He’s motivated, too. It has been 11 years, if you can…

He’s motivated, too. It has been 11 years, if you can believe it, since the Howard-led Magic advanced to the NBA Finals, getting drubbed by the Lakers in five games. Back then, a 23-year old Howard believed that trip would be the first of many. As L.A. celebrated, Howard and Jameer Nelson remained on the Magic bench, soaking it in, fueling up for another title run that never came. It’s an experience Howard says he thinks about every day. “It never leaves my mind,” Howard said. “I had a chance to get there once. I always promised myself, if I had a chance to get back there, I would give my teammates everything that I’ve got.” And he has. Howard has found a role that suits him, and a locker room with the right leaders to handle any chemistry issues that come up. “What I have enjoyed the most is to watch his reputation be rehabilitated a bit,” Van Gundy said. “He’s a good guy. He did a fantastic job in Orlando. It’s been rough for him since then. To see him bounce back, to be an unselfish team guy trying to win games is great to see.”
More HoopsHype Rumors
September 17, 2021 | 3:28 pm EDT Update
The Austin Spurs today announced that the team has named Petar Božić head coach, making him the eighth head coach in franchise history. In addition, David Pilipovich, Nick Saenz and Jesse Childs have been named assistant coaches on his staff, joining Kenny Trevino who enters his second season as an assistant.
September 17, 2021 | 2:45 pm EDT Update

Rick Carlisle on Pacers veterans: They were disappointed with how things have gone

What’s the message the veterans are giving you about the last two years? Rick Carlisle: They were disappointed with how things have gone. We’ve got to work at developing a style of play so we can maximize what we have here. Exactly what that means as far as number of wins or the playoffs, I don’t know. I’m reluctant to get into that kind of stuff, because sometimes you can set goals that are too low.
How have you evolved as a coach since you were here before? Rick Carlisle: Going from Detroit to here, they were different types of teams, and going to Dallas—the Dallas team was way different than any team I had coached before. It was much more of an outside-shooting team … so it was an amazing experience and education how to work with that kind of group. And then the game has changed an awful lot in the last 13 years, particularly in the last five. Because of the pace, the skill level, the 3-point shot, everything. In two years there, we set offensive records on points per possessions, and then this last year Brooklyn beat both. These records are going to keep falling because of the skill level.
How has the talent level progressed in the NBA? Rick Carlisle: The game has evolved to where the skill of shooting is so decisively important. If you can’t shoot, it’s very hard to be a high-level player in today’s game. The next phase of NBA basketball is going to be the centers shooting 3’s and driving the ball and making plays. Guys like [Kristaps] Porzingis are already doing it. Guys like Anthony Davis are already doing it. We’ve got [Domantas] Sabonis, who is a playmaking big, who’s working on his long-range shooting. That opens up so many possibilities for any player in this league.