PASPN.net - Clippers hire John Lucas as assistant (AP)
Ricky Davis News
Trans. Sep 18 5:00 ET (Sep 18 5:00 ET ) Former NBA coach and player John Lucas is joining the Los Angeles Clippers as an assistant. The team said Friday that Lucas will join Tony Brown, Kim Hughes and Fred Vinson on coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy's staff. Lucas was head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2001-03, where he coached current Clippers Ricky Davis and Brian Skinner.
The idea of an obvious NBA leader is a tricky thing. Point guards are typically asked to act as a team’s leader because they tend to walk the ball up court and call the plays, but oftentimes the best NBA offenses don’t – or shouldn’t – rely on a point man dominating the ball. The top overall pick in a draft is usually added to a team to become its franchise player, but working as a high lottery selection usually means you’re paired with players on a terribly poor team. They could include aging and disinterested vets, youngsters that haven’t gotten their act right, or limited players that no amount of sound leadership can help remake or remodel. Acting as the most talented player on the team usually means being burdened with the status/privilege of acting as a leader, but an ability to break down defenses or swat away heaps of shots doesn’t always lend itself to being able to act a right Knute Rockne in the locker room. These are the fascinating elements that have long been in place in a star-driven league that still relies on strong team play to win. Nobody knows this more that Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, who was drafted first overall in 2011 before watching his Cavaliers take two more top overall selections in the years since, while never coming close to sniffing the playoffs in his three NBA seasons. Now paired with LeBron James and tasked with acting as the lead guard on a championship contender after years of watching his team’s championship contention end sometime around Christmas, Irving copped to failings as a “leader” in an interview with RealGM’s Shams Charania recently : “I haven’t been a leader – not at all,” Irving told RealGM. […] “I’m more than excited with our new veterans. I’m really excited just from the standpoint of how the locker room is going to go and how to really be a professional. I’m not saying that the veterans that we had weren’t professionals themselves, but we didn’t have enough. Given the right and wrong things to do in the league, I’ve had to learn on my own and that’s what some of us been doing. “Now, we have guys who’ve been in the league for years, guys who’ve won championships and have had to give a piece of their game for the greater good of the team. It’s something I admire and something I’m going to learn from.” Irving truly does have it made with James in the room, a star who has dealt with more criticism than any player in NBA history not so much because of his early failings, but because of an ever-growing amount of media saturation on several different platforms. Whether James deserved it or not is beyond the point. What matters now, entering 2014-15, is that LeBron James has been through the storm. From here, we have to move onto the question of whether or not Irving deserves criticism. The Cleveland Cavaliers foolishly thought they could contend after James left the team in 2010, the franchise’s owner said as much in a public letter, and refused to rebuild until a miserable 2010-11 campaign was past its midpoint. The squad then lottery-lucked its way into receiving the top overall pick in selecting Kyrie, who was tossed into a world of dysfunction. Irving had played just 11 games at Duke the season before and missed a proper NBA training camp and rookie orientation program due to the league’s locking out of its players. He also missed 38 games due to injury over the course of his first two seasons, as coach Byron Scott seemed to stand helplessly by on the sidelines. The re-hiring of Mike Brown in Irving’s third year didn’t seem to help, nor did the arrival of top overall pick Anthony Bennett. Tristan Thompson’s growth has come on the slowest of curves, and lottery pick Dion Waiters has both clashed with Irving and shown a miserable sense of shot selection and station at times. This has not been an ideal upbringing. Could Irving have done much about it? Possibly, but certainly not enough to create massive change in the Cavalier ranks. None of these teams should have come close to the postseason. One has to work through the paces, because not every certain star can come into the league and play for a ready-made winner, as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were gifted. It took Isiah Thomas years and two or three different variations of his Detroit Pistons. Same with Michael Jordan, including four coaches along the way. And if Irving wants to model himself after anyone, LeBron James wouldn’t be a bad place to start. James deferred in his first season in the presence of knuckleheads like Darius Miles and Ricky Davis. He did the absolute best he could after free agent signings like Donyell Marshall and Larry Hughes – rightfully lauded at the time – failed to pan out. He took a miserable supporting cast to the 2007 NBA Finals, he handled the terrible and embarrassing mistake that was The Decision as best he could, and properly responded to the disappointment of losing the 2011 NBA Finals to a (better) Dallas Mavericks club with professionalism and a re-shaping of his offensive game. Along the way, he’s watched as his Q rating, respect amongst peers and reputation amount journalists and fans have come to match his already-sterling production on the basketball court. Irving hasn’t been through a scintilla of what James has, and while he is still going to be counted on to wreak havoc on NBA defenses (while improving his own work on that side of the ball), he can also be counted on as the NBA’s luckiest man. Cleveland Cavaliers front office and ownership group excluded, of course. This is where Irving can step up. LeBron James has played deep into June for four consecutive years, and he wants to do the same for four more, but he’ll need another voice as his enters his 30s (in this unprecedented career) and wearies. James didn’t mention Andrew Wiggins in his Cavalier announcement . Kevin Love isn’t yet part of this team and the enjoyment of once again playing alongside Anderson Varejao only counts for so much. LeBron James returned to Cleveland to come back to northern Ohio, but in strict basketball terms he returned to play alongside Kyrie Irving. Kyrie Irving can use this as all the cachet he needs in order to keep things moving correctly on the court, and in the locker room. He’s been blessed with something pretty special, and the good news is that he’s apparently more than aware of it. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
Even for the most lionhearted of opposing NBA big men, the sight of Shaquille O'Neal barreling his way to the basket was a scary one, but apparently being a teammate of Shaq's was even more frightening. In an interview with TrueHoop's Henry Abbott , former Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry shared a tale of Shaq's passion for pranks, providing a mental image you'll wish you could scrub clean with a wire brush. "The thing that he did that he got to be notorious for is that, every few days or every week or so, he would decided that it was time for this Brazilian naked wrestling contest. You didn't know who the chosen one was, but what would happen when you least expect it, this 7-foot, 310-pound guy would turn the corner, and he would be stark naked and he would run right at you full speed, grab you, he would take you to the floor and then he would do about five rollovers with you. And he would always tell our trainers who it was going to be, so they were always prepared for it, but you never knew who it was going to be." As if a "stark naked" Shaq charging full speed at you isn't terrifying enough, consider O'Neal is also a trained MMA fighter in boxing, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and wrestling. Oh, and remember that the famed Suns training staff made Shaq all the more limber. No thanks. But while this might seem strange to the average Joe, few things that happen in NBA locker rooms would ever occur in your cubicle (a reality that makes Mark Jackson's alleged " not in my locker room " comment about Jason Collins all the more ridiculous). Alvin Gentry counts himself among Shaq's victims — even joking, "I had to go to therapy quite a bit after that" — so it's safe to assume nobody on those 2008 and '09 Suns squad was off limits, including Amar'e Stoudemire, Steve Nash, Jason Richardson, Grant Hill, Matt Barnes, Boris Diaw and Goran Dragic. This story — as relayed by The Arizona Republic this past December — seems even more ominous. It was April 2008. Imagine the Suns environment after a crushing Game 1 loss at San Antonio when Tim Duncan made a game-tying overtime 3-pointer to spur his team to victory. There was an awkward discomfort about the off days in San Antonio and a sense that an ashen Mike D’Antoni was coaching the team for a final time. Who knew just how much he was handling? It turns out O’Neal and Gordan Giricek, who had been with the Suns for all of six weeks, mixed it up verbally during a closed practice to the point that O’Neal auditioned for his WWE future. He put Giricek in a sleeper hold, except it was no fake. Giricek passed out. Giricek played in the remainder of the season, but it was his last NBA season. In a not-so-veiled shot at then Heat coach Pat Riley, Shaq also said somewhat ironically of the Suns in 2008, "I love playing for this coach and I love playing with these guys. We have professionals who know what to do. No one is asking me to play with Chris Quinn or Ricky Davis. I'm actually on a team again." Surely, Shaq found his naked wrestling matches funny — and Adam Sandler might've even enjoyed it — but somebody must've found this decidedly uncool, especially when it's happening "every few days" on a team that wildly underachieved and got coach Terry Porter fired midway through the season. In his interview, Abbott asks the appropriate follow-up question of Gentry, who as an assistant for the first 51 games and head coach for the final 31 was tasked with keeping the locker room under control. Currently a Warriors assistant under then Suns GM and now Golden State coach Steve Kerr, Gentry further joked of Shaq's beyond borderline harassment, "No one prevents Shaq from doing anything." Five years removed from Shaq's semi-regular naked wrestling bouts, Gentry can laugh about it, so there's no reason we can't, too. But let's not forget those Suns traded O'Neal to the Cavaliers following that 2008-09 season — right around the time Shaq was wrestling someone his own size on Monday Night Raw — and Gentry took Phoenix within two games of the NBA Finals the following year. (h/t SB Nation )
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.
C : Bleacher Report . Four years after his last NBA appearance as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, Ricky Davis is sweating it out in Reno, Nev., at the D-League Showcase with the Erie BayHawks, hoping to make enough of an impression on somebody, anybody, who can grant him re-entry to the NBA and give him a chance to re-write the ending of his pro hoops career at age 34. Howard Beck's story on the famously mercurial shooting guard's quest for one last shot is worth a read.
PF : Forum Blue and Gold . A really good read from Dave Murphy on the Los Angeles Lakers' recent decision to waive forward Shawne Williams, a blip-on-the-radar rotation player whose veteran minimum contract was close to being guaranteed. It's the kind of thing that makes perfect sense under the existing collective bargaining agreement, but that doesn't keep it from being kind of sad: "For the NBA’s lowest-paid players, parity often means a trip to the unemployment line [...] The Lakers are still a family business but it somehow doesn’t feel like family anymore."
SF : SB Nation . Ricky O'Donnell on how the same problems that have plagued Josh Smith throughout his career are threatening to give the Detroit Pistons a bad case of free-agent buyer's remorse just six months into a four-year, $54 million contract.
Veteran guard Ricky Davis has been waived by the Clippers, according to Yahoo! Sports.
That could also read "veteran malcontent." With Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw both arriving in town via the Marcus Camby deal, the Clips had to jettison someone. Davis, averaging just 4.4 points per game this season, turned out to be that guy.
The LA Clippers struggled on Monday night in their loss to the Hornets, but reserve guard Ricky Davis had a nice performance off the bench. Davis scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds in the game.
This was a nice performance from Davis, who also dished five assists as well. He could see more time while Eric Gordon is out, but he wll need to see more time if he wants to be fantasy relevant again.
Former NBA coach and player John Lucas is joining the Los Angeles Clippers as an assistant. The team said Friday that Lucas will join Tony Brown, Kim Hughes and Fred Vinson on coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy's staff. Lucas was head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2001-03, where he coached current Clippers Ricky Davis and Brian Skinner.
The Scoop: None.
Sep 18 5:00 ET
News (various sources)
Lillard leads Trail Blazers past Clippers 99-89 (The Associated Press) (1 Day Ago | courtesy: The Associated Press) Based on Friday, the Portland Trail Blazers would say yes; Damian Lillard scored 18 of his 21 points in the first half, and the bench held off a fourth-quarter rally as the Trail Blazers finished their exhibition schedule with a 99-89 victory Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers. Lillard scored seven points in Portland's 17-4 first-period run to take a 25-16 lead with 3:08 left. He also scored his team's final seven points for a 54-46 halftime lead for the Trail Blazers (4-3). More...