Access and Ignorance: Everyone Can Be A Coach In The NBA!

Posted: March 31, 2012 in ALL II
Tags: , , , , , ,

24/7 access usually leads to heightened levels of self-genius proclamations.  Everyone sitting in an area seat, on a couch, and in a sports bar knows more than the people on the court.  This is true in all aspects of life!  People think they know how to solve wars because they read some news story but have NO access to day-to-day relevant information.  Similarly, one can rewind live television and prove how foolish Roy Williams is for not adjusting to a new defensive arrangement or rip referees for just about everything under the sun.  Head coaches, may be second to referees but probably not, find themselves consistently in the crosshairs of fans and media members alike usually suggesting why they should be fired.  A losing streak, mismanaged expectations, or simple ungrounded irrationality keep the coaching weather vane in flux between excellent coaching and unable to handle the situation.  Miami Heat head coach Erik Spolstra is a perfect example of this.  One outlet says he should run things up tempo to maximize his player’s athleticism.  Another suggests their advantage comes from working in the half court because the playoffs slow down play and preparation for that environment is crucial.  Spo does both!  Miami is a top offensive and defensive team and excels in fast break scoring.  When they win, people forget he is there.  When they lose two games, people claim he cannot coach the stars and Pat Riley needs to come from on high (or from the depths of hell) to salvage the team.  Never mind that the Heat came amazing close to winning the championship last season, Spo is constantly between top five coach and hot seat (along with Chris Bosh for some reason).  That’s ridiculous but he isn’t the only one in both professional and collegiate ball (re: Bill Self).  Here are some coaches that find themselves successful but under the gun for some legitimate reason and others that elude explanation besides fanaticism and fandom, the essence of the modern American fan.  (It should be noted that I also exhibit these tendencies so don’t waste time commenting that I am no different.  I know that, Sherlock, but it doesn’t mean I cannot be reflective.)

Mike Woodson – New York Knickerbockers

Riding a very impressive record going in to the final stretch of the season.  Melo’s fresh from stabbing Mike D’Antoni in the back and playing hard on both ends of the floor.  Amare and Lin out providing a nice cushion if the Knicks miss the playoffs for a coach everyone seems to like.  He even has the benefit of being affiliated with Isiah Thomas, a definite positive in New York (the same influence that holds them back).  Sadly, Woodson’s biggest fear is Phil Jackson.  The table is set for his return and virtually nothing should stop the Knicks from making him coach if he is interested.  It would also complete his coaching legacy in the major cities of America, something that would make his next book very interesting.

Mike Brown – Los Angeles Lakers

Benched Kobe last Sunday and followed it up by benching certified fool Andrew Bynum on Monday after his egregious three in a close game with 17 seconds left on the shot clock.  It may be one of the most inappropriate things I have ever seen.  He is a jackass.  Bynum exercised his right to be a buffoon in the postgame: “I guess ‘Don’t take threes’ is the message, but I’m going to take another one and I’m going to take some more, so I just hope it’s not the same result. Hopefully, I make it.”  And I would leave him benched the next game too.  I digress from that idiocy.  Brown came under fire for his X’s and O’s during Lakers struggles (timed with Kobe shooting 38% and leading the team in FG attempts but again I digress) and has had tense moments with his stars.  It should be stated that the Lakers are the third best team in the tougher conference, something that gets swept under the rug.  Brown also gets the crap end objectivity as he led the Cavs to tons of wins and probably maximized what that team could do with the best player in the world and decent players everywhere else.  Brown is continuing his good coaching, extending his defensive acumen to this historically lacking defensive team.  Consistently underrated we will see how far he goes in the playoffs but I severely doubt he is holding this team back.

Mr. “Make It To The Playoffs” Vinny Del Negro, “Lob City” Clippers

Certainly Vinny Del Negro has the most flaws of anyone on this list and the case against him is hardest to ward off.  Still, Del Negro came in and successfully did his job: build a team with cohesion and make it to the playoffs.  Given talent level and the loss of Chauncey Billups, I would be quite content with being the fourth best team in the west.  And honestly, where should they be?  Oklahoma City is first, a team many believe will make it to the finals.  San Antonio led the West last regular season and has better players.  And the Lakers, and their drama, are third but only two games ahead.  Being in fourth and close to third given the teams is close to overachieving but certainly is nothing that should be a fire-able offense.  I imagine another coach will be brought in next season and should do a better job managing minutes and timeouts but again, quality coaching comes in practices and we are not privy to those situations.  As much as I am amused by his successful track record, getting an upgrade is a priority.  Still, firing him with two weeks left in the season couldn’t be more insane especially given where the team is and how little time there would be to install anything substantial.  Del Negro should tell all his critics to zip it and point to the record.

Stan Van Gundy, Orlando Magic

Similar to Mike Brown, people truly don’t appreciate the work of Van Gundy – most notably Dwight Howard who controls the fate of the franchise before he leaves next season (oops, spoiler alert).  Amid turmoil and true talent deficiencies combined with a quirky system, the Magic find themselves third in the east behind arguably the two best teams in ALL of basketball.  His body of work, including a finals appearance means nothing despite molding that “team” into something far beyond what they should be, a potential sleeper.  Many want him gone and that’s all I can really provide for analysis.  What exactly is he doing that is not good enough?  What in general is he doing that is not good enough!?

This doesn’t even touch on people like Bill Self and John Calipari, both successful but always unfairly criticized: Self for early exits and Cal for not closing the deal.  Ultimately, exposure to players and the game create the best coaches at home but somehow they never find their way courtside.  Leave it to the professionals and let’s not forget that just because we know more than we did generations ago does not mean that we know what matters.


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