FIVE QUICK HOOPS THOUGHTS:
1. STAN VAN GUNDY (Pistons): A terrific move by this dysfunctional franchise to select a guy as both president and head coach to lead them down the right path. I have no doubt that he'll get them back on track. Everyone will be on the same page and there won't be any nonsense. He's a straight shooter with outstanding basketball coaching and teaching abilities, who also communicates and connects with players. If you can find a guy that you truly believe in as your leader, then I have no hesitation whatsoever in allowing him to run the show and put together a team with his vision. It's his win-loss record and career on the line. He's paid his dues at every level and is more than capable of doing this. The days of the revolving door of coaches in Detroit will come to an end and they'll have stability of leadership with the defining voice leading the way. Get on board or get moving on. If I owned a team, this would have been the move I'd make as well.
2. STEVE KERR (Warriors): I agree with his decision to turn down the New York Knicks and go with the organization with the better short and long term futures. He got the contractual stability he was looking for and it will be vital for him to make sure he selects a terrific staff with some veteran coaching experience to help him through it. Look at his mentor Phil Jackson in his early days with the Chicago Bulls having veteran coaches like Tex Winter and Johnny Bach with him and Pat Riley in Los Angeles having Bill Bertka on his staff. Kerr would be wise to surround himself with folks that will tell him what he NEEDS to hear and not what he WANTS to hear. That's a sign of smart leadership. There will be some things to learn and make sure you have folks that can help you grow and not guys who were your buddies when you played hanging out.
3. DONALD STERLING (Clippers): Enough already! This clown just wears me out. He loves his team? I have no doubt the residual effects of all the drama the past few weeks had a wearing effect on his team in the playoffs. He's going to sue the NBA and not pay the $ 2.5 million fine to the league? Okay. You do that and good luck getting your TV money from the league next year and/or any other funds from the league. That's what I'd do - Major league hardball now because the gloves are off. This promises to be quite the legal battle, which is typical from a guy who loves to sue at the drop of the hat and try to work people over. This thing is going to drag on and I hope the players realize that the league is trying its best to oust this person, but it's going to be a hard and potentially slow battle, which could spill into next season. What a circus! Not a pretty picture at all. I learned a long time ago that "a man can achieve great wealth, stature and position in society yet fail as a man." Example 1A of that right here.
4. WEST FINALS (THUNDER VS SPURS): Spurs in Seven. It should be a fascinating series with two wonderful teams that are playing at a high level right now. I'm probably picking more with my heart right now than my head, but I still believe that the best team always finds a way to win. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are sensational players and are a really tough cover for the Spurs, but I think they'll find a way.
5. EAST FINALS (HEAT VS. PACERS): Heat in Six. In spite of the Pacers finding a way to get past the Wizards, the "eye test" tells me that the Heat, even though they're not as good as they've been the past few years, have just enough to get by the Pacers. They guard, shoot the 3 and have the best player in the world in LeBron. The Pacers are playing better defensively and have enough big time players in Paul George and David West (love that guy) who won't back down, but the erratic play of the Pacers' second unit and inconsistent offensive play don't convince me. Heat like being the two seed here and having some adversity to play through - that will be a positive jolt for them to rise to the challenge.