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Will Galen
05-10-2006, 07:36 AM
http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/columnists/cs-060508smith,1,7873730.column?coll=cs-bulls-utility

Sam Smith
On Pro Basketball
Memphis in a grisly state

May 8, 2006


I don't always agree with Jerry West, and it hasn't hurt his career much. But this time I do.

"I question myself more than I do our players," the Grizzlies' GM told Memphis reporters after the team was swept in the first round of the NBA playoffs for a record third straight season. "The burden falls on me. It doesn't fall on the coaches. Obviously, I'm not doing something right. We need to do something different, that's for sure."


Fire Jerry West? No, that doesn't happen, and the belief around the NBA is West is only there until owner Mike Heisley can sell the team, because having West on the masthead makes a product worth more. After all, this is one of the best players in the history of the NBA and one of the best executives ever, maybe second to Red Auerbach. The figure of the NBA logo is said to be West as a player. In many ways, West is the NBA.

But the consensus around the NBA is head-scratching about what he has done in Memphis. Several team executives say they remain surprised West hasn't made a big move, his specialty.

Granted, West has done a wonderful job in hiring coaches Hubie Brown and Mike Fratello to kick-start a dormant franchise. But observers are baffled by the team West has put together after four years, one that has little youthful upside, is soft, doesn't rebound well and is generally filled with competent role players who can win enough games with a clever coach like Fratello but are exposed in the playoffs.

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Jerry West made his rep with Shaq and Kobe. He can't entice those sort of players to Memphis.
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Sure, the Grizzlies got the worst seeding break with a first-round matchup with Dallas when they should have had the Los Angeles Clippers, but looking at the team, it's hard to figure where it can go. The community responded with record-low playoff attendance and poor regular-season attendance.

"Somewhere along the way, we've disconnected from our fans," West admitted.

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Sounds kind of famlier
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If Damon Stoudamire's injury after 27 games meant this much, he's the MVP. But West let go Bonzi Wells, who had a terrific playoff series for the Kings, Stromile Swift and Earl Watson. Not that they were the answer for a championship, but West gave away Swift and Watson for nothing, and for Wells got Bobby Jackson, who'll leave as a free agent this summer.

Jackson also had an interesting parting shot as he raised the issue long haunting Fratello, that he slows the game and bores the fans.

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Something else that sounds famliar
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"It's not that he's a bad coach," Jackson said. "But you've got guys who love to run. You can't have success if you're looking over your shoulder. We could have run this year, without a doubt."

West said Fratello is staying. But West attributed the departure of Wells to Fratello and said he signed disappointing Brian Cardinal for Brown. West also said he liked the potential of youngsters Hakim Warrick, Dahntay Jones and Lawrence Roberts, who rarely played under Fratello, though Warrick started the final playoff game.

West didn't have anything to do with the drafting of Pau Gasol and Shane Battier, perhaps the team's two most reliable players. They came under the Dick Versace regime. And West's drafting has been questionable, given his reputation for identifying talent. The one time West had a high pick, he drafted Drew Gooden at No. 4. He traded him quickly and did get Mike Miller, but passed on Amare Stoudemire, Nene and Nenad Krstic, big men who could help.

The Grizzlies' payroll is among the highest in the NBA and they'll likely pay a luxury tax this season. West has yet to get the center he's known for building with, and the Grizzlies have been outrebounded by almost 10 per game in every playoff series.

"It is what it is," Fratello said. "We just don't rebound."

West said there will be changes, though little on his roster has value beyond Gasol. It's difficult to see where they can go in the powerful Western Conference. You can't be a genius all the time. Trust me, I know.

Denver nuggets

Denver Nuggets coach George Karl says he has no interest in being general manager with Kiki Vandeweghe dismissed, though Karl's influence will be unmistakable, and that could be a problem because he likes questionable characters. When Karl was in Milwaukee, his insistence on bringing in Anthony Mason destroyed that team, and he didn't help this season with misfits like Ruben Patterson, who was moaning by the time the playoffs ended.

"It was obvious guys didn't want to be here," Marcus Camby said. "Guys are pouting and frustrated with one another."

Meanwhile, coming up small again in the playoffs was Carmelo Anthony. The Clippers did attack him, with few other options among his teammates, but Anthony was befuddled.

"They had a simple game plan to stop me and let everybody else beat us," Anthony said. "I've just got to look at it [playing against double-teams] over this summer, see what they did to stop me."

Anthony called for the Nuggets to re-sign Nene, who becomes a bigger priority with Kenyon Martin certain to be traded after his playoff suspension by Karl. The Denver media floated the possibility of a deal for Portland's Zach Randolph. Though you never doubt Portland management's ability to make a bad move -- it believed Martin would be some prize in that community -- look for Martin to go to the Knicks in a deal, perhaps for Quentin Richardson, whose shooting could complement Anthony, and Maurice Taylor.

All-Star no more


Add the Bucks' Jamaal Magloire to the list of all-time worst former All-Stars. The Bucks didn't say so directly, but they left no doubt Magloire will be traded (Memphis? Toronto?) when general manager Larry Harris said rookie Andrew Bogut, who complemented Magloire this season, will be moved to center.

"There have to be some dramatic changes made next season," Bogut said. "It's all I can hope for. There are logjams at certain spots. Certain guys aren't playing who probably could play more. The core is obviously three or four guys (Michael Redd, Bogut, Bobby Simmons and perhaps T.J. Ford, who was abused on defense by the Pistons). I wish I had played a more important role this year."

Magloire has one season left on his contract and did play a role in the Bucks moving from 30 to 40 wins and the playoffs, but he seemed to age drastically and barely could keep up with the pace of play. Magloire, 27, also complained about playing time in the playoffs.

Magloire goes on the All-Star bust list with Chris Gatling, Dana Barros, John Starks, Kevin Duckworth, James Donaldson, John Block and Walter Dukes.

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Interesting take on Magloire. Some on here still want him
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Nash MVP again

Steve Nash won his second consecutive MVP award Sunday. Could Kirk Hinrich be next? Huh? It's easy to forget, but the Suns' guard was hardly an instant sensation. He was traded to Dallas for Martin Muursepp, Bubba Wells, Pat Garrity and a first-round pick used for Shawn Marion.

Nash's first two seasons in Dallas, his third and fourth in the NBA, he was regularly booed and never scored in double figures or averaged more than 5.5 assists. It wasn't until Nash learned to play point guard that he blossomed. And it wasn't until Nash learned to keep his dribble as he circled through traffic, thus allowing more offensive movement and the chance for open shots.

It's what Hinrich has picked up in his game this season, though not on the level of Nash. In fact, around the Bulls they call Hinrich a "poor man's Steve Nash." Perhaps not as great on offense, but better on defense. Which is why the Bulls have such a high priority to get a shooting guard who can defend other shooting guards so Hinrich can develop.

The Cavaliers' LeBron James finished second in MVP balloting, followed by the Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, the Pistons' Chauncey Billups, the Heat's Dwyane Wade, the Clippers' Elton Brand, the Spurs' Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, and the 76ers' Allen Iverson.

Mohammed miffed

It may not be good news for Nazr Mohammed, but it could be for the Bulls. The Spurs' free-agent center isn't happy about falling out of the rotation after scoring 18 points in the Game 1 win over the Kings. He has played three minutes in the last three games as Robert Horry has taken over as the starting center. Starting Horry spreads the floor better for the Spurs to open lanes for driving Manu Ginobili and Parker. Figure Mohammed to jump at any reasonable Bulls offer in the off-season.

One-man show

The Cavs have virtually forgotten about Zydrunas Ilgauskas with the isolation game they play with James mostly on one side of the court making a move with the ball while his four teammates stand on the other side.

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Wonder where Mike Brown got the idea to run a lot of isolations?
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Said Ilgauskas: "You're in the media guide and on the payroll, but you can't do anything to help."

He averaged 9.8 points in the first round and had 14 Sunday in a 113-86 loss to the Pistons. It's a question being raised about the style of offense the Cavs have come to play. Though James does like to pass, coach Mike Brown calls so many plays to isolate James it takes most of the other players out of the game.

The Wizards' Gilbert Arenas said former teammate and current Cav Larry Hughes told him during their first-round series that Hughes feels like a football play messenger just bringing in plays for James. Some wonder whether players will want to play in that kind of system.

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The NBA needs to ban isolations so basketball can go back to being a team game.
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It could prove a boon for the Bulls, who share the ball on offense. Drew Gooden is a free agent, and with so little responsibility or opportunity in the Cavs' offense, he might push the Cavs not to match an offer.

Layups

Duncan on Parker vastly outplaying the Kings' Mike Bibby in the first round and complaining of thigh and hip injuries coming into the Mavs series: "He's attempting to overtake Eva [Longoria] as the best actor in the family." . . . Longtime Nuggets PR man Tommy Sheppard, now on the Wizards' basketball staff, is a candidate for the Nuggets' general manager job along with former Bull B.J. Armstrong. . . . Nets coach Lawrence Frank got a technical foul for running his fingers under his chin. It is regarded in some circles, especially in New Jersey, as an insult. The problem is it's a play call for the Nets -- though not anymore. The league rescinded the 'T.'

sasmith@tribune.com

Unclebuck
05-10-2006, 07:56 AM
I've always thought Magloire was overrated and I've never wanted him.


How can you possibly ban isolation basketball. You'd have to ban all postups also. And Rick is not the king of the iso

Will Galen
05-10-2006, 08:47 AM
I've always thought Magloire was overrated and I've never wanted him.


How can you possibly ban isolation basketball. You'd have to ban all postups also. And Rick is not the king of the iso

Just ban it outside the free throw lane. I would like them to call a charge when the offensive player backs a guy down by bumping him too.

indygeezer
05-10-2006, 09:36 AM
Just ban it outside the free throw lane. I would like them to call a charge when the offensive player backs a guy down by bumping him too.



YES!!!!!! !!!! !!! !!!

DisplacedKnick
05-10-2006, 09:49 AM
How can you possibly ban isolation basketball. You'd have to ban all postups also. And Rick is not the king of the iso

Well, you ban it by placing a restriction on how long a single player can hold the ball. Actually you wouldn't be banning it - just reducing it.

I'm not in favor of this BTW. Just get rid of that stupid circle under the basket and I could die happy.

DisplacedKnick
05-10-2006, 09:51 AM
I would like them to call a charge when the offensive player backs a guy down by bumping him too.

Except for Shaq they do call that - just ask JO from the NJ series. They're even calling it on Shaq more than they used to.

Gamble
05-10-2006, 10:13 AM
This article sounds like the Bulls have alot of options. This could
be the catalyst for what the Pacers are able to do as far as big men.

UB would you take Nazr over Magloire? To be honest if you look at
their stats its obivious who you take but I haven't seen much
playing time from both of them.

BillS
05-10-2006, 10:24 AM
The NBA will never ban one-on-one iso basketball because they'd lose half their spectacular highlights of the latest Mr. Hype taking someone off the dribble and jamming the ball in the basket.

Who wants to watch highlights of a crisp passing offense that results in an open midrange jumper or layup? Booooo-ring. :rolleyes:

Fool
05-10-2006, 10:34 AM
I think they should make it illegal to drive the basketball at all. Hell, make a mandatory minimum of times a team has to pass the ball after coming across half court along with the new "hot potato rule" that doesn't let a player touch the ball for longer than 3 seconds.

I undestand lamenting the loss of creative minds and team play but actually criticizing the NBA for not baning iso's?

bread
05-10-2006, 11:06 AM
Hell, make a mandatory minimum of times a team has to pass the ball after coming across half court along with the new "hot potato rule" that doesn't let a player touch the ball for longer than 3 seconds.



Funny you should mention this. I have been watching some of the playoff games and actually counting how long a player has the ball in his hands after crossing half court. With the exception of the Cavs and Heat, the remaining teams rarely hold the ball for more than 4 secs and it's usually between 2-3 seconds. The Spurs, Detroit, Suns, Mavs and even the Clips and Nets all move the ball really well. Any surprise these teams are still playing?

I actually started doing this at the end of the regular season because I wondered if it was just me or were we really doing a lot of dribbling around and/or dumping it inside and watching compared to the top teams. Unfortunately, I was right. Something to look at while watching the remaining teams in the playoffs.

Slick Pinkham
05-10-2006, 11:29 AM
The main purpose of allowing zones was to discourage isolation basketball.

The other purpose was that officials were tired of making a judgement call on whether a zone was being used or not.

I would have no problem with adding a 5-second count, like college, to make a player pass the ball eventually.

That wouldn't eliminate isos, though.

Hicks
05-10-2006, 11:45 AM
I'd be happy if they ditched the "no charge line" :rolleyes: and also got rid of defensive 3-seconds. If you're going to add zones, add true zones.

Skaut_Ech
05-10-2006, 11:54 AM
Thanks for the article, Will.

I've heard grumblings from quite a couple of places about West not triggering a big deal by now. If you look at their roster, it really is a collection of role players. I know it's crying over spilled milk, but the current NBA team model is so broken right now, I don't think we realize what a crossroads we're at.

We market this game as LeBron's team, Kobe's team, or Jermaine's team. :shout::wtf: Why is the team beloing to one player and he's supposed to be leader/savior/hero/goat? I think there has gotten to be a certain mindset that is causing an overreliance on the star/all-star player and that mindset is fostered with continuing marketing of the individual over team. (Thanks, Jordan!)

Couple that with, what I feel, is ridiculous expansion in the league over the years and you get an extremely diluted talent pool where teams cling desperately to their star player, who often breaks the bank, and they have barely the money to field a better team, nor is the talent there. (Hell, the talent pool is so shallow, we're now drafting high school kids? :dunce::lollypop:)

This is the NBA we've allowed them to create. Far as I'm concerned, we NEVER should have had the expansion teams in Toronto, Vancouver and Minnesota. Expansion should have stopped at Miami, Orlando and Charlotte. (I hope I have my timelines halfway right.)

Imagine how exciting and healthy this league would be if the players in Toronto, Vancouver and Minnesota were dispersed throughout the league? Some of these bottom feeder players who have no business in the league....wouldn't be in the league.
But I'm digressing a bit to sound off on one of my pet peeves. :rant:

Because we've set up such a F'ed up system, smart guys like West are forced to try and make a "big trade", rather than try to manage talent. He's trying to make a big trade for a superstar impact player in a pool so thin with talent that it's hard to come up with a trio of truly star players on a lot of given teams.

It all comes down to over-expansion :green:, doesn't it?

indygeezer
05-10-2006, 12:01 PM
Thanks for the article, Will.

I've heard grumblings from quite a couple of places about West not triggering a big deal by now. If you look at their roster, it really is a collection of role players. I know it's crying over spilled milk, but the current NBA team model is so broken right now, I don't think we realize what a crossroads we're at.

We market this game as LeBron's team, Kobe's team, or Jermaine's team. :shout::wtf: Why is the team beloing to one player and he's supposed to be leader/savior/hero/goat? I think there has gotten to be a certain mindset that is causing an overreliance on the star/all-star player and that mindset is fostered with continuing marketing of the individual over team. (Thanks, Jordan!)

Couple that with, what I feel, is ridiculous expansion in the league over the years and you get an extremely diluted talent pool where teams cling desperately to their star player, who often breaks the bank, and they have barely the money to field a better team, nor is the talent there. (Hell, the talent pool is so shallow, we're now drafting high school kids? :dunce::lollypop:)

This is the NBA we've allowed them to create. Far as I'm concerned, we NEVER should have had the expansion teams in Toronto, Vancouver and Minnesota. Expansion should have stopped at Miami, Orlando and Charlotte. (I hope I have my timelines halfway right.)

Imagine how exciting and healthy this league would be if the players in Toronto, Vancouver and Minnesota were dispersed throughout the league? Some of these bottom feeder players who have no business in the league....wouldn't be in the league.
But I'm digressing a bit to sound off on one of my pet peeves. :rant:

Because we've set up such a F'ed up system, smart guys like West are forced to try and make a "big trade", rather than try to manage talent. He's trying to make a big trade for a superstar impact player in a pool so thin with talent that it's hard to come up with a trio of truly star players on a lot of given teams.

It all comes down to over-expansion :green:, doesn't it?


Consider what Bird, McHale, and Parish would command in today's market. You would NEVER be able to put them together as a team. The cap wouldn't allow it. Conversly, where would JO rank among the teams of the 80's.