With the second round of the NBA Playoffs underway, here my five quick thoughts from the NBA and NCAA.
1. Vinny Del Negro and Larry Drew (Clippers & Hawks): We saw this earlier this month with P.J. Carlesimo and Jim Boylan, who were both interim coaches. Sometimes even if you get your team to the playoffs, your job is still in jeopardy. Now both Del Negro and Drew await news about whether they'll be retained. I think both of these guys did a good job under their specific circumstances particularly with injuries popping up.
The Clippers job, if it opens, will be the job, assuming they can retain Chris Paul, that many available coaches will be all over. Atlanta? A lot will depend on what GM Danny Ferry is able to do with free agency. The club has a lot of cap space and the club needs to retain Josh Smith. This job is a bit of a leap of faith for a coach, as he will have to likely accept the job before the July 1 recruiting Period and hope like crazy for the best.
2. George Karl (Nuggets): Congratulations on winning NBA Coach of the Year. It's well-earned and well-deserved. It's great to see a man like this battle cancer and bounce back big-time. Karl is one of the most innovative and creative coaches in the past 25 years in the league. He has a nice team in Denver and when the group is healthy, the Nuggets are a legit top four team in the West for the near future. Take into account the wonderful home court advantage they have, they're always in the discussion as a good/very good team. Karl's teams are fun to watch and he gets a lot out of them. While the Nuggest got upset by the Warriors and that stings, I'm sure when the coach reflects on where he has come from and where he's got that thing headed, he'll see they're in good shape and thankfully so is he.
3. Ryan McDonough (Suns): The 33-year-old is the general manager of the Suns after a nice stint as Assistant GM in Boston for Danny Ainge. He's young but he's paid his dues and been around and contributed to the success of a very good organization.
I'm all for new/young guys getting their shot. We need some new blood and fresh ideas instead of the constant NBA 'retread mentality'. McDonough will have his hands full in Phoenix. The talent level is way down yet it's an attractive market to lure good players to. A Great opportunity. Good for him.
4. Anthony Bennett (UNLV): He'll be the top Canadian drafted this year in the NBA Draft before Kelly Olynk. He'll likely be a top five-to-ten selection. Bennett announced that he's going to have surgery on a torn rotator cuff. Will it hurt his draft stock at all? Likely not.
All the scouts I've spoken to have their 'book' on him and are all quite comfortable with him and his game. I don't think it's a big concern. He's going to be a good pro.
5. Andrew Wiggins: This Canadian could end up being the first overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft if he has a good year as a freshman in the NCAA. The recruiting battle is down to four Schools: (Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas and Florida State). Obviously, if any of you have seen this young man, he's got a chance to be a 'program changer' type guy in college and IF, there will a lot of hype and distractions which will serve as a good test of his dedication and focus, he works his tail off at his game and body he's got a chance to be a special player at the pro level.
Potential vs. productivity, it's what separates the great from the good. I've got my fingers crossed that he listens to the 'right' voices and stays true to what being a great player is all about. The potential is there, we all know that, now the true test will start to truly happen in near future. This will be a fascinating story.