June 2021 Basketball Wiretap

Clippers Nicknamed Tyronn Lue 'Bill Belichick' Due To His Ability To Make Adjustments

Jun 24, 2021 1:59 PM

Tyronn Lue famously led the Cleveland Cavaliers back from a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 Finals and also has helped guide the Los Angeles Clippers back from 2-0 deficits in each of the first two rounds of this year's playoffs, demonstrating his ability to make adjustments as a series progresses. The Clippers are again down 2-0, this time against the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals.

"We crack jokes," Patrick Beverley said after the Game 2 loss in Phoenix. "We called T-Lue 'Bill Belichick' with all the adjustments he makes.

"He's definitely going to find a way."

David Griffin believes Cleveland's regular-season record would have been better during their time together if Lue hadn't held back. Griffin recalls one instance when the Cavs were being carved up playing a certain defensive set.

"What are you doing?" Griffin asked Lue.

"I know how I'm going to adjust," Griffin recalls Lue responding. "Do you want me to do it now and let them have a head start for the playoffs, or do you want me to do it when the playoffs start?"

"He was playing chess the whole time," Griffin said.

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Tags: Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ, NBA Playoffs

Nets Underdogs Versus Bucks But Remain Favorites To Win Title At Sportsbooks

Jun 15, 2021 1:25 AM

The Milwaukee Bucks are now favored to beat the Brooklyn Nets at various sportsbooks across the country following news that Kyrie Irving and James Harden will miss Game 5.

But despite being the underdogs against the Bucks, the Nets are still favored to win the Eastern Conference and the NBA Title.

"The philosophy is if they can overcome the injuries in the short term against the Bucks, they will be well-placed long term to win the conference and championship," Jason Scott, vice president of trading for BetMGM, told ESPN. 

The Nets are +165 to win the Eastern Conference at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, with the Bucks at +170. The Nets are also +280 to win the NBA Title, ahead of the Jazz at +325.

The Nets were -440 favorites to beat the Bucks after winning the first two games of the series. 


David Purdum/ESPN

Tags: Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Ben Simmons Delivers On 76ers' Directive To Use 'Pace And Power' On Offense

Jun 12, 2021 8:32 AM

Ben Simmons scored 11 of his 18 points in the third quarter while also adding three of his seven assists as he was more aggressive on offense in the Philadelphia 76ers' 127-111 win over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3.

"We just thought he passed up too many opportunities -- in the fast break, at the post. And so we told him we were going to come out and feature him on the post," Doc Rivers said of Simmons. "And he was great for us. It's exactly what we need. With his pace and power, it was great."

Simmons tried to stifle a satisfied smile when asked about Rivers' halftime directive.

"I was just trying to push the pace, get in the lanes, find my guys and stay aggressive. Get to the rim," he said. "I think I did a good job of that, that second half."

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Tags: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ, NBA Playoffs

Neil Olshey: First Round Loss, Defensive Issues 'Not A Product Of Roster'

Jun 7, 2021 5:55 PM

Neil Olshey was asked by Jason Quick of The Athletic about his job security running the Portland Trail Blazers amid an offseason of uncertainty for the franchise.

"Well, I'm running the coaching search," said Olshey. "I have multiple years left on my contract. I think the feeling is that in this instance, well in the past there may have been questions, the first round loss and the defensive rating at 29 was not a product of the roster."

While Olshey appeared to blame the playoff loss and defensive struggles on Terry Stotts, he added his job security ultimately depends on how he's viewed by owner Jody Allen.

"I will tell you that all of us, myself included, serve at the pleasure of Jody Allen. And we will all be here for as long as she sees value in our contribution."

Olshey added that Portland's next coach will inherit an elite offensive roster and that the defense needs to improve. 

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

Kristaps Porzingis Frustrated With Role On Mavericks

Jun 7, 2021 10:57 AM

Following the Dallas Mavericks' Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Kristaps Porzingis was asked how he fits into the picture moving forward.

"Good question," Porzingis said. "How do I feel? I mean, I'm good. I tried to put in the work, tried to work hard. I do my part, listen to the coaches, what I'm asked to do, and that's it.

"I try to keep it simple for myself, so I'm not overthinking, and I try to focus on what I can control. That's being a better basketball player, going into the offseason hungry. I want to get better physically [and] on the basketball court. I'm going to put that work in to get better, and then the rest of the stuff will resolve itself."

When Porzingis was traded to the Mavericks, he expected to have a 1A-1B situation with Luka Doncic. While Doncic has become a perennial MVP candidate, Porzingis has regressed. Porzingis suffered a torn meniscus during the 2020 playoffs and only played in 43 games this regular season. 

Porzingis is owed $101.5 million over the next three seasons, a contract widely viewed around the NBA as negative value. 

Sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPN that Porzingis has been frustrated as Doncic dominates the ball and the spotlight. Porzingis frequently made thinly veiled references during his postgame media availabilities, such as saying the "ball actually moved tonight" after high-scoring performances or stating that the offense didn't involve him on low-scoring nights.

Porzingis called it a "mental battle" after Game 7 to play a role that is not comfortable for him.

"And whatever I do, it seems like it's always something," Porzingis said, acknowledging the scrutiny on him. "I just try to be as professional as I can."

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas Mavericks, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

Jason Kidd Withdraws As Candidate From Blazers Coaching Vacancy

Jun 6, 2021 12:41 PM

Jason Kidd has withdrawn himself as a candidate for the next coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, he told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

"Portland's a first-class organization and will have great candidates for its head coaching job, but I've decided not to be one of them," said Kidd. "Whoever they choose will have big shoes to fill from Terry [Stotts]."

Kidd received Damian Lillard's endorsement on Friday night. 

The Blazers have yet to reach out to any candidates directly, though that is expected to change after the first round.

The team is expected to consider Jeff Van Gundy, Mike D'Antoni, Chauncey Billups, and Juwan Howard, according to sources. 

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Tags: Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

Steve Kerr: Career Arcs Of Stephen Curry, James Wiseman Not Mutually Exclusive

Jun 4, 2021 10:58 AM

Steve Kerr believes the career arcs of Stephen Curry and James Wiseman are not necessarily in conflict for the Golden State Warriors. If the Warriors are to acquire another All-Star via trade, they would likely need to include Wiseman in the package.

“The thing that everybody is going to talk about is Steph’s timeline,” Kerr said on Tim Kawakami's podcast earlier this week. “And I understand that. That’s a legitimate concern. But what I would say is I think James is going to help us win games next year. And it’s OK if he’s not playing 30 minutes. Because we can win games with (Kevon) Looney on the floor. We can win games with Draymond (Green) playing the five.

“I think this is all really a good way for us to be good in the next couple years and solidify an important position at the center spot for the next decade as well. Those things are not mutually exclusive. We can do both. It’s just everyone’s sort of in this panic, ‘You’ve got to take advantage of Steph’s timeline!’ Which I understand. But it’s just not that simple.”

Tim Kawakami/The Athletic

Tags: James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

LaMarcus Aldridge Reflects On Rough Start With Blazers, Issues With Damian Lillard

Jun 1, 2021 2:54 PM

LaMarcus Aldridge had some of his greatest success with the Portland Trail Blazers, but he left the franchise in 2015 to sign with the San Antonio Spurs. In an interview with Shams Charania of The Athletic, Aldridge reflected back on some of the reasons why the partnership with the Blazers didn't work out as well as it could have dating back to when he was drafted in 2006 and his subsequent relationship with Damian Lillard. 

"They say hindsight is 20/20," said Aldridge. "As you get older you get more wiser and you see things more clear. I think as you get older, you have less of an ego, you’re less sensitive. Maybe all those things are true. The only thing I look back on is I wish I would have worked at it better to have a relationship with Dame (Lillard). I feel like we both had our circles talking to us. Maybe that helped stifle our relationship, but we definitely have gotten a better relationship since then. But I think just trying to get a better relationship with him. It’s just tough because people see the career I had, but people don’t realize how I got there.

"I was picked No. 2, but (team people) said I was an actual project. So they didn’t pick No. 2 and say, ‘Hey, he’s our guy, we’re going to play behind him.’ I was No. 2, and I didn’t even play much my first year. I missed camp. They jumped behind Brandon Roy. I was the No. 2 pick, which I thought, hey, I’m No. 2, they’re all in. But they weren’t really all in. I was on the back burner. And then we got Greg (Oden). So then when Greg was playing well, I was on the back burner again. And they tried to trade me. So I wasn’t the guy that they believed in right away. That’s why at times things were a little iffy there, because every time we were healthy with Andre Miller and Brandon Roy and Greg Oden, it was like … OK, I was more of the guy that they would put on the back burner or try to trade. And then all those guys got hurt, and I was thrown to the front out of a necessity. That’s when I finally got my opportunity to be who I became. It’s just funny to me how when you’re a No. 2 pick, most of those guys come in … Hey, you’re a part of this and have opportunities. With me, it was like … I was a project and I was like, well, who picks No. 2 as a project? I understand they have Zach Randolph.

"So my start wasn’t ideal. I was always the easy one to try to get rid of. Unfortunately, those guys got hurt, and I became the man. And it was like: Oh, man, he’s good. I feel like if they would have gave me the opportunity earlier, we could have been even better earlier. My role wasn’t as easy as everyone might think it was. I had to really go earn this thing of having your own team. I had to go fight for that for a bunch of years. When I got it, it was a proud moment for me.

"I just feel like I wish Dame and I would’ve talked more and tried to develop a better relationship. Part of it was he was young, trying to find his way, and I had worked so hard to get to this spot I was at. I wish I would have worked harder … the only regret I have is I wish I would have worked harder to have a relationship with Dame."

Shams Charania/The Athletic

Tags: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Left-Handed Players Decline In Playoffs More Dramatically Than Righties

Jun 1, 2021 1:40 PM

Left-handed players may have a bigger advantage in the regular season than the playoffs due to the unconventional nature of their game being easier to adapt to over an extended stretch of games.

Julius Randle is having a difficult playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks with a PER of 19.7 PER and .567 True Shooting Percentage compared to 7.4 and .403 during the first four games of the playoffs. 

"One thing I was curious about what was lefties stereotypically much more left handed than righties are right-handed," said Kevin Pelton on The Lowe Post podcast. "They have a tougher time going to their off hand. I went and looked this up yesterday and according to Basketball Reference's database of lefties, they drop off more in the playoffs from their regular season performance about 13 percent in terms of wins above replacement player metric compared to seven percent for righties."

"How much of that is Harden?" asked Zach Lowe.

"Not that much of it," replied Pelton. "He's not an extreme..."

"I was being facetious. Who are some other lefties who have dropped off the playoffs?"

Pelton mentioned David Robinson and Chris Mullin as a few notable players who were meaningfully better in the regular season than the playoffs. 

Kevin Pelton/ESPN

Tags: NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ, NBA Playoffs