PDA

View Full Version : Vescey article, players not always to blame when coach gets fired



Unclebuck
01-30-2004, 10:09 AM
I agree with Vescey on this


http://nypost.com/sports/45322.htm'COACH KILLERS' NOT GUILTY




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BYRON SCOTT
Tables turned.
Email Archives
Print Reprint



January 30, 2004 -- HOOP DU JOUR

BYE-RON SCOTT'S sacking encouraged an irresistibly, hysterical deduction by the Playa Haters segment of the media: The NBA is a (cancerous) cluster of coach killers.

Naturally, crooked little fingers were pointed at repeat offender Jason (Captain) Kidd as being the critical cutthroat, though countless co-connivers clearly are indictable, many of whom never witnessed the glow of a pro roster.

Who cares if their case against Scott appears 99 9/10 percent pure?

"It's a players league," sneeringly conclude the preponderance of a roving press panel, which agilely cites chapter and verse (without knowing what really happened) regarding various superstars who've allegedly fought authority and won.

Exhibit A is Magic Johnson's rebellion (11 games into the '81 season) against Paul Westhead's monotonous offense, designed to accommodate aging but timeless Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; oddly enough (or maybe not so strange), from that day on, for better or for worse, the deposed Lakers coach became Vicar of Fast Break Basketball.



Exhibit B is Magic Johnson's rebellion - joined by Michael Cooper, James Worthy and Bye-Ron (Great Scott!) - against Pat Riley, who, by that time, believed he was as much responsible for LA's four 'chips during his 10-year reign as the mutineers. They probably could've lived with Riley's escalating ego; the thing that really ticked them off was Pat's comments about money-hungry players. "We were happy for him when he got his big payday," Magic told me years later. "Meanwhile, when we wanted our fair share, he got negative."

Exhibit C is Michael Jordan's purported submarining of Doug Collins after the '88-'89 season in which the Bulls reached the Eastern Conference finals. Collins rubbed Jordan the wrong way, no doubt. Still, the coach's firing was strictly related to an off-the-court crisis between majority owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Collins.

Exhibit D is Kidd's supposed sabotage of almost every coach he ever helped make better. While there's no question his run-ins with supervisors immediately preceded them being run off, when you see Scott Skiles' name on that list you've got to wonder how much homework is being done here; he was still coach of the Suns a half-season after Kidd became Nets property.

You get the picture. Much of the media - of which George Karl is now a pretentious member - is thoughtlessly laying the bulk of the blame for coach after coach biting the dust on players/superstars. Atlanta's Terry Stotts is the only Eastern leftover from last season (14 changes out of 15, plus three in the West) still working the sidelines today.

(If Stotts wins as many as two straight, I predict he'll be gone in a flash as well; he'd better not try to screw up the Hawks' alluring lottery position)

Very much in nature, Karl - part of ESPN's NBA coverage - holds the players and the system accountable for the extensive turnover. In full rant the other day in a newspaper account, he claimed the only weapon a poor coach has these days to combat the Disease Of Me and other chemistry-killing afflictions is to take away minutes. Guaranteed deals make it impossible to cut culprits, and trades are next to impossible, he added.

The author apparently didn't feel it was important to note Karl is collecting $7 million for not coaching the flourishing Bucks this season. Nor did I see it mentioned anywhere that Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen and Sam Cassell were traded before Guilt-less George was excused.

Nor was it pointed out, against the fervent advice of friends and countrymen, Karl insisted Anthony Mason, infamous for poisoning wells, be signed for $18M guaranteed for four years.

Fittingly, they left the league together; the remainder of Mason's $9.9M contract was bought out.

OK, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we were inundated with propaganda that players are at the root of all evil befalling coaches. Then look what happened: Jim O'Brien quit the Celtics due to philosophical (defensive and long-term) differences with superior Danny Ainge.

Obviously, that was a cover story. As the media well knows, Paul Pierce and Ricky Davis had everything to do with instigating O'Brien's subversion.

Then again, what if it's true? What if conflicts with management/ownership (or extenuating circumstances, as in the case of Rudy Tomjanovich's bout with bladder cancer or Riley's "retirement") caused some of the aforementioned 17 coaching changes?

What if players weren't actually at fault for the firing of Rick Carlisle, Isiah Thomas, Doc Rivers, Lenny Wilkens, Paul Silas and Frankie Johnson?

What if Larry Brown really left on his own volition (which he's been known to do occasionally) and it had nothing to do with Allen Iverson?

What if - and I know this question is going to be too much for some people to bear - some of the coaches who were fired essentially can't coach?