Archive for August, 2008

Return On Investment

August 31, 2008

* Winning a championship, at any level, is difficult.
KU Jayhawks, 2008 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champions.
In the end, it’s about enjoying the process AND the toughness … emotional, mental and physical … it takes to complete the journey.

Return On Investment

August 29, 2008

Words of Wisdom from two more former Bad Boys

* What makes a terrific GM in the NBA? 
Dumars Interview: Arron Afflalo is one of those guys that all the good teams have to have on your team. Afflalo is just one of those guys that we were just recently talking about James Posey and what he did for Boston and Bruce Bowen and what he’s done for San Antonio over the years. I’ll date myself – Michael Cooper and what he did for the Lakers back in the day. Through the history of basketball, he’s one of those guys that you have to have on your team when you’re considered a really good team because those guys are willing to do whatever it takes to help your team win. It’s never about them individually. They just do whatever is necessary and that’s what he’s shaping up to be in the league. One of those guys that if it calls for defending somebody or face-guarding somebody, he’ll do it. If it calls for tyring to score, he’ll do it. If it calls for diving on loose balls all night long, he’ll do it. When you’re putting a team together you’re always looking for guys like that. Guys who’ll do whatever it takes to win.
Answers and insights like these.

* Live life without making enemies and you haven’t stood for much in this world.
Chuck Daly and his Bad Boys: “I think it must be because Billy made a lot of enemies when he was a player. But I tell you what. He is as smart as a whip. Someone is going to get darn lucky in this league. They just have to take a chance. I talked to the Maloofs about him when they were looking for a coach (last year), and they would have talked to him. But Geoff (Petrie) wasn’t interested.” 
Men like Daly and Laimbeer have always known what they stood for.

In appreciation of the Worm

August 29, 2008

Okay … it’s been a relatively slow week, post Beijing and all.

However, as each day has slipped by the following video clip … via Wednesday’s BDL … just kept lingering in the subconscience of this correspondent:

… as ‘Exhibit A’ pertaining to the only man in the History of the NBA who could actually defend … with aplomb … all 5 positions on the court, against some of the most outstanding athletes (in any sport) of ALL-TIME.

In conjunction with the seemingly outlandish claim of the ZenMaster …

“He could probably play a 48-minute game and play the 48th minute stronger than the first minute of the game,” Jackson told the crowd at UND. “He was that terrific an athlete.”

and what was written in this space last season …

The Worm vs the Winner [Jan 31, 2008]

know that these eyes are in full agreement with the acute observation of Dr. Phil.

Based upon his on-court performance … Dennis Rodman HAS EARNED his place some day in the Basketball Hall Of Fame … and, it will be a d*mn shame if he never gets there.

Chris Bosh’s strength … as a player and a person

August 26, 2008

Redeem accomplishes mission

“He has been as valuable a player as we have on our team,” Krzyzewski said when asked about Bosh. “He has played with such maturity and smarts. You can see it in his play, but if you could hear him talk to our team and talk to the other big guys, in practice, in games and on the bench. …

“In this tournament, we are seeing an already outstanding player raise his game to another level. I’m very proud of him. He has been a real man for us.”

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In sharp contrast to what most other NBA observers will tell you …

De-constructing the mystery that is Chris Bosh [April 21, 2008]

this ^^^ is exactly who Chris Bosh is … as an Elite Level NBA player and as an Elite Level person.

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He rebounded. He motivated. He played defence, especially against the international pick-and-roll, which so wounded the Americans four years ago in Athens, when the great basketball power slumped to bronze. He stayed active on offence, always presenting himself as a threat, even if he didn’t always get the ball.

“I think sometimes you have to have someone behind the scenes who does the little things,” Bosh said. “You have to keep everybody motivated. If we come out flat, I’m not afraid to say something. If we’re not playing well, I have to pick everybody up.”

Bosh admits it wasn’t easy, checking his ego, not taking shots he would take in the NBA and not looking at the stats sheet. But that was the pledge the U.S. players made when they decided that global basketball supremacy was more important than egos, shots and statistics.

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Chris Bosh has ALWAYS had the ‘soul’ of ‘the Great Man‘ himself locked away inside …

and it’s been unfortunate that only a few astute NBA observers have been able to decipher accurately what his actual strengths are, prior to this point in his (still young) career.

Hopefully … this will now begin to change … and others (e.g. Raptors’ Management & Coaches?) too will comprehend just how good this young man COULD/WOULD/SHOULD be … if he emphasizes the REBOUNDING, TEAM DEFENSE, SHOT-BLOCKING, FACILITATOR (Team Offense) and … most importantlyLEADERSHIP role with whatever team he plays for.

Living life with Eyes Wide Shut is no way to be. 

NOTE: Only if the lessons learned from the 2008 Olympic Games are ignored … will Chris Bosh’s Beijing fail to translate to the NBA.

What becomes of the broken-hearted?

August 25, 2008

Took a while to find just the right article link for this story …

As I walk this land with broken dreams
I have visions of many things
Love’s happiness is just an illusion
Filled with sadness and confusion,
What becomes of the broken hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
Maybe.
The fruits of love grow all around
But for me they come a tumblin’ down.
Every day heartaches grow a little stronger
I can’t stand this pain much longer
I walk in shadows
Searching for light
Cold and alone
No comfort in sight,
Hoping and praying for someone to care
Always moving and goin to where
What becomes of the broken hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
Maybe.
I’m searching though I don’t succeed,
But someone look, there’s a growing need.
Oh, he is lost, there’s no place for beginning,
All that’s left is an unhappy ending.
Now what’s become of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
I’ll be searching everywhere
Just to find someone to care.
I’ll be looking everyday
I know I’m gonna find a way
Nothings gonna stop me now
I’ll find a way somehow
I’ll be searching everywhere
– Jimmy Ruffin

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Redeem Team is personal for Collins

“For him to go through what he did and not be rewarded for what he did in Munich, it still bothers me. It upsets me every time I see it. To have this opportunity, to bring the gold medal back to the U.S. with him there broadcasting the game (for NBC), I don’t think anything could be more special to me.”

But you know what Collins really wants? He wants his song, the one he never heard in Germany 36 years ago. He wants to watch as Team USA stands atop the podium, and then lose himself in the national anthem.

“I’m going to take my headset off. I’m going to stand up. I’m going to put my hand over my heart,” Collins said. “And I’m going to say thank you.”

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Mission accomplished, Doug.

After the Gold: First-class comments from Team USA

August 24, 2008

Straight from the horses’ mouths …

Post-game comments from members of Team USA

Click the link ^ … and read each one.

What it means to be a TEAM.

Hoops 101

August 24, 2008

This corner hates to say, “You were told what was going to happen”, in advance, but …

* USA vs Spain for Olympic Gold
* Upside and Motor: Team USA Blogger Roundtable

The USA will NEED to send its VERY best players in order to win Gold Medals in Olympic Games’ men’s basketball.

If not … the rest of the the world is quickly becoming good ‘enough’ to capture Gold or Silver should the USA slip up.

Top flight basketball … like soccer/football … is now truly an international game … with good players and coaches scattered everywhere around the globe. -)

Kudos to …

* Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, Mark Gasol, Pau Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro, Carlos Jimenez, Felipe Reyes, Jorge Garbajosa, Berni Rodrigues, Raul Lopez, Alex Mumbru, Jose Calderon (injured), their coaches & support staff

* Kobe Bryant, Leron James, Dwyane Wade, Deron Williams, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Jason Kidd, Tayshaun Prince, Carlos Boozer, Michael Redd, their coaches and support staff …

Box Score & Game Summary

for giving such a good account of yourselves.

That, right there … ^^^ … my friends … was first-class basketball.

USA vs Spain for Olympic Gold

August 23, 2008

19 days ago, this corner told you what was most likely going to happen in the 2008 Olympic Games’ men’s basketball tournament …

Upside and Motor: Team USA blogger roundtable [August 4, 2008]

It might not be pretty tomorrow during the final, from a USA perspective, but the ‘Stars & Stripes’ is going to win the Gold Medal.

Q1. What was wrong with USA Basketball in 2002, 2004 & 2006?

A1. Nothing which could not be fixed by the likes of Kobe Bryant & Jason Kidd.

NOTE: This corner’s favourite moment, thus far, in this Olympic tournament was the two-armed shiver delivered by Jason Kidd … to Carmelo Anthony when the latter was about to lose his head and physically combat an Argentinian player [Luis Scola?] in the heat of battle, in response to a hard foul which had been made on Dwight Howard, early in the 2nd half of yesterday’s semi-final with the defending champs still within strking distance. In effect, it said: “Smarten up kid, we have a Gold Medal to Win!” When a team gets on-court leadership like that … it is going to win the Gold Medal, if it also has (i) THE BEST PLAYER on the planet (i.e. Kobe Bean Bryant), (ii) the 2nd best player on the planet (i.e. Lebron James), and (iii) the 3rd best player on the planet (i.e. D-Wade), when healthy … not named Tim Duncan. American basketball was never ‘deficient’. Their very best players, weren’t playing in combination with one another.

Seeing accurately what others seem to miss

August 21, 2008

Reading a story like this …

Gallinari vs Italian Foe

There were some scouts raving before the draft that Gallinari, selected sixth this past June, will be a better player than the 6-11 Bargnani, selected No. 1 overall in 2006 by Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo. Colangelo has told friends he believes Bargnani will have the better career.

… re-inforces a perception this corner has held for a long time about Bryan Colangelo (GM Toronto Raptors) and his ability to evaluate elite level NBA talent … i.e. he is an ‘average’ GM who is skilled at evaluating low end NBA players but struggles when it comes to identifying high end talent accurately.

For the Record … it says here that, before they’re finished in the NBA:

i) Andrea Bargnani is going to be an effective Role Player; while,

ii) Daniello Gallinari is going to be a Super Star,

… and it won’t even be a close contest.

Gallinari is a more consistent shooter.
Gallinari is the more agile player.
Gallinari is a better NBA athlete, at the position he plays.
Gallinari is a better finisher in the lane.
Gallinari is a better rebounder.
Gallinari is a better passer.
Gallinari is a better defender.
Gallinari is the more physical player, at the position he plays.
Gallinari is the more passionate player.

Gallinari is going to become a perennial All-Star in the NBA.

Genie no longer in the lamp

August 21, 2008

The RESPECT this corner has for Mike Krzyzewski just went up immeasurably.

Dispelling two myths on eve of US-Argentina semifinal

“The thing that our American fans don’t understand is that we’ve learned from other international coaches, from the way they conceive their systems, from individual players. We’ve always looked at it from an American basketball culture that we’re always giving knowledge to the world. And that has changed. They’re giving knowledge, and we’re sharing knowledge of the game. To me, that’s the one of best things about this whole experience, and I think the world sees that in us. They know we’re not kidding when we say that, and that’s something we have to take forward.

“Basketball is played at a high level all over the world; that’s why a third of the NBA is international. I mean, why don’t we come to the full realization that there are a lot of really good players and a lot of good systems all over the world?”

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In this instance, the stark reality is exactly as Coach K. has outlined in this article … and every hoops aficionado around the world today needs to understand fully the ramifications of his words:

1. Just because the highest paid basketball coaches in the world currently reside and are employed in the USA, either in the NBA or the NCAA … Does NOT mean that there is some sort of monopoly on coaching excellence which exists today in America.

2. Just because the VERY BEST basketball players in the world today reside and ply their trade in the USA does not mean that OUTSTANDING players cannot be trained/developed in other countries around the world … using a system which is different to the one in place today in America … or that the US model is somehow shattered or deficient.

Basketball is an international game today … without room for parochial notions of what constitutes an outstanding coach or player AND where such individuals are IN FACT concentrated around the world.

Kudos to a good coach and an examplary LEADER who emphasizes straight talk, at all times.