After finishing last season with the worst record in the NBA, the Bucks are benefiting from a change in culture, writes Mary Stevens of Basketball Insiders. New coach Jason Kidd has received praise from many players, including center Larry Sanders. “He’s a great coach. As good as a player he was, I think he’s a better coach,” Sanders said. “He really knows how to run a team. He’s putting all of us in a position to be successful.” Sanders, who last year signed an extension to remain in Milwaukee through the 2017/18 season, has helped the Bucks rank third in scoring defense (93.6 points per game allowed) through nine games.
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- The Heat’s new additions have yet to gel and the lack of defensive cohesion is upsetting the team, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “This defensive system is built on trust, and we’re not there yet,” center Chris Bosh said. “I think that’s obvious. But guys have to take their positions, guys have to know their rotations. They have to know exactly what they’re doing when the ball goes to a certain place.” Despite their decline, the Heat are only giving up 97.8 PPG, which is the 12th-best mark in the league.
- Knicks coach Derek Fisher believes the team’s current hardship will help the club down the road, writes Barbara Barker of Newsday.com. “Oftentimes it takes humbling experiences and adversity to soften the environment enough for guys to really grow. I think we have a lot of that going on in our group right now and it’ll pay off in the long run. Right now, we’re not getting the wins that we would like, but it’s gonna pay off,” said Fisher. The Knicks have started the season with a 2-8 record.
- Even though the Knicks are struggling, finger-pointing within the locker room is no longer an issue, writes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Guard Iman Shumpert believes the team’s chemistry is better this season. “I know it was a problem last year. This year, [there’s] a confidence in the system and confidence in one another,” Shumpert said. “I think everybody trusted [each other] once we came to training camp; we could see that everybody worked their [butts] off this summer.”