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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
i. The eye test;
ii. A cursory look at his basic game stats while a student-athlete at Harvard University; and,
iii. His stellar performance in this specific game against UConn and Kemba Walker:
The simple facts are these:
1. The vast majority of so-called basketball experts … which, unfortunately, includes most General Managers, and coaches, and players, and stats gurus, etc., in the NBA … do not have the necessary level of basketball acumen to accurately assess the actual skill-set of a player like Jeremy Lin;
2. The Golden State Warriors’ decision to sign but then use Jeremy Lin only as a 3rd string PG, in arrears of Monte Ellis and Stephon Curry, is akin to the Phoenix Suns’ decision in the 1996-1997 season to use Steve Nash, as an after-thought only, behind initially-perceived-to-be “more dynamic” players like Kevin Johnson and Jason Kidd;
3. If Jeremy Lin was diligent enough to work hard to improve his left-hand dribble, he was always more than capable of becoming a legitimate Starting PG in the NBA … if he was also fortunate enough to get the opportunity to play for the right head coach in a best-fit system;
4. Nothing which Jeremy Lin has done so far in the NBA should really come as a surprise to a legitimate basketball expert.
According to certain basketball-related web sites and so-called “stats gurus” who operate them, the work of Flip Saunders has not been the main source of the different problems experienced by the Washington Wizards during his tenure with the team:
The Wizards are really, really bad this year. Because of the team’s lack of success, it made a desperation move and fired its coach, Flip Saunders. But Saunders wasn’t the problem. The problem is that the team is riddled with bad players. And the team’s management has failed to remedy this problem by holding on to the bad players. Thus, Washington will continue to be bad in the absence of Saunders unless its management starts making good decisions. Unfortunately firing Flip doesn’t signal that the management understands this. Flip has been fired several times thanks to unrealistic expectations. While good moves can make a franchise good, unrealistic expectations seem to lead to bad franchises and fired coaches.
This is simple hogwash.
A more accurate interpretation of what has actually happened to the different teams coached by Flip Saunders, to this point in his career as a coach in the NBA, runs along the following lines:
i. Saunders’ Minnesota Timberwolves did not go further in the Western Conference Playoffs than the collective talent level of the players on their roster allowed;
ii. Saunders’ Detroit Pistons did not go further in the Eastern Conference Playoffs than the collective talent level of the players on their roster allowed; and,
iii. Saunders’ Washington Wizards have not finished higher in the Eastern Conference than the collective talent of the players on their roster has allowed;
primarily because he was, and is, not an authentic elite level basketball coach … with the ability to extract MORE wins from his team than just their collective talent level will produce, relative to their peers … in spite of being a very knowledgeable basketball coach, in terms of X’s and O’s.
Although the overall talent level of the players on the Wizards’ roster this year is not where it needs to be in order to compete effectively for a Top 4 position in the Eastern Conference,
there is actually more than enough NBA-level talent on their roster at-present to allow this team to compete effectively for a lower tier playoff position … if it is coached by an authentic elite level practicioner, e.g. Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, Rick Carlisle, Stan Van Gundy, Nate McMillan, George Karl, Jeff Van Gundy, etc., who has the vision, acumen and ability to inculcate discipline to the individual players on his roster within the framework of the team.
Unfortunately for Wizards’ fans moving forward – at least, in the short term future – it is also the case that the team’s new interim head coach, Randy Wittman, does not fit properly into this important category [i.e. an authentic elite level basketball coach], as well … and Ernie Grunfeld [GM] will most likely need to be held accountable for repeatedly making poor managerial decisions like this one.
Following Sunday’s loss in Los Angeles, a game that was once again dominated and all but determined by a listless first-quarter Raptors performance, Casey is no longer content to stay with the status quo. At the very least he’s seriously considering changing a few pieces.
It’s not so much the mounting losses, although that’s clearly part of it, but how the losses are coming.
For the first time this year on Sunday, Casey called out one of his players for a lack of effort, clearly identifying Amir Johnson in the process.
Casey went to great lengths on Sunday to emphasize that he wasn’t placing blame on any one player. In fairness the questions Sunday left him little choice but to address the fact that Johnson played only seven minutes.
He had to explain why he wasn’t out there and the truth was Aaron Gray was running hard and ensuring DeAndre Jordan didn’t add to the number of crowd inciting lob-finishing dunks he was throwing down much to the appreciation of the Staples Center crowd.
Monday in Phoenix, though, Casey pointedly said that were any changes coming, it wasn’t going to be done to single out any individual’s performance or lack thereof.
“We still have a couple of positions we’re looking at,” Casey said. “Right now, we’re going to sleep on it again tonight. Everything we’re aiming to do is nothing that’s an indictment of any one player, it’s more of us having balance, finding the right combination to get off to quick starts and a balanced game.
“We’ve got too many ebbs and flows with the game as far as our points production, our defensive focus and the whole nine yards. That’s what we’re trying for more than: ‘Hey, it’s this one guy’ (that’s the reason) we’re not winning.”
GP – Games Played; MP – Minutes Played; FGM – Field Goals Made; FGA – Field Goals Attempted; FTM – Free Throws Made; FTA – Free Throws Attempted; REB – Rebounds; AST – Assists; TO – Turnovers; ST – Steals; BS – Blocked Shots; PF – Personal Fouls; PTS – Points Scored; kPER – khandor’s Player Efficiency Rating [i.e. PTS – (FGA-FGM) – (FTA-FTM) + REB +AST – TO + ST + BS – PF]; kPER/GP – khandor’s Player Efficiency Rating Per Game Played; kPER/MP – khandor’s Player Efficiency Rating Per Minute Played.
If, however, the Raptors actual intent this season is to try to lose as many games as possible – so that they can obtain as high a pick as possible in the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery … which is precisely what it SHOULD be – then, Dwane Casey needs to keep using DeMar DeRozan [OG] exactly how he has been used in Toronto’s line-up for all 17 games thus far this year.