of being a leader, something that OR does not believe he is. In Houston there is nothing to look for. There is a guy who not always goes to play, he is in the center, and there is another on who shoots too much for his status, he has a big beard. SO, MELO, DON’T GO THERE.

  10. I hope melo stays away from the blazers…There are rumors he want’s to play with aldrige and lillard …few other stars have said this as well. PLEASE DONT COME TO PORTLAND!!! I’d much rather have a different player then melo, go to Houston or the Lakers!

  11. J says:

    Wall for russell wesbrook, just perfect

  12. Chris says:

    I didn’t think the Big O was THAT old. That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard one of the game’s legends ever say. Why does everyone want to ship stars to Houston? Which part, you ask?

    EVERYTHING he said. On Phil Jackson, “Great job. Take the money and run.” Why would Phil sign a five year contract with the team he played for just to take the money and run.? “What’s the last time you’ve seen Phil play?” That’s even worse!! What does that have to do with anything?!?!

  13. Najeero says:

    Durant and Westbrook are an exciting dynamic dull, but they cant be champions playing ike that. Westbrook needs to fall back and become more of a playmaker and let Durant be the guy. But I know thats not Westbrook’s game. They’re definitely not Payton and Kemp or Wilkens and Jack Sikma.

  14. Miles Fan says:

    A lot of young, uniformed about the history of the game making comments here…when the “Big O” speaks you guys need to listen, for real

  15. crusher says:

    pacers fight for the 1 seed too much so right now they are tired an the atl is a good runing shooting team even miami does have a hard time with them

  16. doc says:

    If Carmelo went to Houston he would be the third scoring option but still would fire 30 shots a game. Dwight would demand a trade because he can’t get the ball from Carmelo.

  17. BMelo says:

    Carmelo Anthony is not built to win period, end of discussion.

  18. NBAGUru says:

    Give that man above me an award. He said ” this man is loyal to his city and his team” hahahahahahahah

  19. Bucks4Life says:

    Melo can go to any team he wants. But he has a harder time winning a title w/ the Knicks dis-organization.

    Things will be more interesting this summer than last, esp for my team.

  20. Raph says:

    Melo going to Houston doesn’t make that defense any better, they’ll get lit up even more than they do already… On the other hand, they’ll be unguardable.

  21. Ryan says:

    Westbrook should be traded. Send him off with Perkins as a package and start rebuilding around Kevin Durant who is obviously the better player. Westbrook needs his own team and will not play sidekick because he feels he is better than that.

    • Troy says:

      I have been saying this for 2 years “West Brook is damaging OKC”
      To comment on Oscar Robertson’s opinion for Melo. No way MELO, stay away from DH. DH needs to grow up first to help his team to be a contender,

  22. None Of The Above says:

    A problem with Westbrook is he likes to shoot too much and he is too inconsistent at it. Ibaka is a better midrange shooter than him but does not get that many shots. OKC really need a low post scorer though as they rely too much on jumpers and if they aren’t going in they’ve got little option elsewhere.

  23. Kevin R says:

    Guys guys, I thought that Jeff Teague 3 point was illegal… Wasn’t that supposed to be out of bounds?

    • skrutz says:

      It was, but refs missed that. Can’t change it if they didnt call it on the floor. Still impressive.

  24. Big Al says:

    Westbrook is clearly ruining everything by playing for himself. When he was out with injuries during the regular season, the Thunder hardly suffered. None of his scoring efforts matter when the team loses anyway. Without him, OKC were neck-and-neck with SA in the standings, but they were relegated to second in the end, mainly because his occasional contests for who will score more versus Durant ends up with team losses. Now we realize how guys like Sefo add great value to a championship squad. Sorry Russell, but you’re not as important as you think you are, so start playing for the team or go elsewhere next season.

  25. Savion Giles says:

    If melo wanna win he should go to the lakers get the 3 seed and play miami in the finals then the nba will sky rocket in views win win everyone happy

  26. T says:

    All these people saying OKC should trade Westbrook for Rhondo.. Are you crazy? Why would they want to downgrade by trading for Rhondo? They already did that when they traded James Harden away. There’s no scorers on OKC outside KD and Westbrook.

  27. realjaystudz says:

    People need to stop saying OKC is falling apart and not playing as a team…okay they had a bad game as a team. It happens. Every team has a game where they shoot poorly and make bad decisions here and there. And the Grizzlies aren’t even a true 7 seed. Gasol was out for how many games this season. They should have definitely been, at worst, a 6 seed, but probably a 5 seed, and they could have competed for the 4 seed. Memphis is a good team. They’re disciplined, and they play good playoff basketball. They’re good at slowing the game down to their own pace and breaking their opponents down. Every series in the West has the potential to be a tough series for both teams. OKC can still come out with it for sure.

  28. sneakerplaya says:

    Melo should go to Chicago! It makes sense for him to go there. One, all Chicago needs to win a championship is an great offensive player. This is a defensive minded team with the Defensive Player of the Year in Noah. Yes, they do have Derrick Rose but due to his injuries, they need someone else. Which bring me to number 2. Bringing in another superstar like Melo to the equation would provide relief to Derrick Rose upon his return. Rose doesn’t have to be the scorer on the team and he can focus on running the offense. Become that true point guard. Also, there wouldn’t be that much pressure put on him to become what he was a few years ago a such a quick pace. He can work on it. 3. Tom Thibodeau! One of the best couches in this league. Look at what he has done with Chicago now without Rose and getting rid of Deng, Imagine Rose back alongside Noah with Melo. That would be one great trio for him to work with.

    Now Houston is a no go! You adding 2 scorers on the same team will not work! That is what OKC is suffering from right now in Westbrook and Durrant. Adding Melo and Harden on the same team will not work especially when you put Howard into the mix. Houston already has a great team. They just need time and Howard needs to play like a big. He should be able to dominate some of his competitors and he is not.

  29. standard says:

    the fans are just in chock to see this happening.
    you are just a miami bandwagon that’s what you are.

  30. Aaron says:

    The Warriors should just call themselves the Bay Area Warriors.

  31. As a Knicks fan, I think Melo should leave NY. Not because of the critics as I disagree with OP because if anything the writers are acknowledging that he is consistent. I’d leave because it takes time to build a championship team even with the Zen master and all, it’s gonna take what, 2, 3 years at least? Melo ain’t getting any younger and he needs to win, that’s the most important thing. When you got fools like JR, Bargnani and Felton, these are not the type of players he needs around him if he’s going for that final.

  32. helveyn says:

    PACERS IS NOT A CONTENDERS….THEY ARE A PRETENDERS…

  33. helveyn says:

    the pacers team is notm a contenders….they are a PRETENDERS./…..

  34. Rob says:

    Like I said yesterday, OKC will not win a championship with Westbrook in it. A trade in the off season that makes sense is Westbrook for Rondo. Thats a win win situation. Westbrook can take as many shots as he wants and can be a winning team. Rondo can do what he does best and that is feed everyone in OKC make everyone better.Durant is by far the best player in the league. If Westbrook does not take a step back like Wade did for Lebron, then it will not work. Goodluck to OKC in the playoffs. Looks like a first round exit courtesy of Westbrook.

    • Suriken says:

      No need to trade Westbrook at all. Just put him on shooting guard position and insert Reggie Jackson in the starting five. Though Westbrook is not a perimeter defense monster like Sefolosha, but he is athletic enough to make positive impact on defense and offense either. Simply saying it’s too late to drink borjomi for OKC, Westbrook can’t be traded because they had already traded Harden getting nothing in return.

  35. I just hope tht the Warriors can move to the next round

  36. Elijah 41 says:

    if were Sam Presti GM for the Oklahoma City Thunder, I will trade Russell Westbrook to the Boston Celtics in Exchange for Rajon Rondo…Westbrook and Durant will complete for the ball and demand it..But if Rondo will be the partner of Durant, KD will have unlimited touches of the ball..and Westbrook will be free doing his thing in Boston…

    • artifex says:

      and if I were the GM of the Celtics I wouldn’t let Rondo go. No way.
      He is the heart and soul of this team now.
      The last member of the chamionship team (or did I miss one? – PP, KG, Ray, Baby, Nate, Perk, Scal all gone).

      And trading players away shouldn”t be the 1st option. Solving the issues is whats needed now = and see if it can be fixed. Just a couple of months ago everyone was at praise for Westbrook and last playoffs it was said, it shows the value of Westbrook that they can’t win without him. Now, there are issues and everyone is hopping the other way – “Russ is the problem”. They need guidance and solve it and they will be fine – though it may cost them this years championship.
      I’d agree rather that they need a scoring option under the basket. Again – trade or solving the issue (Ibaka inside) have to weighed

  37. ghut says:

    I wonder what’s the reaction of all the pacers fans who said that indiana will beat miami? c’mon man, i know those fans are hiding now. or maybe, they’ll join paul george and roy hibbert go fishing. haha!

    • Well I’m one of those that said that if there is 1 team in the east that can mess it up for the Heat in the playoffs, it would be the Pacers. I still stick to it.

      As a Celtic fan I saw the C’s play horrible against some opponents (Raptors, Hawks) but when the Heat were in town they were fired up and we got a great battle on the floor. So the Pacers are struggling. They might be out in the 1st round…..or win it in 6 or 7. We will see. But u can be sure that if they meet Miami in the ECF it will be a different ballgame.

    • BadAd says:

      remember when they said the pacers would reach 70 points? haha

    • chrisso says:

      melo said that he wants to stay with the knicks and is willing to take a pay cut for his team. phil is going to use this to the knicks advantage and build a great team around carmelo. get rid of JR Felton Shump, keep Tim Chandler Melo together. this is the beginning of the legacy NYC has long been wanted.. haters can have their opinions but be realistic, this man is loyal to his city and his team

    • l0l says:

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      THE GREATEST COMMENT EVER ON NBA.COM