Morning shootaround — Dec. 16


VIDEO: Highlights from games played Dec. 15

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Kings, Malone were a stylistic mismatch | Monroe denies trade rumors | Bucks win thriller but lose Parker | Blazers lose Lopez for ‘a while

No. 1: Kings, Malone were a stylistic mismatch — Two days after the surprise firing of coach Michael Malone in Sacramento, we’re finally starting to get a few explanations. In a session yesterday with the media, Kings GM Pete D’Allesandro said it didn’t matter what Malone’s record was, it was more about the team’s style of play and philosophy. As Jason Jones writes in the Sacramento Bee

Malone was a coaching disciple of defensive-minded Jeff Van Gundy and Malone’s father, Brendan, an assistant with the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons when they won NBA championships in 1989 and 1990.

But defense is not what the front office or ownership wants to sell to fans.

“It wasn’t about wins and losses,” D’Alessandro said. “I didn’t really care about what our record was. It’s about who we want to be, what we want our identity to be as a team.”

That vision is a team that plays a fast-paced offensive style Tyrone Corbin will try to implement as interim coach.

D’Alessandro would like to see the Kings play like the Rick Adelman-coached Sacramento teams more than a decade ago, when they piled up wins with a dynamic offense – especially with the new downtown arena expected to open in 2016.

“What we’re trying to do is put a style in that reflects the Sacramento fan base, which to us is a free-flowing, up-and-down style of play,” D’Alessandro said. “That’s what we’re striving for; we have time now to install it before we get there. I think it’s going to ignite the arena when we’re playing with the style of play we intend to play with.”

Now the questions are whether the Kings, 11-13 overall and 2-7 without Cousins, have the players to make that style work and direct the team long term.

D’Alessandro wouldn’t commit to Corbin for the rest of the season, though he said Corbin has his support. The Kings are interested in veteran coach George Karl, an analyst for ESPN who was fired by Denver following the 2012-13 season, according to league sources. D’Alessandro worked with Karl in Denver.

Chris Mullin, a Hall of Fame player and an adviser to primary owner Vivek Ranadive, might be interested in the job, league sources said.

Until a permanent coach is hired, Corbin will have the challenge of changing the team’s style.

“It’s so new right now,” Corbin said. “I’m just trying to weather the storm right now and get these guys ready to play a game (Tuesday).”

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No. 2: Monroe denies trade rumors — A day after a story in the Sporting News reported that he “badly” wanted to be traded by the Detroit Pistons, both Greg Monroe and Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy strongly refuted the rumors that Monroe was on the block. As Vince Ellis writes in the Detroit Free-Press

“They put that stuff out there, say somebody said it and then I got to answer for it, I really don’t have time for that,” Monroe said before tonight’s game at the Los Angeles Clippers.

On the rumors, he added: “It’s getting more irritating. We lost 13 games in row, won a couple of games, and now you got to hear this.”

Sporting News writer Sean Deveney, citing sources, says Monroe “badly” wants out of Detroit and that the team is seeking a first-round pick in return.

He emphatically said he is open to re-signing with the Pistons.

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy also denied the aspect of the Sporting News report saying the Pistons were seeking a first-round pick for Monroe. “I don’t know where that stuff comes from,” Van Gundy said. “We haven’t talked to anybody about trading Greg Monroe.”

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No. 3: Bucks win thriller but lose Parker — On the one hand, it was a big night for the Milwaukee Bucks in the desert, as they battled the Phoenix Suns and won on a game-winning buzzer beater. But on the other hand, the Bucks had to play most of the second half without rookie of the year candidate and franchise building block Jabari Parker, who went down with a non-contact knee injury and wasn’t able to return. As Charles Gardner writes for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Parker’s left knee buckled without contact as he made a drive in transition and he was unable to leave the floor under his own power. He was carried off the court by teammates Zaza Pachulia and Johnny O’Bryant.

“As of right now we don’t know anything. They’ll do all the tests tomorrow and we’ll be able to report something then,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said after the game.

Pachulia, who played a key role in the Bucks’ comeback victory, said all of Parker’s teammates were wishing him the best.

“I hope he’s going to be OK,” Pachulia said. “He’s a great young player. This team and this organization, the whole city counts on him. He has a lot of years ahead of him in his great career. Injuries are part of the game.

“I hope it’s not anything serious. We are all praying for him.

“It was tough to see your teammate going down and not being able to walk himself. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. The doctor is going to make a decision, obviously. But we want to him to have a speedy recovery, whatever it is. We really need him.”

Parker was driving to the basket but his knee gave way before he had mild contact with the Suns’ P.J. Tucker. A double foul was called on the play but there was little contact to merit that.

Jared Dudley said Parker “is the franchise.”

“He’s young; he’s a rookie,” Dudley said. “The good thing about it is he was smiling when he came in, so that’s always good. He was in, I don’t think it was a cast, but something where you couldn’t bend it, obviously.

“He’ll get an MRI. We’re hoping it’s just a sprain where you get him back in a couple weeks. You don’t want to have anything with him, so keep him in your prayers.”

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No. 4: Blazers lose Lopez for ‘a while — Meanwhile in Portland, the Blazers knocked off the defending champion Spurs, but in the process lost starting center Robin Lopez to a fractured hand. According to Portland coach Terry Stotts, Lopez will be out “a while,” and having to make do without Lopez is not something that the Blazers are relishing, writes Joe Freeman for The Oregonian

“I don’t even want to think about having to play without RoLo,” All-Star point guard Damian Lillard said.

Lopez said he wasn’t sure how he suffered the injury, but it looked like he smacked his hand against the back of Boris Diaw‘s head while pursuing a rebound under the hoop. Lopez didn’t show any immediate pain or discomfort and he continued to play with the fracture for a few minutes. Eventually he was pulled from the game, however, and preliminary tests indicated that he fractured his hand in two places.

“At first I thought I just jammed a finger or something,” Lopez said. “I didn’t hear a pop and I didn’t feel any pain or anything. So I was just trying to shake it off. But as play went along, my hand never could regain any strength, so I figured I was more of a liability out there.”

The true liability lies in Lopez’s absence, particularly a lengthy one. In many ways, he’s the heart and soul of the Blazers’ starting lineup, a selfless, rugged, lane-clogging big man who is the unsung hero to their free-wheeling offense and linchpin to their improved defense. Lopez is averaging just 9.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, but his value is not measured solely in statistics. He’s the team’s best screener, best interior defender and most unselfish player.

How important is he to the Blazers’ success? They are 73-34 with him on the roster and last season — his first in Portland — he was an integral part of the first Blazers team in 14 years to win a playoff series.

“I don’t like it, I don’t like it, I don’t like it,” LaMarcus Aldridge said, when asked about the prospect of playing without Lopez. “That’s it. I can’t get past I don’t like it.

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SOME RANDOM LINKS: Pacers owner Herb Simon says he’d be fine with a trade to bring back Lance Stephenson, but it’s not his call … Billionaire businessman Warren Buffet sat courtside in Cleveland last night to see LeBron James play … Kobe Bryant on passing Michael Jordan and the time he almost quit basketball for soccer … Mike Fratello will remain coach of the Ukraine National Team for at least a few more years … Darko Milicic will make his kickboxing debut later this week …

10 Comments

  1. justsayin says:

    Karl? Ha, called it.

    Also think it would be cool if the Blazers got the other Lopez from Brooklyn. The Morris bros work well in Phx, and hey at least one of the two Lopez should usually be healthy, lol.

  2. harriethehawk says:

    I like Coach Karl for Sacramento. Still don’t understand why he was fired from Denver. They haven’t been the same since he left. The Kings will still be a team “under construction” and won’t make it past the first round this year, if at all. I disagree w/ the “philosophy” for winning in Sacramento. Defense is absolutely KEY to winning. Just me.

  3. jumpman23 says:

    the kings have a chance to make the playoffs this year I think with rudy gay good all-around player and Demarcus cousins improving the kings can only get better to me the knigs is not to far away look how they got off to a great start a the season they just have to keep it up I think can will make the playoffs this year wacth it will happen this year probably 8th or 7th seed in the playoffs

  4. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    The Kings just don’t have the talent to compete in the west, with Cousins healthy they still would not of made the playoffs, there defense is bad, they need a few more players to go with Cousins, Gay, Mclemore, and Gay needs to work on his mid range jumper and a post move fade away jumper, Need a true center, three point shooter to spread the floor, and a soild point guard, or defender. they need a lot… oh and a coach, Marc Jackson defense?

  5. Mark Harmony says:

    This is the “All flash. No substance” era. Things get propped up on reputation alone and so long as that sells, all is well. D’Allesandro said it best with, “I didn’t really care about what our record was.” Really? Wow! In other words, the Kings could have been 20-4 and it wouldn’t have made a difference because someone wasn’t pleased with the team’s style of play. 😀 *hahaha!* Suffice it to say that I think the coming days, weeks and months are going to be interesting in Sacramento.

  6. Paul says:

    Vivek Ranadivé doesn’t really know what he’s doing yet. Cousins gets injured and of course as a direct result the Kings lose games they’d probably win if they had him in their lineup and that’s somehow Mike Malone’s fault? Yeah, team philosophy blah blah, spare me Pete D’Allesandro. What, did you think the Kings are a playoff team? In the West no less? 😏

  7. Rhedz03 says:

    Hiring Coach Karl would be an upgrade..But the real problem with the this team is defense. They already have good weapons in rudy gay and ben mclemore. They need to develop Bhullar and Cousins, If this 2 centers can play real defense then sacramento can really give a problem to alot of teams. If the team wants to sell more tickets they need to play good basketball focused mainly on defense. they have a young core in Cousins, Ben and gay…ACtually i would love to see cousins winning Defensive player of the year in some future hopefully he develops his defensive skills…He is the true face of the franchise…he is already an elite when it comes to offense and still have room to grow but defensively i think he needs to learn it from scratch.

  8. TJH says:

    Everyone wants to play a “free-flowing, up-and-down style”. Few teams can actually pull it off and produce a consistent winner. By the time this crew finally gets it’s personnel in order, it will have been another 2 seasons in purgatory. This whole thing has been a mess, and the end product will be another disappointing stretch in Sac-town.

    • TTKIN says:

      IMO, the NBA wanted so badly to find an owner who would keep the Kings in SAC, that they said “yes” to the first guy who came along. I have yet to hear Vivek say anything intelligent about basketball. He cant name players, drafts positions he already has as a strength, and everyone knows he has been bringing in tons of players known for being selfish…not capable of playing the free-flow style he wants.

      Honestly, I think Vivek’s tenure as owner may be worse than the Maloofs. At least with the Maloofs, the Kings would’ve won at least 1 title if not for LA.

      Thus far, Vivek has done nothing to impress me. But he drafted Stauskas a year after drafting McLemore and just fired the one coach who was able to get along with his franchise player. And who did he set up as the coach in the meantime? The guy that lottery-bound Utah wouldn’t even trust with their team.

  9. Rändom says:

    I doubt Darko is great at kickboxing, but he is so strong he could possibly crack someone’s skull… Dangerous stuff, man.