Basketball Wiretap

James Harden: I Was Shocked By Mike D'Antoni's Point Guard Idea

Jan 17, 2017 5:18 PM

James Harden knew Mike D'Antoni was innovative but he was surprised by the thought of playing point guard full time.

“I was shocked,” Harden said. “But I’ve always been a really good passer and a playmaker. As training camp came along and I started handling it, it came easier. I’m still learning to do it at a high level every single night. You are in control of the ball 90 percent of the game. But it feels good. Guys are getting shots, guys are happy and that’s what matters."

The Houston Rockets have a 32-11 record to begin the season with Harden playing like an MVP candidate.

D'Antoni saw a way to make Harden even better.

“I watched a lot of tape of him,” D’Antoni said. “His skills are enormous. Point guard made sense. He was that anyway. We just cut the fat off. The way he plays now, he’s making an impact every minute. So we can play him less minutes. And he’s fresher.”


Chris Mannix/Sports Illustrated

Tags: James Harden, Houston Rockets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Draymond Green: Loss Will Help Warriors Fix Fourth Quarter Issues On Offense

Jan 7, 2017 2:49 PM

The Golden State Warriors blew a 24-point lead at home and lost 128-119 to the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime.

Draymond Green was critical of the Warriors' late game offense and became particularly animated when Kevin Durant shot a top of the arc three off the dribble in the final minute of regulation.

"We had Kevin with an iso at the top," Steve Kerr explained. "He had Zach [Randolph] on him and I thought about taking a timeout, but I liked the matchup and so I let the play go through."

"Our fourth-quarter offense has been atrocious, and I don't know if you could see," Green said. "Everyone only notices in losses, but I actually pay attention to things when we win also."

Green said the Warriors' sixth loss of the season will magnify issues they have been experiencing even in wins.

"I'm actually happy we lost today because there's some things that we need to correct in order to win a championship, and that's our goal," he said. "So trying to win every regular-season game really don't matter. I want to see us get better each and every time we step on the floor, and I don't feel like that's been happening for the things we need to get better at. So I'm kind of thrilled that we lost because you usually make corrections when you lose."

Chris Haynes/ESPN

Tags: Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Mike Budenholzer: No Assumptions Should Be Made About Hawks Rebuilding

Jan 7, 2017 2:38 PM

Mike Budenholzer dismissed the notion that the Atlanta Hawks' trade of Kyle Korver to a Cleveland Cavaliers' team that has eliminated them from the playoffs in each of the past two seasons necessarily signals a change in the direction of the franchise.

Prior to the trade of Korver, there were reports of the Hawks evaluating the trade market for Paul Millsap.

“My answer to that is I don’t think there should be any assumptions made about anything,” said Budenholzer. “Organizationally, we have to make hard decisions. I think it’s important that each one of them puts us in the best situation, the best place, to be a great organization. In this case, we made a trade that wasn’t easy. It was a hard decision. This is a good team that we have. This is a team that has shown an ability to compete at a high level. Keeping it together is something … I just wouldn’t make any assumptions going forward.”

With the departure of Korver, Budenholzer said he expects a bigger role for Tim Hardaway Jr. and more minutes for rookies Taurean Prince and DeAndre Bembry.

Chris Vivlamore/Atlanta Journal Constitution

Tags: Atlanta Hawks, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

John Paxson Acknowledges Bulls Need To Improve Athleticism, Three-Point Shooting

Dec 25, 2016 11:28 AM

John Paxson addressed the state of the Chicago Bulls publicly for the first time since media day.

“The area we really do need to improve is with our athleticism,” Paxson said. “That’s been evident this year. We’ve got some vets who know how to play and can score. But when you look around the league and the way the game is now, that’s an area we have to address. That is a part of the plan. We’ll try to do that obviously through the draft and free agency if we can. You always have the trade option. Right now, our roster is what it is.”

In general, Paxson acknowledged the inconsistent bench play and lack of 3-point shooting have hurt the Bulls.

“One of the things I see and Fred (Hoiberg) has talked about is we get in fourth quarters and we really stop pushing the pace and the ball stops moving. That’s been one thing that has really hurt us. It’s been a point of emphasis. We need to get on the practice floor and keep finding ways to do it. You have to find a way to move the ball and make defenses shift. And the other thing is we’ve just really gotten inconsistent play from the guys coming off our bench. Losing Doug for that period of time with a concussion really did hurt us. It messed with our rotations a bit.

“(The lack of 3-point shooting) has hurt us. There’s no question about it. We’re last in the league in 3-point shooting in a league that needs it. We acknowledged that going in that that would be an issue. We did think---and still think---that Niko and Doug have the capability of being 40 percent 3-point shooters. That’s what they need to be.”

David Schuster/WSCR (via Chicago Tribune)

Tags: Chicago Bulls, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Luke Walton: You Control Your Own Destiny Growing From Within

Dec 22, 2016 10:47 AM

The Los Angeles Lakers are rebuilding around a young core of D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle.

The path came into fruition after being near the top of the draft for several seasons and striking out in free agency.

"If you grow from within, you control your own destiny," Luke Walton said. "That's the game plan. We want to see what this group can do. We don't want to rely on anything else -- on free agency, or trades."

Walton was an assistant coach previously with the Warriors, who built their core through the draft before signing Kevin Durant in free agency.

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Draymond Green: We've Finally Adjusted To Not Having Andrew Bogut On Defense

Dec 21, 2016 4:24 PM

The Golden State Warriors now rank second in the NBA in defensive efficiency after starting the season slowly on that end of the floor.

Draymond Green acknowledged the transition the defense had to make in losing Andrew Bogut, who was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in the offseason to create cap space to sign Kevin Durant.

"You lose a guy like Bogut who, you almost can funnel stuff to Bogut," said Green. "You funnel someone to him, you know he's there and he can kind of erase any mistake that someone makes, and then you lose that, you have to get used to not having that there. When you had it there for the last four years, it takes a little while to adjust to that. However, I think we adjusted to it."

While Green has continued to play at a high level on defense, the Warriors have received a better than anticipated contribution on that end of the floor from Durant as well.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss/ESPN

Tags: Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Lakers Tapping Into Brandon Ingram's Experience At Point Guard

Dec 20, 2016 11:20 AM

The Los Angeles Lakers first gave Brandon Ingram a look at point guard in Summer League when D'Angelo Russell sat out their final game.

“The passes that he saw, the plays that he saw, and the way he was able to get his teammates the ball was the way that you see point guards do it,” Luke Walton said of Ingram. “They can still attack the rim while they’re surveying what’s happening and find whether it’s a simple pass or a more challenging pass. You don’t see a lot of non-point guards being able to do that type of stuff.”

Ingram has started three games at point guard and also plays the role on the Lakers' second unit.

“I played [point guard in] youth basketball, AAU basketball,” Ingram said. “When I was in high school I played point guard. Since high school I didn’t play point guard until I got here. When I started growing I still used my guard skills a lot. . . . My college coaches [at Duke], they always put me at the right position to continue to use my guard skills as I grew taller, and it helped me in the long run.”

Tania Ganguli/Los Angeles Times

Tags: Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ