tas: on today's show -- j.e.: brian shaw has been fired, but is the nuggets season his fault. tas: we argue whether the nets will make the playoffs. j.e.: doc rivers thinks deandre jordan is the defensive player of the year.
is he right? tas: it is tuesday, march 3. "the starters" starts now. j.e.: >> good day, sweet world. welcome to "the starters." i am j.e. skeets. alongside me, as always, but in public form, it is tas melas. tas: how do you do.
j.e.: to my right, trey kerby. and the international man of mystery, leigh ellis. liegh: friends. j.e.: if you are wondering what is going on, tas: -- tas lost the pick 'em payoff, so he has to do the show as a puppet. it will see how long he can keep
this up. we have crossfire, the up down report, and some news -- the denver nuggets announced they have relieved brian shaw of his coaching duties. trey: take a break. we're letting you go. it is ok.
j.e.: he has been canned. the nuggets are in the midst of a 2-19 stretch. melvin hunt has been named the interim head coach. i cannot say that we all that surprised by this news. you agree with that? tas: it is a player's leg.
if you're not working it on offense, defense, your locker room is a mess, your players and not responding -- you are getting nothing out of your stars, ty lawson is not playing for you -- you have to go. liegh: you are giving me a headache.
j.e.: put your arm down. you're making me nervous. his is not a surprise. liegh: just the timing -- we thought it could have happened earlier. often when the coach kidd -- coach gets fired, there is talk that they lost the locker room.
i do not know if he ever had it. it never really improved. this could affect his job prospects going forward because he did not do much. we thought he was a great prospect he for he took the job. they had a good roster. i know there was some change.
they lost andre iguodala, but it was an underwhelming year and a half. j.e.: i know what you are saying, but this is the nba and you always get a second, third, fourth, fifth chance to get a job. trey: he was not the right fit
with the roster. he tried to make kenneth faried a post up got. he was never able to find the right scenario. that is a problem when you try to fit the players into your system. liegh: it is a players league,
and you have to make your system work for them and not try to get those guys to squeeze into your way because that is the old style of coaching. tas: i am not sure that you always get a second chance, right? i want to talk like this again.
mark jackson what argument that. he is not gotten a second opportunity. j.e.: eventually he is going to, and so is brian shaw. i think the fit did not make a lot of sense. it is funny, i saw people on twitter say this -- the last
couple of teams to let go of a 50-win head coach, the grizzlies did that with lionel hollins, the clippers did it with vinny del negro, the nuggets did it with george karl, mark jackson and the warriors, three of those four teams, it is working out pretty well.
the nuggets, with shaw coming in , they are the one exception. trey: definitely the exception because that nuggets team was fun to watch and really good. very strange to see them fall off. liegh: i wonder who this job was attracted to.
it is not a bad roster. you have good young players and draft picks. the front office relationship -- they seem to mingle a little bit too much. the front office -- they are paying to mind dollars to brian shaw.
they just finished paying george karl. they are not an organization that likes to pay for coaches. you wonder if that will fit in. j.e.: one name being thrown around, mike d'antoni. liegh: he likes the fast-paced style that suits the game.
j.e.: lot to talk about. jimmy butler expected to miss three to six weeks with a strained left elbow, the latest setback for the injury-played bulls. he suffered the injury sunday. he will not have to have surgery, but three to six weeks,
derrick rose four to six weeks, taj gibson is in a walking boot -- this team, once again, the chicago bulls, all of these injuries -- can they survive, puppet tas? can they still be solid and scarce and teams in the playoffs?
tas: i i think so. they have a ton of expense. it is difficult to know how to feel about the team. so many ifs, and they have come back. i think with derrick rose, jimmy butler, they could be out three to four weeks, and then get back
into things. i think jimmy butler's legs will be happy because he leads the league in minutes played. legs sound really good right now. i wish i had a couple of those. [laughter] i think the bulls will fight
through it. trey: i'm sure the bulls will fight through it and they always rally because they're used to doing this, but it puts them in a tough spot -- the timing. if rose and jimmy butler come back, they will have three or four games to reintegrate.
it is the worst timing possible. j.e.: it is, but it tends to happen a lot with the chicago bulls came. this one seems like a big fluke. you have to ask the question about tom thibodeau and the minutes he puts on these guys in the regular season.
is he part of the problem of these guys wearing down? trey: they always seem to fall apart in the playoffs and that is more on tom thibodeau than jimmy butler's freak injury or derrick rose's me. the problem is tom thibodeau does not take a chance to
develop the young players. the players play well when they get a chance. tony snell has been on fire but did not play until the injuries. he is to take a chance earlier on them so he is not putting huge minutes on these guys. j.e.: wanting to watching the
eastern conference with the injuries to the bulls, the cavs on the rise, whether or not, the bulls in the wizards, if they want the fifth seed more than the third seed, because i believe the cavs will eventually be the number two seed. you have cleveland at two.
you'd not want to be the third seed in a match up with the cleveland cavaliers. it might be more beneficial to be the fourth or fifth seed. the raptors will probably get fourth because they will win the division. tas: these teams are just trying
to get right. and they are not worried about playoff seeding. even the cleveland cavaliers, lebron goes and sits and relaxes because they are trying to get right for the playoffs. j.e.: why are you dressed like you are going to hawaii?
tas: it is quite cool in this shirt. j.e.: last night, the dragon revenge game, goran dragic against his old team, 21 points in just under 15 minutes. he got in foul trouble. the heat ran away with this 1, 115-98.
this game was wild. liegh: i was surprised at how hostile it was. i thought his beef was with the management. i thought he was good friends with bledsoe and marcus morris and those guys, but there seem to be a lot of guys going at
each other. j.e.: he said he would not have played if it was any other team. he had back spasms. he called it one of the best win s of his career. here you see the altercations -- markieff morris taking out dragic on the fastbreak.
later, hassan whiteside and alex len, a couple of judo chops, a tackle. markieff morris got ejected. those two got ejected. also henry "don't call me billy" walker picking up a flagrant. it took forever. a three-our game.
liegh: dragic played 15 minutes. imagine if you play the whole game. it would still be going. tas: i would have loved to have been involved. i have taken mma. judo chop. j.e.: i forgot tas was not
sitting here. tas: my hand smells. j.e.: let's take a break, although this will be where -- i will debate a puppet in crossfire and become back. you are watching "the starters ." tas: welcome to crossfire --
trey will give skeets and i three topics bang this a lot. trey: after a thrilling last-second victory, the brooklyn nets are in a place, but with three teams is in a game and a half of the last playoff spot, will the nets make the playoffs.
? tas: the nets have come together. not underestimate. these old guys know when to come to play. it is the playoffs,'s baby. 'sinstead he us young -- since thaddeus young acquisition, it
is -- listen to it. they have the most home games of anyone in the race. they are making it, baby. j.e.: as puppet tas, do you want the brooklyn nets in the tas: they won last season. j.e.: i think it is more likely that the pacers, heat, celtics
or pistons get ahead of the brooklyn nets. they have an easier schedule in terms of strength of schedule. tas: i told you the home games. j.e.: it does not matter who they are playing. the heat will become. the pacers beat them.
the celtics have the tiebreaker. tas: i can clap my hands. i have 15 home games left. j.e.: next question. this puppet is drunk. trey: greg monroe remains open to re-signing with the pistons. should greg monroe re-sign with the pistons?
tas: they could pay you the most money. if i put up my other hand, i could make it rain. you have a guy that appreciates you. stan van gundy. he loves you. in detroit you can play with a
legitimate defensive center. i love you, but you're not great in the defensive department. that is where andre drummond comes in. concentrate on scoring, which you are so good at. stay in detroit. you do not know how good you
have it until it is gone. j.e.: puppet tas, players that send the qualifying offer almost never stick with the team. the only one i can think of is spencer hawes with the sixers. he is going. the most wins he has had in five years is 30 wins in his rookie
season. he wants to see some w's. yes, the pistons are slowly getting better, but they will not be contending for a title. he could have his pick of the litter. greg monroe is gone. tas: excuse me, you put me to
sleep with that argument. trey: final question, future "sharknado 3" president mark cuban wants the season to extended to july. j.e.: no, but i am fine with doing with adam silver has talked about, given of half of the season -- preseason games,
start the season earlier, but do not going to july. if you want to kill ratings, put games on in july when no one wants to watch sporting events. i hate this idea, go the other way. tas: this is a great idea. markey cuban, i love this idea.
i'm a workaholic, just like yourself. i need to work all year round. in july, they try to put me in a box and pull me away for the off-season. i do not want that. i want the best product possible.
give it a the back to backs. let's hang out in july at summer league. j.e.: what about international basketball -- ciba, the olympics -- you do not want to go that mark cuban is right, extend the season, but given of the preseason games.
tas: he is a billionaire. trey: today's winner is skeets because puppettas does not have a leg to stand on. j.e.: when we come back, thumbs up or thumbs down on james harden's suspension. tas: i wish i could kick someone inthe testicles.
[richard] america. j.e.: back with "the starters." if you are just joining us, tas cohosting as a puppet. he lost the pick 'em payoff contest. getting makeup before the show. we're now in the up-down report figuring out where the four of
us -- three of us stand. a lot of leg jokes with the puppet. play along. #thestarters. the nba announced james harden has been suspended one game without pay for kicking lebron in the groin on sunday in the
rockets overtime win. three of us down on this. trey, the only one up. we'll come to you a second. why don't you start? leigh: i thought the officials got it right. i felt what he did was not malicious, but reactionary.
they gave him a flagrant foul. it was a tight game and was decided by the players. can you imagine the outcry if he was ejected? trey: can you imagine? leigh: people would be same lebron gets all of the calls. the league should have the
referees and said you made the right call. trey: i do not care how gentle it is, you cannot tow a bro down below. this is crazy. he kicks in. j.e.: lebron flops like crazy. give me a break.
trey: if anyone wants to reenact this, let's try it. tas: i will be enacted right it is a natural instance. your legs just come up. they just happen to hit lebron below the belt. it was a light cap. -- tap.
j.e.: we might not be having this conversation if it was not lebron james. trey: this is crazy. he puts his foot on his groin and he pushes it. leigh: that area is very sensitive to most gentlemen. lebron was a bit worried, so he
backed up. i think it was an unfortunate contact. j.e.: i think lebron is smart, trying to sell it. tas: the better kick was john stuart yesterday. -- jon stwwart yesterday. j.e.: doc same deandre jordan is
the best defensive player of the year. leigh: i would not say he is a lock, but he is very good. second in blocks and the quality you cannot quantify, intimidation. trey: what you can quantify, he grabs so many defensive
rebounds. and defense is not over until you have the ball back. leigh: that is what doc rivers stresses. he has got a lot out of deandre jordan. he has improved so much. the clippers are a good
offensive team. they need him so much. j.e.: they are an average defense, by the way. doc rivers has anyone else gets the award, we need to have an investigation. slow down. i know what you are trying to do
with deandre jordan. he compared into bill russell, dennis rodman. relax with us. he is going overboard. leigh: he always goes for his players like that. tas: why should he stop? deandre jordan has become the
player that he is today since doc rivers arrival. i would not give him the defensive player of the year award because it is a mediocre defense and i find it counterintuitive because he is not part of one of the better defenses in the league, but i
love doc's support for deandre. leigh: defensive player is interesting because if you are asking on his own team's defense, but it is like anthony davis, you would not say he is not a brilliant defensive player. tas: part of it is yapping, and
communicating with his team. it is not about individual performance. leigh: it is for defensive player of the year. j.e.: it has not for the last couple of years. that is where it is going. we're not even arguing over
whether he would actually win, but doc rivers boosting his confidence. -- mark chief morris with the -- markieff morris recently calling out the suns fans for giving him and his team no home-court advantage. they got killed the other day at
home. morris said i do not think we have a home court advantage. it does not feel like a home court advantage at all. tas, you're the only one up. tas: i feel he could have been nicer, but i watched the game, i ate a lot of chips while i was
watching it -- this is going in my mouth? i cannot tell. i feel like san antonio had more fans. they need more fans to be supportive. j.e.: what about the fans there? tas: they were not allowed. j.e.: there is getting crushed
by 30. trey: they have to stop making excuses. it was isaiah thomas's fault, goran dragic's, the referees. j.e.: i agree. the fantasy matt, now that brian shaw has been relieved of his duties in denver, could the many
mo be unleashed -- manimal be unleashed? leigh: he has to be. his numbers have nothing drastically different from last year but we were all expecting a big old and him given what we saw in the summer. hopefully in these last games,
kenneth faried is free to go and show what he can really do because he has had a disastrous j.e.: over his last six games? i thought that was a typo. five points. 22 minutes. you would hope with melvin hunt that he will get more minutes,
more chances to be like kenneth faried. final break. when we return, one more -- or, more minutes at least, with the pick 'em payoff puppet pick 'em payoff, results, and back with "the starters, time for a new month of pick 'em
payoff. a solid start. we agree on four games, hornets, hawks, wizards, and nuggets. the games we disagree on, i will take the kings on the road. puppet tas likes the new york knicks. are you feeling all right?
tas: why not. j.e.: solid play of the night. leigh: a new category, double-ended. stop after stop, and this is how you turn defense into offense. get it down to your best shooter. that is what i call a solid
play. j.e.: what a way to end a wild show. let's give it up for puppet tas. tas: can you give me some water? leigh: here you go, but he. -- buddy. j.e.: fan night is the rockets and hawks.
tas: thank you for joining us. and if you venture request my arm, i will do this again tomorrow. [captioning made possible by nba