My annual NBA Awards ballot:
• Clifford rolled his eyes and changed the subject recently when Orlando media asked him about the possibility of being Coach of the Year. Not surprised; Clifford is about substance over style – nothing like a self-promoter or an egomaniac. That’s part of what makes him good at the job.
• I don’t know whether ex-Charlotte Hornet Rex Chapman has serious inside information that Kentucky coach John Calipari is ticketed to being the next coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Chapman tweeted like this is a strong possibility.
I do know this: If Calipari was interested in giving the NBA another try, his struggles with the Nets shouldn’t be a big deal. The NFL’s Bill Belichick was a failure in Cleveland, then a genius in New England. Calipari is more than sharp enough, particularly teaching dribble-drive offense, to succeed in the NBA. Even more so with the Lakers’ resources.
• Speaking of that, former Maryland coach Gary Williams made a solid point a while back when he said it’s a fallacy college coaches innately become overmatched NBA coaches. Williams said most of the time college guys get stuck with the worst situations in the NBA. True.
• A year ago I thought those N.C. State underclassmen turning pro when they did was foolish, and draft night proved as much. T.J. Warren turning pro is different: He’s proved his case. Sticking around might be more of a risk than any potential bonus.
• While anyone choosing to go back to a great college, rather than jump into the working world, is an understandable choice, I sure wish the system reduced the risk of a likely top-10 pick forestalling turning pro – as in free disability insurance and guaranteed tuition so long as that person keeps working toward a degree.