Are you Kidd-ing me?
Category: NBA
Tags: NBA BrooklynNets

If the situation in Brooklyn wasn't bad enough already, the news that "head coach" Jason Kidd has demoted assistant coach Lawrence Frank to book report writer should signal to all parties concerned that the disaster that is the Nets is only going to get worse.

And why is it? Because Jason Kidd is the head coach, that's why.

Let's review. Kidd retires and 10 days later, with absolutely no coaching experience whatsoever, gets hired as the MAN in Brooklyn.

He brings in a staff to help him as he adjusts to being a coach. Reports say that he lobbied hard for Frank in particular.

Then the trades and additions to make the team a supposed instant title contender happen.

But Kevin Garnett waited about a nanosecond before bristling at how he was being handled in terms of playing time. And the team came out of the gates about as flat as possible and are currently among the all but two teams (Indiana and Miami) in the Eastern Conference with a losing record.

Paul Pierce is out with a broken hand and the team is simply not very good.

Kidd pulls a bush league move to buy a timeout by spilling a soda (A-Rod now has company in the wuss division of pro sports), gets caught in seconds flat and yet still lies about it.

And now we have the essential firing of Lawrence Frank over philosophical differences in terms of defense and other game issues.

I read this article on Yahoo! Sports that was rather illuminating:

Among the interesting passages:

"Hours after a blowout loss to the Orlando Magic – Kidd's first game on the bench following a two-game suspension to start the season – the entire coaching staff witnessed Kidd lose his temper with Frank and escalate a strangely uneasy and brief coaching partnership together."

"With Jason," one league source told Yahoo Sports, "once he turns on you, he turns. That's how he was as a player, and that's what we're seeing again now."

"Around the Nets, officials and players insisted that Frank had returned to the organization as exactly who he had always been: prepared, organized, hardworking and strong in his convictions. Kidd had hired Frank to have a strong hand in the day-to-day coaching, game planning and practice preparation of the team, but quickly changed course in his desire for Frank to be such a force within the staff, league sources said.

Frank has always had strong opinions, but it is the head coach's job to sift through the advice and make the ultimate choices. "He was loyal," one league coaching source with knowledge of the dynamic told Yahoo Sports."

"Several scouts following the Nets had seen a noticeable change in Frank's on-court disposition in recent weeks, clearly seeing him far less engaged on the bench."

I also read or heard that Kidd was ticked off when players started going to Frank about defensive sets/etc.

Bob Ryan said in an interview that Kidd "was in way over his head."

Frank is the highest paid assistant coach in the league at $1 million dollars a year (with a six year deal).

The situation has to be completely embarrassing for the entire Nets organization. I can only hope the ownership is seeing their ridiculous decision to hire Kidd in the first place was preposterously stupid.

They will never win with such an inexperienced guy as the head coach. I know they like to say players are "a coach on the floor" and that is fine. But it is an entirely different animal when you are an actual coach instead of a fictional one.

Jason Kidd is utterly responsible for the mess that has been constructed. And selling out your assistant (and by all accounts the guy that he went all out to get in the first place) shows exactly how inexperienced and immature Kidd is as a coach.

The NBA is the top rung of the basketball ladder. You don't have time or space to dicker around with the person running the team on the floor. You've got to hire someone for whom coaching is a lifeblood thing not something to fool around with in retirement.

The New Celtics Coach
Category: NBA
Tags: NBA BostonCeltics

The Boston Celtics have hired Butler's Brad Stevens as their new head coach.

Damn! This is a big surprise hire. The team is going to suck for the next few years, but it will be interesting to see how Stevens gets on with Rajon Rondo.


Article Link:

Changing of the Celtics Guard...
Category: NBA
Tags: NBA BostonCeltics

Repost from my original entry over on TSBN:


Remember this?

It was just 6 years ago that "Ubuntu" entered the vocabulary of Celtics fans everywhere as the newly acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen teamed with Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce (and the before he got too big for his britches Rajon Rondo) to win Banner 17 as the Boston Celtics recaptured their place atop the NBA hierarchy.

Flash forward six years later and the man who performed the masterstroke of bringing THAT team together as just finished off the deconstruction of the Boston Celtics as he looks to rebuild a new team to compete for another title. Danny Ainge has always stated that he didn't plan to let the Celtics get old again as they did when the team held onto Larry Bird and Kevin McHale as they declined in their games.

The GM Ainge is apparently a man of his word after the events of yesterday. Between the NBA draft and trades, he is set on a course that will likely see the Celtics be absolutely awful for the next couple of years. If things pan out the way he hopes, afterwards the team will start rounding into form and be a contender.

It hasn't been the best of weeks in Boston sports. The Bruins lost the Stanley Cup, Aaron Hernandez is likely a murderer (perhaps even three times over) and then there is what the Celtics have done.

First and foremost, there was the trade of coach Doc Rivers to the L.A. Clippers. In return the Celtics got LA's 2015 first round pick. A lot of people are upset with Rivers leaving. So am I, because I really liked the guy. But I can see his side of things. He's already been through one rebuilding phase with the Celtics. Remember that 18 game losing streak the year before KG and Ray came to town? Yep, Doc was the man in charge. Back then people wanted to run him out of town. I asked those that complained about him what they wanted? The Celtics didn't have good players. I said that if you gave Rivers legitimate NBA talent, you'd see what he could do. Look what happened. He's now considered one of the best coaches in the NBA, beloved by at least the vast majority of his players and has even seen his name mentioned as one of the possible replacements of Coach K as the Olympic coach (before Coach K announced he'd be returning for a third go-round).

Of course, Ray Allen left last year. Since he was a free agent, I didn't feel a hatred towards him after he left. He was free to do what he wanted. I would've liked to see him come back, but knowing he was unhappy with his role on the team and the fact he and Rondo pretty much hated each other (a recurring theme it seems because there were reports on that Rondo and Doc Rivers almost got into a fight this season when Rondo swore at the coach during a meeting). I wasn't thrilled that he chose to go to Miami but after garnering a second ring this season, it is hard to fault his choice.

And yesterday Ainge got the Brooklyn Nets to agree in principle to a trade (nothing can be finalized until July 1st when free agency officially starts) that sees the departure of Garnett and Paul Pierce.

Garnett leaving is not a shock. There was talk that he was going to retire and I can't imagine he would've wanted to go through another constant stream of losing. Wasn't that what made him want out of Minnesota so bad? I have no doubt if he stayed with the team, he'd do the job required of him on the court and also be the man to show the younger guys how to act, etc. But I don't think he would've been especially pleased and when the Nets fully guaranteed the last year of his two year deal, he waived his no trade clause to head to Brooklyn.

As a throw in (I would guess as a means to make all the numbers work), Jason Terry is headed to Brooklyn as well. I'm not all that upset he's gone. He was supposed to be a slightly lesser version of Ray Allen, but while he did have some moments throughout the season, he wasn't even close to an adequate replacement.

In my mind, the real key to this deal is the departure of the man who, until July 1st, is the reigning "Mr. Celtic". Paul Pierce, having grown up as a Lakers fan, embodied the Celtic Pride ideal. No matter how much sense the deal makes on a monetary and team needs level, his departure (fading skills or not) saddens me. 15 years in a Celtics uniform, it just isn't right that he'll retire with another team. Oh, I know there is always that "I'll sign a one day deal and retire as a Celtic" possibility, but that is just a dog and pony show. We'll always remember that he didn't finish here. And that is just something I really am bummed about.

So what did the Celtics get for blowing up The Big 3 Volume 2? Well, the Nets are sending a package of five players that don't seem likely to suddenly become world beaters when they start wearing the Celtic green. The quintet: Gerald Wallace (isn't he always hurt?) Reggie Evans isn't much in the way of an offensive sparkplug but does hustle on defense and the boards. Keith Bogans has averaged 6.4 PPG for his career. Kris Joseph is returning for a second stint with the Celtics and of course there is Kris Humphries who is known more for marrying celebidiot Kim Kardashian than being an outstanding basketball player.

Of course, they weren't the key to this trade happening. It was the three first round draft picks the Nets gave up to Boston that will be what Danny Ainge hopes to turn into gold. The Celtics got the first round picks from the Nets in 2014 (it's got a condition on it), 2016 and 2018 (unprotected picks). They also secured the right to flip picks with the Nets in 2017 if the Nets have a better draft position.

In the draft last night, the Celtics picked up ex-Gonzaga seven footer Kelly Olynyk in the first round and Colton Iverson in the second round. Olynyk should be able to provide offense, but already there are serious questions as to whether he will be able to handle the physical pounding he'll encounter in the post. Iverson is another 7 foot center who played at Minnesota and Colorado State, but in all honesty I can't remember having heard of him before.

The state of the Celtics is going to be highly questionable for some time no matter what happens with the new players and the bevy of draft picks in their back pocket.

You've only got one superstar type player on the roster now. And that is Rondo. He's coming off an ACL injury. If that wasn't bad enough, he's going to be looked on to become the leader of the team. From what I've seen of his leadership skills so far, he couldn't lead flies to a pile of dog crap.

The #2 man will probably be Jeff Green. He has the potential to be a big scorer but has always been too inconsistent. He'll have a career high scoring performance one night and the next time out he couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat.

Avery Bradley will be the defensive playmaker but he isn't going to be called upon to be a big scorer.

As for returning post players, Jared Sullinger is coming back from back surgery so who knows how he is going to respond to getting pounded on once again. He had really started to show some stuff before he got hurt, so I would hope he'd be able to be at least serviceable as a big man. And then there is Fab Melo. He spent most of the season in the D-league and who knows if he is ready to be a full-time NBA player yet.

And let's not forget that they need to find someone who wants to coach the oncoming mess. They don't want to pay a lot of money to someone who is pretty much there to be a figurehead to Rondo and lose a lot of games. I wonder if I should apply? I've got 25 years coaching experience. And the money they'd pay me might not be the 7 million dollars a year that Doc Rivers was making but it will be a hell of a lot more than I make now. And honestly, could I really be any worse than M.L. Carr? Hey Danny, where should I send my resume?

Danny Ainge has pulled off this trick once before, so I'm willing to extend the benefit of the doubt as to him doing it again. But these next two seasons (at least) are going to be painful. They'll have two first round picks in what is expected to be a loaded 2014 draft so maybe the rebuilding process won't be quite as bad as it might seem right now. (Ignore those crossed fingers behind my back)

But I think if they want to avoid violating those pesky truth in advertising laws, the Celtics might want to hang a sign on all entrances to the arena that says "Welcome To Lottery Land".

The NBA Crowns Another Familiar Champion
Category: NBA

So another NBA Championship was awarded, but I wasn’t paying much attention because I was at a baseball game where the Angels came back from 7 runs down to win 10-9. I would go into more detail about that game, but the game today–where the Angels gave up 7 runs in the final two innings alone to lose 10-9 and allow the Pirates to complete the sweep–put a bit of a damper on my enthusiasm.

One reason I don’t care for the NBA is the playoffs always have an air of inevitability. Since the Lakers didn’t have a great year, the Spurs were the obvious team to beat in the West, and not surprisingly, no one from the West could do so. It was nice to see the Pacers make a run again, but not surprisingly, they could not make it past the Heat. So we were left with a choice between the Spurs winning their fifth title since 1999 or the Heat winning their third since 2006. I was happy when the Spurs won in 1999 and when the Heat won in 2006, but I’ve grown tired of both. I’m still tired of the Lakers. At this point, I would actually welcome watching the Bulls win for the 7th time because it’s been so long since the last time they won. I’d even rather watch title-rich Boston win again, since I only vaguely remember them winning before 2008.

Just to show how much this is a trend in the NBA, I have a couple of lists here.

NBA Championships 1984-2013
Lakers 8
Bulls 6
Spurs 4
Celtics 3
Heat 3
Pistons 3
Rockets 2
Mavs 1

Western Conference Championships 1977-2013
Lakers 16
Spurs 5
Sonics/Thunder 4
Rockets 3
Trail Blazers 3
Jazz 2
Mavericks 2
Suns 2

If we go all the way back to 1962, that only adds two more franchises to the West (the Warriors and the Bucks). Going back to the beginning of the NBA also adds the Pistons (who have obviously won the East a few times since then and the Royals (now Kings), who only won one conference championship in franchise history (in 1951, the same year they won the NBA).

By my count, 10 teams total have won the East, including the Warriors, whom we’ve also counted toward the West. The East was pretty dull for a while not that long ago. Between 1984 and 1998, the Bulls won 6, the Celtics won 4, the Pistons won 3, and two others won 1 apiece (Knicks and Magic in 1994 and 1995, respectively). But since then, it’s been all right. Apart from Miami winning the East 4 times, no franchise has won more than twice since 1999, and there have been 9 distinct conference champions, more than the West has had since 1976. But it’s still sort of a blur as to which franchise got to lose to the Spurs and Lakers anyway.

Full blog... (I go on to compare to other sports)

Did Popovich Cost Spurs the TItle?
Category: NBA
Tags: NBA Spurs Heat

I have to wonder without the benefit of knowing the outcome of Game 7 if the Spurs will look back at Game 6 and realize their titles bounced off the rim on two missed free throws late in regulation that could have sealed the win or the inexplicable decision of Coach Popovich to take Duncan off the floor for the defensive sets.  Both of the Heat 3-point shots at the end of regulation came off of second chances following rebounds that should have been Spurs' ball.  Without Duncan's defensive presence, the Heat rebounded the missed initial 3 pointer not once, but twice!  I can understand perhaps the thinking in the first series but after watching what happened with that second chance, how could he leave Duncan on the bench for the final series at the end of regulation?  If they did not stop play to check on the 3-point shot by Ray Allen, Duncan would not even have been able to get on the floor for the final 5 seconds of regulation.  Dumb....

And speaking of dumb, the Heat have the most dominant player in the game in James and for whatever reason at the end of the 4th Quarter, they stop having him drive to the hoop.  They deserved to onto Game 7.  If the Heat win, the Spurs only have themselves at the free throw line - and their coach - to blame.

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