Posts Tagged ‘Rod Thorn’

76ers make a terrific hire

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

So far this off season, no team in the NBA … except, of course, the Miami Heat … has improved the its organizational outlook for the 2010-2011 season, and beyond, more than the Philadelphia 76ers.

Personnel Moves made, thus far, this summer:

i. Hired Doug Collins, as their new head coach;

ii. Drafted Evan Turner, as the No. 2 [overall] Selection in the 2010 NBA Draft

iii. Traded a mostly discontented Samuel Dalembert/C for Andres Nocioni/SF and Spencer Hawes/C, two highly serviceable players … with good-fit skill-sets;

and, now,

iv. Hired savvy veteran NBA executive Rod Thorn, as their new President … which re-unites him with Ed Stefanski [as the team's GM], in a similar set-up to what existed in New Jersey during the early part of the decade, when the Nets made back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals.

———————————–

Sixers hire Thorn as President

Thorn will move into the organization over general manager Ed Stefanski, a close friend who worked with Thorn for six seasons with the New Jersey Nets. The embattled Stefanski will stay on under Thorn, keeping with a similar arrangement they had with the Nets.

After a decade as Nets president, Thorn left the organization last month after deciding against staying on to work for the new Russian ownership group. Nevertheless, he still expressed a desire to work again in the league and now takes over the 76ers.

Thorn took over the Nets when they were considered perhaps the NBA’s worst franchise, and elevated them to the NBA Finals in his second season (2002) on the job. His trade for Jason Kidd transformed the Nets into Eastern Conference contenders and pushed them to consecutive NBA Finals appearances. New Jersey reached the playoffs six straight seasons until previous ownership forced them to dump salaries.

———————————–

Constructing a successful franchise in pro sports is not an easy proposition, and requires top notch, top down, Leadership … from the the owner, right-on-through the President, GM, Head Coach, and the Cornerstone Players … which effects the day-to-day operation of the organization.

After finishing last the 2009-2010 campaign in a very disappointing fashion, Philadelphia is now poised to be one of the main ‘rebound’ teams next season.

Kudos to Ed Snider for taking the 76ers in this new – but already highly proven – direction!

Good news for the Nets

Friday, September 18th, 2009

When you first heard the news that New Jersey had agreed to trade Vince Carter [SF-OG] and Ryan Anderson [PF] to Orlando … in exchange for 3 pretty good but not great players, i.e. Courtney Lee [OG], Rafer Alston [PG], Tony Battie [PF-C] … did the thought occur to you that the Nets’ managerial tandem of Rod Thorn & Kiki Vandeweghe MUST know something that just isn’t common knowledge, yet? Or, perhaps, have an Ace of sorts, hidden up their collective sleeve?

As has been mentioned in this space before …

Yours truly has a great deal of confidence in the ability of specific GM’s across the NBA to assess with a fairly high degree of accuracy the talent level of elite players in this league: 

NJ Nets rookie takes over: Terrence Williams may be the Next Big Thing
Terrence Williams — for reasons that elude logic — looks like the Nets’ best player two weeks before camp opens.

Nobody wants to say this aloud for print, but they’ll go this far:

“He’s playing really well – a freak of nature athletically,” Keyon Dooling said yesterday. “In the moments I’ve watched, he’s really unique. What you don’t see from the great athletes is a high basketball IQ. But he has a nice floor game – a really nice floor game.”

Then there’s this from Mr. Reticence: “He’s really good. I worked with him some, watched him some, and I’m very impressed,” L-Frank said.

Both sounded as though they were looking over their shoulders, waiting for someone to jam a towel down their throats. Nobody wants to christen any rookie as The Next Big Thing, but everyone else we spoke to claims that T-Will the Thrill has absolutely torn up the gym.

Frank downshifted into omigod-let’s-douse-that-now speech:

“Winning the pickup game award isn’t necessarily a guarantee of success – Rodney Buford won it,” the coach said. “I think Terrence will be a very good player, but it’s early to make an evaluation. The guys like playing with him, because he’s a willing and capable passer – that’s human nature. But many young guys try to establish themselves by scoring; Terrence just makes the right plays and delivers the ball in the right position, which ingratiates you with teammates.”

———————————————

one of which happens to reside in New Jersey.

Does that mean these management teams never ever make a serious mistake when acquiring or releasing players for their franchise?

No, it does not.

What it does mean, though, is that … the individuals in charge of those specific organizations know exactly what it takes to put a solid team on the floor, and succeed in doing just that, on a consistent basis, without ever attempting to pull the wool over their fans eyes, regarding the realistic prospects for their team, in a given season … while always keeping a steady eye towards the gradual process involved with building a championship calibre team.

Those who think the following roster of players is going to be atrocious this season:

2009-10 
NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB   FROM YRS
1 Rafer Alston G 6-2 175 07/24/1976   Fresno State 10
7 Tony Battie C-F 6-11 240 02/11/1976   Texas Tech 11
2 Josh Boone C 6-10 237 11/21/1984   Connecticut 3
55 Keyon Dooling G 6-3 195 05/08/1980   Missouri 9
17 Chris Douglas-Roberts G 6-7 200 01/08/1987   Memphis 1
34 Devin Harris G 6-3 185 02/27/1983   Wisconsin 5
44 Trenton Hassell F 6-5 233 03/04/1979   Austin Peay 8
22 Jarvis Hayes F 6-8 228 08/09/1981   Georgia 6
6 Courtney Lee G-F 6-5 200 10/03/1985   Western Kentucky 1
11 Brook Lopez C 7-0 260 04/01/1988   Stanford 1
14 Eduardo Najera F 6-8 235 07/11/1976   Oklahoma 9
21 Bobby Simmons F 6-6 230 06/02/1980   DePaul 7
51 Sean Williams F-C 6-10 235 09/13/1986   Boston College 2
8 Terrence Williams G-F 6-6 220 06/28/1987   Louisville R
9 Yi Jianlian F 7-0 238 10/27/1987   China 2

are making a serious in judgment … even if the Nets do happen to miss the playoffs, again.

There’s a definite plan in place with this franchise, as far as their player personnel is concerned, which now includes future stalwarts at four of the following five positions:

PG – Devin Harris
OG – Courtney Lee
SF – Terrence Williams
PF – ?
C – Brook Lopez 

It says here that Brook Lopez [C] will develop into one of the best Centers in the NBA during the next few seasons, at the heart of their line-up … with a solid core of talented athletic players around him … like D-Harris, C-Lee, CDR [?] and T-Will-The-Thrill, at their respective positions … to form a group that is going to be able to Rebound, Defend and Share the Ball, as a good team should.

2009 NBA Draft Trackers for the Raptors

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Prior to last night’s proceedings, these 15 individuals were identified by this corner as players who could have given the Toronto Raptors what they need, at this moment in time, heading towards a long term future [A] with or [B] without Chris Bosh:

Perception vs Reality – Who SHOULD Raptors Draft?

Al-Farouq Aminu [6-9, 215, SF/PF, Wake Forest, now unavailable]
Tyreke Evans [6-6, 219, PG/OG, Memphis]
DeMar DeRozan [6-7, 220, OG/SF, USC]
Earl Clark [6-10, 226, PF, Louisville]
Derrick Brown [6-8, 225, SF, Xavier]
Terrence Williams [6-6, 213, OG, Louisville]
Wayne Ellington [6-5, 202, OG, UNC]
Danny Green [6-6, 208, OG/SF, UNC]
Sam Young [6-6, 223, SF, Pittsburgh]
Marcus Thorton [6-4, 194, OG, LSU]
Tyler Hansbrough [6-9, 234, PF, UNC]
Taj Gibson [6-10, 214, PF, USC]
Dante Cunningham [6-8, 227, PF/SF, Villanova]
Tyler Smith [6-6, 212, OG, Tennessee, now unavailable]
Nando De Colo [6-5, 190, OG, France]

This is what happened last night with each of those 15 players::

- Al-Farouq Aminu. Withdrew from consideration; back to Wake Forest.
- Tyler Smith. Withdrew from consideration; back to Tennessee.

- Tyreke Evans. SACRAMENTO/No. 4, selected by Geoff Petrie.

- DeMar DeRozan. Player the Raptors/No. 9 wanted all along.

- Earl Clark. PHOENIX/No. 14, selected by Steve Kerr.
- Derrick Brown. CHARLOTTE/No. 40, selected by M-Jordan/L-Brown.
- Terrence Williams. NEW JERSEY/No. 11., selected by R-Thorn/K-Vandeweghe.
- Wayne Ellington. MINNESOTA/No. 28, selected by David Kahn
- Sam Young. MEMPHIS/No. 36, selected by Chris Wallace. 
- Danny Green. CLEVELAND/No. 46, selected by Danny Ferry.
- Marcus Thorton. MIAMI/No. 43, selected by Pat Riley [traded to New Orleans-Jeff Bower/Byron Scott].
- Tyler Hansbrough. INDIANA/No. 13, selected by Larry Bird.
- Taj Gibson. CHICAGO/No. 26, selected by J-Paxson/G-Forman.
- Dante Cunningham. PORTLAND/No. 33, selected by Kevin Pritchard.
- Nando De Colo. SAN ANTONIO/N. 53, selected by RC Buford/G-Popovich.

———-
 
1. Over the next few seasons, it is going to be most interesting to watch the development of these 15 players.

2. The Charlotte Bobcats [37-45] are gradually building a very solid team:

* Adding Gerald Henderson [OG] and Derrick Brown [SF] last night
* Trading for Boris Diaw [PF-SF], Raja Bell [OG], Vladimir Radmanovic [SF-PF] and DeSagana Diop [C} last season
* Drafting DJ Augustin [PG] & Alex Ajinca [C} last year
* Re-signing Gerald Wallace [SF-PF] last year
* Re-signing Emeka Okafor [C-PF] 2 years ago

3. There’s a very good reason the same names keep popping up when the Larry O’Brien Trophy is awarded, in June, to the NBA Champions.

Update:

* Marcus Thorton has subsequently been traded to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for two future 2nd Round Draft Picks [i.e. 2010 & 2012].

Parity in the NBA’s Eastern Conference

Friday, January 16th, 2009

When there are 8 teams in the Eastern Conference separated in the standings by only 4.5 games, between the 7th and 14th positions, at the half-way point of the regular season schedule, it speaks to the parity which exists today in the NBA.

 

MIA

6th

21-17

.553

NJN

7th

19-21

.475

PHI

8th

18-20

.474

MIL

9th

19-22

.463

CHI

10th

18-22

.450

NYK

11th

15-22

.405

TOR

12th

16-24

.400

CHA

13th

15-24

.385

IND

14th

14-25

.359

WAS

15th

7-31

.184

Chalmers

Wade

Marion

Haslem

Anthony

Harris

Carter

Simmons

Jianlian

Lopz

Miller

Green
Iguodala
Young

Dalembert

Ridnour

Redd

Jefferson

LRMAM

Bogut

Rose

Gordon

Deng

Thomas

Noah

Duhon
Richardson

Chandler
Jeffries
Lee

Calderon

Parker

Moon

Bargnani

Bosh

Augustin

Bell

Wallace

Diaw

Okafor

Jack

Daniels

Granger

Murphy

Hibbert

James

Stevenson

Butler

Jamison

Blatche

Quinn

Cook

Diawara

Beasley

Dooling

Hayes

Najera

Anderson

Williams

Evans

Brand*

Speights

Sessions

Bell
Villanueva

Gadzuric

Hinrich

Sefolosha

Nocioni

Gooden

Robinson

Roberson

Thomas

Harrington

Ukic

Kapono

Graham

O’Neal

Felton

Carroll

Morrison

Mohammed

Ford

Rush

Dunleavy

Nesterovic

Crittenton

Young

McGuire

Songaila

Banks

Blount

Magloire

CDR

Hassell

Boone

Ivey

Rush

Ratliff

Lue

Alexander

Elson

Hunter

Hughes
Gray

Marbury**

Gallinari*

Curry*

Solomon

Humphries

Voskuhl

Singletary

Brown-S

Howard

Diener

Graham

Foster

Dixon

McGee

Pecherov

Jones

Wright

Ager

Swift
Williams

Marshall

Smith*

Allen

Simmons

Nichols

Rose

James

Jawai

May

Hollins

Ajinca

Tinsley**

Baston

McRoberts

Arenas*

Thomas

Haywood*

Spoelstra

Frank

DiLeo

Skiles

VDN

D’Antoni

Triano

Brown

O’Brien

Tapscott

Riley

Thorn

Kiki-V

Stefanski

Hammond

Paxson

Walsh

Colangelo

Jordan

Higgins

Bird

Grunfeld


Legend:
* – Injured; ** – Not used by the team

 

 

The fact is …

 

There is very little tangible separation between any of these teams, whether they fall into the Middle-of-the-Pack or the Low End categories.

 

Injuries, coaching decisions and the different managerial moves which each team makes in-season will determine [i] which ones qualify for the playoffs this spring and/or [ii] become a likely candidate for substantial improvement heading towards next season and beyond.  

Long road back to the big league

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Julius Hodge already knows, all too well, what can happen when a cruel twist of fate crosses your path, unexpectedly, as it does at the 00:25 mark of this vid-clip …

[from The Natural One]

Sometimes, ‘feel good’ stories don’t just happen in the movies … but in Real Life, as well.

If Mr. Hodge is good enough to latch onto a roster spot in New Jersey:

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

Julius Hodge back in basketball, trying to land spot with Nets
“I think he’s made tremendous improvements. He’s improved athletically. He’s definitely in good shape,” [Kiki] Vandeweghe said. “His shot, his ball-handling skills, he’s really put a lot of work in this summer. He knows it’s a tough road, but he’s put everything into this and earned a spot in training camp.”

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

as a training camp invitee, for the man who originally drafted him with the Nuggets … he might just be precisely what the Little General needs, from a 3rd-string PG, who can defend multiple positions [at 6-7, 210] … as a complimentary piece to the puzzle being re-assembled for the Nets, bit-by-bit.

As was first stated in this space a while back … those who expect New Jersey to slide precipitously this season – to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings - are not paying close enough attention to the machinations of Misters Vandeweghe & Thorn, two of the smartest executives in the NBA, who have teamed up in the swamp.

May the ending to your story be just as sweet as this one is …

Mister Roy Hobbs Hodge.

Real Life is Natural-ly filled with twists & turns … and New Beginnings.

Good fit for the Nets

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Given the strengths and weaknesses of his current Player Roster, the Little General is once again proving to astute NBA observers that he is a solid NBA coach … 

Dribble Drive Motion Offense in the Swamp

who knows exactly what he’s doing, when it comes to making sound adjustments with his team that maximize his players’ skills & abilities.

Focusing the Nets’ offensive system on the penetrating abilities of Devin Harris, Wince Carter, Keyon Dooling and CDR, without a dominant LOW POST-scorer anywhere in sight, and with a plethora of mobile, athletic youngish Bigs, who have an array of offensive (and defensive) talents … is a sound coaching move by Lawrence Frank.

Looking at the Nets’ 2008-2009 roster … there are any number of intriguing options/combinations when you take a young Big Man, like Brook Lopez (Boone-J & Williams-S), shift him to the WEAK SIDE block, and then surround him with a combination of Guard & Forwards who can either take it to the rack, shoot the ball, or both (Harris-D, Carter-V, Dooling-K, Hassell-T, Najera-E, Simmons-B, CDR, Hayes-J., Swift-S, Anderson-R, and Jianlian-Y).

Unlike other NBA observers …

Summer Forecast: Which way is the East going?
Summer Forecast: Which way is the West going?
NBA off-season rankings – v3.0
NBA power rankings: Celtics no surprise as preseason No. 1

this corner DOES NOT project New Jersey to finish at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings this season.

Rod Thorn, Kiki Vandeweghe and Lawrence Frank … are too good at what they do to let that happen.

Re-tooling in New Jersey, Game 1

Friday, February 29th, 2008

NEW JERSEY 120 vs Milwaukee 106

As I’ve said before …

J-Kidd for Harris, Diop, plus two #1 draft picks – First thoughts

with his trade for Devin Harris (PG) – plus two (2) 1st Round Draft PicksRod Thorn (President/GM) has immediately re-stocked the cupboard for the Nets, while still giving this year’s team a terrific chance to qualify for the playoffs.

If healthy … (#8) New Jersey, (#7) Chicago & (#6) Washington are three mid-level teams in the Eastern Conference that would give (#1) Boston, (#2) Detroit & (#3) Cleveland very solid competition in the 1st Round of this year’s Playoffs … emphasizing, yet again, just how important it is, in the NBA, to have a solid GM at the top of a team’s management staff.

Misdiagnosis in New Jersey

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Q. Should the Nets trade Jason Kidd? (or not)

Nets in three-way talks for Kidd 

A. In a nutshell … (absolutely) NO (frigg’n) WAY! 

Jason Kidd has been New Jersey’s stalwart PG, and a perennial League All-Star, since his arrival in ‘the Swamp’, via trade from Phoenix (when Nets’ GM, Rod Thorn, fleeced his Suns’ counterpart, Bryan Colangelo, exchanging Jason Kidd and Chris Dudley for Stephon Marbury, Johnny Newman and Soumaila Samake, Jul/18/01).

Reviewing Kidd’s 6 prior years with the Nets …

Season W-L Win% Finish
’01-02 52-30 .634 Lost NBA Finals
’02-03 49-33 .598 Lost NBA Finals
’03-04 47-35 .573 Lost Eastern Conference Finals
’04-05 42-40 .512 Lost 1st Rd Playoffs
’05-06 49-33 .598 Lost Eastern Conference Semi-finals
’06-07 41-41 .500 Lost Eastern Conference Semi-finals

New Jersey has yet to miss the playoffs, has made 5 trips to the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, 3 trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, and 2 trips to the NBA Finals …

which stands in stark contrast to how the Nets fared prior to his arrival:

Season W-L Win% Finish
’94-95 30-52 .366 *
’95-96 30-52 .366 *
’96-97 26-56 .317 *
’97-98 43-39 .524 Lost 1st Rd Playoffs, 0-3
’98-99 16-34 .320 Lockout Season *
’99-00 31-51 .378 *
’00-01 26-56 .317 *

* Missed Playoffs

a decidely dim period in their organization’s history.

In fact, The Difference is, literally, like Night (sans Kidd) and Day (avec Kidd).

THE PROBLEM, however, in New Jersey, right now, has nothing to do with Jason Kidd.

THE PROBLEM, in New Jersey … has everything to do with, one, Vincent Lamar Carter!

Period. Full stop. Exclamation Point. End of discussion. 

Since HIS arrival in ‘the Swamp’, via trade from Toronto (in exchange for Alonzo Mourning, Aaron Williams, Eric Williams and two First Round draft picks, Dec/17, 2004), the Nets have moved steadily in reverse, and have failed to reach the Eastern Conference Finals each of the past 3 seasons.

The fact is … ‘Wince’ Carter is a supremely talented ‘individualistic’ basketball player, who plays only ‘when’ and ‘how’ he chooses to, on any given day (depending on the mood he’s in), is a ‘chronic under-achiever’, and who is  a ‘poor fit’ with the other two shining lights for the Nets (Kidd & Richard Jefferson).

Instead of simply acquiescing to the trade request of Jason Kidd, what Rod Thorn needs to do, in this situation, is look out for the best interests of the Nets organization, and:

(i) Find a willing suitor for the services of Vince Carter, who was signed this past off-season to a reasonable contract extension by New Jersey; and, then …

(ii) Stay the course with Jason Kidd;

(iii) Await the return of Nenad Krstic (C), who has missed the Nets’ last 33 games this season, after missing almost all of last year, while rehabilitating his injured knee …

Nenad May Be Needed Addition

Trading Jason Kidd is not the solution to what ails the New Jersey Nets, right now … currently, holding down the 8th (and final) Playoff position in the Eastern Conference (19-26).

What New Jersey needs, both, this season and moving forward for the future, is a terrific Point Guard (i.e. Kidd); a 1st class Small Forward (i.e. R-Jefferson); a young and athletic Power Forward (i.e. Sean Williams); a rock solid Center, who can rebound effectively, defend an opposing ‘Big’, pass the ball, and make mid-range jumpshots, selflessly (i.e. Nenad Krstic); and, then, a Prime-time ‘Scoring Machine’, at the Off Guard position (i.e. ???), who can consistently knock down perimeter jumpers and get to the FT Line on a regular basis … all of which ‘Wince’ Carter no longer does, night-to-night, in the NBA.

All-Star, ‘pass-first’, ‘triple-double’ Point Guards (like J-Kidd) do not just grow on trees, in this league … wildly inconsistent, athletic, egocentric, ’20-14 & 5′ wing men (like V-Carter) do.