SH Blog: Kerr says writing was on the wall for Woodson, Parker received silent treatment from Duncan in rookie year

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albert_kerr_millerWith the news that Mike Woodson and his entire staff have officially been fired by the New York Knicks, it’s natural to wonder what’s next for the team.

The best candidate to take over as the new head coach appears to be Steve Kerr, who has been rumored as the favorite ever since Phil Jackson took over the front office. Given Kerr’s knowledge of the Triangle offense and his relationship with Jackson, it’s quite understandable. Kerr wouldn’t say much about the situation during the season – likely out of his respect for Woodson – but now that the coach is gone as anticipated, here’s what he had to say, from Marc Berman of New York Post:

“I do anticipate talking with Phil Jackson at some point,” Kerr said on his weekly radio show on SiriusXM. “But when that time comes, it will come. But for now there’s really not a whole lot to talk about. This is the NBA. Coaches basically know when they go in that they are likely to be fired. It’s a brutal business, it’s a brutal profession.

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Rookie Rankings, Week 21: Gorgui Dieng’s Late-Season Surge

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Gorgui DiengWe have reached the point of the season where teams that are out of the playoff race start giving more playing time to their younger players to see what they may have.

One of those teams is the Minnesota Timberwolves, who may have something in rookie big man Gorgui Dieng.

New Timberwolves GM Flip Saunders spent the offseason loading his roster with veterans such as Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer and Ronny Turiaf in hope of making the playoffs for the first time since 2004. While Minnesota (35-35) already has surpassed last season’s win total, break-even ball doesn’t get it done in the Western Conference.

While the veterans got most of the minutes, Dieng and fellow rookie Shabazz Muhammad – both acquired in a draff day swap that sent Trey Burke to Utah – mostly sat and watched. Through the first 64 games, Dieng accumulated 22 DNPs as Turiaf backed up Nikola Pekovic in the middle.

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SH Blog: Morey says Royce White may be the worst first-round pick ever; Knicks chasing Rondo

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SHOULD KOBE BRYANT COME BACK THIS SEASON?

kobeWhether this season is worth coming back to for Bryant was the topic between Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher and Howard Beck. Beck says the guard should probably sit out the entire season because there is nothing to come back to. The Los Angeles Lakers are an injury-ridden mess and are certain to miss the playoffs, so what’s the point?

The issue with sitting Bryant out even if he can come back is this: he needs to have an understanding of where he is physically and mentally heading into next season. There is no replacement for NBA competition. Bryant has suffered two separate devastating injuries he has never had to deal with in the past. There’s no question that he struggled when he initially came back earlier in the season and looked like a shell of himself – perhaps for the first time ever – as he tried to get re-acclimated. If he doesn’t come back this season to find out what level of play he can sustain after suffering a fractured leg, he will be forced to find out next season. Is that something he or the Lakers want to take a chance on?

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NBA Admits Refs Missed Foul Call in Mavs-Wolves Game

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malloyNBA referees have had better weeks.

On Thursday, the league admitted that Blake Griffin should not have been given a technical foul – his second of the game, resulting in an ejection – in the Christmas matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors.

On Tuesday, the league announced that Dallas forward Shawn Marion should have been called for a foul on his “blocked shot” on Minnesota’s Kevin Love at the end of Monday’s 100-98 win by the Mavericks.

SH Blog: Trey Burke breaks index finger; Adelman frustrated with Wolves

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Up here in Canada, it’s Thanksgiving weekend. So to all the Canadians reading Sheridan Hoops, happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your turkey and stuffing and whatever else. I know I will, but that’s tomorrow.

Today, I’ve got a whole bunch of injury news for you guys. Tops on that list is Trey Burke’s hand injury. Burke was tipped as a strong ROY contender starting on draft day, but now he looks in danger of missing significant time. This looked like a transitional year for the Jazz anyway, but now they’ll be without one of the pieces who could be particularly important in the transition for a little while. The Jazz have to be hoping he’s back before too long and their core starts to gel so they can start making a run at the postseason next year.

We’ve got some news on what the Jazz will be doing to replace Burke in today’s blog, so let’s get to that:

  • DEN_Miller_AndreAndre Miller survived the Great Denver Exodus of 2013. Here’s his take on what went wrong with the Nuggets last season, via Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post: “Coaches may love Miller’s game, but there probably isn’t a Nugget who is more of a target of fans’ ire. There probably isn’t a Nugget with his ears closed more tightly to that white noise. He hit a game-winning shot in the Nuggets’ first playoff game last spring, but sports-talk radio and social media soon moved on to criticism of his defense, and by the end of the series, the conclusion was he had to go. Those fans didn’t get their way, despite chatter during the summer that Miller was on the trading block. He claims not to have heard any of the criticism and flat-out ignored any trade talk. “It was a tough season last year,” Miller said. “In the regular season, we kind of burned ourselves out. Going into the playoffs, we just didn’t have the legs to play like we played for 82 games. That’s tough to do. I can’t worry about the trade rumors. I do my job every day. Regardless, I show up to work, practice. I’ve never missed a game as a Nugget. I couldn’t care less what people say as far as my preparation and what I do on the court.” “
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  • IbakaThe Thunder will need Serge Ibaka to step up this year if they hope to keep up in the vicious West, writes Jeff Caplan of NBA.com: “The backbone of the Thunder’s top-four defense must also step up as its third scorer, a task made even more essential early on as Westbrook’s recovery from two right knee surgeries is expected to drag four to six weeks into the season. Three weeks, Ibaka said, is all the time he allowed to step away after last season’s playoff disappointment. Three weeks and he was back in the gym with an agenda to expand an offensive arsenal that last season introduced a dangerous mid-range, pick-and-pop jumper. It worked to increase his usage from 15.5 percent in 2011-12 to a career-high 18.0 percent last season, and raised his scoring average from 9.1 ppg to a career-best 13.2 ppg. His usage should rise even higher and the Thunder will need his points to as well. “I’m working on my game and creating my own shot,” Ibaka said. “That is something I’ve been doing all summer, so I hope it will pay off. … I’ve been working on putting the ball on the floor and post moves.” To suggest an offense that has been nothing short of a juggernaut the past few seasons could struggle to score beyond its big two might seem odd. But those past teams included the dynamic Harden and last year featured Kevin Martin as the sixth man. As streaky as Martin was, he delivered 14 ppg and better than 42 percent shooting from beyond the arc, on top of Ibaka’s production.”
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  • MIN_Adelman_RickThings are not going well in Minnesota. Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports on Rick Adelman’s frustration with his starters: “Upset all week with a starting unit that has started games meekly, Adelman included everybody in Saturday’s postgame, locker-room scolding, even though the starters began the night by falling behind 11-4 early before all five again sat for the entire fourth quarter. He criticized their lack of concentration and preparedness and lamented a second consecutive game when his team had as many turnovers as assists. On Saturday, it was an even 16 in each category, a sure sign his players are not moving and sharing the ball. “I don’t understand,” he said. “Like I told them afterward, we’ve played two games here at home and we’re acting like we’re just going through the motions. We aren’t the San Antonio Spurs and we aren’t Miami. We act like we have plenty of time.” The Wolves have played the last three of these first four games without starting shooting guard Kevin Martin, who again didn’t play Saturday because of a sore Achilles tendon. Alexey Shved started in his place and Adelman took good looks in both halves at a small backcourt that included starter Ricky Rubio and reserve J.J. Barea. The rest: Rubio and Barea combined to shoot 2-for-17. Add Shved’s 0-for-4 night and the three made two of 21 shots.”
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  • Chris KamanChris Kaman might win the most bizarre injury of the preseason now that we know Michael Beasley didn’t actually punch himself in the face. Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times reports: “The Lakers have experienced Kobe Bryant’s torn Achilles’ tendon, Pau Gasol’s knee problems and Steve Nash’s broken leg over the last year. Now there’s the tobogganing injury sustained by Chris Kaman at the Great Wall of China. One of his fingers was squashed while he was sledding down a slippery concrete track after trekking along the wall for two hours Sunday with Lakers teammates and staffers. His sled, essentially a wheeled cart with a brake, was rammed from behind by teammate Shawne Williams. Kaman instinctively put out his hand as he saw Williams careening toward him and, well, ouch. Visitors to the Mutianyu portion of the wall take a gondola or cable car to the top of a hill where the wall is located. They can return the same way or take the toboggan down. “I didn’t hit the brake the whole time. Guys on the edge were yelling ‘Slow down’ and I just kept going,” Kaman said. “All of a sudden I catch up to this guy close to the bottom, so now I have to brake. Shawne Williams comes behind me without hitting his brake at all and just smashed right into me.”"