Southwest Notes: Smith, Koufos, Spurs

Rockets coach Kevin McHale is using Josh Smith in a reserve role rather than as a starter due to Smith’s preference, not his own, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. “The biggest thing is about getting him comfortable,” McHale said. “He has to get where he’s comfortable. He felt more comfortable with that second team. He’s done everything I’ve asked him to do. I’ve sat him down and said, “Ok, are you more comfortable coming off the bench? Are you more comfortable starting? Where are you at, because this is about you being comfortable, not me being comfortable?’ I just sit over on that bench. I don’t have to be comfortable.”

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Smith is happy for his former Pistons teammates and the success that they have enjoyed since his departure to the Rockets, Feigen writes in a separate piece. Smith also isn’t fazed by the criticism levied against him in regards to being the reason that Detroit was a losing team, Feigen adds. “I have no hard feelings,”  Smith said. “I felt great about the opportunity that was given to me and I looked at it more as a blessing than anything. No. 1, I think I was signed under Joe Dumars. You come in with a new group, a new situation. I knew he [Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy] probably wanted his guys in there. There were a lot of young guys that needed to be groomed. They were more in the rebuilding stage. He didn’t want to string me along for the process because he was understanding this is my 11th year and I should have an opportunity to play for a good team.
  • Grizzlies big man Kosta Koufos is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and Koufos will have to decide whether staying in Memphis as a reserve or leaving to pursue a starting role with another team will make him happier in the long-run, Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders writes. “I do want to play a lot more,” Koufos said. “You know, who doesn’t [want to play more]? But right now I’m not thinking about the summer. I’m thinking about the now, and right now I’m with the Memphis Grizzlies trying to help them win as many games as possible. That’s my goal. You have to feel confident. This [is] my role right now so I have to go with it.”
  • In the midst of disappointing stretches, both the Spurs and the Thunder are in danger of sliding to lower playoff seeds, or out of the postseason entirely, Jeff Caplan of FOX Sports Southwest writes.
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