What a certain so-called ‘basketball expert’ has said recently about the plight of the New York Knicks and the future possibility of Phil Jackson becoming their head coach for next season:
No team with as much talent as the Knicks should have a losing record. Ever.
about 1 hour ago
… could not, possibly, be further from the truth.
Simple facts regarding the New York Knicks and Phil Jackson:
#1. James Dolan, historically, has been a meddlesome owner.
#2. At this stage in his life, Phil Jackson – at 67 years of age – has zero need to work for a meddlesome owner.
#3. New York presently has only 2 players who would fit readily with a Phil Jackson coached team: i. Landry Fields; and, ii. Iman Shumpert; as solid, multidimensional, players.
#4. Specifically, Amare Stoudemire [i.e. as a Pick & Roll and Isolation Big, exclusively], Carmelo Anthony [i.e. as an Isolation Forward, exclusively], Tyson Chandler [i.e. Defensively-focused Center, exclusively], Jeremy Lin [i.e. as a defensively weak starting PG], JR Smith [i.e. as a Perimeter 'jacker', exclusively], and Baron Davis [i.e. as a defensively weak back-up PG] are the anti-thesis of what could be accurately described as “a good fit player for the Triangle Offense“, based on their individual skill sets.
#5. Although Mike D’Antoni has, indeed, done a poor job of dealing with the myriad egos on the Knicks, since Carmelo Anthony has returned to their active line-up … in no way should Phil Jackson – and the Triangle Offense – be seen as an elixir to their present [and future] ailments.
If New York Knicks actually want to hire a highly experienced NBA championship winning coach with a different mind-set than Mike D’Antoni, who has a history of working well with established veterans and would be a decent fit with their current roster they should think seriously about one of their own former coaches, i.e. Mr. Larry Brown.
To this wonderful article written by Jim Cavan:
But there’s a difference between changing what we know about the game, and what — and how — we think about it. Using advanced analytics can show what we know, but it’s in how they’re used — contextually, strategically, often in the heat of a split second — that can make the difference between winning and losing, between trophies and lotteries.
For as much as modern analytics gives us in the form of fascinating raw data, we’re still very much scratching the surface of how that data translates into wins. Which, after all, is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Perhaps one day we really will find ourselves fully immersed in a brave new sports world of medical, mathematical and scientific analytics, where the human body itself functions more as cog than cognition.
In the meantime, what we’re left with is the image of a splitting atom, without much of an idea of how we get that image to power our homes. Through research presented in forums like Sloan, we’re flush with information — lots of it — but information without a real vehicle, much less a GPS-guided road map to wins and championship. And that’s OK. Because it’s in that lag time — the gap between information and actionable results — that the art, the music, the poetry, indeed the chaos of sports is allowed to breath.
Instead of seeing them as the paint which coaches, front offices and franchises will use to compose the future of sports, we should instead see stats as the strengthening canvas — the increasingly sturdy base without which you wind up with nothing but a mess on the floor — where the game is the paint, and the players are, and remain always, the artists.
this corner says a simple: “Amen, brother.”
This is what was written in this same space on May 25, 2011, concerning the future plight of the Los Angeles Lakers:
Mike Brown has already demonstrated that he is nothing like his one-time mentor, Gregg Popovich … or, Doc Rivers … or, Rick Adelman … or, Rick Carlisle … or, the as yet, untested Brian Shaw.
Mike Brown is most definitely nothing like the ZenMaster, Phil Jackson.
Mike Brown is someone who has been incapable of exercising the required “level of control” over a superstar player – like LeBron James [in Cleveland] or Kobe Bryant [in LA] – and lacks the type of “wholly integrated system of play” which is necessary to achieve major success in the NBA.
Mike Brown is a good defensive coach. Period.
Mike Brown is not someone who will improve the Lakers’ chances of the winning the NBA title next season, or anytime soon.
The Lakers’ major problems this year had nothing to do with their defensive systems of play … and everything to do with:
i. Their overall lack of talent, in comparison with previous editions of their team;
ii. The poor play of Derek Fisher and Steve Blake;
iii. Their lack of Team Cohesion;
iv. Their overall lack of offensive discipline.
Mike Brown is not the right man to effectively address the Lakers’ specific needs.
This is what the current standings look like in the NBA.
These are the lowlights of last night’s game between the Lakers and the Wizards:
The following is one example of what is being said elsewhere in the blogosphere today about the Lakers’ current plight with Mike Brown at the helm of their listing ship:
With Kobe Bryant firing away, Pau Gasol addresses Lakers’ ‘selfishness’
We hold the Lakers up for a more strident brand of criticism because, frankly, they’re smarter than most teams. And they lost on Wednesday to perhaps the least-cerebral NBA team we’ve seen in decades of watching the game. Kobe Bryant watches more tape than any player in this league. Pau Gasol knows this game (literally and figuratively) inside and out. Mike Brown is absolutely obsessed with going over film and finding statistical quirks to take advantage of.
And yet, the Lakers are 23-16, and 15th in the NBA in offense. Let that swirl for a bit — a team featuring the league’s leading scorer paired with perhaps the NBA’s two most effortless low post scorers is mediocre offensively. No amount of arguing away the gaping holes at the point guard and small forward spots can make this any better. There’s no reason the Lakers should be this poor, 39 games into a season.
Actually, there are several reasons. And though we can point to Kobe firing away on Twitter all night, this comes down to coach Mike Brown actually attempting to stand up to his star player. Something he was clearly incapable of doing in Cleveland with LeBron James, and something he’s failing miserably at in Los Angeles.
When trying to understand properly what exactly is going on with the Lakers, so far this season, it’s important to place both Mike Brown and the players on their roster in the proper perspective.
1. The Lakers still have more than enough talent on their roster to win the Pacific Division this season:
2. Mike Brown is far from being properly described as a terrible basketball coach.
What Mike Brown is … is a terrific defensive coach who, at this point in his career, is wholly incapable of coaching a star player like Kobe Bryant the way he actually needs to be coached … i.e. with the highest degree of personal discipline and responsibility possible … on a daily basis – in conjunction with other far less-talented but, nevertheless, still elite level players like Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Metta World Peace, Troy Murphy, Josh McRoberts, Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, Derek Fisher, Luke Walton, Devin Ebanks, Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock – in order to win a NBA Championship.
The first-year of Jim Buss’ organizational leadership for the Lakers continues to unfold in a most fascinating way.
There’s never been anyone like him. He hated the nickname “Wilt the Stilt” because it reminded him of a big crane standing in a pool of water. He preferred “the Big Dipper,” more luminous, more other-worldly.
If you define athleticism as a combination of size, speed, strength and agility, the young Dipper, a decathlete and basketball star who at full speed covered nearly eight feet of hardwood with each elongated stride, might have been the greatest pure athlete of the 20th century, there with Jim Thorpe, Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown.
Wilt’s 100-point game in Hershey stands among the most famous achievements in sports history. But during my research for WILT, 1962, I discovered that hardly anyone really knew anything about it.
Its mystique was born of its isolation. Few saw the game. It was not televised. No New York sportswriters showed up with the Knicks in last place and the NBA regular season just five games from completion. There were only 4,124 paying customers at the Hershey Sports Arena that night, and even that number might have been inflated. Eddie Gottlieb, the Warriors lovable owner, sometimes embellished his crowd counts. Though 4,124 became the official crowd total in Hershey, it did not include a handful of local Hershey boys who snuck into the arena.
At halftime, the p.a. announcer Dave Zinkoff, in a fan give-away, handed out New Phillies Cheroots cigars and Formost salamis. And he called out on the p.a. (more than once) during the game, “Diii-pppeer Duuunk, Chaaaam-ber-laaaiinn!!!” When Wilt scored on a Dipper Dunk with 46 seconds remaining to reach 100, the kids of Hershey rushed out to the court to meet the conquering hero, much as the French once rushed out to the field to greet the arriving Lindbergh.
It was all quite a show. The “100″ stayed in people’s minds. But the event itself soon was forgotten.
Decades later, Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game seemed like a sunken galleon, waiting to be recovered.
To understand the meaning and significance of what happened that long-ago night in Hershey, we must first understand the era, the league and the man.
In spring 1962, John Kennedy and Wilt’s good friend — Nikita Khrushchev — were locked in a Cold War faceoff over the issue of nuclear testing. Only ten days before Wilt’s big night, John Glenn blasted into space and returned home with a classic line: “I don’t know what you could say about a day in which you have seen four beautiful sunsets.” In Philadelphia, 400 African-American ministers led their congregations in a boycott against the Tasty Baking Company, Sunoco and Gulf Oil until more black employees at those companies were hired to better jobs. The Freedom Rides rolled across the South, a region whose major athletic conferences had yet to desegregate. In the nation’s capital, the Washington Redskins, the last NFL team to integrate, finally had signed their first black player, though he had not yet played.
The simmering racial tensions in the South would bubble to the surface later that fall. At Ole Miss, James Meredith had to be escorted by federal marshals armed with tear gas and guns to become that school’s first black student. Rioting erupted and two people were left dead.
And don’t mistake the NBA of that year for today’s sleek league of glamour and glitz. It was perceived by many sportswriters as less than the college game. Some NBA players still smoked cigarettes, even at halftime; they washed their own uniforms in hotel room sinks. That season, Wilt’s Philadelphia Warriors played one game in a high school gym in Indiana. The NBA tried to develop new fans by playing a number of games outside of big cities, in places with big arenas, such as Hershey.
It was still largely a white man’s enclave. In 1962, two-thirds of the NBA’s players were white. The league’s black players were certain that a quota existed that limited their numbers. Such prejudice was systemic then in American life. In 1958, the St. Louis Hawks — playing in the NBA’s southernmost town -– became the last league champion with a roster entirely made up of white players.
Today, the NBA has 30 teams, but in 1961-62 it had only nine — and just one (the Los Angeles Lakers) west of St. Louis.
Most of America’s leading sports columnists in 1962, The New York Times’ Red Smith and Shirley Povich of The Washington Post, among them, cared little for pro basketball. They preferred baseball, football, horse racing, boxing — anything but the NBA. Stanley Woodward, the legendary sports editor of the New York Herald Tribune, said of basketball: “I have strong reservations, about the masculinity of any man who plays the game in short pants.”
In 1962, the NBA had one foot stepping into the future, the other dragging in the past. Some of the old-style set shooters remained, using a one- or two-handed shot taken without their feet leaving the floor, a shooting style that dated to the game’s origins in the late 1890s.
And then there was Wilt. Tall, fast, athletically gifted, he transformed the geometry of his sport. He took a feet-on-the-floor horizontal game above the rim, and made it his.
He was the Babe Ruth of his sport. As Ruth electrified baseball with the home run as the sport moved from the dead ball era to the live ball era during the 1920s, Chamberlain electrified pro basketball in the early 1960s with his scoring and Dipper Dunk.
Of course the two men — The Babe and The Dipper — shared other qualities as well. Both kept their eyes on pretty women in the grandstands. A married man, Ruth could be loud and coarse, once telling his teammates, “You should have seen this dame I was with last night. What a body! Not a blemish on it.”
The bachelor Chamberlain was quieter and more careful about his liaisons in the winter of 1962.
“That blonde sitting underneath the basket,” he whispered to a Philadelphia Warriors official sitting at the scorer’s table during one game. The Dipper raised a brow and said, “Get her number for me.”
Rick Mahorn wasted no time laying down the law at Highland Park Community High School today.
“How old are you?” the former Detroit Pistons power forward asked a student — and fan — who greeted him by his first name.
“18,” the student responded.
“I’m 52. And you’re going to call me Rick Mahorn? I’m Mr. Mahorn,” he said.
Mahorn stepped into the role of principal at the high school today, sitting in on classes, talking one-on-one with students, even helping out with teachers in their instruction.
There are a number of reasons this corner has always had an authentic appreciation for the Detroit Pistons of Chuck Daly.
Kudos to Mr. Mahorn.
If you take a closer look at two plays from last night’s game between Milwaukee and Washington:
i. At the 0:13 mark of the video clip … when a clear travel violation by JaVale McGee is not called by the Center Official, who is looking directly at the play;
ii. At the 1:07 mark of the video clip … when a highly questionable travel violation by Roger Mason is called by the Trail Official, despite the Lead Official, who is looking directly at the play, as well, making no call whatsoever:
in the best interests of their franchise, from a long term perspective, is:
i. Baton down the hatches;
ii. Resist all trade overtures from other teams across the NHL;
iii. Display confidence in the ability of their current group of core players – e.g. Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, Joffrey Lupul, James Reimer, Jake Gardiner and Luke Schenn – to rebound from their present 10-game slumber and qualify for the playoffs this season by playing solid hockey down the home-stretch; and,
iv. Get a win on Tuesday night, playing at home against the Florida Panthers.
If the team, as is, fails to respond positively and falls short of making the playoffs … then … head coach, Ron Wilson, will be relieved of his duties in the off season.
The team’s core group of players would stay together heading into next season.
This would really be a long term “win” situation for the franchise, when one more year’s worth of draft picks are added to the current group of players who, then, would have just gone through their first legitimate battle for a playoff position together.
If the team, as is, responds positively and regroups to qualify for the playoffs … then … head coach, Ron Wilson, will not be relieved of his duties in the off season.
The team’s core group of players would stay together heading into next season.
This would also be a long term “win” situation for the franchise, when one more year’s worth of draft picks are added to the current group of players who, then, would have just gone through their first legitimate battle for a playoff position together.
The simple facts are …
1. This year’s version of the Maple Leafs has better players than the previous 6 incarnations each of which missed the playoffs.
2. The only “sucker play” [i.e. OPTION 3] which the Maple Leafs can possibly make at this stage of their long term building process is to buckle under to the mostly media-induced pressure to make the playoffs this season, at all costs, by trading away one or more of their core players.
… in an effort to establish a new Culture of Success for the Men’s Basketball Team at Lamar University:
It is going to be very interesting indeed to see how his team … led on-court by its 6 seniors … will respond in tomorrow’s away game at Sam Houston State University [12-16].