Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley is a big supporter of interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff and hopes the team plays well enough to nab Bickerstaff the position on a more permanent basis, Mark Berman of FOX 26 relays (via Twitter). When asked what it would mean to him if Bickerstaff was officially named head coach, Beverley said, “Oh, everything. He’s been great. We’re very close. [He] holds everybody accountable. No one’s bigger than the team. Our defensive principles and defensive intensity have definitely gone up since [he became interim coach]. It wouldn’t surprise me if he will be our head coach for years to come. That wouldn’t surprise me. We’re playing for him. Of course we play for ourselves. Of course we play for our family. We’re playing for him, for him to be here and the rest of the coaching staff.”
Here’s more from around the league:
- Bulls center Joakim Noah is expected to miss at least two weeks of action due to a sprained left shoulder, according to the team. Noah underwent an MRI today and will be re-evaluated in two weeks, but coach Fred Hoiberg noted that Noah could be out longer than that, Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago relays. “The initial diagnosis, the shoulder sprain and the initial recovery is two weeks or rehab, then he’ll be re-evaluated. That’s what I’ve been told,” Hoiberg said. “Maybe two, maybe four. I just don’t know yet.” The big man is averaging 4.5 points and 8.8 rebounds for Chicago on the season.
- Offseason signee Jason Smith has upgraded the Magic‘s bench on both ends of floor, and his strong play has coach Scott Skiles thinking about expanding Smith’s role, John Denton of NBA.com writes. “I always felt like he was a very good team defender and we felt like in a solid defensive system he’d be very good,’’ Skiles said of Smith. “He’s really protected the rim for us and he’s been very good at moving around and communicating. He’s been very valuable for us.’’