Posts Tagged ‘Avery Johnson’

Nets’ decision to demote Williams to D-league is appropriate

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Unlike those in the blogosphere who might see little value in the decision which was made this past weekend by the basketball brain-trust in New Jersey:

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An NBA and D-League first: Terrence Williams demoted as punishment

FanHouse’s Matt Moore knows his D-League inside and out, and he doesn’t appreciate the developmental organization being used so flippantly:

Williams is a problem child for Johnson. And maybe he’s completely justified in his approach to punish the youngster to get him in line. But using the D-League seems like a creative solution for them, when in reality, it’s a reckless maneuver that only hurts Williams, the Nets, the D-League, and the NBA. Use the D-League for what it was designed to do: develop players. Don’t use it as your own personal timeout corner. You’re only hurting yourself.

Moore is right. There’s nothing that the D-League can do to make a person like Williams more punctual. If the guy can’t be bothered to make the bus on time in the big leagues, what’s a trip to a developmental league going to do? And shouldn’t it be New Jersey’s job to try and instill a sense of professionalism into this, um, professional?

That said, I wonder if the D-League can’t help but do something for Williams as a player, if not a person. And, actually, wouldn’t a rebirth as a player help change Williams, the person?

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yours truly would suggest the exact opposite.

What Avery Johnson & Co. actually did, in this instance, is wholely justified and an appropriate course of action to take, given these specific circumstances … if you are operating a professional team sport franchise with a minor league affiliate that’s designed to create a “training environment” for those with legitimate aspirations to eventually “make it”, as an actual pro, in the best basketball league in the world.

- showing up for work on time
- being prepared to do your job properly
- adhering to the instructions of your immediate supervisor

These are simple attributes which can quite readily be re-inforced to a required degree of performance by, either, a short or a long stint with a major league team’s minor league affiliate … where there are no Five Star hotels, no First Class Travel Sections, and only sparsely attended regular season games.

Part of what is sorely lacking in the NBA today, in far too many different situations, is the high degree of personal discipline and integrity required to actually function as a Consumate Team Player, who is trying his very best to win the most number of games possible … and, thereby, gradually improve the performance of the team, overall, to the point of being able to compete for and win a League Championship … rather than merely being an isolated individualist who just happens to be an adjunct member of a “troup” that is trying to provide an innocuous form of “entertainment” to its paying customers. 

Kudos to the Nets for taking this approach to effectively address their problem, and for using the resources at their disposal to help a young person improve his degree of professionalism in a pro team sport environment. 

Although New Jersey should be improved this season

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

… akin to Billy King’s perspective perhaps:

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Nets GM Billy King holding predictions for now

Billy King isn’t ready to make any bold predications about the New Jersey Nets this season.

The Nets new general manager says he wants to watch the team practice under new coach Avery Johnson before venturing a guess on the 2010-11 season.

King knows one thing though. The team that posted the worst record in the NBA last season (12-70) is going to be better than a year ago with the continued development of Devin Harris, Brook Lopez and Terrence Williams, the addition of rookie Derrick Favors, the free agent signings of Jordan Farmar, Travis Outlaw) and Anthony Morrow and the trade that brought Troy Murphy back to his home state.

“We have competition at almost every position,” King said Tuesday at the team’s annual breakfast with beat writers. “When you get that, you get guys fighting for minutes. A lot of guys think it’s their chance to start. If a guy knows somebody behind him pushing him then they’re not going to take a day off of practice because if they do that guy may pass him up and the minutes are gone.”

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the opinion of yours truly is that any early prediction about how many games the Nets should actually be able to win this year is simple folly.

How come?

When you examine how the other 14 teams in the Eastern Conference have improved themselves this off season or, at worst, held steady:

TEAM

2009-2010 Wins

2009-2010 Finish

2010-2011 ROLE

PG

OG

SF

PF

C

 

 

 

 

 

 

MIAMI

47 Wins

5th

STARTERS:

Arroyo

Wade

James

Haslem

Bosh

KEY SUBS:

Chalmers

House

Miller

Howard

Ilgauskas

OTHERS:

PG/Beverley, G/Hasbrouck, G-F/Butler, G-F/Jones, F/Anthony, F-C/Randolph, C/Pittman & C/Magloire

HEAD COACH:

Erik Spoelstra

 

 

BOSTON

50 Wins

4th

STARTERS:

Rondo

Allen

Pierce

Garnett

O’Neal, S

KEY SUBS:

Robinson

West

Daniels

Davis

O’Neal, J

OTHERS:

G/Bradley, G/Wafer, F/Harangody, C/Erden & C/Perkins [inj.]

HEAD COACH:

Doc Rivers

 

 

ORLANDO

59 Wins

2nd

STARTERS:

Nelson

Carter

Pietrus

Lewis

Howard

KEY SUBS:

Duhon

Redick

Richardson

Anderson

Gortat

OTHERS:

PG/Williams, F/Bass, F/Robinson & C/Orton

HEAD COACH:

Stan Van Gundy

 

 

ATLANTA

53 Wins

3rd

STARTERS:

Bibby

Johnson

Williams

Smith

Horford

KEY SUBS:

Teague

Crawford

Evans

Powell

Pachulia

OTHERS:

G/Crawford, F-C/Thomas & C/Collins

HEAD COACH:

Larry Drew

 

 

MILWAUKEE

46 Wins

6th

STARTERS:

Jennings

Delfino

Salmons

LRMAM

Bogut

KEY SUBS:

Boykins

Dooling

Maggette

Ilyasova

Sanders

OTHERS:

G/Redd, F/Brockman & F/Gooden

HEAD COACH:

Scott Skiles

 

 

CHARLOTTE

44 Wins

7th

STARTERS:

Augustin

Jackson

Wallace

Diaw

Mohammed

KEY SUBS:

Livingston

Henderson

Brown

Thomas

Diop

OTHERS:

PG/Collins, G/Carroll, F/Najera, F/McGuire & C/Brown, K

HEAD COACH:

Larry Brown

 

 

CHICAGO

41 Wins

8th

STARTERS:

Rose

Brewer

Deng

Boozer

Noah

KEY SUBS:

Watson

Korver

Johnson

Gibson

Thomas

OTHERS:

G-F/Bogans & C/Asik

HEAD COACH:

Thom Thibodeau

 

 

CLEVELAND

61 Wins

1st

STARTERS:

Williams

Parker

Moon

Jamison

Verajao

KEY SUBS:

Sessions

Green

Graham

Hickson

Hollins

OTHERS:

PG/Gibson, G-F/Eyenga, F-C/Powe & F/Samuels

HEAD COACH:

Byron Scott

 

 

TORONTO

40 Wins

9th

STARTERS:

Calderon

DeRozan

Kleiza

Johnson

Bargnani

KEY SUBS:

Jack

Weems

Wright

Davis

Anderson

OTHERS:

PG/Banks, G/Barbosa, PF/Evans, PF/Dorsey & C/Alabi

HEAD COACH:

Jay Triano

 

 

INDIANA

32 Wins

10th

STARTERS:

Collison

Dunleavy

Granger

Hansbrough

Hibbert

KEY SUBS:

Ford

Jones, D

George

McRoberts

Jones, S

OTHERS:

PG/Price, G/Stephenson, G-F/Rush, F/Posey & PF/Foster

HEAD COACH:

Jim O’Brien

 

 

NEW YORK

29 Wins

11th

STARTERS:

Felton

Chandler

Gallinari

Randolph

Stoudemire

KEY SUBS:

Douglas

Mason

Walker

Turiaf

Mozgov

OTHERS:

G/Rautins, G-F/Azubuike, G-F/Fields, F/Ewing & C/Curry

HEAD COACH:

Mike D’Antoni

 

 

DETROIT

27 Wins

12th

STARTERS:

Stuckey

Hamilton

Prince

Jerebko

Wallace

KEY SUBS:

Gordon

Daye

Villanueva

Maxiell

Monroe

OTHERS:

PG/Bynum, OG/White, SF/McGrady, F/Summers & PF-C/Wilcox

HEAD COACH:

John Kuester

 

 

PHILADELPHIA

27 Wins

13th

STARTERS:

Holiday

Iguodala

Nocioni

Young

Hawes

KEY SUBS:

Williams

Turner

Kapono

Brand

Speights

OTHERS:

G/Green, G/Meeks, F-C/Smith & F-C/Battie

HEAD COACH:

Doug Collins

 

 

NEW JERSEY

12 Wins

15th

STARTERS:

Harris

Williams

Outlaw

Murphy

Lopez

KEY SUBS:

Farmar

Morrow

Ross

Favors

Smith

OTHERS:

G/Uzoh, G-F/James, F/Humphries, C/Zoubek & C/Petro

HEAD COACH:

Avery Johnson

 

 

WASHINGTON

26 Wins

14th

STARTERS:

Wall

Arenas

Thornton

McGee

Blatche

KEY SUBS:

Hinrich

Young

Howard [inj.]

Jianlian

Armstrong

OTHERS:

F/Booker & F/Seraphin

HEAD COACH:

Flip Saunders

             

 

it is by no means a foregone conclusion that this year’s edition of the Nets will be able to finish in a significantly higher position in the final standings, come April 2011, even though they will have more legitimate NBA talent on their team this season.

 

 

Where would the Raptors be today, if …

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Following last night’s deflating home loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the conference standings in the East look like this:

Eastern W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
Boston1 18 4 0.818 0.0 12-3 5-0 8-3 10-1 9-1 W 9
Orlando2 17 6 0.739 1.5 13-3 3-1 7-2 10-4 7-3 L 2
Atlanta3 16 6 0.727 2.0 9-4 2-2 9-2 7-4 6-4 W 3
Cleveland4 16 7 0.696 2.5 10-5 4-1 9-2 7-5 7-3 W 1
Miami5 11 10 0.524 6.5 7-5 3-2 6-6 5-4 4-6 L 1
Milwaukee6 10 11 0.476 7.5 6-7 2-3 8-3 2-8 2-8 W 1
Detroit7 10 12 0.455 8.0 8-5 1-3 7-4 3-8 5-5 W 4
Charlotte8 9 12 0.429 8.5 8-10 2-2 8-3 1-9 6-4 L 1
Toronto 10 15 0.400 9.5 7-8 0-1 6-5 4-10 3-7 L 2
Chicago 8 13 0.381 9.5 5-8 3-2 6-3 2-10 2-8 W 1
Indiana 7 13 0.350 10.0 5-6 0-1 5-6 2-7 2-8 W 1
Washington 7 13 0.350 10.0 6-10 1-4 4-6 3-7 4-6 L 3
New York 8 15 0.348 10.5 4-10 2-2 4-8 4-7 5-5 W 4
Philadelphia 5 18 0.217 13.5 5-10 3-2 3-8 2-10 0-10 L 12
New Jersey 2 21 0.087 16.5 2-13 0-5 1-8 1-13 2-8 L 2

Prior to the 2009 NBA Draft, however, these were some of the players who were recommended in this space for the Toronto Raptors:

Terrence Williams [OG-SF, New Jersey, 1st Rd]
Earl Clark [SF-PF, Phoenix, 1st Rd]
Derrick Brown [SF-PF, Charlotte, 2nd Rd]
Taj Gibson [PF, Chicago, 1st Rd]
Dante Cunningham [PF, Portland, 2nd Rd]
Marcus Thornton [OG, New Orleans, via Miami, 2nd Rd]
Nando De Colo [OG-SF, San Antonio, 2nd Rd]

Prior to the 4-team trade that involved the Raptors, Magic, Mavericks and Grizzlies, it was also suggested here that Toronto should:

1. Trade Jason Kapono.

2. Either: A. Re-sign Shawn Marion; or, B. Let him walk away, as an UFA.
3. Retain the services of their own Free Agents.
4. Retain the services of useful still-young players like Kris Humphries and Roko Ukic.
5. Retain the services of an experienced, NBA proven and successful head coach who prioritizes Team Defense and Rebounding.

6. Obtain the services of a cost-effective veteran Back-up Point Guard, Combination Off Guard/Small Forward, and Center.

If the Raptors would have followed those recommendations, instead of:

1. Drafting DeMar DeRozan [No. 9, overall]; and,
2. Acquiring the services of Hedo Turkoglu, Jarrett Jack, Antoine Wright, Marco Belinelli, Amir Johnson and Sonny Weems; and,
3. Giving Jay Triano a contract extension.

culminating with a roster that looks like the middle column in the following chart:

TORONTO RAPTORS ROSTER

Role

End 2008-2009

Suggested 2009-2010

Current 2009-2010

STARTERS

1

Jose Calderon

Jose Calderon *

Jose Calderon *

2

Anthony Parker

Anthony Parker *

DeMar DeRozan

3

Shawn Marion

Jamario Moon **

Hedo Turkoglu

4

Chris Bosh

Shawn Marion *

Chris Bosh *

5

Andrea Bargnani

Chris Bosh *

Andrea Bargnani [CE] *

KEY SUBS

6

Roko Ukic

Earl Watson

Jarrett Jack

7

Jason Kapono

Marcus Thornton

Marco Belinelli

8

Joey Graham

Derrick Brown

Antoine Wright

9

Kris Humphries

Kris Humphries *

Reggie Evans

10

Jake Voskuhl

Andrea Bargnani *

Rasho Nesterovic **

RESERVES

11

Quincy Douby

Roko Ukic *

Sonny Weems

12

Pops Mensah-Bonsu

Reggie Evans

Amir Johnson

OTHERS

13

Marcus Banks

Marcus Banks *

Marcus Banks *

14

Nathan Jawai

Joey Graham *

Pops Mensah-Bonsu *

15

Patrick O’Bryant

Rasho Nesterovic **

Patrick O’Bryant *

HC

Jay Triano

Jeff Van Gundy or Avery Johnson

Jay Triano [CE] *

Legend: HC – Head Coach; * – Played with team previous season; ** – Played for Raptors before; UFA – Unrestricted Free Agent; RFA – Restricted Free Agent; Blue – UFA, retained; Purple – RFA, re-acquired; Green – UFA, acquired; Red – 2009 Draft Pick; Orange – Acquired via trade; Brown – RFA, acquired; Turquoise – Signed new head coach; CE – Contract Extension.

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Would the Raptors have a .500+ W-L Record today, and an improved opportunity to re-sign Chris Bosh [UFA] this coming summer?

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Yours truly thinks they would.

It’s by developing and then implementing a sound Basketball Philosophy … which emphasizes the importance of [I] Team Defense, [II] Rebounding, and [III] Shared Team Offense, in this order … maintaining general roster stability, from one season to the next, while acquiring Quality Depth, and obtaining the services of an experienced and successful NBA head coach, that the Raptors would be able to fundamentally alter the direction of their franchise and construct the type of championship-calibre organization which UFA’s like Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James, etc., would willingly CHOOSE to play for, if they have their druthers, either, this coming off season or further down-the-road.

The Gold Standard in today’s NBA

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

The Gold Standard

When you look at the San Antonio Spurs, what you see is a blue-print for success in the NBA. To wit:

CENTER – Tim Duncan … is actually under-sized for the position he plays best. [hint, hint, Raptors fans : ) ] Outstanding character. Unselfish. A Leader. Knows how to play WITH his teammates. Is a very good rebounder. Smart, funny, likeable. Can face-up and score, if necessary; can score on the block, if necessary. His focus, however, is Rebounding and Team [not individual] Defense.

POWER FORWARD – inter-changeable parts, provided that he can hold his own on the boards, defend bigger than his size, stick open shots, and is smart & tough … see David Robinson, Malik Rose, Rasho Nesterovic, Nazr Mohammed, Robert Horry, Francisco Elson, Fabricio Oberto and Kurt Thomas

WING 1 – a multi-dimensional player who can score or slash or defend or rebound but is not necessarily a Superstar player … see Ginobili!!!!, Mario Elie and Sean Elliot

WING 2 – similar to Wing 1 but with a complimentary [rather than redundant] skill set; far from being a Superstar … see Bruce Bowen, Michael Finley and Jaren Jackson

POINT GUARD – solid size, good quicks; not a superstar but a player who knows and understands his role with the team, as an extension of Pop on the floor … see Avery Johnson & Tony Parker

HEAD COACH – tough-minded and experienced with a clear Vision of How the Game Should Be Played, plus the knowledge, will and cmmunication skills to make it happen

GENERAL MANAGER – knowledgeable and humble enough to stay out of the spot-light, putting the players and the coach on center stage; WINNING is what he’s about

Dislike them if you wish … but R.E.S.P.E.C.T. them you MUST, given what they have accomplished to-date without a DYNAMIC Superstar on their roster, in a market [$$$$$$] that is not New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, etc.

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NOTE: There should be no acceptable excuses for an outfit like the Toronto Raptors.

Gone fishin

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Few spots that air on television today are the source of straight-up, belly-centered, roll-your-rear-end-on-the-grass chuckles, as the nightly (40 games in 40 nights) routines produced consistently by Ernie, Kenny & Charles

Courtesy of J.E. Skeets, Ball Don’t Lie

who seem to enjoy themselves as much as any 3 (mostly grown?) men in America doing what it is they do for a livelihood.

Q1. Which is what exactly?

A1. Breaking down the goings-on in the NBA … and making us laugh silly.

Fight or flight response

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Q1. When the Code by which you live is, “Run, Run, Run …“, how can you possibly hope to respond … during times of hardship … with steadfastness?

A1. In all likelihood … you can’t.

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After an oftentimes spectacular 4+ years at the helm of the Phoenix Suns, head coach, Mike D’Antoni seems as though he will soon be moving on to - what he hopes will be – greener pastures.

In a searing indictment of all that’s at the root of the Basketball Philosophy, ‘Seven Seconds or Less‘ (Jack McCallum), Adrian Wojnarowski (Yahoo! Sports) explains the how’s & why’s.

D’Antoni ready to leave his desert mirage behind

Mandatory reading for all.