Morning shootaround — Feb. 24


VIDEO: Highlights of Monday’s action from around the NBA

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Some Kevin-on-Kevin love | Commish misses Bosh, too | Rondo consults Dirk’s shot doc | Kirilenko heads back home

No. 1: Some Kevin-on-Kevin love — No, not that Kevin Love. We’re talking Kevin love, as in Kevin McHale‘s admiration for Kevin Garnett, the straight-outta-high school gamble who paid off big for McHale when he was starting out as VP of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Garnett was the face of Minnesota’s franchise for most of his 12 seasons there and, on the eve of his return to the Wolves in practice and a welcoming press conference Tuesday, one Hall of Famer – before coaching in Houston against his former employer – talked about the Hall of Famer-to-be, as chronicled in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

“I’m happy for the Timberwolves organization,” McHale said Monday. “For a lot of years, he was, of course, the face of the franchise. It sounds like they’re happy. He’ll do a good job with those guys.”

McHale was asked Monday if it seems right that Garnett return to his NBA beginnings.

“That’s up to Kevin,” McHale said. “So many people do different things. I’m happy for him if he’s happy. He’s a good kid. I spent a lot of time with him. I think it’s great when that can work out if it really works out for both parties. It’s great for the Timberwolves, and Kevin must have felt good about it, otherwise he wouldn’t have signed off on it.”

Garnett waived a no-trade clause minutes before Thursday afternoon’s NBA trade deadline. He arrives Tuesday not the player he once was, but rather a man who has seen it all, done it all and can help team a young Wolves team mature.

“Kevin loves basketball,” McHale said. “He’s competitive. He always has been. He has a wealth of knowledge. He has played a lot of big games, won a championship and he’s not afraid to talk. He’ll say a lot of things.”

Rockets veteran forward Corey Brewer thought he’d hear many of those things when McHale drafted him to play for the Wolves in 2007. But Garnett was traded just weeks later.

“It’s great for the franchise,” said Brewer, who like Garnett was brought back to the Wolves but traded for a second time in a December deal that sent him to Houston. “KG, he’s the face of the franchise, still to this day even though he left for a while. I’m happy for the franchise. I’m happy for him to go back. I think he’ll have a great impact. Those guys need a guy like KG. They’re young. They’re all getting better. They need that voice, that leadership.”

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No. 2: Commish misses Bosh, too — The Miami Heat and their fans were encouraged by reports that forward Chris Bosh, recovering from blood clots on his lungs that abruptly ended his 2014-15 NBA season, was making progress and could leave the hospital in the coming days. And so was NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who talked with Bosh over All-Star weekend before his condition was discovered and who has become friendly with the Heat power forward. Silver offered his encouragement to Bosh, the Heat and others rooting for the veteran Miami player in his recovery:

In the televised interview, Silver said he spoke with Bosh at the All-Star weekend and that Bosh told him how eager he was for the second half of the season. Silver also said he and Bosh have struck up a strong friendship over the years.

“He’s a multifaceted guy,” Silver said. “He happens to play basketball but he’s a computer expert, he’s a digital expert, it’s amazing what he does in the community. He’s very involved in the league’s international efforts, does all kinds of things that people never know about. And so my heart goes out to him.”

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No. 3: Rondo consults Dirk’s shot doc — Second opinions? More like several thousand opinions. That’s how many different diagnoses have been issued, wanted and mostly unwanted, of Rajon Rondo‘s unorthodox and inefficient shooting form. But some opinions carry more weight than others, so when the Dallas point guard got the chance to be tutored on a short-term basis by teammate Dirk Nowitzki‘s famous shooting coach – or shot doctor – he wisely accepted. Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com wrote about Rondo’s recent work with the one and only Holger Geschwindner:

Rondo started shooting with Geschwindner immediately after Nowitzki made the suggestion – a partnership the media got a quick glimpse of after Thursday’s shootaround in Oklahoma City – and continued until Holger packed up his flannel shirts and blue jeans and headed back to Germany on Friday. Rondo plans to continue following the program that Geschwindner, who will return for the playoffs as is his custom, put in place.

Rondo, however, does not necessarily expect immediate results. He reasonably expects his two weeks of working with Geschwindner to be the beginning of a long-term process.

“It’s a lot different,” said Rondo, a career 26.1 percent 3-point shooter and a 31.1 percent shooter from the free throw line this season. “Some things are not comfortable, but that’s part of it. It’s early in the process. Obviously, Dirk is one of the greatest scorers of all time. He’s worked with Dirk since he was 10, 11 years old. It’s going to take some time, but he’s very positive and I pretty much understand all of his methods.”

Can Rondo progress with the program Geschwindner put in place without supervision from the German shot guru?

“It’s hard,” Nowitzki said. “I mean, I’ve been doing it, obviously, for 20 years, and when he’s gone for six weeks, sometimes I look like I haven’t shot with him in forever. Obviously, that’s when mistakes creep in. It’s hard to keep it up, but even if he just gives him one point that he thinks about when he shoots, that could help.”

Geschwindner actually provided Rondo two points of emphasis: the arch of his shot and his footwork follow through.

“Sometimes I land and I’m not straight facing the basket,” Rondo said. “I think you see Dirk do it – he spreads his legs a lot when he shoots so he can stay on line. That [and] the arch on the ball.”

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No. 4: Kirilenko heads back homeKevin Garnett isn’t the only former Brooklyn Net who’s headed home this week, or at least back to where his NBA career started. Veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko, traded to Philadelphia and subsequently released by the 76ers, has signed with CSKA to finish the season back in Russia. The former All-Star with Utah played 10 seasons in the NBA before returning home to sign with CSKA in 2011, earning the Euroleague MVP award in 2011-12 before returning to play in the NBA with the Timberwolves and the Nets. The CSKA team scheduled a news conference for Tuesday and announced Kirilenko’s return in a press release featuring comments from the team’s president, its coach and from Kirilenko:

Andrey Vatutin, PBC CSKA President: “It is always risky to try to improve the team in the course of the season. Especially when you invite the real star, not just a role player. Still any action connected to [Andrei] Kirilenko’s name are special, they don’t make you think twice. We always stayed in contact, and I’ve said already that the locker is reserved for Andrey in our locker room. Now I am happy to give this locker to its legitimate owner. You can say a lot of words describing how much Kirilenko means for CSKA and Russian basketball, what an excitement he brings when the team comes to any Russian or European city. I would say that the interest to Euroleague and VTB League is guaranteed to rise. We’ve experienced all of this already. And it is very difficult to describe our fans’ emotions right now.”

Dimitris Itoudis, CSKA head coach: “Everyone knows who is Kirilenko and what he means for CSKA. Hopefully Andrey will join us healthy, and we will do everything possible to get him back in shape and help him adopt our basketball philosophy. All our coaching staff (and Kirilenko had a chance to work with some of its members) will be here to help. We talked on the phone already, I sent ]Andrei] our playbook and I know he practiced individually. Kirilenko used to play on the highest level, he has a feeling of the game, he has talent and I am sure that he will adjust quickly though our first priority is not to rush things.”

Kirilenko, CSKA forward: “I am glad to be back to my favorite team, where I played in the beginning of my careeer, then in the middle of it. It’s great that I got this chance and I was happy to use it. I understand that the time has come to think about quitting as a pro player and in my opinion it is better to do it in my dear club’s uniform.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Isaiah Thomas claims he was the quiet disgruntled Phoenix Suns point guard, not the outspoken one, prior to trade deadline day. … Derrick Rose puts up a shot chart – 1-for-13, 0-for-6 from inside the arc – that even a lot of mothers couldn’t love. But the Bulls won ugly. … Former Knicks player Anthony Mason continues to make progress in a New York hospital after multiple heart surgeries, says his son Antoine. … Adding Kendrick Perkins beefs up the Cavaliers’ roster, but it’s not like there are a lot of minutes to be had in Cleveland coach David Blatt‘s big-man rotation. …

2 Comments

  1. jake s. says:

    I’m pretty sure that 1 out of 3 Russians could play in the NBA.

  2. harriethehawk says:

    Good riddance Kirilenko.