Posts Tagged ‘Flip Saunders’

Thus far, Flip Saunders’ teams have demonstrated that he is not an authentic elite level basketball coach

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

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:

=========================

Flip Gets the Blame … Again

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,

Initial Assessment of Team Rosters in the NBA’s 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.

Wizards need to get W against Raptors this evening

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

When you look at the early schedule for the Washington Wizards what you should see:

DATE Home Home Line Away Result W-L Rec Top Scorer Top Rebounder Top Assists
M-Dec 26 Was -4.5 Njn L, 84-90 0-1 Young/16 Blatche/10 Wall/5
W-Dec 28 Atl * -9 Was L, 83-101 0-2 Young/21 McGee/12 Wall/6
F-Dec 30 Mil * -8.5 Was L, 81-102 0-3 Crawford/24 Blatche/10 Wall/7
U-Jan 1 Was +7 Bos * L, 86-94 0-4 Wall/19 McGee/14 Wall/8
M-Jan 2 Bos * -12 Was L, 92-100 0-5 Blatche/28 McGee/14 Wall/8
W-Jan 4 Orl * -13 Was L, 85-103 0-6 Young/17 Crawford/7 Wall/5
F-Jan 6 Was +6 Nyk * L, 96-99 0-7 Young/24 McGee/10 Wall/9
U-Jan 8 Was +2 Min L, 72-93 0-8 Young/14 Blatche/9 Wall/6
T-Jan 10 Was -2 Tor L-? 0-9, ?
W-Jan 11 Chi * Was L-? 0-10, ?
F-Jan 13 Phi * Was L-? 0-11, ?
S-Jan 14 Was Phi * L-? 0-12, ?
M-Jan 16 Was Hou * L-? 0-13, ?
W-Jan 18 Was Okl * L-? 0-14, ?
F-Jan 20 Was Den * L-? 0-15, ?
U-Jan 22 Bos * L-? 0-16, ?
M-Jan 23 Phi * Was L-? 0-17, ?
T-Jan 24 Was Cha W-? 1-17, ?
LEGEND: Bold – Wizards home game; Bolded & Italicized – Wizards home game as favourite; * – Expected to be playoff contender.

is that tonight’s home game against the Toronto Raptors actually qualifies as an almost “must-win” situation … at least, if they are going to be able to avoid a prolonged losing streak to begin the season.

If both teams are healthy for this game:

Pos.Toronto
Raptors
ADVWASHINGTON
WIZARDS
Pos.
STARTERS
PGCalderon<--WallPG
OGDeRozan=YoungOG
SFJ/Johnson-->LewisSF/PF
PFA/Johnson=BlatchePF
CBargnani=McGeePF/C
1 x 4 = 41 x 4 = 4
KEY SUBS
PG/OGCarter=CrawfordPG/OG
OG/PGBarbosa<--MackOG/PG
OG/SFButler=SingletonSF
PFDavis=VeselyPF
CMagloire-->TuriafPF/C
1 X 3 = 31 x 3 = 3
RESERVES
OG/SFForbesMasonPG/OG
CAlabiSeraphinPF
COACHING
HCCasey-->Saunders
0 X 2 = 01 X 2 = 2
SUMMARY
4 + 3 + 0 = 74 + 3 + 2 = 9

then, the Wizards will have a solid opportunity to get a W, depending on the work done by Flip Saunders vs Dwane Casey.

Related:

Wizards need more than just better talent, need culture change

Train-wreck season rolls on for once proud Pistons

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

In the summer of 2009 yours truly made the observation that the 2008-2009 version of the Detroit Pistons had an on-going “internal” problem with their former head coach, Michael Curry, and the team’s core group of players who had been with Detroit during the successful run of the previous decade.

Essentially, this is what was said:

1. The Pistons had been unsuccessful, in large part … not because they had only “average-to-below-average” players on their roster, but … because the “average-to-above-average” players on their team had not been used appropriately by their head coach and such problems with their regular “rotation” would continue to be the primary cause of their failure, if the right head coach was not brought in by Joe Dumars/GM to address the situation moving forward.

2. Clear “Role Delineation” is a key component of a successful basketball coach’s job.

3. Fostering “Team Cohesion” is a key component of “Role Delineation” for a successful basketball coach.

4. An elite level basketball team that has several players who work best at the same position with a similar set of strengths and weaknesses needs to have their “individual roles” identified clearly by the head coach, in a way which establishes a clear hierarchy and allows their “best” players to receive the most playing time, on a consistent basis.

5. One way … of many different alternatives … to accomplish this type of “regular rotation” for the 2009-2010 Detroit Pistons, given their collection of Point Guards, Off Guards, Combo Guards, Guard-Forwards, Small Forwards and Combo Forwards would be to implement:

i. An exclusive 3-player rotation at the Point Guard and Off Guard positions;

in concert with,

ii. An exclusive 2-player rotation at the Small Forward position;

that looked something like the following:

STARTERS
PG, Rodney Stuckey
OG, Rip Hamilton
SF, Tayshaun Prince

KEY SUBS
PG-OG, Ben Gordon
SF, Jonas Jerebko [or Austin Daye]  

and, thereby, excluded Will Bynum [PG] – a talented player, in his own right – from the mix on a consistent basis.

This type of regular rotation would have promoted very clear “Role Delineation” amongst the Pistons’ guards and forwards and enhanced “Team Cohesion”. 

Unfortunately, instead of doing this …

Last Season 

John Kuester [i.e. new head coach] juggled his players incessantly in the different Point Guard, Off Guard and Small Forward roles;

and,

This Season

The problem has only become worse with the inclusion of Tracy McGrady [PG-OG-SF].

Exhibit A - Prince and Kuester have words. Again.

Exhibit B – Pistons aren’t playing hard

Exhibit C - Hamilton at center of Pistons turmoil

Exhibit D

Pistons’ turmoil boils over, coach ejected in loss 

———————————–

Despite what you might have read - either, recently or over the last 2 seasons - from other “so-called” basketball analysts who rely primarily on stat-based metrics like “Wins Produced”, etc., to evaluate the abilities and relative worth of NBA players …

The main problem for the Pistons, since Larry Brown’s departure, as their head coach, has not been rooted in the ”below average” abilities of their players but the “poor fit” between their “best” players and the men Joe Dumars/GM has hired as their next 3 head coaches, i.e. Flip Saunders, Michael Curry and John Kuester. 

While these Detroit teams have been short of the sort of overall “talent level” required to compete successfully for a place in the NBA Finals, this is not the main reason they have plummeted down the Eastern Conference standings, since the trade of Chauncey Billups [PG] for Allen Iverson [PG-OG].

In relative terms …

Authentic elite level basketball coaches are a rare commodity.

When a given NBA team fails to hire one of these select individuals to lead their on-court operation, it should really come as no surprise, at all, if the players on their roster are not able to reach their maximum capacity, either, individually or as a collective unit.

Hopefully, Joe D. will be able to solve THIS on-going problem for the Pistons.

Toronto Raptors, Game 11

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

If the Raptors and the Wizards each elect to go with the exact same line-ups they used in their most recent games:

TORONTO RAPTORS

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Pos

PERSONNEL

ADV

PERSONNEL

Pos

STARTERS

PG

Jack

=

Wall-?

PG

PG

Weems

=

Hinrich

OG

SF

DeRozan

=

Thornton

SF

PF

Johnson

=

McGee

PF

C

Bargnani

=

Blatche

C

 

0

 

 

0

 

KEY SUBS

OG

Calderon

=

Arenas

OG

SF

Wright

=

Young

SF

PF

Dorsey

=

Booker

SF

C

Andersen

=

Jianlian

PF

C

Alabi

=

Armstrong

C

 

0

 

 

0

 

RESERVES/EXTRAS/OUTS

PG

Banks

N/A

Martin

SF

OG

Barbosa-?

N/A

Seraphin

PF

SF

Kleiza-?

N/A

Hudson

PG

PF

Evans-?

N/A

Howard

SF

PF

Davis

N/A

N’diaye

PF

 

0

 

 

0

 

COACHING

HC

Triano

à

Saunders

HC

 

0

 

 

+1

 

OVERALL

 

0

 

 

+1

 

then, this should prove to be a very lively contest this evening, with both of these two teams matching-up well with one another across the board.

———————————–

Published Wagering Line

Opening: Toronto -1/-106

Current: Toronto -1/-106 [as of 10:45 AM today]

———————————–

Unfortunately … due to the uncertain injury status of numerous players for both teams, this evening – at least, as of this writing [at approximately 10:45 AM today – there is no way of knowing, in advance, how this game is going to unfold with any degree of certainty.

In a situation like this, however, it is also most frequently the case that whichever head coach actually does the better job in-game than his counterpart … of pushing the right buttons, so-to-speak, at the right time; especially, coming down the closing stretch of the 4th quarter … will eventually earn the W for his team, by putting individual players in the best possible position to succeed.

Strictly from a Raptors perspective, this is one of the few away games on the schedule this season which will be certifiably winnable, based upon the actual talent level of the players involved for both teams, if Jay Triano is up to the task and Flip Saunders is not.

Stats gurus have been wrong about the quality of John Wall’s play

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

… as an elite level professional basketball player.

———————————–

John Wall picks up first career triple double as Washington Wizards defeat Houston Rockets

Wall finished with 19 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds, and for good measure, he added six steals and had but one turnover in a performance that further validated Washington selecting him No. 1 overall in the draft. Not that Wizards brass necessarily was demanding more evidence it made the correct decision, but on night’s such as this, it’s clear why optimism reigns despite the team’s early travails.

“It’s fun to watch,” Coach Flip Saunders said of his star pupil. “The thing tonight he did is that he did it very much under control. One turnover is impressive, to have as many assists as he had to just one turnover, so it does show you one, his intelligence and how coachable he is.”

———————————–

Here’s a simple poll question for readers to consider:

========================================

At what point, if any, will the noted stats gurus who proclaimed that John Wall will fail to become a dominant and successful impact player for his NBA team, acknowledge that their [poor] judgment has

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

========================================

For example:

Are We Allowed to Say that John Wall Has Yet to Produce?

How Bad will the Washington Wizards Be Next Season?

Taking Issue with the John Wall Story

Blake Griffin Might Rank Among the All-Time Best Rookies (and John Wall probably won’t)

———————————–

From the perspective of this corner …

You should probably not expect to see this to happen anytime soon, since:

i. The egos of the specific individuals involved with the movement toward the wide-spread use of so-called “Advanced Stats” to analyse the game of basketball “properly” are simply too large; and,

ii. There is now too much money invested in this “movement” to turn the clock backwards.

———————————–

As it’s been since the game was first invented, by noted Canadian, Dr. James Naismith, the very best way to analyse basketball properly is by looking at how it’s played in a 5-on-5 environment … with a small number of key subs available to each team … through the eyes of an actual expert with a thorough knowledge of, both, the X’s and O’s involved with coaching and the specific psychology at-work with the operation of highly successful elite level teams.  

You never leave your teammates hanging out to dry like that, no matter what

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

What’s the game of basketball really all about?

Here’s a web site with a simple message that Mr. Andray Blatche … and, no doubt, countless others, as well … would be well-served to visit:

The Desease of Me

When it becomes all about YOU, then, you’ve lost your way in life.

———-

“That’s one of the greatest things about this sport … you know … you look to the right, you look to the left … it’s, it’s being in the trenches with those players … and, what happens is, as players, you know what you have … right now, those teammates, he’s lost their credibility. You know … what’s going to happen, being in the trench, what’s going to happen when things go bad? I mean, you can’t do those things … you can’t do those things.” 
- Flip Saunders [Head Coach, Washington Wizards]

Kudos to Flip … for simply cutting to the chase.

Toronto Raptors Season Preview: Game 19

Monday, October 19th, 2009

re: How an astute NBA observer might expect the first part of the schedule to unfold for the Raptors this year

Game 19 – vs Washington [Tue Dec 01]

 

RAPTORS

ADV

WIZARDS

PG

Calderon

=

PG

Arenas

OG

DeRozan *

=

OG

Stevenson

SF

Turkoglu $^

=

SF

Butler

PF

Bosh

=

PF

Jamison

C

Bargnani

=

C

Haywood

 

 

 

PG

Jack #

=

PG

Foye ^

OG

Belinelli ^

=

G

Young

SF

Wright ^

à

SF

Miller ^

PF

Evans ^

=

PF

Blatche

C

Nesterovic $

=

C

McGee

 

 

 

G/F

Douby

=

SF

McGuire

PF

Johnson ^

=

PF

Oberto $

 

 

 

HC

Triano

à

HC

Saunders

 

 

 

+0

OUTCOME

+2

Legend: ADV – Individual match-up advantage; * - 2009 NBA Draftee; ^ - Acquired via trade; # – Restricted free agent; #M – Restricted free agent, matched offer; $ – Unrestricted free agent; $R – Unrestricted free agent, re-signed; $^ – Acquired via Sign & Trade; Italics – Returning player; ? – Injured, status uncertain.

Despite the small individual match-up advantage that the Wizards have in this game, the Raptors should be ble to emerge with the victory, on their home-court.

Washington plays at home on the Sat Nov 28 [vs Charlotte] then has 2 off days before beginning a stretch of 4 games in 6 days that looks like this:

Tue Dec 01 at TOR
Wed Dec 02 vs Mil
Fri Dec 04 vs Tor
Sun Dec 06 vs Det

only 1 of which is on the road. Expect the Wizards to play well at home in these games and mail it in on the road.

Raptors expected W-L Record: W, 7-12

What Mr. Bigshot meant to the Pistons

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

There’s a good reason yours truly constructed these two separate player lists … A [Dec 19, 2007] & B [Jan 30, 2008] … during the 2007-2008 NBA season.

———————————

Billups leaving bigger impression: Pistons, fans now feeling guard’s loss

Here, he was Mr. Big Shot, the calming leader, but as the Pistons failed to reprise their championship, Billups’ postseason performance came under scrutiny. To be frank, the Pistons didn’t appear capable of winning it all as assembled, and some people even think Dumars waited too long to break them up, which is ridiculous.

At 32, with six terrific seasons here, Billups thinks they were broken up too soon, which is debatable.

“Yep, I do,” he said. “People said I’d gotten old, but I truly believe, if I hadn’t gotten hurt (hamstring), we’d have beaten Boston and won another championship.”

———————————

13 months later … and, all things being equal … this corner is in complete agreement with Chauncey Billups’ interpretation of what actually transpired during the 2008 Eastern Conference Playoffs and still considers him to be one of the very best Point Guards in the NBA today.

Sheed … unplugged

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Did you know there’s juice served on the mountaintop?

Or, that it’s important to ride with the ship, no matter what?

If not … then listen up.

Courtesy of mlive.com

As this corner has pointed out several times before … things are going to be different for the Detroit Pistons this year.

“I mean, Guys respected him; guys looked up to him. Mike knows the game … you know, if you know the game of basketball then I think coaching can come easy to you … but everyone that’s a coach don’t know the game of basketball.”Rasheed Wallace

————————-

So, so true.

NBA owner No. 1

Friday, September 5th, 2008

In so many different ways … and, crucially, some of THE ones which matter most …

(for example)

* I depend, 100%, on the people who are in charge of whatever they’re in charge of. And nobody has run the Pistons better than Joe [Dumars].

* The reason I get rid of a coach is if he’s lost the players. I don’t want to subject my players to a coach they don’t want, basically and in whom they have lost faith.

* I’ve been living with this for 30 years or more, I don’t see color. I don’t distinguish color anymore, which is a good thing. Thirty years ago, I might have. But by being with the players, getting to know them, if you asked me do we have a white player on the team, I couldn’t tell you — well, I could tell you, but it wouldn’t make any difference. I get to know the personality much more than the color of the skin. Color means nothing.

Bill Davidson

Bill Davidson

this Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee [2008] fits the Bill Laimbeer to a tee.

Aptly described as “honest, direct, self-assured, and charming” by Mitch Albom, this is the first extensive interview this correspondent can recall by the octogenarian owner of the Pistons and the Shock.

And, it’s a beaut.

Bill Davidson Speaks … on Isiah, Laimbeer, Joe D., Rasheed, Race, He who is not what he appears to be, Carlisle, Flip, Curry, NBA Owners, NBA Referees, Hugh Evans, tips of icebergs, the City of Detroit, Politics & Business, the Commish, etc.

Yet another ALL-TIME CLASSIC!