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Thread: Excellent article on Mike Brown's coaching

  1. #1
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Excellent article on Mike Brown's coaching

    Thought this was really good. Heard Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson discussing this on TV yesterday. Yes Vecsey wrote the article, but after the first few paragraphs it gets very interesting. Very similar to what Larry Bird did as Pacers coach. I think players need to hear a different voice from time to time - otherwise the head coach will have a very short shelf life. Just think of all the timeouts in every game, pre-game, halftime, post-game, film sessions. I can understand why players tune coaches out


    http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/...ght_160706.htm


    CAVA-LEADERS ARE GETTING IT ALL RIGHT
    By PETER VECSEY


    March 22, 2009 --

    CLEVELAND Normally, a hiring of a coach ahead of a general manager is an NBA recipe for restiveness, if not all-out revolution.

    Burrowing below the surface of Mike Brown's selection as supervisor of the Cavaliers' sidelines ahead of Danny Ferry taking charge of the front office, is to appreciate the irrelevance of that appointment schedule.

    "People don't understand we have history," Brown stressed last Tuesday as we sat in his Quicken Loans Arena office following a team shootaround. In the summer of 1997, Brown was a 26-year-old Wizards assistant under Bernie Bickerstaff. His primary duty during that offseason was to run daily workouts at Bowie State, the team's practice facility. In-town veterans and rookies were encouraged to break a sweat, as were any NBA players living in the area; the heavier the attendance, the more spirited the training session.

    Ferry, whose 10-year Cavaliers career had three more to go at that time, lived in Annapolis. Five days a week, he would participate in whatever drills Brown was pushing. Nevertheless, by the end of August-early September, as the gym got hotter and hotter, only two hard bodies (well, one, anyway) hung tough. Brown's boot camp was down to Ben Wallace and Ferry.

    "I kicked Ben's [butt] every day," Ferry fabricated.

    "None of us needed each other," Brown underlined. "We were just three guys busting our [butts] to get better at what we do. A mutual respect was developed."

    Three seasons later, Brown was a Spurs assistant when he was told by commandant Gregg Popovich he was about to have a surprise guest. Newly signed free agent Danny Ferry entered the gym moments later.

    By the end of their three-year tour together, heightened by one championship parade, "Danny knew me for who I am and I knew him for who he is."

    Or as Ferry advocates, "Our relationship is one of the most beneficial features of our team. We share the same values. Our love of the game and respect for each other allows us to bring up touchy subjects and say hard [constructive] things. You've got to have a thick skin for that. But we're in this together. I tell Mike, 'I'm under the same pressure to succeed as you.' "

    Ferry and Brown communicate every day and always after games.

    Suggestions are often made. "I want to be told stuff. I want to learn as much as possible," Brown says. "I welcome Danny's advice and definitely take all of it into consideration . . . as long as the final decision is mine."

    At the end of the 2006-'07 season, Ferry suggested Brown expand his knowledge of European ball and its players by going overseas to spend a couple weeks with a particular coach/team.

    "I told him I'd think about it, but I really didn't want to get pressed in that direction. I felt I could grow enough by staying home and reading basketball books and watching film."

    Then again, decided Brown, "How can I tell players, if they want to get better they've got to get into the gym and work on their weaknesses if I resist doing it?"

    So, two Julys ago in Las Vegas, the Cavs recruited Etore Messina, a distinguished Italian coach, to partake in all team functions. Late that summer, Brown flew to the mountain village of Brunico and fully interacted with Messina's Moscow club. The reciprocal process was repeated last summer.

    "Doing this was one of the best ideas that wasn't mine," Brown chuckles in all seriousness.

    Emboldened, Ferry submitted another out-of-the-box suggestion. Despite LeBron James' multi-dimensional, supernatural arsenal, the Cavs' identity is on the other side of the ball . . . because that's Brown's focus/forte and where he's generally coming from. So, the idea was hatched to assign an assistant to assume responsibility of the offense.

    Brown's initial sensitive reaction was, "What, you don't think I can do it?"

    "Yes, Mike could do it," Ferry says. But stepping back allowed him to become more of a leader. It allowed him to establish quality control by being better able to see the bigger picture. But I never envisioned how far he'd take things."

    At the Cavs' October opening-of-camp dinner, Brown's foremost focal point was relying and believing in one another. The HOV lane to the Holy Grail was dependent on teammates trusting teammates, players trusting coaches, and coaches trusting coaches, he sermonized.

    One of biggest steps Brown took as a coach, he says, was being given free reign of the Pacers' defense by Rick Carlisle. "It prepared me to take the next step as Cavalier coach. But I found out you can take the defense from team to team same scheme, same system and make it better, but you can't take offense from team to team.

    "I never ran an offense before coming here. I knew we had that guy you're talking about and we could drive-and- kick, or pick-and- roll, and when things broke down, if we defended, we still had a chance to win. But our team didn't have an offensive per sonality."

    John Kuester's singular obligation has been to put one in place. Larry Brown's long- time dis ciple at Philadelphia and Detroit was relieved of his other details though he still has the freedom to contribute in any way at any time and given the run of the playbook.

    Additionally, and this is what makes this situation so exclusive, Kuester addresses the team in huddles and draws play after momentarily conferring with Brown. Picture that happening anywhere else, in any league, at any level.

    Furthermore, when the need arises during games to dwell on defense, Michael Malone is the coordinator.

    "Right from the start, Mike would urge his assistants to speak out, even stop practices, when we had something to say," says Malone who left the Knicks' staff to enlist with Brown. "Many coaches want to be the only one heard. The amazing thing is, it's Mike's first head job. You'd think he'd want to show everybody he can do everything."

    Imagine that, a head coach who's not insecure or paranoid. Evidently, there must be something wrong with Brown.

    So, what's Brown doing while Kuester and Malone are attending to their specialties? He remains on the outskirts overseeing operations and exchanging ideas with Chris Jent (LeBron's shot surgeon) and Melvin Hunt.

    "Turning over the team to my assistants shows the players I trust them," Brown explains. "It shows I'm not worried about them taking my job, that I don't have all the answers, but that I have a lot of people around who have good things to say. If I show the players I trust my assistants, they're more likely to trust us.

    "Meanwhile, I've got an extra 30 to 40 seconds to think about what we should be doing overall. If we're not playing well or the right way, I'll sit down and voice my unhappiness."

    And when Brown does spew, his words resonate louder because he's not talking all the time. In his fourth season, he's well aware players become anesthetized by a coach's recorded messages.

    All-Star guard Mo Williams says the players definitely are down with the unique concept. "It's great because it's the same voice in the huddle that we hear in practice. Plus, it's successful. You don't change what's successful."

    Much of which, needless to say (but I insist), can be directly or indirectly traced to the Cavs' No. 1 Stunner. Following a week's worth of investigation, it appears Ferry and Brown also have something to do with the team leading the league with 13 games to go.

    Was it beginner's luck, or did the Cavs' 47-year-old owner actually have a strategy in cherry- picking two student teachers to boss their respective territory?

    Dan Gilbert's business mindset is anti-corporate, I'm informed. The reason he wanted Ferry and Brown is because they hadn't failed. Says Ferry, "He wanted us before we went into our prime."

    peter.vecsey@nypost.com

    Next: The Cavs' No. 2 Stunner
    Last edited by Unclebuck; 03-23-2009 at 09:34 AM.

  2. #2
    Denim Chicken duke dynamite's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excellent article on Mike Brown's coaching

    Good article.

    Man, Mike Brown is a good coach. We know how to grow 'em here.

  3. #3
    NaptownSeth is all feel Naptown_Seth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excellent article on Mike Brown's coaching

    This same method worked great for Rick with Brown as his voice to the players. It really hurt the team to lose Brown. Along those lines it looks like Rick is going to perhaps end up with Armstrong in a similar role for him in Dallas.

    This is exactly why Bird's BS comment about "3 years and they tune you out" is bunk (he just wanted an excuse to leave coaching and move to FLA). Pop, Sloan, Phil...somehow guys don't tune them out. Magic I guess.

    It's how you approach people that keeps them from tuning out. If you don't grow with them and develop a dynamic relationship then sure they are going to tune you out - it's the same boring story. However if you adjust the message from player to player as they mature and change then they'll keep listening. And having 2-3 other voices for them to turn to in times of frustration helps vent off the building anger and keeps them in the fold long term.

    Or you can pull a Larry Brown and just beat them down endlessly until one day they figure out you are just a jerk and get sick of it. There are plenty of coaches that will admit that they actually think it helps to demoralize players.

    Someone was just talking about Nellie having that attitude in fact. Stupid power games. Unfortunately it works just enough for these guys to keep trying it.

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excellent article on Mike Brown's coaching

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    This same method worked great for Rick with Brown as his voice to the players. It really hurt the team to lose Brown. Along those lines it looks like Rick is going to perhaps end up with Armstrong in a similar role for him in Dallas.

    This is exactly why Bird's BS comment about "3 years and they tune you out" is bunk (he just wanted an excuse to leave coaching and move to FLA). Pop, Sloan, Phil...somehow guys don't tune them out. Magic I guess.

    It's how you approach people that keeps them from tuning out. If you don't grow with them and develop a dynamic relationship then sure they are going to tune you out - it's the same boring story. However if you adjust the message from player to player as they mature and change then they'll keep listening. And having 2-3 other voices for them to turn to in times of frustration helps vent off the building anger and keeps them in the fold long term.

    Or you can pull a Larry Brown and just beat them down endlessly until one day they figure out you are just a jerk and get sick of it. There are plenty of coaches that will admit that they actually think it helps to demoralize players.

    Someone was just talking about Nellie having that attitude in fact. Stupid power games. Unfortunately it works just enough for these guys to keep trying it.
    Interesting comments.

    I completely disagree with you about Larry Brown. He is not playing games of any sort. That is just the way he is. He treats everyone the same and if the best player accepts it and thrives under his coaching the rest of the players will fall in line and you have a great situation. Larry Brown is honest to a fault, but he has no allterior motive - he is what he is. A lot of his players hate him especially when he is yelling at them, but most of the players respect him and appreciate him after he is no longer the coach. Larry Brown does not play power games at all.


    Carlisle has three great assistants in Dallas. Stotts, Mario Ellie (who has been close to getting a couple of head coaching jobs) and Dwayne Casey - that is a great staff - I give him credit for that. I also give Vinny Del Negro credit for his great staff in Chicago, Del Harris, Bernie Bickerstaff, and Bobby Ociepka, Pete Myers.

    Vinny probably needed very experienced people around him, but Rick didn't, and yet he brought them in - he brought in 3 coaches who could take his job.

  5. #5
    Boom Baby'er ABADays's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excellent article on Mike Brown's coaching

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    This is exactly why Bird's BS comment about "3 years and they tune you out" is bunk (he just wanted an excuse to leave coaching and move to FLA). Pop, Sloan, Phil...somehow guys don't tune them out. Magic I guess.
    Yeah, but Sloan is only in his third year right?

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