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…