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Former player Brian Scalabrine details how coach Erik Spoelstra proved that the NBA isn’t always star-driven – Basketball Insiders



Now that Miami made it to the NBA Finals, fans and basketball experts can’t help but show their amazement over the fact that the eighth-seeded team beat the two top-ranked franchises in the Eastern Conference (Milwaukee Bucks No. 1 and Boston Celtics No. 2) on their way to the top. 

According to former player Brian Scalabrine, once nicknamed as “The White Mamba”, this just goes to show how Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is debunking the myth that this is a player-driven league, based mostly on its basketball stars over teamwork.

One could argue that Jimmy Butler has led Miami to the top, but Scalabrine, who is now a sport analyst, is convinced that it’s more about the playing culture imposed by his coach.

“This is the thing that’s really interesting about Spoelstra,” he told Dan Patrick. “All we hear nowadays is, ‘Players’ league, players’ league, players dictate this, players dictate that. You can’t coach them too hard. That’s not what you want to do with your superstar player.’

“Except for Erik Spoelstra because he has backing from Pat Riley. So I give him all the credit in the world. I think he’s a brilliant coach. And I also give him all the credit in the world because I grew up where coaches yelled at us all the time. That’s just the generation I played in.”

Check out this Tuesday’s full interview with the former Celtics player on the “Dan Patrick Show”:

Spoelstra’s achievement comes right after succesful coaches like Doc Rivers, Monty Williams, Mike Budenholzer and Nick Nurse were all fired from their respective clubs.

Hall of Famer Larry Brown said that coaches like Monty Williams were fired because they let their own players control the squad

Not too long ago Hall of Famer trainer Larry Brown said that all these great professionals were sacked because they let their own players to run the squads.

Brown said that once a star player is given that power and he eventually grows unhappy, the coach is the first to be left without a job. Scalabrine then added that Spoelstra was able to collect a group of athletes who are willing to listen to him.

“So I think he has a huge advantage knowing that he could get into guys,” he continued. “They might bark back, but he barks back. And it’s never ‘Oh my God, he lost the locker room. No one ever said Erik Spoelstra lost a locker room, or he pushes them too hard. But Erik Spoelstra will also say, ‘Well, what we do ain’t for everybody. It just works for this particular group.’”

Spoelstra might have instilled a positive blueprint for other clubs in the league, as the Heat are consistently proving that a succesful basketball team comes from building a culture over time. Even though firing a coach and hiring someone new might bring home a trophy, it’s proven to be uncommon.

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Nikola Jokic has been following basketball coaching clinics this summer




After winning the NBA title with the Nuggets this year, Nikola Jokic has truly taken advantage of his well-deserved vacations in Serbia. Even though he didn’t represent his country in the past FIBA World Cup held in Asia, he’s apparently been following coaching clinics.

Zeljko Obradovic is one of the most renowned basketball tacticians in the world, and in a recent interview the legendary coach revealed that the two-time MVP has been following his last clinics.

“I was captivated by his interest,” he admitted. “We tumbled into each other last year as he was preparing with the national team and Partizan was also preparing for the new season. I asked him how he was doing and we briefly talked. He revealed that he watched my seminar in Opatija. It was a pleasant surprise.”

“This says a lot about Jokic,” furthered Obradovic. “He probably also follows seminars of other coaches, besides mine.”

The 28-year-old is well known for being a creative mastermind on court, but now it is clear that the Serbian star also possesses a cultured basktball IQ who takes tactics into consideration.

“He also followed Partizan in the training camp,” the popular head coach shared. “He gave me advice. It was about one detail in our game. He thought we should have a different approach. I understood what he meant and immediately adjusted.”

According to the expert tactician, it is also important to listen to player’s advice, and especially if it comes from one of the current best players in the world.

“We should trust players,” Obradovic said. “You can’t ignore Jokic. A player with an NBA ring, competing at the highest level in the world, we should listen to what he has to say. However, I must stress that the coach ultimately decides. I don’t know how Jokic will react to this comment.”

Just recently, Denver teammate P.J. Jozier was talked into signing a one-year contract for the team based in Belgrade. This means that the 26-year-old will now play under Obradovic.

Superbet has proudly named Jokic as their first Brand Ambassador in Serbia, as the player is convinced he can help take the project to the next level

This week, Nikola was appointed as Superbet’s first Brand Ambassador in the Republic of Serbia. Thanassis Kanouris, the country manager, explained their decision to include the Nuggets superstar in the project’s team.

“He is an amazing athlete, who stands out from everyone else, as he is the type of player who focuses on the team’s objectives, a quality that aligns seamlessly with our core values,” he said. “Serbia is a strategic market for Superbet’s expansion in the wider European region and having such an iconic athlete in our team is an exciting opportunity and a sign of respect for local sports fans.”

As the new ambassador, the 28-year-old will participate in all Superbet brands and operations in the country and beyond. “I am delighted to team up with Superbet, a company renowned for the unique way in which they connect fans across Europe with the thrilling world of sports,” he said.

“Even more, I appreciate the importance given by the company towards responsible gaming and that was one of the key aspects which convinced me to partner up with this amazing brand,” Jokic assured.

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76ers to sign forward Kelly Oubre Jr. to a one-year contract




The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to sign free agent forward Kelly Oubre Jr. to a one-year contract, per sources. Oubre, 27, was selected 15th overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2015 NBA Draft out of the University of Kansas. Of course, the Louisiana native was immediately traded to the Washington Wizards.

Oubre played his first four NBA seasons (2015-18) with Washington. In December 2018, the Wizards traded him to the Phoenix Suns. The Kansas product spent his next two seasons (2018-20) with Phoenix before signing with the Golden State Warriors for 2020-21. The 6-foot-7 wing spent the last two seasons with the Charlotte Hornets.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Philadelphia 76ers hold ninth-shortest odds to win next season’s championship in 2024. Check out which sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat.

Oubre is set to enter his ninth NBA season. Last season, the forward made 40 starts in 48 appearances with the Hornets. He averaged a career-high 20.3 points per game, along with 5.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.4 steals, and 32.3 minutes per contest. Plus, Oubre shot 43.1% from the field and 31.9% outside the arc.

In Charlotte’s 132-122 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 18, 2022, the forward scored a season-high 34 points in 39 minutes as a starter. He finished 12-of-21 (57.1%) shooting from the floor and 5-of-9 (55.6%) from 3-point range while tallying three boards and three steals.

Philadelphia 76ers to sign ex-Charlotte Hornets forward Kelly Oubre Jr. to a one-year contract; Shake Milton, Georges Niang, and Jalen McDaniels left during free agency

Oubre suffered a left hand injury in a 121-113 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 29. In early January, he underwent surgery on a torn ligament in his left hand and was ruled out indefinitely. The forward went on to miss the next 24 games.

In August 2021, Oubre signed a two-year, $24.6 million contract with the Hornets. He earned $12.6 million last season with Charlotte. With this latest signing, the 76ers’ training camp roster is now at 21 players. The Sixers will be Oubre’s fifth NBA team.

Considering James Harden hasn’t retracted his trade request since exercising his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season, Oubre could receive more playing time under new 76ers coach Nick Nurse.

During free agency, the Sixers lost Shake Milton, Georges Niang, and Jalen McDaniels. So, Oubre will have an opportunity to make himself known in the City of Brotherly Love, with a larger scoring role off the bench.

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76ers coach Nick Nurse to play Joel Embiid more next season




New Philadelphia 76ers coach Nick Nurse intends to give 2022-23 MVP center Joel Embiid more minutes next season. The six-time All-Star averaged a career-high 34.6 minutes per game last season. The ex-Toronto Raptors coach replaced former Sixers coach Doc Rivers in June.

“I think that we are looking at it maybe a little different than people think we might be,” the 2020 NBA Coach of the Year said in an interview with Sixers Wire. “We’re trying to get him [Embiid] to play more games. Our goal is that it’s going up for him, not the other direction, and some people would say, ‘Oh, that’s playoffs. Is he going to be?’

“We’re just trying to get it going the other direction. I think that’s just what our people believe here that he can play and again, knock on wood, cross our fingers, all that stuff. There’s always things that can come up with that stuff, but I don’t know. I believe in the guys playing as much as they can, and let’s see what happens.”

Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Philadelphia 76ers hold ninth-shortest odds to win next season’s championship in 2024. Check out which sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat.

Last season, Joel Embiid joined Wilt Chamberlain (1966, 1967, 1968), Julius Erving (1981), Moses Malone (1983), and Allen Iverson (2001) as 76ers players to win the MVP award. The 7-foot center is the first Sixer to win the award since Iverson won it 22 years ago.

Embiid made 66 starts in the 2022-23 season, averaging a career-high 33.1 points per game. Along with logging 10.2 boards, 4.2 assists, 1.0 steal, and 1.7 blocks per game, he shot a career-best 54.8% from the floor.

Philadelphia 76ers coach Nick Nurse plans on giving center Joel Embiid more minutes in the 2023-24 season, working to establish consistency in the playoffs

The two-time scoring champ is the first MVP to average 30 points and 10 rebounds per game on 50% shooting since Moses Malone in 1981-82. Plus, Embiid’s 33.1 points per game average was the highest for a center since Chamberlain’s 33.5 PPG average in 1965-66.

In addition to leading the league in points per game, Embiid also led in field goals (728) and 2-point field goals (662). The 76ers center finished second in total points (2,183), player efficiency rating (31.4), and box plus/minus (9.2).

Furthermore, in Philadelphia’s 105-98 win over the Utah Jazz on Nov. 13, 2022, the Sixers big man scored a career-high 59 points on 19-of-28 (67.9%) shooting from the field and 20-of-24 (83.3%) at the foul line.

76ers coach Nick Nurse is striving to improve Embiid’s rim protection and blocking power. Winning back-to-back MVPs could be in his future. Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic won consecutive awards in 2021 and 2022.

More importantly, one has to imagine that Nurse is working to help Embiid establish some consistency in the postseason. The five-time All-NBA member scored under 15 points against the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 of Philadelphia’s first-round series.

The 7-footer also recorded under 20 points in Games 2 and 7 versus the Boston Celtics. When Embiid played 39 or more minutes against Boston, he managed to score at least 25 points. Of course, Brooklyn held him to under 30 points in all three of his first-round playoff outings.

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