Nate Mitchell

Central Notes: Haliburton, Mitchell, Rollins, Pistons

All-Star Game starter Tyrese Haliburton was heaped with praise during the festivities in Indianapolis and he’s humbled by it, James Boyd of The Athletic writes. Haliburton gave the home audience a thrill when he made five 3-pointers in less than two minutes during the first quarter of Sunday’s game.

“The respect that I’ve gained from my peers and legends means the world to me,” the Pacers‘ star guard said. “Where I’m from, that’s not really a thing. There’s no chance that they even know where Oshkosh, Wis., is, so it means the world to me. I just want to continue to keep doing what I’m doing and gaining people’s respect.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Doc Rivers has made a change to his coaching staff, as the Bucks have parted ways with assistant Nate Mitchell, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. Mitchell was hired by former coach Adrian Griffin last summer after serving as an assistant under Nick Nurse with the Raptors.
  • Ryan Rollins‘ two-way contract with the Bucks is a two-year deal, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. Rollins signed the contract on Wednesday after the Wizards released him in January.
  • The impact of Simone Fontecchio and other recent additions to the Pistons’ roster will be one of the storylines to watch for the remainder of their season, according to Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press. Whether Cade Cunningham continues to put up strong numbers after a slow start is another thing to keep an eye on, Sankofa adds.

Central Notes: Williams, Gueye, Pacers, Bucks

After signing the most lucrative head coaching contract in NBA history, new Pistons head coach Monty Williams has his work cut out for him in reshaping the rebuilding team. Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscription required) unpacks five big issues regarding the club’s current personnel that Williams must tackle.

Most pressing among these questions is how Williams will use 2021 No. 1 draft pick Cade Cunningham, who missed most of his sophomore NBA season with a shin injury. Sankofa also wonders how Williams will balance Cunningham’s touches with the looks afforded 2023 All-Rookie Second Teamer Jaden Ivey, how the club’s new coach will juggle his frontcourt, and more.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Pacers continue to search far and wide for intriguing young prospects. Today, the team is hosting Washington State forward Mouhamed Gueye for an individual workout, per Indiana possesses five draft picks this year, including three first-round selections, beginning at No. 7. The team also announced that it will work out two shooting guards, G League Ignite’s Mojave King and the New Zealand Breakers’ Rayan Rupert, on Saturday.
  • Because the Pacers have so many selections in this year’s draft and team president Kevin Pritchard assumes he will trade some of them, the team is making sure to assess all levels of prospects to prepare itself for a variety of different scenarios, according to The Indianapolis Star. Many of the young players who have auditioned for Indiana thus far have enjoyed the experience. “When you can get guys like this in the gym that are competitive and good guys, iron sharpens iron,” UCLA point guard Tyger Campbell said. “You’re going to leave this place better than you were when you came in.”
  • New Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin continues to build out his staff. A source informs Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link) that Griffin is bringing in Raptors assistant coach Nate Mitchell and Pistons assistant coach DJ Bakker to help fill out his bench. Nehm reveals that Griffin also intends to keep former Mike Budenholzer assistant Josh Oppenheimer. Nehm adds (via Twitter) that another former Budenholzer assistant, Vin Baker, will also return to the fold under Griffin.