Rick Carlisle

Southwest Notes: Davis, Noel, Carlisle, Paul

Anthony Davis will undergo further examination on his groin injury when the Pelicans return to New Orleans tomorrow, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. He will be held out of tonight’s game in Portland.

Davis suffered the injury Friday night in Utah, collapsing under the basket while going after a rebound. He had to be helped off the court and later used crutches as he left the locker room. He was still on crutches as he arrived at the Moda Center tonight, according to Mike Richman of The Oregonian (Twitter link).

Davis has been among the league’s top young stars since being taken with the first pick in the 2012 draft, but durability has been a persistent problem. He appeared in 75 games last season, which marked the first time he was able to play in more than 70.

There’s more news from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks center Nerlens Noel didn’t get off the bench for the fourth straight game today, but he got some attention in the media dining area, relays Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Noel stopped in for a hot dog at lunchtime, which is an unusual act for a player in uniform. He explained that he got hungry during the afternoon game and needed “fuel” in case he was called on in the second half. Whether it was an innocent gesture or an act of protest, it’s clear that Noel is unhappy being stuck on the bench. “I’m doing everything I need to, staying in shape, continuing to work on my game and working on the little things,” Noel said. “It’s frustrating at times. But I think I got laser focus right now for what I want to do and where I want to be. I’m anxious to play. When that comes, it comes.” But when asked if he expects that to happen in Dallas, he replied, “I honestly have no idea.”
  • Today’s win was number 700 for Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, Sefko notes in a separate story, which underscores how long he has been with the organization. He spent two seasons as head coach in Detroit and four years in Indiana before coming to Dallas at the start of 2008/09. “It means I’ve been very fortunate to have three great owners and a lot of great players,” Carlisle said. “I’ve never been one to count that kind of stuff. As time goes on, I count those things even less.”
  • Rockets guard Chris Paul and forward Luc Mbah a Moute will make their first trip back to Staples Center tomorrow since leaving the Clippers over the offseason, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Both say their emotions will be lessened because they are facing the Lakers instead of their former team.

Mavs Notes: Smith, Antetokounmpo, Centers, Curry

Although they enjoyed a 32-point win over the Bucks on Saturday, the Mavericks have struggled to find their rhythm early on this season, going 3-14 through their first 17 games and finding themselves in last place in the Western Conference.

Despite the rough start, however, head coach Rick Carlisle is not going to let his star rookie Dennis Smith Jr. pick up any losing habits. According to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, Carlisle and Smith spend a lot of time together, one-on-one, going over film, both before and after games.

“He’s an important part of our team,” Carlisle said. “It’s gotten to the point where our winning is largely dependent on him playing well, which is a great compliment to him and what he’s been able to establish.”

There’s more from Dallas:

  • Saturday was a bittersweet night for the Mavericks. While they beat the Bucks handily, they were also reminded of what they missed out on after passing on Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft. As Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News highlights, it was owner Mark Cuban who ultimately made the decision not to select Antetokounmpo.
  • According to Carlisle, Seth Curry is not expected to be back on the court this week, tweets Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. There is no timetable for Curry’s return.
  • Despite having “a forklift full of centers,” the Mavericks are aware that the position is somewhat of a roulette wheel at the moment, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News“It’s a bit of a by-committee position,” Carlisle said. “The guys got to roll with it and understand the things they do may only fit in certain stretches.”

Mavericks Exploring Upgrade Opportunities

The Mavericks entered the day with the worst record in the league and the franchise is looking to make improvements. Coach Rick Carlisle alluded to the team’s unbalanced roster being a primary reason for the poor start and he indicated that the team is in the market for anybody who can help them, as Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News relays in a series of tweets.

“It’s almost like we went to Costco and got a forklift full of centers. Carlisle said.

Dallas has five centers on the roster, including Nerlens Noel, who has seen just seven minutes of action over his last three games. Dirk Nowitzki playing the majority of his minutes at the five this season only compounds the issues and it’s easy to envision the team making a move.

The Mavs are closely monitoring the G League and the waiver wire, though the combination of lackluster available options and a full roster may delay any movement. Sefko notes that the team may have to wait on bringing in significant talent until December 15 —the date when many offseason signees become eligible to be included in deals.

Western Rumors: Paul, Ball, Nurkic, Noel

Chris Paul is ramping up his workouts and could return to action on Thursday, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. The longtime All-Star point guard has been out since suffering a bruised left knee in the Rockets’ opener. “We’ll see how he feels Tuesday and Wednesday,” coach Mike D’Antoni told Feigen. “That [playing Thursday] is what we’re shooting for.”

In other developments around the Western Conference:

  • Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball is shooting 31.4% but team president Magic Johnson said during a radio interview the coaching staff won’t alter his shooting stroke. Johnson made the comment during an interview on ESPN’s Mike and Mike show, which was relayed by USAToday’s Andrew Joseph. “Let him shoot the way he’s been shooting and hopefully they’ll go in. And so, we’re not gonna mess with it,” Johnson said. “We’re gonna let him shoot and play his game. If after the season, and he’s not shooting well, then we’ll sit down with him and say, ‘Hey, let’s maybe look at different way or let’s try to improve the way you are shooting.'”
  • Jusuf Nurkic isn’t brooding over his lack of crunch-time minutes in recent games, Mike Richman of The Oregonian reports. Coach Terry Stotts has gone with the backup Ed Davis in the fourth quarter the last two games but the starting Trail Blazers center says he’s not upset. “No drama, man,”  Nurkic told Richman. “It’s all about the [next] game.”
  • Nerlens Noel‘s lack of playing time doesn’t mean there’s a rift between him and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Noel has played just eight minutes over the last three games but he can work his way back in the rotation by playing hard-nosed basketball, Sefko continues. Noel will get a chance to rejoin the rotation in the near future, Sefko predicts.
  • Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler scored 25 points against the Suns on Saturday, and he vows to remain a bigger part of the offense, Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. Butler had scored 16 points or less in seven of his 10 previous games with his new team.  “I do think I have to start scoring the ball a lot more,” Butler told Zgoda. “I think I’ve come too far to be as passive as I am right now. I’m always going to pass the ball to the open man, but if I feel like I can get my shots off and think I can make it, I’m going to take each and every one of those.”

Southwest Notes: Noel, Black, Grizzlies

Even if Dallas honors its perceived obligation to Dirk Nowitzki and continues to feature him at the five, there are plenty of minutes available to Nerlens Noel behind him. One of the problems, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer writes, is that the Mavs have one of the most imbalanced rosters in the NBA with a whopping seven centers on the payroll.

While Noel is, on paper, the best option to slot in behind Nowitzki, he hasn’t earned the trust of head coach Rick Carlisle. Suddenly, the 23-year-old long-term Mavs building block that was allegedly offered a four-year, $70MM contract in the summer is watching Salah Mejri take his minutes.

Tjarks spoke with Carlisle about Noel, gaining insight into why the Mavs haven’t made more of an effort to develop the big man in his first full season with the franchise. Noel’s defensive inefficiencies and struggles to fill the exact role requested of him have contributed to the current standstill.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • In another article about Nerlens Noel‘s role with the Mavs, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes that the big man isn’t on a specifically short leash. “There’s no doghouse here,” head coach Rick Carlisle said. “There just isn’t. It’s pretty simple. You compete and if you earn minutes, you get minutes. You got to compete. And our guys have to have an edge. No one’s given anything. That’s how we have to do things. The situation is we have a lot of tough opponents, record’s not good right now. Competing is what it’s all about.
  • The Rockets haven’t found a way to incorporate Tarik Black into their regular rotation. Until they do, the productive reserve will need to continue to prepare, as he tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “There’s nothing like basketball rhythm. I have to get back on the court. As far as staying prepared, every day I come in here and prepare like I am playing. I do my same routine and after the game, if I don’t play, do extra work,” Black said.
  • The Grizzlies have drawn from last year to effectively navigate through a plague of injuries, Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. “We had our moments last year when we were down to nine guys. So, you have to figure out how to use them and put them in a position to succeed,” head coach David Fizdale said.

Rick Carlisle Talks Mavericks, Draft Process

Coach Rick Carlisle recently appeared on ESPN Dallas’ Dennis and Cowlishaw radio show (h/t The Dallas Morning News) to discuss the Mavericks‘ offseason and the pre-draft process. Here are some highlights from the discussion:

  • Dallas is currently slotted with the ninth pick, though the franchise has a 6.1% chance at landing a top-three pick in the draft, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors details. While Carlisle would certainly like to move up, he believes you can get a productive player anywhere within the top 10.  “I’ve been looking at it for about 10 days now,” Carlisle said. “It’s deep. It’s 13 or 14 deep with guys that are going to legitimately help teams; not only teams that are bad but teams that are good. It’s a good year to be in the top-10. We’ll take advantage of it. There’s a lot of work to do between now and draft night.”
  • The Mavericks don’t usually pick this high in the draft and Carlisle admits that it puts added pressure on the organization getting the selection right. “This is the kind of pressure you want, an opportunity,” the coach said. “And we know it’s big. We haven’t been even in the mid-first round very much.”
  • Many people within the front office will have input on who the team selects, but ultimately, it’ll be the owner the makes the final call, Carlisle explains. “Even if some guys are hired in GM positions and they say, ‘I have decision-making power in this job,’ not really. You’re always running it by your owner. And so ultimately Mark [Cuban] makes the final call and we’ll make a recommendation,” Carlisle said.
  • Carlisle added that he’s only involved in the draft process to inform the front office on what the team’s needs since he has the best idea of what they already have.
  • He added that the Mavericks won’t draft for need: “We gotta take the best player available.”
  • Be sure to check out the whole interview via The Dallas Morning News. It’s worth a read.

Mavericks Notes: Ferrell, Carlisle, Lottery

Yogi Ferrell is confident that he can be the Mavericks‘ starting point guard, though he’s willing to play whatever role is best for the team, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes.

“I feel like, yeah, I am a starting point guard, and I’m going to play whatever role coach decides to put me in,” Ferrell said. “I’m definitely just blessed to be here and glad to be here. I definitely want to be here for a very long time.”

Here’s more from Dallas:

  • Coach Rick Carlisle believes Ferrell has earned a place in the league, but he added that it’s unfair to project what kind of role the Indiana product will play going forward, Sefko adds in the same piece. “I do like Yogi in our franchise, on our roster,” Carlisle said. “He certainly has proven that he can be a rotation player in this league. We didn’t have a good record. At this point in time, projecting exactly where he’s going to be is not really fair. I love him as a competitor. He’s grown each and every day, each and every game. I’m just really thrilled we have him here.”
  • Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News can envision the Mavericks contending for the eighth seed next season, but he’s bearish on the team’s chances of rising any higher in the standings. The scribe adds that if unless Dallas moves up in the lottery, the team is a season or two away from 50 wins. Mark Cuban’s franchise has a 1.7% at the No. 1 overall selection and a 6.1% chance at a top-3 pick, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors details.

Mavs Notes: Curry, Noel, Hammons, Harris, Cuban

On the heels of a 33-49 season, the Mavericks will focus on improving their roster via free agency and the draft. Eddie Sefko of Dallas Morning News suggested two veteran FAs to provide an immediate boost: Serge Ibaka and J.J. Redick. Sefko explains that Ibaka is a “big-time rebounder” who is still relatively young, while Redick would help shore up the team’s mediocre shooting.

Sefko cautions against hoping for a point guard improvement through the draft. Unless the Mavs “get lucky” and secure one of the top two picks, they’re unlikely to obtain a top-shelf guard. In the event Dallas winds up with the 8, 9, or 10 pick, Sefko cites Jonathan Isaac, Miles Bridges, and Lauri Markkanen as potential fits.

More from Dallas…

  • Seth Curry, who missed the season’s final seven games due to a left shoulder injury, hopes to avoid undergoing surgery over the offseason. “It’s still a possibility, but I don’t think it’s necessary at this point,” Curry told Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
  • Former Purdue Boilermaker A.J. Hammons got his feet wet in the NBA this past season, scoring 43 points with 36 rebounds over 22 games. While Hammons’ contract is guaranteed over the next two seasons, Eddie Sefko of Dallas Morning News is skeptical of his role on the team in 2017/18. “I like the big guy, but I haven’t seen a passion for wanting to improve,” Sefko writes. “He loves to sit out there and launch jump shots. But I think his calling in this league has to be as a strong rebounder and rim protector. My bottom line: doubtful that he is here next season.”
  • While he appears set to enter the market as a restricted free agent, Nerlens Noel‘s recent remarks to Brad Townsend of Dallas Morning News imply he’d like another season in Dallas. “I love Dallas,” Noel said. “In my short time here, I’ve really enjoyed it. With the pieces that we have, and the opportunities we’ll be seeing in the near-future, I think there’s a lot to be excited for.” 
  • While Devin Harris isn’t a lock to start next season with Dallas, one thing is certain: the 34-year-old isn’t retiring. “Definitely not retiring,” Harris told Adam Grosbard of Dallas Morning News. The Mavs are unsure whether they will exercise Harris’ $4.4MM option for 2017/18. Harris averaged 16/7 minutes in 2016/17; the lowest total since his rookie season. “Ball’s in their court. I just let the chips fall where they may and try to make the best decision possible with the information that I have.”
  • In a 109-91 loss to the Nuggets- the Mavs’ penultimate game of the season- coach Rick Carlisle gave six players 25-years-old or younger significant playing time. Mark Cuban spoke to Adam Grosbard of Dallas Morning News, explaining the strategy of giving younger players minutes down the stretch. “When we were playing for it, we obviously had some bad games but it’s obvious our young guys are getting better. And that’s all you can ask for,” Cuban said. Dirk Nowtizki seconded Cuban’s remarks, adding “It’s been fun to watch these kids.”

Southwest Notes: Boogie, Davis, Curry, Anderson, Diallo

Having been eliminated from the playoffs, the Pelicans will regroup and focus on 2017/18, Justin Verrier of ESPN writes. As Alvin Gentry notes, the Pels will benefit from Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins having a full preseason to learn how to play off one another.

“You can see he [Davis] and DeMarcus are going to be fine together,” Gentry said. “You put them in a training camp and you’re able to really hone in on what you want to do and how they can play together. They can be very, very effective. I think we have a chance to move forward.”

Aside from questions surrounding Jrue Holiday‘s free agency, the Pelicans will also have to sort out a roster shuffled by the Cousins trade. Over the season’s remaining four games, Verrier points out, the Pels would be best served to showcase Cheick Diallo and Quinn Cook over their frontcourt veterans.

More from around the Southwest…

  • Mavs coach Rick Carlisle isn’t sure Seth Curry will return by the end of the regular season, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News reports. Depending on the condition of Curry’s left shoulder, the team could shut down the former Blue Devil. “Seth’s doing all right,” Carlisle said. “I’m not sure at this point (about him playing in the final three games). It’s not something that we just rubber stamp and send him back out there. I hope he can play a couple of games, but if it’s not the right thing, he won’t do it.”
  • Ryan Anderson will play limited minutes in tonight’s matchup with Detroit, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. An ankle injury had sidelined Anderson for Houston’s last six games. As the postseason nears, Anderson is eager to get back on track. “I’m going to play limited minutes, but that’s the plan,” Anderson told Feigen. “I’m excited about it. I feel strong. I feel good. I feel ready to go. It’s going to take a game or two to get back. That’s why we have these last few games to get ready and get mentally prepared for the playoffs, and physically.”
  • The Pelicans not having a designated D-League affiliate resulted in an “unorthodox” year of development for Diallo. A former Kansas Jayhawks standout, Cheick was assigned to the D-League seven times, playing for three different teams in 2016/17. “I just want to play, you know?” Diallo told Scott Kushner of The Advocate. “I go to any place and I don’t even know the coaches or the players on some of these D-League teams. Sometimes I didn’t even know where I was, whether in North Carolina or Texas or wherever. I just know the D-Leagues helped me a lot and it would help anyone a lot.”

Southwest Notes: Boogie/Brow, Randolph, Barea

The Pelicans still have a ways to go following their acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes. Anthony Davis won’t become a free agent until 2020, but if Pelicans ownership doesn’t build a better team around him by then, Davis could leave for greener pastures.

“Cousins is a talented, ball-dominant player, but his biggest talent diminishes Davis’s value,” O’Connor writes. “The Brow’s worst offensive skill is his 3-point shooting, yet when Cousins bulldozes defenders, all Davis can do is float around the arc.”

The ‘elephant in the room’ regarding the Cousins deal, O’Connor writes, is Boogie’s agent stating it is “highly unlikely” DeMarcus would sign an extension following a trade. Despite acquiring Cousins for excellent value, his departure would leave the Pelicans back at square one.

“Right now the Pelicans are a team with zero title hopes, clinging to 8-seed dreams,” O’Connor concludes. “Over league history, stars stuck in those spots don’t stick around too often. Maybe things will be different with Davis, but it won’t be unless the Pelicans make drastic changes before time’s up.”

More from around the Southwest…

  • Grizzlies vet Zach Randolph shared his memories of playing in the tournament with Michigan State. “When we went to the Final Four. Playing in front of our home crowd and having all the State fans being there in a big arena, it was a great experience,” Z-Bo told Grizzlies.com. Vince Carter also spoke about the experience of participating in March Madness, talking up the Final Four-bound Tar Heels. “I think they’ve established themselves as a one seed,” Carter said. “It’s all about luck and a little opportunity, but I think if they just stay disciplined and be who they are, they should be ok.”
  • Donatas Motiejunas spoke about the contract debacle he endured with the Rockets. “I try not to look at it. At the end, everything is going to be cleared up,” D-Mo told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle“It was a long time for me not playing basketball of course. There were a lot of options, I thought about playing in Europe, a lot of teams were offering me a contract.” A free agent-to-be, Montiejunas has accumulated four DNPs in New Orleans’ last seven games.
  • Mavs coach Rick Carlisle liked the aggression his team showed following J.J. Barea‘s altercation with Blake Griffin. “That was such a blatant flop, I mean how physical did you think it was?” Carlisle told Eddie Sefko of Dallas News. “The nature of that play was aggressive. It got our fans going. I think it got us going. And it was kind of one of those situations where you take a stand. And that’s how it’s got to be from here on out for our team.” While the original ruling on the court was a Flagrant-2 foul on Barea, Carlisle hopes the league can overturn the call.
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