The Charlotte Bobcats have announced that they’ve narrowed their coaching search down to three candidates, American Idol-style. The difference is that on American Idol, the prize is actually something desirable; this is more like a contest to see who wins a severed head. Anyway, of the final three coaches, one of them is really old (Jerry Sloan) and the other two have never been NBA coaches before (Brian Shaw and Quin Snyder). Any columnist who has a strong opinion about anyone in this bunch is talking out of his ass. Enter Tom Sorensen, who is convinced that Brian Shaw is the right choice for the Bobcats, which he backed up with—well, I’m not sure what he backed this up with; that’s the problem. The easiest thing to do would be to examine his arguments more closely. Unfortunately, this is also the most painful thing to do, but with the regular season over, I need to come up with new ways of torturing myself, so here goes…
With apologies to former Boston Celtics coach, Rick Pitino: ”Bernie Bickerstaff is not coming through that door! Larry Brown is not going to be walking through that door! And Sam Vincent isn’t walking through that door!” Sam can’t walk through that door because he can’t figure out how the handle works, or if it’s a push or a pull. Actually, the only guy welcome to walk through any door at 333. East Trade is Paul Silas, and that’s because he’s actually still a member of the franchise, in some undefined role.
Paul Silas won’t be coaching the team again next season. As discussed at length, you can’t keep the CEO of Lehmann Brothers around after the great collapse of 2008 and you can’t keep the head coach of a team that went 7-59 around for another year. I appreciate what all those names above did for the team in their time. All, except of course, for Sam “Ham Biscuit” Vincent. Bernie got things rolling as head coach and general manager and actually never let the team finish in last place. He was integral to the roots of development that the franchise started out with. He was around for 4 years, but coached for 3 seasons. He wasn’t Michael Jordan’s guy, so his contract wasn’t renewed. He was sent on his way, given a very awkward “retirement” party after the final game of the ’06-’07 season. Awkward, because he didn’t retire. He went on to be an assistant coach with both Chicago under Vinny Del Negro and Portland under Nate McMillan and whoever the hell replaced Nate when he got the axe.
Well, today’s been an interesting day, hasn’t it? I was in the middle of a nap before heading to work this evening when my phone exploded, right around 4 o’clock. Just Monday I posted on my facebook that “All I want for Christmas is Larry Brown to be fired.” Well, Santa seemed to be in a giving mood this week, because Christmas came early!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I hope that everyone here has a wonderful day and a great meal with their friends and family.
Here at BCP there are many things that I’m thankful for:
- I’m thankful for the great sense of community that we have here on our site. I guess surviving Sam Vincent, Adam Morrison and Jeff McInnis as a group can only make you stronger.
- I’m thankful for the many people that help out with the blogging, forum moderation, podcasts and t-shirt designs. I hope that I don’t miss anyone, but big thanks to Teej, SWedd523, Tamburello, Toocool, BigcatBobcat, BRNC, ajbry.
- As most of you know, I love to laugh. One thing that I’m certain of is that no matter what kind of day I’m having, I can come to this site and find something to laugh about. So most of all I’m thankful that here at BCP we have the funniest / coolest group of Bobcats fans that you can find anywhere. To prove this, take a look at a few of the snippets from last night’s game chat versus the Knicks. Even in the midst of a miserable defeat there were laughs to be had
The Larry Brown impact:
It is difficult to discuss the impact Head Coach Larry Brown has had on the Charlotte Bobcats without some discussion about the kind of team he inherited. The Bobcats had two Head Coaches before Coach Brown arrived in Charlotte, Bernie Bickerstaff and Sam Vincent.
Bernie Bickerstaff was hired as the first Head Coach, and also as the General Manager, for the new Charlotte franchise. The Bobcats became known as an overachieving group of players that steadily increased their wins with Coach Bickerstaff at the helm. I dislike “faulty logic” and will point out what I’m about to say is just that, faulty logic, to evaluate what Coach Bickerstaff accomplished with the Bobcats.
The ‘Cats won only 18 games their first year but increased their wins by eight games their second year and by seven their third year to a total of 33 victories, the last year Bernie coached the team. If those win increases continued over the next three years the team would have had 39, 44, and finally 48 wins this season. I doubt anyone believes that Coach Bickerstaff could have maintained those increases, and there is the fault in the logic. Michael Jordan was brought in as a minority owner and head of player operations for the last year Bernie coached the team. The prevailing belief, and a “best guess”, is that Jordan felt the team had reached a peak with Bickerstaff as the head coach and it was time to make a change.
Bickerstaff remained, for one year, as the ‘Cats GM, but Jordan was now calling the player personnel shots. The first coaching hire for Jordon was a then-assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, Sam Vincent. The team winning total actually decreased by one, to 32 wins, in the only season Vincent coached the Bobcats. It was an arguably better team than Bickerstaff had coached, since the Bobcats aquired a very talented offensive player in Jason Richardson. The team, under Vincent’s leadership, seemed disorganized and frustrated. Even the most “laid-back” player on the team at the time, Emeka Okafor, had issues with Coach Vincent. The Vincent experiment failed after one year.
The next season, 2008-09, Larry Brown was brought in by Jordan to coach the team. Brown had been asked to coach the team the year before, the Sam Vincent year, but turned the offer down and remained a consultant with the Philadelphia 76ers. Brown accepted the second offer to coach the team, and in him the Bobcats hired a Hall of Fame coach to repair the damage left from Vincent.
Coach Brown has many reputations attached with him. Turning around teams is one of those, “gypsy” is another. But one thing that is difficult to argue against concerning Coach Brown is his reputation as one of the best teaching coaches in basketball. Brown demands that his players “play the right way”. He expects players to play hard for 48 minutes, to play defense, and to share the basketball. This is easier-said-than-done with a group of players that readily admitted they’d never been coached before he arrived. Some players did not respond well to Coach Browns’ style and roster changes, another thing for which Brown is renowned, were inevitable. Trades were made and the roster began to take the shape of “Larry Brown” type players – players that played the “right way” in Coach Browns’ vision.
Jason Richardson was traded to the Suns for Raja Bell and Boris Diaw and the roster continued to slowly begin to reflect Coach Browns’ philosophy. The results from the first year after Brown arriving were a franchise high 35 wins. Trades continued (I will not talk about all of them) as Brown worked to retool the roster more to his liking. The results of all these transactions is difficult to argue against, since the Bobcats won 44 games his second year as Head Coach and find themselves in the play offs for the first time in their short history. It appears that Coach Brown’s reputation as a “turn-around” specialist is well-deserved. The players needed his expertise, the fans needed a team they could get behind, and the organization needed the respect teams gain from making the play offs. It is obvious that the decision by now-principle owner Jordan to bring Coach Brown in as the Head Coach was the correct decision. But the other “stigma” attached to Larry Brown now comes into play, that of the basketball “gypsy”.
Conversations coupled with rumors have already started about Coach Brown and his next “destination” as Head Coach. It has been reported that Coach Brown has received permission to leave the team, and the year remaining on his contract, at the end of this season, because his family still lives in Philadelphia and prefers not to move to Charlotte. We will not know if this is true until the season ends, but for now Coach Brown and the players seem focused on their first-round play off series against the Orlando Magic.
I’ll have, I hope, a three part series regarding who our next Head Coach might be if Coach Brown decides to leave after this season. But for now I’d like to thank him and our players for all their hard work this season, and wish them the best in the play offs.
In our forum in this thread, long time BCP members TheBeagle and BRNC gave their early season thoughts on Larry Brown. They both raise several excellent questions about LB’s performance so far this season.
What are your thoughts on their thoughts?
To allude to the thread heading, it’s no secret that Larry has been in my doghouse this season. He pronounces these tenants of “Playing the Right Way” to the point that the marketing wing of the franchise has adopted it to sell seats, and sadly, both are failing. Of the qualities of “Playing the Right Way”, the only one I’ve seen in action on a regular basis is rebounding. I mean, generally, they have really been hitting the boards. However, playing hard, smart, together and defending has been AWOL from the season debut in Boston through the visit to Detroit (excepting the Hawks game, which was more of a result of a team finishing up a long, westcoast roadie, then the other team’s excellence).
I don’t know what the hell happened, but it seems that since Raja’s injury against Miami late last season, the “Playing the Right Way” Bobcats that we fell in love with all over again have turned into some hideous monster that is, at most times, equally disjointed as the Sam Vincent version, yet, sadly, less fun to watch (howdy, JRich, how’s it going out there in PHX? you too, JD…) I don’t know what the percentage of blame is, 50/50, 60/40, whatever, but Larry has just brought as weak of an effort in his job as the majority of HIS players have this year. Yes, in the NBA, it’s a player’s league, where the coach is more figurehead and rotation manager than tactician, but there are those few that actually coach and teach, and we have one of the few. I mean, it’s his damn calling card: Larry isn’t hired for his late-game management or his ability to co-exist harmoniously with players, he is sought out for his teaching skills, and his ability to mold players (sometimes, maybe oftentimes kicking and screaming) into something better than they thought they could be. Succinctly, I haven’t seen it. I do think he’s done wonders for Gerald, but on the other hand, I think he’s ruined his jumper by instilling in him to drive or dish only. He was never a light’s out shooter, but through the Vincent years, he was at least hovering in the 40s with his jump shooting percentage as opposed to the remarkably poor state he’s been in under Larry. He used to have a jumper that would at least require an obligatory weak close out, but now, he regularly gets a 5ft window and CLANG is the result.
As for the acquisiton of talent: I think only Diop was a horrific move just because of his contract vs. Matty’s. This was the one trade I could never figure out when it was made, and it looks like I’ll never get it. The Vlade trade was okay with me at the time because of the misery of seeing Ammo’s misery at being here and taking the floor. In hindsight, however, it would’ve been better just to buy his contract out and be done with him and not acquire an enflated contract in exchange. For some reason, some people have a boner for Shannon Brown (likely because he plays for the Lakers and won a ring), but he’s the same player as he was here (just surrounded by infinitely better talent), and that’s no big loss to me.
I think he’s also had two good drafts, it’s just that now the ’08 looks bad because we have since traded Mek making Lopez a much more attractive pick than DJ. I also think Lexy has a good chance to have a long career in the league, but probably not here in this slower system…he needs to run and it just won’t happen with Larry in charge, which, once again, shows why, in retrospect, the ’08 draft was fubar’ed by Larry. This year, I desperately wanted Jrue over 12, but he’s a more than serviceable pick and makes sense, however limited he will likely always be on the offensive end; Derrick, well, that was a special pick and will be regarded as such years down the line (that is, if he isn’t shipped out inexplicably!).
We’ll see what happens, but at this point, this doesn’t resemble a Larry Brown team in any fashion except the exceptional rebounding. The players should be very much held accountable, no doubt about it, but as a teacher, and builder of this particular team, Larry should bear quite a bit of responsibility for this team’s lackluster performances in terms of preparation, questionable rotations, and enigmatic game management.
ILBIT was a great rallying cry last year, but it just rings so hollow now…..
BRNC (discussing Boris Diaw)
What I think has happened is this:
He played pretty good when he got here because he had something to prove…but he also started talking “smack” to AA about playing time and that has not helped AAs attitude…he also went to the French national team not in shape and got injured…and wants to play “his style” (up-tempo), and continues to make (attempt) to make passes he should not attempt and all these things have pissed off LB…
I’ve been watching the body language of other players (Felts and Crash in particular) towards Diaw and it is not good…I think Ray and Crash but into what LB wants to do…I can’t say the same for Diaw…I’m not in any way saying Diaw is a horrible player because he has his positives…but he is not a fit with LB…and I will add that someone (MJ and or Higgins) have told LB very clearly that if you want him out of here only say nice things about him…and to LBs credit he is…
LB even went to the trouble of looking at film to get Diaw more involved with the offense but Diaw is not “the man” and has never been and never will be…he is not a crunch time player…that is not what he is and I think it is unfair to try and “force him to be what he is not”…to be fair to him he needs to be with an up-tempo offense…