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DOC OPENS UP: It’s usually thought of as more an issue in the country’s other major sports leagues, but yesterday, Yahoo spoke to various minority NBA head coaches – including Doc Rivers, Lloyd Pierce and Dwane Casey – and they opened up about the lack of minority representation in the Association’s head coaching ranks. In their opinion, it’s also a problem in the NBA, even despite the fact that nearly a quarter (seven, in total) of the league’s coaches are African-Americans.
From the piece: “’We’re clearly better than every other league, but that shouldn’t be our benchmark,’ Rivers, the head coach of the L.A. Clippers, told Yahoo Sports recently. ‘That’s not good enough, in my opinion. Easy excuse, but we should still be better.’” Casey added that he is appreciative of the NBA for giving minorities more opportunities to become head coaches than other leagues do, but he still thinks it’s still a problem that they don’t get as long of a leash as other coaches. Casey is speaking from experience, of course, as he was fired by the Raptors after a campaign in which he earned Coach of the Year. (At the same time, Toronto went on to win the title that very next season, so that decision seemed to pay off.)
Rivers also mentioned that in a league where so many coaches get second and third chances, previously fired minority head coaches rarely get as many extra opportunities as other coaches. He listed off Mike Woodson and Ty Lue, two people he’s worked closely with on the Clippers recently, as examples.
As a couple of potential solutions, Rivers and Pierce mentioned networking, like getting up-and-coming assistant coaches face time with team owners, as well as getting more minorities working in front offices. Whereas in previous years, there were a lot of former players working general manager gigs around the league, there’s been a huge shift recently towards hiring analytic experts in those roles instead, which has coincided with the lower number of African-American head coaches. (There were 14 back in 2012, twice as many as there are today.)
At the end of the day, the NBA does deserve credit for the minority representation in some of the league’s most important jobs, especially in comparison to the NFL, but, like Rivers, Pierce and Casey discussed, there’s still more that can be done.
FREE AGENCY PREVIEW: One of the league’s top contenders this season, the Clippers, will have major free-agent decisions to make this summer. According to reports, they plan on doing their best to re-sign Montrezl Harrell and Marcus Morris.
EMBIID UPDATE: Joel Embiid will miss one week before being re-evaluated for his shoulder injury. Luckily for the Sixers, it’s just a sprain.
BREAKING DOWN PLAYER OPTIONS: We broke down the cases for various guys with player options this summer to determine whether they should opt out of their contracts, or stick around with their teams for another season.
MORE PHILLY TURMOIL: As if things couldn’t get messier for the Sixers this season, recently acquired forward Glenn Robinson III went off on his situation yesterday, from the trade itself to his current role, which apparently still hasn’t been fully explained to him.
ROLE PLAYING STAR: Since his time with the Spurs, Danny Green has been one of the best role players in the league. The Ringer talked to his coaches and teammates about that.
CONFIDENCE IN HOUSTON: Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is loving his team’s move to super small-ball, and says he’s not worried about any other team in the West.
PRO MARIJUANA: Kevin Durant recently came out as a big advocate for marijuana use among NBA players, stating that it should be considered on the level of players drinking alcohol or having coffee, and not worth a suspension.
BALL DON’T LIE: One of the most entertaining personalities in league history, Rasheed Wallace is now a high school head coach. Hopefully, he’s teaching his team about the value of always playing hard.
A TOTAL CLUSTER: On Wednesday, the Jazz leaked first that Mike Conley would be getting benched ahead of the team’s game against Boston, before then leaking that they’d be benching Joe Ingles instead. Utah has been a weirdly tumultuous team this season, and that gaff surely won’t help matters.
Oh, they wound up losing to the Celtics pretty handily, by the way.
KOBE TRIBUTE: Ahead of an important CONCACAF Champions League matchup last night, LAFC fans revealed a beautiful tifo tribute to Kobe and Gianna Bryant. LAFC went on to win the match 3-0, too.
SALARY QUIZ: WHO’S THIS NBA PLAYER? 🤔
Click here for the answer.