Brian Keefe, the Lakers‘ new player development coach, has experience with young rosters, having been a member of the Sonics staff beginning the year Kevin Durant was drafted, Joey Ramirez of NBA.com writes in his profile of the coach. Keefe understands there will be growing pains for L.A.’s young roster, but he believes in the end that the team will reap the rewards, Ramirez adds. “We started off a little slow, didn’t have a lot of success right away,” Keefe said of his time with the Sonics/Thunder. “Those guys kind of created an organization, because it was really a new organization when it went to Oklahoma City. They really put an imprint on the whole thing. … Obviously it was an unbelievable experience. We had a lot of success, a lot of deep playoff runs.”
Keefe isn’t afraid to call out players if they make errors, including the stars, with Durant telling David Aldridge of NBA.com back in March that he benefited from the coach’s discipline. “That was probably one of the most realest conversations I’ve had with a coach, ever,” Durant said regarding a chat he had with Keefe back in 2014 after the team had lost three straight home games. “He let me know how bad I was — my body language, my attitude. I just decided to look at myself and self-evaluate. And he was right. I had to change how I was thinking, how I was acting toward my teammates. Everything.”
Here’s more from out of the Pacific Division:
- The development of 2016 first round pick, Damian Jones, is crucial for the Warriors given their aging big men and expanding payroll, Anthony Slater of the Mercury News writes. “If you look around the league, big guys are always at a premium,” GM Bob Myers said. “Especially athletic bigs. We sometimes demean them by going small. We’re probably one of the teams that do that. But they’re very necessary.” Jones, who is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle he suffered during a pre-draft workout, is expected to miss the entire preseason, which will set him back during his rookie campaign. “Besides the pectoral injury, he’s really healthy as far as knees, ankles, back,” Myers said of Jones. “Which is also another thing that’s hard to find with big guys.”
- Jordan Farmar, who reportedly reached an agreement with the Kings earlier today, is likely just a short-term addition for Sacramento, Sean Cunningham of ABC 10 opines (Twitter link). The veteran was brought in for depth to start the season while Darren Collison serves whatever suspension the league doles out for his domestic violence incident, Cunningham notes. Collison was found guilty on one count of misdemeanor domestic violence as part of a plea deal to avoid jail time.
- The crew over at Basketball Insiders weighed in on Lakers‘ chances this season, with the majority of the writers predicting the franchise would finish last in the Pacific Division in 2016/17.