Connect with us

Sports

Who is Kara Lawson? Meet the Duke coach who reportedly is ‘prime candidate’ for Celtics job

Published

on

Who is Kara Lawson? Meet the Duke coach who reportedly is 'prime candidate' for Celtics job

The Celtics are starting a new era ahead of the 2021 NBA offseason. Long-time GM Danny Ainge retired and coach Brad Stevens is replacing him in the front office.

That, of course, means that Boston is going to need a new coach. The job should be an attractive one considering that the team has high-end young talents including All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. As such, the team should be able to attract some of the best and brightest available coaches.

One of those options could be Kara Lawson. According to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, Lawson is a “prime candidate” to watch in the Celtics’ coaching search. The former WNBA star doesn’t have a lot of coaching experience, but she has been involved with the Boston organization and seems to have a good relationship with Brad Stevens.

But how did Lawson get to this point so quickly after her playing career came to an end? And will she have a chance to be the NBA’s first female coach? Let’s take a look.

MORE: What Stevens’ promotion, Ainge’s departure mean for Celtics

Who is Kara Lawson?

Lawson has long been involved with professional basketball. She came into the WNBA during the 2003 WNBA Draft after a four-year college career at Tennessee. She played 13 WNBA seasons and averaged 9.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while playing for the Monarchs, Sun and Mystics. She also made the All-Star Game once and was an Olympic champion during her playing days.

While she was still playing, Lawson started a broadcast career and became the first woman to serve as a broadcast analyst for an NBA game. That came during a Wizards vs. Hornets game on Jan. 12, 2007. Two years after her retirement from the WNBA in 2015, she became the lead analyst on the Wizards broadcast and remained in that role before she got into coaching.

Lawson got her start with the Celtics and served as an assistant during the 2019-20 season. She developed a terrific relationship with the players on the team and as Weiss wrote, she was “missed greatly” after her departure.

And why did Lawson leave the Celtics? She got an opportunity to serve as the coach of the Duke women’s basketball team. Her first season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Blue Devils posted a 3-1 record in the four games they played before opting to cancel the rest of their season.

MORE: Eight best Celtics coaching candidates to replace Brad Stevens

Kara Lawson’s tenure with the Celtics

Lawson was part of a Celtics staff that posted a 43-21 record and reached the Eastern Conference Finals despite playing in “The Bubble.” She didn’t coach in The Bubble, as she had already left for Duke, but her footprint was clearly on that squad.

As mentioned, Lawson was beloved by the players and helped a lot of them to improve. Notably, she worked with Marcus Smart to help him improve his shooting ability.

“She became more than just my shooting coach, she became a longtime friend and somebody I know I can talk to if I ever need advice,” Smart said after Lawson was announced as Duke’s next coach, per NBC Sports Boston.

During Lawson’s tenure, Smart shot 34.7 percent from beyond the arc, the second-highest mark of his career, while attempting a career-high 6.6 shots from 3-point range per game.

MORE: Stephen A. Smith rips Celtics’ promotion of Brad Stevens

Beyond her work with Smart, Lawson left a lasting impression on Celtics players with her ability to connect with players.

“Kara is always known for putting a smile on players’ faces,” center Robert Williams said after Lawson joined Duke, per Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston. “She stays in your ear, even though she may not be your personal coach she always keeps asking how I’m doing and if there’s anything I need to talk about, so I feel like Duke is going to get a great head coach. We’re going to miss her. We don’t want her to go, but it’s on to bigger and better opportunities.”

Her performance, familiarity with Boston and well-regarded status among the team’s players are part of why former Celtic-turned-broadcast-analyst Brian Scalabrine thinks that Lawson may be the right woman for the job.

“I think they’re going to hire Kara Lawson,” Scalabrine said. “I know the organization thinks she’s unbelievable. I know the players respect her. When she went down to Duke to coach the women’s team there — I mean, I’m just putting A + B = C to me. I think they hire Kara Lawson. …

“She’s insanely good as a coach,” he added. “It’s not one of those things where ‘she’s good for a female.’ No, she walked into practice and she commanded practice right from the jump. She was giving people tips and people’s jaws were dropping. She’s elite at what she does. … I thought she was head coaching material within five minutes talking with her.”

Brad Stevens is ‘a mentor’ to Kara Lawson

Does Brad Stevens share Scalabrine’s opinion that Lawson is “elite” and ready to be an NBA head coach after just two years of experience? That’s what will ultimately matter during the hiring process.

Stevens made the decision to target Lawson as a member of his staff and was able to lure her out of the Wizards booth to begin her coaching career. Shortly after she came aboard, Stevens spoke well of her during her first NBA Summer League experience.

“She is as sharp as they come,” Stevens said, per KnoxNews.com. “so we’re excited to have her on board. She’s really excited to get going. … Thank goodness she’s on our staff. I think she’ll do a great, great job for us.”

Later that season on International Women’s Day (March 8) in 2020, Stevens was asked his opinion of Lawson. And he continued to speak well of his then-assistant.

“I think the world of Kara,” Stevens said. “She’s a special coach. You could always kind of see that when she was playing and you could hear it when she was calling games, but to get a chance to live it every day, she’s as good as there is. She’s really, really good.”

And even though Lawson left the team after the 2020 season, the two still keep in touch.

“He’s still a great mentor for me—I talk to him weekly,” Lawson said in a press conference last summer, per the Duke Chronicle.

It certainly seems that the two have a good relationship and Stevens thinks highly of Lawson. That should at least put her on the radar as a potential option, especially if the team is looking to bring in someone who is already familiar with the roster.

Lawson and current assistant Jay Larranaga would represent the best options if Stevens wants some continuity and chemistry at the head coach spot. That may help keep things running smoothly as he transitions into the front office.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sports

76ers vs. Hawks live score, updates, highlights from Game 7 of NBA playoff series

Published

on

76ers vs. Hawks live score, updates, highlights from Game 7 of NBA playoff series

Doc Rivers hasn’t won a Game 7 in his last three chances, but he’ll look to change his recent misfortune as the 76ers take on the Hawks Sunday night.

Philadelphia staved off elimination in a 104-99 Game 6 win over Atlanta and now will return to the Wells Fargo Center in the hopes of polishing off Trae Young’s Hawks. Seth Curry and Tyrese Maxey were excellent in Philly’s last game, but the team will continue to rely heavily on Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris as they look to advance in Rivers’ first year as the 76ers coach.

Meanwhile, the Hawks have little to lose in this contest. Few expected Atlanta to make any sort of playoff run, let alone take the Sixers to a Game 7.

However, interim coach Nate McMillan organized an epic turnaround after taking over the team midway through the season. He went 27-11 in his 38 regular-season games as coach and led the 5-seed Hawks to a 4-1 series win over the Knicks.

McMillan is strongly preferred to return as Atlanta’s coach next season, but a win in Game 7 would bolster his chances of staying in charge of the Hawks. Or, it could become a valuable bargaining chip for him while negotiating his future salary.

Sporting News is tracking live scoring updates and highlights from 76ers vs. Hawks to decide the Eastern Conference playoff series. Follow below for complete results from Game 7.

76ers vs. Hawks score

Game 7 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
76ers 28 28
Hawks 25 25

76ers vs. Hawks live updates, highlights from Game 7

(All times Eastern)

8:50 p.m. — Trae Young has picked up a technical foul.

8:48 p.m. — Joel Embiid throws down a monster dunk that brought the Wells Fargo Center to life. What a play.

8:46 p.m. — Ben Simmons and George Hill combine for a nice little and-one opportunity.

8:45 p.m. — Trae Young ends his cold stretch with a 3-point make. He now has seven points on one of seven shooting.

8:43 p.m. — Kevin Huerter missed his first shot of the game. He’s now four of five from the field with nine points.

8:40 p.m. — The Hawks had no turnovers in the first quarter. It took them over 14 minutes of game action to commit one. That’s one of the main reasons they’re leading in spite of Trae Young’s early shooting struggles.

8:38 p.m. — After Danilo Gallinari makes back-to-back 3-point shots, every Hawk to shoot so far has made at least one basket… except for Trae Young. Despite that, the Hawks lead by five.

8:34 p.m. — Nate McMillan’s takeaways from the first quarter: He likes how the Hawks offense is operating but wants them to allow fewer free throws. Sounds about right.

8:32 p.m. — The Hawks and Sixers each have a player with two fouls. Seth Curry has two for Philly while Clint Capela picked up his second at the end of the first quarter. Capela is key in the battle against Joel Embiid, so the Hawks will keep a close eye on him.

End of first quarter: 76ers 28, Hawks 25

8:29 p.m. — Trae Young hasn’t made shots in the first quarter — he’s 0-6 from the floor — but he has four points at the free throw line. Still, the Hawks will need more from him to win this one. They’re lucky to be down just 28-25 after one quarter. Also, Joel Embiid made a great shot to end the quarter.

8:27 p.m. — Lou Williams’ first shot is a make, but it took a while before it decided to go down.

8:25 p.m. — Matisse Thybulle makes his first 3-point shot. He didn’t score in Game 6.

8:18 p.m. — Kevin Huerter has made his first four shots and has nine points. His contributions are vital with Trae Young missing his first four shots.

8:17 p.m. — Seth Curry picks up his second foul about halfway through the first quarter. He has averaged 30 points over his last two games, so this is a big development for the 76ers.

8:14 p.m. — Joel Embiid just hit a tough shot falling away from the basket. That gives the 76ers their first lead of the game, 15-13 going into the first commercial break.

8:10 p.m. — The Hawks are making some nice passes off the bat. Trae Young finds Clint Capela for an alley-oop.

8:08 p.m. — Joel Embiid has the first six points for the 76ers. Kevin Huerter has five of the first seven for the Hawks.

8:07 p.m. — Last night, Charles Barkley guaranteed the Bucks would beat the Nets. He was right. Tonight, he is on the Sixers.

8:03 p.m. — 76ers win the tipoff. Furkan Korkmaz misses the first shot of the game. John Collins starts the scoring with a two-point bucket for the Hawks.

7:55 p.m. — Shaq wants Ben Simmons to be aggressive in this one and not worry about the free throw issues he has been having.

7:50 p.m. — No surprises with the Hawks starting lineup either. Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter, John Collins and Clint Capela will begin the game for Atlanta.

7:37 p.m. — The Sixers’ starting five is in. It’s the same as Game 6: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Furkan Korkmaz, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid.

7:30 p.m. — Joel Embiid and the Sixers are getting in some pregame work.

7:25 p.m. — Who wore it better, Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid?

76ers vs. Hawks start time

  • Time: 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT
  • TV channel: TNT
  • Live stream: Watch TNT

Game 7 between the 76ers and Hawks is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 20. It will be televised nationally on TNT.

NBA playoff schedule 2021

(All times Eastern)

June 20

Game Time National TV
Clippers vs. Suns 3:30 p.m. ABC
Hawks vs. 76ers 8 p.m. TNT

June 22

Game Time National TV
Clippers vs. Suns 9 p.m. ESPN

June 24

Game Time National TV
Suns vs. Clippers 9 p.m. ESPN

June 26

Game Time National TV
Suns vs. Clippers 9 p.m. ESPN

Continue Reading

Sports

Padres’ Manny Machado wore the perfect Father’s Day footwear

Published

on

Padres' Manny Machado wore the perfect Father's Day footwear

Manny Machado’s got heat on feet. Kind of.

While ostentatious, loud and colorful cleats are all the rage in baseball, the Padres’ star third baseman dialed it down on Father’s Day. Like, a lot down.

Machado took the field wearing a pair of Nike Air Monarch cleats — the preeminent, iconic dad shoe — during San Diego’s Dad Day matchup vs. the Reds.

The Monarchs have fostered a reputation for being an unforgettable dad-worn sneaker, making Machado’s footwear a tremendous salute to fathers (and grillmasters) around the country.

What makes the cleats even better is that they are in the classic white, silver and navy blue colorway, which is the only way to wear those bad boys. While these are Jordan Brand player-exclusive cleats, they’re dad-exclusive away from the field.

MORE: Joey Votto makes young fan’s day in San Diego

Machado has worn all different makes of cleats throughout his career, usually flashy and gaudy types. The All-Star infielder has worn Jordan 11s, 12s, 4s and a bunch of others on the field.

Still, lacing up a pair of Grillmaster 5s on Father’s Day earned him plenty of praise from fans who understood the tribute:

You’ll probably be able to catch Machado after the game at a BBQ near you, likely cracking some bad puns and calling everyone “big guy.”

Continue Reading

Sports

Nets’ Kevin Durant joining Team USA for Tokyo Olympics after Game 7 loss vs. Bucks, report says

Published

on

Nets' Kevin Durant joining Team USA for Tokyo Olympics after Game 7 loss vs. Bucks, report says

Kevin Durant isn’t going to be taking much time off this summer.

In fact, he appears to be ready for more action despite playing all 53 minutes of the Nets’ Game 7 overtime loss to the Bucks and scoring a game-high 48 points. And he’s joining another super team that has title hopes.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Durant is expected to commit to Team USA ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

Durant would become the sixth player to commit to Team USA, joining another player with Olympic experience, Draymond Green, and four first-time Olympians: Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal and Devin Booker.

MORE: Kevin Durant blames ‘big-ass foot’ for loss to the Suns

Durant competed in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. He averaged 19.5 points at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro and 19.4 points at the 2012 London Olympics.

In addition, Durant shot 54.6 percent from the shorter-range international 3-point line at the two tournaments and has compiled a 39-0 record in international play.

Team USA can now turn its attention to its remaining question marks with Durant’s commitment reportedly secured. Anthony Davis and LeBron James won’t be participating in this year’s Olympics, but Stephen Curry was “50-50” about competing in the event.

Either way, Team USA should be considered the top threat at the 2021 Summer Games with Durant in the fold.

Continue Reading

Trending