Jalen Green

Rockets Notes: Offseason, Green, Sengun, Draft, Brooks, Landale

The Rockets made major changes to their roster during the 2023 offseason, bringing in top free agents like Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks. However, general manage Rafael Stone‘s comments this week suggest the team anticipates a quieter summer this time around, with a focus on internal improvement rather than outside additions, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required).

“I like my team,” Stone said. “So, I think potentially, we’re just bringing back everybody that we have. It doesn’t mean we won’t look at things, but I don’t think we’re sitting here today feeling like, ‘Oh we need to go get X’ at all.”

As Stone pointed out, the Rockets acquired injured center Steven Adams at the trade deadline and saw Alperen Sengun and Tari Eason go down with season-ending injuries of their own. Simply getting those three players on the court should go a long way toward fortifying the roster, which Stone described as “well-rounded” with “lots of talented players.”

The biggest decisions of the Rockets’ offseason might be whether to lock up Jalen Green and Sengun to long-term deals or to take a wait-and-see approach with those contract situations. Both players will be eligible for rookie scale extensions in July.

“The way the CBA is set up, you can extend — you don’t have to,” Stone said. “And you can always revisit next summer. We’ll have conversations, we’ll see what makes sense for us, what makes sense for them, and then both sides will end up making whatever decisions we make. But not feeling like it’s a burden or a crushing pressure or anything like that.”

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Houston will likely lose its own first-round pick to Oklahoma City, but controls a lottery selection via Brooklyn. Stone acknowledged that the team could explore trade possibilities with that first-rounder, given all the young players already on the roster, per Feigen. “We have to do the evaluation of the whole draft. One rule of thumb is, if you can get a really special player, you get him,” Stone said. “You can’t control the timing so anytime you can do it, you just do it. The flip side is we’re extraordinarily excited about our young guys now. There’s not an obvious source of minutes for anybody coming in. That applies equally well, maybe even more so, to a veteran coming in.”
  • Despite missing the postseason this spring for the first time since 2020, Dillon Brooks has no regrets about his decision to sign a long-term contract with the Rockets as a free agent last summer, according to Feigen (subscription required). “I feel good about my choice,” Brooks said. “I want to grow with these guys. I want to get Houston back where it needs to be.”
  • Another one of the Rockets’ 2023 free agent signees, Jock Landale expressed a similar sentiment to Brooks despite struggling for much of the season and not reclaiming a regular rotation role until March. “It was obviously rough early on. It was just about sticking with it and learning more about myself. No regrets at all,” Landale said, adding that he has made “lifelong friends” in Houston.
  • The NBA didn’t make any sort of announcement regarding Alperen Sengun‘s end-of-season award eligibility, but John Hollinger of The Athletic hears that the Rockets center was listed on the ballots sent out to voters by the league. A potential Most Improved Player candidate, Sengun played in 63 games before suffering a leg injury that ended his season. Based on the language of the 65-game rule, he’s award-eligible if an independent doctor determined the injury would likely sideline him through May 31.

Southwest Notes: Green, Ivey, Wemby, Popovich, Pelicans

Early-morning workouts and late-night phone calls with assistant coach Royal Ivey have been a factor in Jalen Green breakout this season, according to the Rockets guard, but Ivey is happy to give all the credit to Green, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required).

“It’s all kudos to Jalen,” Ivey said. “I’m just empowering him and encouraging him. He’s doing the work. At the end of the day, that’s a credit to his resiliency, his determination. And not being in that situation before, facing adversity, sitting down at the end of games, not being in (the game) in defensive possessions, he took that personally. This is the result of that.”

Green’s play earlier in the season was up and down, but he has been one of the league’s top scorers in recent weeks, averaging 28.0 points and 3.9 assists on .479/.394/.798 shooting in his past 17 games. Ivey said the former No. 2 overall pick has had the ball in his hands more lately and has looked more comfortable reading defenses and being aggressive.

“I can say his decision-making is A-1, making the right reads,” Ivey said. “And the finishing, it’s been (about) concentration, not looking for fouls. He’s so athletic, if he gets to his launchpad, good things happen. He’s working with his finishing every day. He’s been more assertive to get to that rim. I just think it’s confidence. It goes back to his mindset. That’s everything.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Spurs star rookie Victor Wembanyama admitted he was a bit surprised to be hit with a $25K fine for throwing the game ball into the stands at the end of last Friday’s win over New York, calling it “funny,” according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “When I threw the ball, I thought, ‘Yeah, I remember players being fined for this,'” Wembanyama said. “But they always threw it in a bad way. I threw it to please somebody. It’s not like I was trying to hurt anybody.”
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr doesn’t expect long-tenured Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to call it a career anytime soon, as Orsborn relays. “He was supposed to have retired five years ago, so why would we predict he is going to retire any time soon?” Kerr said when asked if he expects Popovich to fulfill the five-year contract he signed in 2023. “He is still going strong and still doing a great job and loving his work, so I can see it.”
  • Pelicans head coach Willie Green is still figuring out how to distribute minutes at center as the postseason nears, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. The team has gone back and forth between Jonas Valanciunas and Larry Nance Jr. at the five for much of the season, depending on the matchup. However, Green has also experimented with other options, including using Zion Williamson in that role for the last five minutes of Monday’s game vs. Phoenix, Clark notes.
  • Green was critical of his defense after it allowed Devin Booker to score 52 points in New Orleans for a second time this season on Monday. “Quite frankly, we were soft guarding him,” the Pelicans‘ head coach said after the game, per William Guillory of The Athletic. “We just had a soft mentality.”

Southwest Notes: Green, Rockets, Mavs, Kidd, Clarke, V. Williams

Jalen Green‘s in-season turnaround in Houston has been remarkable, according to Mark Deeks of HoopsHype. As Deeks writes, after looking like a potential trade candidate at last month’s deadline, the Rockets guard is now making a legitimate case for a maximum-salary rookie scale extension this offseason.

Green led the Rockets to their 10th straight victory on Wednesday in Oklahoma City, putting up an eye-popping line of 37 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Houston is now one game back of Golden State for the No. 10 spot in the West and Green is confident the club will finish in the top 10.

“We’re going to get a play-in game,” Green said after Wednesday’s win, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “We’re going to keep going.”

Whether or not the Rockets pass the Warriors – or another Western Conference team – in the standings before the end of the regular season, head coach Ime Udoka is pleased that his young squad is getting the opportunity to play meaningful games this late in the year after winning no more than 22 games in each of the previous three seasons.

“I think it’s invaluable for our young guys to go through this,” Udoka said. “And obviously making the playoffs or play-in will be another step, but just going through what they are now and coming on the other side of .500 is huge for them.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Although many of Green’s best performances – and the Rockets‘ recent winning streak – have come since Alperen Sengun went down with ankle and knee injuries, Udoka expressed confidence that the two rising stars will be able to excel alongside one another when both are healthy. “I think that they can complement each other very well,” Udoka said during an appearance on The Matt Thomas Show (Twitter audio link).
  • Within a detailed story exploring the Western Conference playoff race, Sam Amick of The Athletic outlines how the Mavericks‘ play on defense has keyed the team’s recent hot streak, which includes nine wins in 10 games. Amick also cites sources who say that head coach Jason Kidd hopes to sign a contract extension with the franchise this offseason. Kidd is under contract for one more season beyond this one, notes Amick.
  • After a long recovery from an Achilles injury, Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke made his season debut on Wednesday vs. the Lakers. Clarke was effective in his return, with a +15 mark in 21 minutes of action in a 12-point loss. The team intends to take a cautious approach to his playing time in the season’s final weeks, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “We’re definitely going to be smart with his minutes after the long layoff,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We’ll take it week by week. It’s not going to be a game by game thing.”
  • While Clarke is back in action, the Grizzlies still have no recovery timeline for injured shooting guard Vince Williams, who has been out since March 8 due to left patellar tendonitis, tweets Cole.

Southwest Notes: Wembanyama, Morris, Green

Spurs rookie star Victor Wembanyama won’t play on Monday against Phoenix due to a left ankle sprain, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets.

Wembanyama, who was ruled out after participating in the Spurs’ morning shootaround to test his ankle, suffered the injury during Saturday’s 131-106 loss to Phoenix. It’ll be the ninth game he has missed in his first season.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said it’s a “little better than 50-50” that the No. 1 pick plays at Utah on Wednesday.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Markieff Morris has only appeared in 20 games for the Mavericks this season, but the 34-year-old forward plays a key leadership role, Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com notes. Morris says his practice habits are part of the reason why his words and actions carry so much weight. “You can’t just talk it, you got to still be able to walk it,” Morris said. “And that’s what makes these guys believe in what I say. Obviously, I don’t play (in games much). But if you catch me in practice and see me play, you’d say, he really still can bring it. It’s just not my role for this team (to be in the rotation). I think that’s why people believe what I say. I show it in practice all the time.”
  • Jalen Green has been red hot lately, averaging 27.8 points and 3.5 assists this month. Shams Charania noted on FanDuel’s Run It Back program (video link) that the Rockets were willing to deal him. “Two months ago, the Rockets called the Nets on Mikal Bridges and I’m told they discussed a concept around Jalen Green and multiple first-round picks,” Charania said. “That deal was not accepted by the Brooklyn Nets.” That confirms reports prior to the February trade deadline that Houston was open to moving Green for a top-level wing.
  • Speaking of Green, The Athletic’s Kelly Iko takes a deep dive into how the third-year guard has improved defensively this season.

Rockets Notes: Green, Tate, Smith, Whitmore

Rockets coach Ime Udoka considered lineup changes during the All-Star break that might have taken away Jalen Green‘s starting spot, but his show of faith in the third-year guard is paying huge dividends.

As Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes, Green continued his scoring binge Saturday night, pouring in 41 points as Houston won its eighth straight game. The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week is averaging 27.8 PPG in March while shooting 51.4% from the field and 41.7% from three-point range, and the Rockets have moved back into the play-in race with a 10-1 record during the month.

“He’s on a hot streak, obviously,” Udoka said. “Just like people have slumps at times, people can go on runs like this. But the main thing is he’s stayed resilient and continued to be confident when things weren’t going great. And all it takes for a really good scorer is to see a few go through. Run off a game or two of hot shooting and it can kind of snowball like this. I’m proud of the way he fought through some adversity. It’s not easy with a newer team and some different demands from a coaching staff and doing different things to always stay the course and fight through it. And he’s done that. Great to see him come out on the other side.”

A little more than a month ago, there were doubts about Green’s long-term future in Houston. Feigen points out that he was scoring just 17.1 PPG midway through the season while connecting at 39.8% from the field and 32.3% beyond the arc. Udoka was frequently keeping Green on the bench for long stretches in the fourth quarter due to concerns about his shot selection and defensive effort. The No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft will be extension-eligible this offseason, so he’s picked a great time to play the best basketball of his career.

“He’s been the key to everything,” Fred VanVleet said. “Our confidence, our pace, our spacing, he’s guarding. When he’s on like that, that’s just another nuclear weapon you have out there that can go give you 30, 40 any time. It changes the way the defense is guarding, changes the defense, the matchups. He’s been huge for us. It’s a testament to him staying with it, working through what’s been an up-and-down year for him. He’s finding it.”

There’s more from Houston:

  • Saturday’s win was the 35th of the season for the Rockets, which triggered an automatic $500K bonus for Jae’Sean Tate, tweets Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Tate, who has been with the team longer than anyone on the roster, has a $7MM team option for next season and will be eligible for an extension this summer.
  • Jabari Smith could face further discipline from the league after being ejected for fighting with Utah guard Kris Dunn five seconds into the second quarter, according to an Associated Press story. Udoka notes that Smith and Dunn had an altercation in a January game that resulted in technical fouls for both players. “I think Dunn hit him with a shot, and then, they got wrapped up and threw a few punches,” Udoka said of Saturday’s skirmish. “Basically, nothing landed, but as soon as you throw a punch, you’re going to be ejected.”
  • Udoka said Cam Whitmore has resumed shooting as he works his way back from a sprained right knee, per Ben DuBose of Rockets Wire (Twitter link).

Jalen Green, Jalen Brunson Named Players Of The Week

Rockets guard Jalen Green and Knicks guard Jalen Brunson have been named the NBA’s Players of the Week, the league announced (via Twitter).

Green won for the Western Conference, while Brunson was the East’s winner.

Green helped Houston go 3-0 last week, averaging 26.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists on .492/.458/.769 shooting in 35.8 minutes per contest. It was his first Player of the Week award in 2023/24. The former No. 2 overall pick will be eligible for a rookie scale extension in the offseason.

Brunson, who earned his third Player of the Week award of the season, averaged 35.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals on .543/.393/.833 shooting in three games last week (33.7 MPG), with New York winning all three contests. The star point guard has been carrying a heavy offensive load with Julius Randle sidelined and appears to have a very good shot at making his first All-NBA appearance after playing in his first All-Star game last month.

According to the NBA (Twitter link), the other nominees in the West were Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Domantas Sabonis and Zion Williamson, while Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, Paolo Banchero, Darius Garland, Tyrese Maxey, Pascal Siakam, Myles Turner and Jayson Tatum were nominated in the East.

Southwest Notes: Sengun, Udoka, Rockets, Doncic, Pelicans

Alperen Sengun‘s breakout 2023/24 season almost didn’t happen, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who looks back at the Rockets‘ pursuit of Brook Lopez during 2023’s free agent period. Sengun would’ve still played an important role in Houston if the club had landed Lopez, but he likely wouldn’t have been in position to post the same type of numbers he has as the Rockets’ unquestioned starting center.

“You know, of course, when you’re hearing that sh-t, you’re getting nervous, of course,” Sengun said of last summer’s Lopez rumors. “You don’t want to lose your spot. But if (Lopez) was coming, I was ready for a fight.”

While Sengun has increased his offensive output significantly (21.3 points and 5.0 assists per game), he’s just as proud as the improvements he has shown defensively. He told Fischer that his focus on defense this season wasn’t a direct result of Houston’s interest in last season’s Defensive Player of the Year runner-up.

“I didn’t understand that as, ‘Brook was gonna come and I needed to (improve on defense).’ I just know I have to do a better job on defense. If you want to win, if you want to be a ‘winning player,’ you have to do everything on the court,” he said. “I mean, Brook Lopez is a really good player. A really good defensive player, you know? But, I mean, he’s a good shot blocker. I don’t think he’s as good one-on-one player (as me).

“We have different physical bodies. Like, he’s so tall. He’s big. He can block all the shots. I know I can’t block all the shots. I know that. I don’t have long arms. I’m not (that) tall. I just need to be where I have to be and just stay vertical. To jump straight up and just make their job harder.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest Division:

  • Speaking to Fischer, Sengun also had high praise for head coach Ime Udoka and the rest of the Rockets‘ coaching staff. “Ime’s a perfect coach. He’s the best coach I ever had, probably,” Sengun said. “But not just Ime. Our whole coaching staff is amazing. Everybody’s doing a great job. Everybody wants to win. I’ve never seen a coaching staff like this in my life. And when you see, you understand. They’re tough. They’re talking to us. They’re not scared of anything.”
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic takes a look at the burgeoning relationship between young Rockets guards Jalen Green and Cam Whitmore, noting that the team – which ranks 24th in offensive rating – has an opportunity to experiment with the duo down the stretch now that a play-in spot is all but out of reach. “They complement each other well, being two wings that attack and are aggressive,” Udoka said. “When they’re both rolling on the wings and guarding at a higher clip, we like to see what they’re doing together. Two dynamic scorers, and we’ve taken a look at that.”
  • In leading the Mavericks to a win over Miami on Thursday, Luka Doncic helped the team snap a three-game losing streak and became the first player in NBA history to record 35-point triple-doubles in four straight contests. “You’re seeing something as rare as a Picasso,” head coach Jason Kidd said of his All-NBA guard, while recently acquired forward P.J. Washington called his new teammate’s play “insane,” per Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Washington said. “I mean, he’s one of the greatest players I’ve ever seen play and just to be on his team, I think it’s special. So just cherish every moment.”
  • After ranking 27th in Willie Green‘s first season with the team and 15th last season, the Pelicans are up to fifth in the NBA in three-point shooting (38.2%) in 2023/24. As Christian Clark of NOLA.com details, a combination of new additions – including rookie Jordan Hawkins – and internal improvements from players like Herbert Jones have made New Orleans a much more dangerous team from outside.

Rockets Notes: Smith, Green, Trade Assets, Udoka

Jabari Smith spent the All-Star break figuring out how to have a strong finish to his second NBA season, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. While Smith has improved since his rookie year, especially in terms of shooting, he still believes he can take his game to new levels. He has responded to the week of introspection by averaging 20.0 points and 15.3 rebounds over his last three games.

“For sure, it was an examination, just trying to figure out how can I improve, how can I help the team win,” Smith said. “I’m a big part of the team, and I feel like my play affects winning a lot. I just tried to figure out ways I can affect the game and ways I can improve and ways I need to improve. (Self-examination) is something that’s just natural at the break. You kind of just see the first half of the season and find things to improve. Us finishing going into the break how we did (with a loss at Memphis), you kind of look in the mirror.”

The third pick in the 2022 draft, Smith earned second-team All-Rookie honors last season. However, he struggled with his three-point shot early in his career and wasn’t able to find a consistent role the Rockets’ offense.

“I feel more sure, more like I belong,” Smith said. “Last year, I was very unsure, floating around, not knowing what to do. Now I have more knowledge, and I’m more confident. I feel like it’s been not what I want it to be, but it has been better than last year. There’s definitely some bright spots to it, but definitely not where I want to be.”

There’s more from Houston:

  • There’s not much chance Jalen Green will be moved to the bench for the rest of the season, Kelly Iko of The Athletic states in a mailbag column. Coach Ime Udoka refused to discuss the possibility when Iko asked about it earlier in the year, and Iko doesn’t believe Udoka would consider the move now, even though Green has frequently been sitting out the fourth quarter in favor of rookie Amen Thompson. Iko acknowledges that Green is frustrated about his current situation, but notes that his decision-making is improving and he benefits from playing alongside the other starters.
  • Although the Rockets are counting on more internal improvement, a trade is their best path toward improving this summer, Iko adds in the same piece. They have plenty of young talent and veteran contracts to match salaries if a star becomes available, along with a Brooklyn first-round pick that appears likely to land in the top 10 in this year’s draft.
  • Udoka picked up a technical foul Tuesday at Oklahoma City and now leads all NBA coaches with 10, Feigen writes in a separate story. Udoka will receive an automatic one-game suspension if he reaches 16.

Southwest Notes: Grizzlies, Jackson, Udoka, Wembanyama

The Grizzlies aren’t ready to shut down any of their players, but Mark Giannotto of The Commercial Appeal questions whether that’s a sound strategy. Before Memphis ended its nine-game losing streak Wednesday night, coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters that the team will bring back as many injured players as it can over the season’s final two months.

“We’re actively preparing and training these guys as if they are playing,” Jenkins said. “We haven’t had any conversations about shutting down guys. This is a competitive bunch.”

Injuries have made this a nightmarish season for the Grizzlies, who were one of the West’s top teams the past two years. Players such as Desmond Bane and Marcus Smart could still return, but Giannotto believes it’s wiser for the organization to hold them out to avoid any further injury risk while seeing what the team’s young talent can do after the All-Star break.

Giannotto notes that general manager Zach Kleiman didn’t offer any timeline for Bane or Smart in a news conference last week, but he indicated that it might be beneficial for Brandon Clarke to see some action when he’s cleared to return from an Achilles tear he suffered last season.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Grizzlies rookie GG Jackson called it a “joyful experience” as his two-way contract was converted to a new four-year deal last week, per Damichael Cole of The Commercial Appeal. The second-round pick has excelled as the team’s injuries have given him an unexpected chance to play big minutes, and he had been hoping to land a standard contract. “I kind of had a feeling with the way everything has been panning out, but I tried to keep the main thing with basketball,” Jackson said. “But nonetheless, I’m grateful.”
  • Rockets coach Ime Udoka said lineup changes may be necessary following Wednesday’s loss at Memphis, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Houston faced an early 23-point deficit as its pattern of slow starts continued. Jalen Green sat out the entire fourth quarter for the second time in four games, and Feigen notes that little-used Nate Hinton played more second half minutes than Green did. “Maybe I have to look at the rotation and the lineup I have out there starting and try to get five competitors out the court at one time to avoid poor starts like that,” Udoka said. “I will look at all of that over the break, look in the mirror myself and figure out the best way to move forward to get us off to better starts.”
  • Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press previews what Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama can expect as he prepares for his first All-Star Weekend.

Rockets’ Stone Discusses Adams Deal, Green, Deadline Talks

After the Rockets acquired Steven Adams a week before the trade deadline in a move with next season in mind, the front office had plenty of discussions about deals that would’ve helped the team more in the short term, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, Houston kicked the tires on players like Kelly Olynyk, Andre Drummond, Jericho Sims, and Xavier Tillman, among others, but couldn’t find a trade that worked for both sides.

“We certainly weren’t going to do something that would hurt us on a going-forward basis,” general manager Rafael Stone said. “The moves we were the most excited about were moves where we thought that could help us in the short term and also the long term, the moves subsequent to (the trade for) Steven.
 
We were very excited about acquiring Steven. Subsequently, a lot of the ones we had long discussions about were moves that would have provided elements this year maybe that we don’t have, as well as stuff for the future.

“But they didn’t happen, and we’re fine with that. We like our group, and this gives everybody on our current roster an opportunity to shine.”

If the Rockets had wanted to make a more significant deal, it would’ve likely required them to part with a player from their young core: Alperen Sengun, Jalen Green, Jabari Smith, Tari Eason, Amen Thompson, or Cam Whitmore. But Stone said the team wasn’t looking to move on from any of those youngsters, adding that he and head coach Ime Udoka were in agreement on the deals they pursued and those they didn’t.

“We’re looking at the long term more so than anything,” Udoka said. “When you have that many young, talented players, you want to see what they become and not rush to judgment on anything.
 … 
As far as those guys, everyone’s going to check in when you have this amount of young talent. We’re trying to win. We’re in the development and winning stage at the same time, so people checked in. We knew they would. They are talented young guys, and we have some duplicated positions there. We like what we’re seeing from those guys and want to see what we are as a whole unit.”

Here are a few more of Stone’s most notable comments from Monday’s post-deadline media session:

On the acquisition of Adams:

“I think we got a really high-level basketball player. A guy who’s been a dominant rebounding force in the NBA for the last five, six years. One of the best defenders in the NBA. We obviously feel great with Alperen, but now we have two truly starter-level centers next year. Depth is extraordinarily important. On top of that, he’s a very different player and will be a good complement on and off the court for our group.”

On the long-term fit of Jalen Green, whose name popped up in some predeadline rumors:

“Jalen has been and continues to be, on paper, a great fit with us. He has a skill set that isn’t really replicated on our roster. My expectation of him – and he knows this, and I think he echoed in his postgame comments – my expectation is that the defense, which has gotten better, is still going to get a lot better. That the physicality and the efficiency are all going to get better. He needs to take those steps. That’s extraordinarily important. He’s aware of it. We’re aware of it. And that’s the challenge for him and for us.”

On Stone’s assessment of his own job performance in the past year:

“I’m happy with the choices we made. I think for the most part, we’ve gotten what we want. And the additions of Fred (VanVleet) and Dillon (Brooks) were necessary and really important. I like that we brought Boban (Marjanovic) back. I like that we have Jeff (Green). I love the hire of Ime. And then I think we did well drafting Cam and Amen. So we had a very successful offseason, which set us up to make the right steps for this season.

“But I would say for myself, similar to our young guys, it’s not good enough. And so they need to improve. Our front office — not just me, all of us, our coaching staff, all of us — we’ve got to continue on the grind and make sure the choices we make between now and the end of the season, the ones in the offseason all set us up to have the best possible chance to win a championship in the short term. Not meaning like a year or two, but not 20 years either. And that’s very much our goal. And my goal.”