The New York Knicks Should Trade For Kevin Love

New York Knicks, Kevin Love

When you think of the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, you don’t think of much. Most people who think of the last key member of the 2016 championship team think of Kevin Love as washed. That is all foolish, as it neglects how much of a star Kevin Love was and how great of a power forward he is. He’s a very good player still, and he has a ton of value, in my opinion. He can do something most Power Forwards cannot do, and that’s space the floor and be versatile. While he can’t ball handle, he can do a lot that the Knicks desperately need. Kevin Love is a much-needed upgrade at the 4 for the New York Knicks, who should look to trade for him.

Getting A Really Good Shooter Over Randle

The biggest issue with Julius Randle in 2019 was he couldn’t space, shoot 3s, or defend. He had struggled a ton with the Knicks defensively and did not help the Knicks due to his inability to do much else other than shoot mid-range jumpers. This is where Kevin Love comes in, as he can shoot very well, and he spaces the floor for their two young players who struggle to shoot like RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. He would be able to stay on the perimeter and get you a bucket, as evidenced by his 38.8% three-point percentage on 6.3 attempts per game since 2018. This would allow the Knicks to give RJ and Mitchell Robinson much better spacing and give them a chance to do what they do best offensively.

Significantly Better Perimeter Defender

Kevin Love and Julius Randle primarily defend forwards as guards are too fast for them to defend, and centers are too big for them to defend. When looking at their stats against Forwards, Love holds them to 33.6% from 3 while Randle can only keep them to 38.8%, which is really bad. This is a big no-no for a player who can’t shoot as it means they’ll give up threes, but only score twos, which is a point chipped away in every possession and defensive assignment. Love shoots better than teams shoot against him, so he’s going to have more value per possession and defensive assignment. When you factor that RJ and Mitchell aren’t good perimeter defenders, you can give them a little bit of a boost as you lockdown at least the forwards on the 3 point side of the ball.

Giving the Knicks A Path In Free Agency

If the New York Knicks land Kevin Love in a trade, you can go ahead, and for the next 2-3 years, check three positions off of the list. Center, Power Forward, and Shooting Guard are all positions you no longer have to worry about. This means you go out into free agency/draft and go after a point guard with great playmaking, a shooter, and a defensive-minded forward. In the draft, you can land the playmaking Killian Hayes who can shoot the ball pretty well, and in free agency, the Knicks could look to add names to fill their needs in. It’s important for the Knicks to make that move that gives them momentum and some draw, as if they are able to win 38 games next year and make it to the playoffs, it gives them the draw they need to land a star-caliber player.

 

Brooklyn Nets: Diving into what led the Nets to hire Steve Nash as new HC

Brooklyn Nets, Steve Nash

You can’t bring up the best point guards of all time and not mention the name, Steve Nash. His brilliant 18-year career in the NBA made him stand out as one of the fiercest competitors and greatest play-makers in the history of the game. Nash went from being an undersized backup point guard as a rookie on the Suns to a two-time MVP, 8-time NBA All-Star, and 7-time 1st team all-NBA. He most recently served as a player development consultant on the Golden State Warriors. Earlier today, Nash was named the 27th coach in the history of the Nets franchise and was signed to a 4-year contract (Full Nets Press Release HERE). Let’s dive into why the Nets made this hire and how they will fare moving forward with Nash at the helm.

MY REACTION TO THE NASH HIRE:

What made the Nets decide to go in this direction?

According to NetsDaily beat reporter Anthony “Pooch” Puccio, this decision was made way before the Orlando bubble even started.

If the Nets chose to hire Nash in May, did interim coach Jacque Vaughn ever have a fighting chance for this job? What would Vaughn have had to do in the bubble to win the job over Nash? While the Nets seem to value their former interim head coach enough to keep him on the staff as an assistant, clearly they felt Nash (even with no NBA head coaching experience) would be better suited to lead this superstar built team.

Let’s start by taking a look at Nash’s prior relationship with Kevin Durant. Nash was a player development consultant on the Golden State Warriors during Durant’s tenure in the Bay Area, and the two seemed to get along well during their time together. Check out this video of Nash and Durant practicing together, tweeted by NetsDaily reporter Matt Brooks:

Obviously, Durant and Kyrie would have to sign off on whichever coach Marks decided to choose. From an outside perspective, it appears that Durant was 100% on board with this hire. For Kyrie Irving, Nash is a coach that views the game through the same lens as he does. My assumption would be it didn’t take too much convincing for Kyrie to be buy into one of the greatest point guards of all time becoming his new head coach, especially since Kyrie still considers himself a student of the game.

The Nets star of the bubble, Caris LeVert, also had a positive experience with Nash when he trained with the former MVP and Kevin Durant in California four years ago. In a 2016 article written by Pooch, LeVert described his experience with Nash as “great” and was extremely happy about the trip. Fast forward three years later, KD is now his teammate (and was one of his biggest fans this year), and Steve Nash is now his head coach.

How will the Nets Fare with Nash at the Helm?

In today’s modern NBA, you don’t need a ton of head coaching experience to be a successful coach. Look at the last several coaches to win NBA championships: Steve Kerr, Tyronn Lue, Nick Nurse. All were first-time NBA head coaches. In Kerr’s case, similar to Nash, he didn’t even have experience as an assistant coach. What makes a great coach in today’s NBA is how he communicates and gets along with his players. Nash has been known as one of the nicest guys in the league. Marks referred to Nash as a leader, communicator, and mentor in his statement on the signing. With the Nash + Vaughn combination, I don’t think the players on the Nets will have any problem buying into their new coaching staff.

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BREAKING NEWS: Brooklyn Nets to hire Steve Nash as next head coach (Report)

The Brooklyn Nets will reportedly hire Steve Nash as the 27th head coach in team history. Interim boss Jacque Vaughn will be retained.

Per ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski, the Brooklyn Nets are set to name Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash the 27th head coach in team history. Nash’s initial contract will be for four years.

Wojnarowski also reports that interim head coach Jacque Vaughn will be retained as an assistant and “become the league’s best compensated assistant coach”.

This will be the first coaching job for Nash, 46, who spent 18 seasons with Phoenix, Dallas, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Johannesburg, South Africa native entered the league as a first-round pick (15th overall) of the Suns in 1996 out of Santa Clara. Nash is generally regarded as one of the best point guards in NBA history, winning two MVP awards (2005, 2007) and reaching eight All-Star Games. He also leads NBA players with four 50-40-90 seasons, shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range, and 90 percent from the foul line. Larry Bird is the only other player in NBA history to earn multiple such seasons. Nash was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018 alongside fellow former Suns teammates Jason Kidd and Grant Hill.

After retiring in 2015, he took on part-time consultant duties with the Golden State Warriors, partaking in the team’s most recent two championship runs (2017, 2018). He also held a similar role for the Canadian national basketball squad, previously serving as the team’s general manager for nearly seven years. The team earned a silver medal at the 2015 PanAmerican Games in Toronto, their best finish in the tournament’s history.

Vaughn returns to assistant duties after taking over for the fired Kenny Atkinson in March. He went 7-3 during his time at the helm, including a surprising 5-3 mark in the NBA’s Orlando bubble proceedings. Brooklyn was swept in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs by the defending champion Toronto Raptors.

This story will be updated pending further information.

Geoff Maglocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Clifford Robinson, NY State native, former Net, passes away at 53

The Buffalo native reached the 1994 NBA All-Star Game and spent his final three seasons with the New Jersey Nets.

Buffalo native and former NBA All-Star Clifford Robinson passed away on Saturday at the age of 53. His death was confirmed by his alma mater, the University of Connecticut, and the cause has yet to be disclosed.

Robinson was born in Buffalo and got his start at Riverside High School. He then spent four seasons at UConn, where his No. 00 was retired in 2007. His efforts in Storrs led him to be selected in the second round (36th overall) of the 1989 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers.

During his eight seasons in Portland, Robinson established himself as one of the Association’s most impactful bench players, averaging 16.2 points and 5.2 rebounds. Robinson played a major in Portland’s most recent treks to the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992. During the latter journey, Robinson popularized a dance he labeled the “Uncle Cliffy”, a moniker that would come to define him for the rest of his career. Robinson even referenced the dance in his Twitter handle.

He also displayed remarkable durability, missing no games in any of his first five seasons. His streak of 461 consecutive games in a Blazers uniform stands as a Portland record. His individual efforts were rewarded with the 1993 Sixth Man of the Year Award and an invite to the 1994 NBA All-Star Game in Minneapolis.

Robinson signed with the Phoenix Suns in 1997. Notably, he became the oldest player in NBA history (33 years, two months) to record his first 50-point game in a January 2000 win over Denver. Robinson was also named to two NBA All-Defensive Teams at the ages of 33 and 35.

After tenures with Phoenix, Detroit, and Golden State, Robinson joined the New Jersey Nets in February 2005 via a trade with the Warriors. He came up big early on, scoring 11 fourth-quarter points in his sixth game with the team, a 99-93 win over Philadelphia. The Nets reached the playoffs in each of his three seasons with the team. He would retire after the Nets released him in July 2007. Robinson ended his NBA career as the tallest player (6 feet, 10 inches) to hit at least 1,000 three-pointers in his NBA career. He tallied averages of 14.6 points and 4.6 rebounds over 18 seasons.

“Cliff played very well for us, number one,”  Thorn said after re-signing Robinson for the 2006-07 season, per ESPN.com. “Number two, he’s very popular with his teammates. Number three, he’s a leader in the clubhouse.”

Retirement was anything but for Robinson. He came in 14th place during the 28th edition of the reality show Survivor, accompanied Dennis Rodman on his basketball tour of North Korea in 2014, and became a medicinal cannabis advocate.

Robinson is survived by his wife Heather and son Isaiah, who played Division I basketball at Houston Baptist.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Knicks join NBA-wide protest against racism

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks joined the league in solidarity to condemn racism in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The Knicks released a statement shortly after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted Game 5 of their NBA playoff series against the Orlando Magic.  The league has since canceled all the Wednesday games and will be rescheduled.

 

“We support the league’s decision to postpone the games and strongly reiterate our condemnation of racism and violence,” said the Knicks’ statement.

Several Knicks players also joined the protest on social media.

The NBA players remaining in the Orlando Bubble will meet tonight in a crucial meeting that will determine the fate of the rest of the season.

The New York Knicks should be all-in on Fred VanVleet

New York Knicks, Fred Van Fleet

With most of the talk being about how the New York Knicks need to address their point guard situation through the draft, there’s also a very intriguing option in free agency whom the Knicks shouldn’t overlook. That player is Toronto Raptors’ Fred VanVleet, and according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Knicks are expected to be one of the teams in the mix for him:

VanVleet is a shoe free agent and has multiple suitors for a new deal, sources say. And on the court, expect a strong market for the free-agent-to-be: Detroit, New York and Phoenix are expected to emerge as suitors for VanVleet outside Toronto, sources said.

VanVleet has built off of his breakout performance in the playoffs last season with a stellar season this year. He’s established himself as a borderline All-Star who can play both ends of the floor at a high level. Also, being only 26, VanVleet is just entering his prime, so his best basketball is ahead of him.

He’s averaged 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.9 steals in 54 games played this year. He’s shooting the ball 41.3 percent from the field and 39 percent from three, so the efficiency is there too.

The NBA shutdown seemed to have no effect on VanVleet’s game either, as he’s been tearing it up in the Orlando bubble. Since the restart, he’s averaged nearly 18 points and seven assists while playing lockdown defense and shooting about 42 percent from the three-point line.

In the first round of the playoffs, VanVleet has averaged 21.3 points, 7.8 assists, four rebounds, and 1.3 steals while shooting 52.7 percent and 56 percent from three en route to a four-game sweep of the Brooklyn Nets.

Charania mentions in his report that VanVleet is also a “shoe free agent,” which means he’s looking to cash in on a shoe deal in addition to a basketball deal. He should have plenty of suitors in that area as well, and that could benefit the Knicks’ chances in landing him. Even though it may not carry as much weight as it once did, New York is still the ideal place to play when it comes to endorsement opportunities and brand building.

There are more possible advantages to being a star in the media capital of the world, more so than any other market. This could be very appealing to VanVleet and his camp. On top of that, he would be the perfect fit with the team.

The Knicks have been in desperate need of a franchise floor general for far too long now, and VanVleet can finally fill that void. Elfrid Payton was solid for the Knicks this season, but he’s weak offensively. Frank Ntilikina has shown flashes, but he’s also limited offensively and is better suited as a complementary piece. Dennis Smith Jr. has had his moments, but he’s not the answer either.

The Knicks could try and draft their guy, but that brings more uncertainty and hope with the chance of that player not panning out. Hopefully, the Knicks will be able to better develop their players now with the new regime to reduce that likelihood, but they need to prove they can do that. The Knicks can’t afford to keep banking on potential, and VanVleet would bring a proven, productive player who is still ascending in his young career. He can be a piece that helps the team in the present while also being a core building block for the future.

VanVleet is the kind of tough, determined player who Tom Thibodeau would love due to his two-way ability and strong work ethic. He’s come a long way from going undrafted in 2016, and his stats show he’s consistently been improving. His shooting and facilitating would be huge for the Knicks and would open up many more opportunities for the players around him, particularly RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.

It’s good to see that the Knicks are going to try and make a run at VanVleet because he would do wonders for this team. He’ll not only accelerate their rebuild and catapult them back into contention more quickly, but he’ll help a lot in the development of the Knicks’ younger pieces. His market will be competitive, but he should be Leon Rose’s number one priority once free agency begins even if the price is steep, which it likely will be.

Knicks hire Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant as associate head coach

Johnnie Bryant, New York Knicks

The New York Knicks have added another member to Tom Thibodeau’s staff, as they agreed to terms with Utah Jazz assistant coach Johnnie Bryant on Tuesday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Bryant, 34, has been with the Jazz since 2012 and is touted as an elite player developer. He has been an integral part of turning players such as Damian Lillard, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, and yes, Donovan Mitchell into stars.

Here’s what Mitchell had to say about Bryant to The Salt Lake Tribune back in 2018:

He’s [Bryant] really intense, but he’s laid back at the same time — he’s always got something to say. I work as hard as I possibly can to shut him up.

Lillard also credited Bryant for his help turning him into the player he is, referring to Bryant as a “big brother” to him. Both grew up in Oakland, California and Bryant mentored Lillard during his AAU days while Bryant was in college.

Bryant’s hire now marks the second hire from the Jazz organization, as the Knicks brought in long-time front office staple Walt Perrin as an assistant general manager in May. This raises speculation that the Knicks are trying to bolster their appeal to Donovan Mitchell in an attempt to acquire him via trade in the near future.

Trade rumors surrounding Mitchell, who is from New York, have been circulating since he got to the league and started making a name for himself. The rumors have only increased since drama started between he and teammate Rudy Gobert over Gobert’s irresponsible COVID-19 handling, which resulted in Mitchell getting infected with the virus.

While the Knicks reportedly want Mitchell “badly,” a source with knowledge of the Knicks thinking told Adam Zagoria, it seems as though the Knicks hired Bryant mainly from a player development standpoint. Bryant and the rest of the coaching staff will have their hands full with the slew of young talent on this Knicks roster, plus the new players brought in with the multiple draft picks they possess over the next few years.

Thibodeau’s coaching staff is starting to take shape, as he and the front office have been working together to decide who will accompany him on the bench. Bryant now joins University of Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne, whom the Knicks agreed to terms with last week. Former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is still expected to be added to the staff as well.

As for Mike Miller, who took over for David Fizdale last season as the interim head coach and led the team to a 17-27 record before the league shut down, he is not expected to return as a Knicks assistant. This isn’t because the Knicks have anything against him, as they reportedly like him a lot and admired the work he was able to do last season. It is more a case of Miller wanting to explore better options where he would be higher than the 4th assistant on the team, which he likely would be now with the Knicks.

There’s still the possibility Miller could return to the Knicks in a different capacity if he doesn’t find a better coaching gig, as he’s under contract for next year, but teams will likely be interested in his services. He may not get consideration for a head coaching job yet, but he’s definitely earned a lead assistant role somewhere.

Even without Miller, Knicks’ new president Leon Rose had mentioned repeatedly how vital player development is, and he seems to be backing up his words now with his recent coaching hires.

New York Knicks hire Kentucky’s Kenny Payne as assistant coach

New York Knicks, Kenny Payne

The New York Knicks have officially made the first formal hire to new head coach Tom Thibodeau’s staff on Tuesday, as they have agreed to terms with former University of Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne.

Payne, 53, was rumored to the Knicks for months due to his strong relationship with Knicks president Leon Rose and Knicks executive vice president/senior basketball advisor William Wesley. Now he has officially left the collegiate ranks to coach in New York, his first NBA coaching stint.

Payne spent the last 10 years at Kentucky alongside one of the winningest coaches in college basketball history, John Calipari. He was named the associate head coach in 2014 and is largely credited with developing stars who played for the program, such as Anthony Davis, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Bam Adebayo. The Knicks are hoping Payne will be able to assist in the development of their young players, especially Kevin Knox, who Payne coached when Knox played for Kentucky.

Here’s what New York Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau had to say about the new addition to his coaching staff:

I’m thrilled that Kenny has joined my staff as an assistant coach. He has an outstanding ability to forge relationships with players and improve their skills. He knows what it takes to win and has learned from one of the best coaches there is in John Calipari. Kenny will be a tremendous addition to our organization.

During Payne’s Kentucky tenure, the Wildcats advanced to the Final Four four times and won the National Championship in 2012. He played a role in leading Kentucky to a 38-0 record in 2015, the first time a team accomplished that feat in college basketball history. Payne was also vital to Kentucky’s recruitment process, which finished in the top three nationwide every year.

Before coaching at Kentucky, Payne spent five seasons as an assistant at the University of Oregon. During his time there, the Ducks made two NCAA Tournaments, including one Elite Eight appearance in 2007 and a Pacific-10 Tournament title.

Here’s what Payne had to say about his time at Kentucky and his new job with the Knicks:

I want to thank John Calipari, Eli Capilouto (University of Kentucky president), Mitch Barnhart (athletic director) and the University of Kentucky for allowing me to be a part of a special program for the last 10 years that truly epitomizes winning basketball. I am a better coach and leader of young men today because of my time in Lexington under the legendary Coach Cal.
I now take the next step in my basketball journey and fulfill my dream of coaching in the NBA. I’m beyond grateful and excited for the chance to work for such a prestigious organization as the New York Knicks under the leadership of Leon Rose, Scott Perry, William Wesley and Tom Thibodeau, who I have such great admiration and respect for.

Payne played four years for the University of Louisville, from 1985-1989, and was a member of the 1986 NCAA National Championship team. He was selected 19th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1989 NBA Draft and played four seasons for them (1989-1993) before going to play overseas.

Brooklyn Nets: Evaluating this Team through 3 games

Jacque Vaughn, Brooklyn Nets

The date is March 10th, 2020. Spencer Dinwiddie hits the go-ahead jumper against the Lakers to put the Nets up 2. Anthony Davis misses a wide-open three to win the game, and the Brooklyn Nets hold on to upset the Lakers 104-102, which ends up being their last game together before the season is suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Nets were playing their best basketball of the season at that point under interim coach Jacque Vaughn.

Let’s fast forward a few months (with no basketball) to present day. The Brooklyn Nets have now played three games since the NBA season resumed and are a shell of what the team looked like in March, due to a large portion of the roster either choosing to opt-out or being forced to opt-out due to health/injury reasons. The team still has Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Chris Chiozza, Garrett Temple, and Joe Harris,  players who have all been essential pieces for Brooklyn all year. New faces, including Lance Thomas, Justin Anderson, Tyler Johnson, Jamal Crawford, and Donta Hall, have been thrust into the rotation as they work on developing chemistry and finding their role on this team.

Let’s break down the Nets performances game by game, starting with their first match-up with Orlando.

Orlando: 128  vs. Brooklyn: 118 – Full box score

Remember how Nets fans were excited to play this Orlando Magic team twice in the bubble? Well, it turns out that excitement was extremely misguided because the Magic destroyed the Nets in every aspect of this basketball game. This was a rough game for the two leaders on this team, Caris LeVert, and Jarrett Allen. LeVert finished with 17 off of 7-17 from the field and 0-4 from three but, most importantly, was a -26 while on the floor. Jarrett Allen scored 14 points and grabbed 5 boards. The Nets started the game off well, scoring 39 in the first quarter and grabbing a 3 point lead, but fell apart in the 2nd and the 3rd quarter, being outscored by Orlando by 32 points. 

The only bright spot for the Nets was Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who got out of the #NETSTwitter doghouse after his awful play in the scrimmages. TLC finished with 24 points off 8-12 from the field and 5-8 from three. It was great to see TLC get in a rhythm and get some shots to fall. Outside of LeVert/Allen playing poorly, Chris Chiozza (2 points on 1-6) and Garrett Temple (3 points on 1-5) were extremely underwhelming in this game. The Nets, as a team, failed to stop Orlando on the break and had no answer for Evan Fournier (24 points), Nikola Vucevic (22 points), Johnathon Issac (16 points), and Aaron Gordon (10 points & 11 rebounds).

Brooklyn: 118 vs. Washington: 110 – Full Box Score

Things went much differently for Brooklyn in Game #2. While they were unable to stop Thomas Bryant of the Wizards the entire game, who went for 30 points and 13 rebounds, everyone on the floor played significantly better for Brooklyn and were able to win a close contest in the 4th, outscoring the Wizards 35 to 25 in the final quarter.

Caris LeVert (34 points), Joe Harris (27 points & 6 made threes), and Jarrett Allen (22 points & 15 rebounds) rebounded well from their subpar performances in the Orlando game, and all played up to their potential. Chris Chiozza finally decided to show up, dropping 14 points and dishing out 6 dimes off the bench. No other player was in double figures for Brooklyn, but they were able to pull out a much-needed win against Washington, who might win the title for “worst team left in the NBA restart.”

Brooklyn: 119 vs. Milwaukee: 116 – Full Box Score

Even though the Brooklyn Nets won a much-needed contest against the Wizards, many doubted their chances against Milwaukee on Tuesday afternoon. Jacque Vaughn even decided this game would be a great time to rest his most important three starters; Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and Joe Harris. The spread was as high as -18 before the game began. But never forget that old adage, that’s why you play the game.

The Nets stunned Giannis and the Bucks in the first half, hitting 14 shots from three-point land, a season-high for Brooklyn. TLC finished the game with 26 points on 8-12 from the field and 5-7 from the three-point line. Garrett Temple chipped in with 19 points and had his best game of the season as well.

The Nets led the Bucks 73 – 65 after the 1st half, and that was a half in which Giannis and Middleton each played a significant amount of minutes. Those two players were on the bench for the remainder of the game after halftime, a strategy most would assume was the Bucks plan prior to tip-off. While the Bucks clawed their way back into the game by outscoring the Nets in the final two quarters, Brooklyn was able to show toughness and resolve we hadn’t seen from them since March in the final few minutes of the game. Whether it was a clutch TLC three or a gritty Tyler Johnson rebound and put back, the Nets made all the plays they needed to make down the stretch to win the game.

Some other guys who gave the Nets great minutes: Donta Hall, who only scored 4 points and grabbed 9 boards, had an epic dust-up with Giannis after the two were wrestling for a rebound and Giannis ended up on the ground. Hall also had a highlight-reel block on Sterling Brown later in the game as well. Justin Anderson gave the Nets 11 off the bench, hitting 3 three-pointers in the process. Chiozza had a nice 10 point 10 assist game and has proven to be an excellent decision-maker in these last few games.

The Bad News: Jamal Crawford made his highly anticipated Nets debut, only to leave the game after a few minutes with some type of hamstring injury. His return to the court this season is now questionable.

Biggest Takeaway from first 3 Games & What’s Next?

Three games in, if anything about this team, it’s that they are extremely tough, and it will take a lot to break this team’s will. Many fans assumed the team would try and tank after their embarrassing loss to Orlando. The Nets followed that game up with two close wire to wire wins against Washington and Milwaukee. In that Milwaukee game, 8 of the 11 active players on the roster were G-League players at some point this season. The Nets will not shoot this well from three every game, and TLC/Garrett Temple most likely will not combine for 45 points on a nightly basis, but you have to like what you’re seeing from this Nets team through three games. Jacque Vaughn has done an outstanding coaching job with the Net’s gameplan these last two games, especially for Milwaukee, in which the team primarily ran a 2-3 zone on defense, and really seems to be coming into his own as Head Coach of this team.

Next Up: The Brooklyn Nets will go for their 3rd straight win when they face the Boston Celtics on Wednesday (8/5/20) night at 9:00 pm EST.

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Knicks reportedly want to add a number of player development coaches to staff

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

The New York Knicks are a very young team, and with seven first-round draft picks over the next four years they aren’t getting any younger. Knicks president Leon Rose seems to understand the importance of player development, and according to Ian Bagley of SNY he’s making a big effort to address that department:

There is internal consideration in the organization to hire a significant number of player-development coaches for Thibodeau’s staff, per SNY sources.

To clarify, these coaches would not be replacing the assistant coaches Thibodeau would want to bring in for his staff. Instead, they’ll be hired in addition to Thibodeau’s coaches, which means that the Knicks coaching staff will be expanding.

This is a very logical and smart move by Rose and the Knicks, as the development of their young roster is critical to the team’s success both now and long-term. Thibodeau seemed to be in lockstep with Rose on this, as he pointed out the need for strong player development during his introductory press conference on Thursday.

Begley also mentions how former Knicks head coach David Fizdale had one of the smallest player development staff and coaching staff in general during his tenure. It seems expanding player development coaching has become a common practice around the league, with other teams, especially rebuilding ones, already going down that path in recent years.

Thibodeau also stated that he plans to utilize the G League in regards to player development as well. This is very encouraging and something the Knicks didn’t really take advantage of last year. It was reported over the last couple of days that former vice president of player development Craig Robinson wanted to give some of the young players who weren’t seeing a lot of minutes more time in the G League so they could get more playing time, but general manager Scott Perry, who Rose retained, felt as if it would be too big of a demotion.

Fortunately, it seems as though Rose and Thibodeau are on the same page in that they believe in using the G League more, so hopefully, they stick to that thinking cause it can really be beneficial.

Overall, it seems as though the new Knicks regime is serious about making sure they are able to properly develop their youth, and expanding the coaching staff to bring in more people that specialize in that area is a very wise move. It will be interesting to see who the Knicks add to pair with Thibodeau and the coaches he chooses to join him.