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"Giannis has really grown," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. "He’s quickly gotten better at understanding the NBA game. He’s getting a lot of time on the floor and he’s responded for them."
Like their teams, Drew and Corbin find themselves in similar situations.
Miller on the block?
Andre Miller is one of the last players I would expect to shout down his coach during a game and force punishment from his team. But it happened during the Denver-Philadelphia game Wednesday night, when rookie coach Brian Shaw benched a healthy Miller for the first time in his 15-year career. Miller’s uncharacteristic reaction initially earned him a two-game suspension, although the team quickly backpedaled. The Nuggets rescinded the suspension and announced Miller would simply stay away from the team until Monday for personal reasons. Translation: Miller gets punished, but he also gets paid. The question going forward, of course, is whether Shaw and Miller can co-exist. Not likely. Expect Miller to be a hot commodity before the Feb. 20 trade deadline.
Could Big Al finally be named an All-Star?
Former Jazz center Al Jefferson has been one of the NBA’s best low-post scorers for a decade. But he’s never played for a true contender and, not coincidentally, he’s never made an All-Star team. That could change this year. Jefferson averages 17 points and 10.1 rebounds for Charlotte. He’s helped make the Bobcats a playoff contender — albeit in the weak Eastern Conference. Besides Miami’s LeBron James and Indiana’s Paul George, there are no All-Star locks among frontcourt players. For now, Jefferson is taking a low-key approach to the issue: “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, man. Right now, we just need [to] win. ... I ain’t even thinking about the All-Star Game. That’s a long ways away.”
Lakers coach D’Antoni tries to keep it light
Injuries to Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Steve Blake have left the Lakers in ruins, but coach Mike D’Antoni hasn’t lost his sense of humor. Before playing in Utah last week, he was asked about L.A.’s Nick Young being one of the league leaders in 4-point plays. After hesitating, D’Antonio deadpanned, “Well, that’s one of our goals.” The Lakers’ lack of success has also led to a pair of games being pulled from the league’s national television schedule. “They will rue the day,” a tongue-in-cheek D’Antoni said. But he added, “They are doing business and you can’t blame them. It’s our job to say, ‘You messed up.’ “
Their primary job this season isn’t winning. It’s developing players like Burke and Antetokounmpo.
"It can be very hard on a coach," Drew said, smiling. "But that’s just one of those things we have to deal with. They’re playing their young guys. We’re playing our young guys. That’s just the nature of the beast right now."
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