Of ping pong balls, another Henchman is born and best coaches ever
Here’s an interesting fact those of you who think this season should be a year-long pursuit of a high draft pick.
Next year’s draft might be horrible.
Let’s say it’s late May and all the underclassmen who are so highly-coveted put their name into the hat for inclusion in the draft, as they always do.
Now, let’s also say there’s no new collective bargaining agreement in place and it’s looking increasingly like a lockout’s coming about two days after the draft.
Can you hear the college coaches now: “You better come back for another year, you might not be playing anywhere in fall if there’s a lockout.”
Now, I imagine a whole bunch of top level kids might decide, yeah, having somewhere to play for sure isn’t a bad idea and they might just take themselves right out of the draft.
Maybe the season-long tank thing isn’t the wisest idea?
All right, I guess Modern Family has to go on the list of contemporary comedies to watch.
Let’s break this one off from a rather heavy mailbag I’m getting ready for Sunday morning:
Q: Great work Doug, hope you're mentally prepared for a tough Raps year ahead. Although my question isn't specifically related to the basketball, I've seen this occur for the Raptors as well. I've notice that the four papers we get in Toronto will often print stories with the same storylines, e.g. today 2-3 papers wrote similar articles about Bozek and Kessel's friendship on the Leafs (who cares?!). Is this a function of the team "suggesting" a storyline to run with, availability of certain athletes or all the writers banging their heads together to figure out what’s worth writing about on a slow news day? Oh... also wanted to say, aren't you glad that you cover the NBA where the players have some semblance of a personality versus the NHL and their bland players with canned cliche answers to every question?
Q: Great work Doug, hope you're mentally prepared for a tough Raps year ahead.
Although my question isn't specifically related to the basketball, I've seen this occur for the Raptors as well. I've notice that the four papers we get in Toronto will often print stories with the same storylines, e.g. today 2-3 papers wrote similar articles about Bozek and Kessel's friendship on the Leafs (who cares?!). Is this a function of the team "suggesting" a storyline to run with, availability of certain athletes or all the writers banging their heads together to figure out what’s worth writing about on a slow news day?
Oh... also wanted to say, aren't you glad that you cover the NBA where the players have some semblance of a personality versus the NHL and their bland players with canned cliche answers to every question?
Shawn T, Waterloo
A: It’s not so much a function of the teams “suggesting” storylines as it is a function of pack-journalism where one guy sees one other guy interviewing someone and joins in and all of a sudden everyone’s got the same story.
Sometimes that’s because of the, um, energy level of the reporters, sometimes it’s because there truly is nothing else going on, sometimes it’s because guys don’t want to hear the boss say “hey, they had a piece on Kessel and Bozak we didn’t have. How come?”
But I know I need to do a better job of breaking away from the pack and it’s one of things on the agenda for this year.
I will say this, though: There are instances, and this could very well have been one of them, where there are so few players available after a practice or a game that you just have to take what you can get.
Wonder if Alvin has any of those high-collared shirts in the closet?
Not sure if you saw this but Alvin Williams and Marc Eversely got bumps in titles and responsibilities yesterday.
Al becomes more of a front office guy as director of player development and Marc’s now called assistant general manager.
They remain, to some of us, henchmen.
But I was told this week the moves don’t necessarily mean they won’t replace the departed Masai Ujiri in the front office but a move in that direction is not imminent.
So the women play at noon against Belarus and, as I type this, Australia’s doing the expected and is drilling China, meaning Canada will have advanced for sure regardless of what happens today.
But it’s still a big game under the somewhat wacky format FIBA uses for its women’s worlds.
In the next round, Australia, Canada and Belarus will play three teams form Group B, which is most assuredly going to be the United States, France and Greece.
The records in games among the teams that have already played carry over, which means Australia will start off at 2-0 and the winner of Canada-Belarus will be 1-1 and the loser 0-2.
A win today really does give Canada a big boost if they want to advance out of that second round and into the knockout quarter-finals.
Confused? Yeah, me too.
Mail? You’ve only got a few hours left; write early, write often
You know how we’re always saying stuff is cyclical and things eventually even out? If that four-team trade that’s being kicked around happens and Carmelo Anthony ends up in New Jersey, can we say the East is better than the West?
You could certainly argue the point, couldn’t you?
So, looks like Nellie’s gone in Golden State as of Monday, leaving as the winningest coach in NBA history.
And we all remember how that happened, right?
Not only did Nellie break Lenny’s record here in Toronto, it was the very last time any of us saw Chris Bosh on his homecourt in a Raptors uniform.
Brings back the memories, doesn’t it?
I’m trying to think where Nellie fits in the pantheon of all-time great coaches. I do think he stole money late in his career, kind of retired and didn’t tell anyone but lots of people do that, I suppose.
He will be known, I think, mainly as the guy who made Dirk Dirk and that’s not a bad thing but I also think he’ll be remembered as a guy who junked up the game a little bit.
He did last a long time, though, and you have to give him credit for that.
But a long time isn’t all it takes to become one of the great coaches and I don’t certainly don’t have him in my list of the top 10.
That list, and I’m rattling this off the top of my head and comes in no particular order, would be:
Brendan Malone, Darrell Walker, Butch Carter, Kevin O’Neill, Lenny Wilkens, Sam Mitchell, Jay Triano.
Red Auerbach, Phil Jackson, Chuck Daly, Pat Riley, Larry Brown, Jerry Sloan, Red Holtzman, Jack Ramsay, John Kundla, and either Lenny or Pop or Rudy T.