Kevin McHale is displeased with his team’s effort and defense amid a 4-7 start, and he admits he’s thinking of moving marquee trade acquisition Ty Lawson to the bench, observes Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com, though Patrick Beverley hurt his ankle over the weekend. Sources close to the team tell Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders that they wonder whether the players aren’t listening to McHale or if the roster is simply composed of ill-fitting parts. GM Daryl Morey refused comment when ESPN’s Marc Stein asked about the team’s struggles, Watkins relays. See more from around the Southwest Division, where Houston isn’t the only team with a problem:
- A desire to prove his worth to the Heat, who traded him away last week, appears to be fueling the strong play of Mario Chalmers, opines Ethan Skolnick of the Miami Herald. The Thunder’s issues with their perimeter defense played a role, but Chalmers, with 29 points in 23 minutes, looked like the best Grizzlies point guard in Monday’s win over Oklahoma City, The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater observes. “He doesn’t even know the plays yet,” Marc Gasol said. “Imagine when he knows the plays.”
- Dwight Powell, set for restricted free agency at season’s end, has looked strong so far this year, but he still has to prove his value to the Mavs, as Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News contends in a chat with readers. I touched on Powell and more when I looked back on the Mavs’ offseason earlier today.
- Paul Flannery and Tom Ziller of SB Nation debate the surprising troubles for the Rockets, Pelicans and Grizzlies, with Flannery opining that the Lawson acquisition has been a “debacle” so far for Houston but that New Orleans is in the most perilous position of the three teams.