Now I live in Canada, so I don’t get to take either day off, but if you’re like me, only American, you could be forgiven for missing yesterday’s Sixth Man rankings. That sixth man list is interesting because of the departure from traditional sixth man roles that it shows. Even just last year, the sixth man was a pure scorer, someone who probably couldn’t lock down a team’s first option as a defender, but could get buckets with the absolute best of them. Guys like Mike Miller, Jason Terry, James Harden (at the time), and J.R. Smith. Now we’ve got teams using distributors as their first option off the bench.
Of course, this could also be a function of the league’s increased point guard depth: guys who would have been starters five years ago are now coming off the bench, like Isaiah Thomas in Sacramento, or this week’s #1, Jeremy Lin (who is also a bit of a pure scorer, admittedly).
Speaking of Lin, he’s out for a couple weeks with a knee sprain. Wonder how that’ll shake up next week’s rankings.
Now let’s get to the latest news and rumors from around the NBA:
- The Nets picked up a win today over the Grizzlies, but it still hasn’t been a good season for them. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News updates us on the status of their nightmare start: “Jason Kidd said the Nets — with the oldest and most expensive starting lineup in the NBA — were tired, a product of playing nine games in 14 nights. But Joe Johnson disagreed after scoring just five points in 16 minutes. “I’m not fatigued,” he said. “Not at all. I can’t speak for everybody. I don’t know. If that’s how he felt, that’s how he felt. I can’t really speak on how everybody felt, whether they were tired, didn’t have energy.” Deron Williams didn’t make the trip because of his own sprained left ankle. The point guard will be reevaluated on Monday, meaning he’ll also miss Saturday’s game in Memphis. By then, Williams will have sat six straight games, and eight overall after resting all of training camp and most of the preseason with a sprain to his other ankle. With the injuries to the younger and important Nets, Garnett and Paul Pierce have been asked to shoulder a larger load than anticipated. They’ve failed to rise to the challenge, combining to shoot 37% heading into Houston. The news was worse for Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko, both out at least another week, according to the Nets.”
- Kidd’s new team might not be having the most success, but he’s missed across town, writes the New York Post’s Marc Berman: “Kidd protected the Knicks last season with his play and savvy and helped the Knicks to an 18-5 start and 54-28 finish. With Tyson Chandler out, Anthony is the lone leader now on a 3-12 club. It’s not only Kidd’s leadership that is missed, Anthony said. The Knicks had cagey veterans that made them the oldest club in NBA history last season. “That makeup of the team was different [last year],’’ said Anthony, who lost another homecoming game in Denver. “With J-Kidd, he was a leader in his own right. He wasn’t a vocal leader like a Rasheed [Wallace] or Kurt Thomas. He was leader by example on the court. His hard work, his play, everyone fed off that. And everyone led in their own way. Now we do miss that — J-Kidd, Kurt, Kurt and Rasheed. Last year as a team we were more synchronized than right now due to chemistry, due to having fun, due to just having one another’s back.’’”
- Joe Freeman of the Oregonian has a look at Nate McMillan’s history with the Trail Blazers: “The Trail Blazers were floundering. Lopsided losses were becoming the norm. A promising season was teetering toward a free-fall. Coach Nate McMillan, the man who helped usher Portland past the Jail Blazers era and became the bedrock of a turbulent organization, had lost his team. Sensing the collapse and fearing the worst, McMillan asked then-President Larry Miller for a meeting to discuss the future. “I talked with Larry about where I felt the organization was at and what I thought they needed to do,” McMillan says. “They needed to look at rebuilding before that thing crumbled. And they needed to look at everything, including the head coaching position. With some guys, I knew it wasn’t part of their plan to be there. We had two of our core players — Brandon (Roy) and Greg (Oden) — basically retire. So I told him that he needed to get something for the guys we had, he needed to look at redoing this whole thing before it crumbles.” Two weeks later, McMillan was fired, ending a seven-year chapter in Blazers history and setting in motion a series of events that laid the foundation for a complete roster overhaul.”
Wes Johnson said he had multiple offers this summer, but preferred Lakers bc of the system. Bucks, Hawks offered him more $/yrs than LA
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) November 30, 2013
D’Antoni said Kobe is getting closer to playing. Friday at SAC is a possibility, but doesn’t want to look past the next practice (Tuesday).
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 30, 2013
- The diehard Maryland fan in me hates how soft I’ve gotten on JJ Redick since he reached the NBA. Somehow, I don’t really mind him any more, where I used to consider him basically evil personified. Anyway, here’s a great gif of him reacting to DeMarcus Cousins from Steph at BeyondtheBuzzer.com: “DeMarcus Cousins was not a happy camper after being called for a loose ball foul when J.J. Redick fell to the floor on this rebound attempt Friday night. As the game resumed, DeMarcus Cousins had words with Redick, who appeared to tell the Kings forward he was okay from the hard fall and followed up with a handshake gesture, which Cousins blew off. Redick’s reaction following the diss was priceless”
Dan Malone is in his fourth year as a journalism student at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and spent this summer as a features intern at the Cape Cod Times. He blogs, edits and learns things on the fly for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter.