Wednesday, October 21, 2009

11 comments Who will Police the Police?

Or in this case, who will coach the coaches? Master of the haiku style enigmatic analysis, Charley Rosen is back for the 2009/10 NBA season. And once again, he assembles a collection of sentences with no real effort to make a cohesive whole and calls it an "article". Charley, unlike many other targets we have around here, does genuinely seem to have some knowledge of the sport he covers, and he can be enlightening, which may make his fuckups all the more irritating. Also, dude is majorly arrogant, basically ripping into sports figures with a ferocity you just don't see in sports journalism generally.

Look at that handsome bastard. The very definition of "angry old man". You kids get off his lawn! The kids these days with their crossovers and their compulsion to play the passing lanes and their rap music and baggy shorts...let's just do this.

Not all NBA coaches make the grade

It's universally acknowledged that the NBA is a players' league. Even so, because of the smaller rosters, NBA coaches can have a greater influence on their players than the coaches in MLB and the NFL.

Here, then, is a rundown on the comparative and ultimate value of each of the NBA's coaches.

comparative and ultimate! Two for one Rosen special. What is this supposed to mean? He actually doesn't compare any of these coaches to each other anyway. Does he grade on a curve? Is this a standardised grading system? Bottom of the Barrel demands to know Charley Rosen's totalisation methodology! (ugh, starting to get a bit Easterbrook-ey there...just shows you that a joke can go too far).

A-plus coaches

Phil Jackson (Lakers) is the best of the best. It's silly to suggest that his successes are totally due to having superstars on his teams. In truth, every NBA championship team — from Joe Fulks to Kobe, from George Mikan to Shaq, and so on — has featured at least one superstar player. Championship rings are never won by accident. anyone gonna tell him? I mean it's so obvious and so recent. And it's not like we haven't heard the point made by the media time and time again when talking about championship teams and building them. And I get his basic point and agree with it. Come on...someone. Don't make me be that guy, it's just embarrassing he'd not mention this. I mean he even expressly says "never". Fine. FINE.


Gregg Popovich (Spurs) demands discipline and attention to detail and gets players to eagerly buy into his belief system.

A coaches

Nate McMillan is in the process of carefully developing the young Blazers into his own image. That's why all of his players are diligent workers and take full responsibility for their performances.

dunno about you guys but I've never really had any opinion about the coaching skill and performance of Nate McMillan. I guess broadly I thought he was ok...but third best coach in the league is an incredible thing to say. I'm not even saying he's not justified in saying this, I just don't know...I wouldn't have thought so. Anyway, I guess he must have some great arguments to back this up and let us know exactly what's so great about Nate McMillan. When you put him above Sloan, Adelman, Brown, D'Antoni, et al I think people are gonna want a bit more than two sentences. So, lay it on me string bean.

Jerry Sloan (Jazz) always gets the most out of his players and refuses to make any compromises to do so.

or, like...not, I guess.


Rick Adelman (Rockets) is an excellent tactician who has the flexibility to make any group of players succeed.


Scott Brooks (Thunder) is a young coach who's growing along with his young players. He knows the game, and his enthusiasm is contagious.

I think Charley has misunderstood his job description. While, yes, you are employed by Fox Sports to give your opinions, you aren't supposed to only write your opinions. You're supposed to argue for them. Let me explain.

If I knew you had a daughter and said "how old is Linda?" and you said "27", then that's fine to just say. If you say "I think Nate McMillan is a great coach." It's really on you at that point to argue the point to me, the reader, in an effort to persuade me to agree with you, or even just give me some things to think about in relation to the topic. That's what makes sports jouralism (in principle anyway) fun to read. That's the point, in short, of sports journalism. Just saying what you feel with no actual basis is not fun to read. It's frustrating to me and lazy on your part.

The B's

Larry Brown (Bobcats) is doing an A-quality job in Charlotte and is an excellent teacher. But his documented history of lying, of egregious arrogance and of making excuses for his own failings result in his being docked a grade.

so, is this about how good a coach they are, or the quality of person you believe they are? Because they aren't the same thing Charley, if he's an A grade coach, then give him an A. You gave me the impression this was about coaching, and considering all these gentleman are NBA coaches, I thought I was pretty safe thinking it was about coaching but, apparently not.

Vinny Del Negro (Bulls) did a terrific job in his rookie year in Chicago. He utilized his available personnel perfectly and coaxed his players to perform at their best at the right time. What does he do for an encore?

oh Charley! Dear oh dear! Time for some quotes, come walk with me down memory lane of last season

Del Negro: You always want to try and keep a timeout, but you always want to try to keep yourself in the game. There's no need to save your timeouts if you're down 15 points, or 10, or 12. At certain times, when they're making runs like that, and we get the ball with 20 seconds to go in the game and we're down two, I want to make sure we get a good shot and have an opportunity to tie. Because if we don't execute well and set something up--especially with a young team--then they're shooting free throws and the game's probably over.

So I would have liked to have had one at the end, but sometimes you can keep them and sometimes you have to use them to stay in the game.

genius at work. From The Chicago Tribune;

In their current season-long five-game losing streak, the Bulls have been outscored by a combined 21 points in the fourth quarter.

That’s as good a place as any to start the discussion on the team’s woes, which include too many turnovers, poor defense and the inability to execute even the most basic of plays down the stretch.

“Anyone who is watching us knows we’re playing harder and with a lot of spirit and effort,” forward Luol Deng said. “We just have to play smarter.”

The Bulls’ final possession of regulation on Sunday in Minnesota looked like it could appear in a high school coach’s film session on how not to run a play. With the game tied and 23.9 seconds left, Derrick Rose dribbled down almost the entire clock as if waiting for a screen.

Coach Vinny Del Negro said afterward that the play, such as it was, didn’t call for a screen. Instead, Rose was supposed to dribble right as Ben Gordon flared left, trying to create space and confusion from the defense.

Rose instead dribbled left, right into Gordon, and had to force an off-balance shot with Sebastian Telfair and Randy Foye guarding him.
like a well oiled, but horribly malfunctioning machine. What about you, Blog-A-Bull?

Rose and Del Negro weren't quite on the same page when it came to what can be done better in last-second shot opportunities.

"Today was really like the first day when we did a lot of situations like that (in practice)," Rose said.

Countered Del Negro: "We work on them all the time, almost every practice. But it was good to scrimmage and go through some things."

In fairness, we are talking 'bout practice man. I mean how silly is that? We in here talking 'bout practice. What about Vinny and discipline?

I’m Italian, I like to argue. That’s how I grew up,” Del Negro said. “It doesn’t bother me. So whatever helps to get this team going, whatever comments are made, everybody knows where to find me. … Everybody says, ’What’s going on?’ Nothing’s going on, we have to try to win. That’s what I focus on.”

Asked directly if he thought Gordon’s reaction, which included an expletive, was disrespectful, Del Negro said it was not.

“No, because I argue with everybody,” Del Negro said. “It’s funny to me, it really is. … I love that guys show passion, show some fight and some grit. That’s why it’s pro basketball. It’s easy to play, it’s hard to win. So when guys show passion and get aggravated, take it out on the other team.

that was after Gordon cursed him out last season. I think if you curse Jerry Sloan out, you wake up with a horse's head next to you. But is this really disrespect? Derrick Rose, do you have some insight?

"I know a lot of us do," Rose said. "The people who are not, coaches are trying to get to them and talk to them and have meetings with them. I'm talking about during the games. Like, following game plans. I'm not saying players are being rebellious or doing it their way. It's just miscommunication on the court."
Wow...ok. On and on it goes. According to Rosen, this is the bio of the eighth best coach in basketball. Wow.

Doc Rivers (Celtics) is a consummate con man, but he lets his great players be great.

I would have thought calling someone a fraud in mass media would be grounds for slander. Maybe Fox Sports legal team is just light years ahead of me, but even I draw the line at outright character assassination.

Paul Westphal (Kings) has never coached a loser during his four full seasons in the command seat. His career record stands at 242-114, a mark which is sure to take a big hit in Sacramento.

he hasn't coached a single game in the NBA since 2000 and he's the tenth best coach in the league? Yikes.


Rick Carlisle (Mavericks) is an excellent Xs and Os man but still struggles to freely communicate with his players and with the media.

Flip Saunders (Wizards) has an oversized playbook and is the master of the two-man baseline zones. He also has much more influence over young players than with hardened veterans.

true of virtually every coach in the league when it comes to the comments about Flip. Agan, this isn't analysis, just stating stuff that he feels to be self evidently true.

Byron Scott (Hornets) depends too much on his point guards and needs to diversify his offense.

we're down to one sentence per coach - lightning round!

Erik Spoelstra keeps a low profile, which is precisely what has proved necessary for the Heat to overachieve.

so why is he a B-minus? You are basically saying he does nothing and thats a good thing. This is weird.

Mike Woodson has managed to keep the immature Hawklings steadily moving forward without going crazy. But the biggest test of his sanity will come this season when Atlanta must finally reach its potential, or else start all over.

I'm not saying you need to get down on your knees and praise the Lord for the existence of Mike Woodson but here's the Atlanta progression;

2004-2005 (year one): 13-69, last in East, last in NBA
2005-2006: 26-56, T-14th in East, T-28th in NBA
2006-2007: 30-52, 13th in East, 27th in NBA
2007-2008: 37-45 (playoffs), 8th in East, 19th in NBA
2008-2009: 47-35 (playoffs), 4th in East, 12th in NBA

their best players are Joe Johnson (28), Josh Smith (23) and Al Horford (23). Why the HELL would you blow this team up? They are babies! Future, ownership aside, quite bright in Atlanta, probably the most likely team of the "rest" in the NBA to win it all. They won a playoff series. They opened 21-10 last year. This is rubbish, Woodson is a bit anonymous and nothing special as a coach, but his team has improved every year, without fail, he's done a good job with what looked to be a lost cause. There, I've given some decent supporting evidence, Charley, care to do the same? Pretty please?


Lawrence Frank (Nets) is extremely likeable and is never outworked, two characteristics that earn his players' respect. However, he lacks charisma and is also burdened by a dysfunctional roster.

so let me get this one straight. He's got the players respect, and works hard - tick. But, working against him is that he doesn't give have a way with the ladies and he doesn't have the players required to be good. Both of which have nothing to do whatsoever with his coaching skill. I don't see why I should be required to view the arguments on your behalf because you are unwilling or unable to do so. Give me your job.

Eddie Jordan (Sixers) is personable and knowledgeable, but his game plan is too inexact.

six words. That's the extent of the evaluation. And they're a bad six words too. What the hell is an "inexact" gameplan?

George Karl's (Nuggets) arrogance is humungous. Moreover, he has no basic philosophy, is incapable of inspiring his players and of gaining their trust.

...did ok last playoffs.

Kurt Rambis (Timberwolves) might be too cynical to have sufficient patience with young players. Plus, he's handicapped by also having to deal with a hands-on, loony-tunes owner.

"might be! I have no idea man. Just, you know, he might be cynical. Let's say he is. Also, someone else is a dick, so...he is bad due to that for some reason. I need a nap."

Scott Skiles is demanding and overbearingly acerbic but still manages to ratchet up his players' game-to-game intensity. Unless the Bucks start winning, however, he will wear them out before the All-Star break.

Stan Van Gundy (Magic) regularly over-coaches his team, perhaps in some subliminal competition with his brother.

I'm a Stan van Gundy fan personally, I don't think he's perfect, but they were the biggest surprise of the playoffs, give the man a little credit please.

The gentlemen's C's

Mike D'Antoni (Knicks) has everything going for him except a winning game plan.

.608 lifetime. By the way, the last two men are the winningest active coaches by percentage in the Eastern Conference right now. You're welcome.

Jim O'Brien is steady, rational and principled. Too bad the Pacers are one of the least athletic teams in the league.

listen very, very, carefully. THAT'S NOT RELATED TO COACHING.

Jay Triano (Raptors) is a perfect match in Toronto — a mediocre coach for a mediocre team.

The C-minus guys

Mike Brown's (Cavaliers) faulty offense and inability to make adjustments were exposed by the Magic.

Mike Brown is terrible, further proof that NBA awards are a joke.

Mike Dunleavy (Clippers) is tight-minded and perpetually suspicious, which explains why he has such little impact on his players' attitudes.

Alvin Gentry (Suns) has a lifetime record of 162-205 and is resurrecting the running game in Phoenix mostly to please Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. None of these factors promise any degree of success, but Gentry is an agreeable get-along type of guy.

The D-man

Don Nelson (Warriors) has the most colossal ego among his peers. The mind games he plays are designed to keep his players perpetually insecure and to preserve his power.

meow. Go and have a gay little twitter war about it.


Bengoodfella said...

Wow, let me see if I can understand this mess. It looks to me like Charley Rosen started off this article with a great idea and then slowly realized as the article idea lost steam it wasn't going to be that he just quickly finished it off.

Byron Scott depends on his point guards too much...even though his point guard is Chris Paul, arguably the best point guard in the NBA. Is it rely stupid to rely on him?

Nate McMillan is an "A" coach and Vinny Del Negro is a "B" coach? How come I don't find this to be true?

Great point about how Rosen doesn't really back up his opinion with any type of fact or proof, he just assumes because he is a clever NBA guy you will believe pretty much anything he says. This seems to be a problem many sportswriters have today, the industry is so focused on opinion, giving facts behind the opinion can get lost.

Larry Brown gets downgraded for being a liar and Doc Rivers gets downgraded for being a con, but Jerry Sloan is a huge asshole and he doesn't get downgraded, while guys like Mike Brown who seem really nice don't get bumped up in grade for this? When does personality and character come into play and when doesn't it? Can you penalize a coach for being a dick but not reward a nice coach?

Those Del Negro quotes are priceless. I think everyone was on Vinny's ass in the series against the Celtics this year for his poor coaching.

I get the feeling Rosen mailed this column in. I would even call what he mentioned about Westphal, Woodson, and Frank as even accurate or analysis in any fashion.

Good find J.S. Where else can you find someone who will blame the head coach of the Pacers for the team drafting white, unathletic guys?

J.S. said...

Chris Paul is arguably the best point guard in the NBA? Unless you're doing all your basketball talk with Mormons Ben, this surely is no argument right?

Bengoodfella said...

I said "arguably" because I didn't want someone to get off the topic of your article to argue with me that Chris Paul was the best point guard in the NBA. I try to keep everyone focused on what you write and not some stupid comment I may make.

Yes, I do think Chris Paul is the best point guard in the NBA. I would be willing to argue it.

I am excited to hear some of the Bulls weren't obeying the game plan that Del Negro laid out. I bet it was Noah or Thomas, they seem like they wouldn't listen really well.

AJ said...

Hmmm I wonder who would get off topic on best point guard...Nevermind

I've decided nothing good can come of lists. I mean he has Rick Adelman is a A-? And what does he mean by succeed? Does succeed in his mind = fail to make a championship game even when you have the best team? Or just making the conferance finals once??

How can you rank a coach that was there for about a half season as a B+? But Stan is a C+ even though he took his team to the finals last year when no one thought they were very good.

Mike D'Antoni - isn't he just like Rick Adelman yet he gets a C?

Lists make my head hurt. Here is a list of top 10 worst column ideas:

1-8. Lists
9. Vegas Trip
10. Mailbags

Bengoodfella said...

I would actually probably be a person who could get off topic about the NBA's best point guard, but I thought J.S. posted something good and didn't want to move the discussion in another area. I like to control the discussion in that fashion.

Lists are generally a bad idea, specifically when there are no general rules outlined for how the list will be made up. First, he ranks them based on how good of a coach they are, then he ranks Larry Brown by what kind of person he is, then he ranks Carisle by how good his team is, and then finally he gives a good grade to a coach who hasn't coached in years. It's a clusterfuck.

Mike D'Antoni is like Rick Adelman with a better system but with the same amount of success. I don't know if I want to compare the players on those teams, but I don't understand the idea of success for Adelman either. He's not a bad coach but I don't know if he is an "A" coach or not.

I still don't see the high grade for Del Negro. He is not horrible but he has only coached for one year and he made mistakes in the playoffs last year...and his team doesn't always follow when he tries to coach.

I may put Vegas at the top of the list for bad column ideas. Lists are a bad idea...especially when the lists don't have a general outline for how the list is made out.

Jeremy Conlin said...

I remember reading this and laughing my ass off. Here are the only ones I agree with: Popovich (the best, in my opinion), Scotty Brooks (by far the most underrated coach in the league), Jay Triano (really mediocre). That's 3 out of 30. Not a good ratio. Del Negro is waaaaay to high, same with Paul Westphal, Flip Saunders, Mike Woodson, and Mike Dunleavy (he should really be an F, or, better yet, invent a whole new system of grading. He's that bad). And then Guys like D'Antoni, Karl, Gentry, Mike Brown, and Erik Spolestra are way too low. 99% of his logic makes no sense whatsoever, and a lot of it has nothing to do with coaching (as was mentioned). Good post.

PS, Chris Paul isn't the best point guard in the league. Beno Udrih is. I thought everyone had already agreed on that?

Bengoodfella said...

I would probably have to put Popovich at #1 personally. It is just so easy to do because of the amount of success that Spurs team has had and the way he integrates players into that system so flawlessly.

Jeremy, I remember you and me discussing (arguing moderately?) about Del Negro in the playoffs, but I don't remember over what and am too lazy to look it up, but suffice to say I am not impressed with his coaching ability and it seems his players don't really respect him.

I don't know how Westphal can be so high personally. I don't know if Rosen did use logic, he just kind of gave his opinion depending on what he thought about the coach and then didn't expand use the same criteria to judge the coaches for every single one.

Beno Udrich? Easily the best point guard in the NBA.

Jeremy Conlin said...

Yea, I vaguely recall our Del Negro discussion stemming from a Simmons column about the Celtics/Bulls series, where Del Negro pretty much put on an anti-coaching clinic.

And don't look now, but Luke Ridnour and Carlos Arroyo are flying up point guard power rankings. Keep an eye out for those guys. MAGIC JOHNSON, EAT YOUR HEART OUT!!!

Bengoodfella said...

I don't remember if I defended Del Negro, but in retrospect I probably shouldn't have if I did. I rewatched those games on DVR and he really didn't do a bang up job. Rosen is way wrong to have him ranked so high.

Luke Ridnour? Wasn't he supposed to be good a few years ago?

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