NBA News and Notes: Colangelo reduces role at USA Basketball, LeBron closes in on Olajuwon

November 4, 2016

USA Basketball underwent some leadership changes this week, but otherwise should remain rock solid.  For this story and the latest NBA news, read below:

Colangelo steps down from USA Basketball

Jerry Colangelo announced this week that he will not seek a third term as USA Basketball Chairman.  Fortunately, however, Colangelo will continue in his longtime position as Managing Director of the USA Basketball Men's National Team, and a new Chairman will be elected by the USA Basketball Board of Directors at its annual meeting on Nov. 14.

Colangelo became USA Basketball Chairman for the 2009-12 quadrennium and was re-elected for the 2013-16 term to become USA Basketball's only Chairman/President to serve two four-year terms.  He is relinquishing the role to concentrate on building the USA Men's National Team's player pool for the 2017-20 quad and leading the transition to a new coaching staff, with five-time NBA champion Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs replacing Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University as head coach.

"Given the coaching change and the challenge of assembling a group of players for FIBA's new competition schedule, this is a good time to devote my full attention to the Men's National Team," said Colangelo. "As Chairman of USA Basketball, I'm proud of what our teams at all levels have accomplished and how our players have embraced the responsibility of representing their country.  I look forward to working with the next Chairman to ensure that we continue to honor and build on USA Basketball's rich tradition."

As Colangelo completes his eight-year tenure as Chairman, USA Basketball ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA's world-ranking categories: men's, women's, combined, boys and girls.

In official FIBA and FIBA Americas five-on-five competitions, USA Basketball men's and women's teams compiled a 138-4 record between 2009-2012 and a mark of 129-2 in 2013-16 for an eight-year win-loss record of 267-6 and a striking .978 winning percentage. USA teams also posted a 133-30 win-loss record in official FIBA and FIBA Americas 3x3 competitions.  

USA Basketball teams are the current champions in men's and women's Olympics; men's FIBA World Cup and women's FIBA World Championship; men's and women's FIBA U19 World Championships; men's FIBA U17 World Championship; men's and women's FIBA Americas U18 Championships; men's FIBA Americas U16 Championship; men's Nike Hoop Summit; women's World University Games; and women's Youth Olympic Games.

Colangelo started with USA Basketball as Managing Director of the Men's National Team in 2005, a newly created position with responsibility for selecting the coaches and players and overseeing preparations for competition. Under Colangelo, who selected Krzyzewski as head coach and secured commitments from the NBA's top players, USA Men's National Teams have won 88 of 89 games and compiled a 53-game winning streak in major competition (Olympics, FIBA World Cup and FIBA Americas games).

In August, the United States won its third consecutive men's Olympic gold medal since Colangelo took control. The Rio Games marked the end of Krzyzewski's tenure as USA Men's National Team head coach.  He will remain with the program as a special adviser.

Kings' Matt Barnes fined

Sacramento Kings forward Matt Barnes has been fined $15,000 for directing inappropriate language toward game officials, it was announced by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred following the Kings’ 108-96 overtime loss to the Miami Heat on Nov. 1 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Talkin' Smack

Rob Mahoney,
“Rare are the opponents who can detach from [San Antonio’s Kawhi] Leonard consistently enough to score at an efficient clip and rarer still are those who would still have energy left to slow Leonard’s own roll after doing so.”

Stephen Curry, Warriors guard:
“Big congrats to [Ray Allen], the greatest shooter to play the game, on an impressive career. More than just a shooter, but you showed how lethal that part of the game can be! Thank you!”

Jim Souhan, Minneapolis Star Tribune:
“Always able to dunk with flair, [Minnesota’s Zach] LaVine has developed a three-point shooting stroke that makes him all but impossible to guard.

Pelicans' Cunningham suspended one game

New Orleans Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham has been suspended for one game without pay for pleading guilty to operating a motor vehicle in a negligent manner while exhibiting the effects of having consumed alcohol, in violation of the law of the State of Washington, the NBA announced today.

Cunningham will be suspended for tonight’s game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns.

LeBron James on verge of passing Hakeem

Cleveland’s LeBron James is on the verge of another major milestone, as James (26,915) needs 32 points to pass Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) for 10th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

The four-time NBA MVP is second among active players behind Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, who has 29,522 points and ranks sixth in league history. James, who started his 14th season last week, is 85 points shy of 27,000.

The 31-year-old James has climbed the charts thanks to his remarkable consistency. He has averaged at least 25 points per game in each of the last 12 seasons, the longest such streak in NBA history. If James produces one of his typical years, he would finish the 2016-17 season as the seventh-leading scorer of all time – passing Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes (No. 9), Moses Malone (No. 8) and Shaquille O’Neal (No. 7).

The Numbers

  • James Harden: His sizzling start for the Rockets includes three games with at least 30 points and 15 assists. There was a total of three such games in the NBA last season.

  • T.J. Warren: This season, the Suns’ third-year forward has already recorded the first 30-point game of his career and his first back-to-back games with at least 20 points. He is averaging 22.4 points in five games.

  •  Brook Lopez: The 7-footer made four three-pointers as part of a 34-point performance in the Nets’ victory over the Pistons on Wednesday. He came into the night with four career threes in 490 games.

  •  DeMar DeRozan: The two-time All-Star guard has matched a Raptors record with four consecutive 30-point games. DeRozan (36.3 ppg) has only one three-pointer among his 56 field goals, but he is shooting 55.4 percent from the floor.

  •  George Hill: In his first season with the Jazz, the nine-year veteran is averaging 21.4 points on 54.8 percent shooting.

  • Tobias Harris: The 24-year-old forward is off to a terrific start as a scorer (20.8 ppg) and shooter (58.2 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from three-point range).

  •  Malcolm Brogdon: The 2016 second-round pick (36th overall) by the Bucks has earned a spot in the rotation, and he finished with 14 points, four assists and four steals in Tuesday’s win over the Pelicans.

  •  Mike Muscala: The NBA’s early leader in field goal percentage (71.4), Muscala has helped the Hawks win three of their first four games.

  • Chris Paul: The nine-time All-Star needs eight assists to pass Randy Smith (3,498) as the franchise’s all-time leader.

  • Dirk Nowitzki: One more regular-season victory will give him 853 for his career and equal Derek Fisher for the sixth most all time. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the NBA record with 1,074.

By Staff of and news services

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