SH Blog: Joakim Noah calls Thibodeau style “dictatorship”, Rubio return on the horizon

  • Ricky Rubio may be nearing a return for the Timberwolves, according to Jerry Zgoda of Star Tribune: “Rubio is scheduled to return to his Vail, Colo., surgeon on Monday for a three-day visit after which the Wolves hope he will be cleared for contact practice when the team returns from this trip after Wednesday’s game in L.A. Some time ago Rubio said that last visit to see Dr. Richard Steadman would be mostly to shake up hand and get clearance to go back on the court. The Wolves are hoping that day is very near. Don’t expect his game return to be as sudden as Love’s, though. David Kahn said he still isn’t putting a timetable on Rubio’s return, as he hasn’t done all along. But there’s no question Rubio’s return is getting closer, maybe closer than expected, particularly if you weren’t expecting him back until Christmas or later.”
  • Joakim Noah discussed how he felt about Tom Thibodeau and his coaching tactics, from Joe Cowley of Sun-Times: “At the end of the day that’s not my decision,” Noah said of the fourth-quarter personnel with a laugh. “Sometimes I wish I could coach, but no more player-coaches? I always tell Thibs how I feel. Sometimes he listens to me, sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he gives me that look like, ‘Are you [bleeping] kidding me? Are you really telling me what to do right now?’ Thibs is pretty stubborn. At the end of the day he’s the coach. Like I’ve said for a long time, it’s a dictatorship out here.” And a coup isn’t planned anytime soon. “Do I agree with his philosophy? C’mon man,” Noah said smirking. “Put it this way, I want to be in there all the time … I’m not answering that question, man. Trying to get me in trouble.”
  • Ray Allen called his game-winning shot against the Cavaliers on Sunday a layup, from Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald: “James was a good 16 feet from the basket Saturday when Wade lobbed him the ball with about 20 seconds left on the clock. Multiple defenders stood between James and the basket but still Waiters collapsed in from the perimeter to lend a hand. It allowed a small window but all the time and space James and Allen would need. When Waiters turned away from Allen, the veteran guard slid to his left. James feigned a post move, drawing Waiters in closer, then shot a pass to Allen on the wing. As Allen likes to say, it was curtains from there. “Just that slight movement when he went to help,” Allen said. “I just kind of slid up and when he turned, it was almost like, it was basically a layup, because I was standing right there and he didn’t have to think much.”
  • Steve Nash appears to be coming along from his injured leg, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles: “Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash participated in some on-court activities during practice Monday as he continues to rehabilitate from the fractured fibula in his left leg. The team will wait and see how his body responds to similar drills in the next several days as they continue to evaluate when the All-Star point guard can return to the lineup. He had suffered the leg injury in the Lakers’ second game of the season. The Lakers canceled an MRI that was scheduled Monday for Nash, opting to put him through a series of drills instead with strength coach Tim DiFrancesco. “I really don’t (know when Nash will return),” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It’s getting better every day. I know we keep saying that, but it is. Just when he’s able to withstand some up-and-down, he’ll play.”
  • Kobe Bryant doesn’t mind setting up teammates, but he looks forward to scoring more again when Steve Nash returns, from Kevin Ding of The OC Register: “To Bryant, though, when he sets up teammates and they don’t make shots, then he has no choice but to shoot more to try to rally. “I’ve been doing this my whole career, and some nights my teammates hit more shots and that adds up to more assists for me,” Bryant said. “The games we win are when the whole team is making shots. Now, if our shots aren’t going in, then I have to take more of the offensive load.” Bryant is looking forward to Nash’s return, for sure. Nash will be re-evaluated next week. “I’ll be scoring a lot more when Nash gets back,” Bryant said. “I won’t have to facilitate as much, and it will allow me to do what I do best — and that’s put the ball in the hole.”


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