Archive for November 4th, 2013

Luke Walton

The Los Angeles D-Fenders, a D-League team, have hired Luke Walton as a player development coach, it was announced today by team President/CEO Joey Buss.

“We are very excited to add Luke to our staff,” said Buss. “His championship experience will help build upon the winning culture that has been established with the D-Fenders. His extensive and successful NBA career will allow him to instill the work ethic it requires for our players to reach the NBA.”

“Luke has been a consummate professional throughout his career,” said D-Fenders General Manager Nick Mazzella. “Having played on two Lakers championship teams, Luke is aware of the hard work and type of culture required to win. He will be a valuable mentor to our players and will dedicate himself to improving their basketball skills and advancing their careers. We couldn’t be happier to have him join our talented coaching staff.”

Walton has spent the last 11 seasons playing in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers. Most recently, he appeared in 50 games with the Cavaliers during the 2012-13 season. The University of Arizona alumnus was selected with the 32nd overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Lakers and helped lead the team to back-to-back NBA Championships in 2009 and 2010. Walton has appeared in 564 career regular season games (138 starts), posting averages of 4.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 17.2 minutes. Walton also served as an assistant coach on the University of Memphis basketball staff during the 2011 NBA lockout.

“I’m thrilled to be returning to the Lakers family,” said Walton. “I’m looking forward to working with the staff to develop young talent that can benefit the D-Fenders and the NBA. The D-Fenders have a proven record of developing top-flight players, and I plan to continue that tradition.”

Walton, a San Diego native, begins his first season as a player development coach. He is the third addition to Head Coach Bob MacKinnon’s staff, joining assistant coaches Casey Owens and Thomas Scott.

The Philadelphia 76ers’ Michael Carter-Williams and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Tuesday, Oct. 29, through Sunday, Nov. 3.

Carter-Williams is only the second player (Shaquille O’Neal, 1992) to earn the honor to begin his rookie season. The 11th overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, Carter-Williams helped guide the Sixers to a 3-0 start, which included wins over the defending champion Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls. In his first three NBA games, Carter-Williams averaged 20.7 points and team highs of 9.0 assists and 4.3 steals. In his NBA debut on Oct. 30, a 114-110 home win over the Heat, Carter-Williams recorded 22 points, 12 assists, nine steals and seven rebounds. The nine steals were the most by a rookie in his NBA debut, while the 12 assists represented the second most for a player in his first NBA game (Buffalo’s Ernie DiGregorio dished 14 assists in his NBA debut in 1973).

Love led Minnesota to a 3-0 mark, the second time in franchise history the Timberwolves have opened the season with at least three straight wins. Love paced the team in scoring and rebounding each game, averaging a league-best 29.7 points and ranking with 4.7 rpg. He had at least 30 points and 15 rebounds twice, giving him 20 such games since entering the league in 2008-09, second over that span to Dwight Howard (23). In the team’s season opener Oct. 30 – a 120-115 overtime victory against the Orlando Magic — Love finished with 31 points and 17 rebounds, and sank the game-tying three-pointer to force overtime.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Orlando’s Arron Afflalo, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Indiana’s Paul George, Detroit’s Greg Monroe, and the L.A. Clippers Chris Paul.

It’s early. The season only started last Tuesday. But fun things are happening: the Sixers started 3-0, and rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams has put up some monster games. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting:

Michael Carter-Williams flashing some star potential

Carter-Williams is a gifted passer who uses his size to not only see over defenders, but also to drive and dish. He piled up 12 dimes in his debut on a plethora of different passes, some requiring in-paint precision, others quick kicks to the wing for open opportunities. Carter-Williams has excellent court vision; a trait that has been evident since his stint at Syracuse. He is good at predicting where players will be, and his size gives him a distinct advantage over smaller point guards, such as Miami’s Mario Chalmers. If he can continue to use his size, vision and basketball IQ to his advantage, while minimizing his mistakes (the fact that he only had ONE turnover in his debut is a phenomenal feat), he will have the ability to control games without putting up points personally, a la a Rajon Rondo.

His stature also affords him an advantage on the glass, as he is a solid rebounder from the point guard spot. His length allows for him to reach up and around smaller guards to secure rebounds, especially on the defensive end, where he pulled down seven in his debut, and averaged close to five throughout his college career. Carter-Williams’ defensive rebounds are especially dangerous because they can immediately ignite a fast break, as he has the ability to push the ball from end to end and finish the play, either personally, or with an assist. A handful of rebounds should be a common sight in his box scores.

You never know what you have until it’s gone. Or someting like that. Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News Blog reporting:

Kobe Bryant

“I love Kobe Bryant. I consider him like my son,” Jackson told Seth Davis in an interview aired on Campusinsiders.com. I consider him as someone who I had a tense relationship with, but something that has mellowed through the course of the years.”

Still, Jackson hardly avoided uncomfortable topics surrounding Bryant in his interview with Davis.

Jackson noted how Bryant’s thirst for scoring often made him a difficult teammate. He acknowledged asking the Lakers’ front office to trade Bryant during his first stint with the Lakers Jackson even admitted that Bryant’s eventually dismissed sexual assault charge in 2003 tainted his view toward his player partly because his daughter was an assault victim while dating an athlete in college.

InsideHoops.com photo of Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio shooting around before Sunday’s Wolves at New York Knicks game:

Basketball blog