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Kegboy
08-18-2004, 12:25 PM
I find the vitriol in this piece stunning. I especially like where he blames Brown for Rip and Ben not playing. :rolleyes:

http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/summer04/basketball/columns/story?id=1861853



Brown isn't perfect, either

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

By Adrian Wojnarowski
Special to ESPN.com

ATHENS, Greece -- The biggest ego in the United States basketball locker room stayed true to his character, with Larry Brown bringing that old college and pro act to the Olympic Games. He is planning his getaway, selling out those above and below him, spreading the blame for this U.S. basketball disaster to the executives above and players below.

The Travelin' Man is running again, running out on his bosses, his players, and setting the stage for his own absolution when his legacy leaves him without the coaching gold medal to hang with his NBA and NCAA championships. He's the best coach on the planet, but owning a selfish streak to rival his prodigious basketball genius.

In the wake of the 77-71 victory over Greece on Tuesday, the Travelin' Man had on his running shoes, blaming the officiating, the NBA and USA Basketball executives that picked his team, his players' unwillingness to assume complementary roles and the sad state of American shooting.

Brown has started on a calculated campaign to disavow himself of blame when the U.S. fails to win the gold medal. If they lose, he has successfully established that he had nothing to do with it. Yet, if they do, well, then we'll all celebrate the genius of the great Larry Brown, the earnest pupil of Dean Smith beating back the odds and teaching those wayward pros how to play the "right way" for the red, white and blue.

When asked about shortening his bench and using few players in the rotation, Brown said, "Other teams accept it a lot better than our team would. We've got to be really careful when selecting our team. To find role players in our environment is the way to go, but not the way we've been making teams."

His players' commitment?

"We're trying to entertain sometimes rather than play."

Bad shot selection?

"I think that was the first comment I made to our team, without trying to be too offensive."

International officiating?

"Unpredictable."

His message is clear: I'm flying solo for the U.S. of A.

Listen, he makes valid points. But that's not the issue. It is useless for him to sit there now and just rip everyone and everything when he's been hired to do a job. This isn't his fiefdom with an NBA franchise; it's the United States Olympic men's basketball team. The sacrifice he's asking his players to make for the greater cause is one he won't do himself. Sometimes, you've got to stand there and take the hits. Sometimes, you've got to protect your people. He won't do it. USA Basketball is getting killed for this team, and Brown just piled on with the rest of the country.

All these U.S. players America wants to call malcontents and uninterested don't come close to comparing with Brown. He's the biggest headcase of them all.

This wasn't the time for his self-serving, This Won't Be My Fault When We Lose speeches. This is his way of pushing back from the table, excusing himself and leaving everyone else with the bill. The United States has never been so desperate for a unifying voice, so desperate for a leader to rise in the chaos.

If Brown is so frustrated with the willingness of pros to take complementary roles, perhaps he should've worked harder to talk his two championship Pistons, Richard Hamilton and Ben Wallace, into honoring invitations to the Games. Hamilton is the master of working away from the ball, the jump shooter, which is so vital for international basketball. Wallace is the perfect insurance to make sure the U.S. isn't exposed inside when "the unpredictable officiating" has Tim Duncan on the bench with fouls.

Most of the roster had been met with his approval. He was without a vote, but a powerbroker in the process. The biggest mistake the committee made was choosing Emeka Okafor of Connecticut as the final man on the roster, when Milwaukee sharp shooter Michael Redd was needed to combat these zone defenses that have led to the United States missing 38 of 45 3-pointers in its first two Olympic games. There was no need to bring that team GPA up, when they could've used some 3-point shooting.

The coach's campaign for absolution started before the victory over Greece, in the hours after the pounding Puerto Rico delivered to the U.S. Hey, Brown was saying, I can't coach effort. One member of the USA Basketball executive committee, Rod Thorn, wasn't directly responding to Brown's words but said, "I was there, and effort wasn't a problem against Puerto Rico. We just didn't make any shots."

He was right, too.

Between now and the next U.S. game with Australia on Thursday night, Brown needs to understand the Americans won't win the gold medal unless he plays the second-best player on the U.S., LeBron James, bigger and better minutes.

For all the groaning over the eroding fundamentals of American players, James has a complete and compelling game of shooting, passing and poise. The ball needs to get into James' hands, and out of Stephon Marbury's. Brown didn't stay in his news conference long enough to answer a question about his unwillingness to play James extended minutes, but then, that didn't serve his own interests.

He ripped the construction of his roster, ripped his players, and his message had been delivered. This has nothing to do with me. Unless we win, of course.

They're struggling with selfishness on the Olympic team and struggling to share the ball, the stage and the pursuit of glory in these Games. And it all starts with Larry Brown, no matter how fast he's trying to run from this team, no matter how obsessed he's become with self-preservation.

The Travelin' Man is plotting one more escape, one more end-run out of a job. Larry Brown is with the U.S., all the way: Win or win. Just like old times.

Adrian Wojnarowski is a columnist for The Record and a regular contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at ESPNWoj8@aol.com.

Kegboy
08-18-2004, 01:00 PM
For the record, here's the selection committee:

Stu Jackson - Chairman, NBA VP of Basketball Operations
Bryan Colangelo - Phoenix Suns GM
Billy King - Philadelphia 76ers GM
Mitch Kupchak - LA Lakers GM
Garry St. Jean - former GS Warriors GM
Rod Thorn - NJ Nets GM
Joe Dumars - Detroit Pistons GM
C.M. Newton - NCAA representative, former Kentucky AD
Steve Smith - player representative, 2000 Gold Medalist

Quinn Buckner is also involved with USA Basketball, but I know his work involves the junior team as much as the senior.

Pig Nash
08-18-2004, 01:19 PM
Billy King - Philadelphia 76ers GM
Mitch Kupchak - LA Lakers GM
Garry St. Jean - former GS Warriors GM
Rod Thorn - NJ Nets GM

theres your problem.

Kegboy
08-18-2004, 01:27 PM
Billy King - Philadelphia 76ers GM
Mitch Kupchak - LA Lakers GM
Garry St. Jean - former GS Warriors GM
Rod Thorn - NJ Nets GM

theres your problem.

Plus, I'm sure Colangelo got Stoudemire on the team, where he's currently languishing on the bench.

McKeyFan
08-18-2004, 01:59 PM
I think that's a shameful article. Larry Brown is not the problem.

Fool
08-18-2004, 02:45 PM
There aren't a lot of quotes from Brown in the piece. You would think that in an article where he criticizes Brown so much he would produce some statements by Brown to show evidence of what he is criticizing.

Also, I disagree with Thorn. Did you watch the Puerto Rico game? That was a very casual 19 point loss.

Finally, thanks for posting the selection committee as up till now I had no idea who was on it. I am now a bit upset at Joe Dumars. If he agreed with the player choices then he chose poorly. If he didn't agree with the choices then he needed to work harder to voice those disagreements and effect the make up of the team. How do you put together the NBA Champions and then either put this USA team together or allow it to be put together?

Liquid Slap
08-18-2004, 03:39 PM
How do you put together the NBA Champions and then either put this USA team together or allow it to be put together?

People who should have been there (besides Redd) declined to go. What are you supposed to do when no one wants to represent the country.

Unclebuck
08-18-2004, 03:49 PM
Why is there always such a need to blame someone. There are probably 10 good reasons why the USA no longer dominates Olympic basketball, but Larry Brown's coaching is not anywhere near the list of 10 good reasons.

Idiot article

Roy Munson
08-18-2004, 03:56 PM
Why is there always such a need to blame someone. There are probably 10 good reasons why the USA no longer dominates Olympic basketball, but Larry Brown's coaching is not anywhere near the list of 10 good reasons.

Idiot article

The article NEVER suggested that Larry Brown's coaching was the reason for the poor performance. In fact, it called LB the best coach in the world. The article took exception with his distancing himself from responsibility for the way the team is performing.

I thought it was a good article. When someone acts like a weasel, they should be called on it.

obnoxiousmodesty
08-18-2004, 04:01 PM
I think if the US doesn't win the gold, we'll find everyone (USA Basketball, the coaches, the players, etc.) trying to find ways to distance themselves from blame; reciprocally, if the US finds a way to win the gold, they'll all scramble to grab the glory.

It's how the world works.

Fool
08-18-2004, 04:43 PM
How do you put together the NBA Champions and then either put this USA team together or allow it to be put together?

People who should have been there (besides Redd) declined to go. What are you supposed to do when no one wants to represent the country.

There are plenty of people who want to represent their country.

Here is a list of the SG with the top FG% and then the SG with the top 3-Pt %. I'll let you count how many were eligable for the US team and weren't invited.

FG
1 Darius Miles, CLE/POR .485
2 James Posey, MEM .478
3 Desmond Mason, MIL .472
4 Ricky Davis, BOS/CLE .469
5 Doug Christie, SAC .461
6 R. Hamilton, DET .455
7 Kerry Kittles, NJN .453
8 C. Maggette, LAC .447
9 Jeff McInnis, CLE/POR .447
10 M. Finley, DAL .443
11 Michael Redd, MIL .440

3-Pt
1 A. Peeler, SAC .482
2 Brent Barry, SEA .452
3 Fred Hoiberg, MIN.442
4 Aaron McKie, PHI .436
5 Allan Houston, NYK .431
6 Hedo Turkoglu, SAS .419
7 C. Jacobsen, PHO .417
8 M. Finley, DAL .405
9 Reggie Miller, IND .401
10 Jim Jackson, HOU .400
(BTW, Micheal Redd is 26th)

Kstat
08-19-2004, 03:43 AM
The Travelin' Man is running again, running out on his bosses, his players, and setting the stage for his own absolution when his legacy leaves him without the coaching gold medal to hang with his NBA and NCAA championships.

Hey moron: OLYMPIC COACHES DO NOT GET GOLD MEDALS!

Joel
08-19-2004, 03:57 AM
Adrian Wojnarowski = Hack. Horrible article.


6 Hedo Turkoglu, SAS .419

Hedo is Turkish. Barry, Jacobson, and Jimmy Jackson could of all helped this team.

The team I would of liked to see:

PG - Mike Bibby
SG - Ray Allen
SF - Mike Miller
PF - KG
C- Brad Miller

Bench - Jason Kidd, Michael Redd, Luke Walton, Matt Harpring, Mike Dunleavy, Tim Duncan

Fool
08-19-2004, 08:49 AM
You know, I had assumed more than one on that list would have been foreign so I just said "I'll let you count how many were eligable" but looking it over I am surprised that there aren't more foreign 2 guards with top fg or 3pt %. But then I can't name a ton of foreign 2s.