This morning's headlines:
- Shumpert may start in Game 3
- All-Star changes on deck?
- Whiteside out to lead Heat
- More diversity needed in front offices
Report: Shumpert required IV following Game 2 -- As the Cleveland Cavaliers continue trying to find solutions that will work against the Golden State Warriors, forward Iman Shumpert had a standout spell on the defensive end last night against the Warriors. But Shumpert played just 22 minutes and experienced cramping, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, and required intravenous fluids after the game. Will Shumpert moving into a starting role in Game 3?:
Shumpert had six points, four rebounds and three steals in 22 minutes off the bench, and despite shooting only 1-for-6 from the field, he was considered a bright spot in the loss because of his attack mentality and on-ball defense against Kevin Durant.
Even with the cramping, Shumpert's play, coupled with JR Smith's disappearing act in the series thus far, has the Cavs considering a lineup change at shooting guard for Game 3, the source said.
The Cavs' coaching staff encouraged Smith to be more aggressive on the offensive end after a Game 1 loss in which he had just three points on 1-for-4 shooting in 28 minutes. But he was even less effective in Game 2. He finished with zero points on 0-for-2 shooting and four fouls in 14 minutes, netting a plus-minus of minus-18, tied with Tristan Thompson for worst on the team.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said the Cavs must improve their defense, above all else, to give themselves a chance in Game 3 on Wednesday.
"I think that having awareness, can't relax, can't fall asleep," Lue said. "This team, their offense is constant movement, so you got to be locked in. You can't take a peek somewhere else and lose your man. So they make you pay. And they have a lot of guys who are great passers, so you got to be alert at all times."
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Silver says All-Star changes may be on deck -- The final score of the 2017 All-Star Game was 192-182. Not only was there not much defense played, there was not much competitiveness displayed from either side. Speaking to ESPN's Rachel Nichols, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said to look for changes in the way the game is set up moving forward:
I promise this time that next year's will be different. I think we all recognize, and we talked about it at last year's All-Star, we've gotten to the point where everyone seemed to agree it needed to be more competitive. And by everyone, I mean including the players. Chris Paul, who's president of the union, he was the first to say to me the day after the game -- and he wasn't playing in that game -- let's get together and do something about this.
And we recognize we don't want our players to be playing at a Finals pace where they could risk injury, or anything else. But there's somewhere on the spectrum from where we are now and The Finals. So we're tossing around all kinds of ideas. Having players play for particular charities, picking team captains, picking teams, maybe not making it just East vs. West, there's a lot of great ideas out there.
By the way, for our fans on Twitter and Facebook, send them in. We're open to new ideas. We're gonna make a change. I can't promise it will be better, but it will be different.
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Whiteside ready to lead Heat back to top -- One year after signing a big free agent deal with the Miami Heat, center Hassan Whiteside says he's ready to take on a bigger role, both on and off the court. Speaking to the Miami Herald's Manny Navarro, Whiteside says he wants to help the Heat win another title:
Hassan Whiteside has kept himself busy since the Miami Heat’s season came to an abrupt and unfulfilling end on April 12.
He’s been playing football and basketball with Steelers All-Pro wide receiver and Miami native Antonio Brown, working out with his own Heat teammates down at AmericanAirlines Arena, and last week he bought his mother a six-bedroom dream home in a suburb outside of Charlotte, N.C.
Life is certainly different than it was a year ago when Whiteside, 27, was about to hit free agency unsure where his future might be.
Now, he says, he has “a base.” He wants to recruit and focus on leading the Heat to a championship.
“It’s different you know [than it was last summer],” Whiteside said Sunday at Bayfront Park as he attended the Mountain Dew NBA 3X tournament among a throng of Heat fans who played NBA2K with him. “I can watch film. I can do a little recruiting, get a couple good free agents in here, big free agents. I can focus on the season next year.”
The Heat, which will have roughly $38 million in cap space once it releases 11-time All-Star Chris Bosh, could go a couple different directions when free agency opens next month.
Team president Pat Riley could spend most of team’s remaining cap space on an All-Star like Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap or Blake Griffin. Or, Riley could turn around and use what’s available to sign the Heat’s own free agents while adding a new piece here or there.
Whiteside said he’s “very confident” Dion Waiters and James Johnson, who emerged during their first season with the Heat, will be back. Whiteside says he checks in with both players frequently.
“I’m not even thinking about them being gone,” he said. “I’m thinking like they will be here next year... [those] guys want to be here.”
Whiteside said he still believes the Heat, which barely missed the playoffs at 41-41 after a 30-11 second half finish, would have gone very deep into the postseason had it reached the playoffs.
And despite how easy Golden State and Cleveland made it look getting to the NBA Finals, Whiteside said he doesn’t believe the Heat needs to build a Super Team to contend for a title.
“I think we got a chance next year, honestly,” Whiteside said. “You know, these guys are coming into their own. You don’t know what a guy like Dion is going to bring and Goran [Dragic]. Them guys can become superstars themselves. So you might not even have to go get anybody else. It might be enough.”
Ensuring diversity in NBA front offices -- How can the NBA do a better job ensuring front office diversity? Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe asked NBA commissioner Adam Silver if perhaps changes need to be made in the hiring process:
There remains one general manager opening, in Milwaukee, and the two GM positions filled after the regular season went to white males: Travis Schlenk in Atlanta and John Hammond in Orlando.
For a league that’s primarily African-American, only three of the league’s 30 GMs are black: Dell Demps (New Orleans), Steve Mills (New York), and Masai Ujiri (Toronto, who is Nigerian). The league also has two African-America team presidents in Doc Rivers (Clippers) and Magic Johnson (Lakers), but the lack of minorities in NBA front office positions is becoming a concern for a league that prides itself on diversity.
Commissioner Adam Silver was asked by the Globe about the league’s diversity plans and whether it may implement a version of the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” which mandates that teams interview at least one minority candidate for open management and coaching positions.
“In terms of specifically a Rooney Rule, to be honest, I’m not sure how effectively that works in the NFL,” Silver said. “I do think we need to do more. I’m just not sure if it results in something that looks like a Rooney Rule or something more unique to the NBA.”
Silver said the league is working to train former players who have managerial aspirations on the salary cap and other business-related topics.
“Not to suggest that there aren’t many candidates out there who do have those skills, what we can do is we can use the league office, I can use the commissioner’s office, as a little bit of a bully pulpit and more needs to be done on those issues,” Silver said. “We’re very focused on it in the coaching ranks and the front office ranks and the general manager ranks as well, and it’s something that we have ongoing discussions with our owners in the league and other team personnel.
“I’m proud of the league’s track record in race relations but there’s more that needs to be done.”
Privately, many aspiring African-American coaches and GMs believe they are being tabbed as not being schooled in basketball analytics, so they are being passed over for opportunities. Many did not want to speak on the record for fear of jeopardizing their chances for an employment opportunity. The league has taken a dramatic turn over the past decade toward more analytical thinking. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has filled his staff with analytical thinkers, including assistant GM Michael Zarren, who is considered one of the league’s bright minds. But some former players privately believe their basketball acumen from playing is being overlooked because they are not considered analytics freaks.
“That may be part of the problem,” Silver said. “Without weighing in on the balance between real-life basketball experience and analytics, I think these things are a bit cyclical. But there’s a trend right now toward the analytics folks and I think that’s one of the reasons I should have mentioned that in terms of a league training program, to make sure former players or others who are coming up through the basketball line also feel they have that competency in analytics.
“I think ultimately where it will pan out is I think you need both. As I watched in the league it’s gone to all basketball experience and no analytics, and then you move to probably too much analytics, and right now as I look in the league we’re still striving to find that right balance. I think the way we can help ensure that those candidates get a fair hearing, those candidates who aren’t steeped, who didn’t go to MIT, is to ensure they have the type of analytics training that is necessary.”
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