January 2021 Basketball Wiretap

Warriors Viewed LaMelo Ball As More Talented, James Wiseman As Better Fit

Jan 14, 2021 1:34 PM

The Golden State Warriors selected James Wiseman at No. 2 ahead of LaMelo Ball, who went No. 3 to the Charlotte Hornets.

The Warriors reportedly viewed Wiseman as the better fit at center, but may have considered Ball the more talented prospect.

"From what I was told, they saw [LaMelo] as the most talented player in the draft, but the fit made more sense with Wiseman," said Marcus Thompson of The Athletic. "It wasn't like they weren't on him."

Through his first 12 games, Ball is averaging 11.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 25.3 minutes. Wiseman is averaging 10.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 20.7 minutes. Ball has a PER of 18.0 compared to 12.5 for Wiseman.

Marcus Thompson/The Athletic

Tags: LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Knicks Hire Nick Restifo To Manage Coaching Analytics

Jan 9, 2021 5:09 PM

The New York Knicks hired Nick Restifo to manage the team's coaching analytics, sources told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic.

Restifo previously worked under Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota as a basketball operations analyst. 

Mike Vorkunov/The Athletic

Tags: New York Knicks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

John Collins Challenges How Trae Young Runs Atlanta's Offense During Film Session

Jan 8, 2021 11:16 AM

During a film session this week after blowing a 15-point lead in the second half to the New York Knicks, John Collins raised several issues about how the Atlanta Hawks are functioning with Trae Young running the offense, three sources tell The Athletic.

Collins discussed how the Hawks need to get into offensive sets more quickly and to limit Young's early shot clock attempts that leave his teammates uninvolved. Collins also shared his desire for more ball movement and flow on offense.

While there was no back-and-forth between the two, Young made it clear he strongly disagreed with the assessment of Collins.

“Trae is my brother regardless,” Collins, who chose not to elaborate further, told The Athletic via text message.

The Hawks currently rank fifth in the NBA in offensive efficiency at 114.0 points per 100 possessions. 

Sources within the Hawks pointed to the recent contract extension negotations Collins when through for a possible explanation for his frustration. Collins turned down adeal worth more than $90 million over four years, according to sources.

Chris Kirschner, Sam Amick/The Athletic

Tags: John Collins, Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Tom Thibodeau Says Julius Randle Is 'Engine' Of Knicks

Jan 7, 2021 1:17 AM

Tom Thibodeau described Julius Randle as the "engine" of the New York Knicks following their 112-100 win over the Utah Jazz.

Randle finished the game with 30 points, 16 rebounds, and 7 assists, with the Knicks currently 5-3 on the season. 

“He’s our engine. He plays with a lot of toughness, and there’s a lot of multiple-effort plays that he’s making, but he’s also playing very unselfishly. If you cut and you’re open, he’s going to hit you. He can handle the ball, he’s got very good skills with the ball. I think those guys are very hard to guard, and his shooting has improved.

"I thought he had some wide-open looks, but he’s shot the three very well this year, so that makes him harder to guard, and he can out-quick you," said Thibodeau after the game.

Thibodeau then credited experience for Randle's development this season. 

“When you look at most players in this league, there’s a progression to becoming that type of player. They don’t just get there overnight, there are steps that they have to take along the way, and I think he’s done that ... I think you learn through listening, and trial and error is a big part of learning." 

Alex Smith/SNY

Tags: Julius Randle, New York Knicks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Bradley Beal Says 60-Point Game Doesn't 'Count' Due To Loss

Jan 7, 2021 1:10 AM

Bradley Beal scored a career-high 60 points in the Washington Wizards' 141-136 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Beal added that he doesn't count the career-high point total because it came in a loss.

"I'm mad. I don't count [them]. ... Any of my career-highs, they've been in losses. So I don't give a damn. You can throw it right out the window with the other two or three I've had," said Beal after the game.

Beal, who had 57 points over the first three quarters, finished the game shooting 20-35 from the field.

The shooting guard focused the attention on the Wizards' lack of defense. 

"They were making a lot of shots. They hit a lot of tough shots. They shot 60 percent from the field and 62 percent from 3. You can't win a game like that."

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Tags: Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Bob Myers: Without Klay Thompson, Warriors At Intermission

Jan 6, 2021 11:19 AM

The Golden State Warriors reached five straight Finals but their 19-20 and 20-21 seasons have made it difficult to determine where they are in their cycle of contention due to injuries.

"It's hard to evaluate a team without health," Bob Myers said. "But I'm excited to see what we can do. It's a lot of 'new.' It's a band that just sat down in the garage, playing songs for the first time. Sometimes the drummer's too loud, or the singer says, 'Hey, turn down the guitar.' And that's who we are. We're a band that hasn't even fully formed."

Myers was asked specifically where the Warriors are in their life cycle.

"Without Klay, we're at intermission," replied Myers. 

Draymond Green has taken on more of a player development role, especially with James Wiseman.

"He wants to win more than anything else," Steve Kerr said of Green. "And he knows that James is a possible ticket back to back to winning."

Kevin Arnovitz/ESPN

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

Steve Nash Doesn't Want To Turn DeAndre Jordan, Jarrett Allen Situation Into 'Mini-Drama'

Jan 2, 2021 1:21 PM

Steve Nash discussed DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen's rotation at the center position, saying that he doesn't want to pit the two players against each other.

Nash added that Jordan's experience and chemistry with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant is playing a role in him starting games.

"He definitely has that relationship with Ky and Kevin. He has that experience as the older player. Caris [LeVert] and JA also have good chemistry. So, it’s a bit of everything. It’s just not something I’m belaboring," said Nash.

Jordan currently averages just under 20 minutes per game, with Allen playing 22.5 minutes.

Nash added that Allen will continue to see minutes.

"Jarrett’s going to play a lot. I love him on the floor. I want to be very careful not to make it like a mini-drama because it’s not. ... I just don’t want it to become some sort of thing where we’re pitting our own guys against each other because I think the group has got a pretty good vibe right now.”

Brian Lewis/New York Post

Tags: Jarrett Allen, DeAndre Jordan, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Steve Kerr: 'It's Going To Take Some Time' For Draymond Green To Regain Conditioning, Rhythm

Jan 2, 2021 12:21 PM

Steve Kerr admitted that it will take time for Draymond Green to regain his conditioning on the court after missing the entire preseason and first four regular season games.

Green went 0-3 from the field in 18 minutes in his regular season debut on Friday night against the Blazers.

"He looked like a guy who missed training camp and has been working his way to get onto the floor. ... He got a really tough break coming into the season with the COVID protocols, and so it's going to take him some time. I'm glad to have him back, and he needs a few games under his belt to get that conditioning and that rhythm, but there's no question it's going to take some time," said Kerr after the game.

Steph Curry, who finished the game with 26 points and 8 rebounds, also admitted that the duo need time to get back their rhythm from previous years.

"We haven't gotten in a lot of reps in a long time, so it's going to take some games to kind of get our rhythm back and understand how he's going to be extremely impactful, especially on the offensive end, and find those looks. We just need everybody available to keep going through these lumps early and try to find our way and find our identity. And for me and him, we got to be able to lead that."

Nick Friedell/ESPN

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

John Wall Says He'll Be 'Even Better' Next Game After 22-Point Return

Jan 1, 2021 1:27 AM

John Wall had 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists in the Houston Rockets' 122-119 win over the Sacramento Kings. 

The win represented Wall's first regular-season appearance in 735 days.

"Having 22, 9 and 6 is not bad for my first game in two years. I can pat myself on the back for that, and I know that I'll be even better for the next game," said Wall after the game.

Christian Wood, who added 21 points and 12 rebounds, said that Wall "looks like he's back in his All-Star mode."

Stephen Silas said that Wall and James Harden are still learning how to play with each other. 

"They haven't been together, and we're still trying to figure it out -- who has it and who's playing off the ball some. They're kind of figuring it out on their own with my help. That relationship has to grow and get better and better."

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Tags: John Wall, Houston Rockets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ