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Friday, October 18, 2019

Stories by Darryn Albert:

Giannis Antetokounmpo getting shooting tips from new teammate Kyle Korver

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s below-average jumper is probably the only thing preventing it from being “game over” for the rest of the league, but now one of his new teammates could be ensuring our imminent doom.

At the team’s first day of training camp on Tuesday, the Milwaukee Bucks star said that he has been getting shooting tips from Kyle Korver.

“It’s really important [that] I always try to talk to him a little bit,” said Antetokounmpo of Korver, per Eric Woodyard of ESPN. “And he’s a great guy. He’s not trying to get in your head or overstep and talk too much to you.

“Whenever he gives me tips, I always try to listen … one of the best shooters to ever play the game,” Antetokounmpo added. “He’s definitely going to help this team, definitely going to help a lot of players develop their shooting ability.”

Korver, who signed with the Bucks this summer, is one of the top shooters in NBA history — he went 39.7 percent from deep as a 37-year-old last season and is at 42.9 percent on three-point attempts for his 16-year career.

Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, won league MVP this season with 27.7 points per game on 57.8 percent from the field despite connecting on just 25.6 percent of his three-point tries. From the looks of it, Korver just might be the sensei who helps Antetokounmpo get to his much-ballyhooed final form.

Ron Adams giving up role as Warriors defensive coordinator

Warriors logo

One of Steve Kerr’s top assistants is taking on a new role this coming season.

Connor Letorneau of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Tuesday that Ron Adams will no longer be leading the Golden State Warriors defense and will be passing that responsibility to fellow assistant Jarron Collins. This will free up the 71-year-old Adams to scout opponents, foster relationships with young players, and help stabilize a team that is in transition, Letorneau writes.

Adams had been the coordinator of the Dubs’ defense for the last five years, coinciding with their five straight trips to the NBA Finals and three titles.

Though he was pursued by another big-name squad this summer, Adams is back for his sixth season in Golden State and will now be taking on more of a glue role for the Warriors in a time that they definitely need it.

Gregg Popovich: Spurs were blindsided by ‘unprofessional’ Marcus Morris situation

Gregg Popovich

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is finally addressing the Marcus Morris situation that left the team with something of a black eye this summer.

Speaking at media day on Monday, Popovich said the Spurs were “blindsided” by Morris reneging on his verbal agreement to sign with the team. Pop noted the team already had traded Davis Bertans to the Washington Wizards to create cap space for Morris.

“It was more than difficult to lose Davis,” he said, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “Let’s just say that was an unfortunate situation that was handled unprofessionally on a couple of different levels.

“Davis was a special player as we all know, and he was young and getting better and better,” Popovich continued. “So, yeah, we hated losing him.”

Morris agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with San Antonio this summer after they dealt the 26-year-old sharpshooter Bertans and restructured their free agent contract with DeMarre Carroll to accommodate him. Just days later though, Morris changed his mind and went on to sign a one-year, $15 million contract with the New York Knicks. As a result, the Spurs went out and got free agent forward Trey Lyles instead but had no way of getting Bertans back.

The Spurs were reportedly “pissed” at the time of Morris’ reversal of course, and it sounds like Popovich is still plenty unhappy over two months later.

Joel Embiid took shot at Bryan Colangelo during media day

Joel Embiid 76ers

It is safe to say that Joel Embiid prefers his team’s current general manager situation to that of years past.

At media day on Monday, the Philadelphia 76ers center praised current GM Elton Brand while also taking a shot at Brand’s predecessor Bryan Colangelo. Embiid gave credit to Brand for creating a relationship where they could trust one another while adding that “with the past GM, it wasn’t all that,” per Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

Brand, himself a former player at Embiid’s position, was promoted to general manager last year after serving as a player development consultant for the Sixers and later as GM of their G League affiliate. Colangelo, meanwhile, resigned in disgrace at the end of the 2017-18 season after being linked to a Twitter account that had posted disparaging tweets about several Sixers.

The two-time All-Star Embiid, who was one of the many targets of those tweets, said at the time that the criticisms were “hurtful,” so it is obvious that he enjoys a much healthier relationship with his general manager now.

Clippers’ Ivica Zubac gave up soda this offseason to trim body fat

Ivica Zubac will be a key piece in the rotation for the LA Clippers this season, and he wants to make sure that his body is up for the task.

At media day on Sunday, the Clippers center said that he changed “everything up” in his diet this summer with the goal of trimming body fat. Notably, Zubac said that he ditched soda, per Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times.

Zubac, who is listed at 7-foot-1 and 240 pounds, averaged 9.4 points and 7.7 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game for the Clippers last season. He signed a four-year, $28 million deal to return to the team this offseason.

The 22-year-old is far from the only player to make such sacrifices however. Recently, we heard of another NBA big man who gave up something similar.

Angels likely to move on from Brad Ausmus?

Brad Ausmus

Brad Ausmus could be on the outs in Anaheim less than a year into his tenure.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported on Sunday that the Los Angeles Angels manager is in jeopardy of losing his job. Olney adds that Ausmus’ status is currently under consideration by the team’s leadership and that one source believes it is more likely than not that the Angels will go a different direction.

The 50-year-old Ausmus was hired in October of last year, taking over for longtime Angels skipper Mike Scioscia, who resigned after 19 seasons at the helm. Ausmus signed on for a three-year deal, and his just-concluded first season saw the team go 72-90, their worst finish in two decades.

The timing of this news may not be too coincidental either, as one big-name candidate that the Angels are well acquainted with just became available.

Ravens’ Matthew Judon shades Patrick Mahomes over unnecessary roughness fine

Patrick Mahomes

Matthew Judon did not at all agree with a fine that he drew for a takedown of Patrick Mahomes during last Sunday’s game.

The Ravens linebacker was fined $21,056 because of an attempted tackle of the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback in the first quarter of the eventual 33-28 Baltimore loss, a play that drew a penalty for unnecessary roughness. Here is video of the sequence, which appeared to show a clear horse collar.

The penalty made a big difference in the close game as the Chiefs, instead of having to settle for a field goal on 4th-and-goal from the Ravens’ 4-yard line, got an automatic first down at the 2 and eventually scored a touchdown.

When news of the fine broke on Saturday, Judon responded by tweeting a GIF from the TV show “Family Guy” of lead character Peter Griffin clutching his knee in pain. It seemed to be a shot at Mahomes, either for exaggerating the contact or for getting preferential treatment from the referees.

While Judon may have also thought that the tackle was not a horse collar by the definition of the rules, former referee and rules analyst Gene Steratore indicated at the time on Sunday that it was indeed a horse collar.

The reigning MVP Mahomes has become the NFL’s golden boy in a sense and may soon be getting paid like it too. As such, resentment from other players, whether justified or not, simply comes with the territory.

Raptors’ OG Anunoby: ‘I think we’re gonna repeat’

Kawhi Leonard or not, the Toronto Raptors are still the defending NBA champs, and swingman OG Anunoby is entering the season with that mindset.

On Saturday, Anunoby discussed his expectations for the coming year.

“I think we’re gonna repeat,” he said, per Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. “We have a really good team and we believe in ourselves, and that’s all that matters.”

The 22-year-old Anunoby missed the Raptors’ entire championship run due to an emergency appendectomy, but he and the rest of the team will have a much greater opportunity to produce now that Leonard has gone to the LA Clippers.

Management has already given the indication that they are all in on their remaining core, and it sounds like the Raptors players feel the same way too.