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With all his might, Russell Westbrook did his best to push his team OKC through to the post season, but it wasn’t enough.
The short handed OKC Thunder missed the playoffs for the first time in six years, and now head coach Scott Brooks may potentially be on his way out.
Via Yahoo Sports:
Oklahoma City missed the playoffs for the first time in six years on Wednesday, finishing 45-37 with superstar Kevin Durant lost for most of the year. Thunder general manager Sam Presti has to decide an organizational direction for the final year of Durant’s contract, and that will include a decision about whether Brooks is ultimately the coach most capable of delivering a healthy Thunder roster to a championship. Brooks is well liked within the organization and has forged close relationships with management and players in his seven years as head coach.
Several league sources close to Brooks have doubts about his job security.
If a change comes, University of Florida coach Billy Donovan could emerge as a serious candidate to coach Oklahoma City, league sources said. Presti has a longstanding friendship with Donovan, a two-time national championship coach who has been open about his interest in moving to the NBA. […] Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie would be a candidate for the Thunder’s coaching job if it opens, league sources said. Ollie was a teammate with Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City and an individual whom Presti holds in high esteem.
This season is over for the Detroit Pistons, they won’t be making to the post season, but Reggie Jackson definitely finished with a memorable jam.
Check This Out:
Via the Detroit News:
The season is done for the Pistons (32-50). Now the real work begins.
(Stan) Van Gundy now trades in his coaching hat for his front office shirt and tie. His focus is watching draft-eligible players in college and overseas. […] “We will take the best guy,” Van Gundy said.
While Van Gundy coached Wednesday night, owner Tom Gores showered him with praise and even called this a fantastic season. Gores did not say the 2015-2016 season is playoffs or bust, but he believes good times are ahead. […] “Whatever it is Stan and I will agree on it,” Gores said. “I feel like it is our time. Even though our record does not reflect it I believe we made a lot of progress. I really do.”
The Indiana Pacers and fans had a scary moment when Paul George went down with a leg injury (not the same leg that was injured last summer).
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George left in the fourth quarter with a strained calf muscle, he says the injury isn’t much to worry about.
Via the Indy Star:
Only six games back from one horrific leg injury, George felt a strange sensation in his other, healthier leg, and the story of a season spiraling out of control with injuries started right where it began – with the franchise’s best player hurt. […] Inside a quiet Pacers’ locker room where the only sound was the water pressure from the showers, George spoke in a low voice. He tried to highlight the positives after enduring this latest setback, but judging from his somber tone, George had a tough time searching for the silver lining.
“Just came off a screen and felt a pop, but they looked at it and it’s nothing more than just a calf strain,” George said, slowly. “It wasn’t a knee injury but it’s tough, you work so hard in rehab and have something else pop up. The good thing is, I know we’ve got a long summer and a lot to look forward to.”
As the Pacers faced another must-win scenario on Wednesday, coach Frank Vogel had intended to increase George’s workload to up to 20 minutes. However, George had barely surpassed 15 minutes when he felt the calf pain on a non-contact play. As the Pacers’ season was slipping away early in the fourth quarter to the Grizzlies, George contested Vince Carter for a rebound that Indiana eventually won. Though George got tangled up and wobbled a bit towards the baseline, he said he was fine from that physical play. On the reset, however, George called for a baseline screen from teammate Ian Mahinmi. George faked left, then cut back to his right and that’s when he heard the worrisome noise. […] “I just felt it,” George said. “I knew it wasn’t nothing good.”
Like many others, Cavs guard J.R. Smith believes his teammate, LeBron James is the this years league MVP. But as a teammate what else are you really suppose to say?..unless you’re name is Kevin Love.
Shortly after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 109-97 win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday, J.R. Smith was interviewed by the Quicken Loans Arena’s in-house emcee. He was asked for his thoughts on LeBron James’ second triple-double of the season and 39th of his career. […] “Who? The real MVP?” Smith said, his message echoing to the sellout crowd of 20,562 who were making their way to the exits. “There’s a lot of speculation about who should get the award, but we all know who the real MVP is.”
“In actuality, if you really wanted to, you could give it to him every year,” Smith said of James, who won the award four times in his first 11 seasons in the league. “I mean, the numbers, what he does for teams. You see one year removed from a team like Miami — and they probably won’t even make the playoffs — to a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since he left and then, all of the sudden, we’re a 52-win team. So, I don’t think you can do that with anybody else that’s in our league right now.
“Not to knock anything from the other two guys [Stephen Curry and James Harden]. They’re having great years, career years for both of them, but if you want to be realistic about it, you could give it to him every time.”
Duke’s Justise Winslow will be following behind teammate Jahlil Okafor, going pro leaving the Blue Devils behind (and Tyus Jones for the moment). The national champion averaged 12.6 points and 6.5 rebounds for Duke.
The univeristy made the announcement on behalf of Winslow
Duke freshman Justise Winslow will enter the 2015 NBA Draft, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Tuesday.
“We’re very happy for Justise and his family,” said Krzyzewski. “He had a sensational year, both on and off the court. He was an amazing factor for our success in winning the national championship. From everything we have found out, Justise is projected to be a high lottery pick and we believe that to be true. This is a great time to take advantage of this opportunity. We’re behind him all the way and love him and his family.”
Winslow, an All-Final Four team selection, joins Corey Maggette (1999), Luol Deng (2004), Kyrie Irving (2011), Austin Rivers (2012), Jabari Parker (2014) and teammate Jahlil Okafor (2015) as Blue Devil freshmen to enter the NBA Draft after just one season of college basketball.
Winslow, the third-highest freshman scorer in the ACC this season, averaged 12.5 points per game on 48.6 percent shooting from the field. In 31 of his 39 appearances, Winslow scored 10-or-more points, the second most double-digit scoring games by a freshman in the ACC this year, behind only Okafor (35). Winslow’s 31 double-digit scoring games ranks tied for third on Duke’s freshman list, while his 492 total points tied with Jason Williams for eighth on the Duke rookie chart.
Winslow also averaged 6.5 rebounds per game, second most by a freshman in the conference. He became just the second player 6-6 or under for Krzyzewski to average at least 6.0 rebounds per game, joining Chris Carrawell (6.1 rpg. In 1999-00). Winslow posted seven double-doubles during the 2014-15 season, including three-straight double-doubles in games against Virginia, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. Winslow was recognized for his athletic prowess by being named to the All-ACC Freshman Team and the USBWA All-District III Team.
“This year at Duke University, my dreams and aspirations have literally come true,” said Winslow. “Since I was a kid in third grade playing for the Houston Jaguars, I envisioned one day playing at the collegiate level and winning a championship. If you fast forward 10 years and my dream became a reality. The friendships and relationships I’ve formed with those a part of the Duke and Durham community have been even better than winning the National Championship. With that being said, my family and I have decided that I should declare for the NBA draft this year. Considering the success and growth that I have experienced over this past year as a player and as a person, I believe it is time to take the next step on my career path and play at the highest level.”
Jahlil Okafor announced that he will be leaving the school at Duke and entering into the 2015 NBA Draft, this comes to no suprise to many who saw this from a mile away, Okafor dominated this past season averaging 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds and played a vital role in winning the National Championship for Duke.
Okafor is expected to be a top 3 pick in this years draft.
Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor will enter the 2015 NBA Draft, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Thursday. Okafor, a consensus first team All-America selection, joins Corey Maggette (1999), Luol Deng (2004), Kyrie Irving (2011), Austin Rivers (2012) and Jabari Parker (2014) as Blue Devil freshmen to enter the NBA Draft after just one season of college basketball. The five previous freshmen early entrees were each selected among the first 13 players in their respective drafts, including Irving, who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.
“What a great decision!” said Krzyzewski. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Jahlil and he has earned it. Obviously, he has done an incredible job here at Duke and he will always be a part of our Duke basketball family. We could not be happier for him and his family.”
“As early as I can remember, I’ve fantasized and dreamed of the day that I could play professional basketball,” said Okafor. “ I recall at the age of six, promising my mom and dad that when I made it to the NBA I would buy them both different colored trucks. They would laugh with me in support and encouraged me to dream big and work hard. With that being said and now at the age of 19, my dream is still alive! My freshman year has been an amazing experience to say the least. It exceeded my expectations! I love Cameron and Duke University! I can’t thank my coaches, teammates and family enough for making this year so special and helping me grow on and off the court. With Coach K’s and my family’s blessing I will be fulfilling my life-long dream and proudly entering my name into the NBA draft.”
In a recent interview with ESPN.com, ‘The Truth’, Paul Pierce ripped his former Brooklyn Nets teammates, specifically Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams.
“I’m much happier,” he said. “It was a tough situation (in Brooklyn) last year. Horrible, really.
“It was just the guys’ attitudes there. It wasn’t like we were surrounded by a bunch of young guys. They were vets who didn’t want to play and didn’t want to practice. I was looking around saying, ‘What’s this?’ Kevin (Garnett) and I had to pick them up every day in practice.
“If me and Kevin weren’t there, that team would have folded up. That team would have packed it in. We kept them going each and every day.”
The player that puzzled him the most, said Pierce, was point guard Deron Williams.
“Before I got there, I looked at Deron as an MVP candidate,” Pierce said. “But I felt once we got there, that’s not what he wanted to be. He just didn’t want that.
“I think a lot of the pressure got to him sometimes. This was his first time in the national spotlight. The media in Utah is not the same as the media in New York, so that can wear on some people. I think it really affected him.”
Pierce said veteran Joe Johnson was an affable professional but also a reluctant leader.
“Joe is quiet,” Pierce noted. “He doesn’t want much attention. He doesn’t say much.
“There’s a lot of secondary guys on that team. KG and I went there looking at them as the main guys who would push us, because we were advancing in years. But we ended up doing all the pushing.”
Brooklyn gave up its 2014 pick (which the Celtics used to draft James Young) and unprotected picks in 2016 and 2018 to acquire Pierce, Garnett and Jason Terry. They believed they were poised to be championship contenders, but posted an underwhelming 44-38 record and were bounced by the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs.
“I would have stayed in Brooklyn because of Kevin,” Pierce said. “I told him, ‘I don’t really like this situation but I would never leave you if you want me to stay.’ But they decided not to re-sign me so I never had to make a choice. I would never have left Kevin like that.”
Garnett was traded in February to Minnesota, where he will eventually assume a front-office role as a part-owner.
“He’s happy,” Pierce said. “I’m glad he waived his no-trade clause. I told him, ‘They don’t appreciate you in Brooklyn, man.’ They didn’t even use him right.
“He’s where he’s supposed to be. He IS Minnesota. He never sold his house there.”