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Southwest Notes: Howard, Leonard, McGee

Though he acknowledges that center Dwight Howard is unhappy with the current state of the Rockets, interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff refutes any notion that Howard is a disruptive influence in the locker room, Sam Amick of USA Today writes. “Since I’ve taken over [for fired coach Kevin McHale], I’ve tried to spend a lot of time with Dwight,” Bickerstaff told Amick. “And Dwight’s mind, his heart, are in the right place. He’s about the right things. Dwight wants to win. He wants to play the right way. He wants to contribute to winning, obviously at a high level. So for me, that’s all I can go on. I trust Dwight. He hasn’t misled me at any point since I’ve known him, since I’ve been working with him. So I can’t hang any value to what other people are saying.”

I know he’s frustrated, I’m sure,” Bickerstaff continued. “[But] I don’t see him as a guy who’s looking to take the easy way out. … He has been there to perform through all of it. He’s been hurt. He’s been battling the knees, the back, all those things, and never once has he let on that he didn’t want to be a part of it or he was going to take the easy way out. I think he needs to have a bigger role, but I think it’s a combination of how we get him to that point. I’ve got to do a better job of getting him the ball in positions where he can score.

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard isn’t surprised by his ascent to NBA stardom, because he knows just how hard he worked to get his game to its current level,  Michael C. Wright of writes. “I worked hard,” Leonard said. “It’s my fifth year. It’s not just about what I did this summer, it’s about the experience I had under my belt for the past four years. It just comes with a mindset. There are a lot of guys that stay in the gym and don’t get any better. It’s about being smart, figuring out your weaknesses and not being scared to do it in the games.
  • Despite not seeing much action for the Mavericks as he makes his return from injury, center JaVale McGee remains an important piece for the team given its lack of rim protecting big men, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes. “He’s not 100% of the player he was before the injury just because he hasn’t had a training camp and he hasn’t had a significant amount of time since being cleared,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Matchups are part of it with everybody playing smaller. It’s just a little trickier getting him minutes.
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One thought on “Southwest Notes: Howard, Leonard, McGee

  1. Arthur Hill

    Kawhi Leonard might be the most misjudged player on draft day in this century. Stephen Curry is the only one I can think of to rival him for that honor. Leonard is an All-Star talent who slipped to 15th, behind such players as Derrick Williams, Jan Vesely, Bismack Biyombo and the Morris twins. Jimmer Fredette went five spots higher. The Spurs saw something that no one else did.

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