ATF ROUND 1: Moo2K4 / Denny Crane / chingy0007

Discussion in 'S2 Sports Bar' started by J_Ray, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. J_Ray

    J_Ray JBB JustBBall Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Messages:
    5,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    38
    DEBATE TOPIC:




    Remember to abide by the rules, and debate about the topic avoiding any personal attacks. Let's get it on!

     
  2. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Messages:
    72,944
    Likes Received:
    10,531
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Never lost a case
    Location:
    Boston Legal
    In order to make it into the HOF, a coach needs longevity, and mostly contending teams (if not championships). It is difficult to predict that any of the next generation coaches will have their job come next season, let alone for long enough to be considered for the HOF. But if I had to pick one, I'd look at a guy like Mike D'Antoni, or at coaches of teams that are young and potentially have a bright future. In the latter category, Nate McMillan of Portland or whoever ends up coaching OKC to winning seasons seem likely. McMillan has coached two different teams to 50 win seasons, which says a lot, but that's two out of nine total seasons and the rest are not so good; he's not even a .500 coach for his career.

    My pick is Mike D'Antoni. D'Antoni coaches a rather unique system of basketball that has produced a number of consistent winning seasons and contending teams. What remains to be seen is if he can install that system a second time in the asylum that is the Knicks franchise, and whether his system can produce championships. In his last four seasons in Phoenix, his team won 60 games twice and 50 games twice; he has a career .574 winning percentage, even with three sub .400 winning seasons out of his seven total.

    As I mentioned, he has to prove he can build a winner with the Knicks. If he does, he'll be doing it in the glare of the largest media market and he'll certainly get the kind of hype to help his HOF chances. It took him 2 losing seasons in Phoenix to get both his system in place and the personnel to run it. If the Knicks back him, and I think they will, the Knicks may turn from doormat to contender.

    To summarize, I believe he has the best chance because his success to date exceeds the other candidates and he is in a situation where if he does turn things around in New York it would be a top reason to consider him for the HOF.
     
  3. bbwchingy0007

    bbwchingy0007 BBW Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,500
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    To open, perhaps it's better to look at the causes of the situation we are in. As indicated in the question, this is not something which is just affecting the NBA; rather it is affecting sports in general. Over the past decade, when the economic health of the West was good, the focus was on winning, and winning as soon as possible. You only need to look at European football for evidence of this. In the English Premier League, just Arsene Wenger (13), David Moyes (7), Rafael Benitez (5) and Sir Alex Ferguson (23) have managed their current sides for 5 years or more. Interestingly enough, these are four of the top teams in England, and none of these four have been the subject of oil-tycoon type takeovers which have resulted in huge sums of money spent on players followed by an interfering owner. Perhaps the best example of a quick trigger finger by an owner in all of sports is Roman Abramovich of Chelsea. To give a bit of backstory, he is a Russian Oil Tycoon who benefited hugely from the breakup of the Soviet Union and the subsequent sale of its oilfields. He took over Chelsea FC in June 2003, and since then they have had 6 different managers (plus a caretaker boss who managed the side for one game). Over this period they have been successful, but any slip ups have been punished with the loss of a job for the top man. It is believed by many that it an interfering culture within the team has also disillusioned the managers resulting in unhappiness, a lack of trust and ultimately poor motivation across the entire team. So how does this relate to basketball? Well, this represents a growing trend of owners paying huge sums of money for teams and demanding immediate success. A quick look at history, however, shows that true success requires a well-built structure that takes years to compile properly.

    If this meddling culture does indeed exist within the NBA then it might be tricky for coaches to stay with teams for long enough to truly make their impact. After all, one Championship is generally not going to be enough to send you to the Hall of Fame. Of the coaches currently active in the League, just 7 have spent five years or more at their current teams (and 4 of them have spent exactly 5 years). The average length of time spent at the current team for NBA Coaches is just 3.2 years (interestingly that figure drops to just 2 in the East). For all active coaches (as categorised by basketball-reference.com) the average experience is 7.7 years. Compare this to the average of 20.3 years experience for HoF coaches and you see that there is a huge gulf to bridge. It appears that this would be down to owners demanding immediate success from their coaches and firing coaches before they get the chance to really embed their style on the team. Thus it would appear that it will not only take a special coach and special set of players, but a special owner as well for the next HoF coach.

    So where might we find this? We need a good team with a core that will last a few years at least, a patient owner and a good "new breed" coach. To do this I will set a few parameters. To be classed as a coach of the new breed, I will arbitrarily determine that they must have 10 years of fewer of experience. I'm looking for a team with a core that is capable of competing for a Championship for the next 5+ years (or will have competed for 5+ years when taking the past into account).

    The first situation that springs to mind is that in Portland. Nate McMillan has proven himself to be a good coach across his 9 years in the NBA. His W-L record is 360-363, so he is as close as possible to being a winning coach. When you consider that his first year with the Blazers was a turbulent one at best (with players like Darius Miles and Zach Randolph getting into trouble on and off the court), that 21-61 record really doesn't seem as though it was down to him. The Blazers have improved steadily at a rate of about 10 games per year across his reign, and it looks as though he has a fantastic core that can really challenge the Lakers atop the West for a long time to come. They have Brandon Roy locked to a new deal, as well as players such as LaMarcus Aldridge, Batum and Oden who could really form a formidable team. The fact that owner Paul Allen has given Nate time shows that he is patient, and I wouldn't be surprised if we are still talking about Nate as the coach of this time in a decade. If that happens, I have no doubt that they would have won at least two titles, and McMillan could by then be on his way to the Hall of Fame.

    Another candidate is Byron Scott. He has 9 years of experience and the 2007-08 season with the Hornets was truly a great one. However, they struggled this past year, coming 4th in the Southwest and were dumped out in the first round of the playoffs. We will see in the next year whether it was this or the previous season that was the anomaly. Scott has in general done a good job as a coach (his record is exactly .500) and his record, like McMillan's, is skewed by his first year with the current team (when they went 18-64). New Orleans has a good core in Chris Paul, David West and Emeka Okafor, but it does seem that their financial position could really punish them in the future. It has even been rumoured that they would be willing to trade Chris Paul if it means they could save money in the long run. If this has any element of truth in it, then New Orleans will not be the place to breed a Hall of Fame coach because, if they are willing to trade competitiveness for money, great seasons will be hard to come by.

    Doc Rivers is another candidate. He has 10 years of experience and has an overall winning record of 401-348. Rivers has in my eyes shown himself to be more of a people-person that anything else in his time as a coach. He has need developed a revolutionary style, but he has managed to integrate three superstars into one team without a conflict of egos. True, he was aided by the trio's desire for a win (and to do whatever they needed to in order to win that ring) but it is still an achievement in itself to balance three big egos. He also benefits from the fact that his great success has come in Boston, with the team with one of the greatest histories of them all. However, the greatest challenge facing him is longevity; for his star players are ageing, and we are already wondering if, when Garnett returns, he will ever be the same again. Boston should be able to compete for at least the next 2-3 years, but beyond that it could be difficult unless Ainge pulls off another miracle.

    Mike D'Antoni's offensive system sets him apart from the rest of the challengers. He brought the run'n'gun offense to the NBA, with great success in the regular season; four consecutive 50-game winning seasons. However, his lack of success in the Playoffs is a serious blotch on his record. However, time is not over, and with the possibility of a star player coming to New York next year, he might be able to engineer a contending team once again. However, whether or not he will be able to overcome that hurdle and actually become a Champion is unknown. What is for sure, though, is that if LeBron does join the Knicks next year, he will demand a competing team, and will demand it immediately, which could ultimately cost D'Antoni his job.

    Unfortunately, this candidate will scream out bias for many of you: Mike Brown. I'll admit that he has his shortcomings (notably his inability to coach/devise a good offense), but he statistics really are fantastic. Across his four seasons as a head coach, his W-L record is 211-117 (.643) and he has managed to get the Cavs to the Finals once. He has a good team at his disposal this season, with LeBron, Shaq and Mo Williams as the leading threats to the opposition. He has also added two good complementary players in Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon, kept Ilgauskas, Varejao and West. Add to that the streaky shooter Daniel Gibson, and the Cavs really do have good depth going into this season and beyond. Furthermore, Brown has addressed his shortcoming, and has adopted the American football strategy of essentially hiring an offensive co-ordinator (last season it was John Kuester, new Head Coach of the Pistons) which worked wonders. Whilst this might diminish his personal achievement somewhat, he is still the Head Coach and the statistics are attributed to him. Also, his defensive coaching (learnt under Greg Popovich) is one of the best in the NBA. He has moulded LeBron James into an elite defender, and the Cavs as a team into one of the top defensive teams in the League. The only problem they face is a lack of quickness at the C spot, which the Orlando Magic can exploit ruthlessly. If he can figure out a way to address that problem, the Cavs could do seriously well this season. And if the Cavs do seriously well this season, then LeBron James is likely to stay. If he stays, the Cavs will most likely win multiple titles over the next decade or so, and if Mike Brown can stay as Head Coach, that could be enough to send him into the Hall of Fame.

    My final candidate is perhaps a dark horse. Lawrence Frank is the second-youngest coach in the NBA and sits with a 225-225 record. The Nets are in the middle of a rebuilding process, but have a good young core of Devin Harris, Brook Lopez and newly-acquired Courtney Lee. They are quite possibly either 2 major acquisitions or 3-4 years away from competing, but Frank has shown that he has at least some of the attributes required to take them to where they need to be. As a young coach, he might also have potential to move onto a better team in the future and perhaps compete there. I'm not saying he has even a good shot at the HoF, but if the cards fall his way in New Jersey, he could just get there.

    In conclusion I still think that Nate McMillan has the best chance, a chance that I would probably rate as about 50-50, but he's not the only one with a fair chance. I also think that Mike Brown and Mike D'Antoni have a good chance (interestingly this hinges largely on which one of the two will be coaching LeBron James come 2010) if they can win a couple of Championships. The rest, however, have only a small chance and require luck, more than anything else, if they are to make it to the Hall.
     
  4. Moo2K4

    Moo2K4 NBA West Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Messages:
    11,768
    Likes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Alburnett, Iowa
    My pick for this has to be Byron Scott.

    He's still a relatively young coach (just turned 48 in March), he's at exactly .500 in his career thus far (349-349), he's been to the NBA Finals twice and has turned around 2 putrid teams in to playoff teams.

    Just look at the work he's done. When he first came to the Nets, he inherited an absolutely putrid team. That team, as expected, went a whopping 26-56 in his first season there. But the Nets held on to him (something that doesn't happen nowadays with coach after a season that bad), and it paid them tremendous dividends. They ended up landing Jason Kidd that year, and Byron Scott turned that team from one of the worst teams in the NBA to Eastern Conference Champs with a 26 game turnaround, finishing that season 52-30 and winning the Atlantic Division. It was unfortunate for him that they met the Lakers in the Finals that year and ended up getting swept, but it was still an impressive and nearly unprecedented single season turnaround. And the fact that he did it as a 2nd year head coach is even more impressive.

    The Nets then repeated this process the next year, winning the Atlantic Division again and going 49-33 and again making the Finals. However, they again lost in the Finals to the Spurs.

    To his dismay, he was eventually fired the next season after an inconsistent 22-20 start. Despite that, he still had a very successful coaching stint in New Jersey, turning a team from a 26 win team his first season to a 2 time Eastern Conference Champ over the course of the next 2 while compiling a 101-63 regular season record during those two seasons, as well as a 25-15 playoff record, and coming just 2 wins shy of winning the title in his 3rd year. Overall, he went 174-154.

    After a pretty successful stint in New Jersey, he was hired as the head coach of another pitiful team - the New Orleans Hornets. And just as he did in New Jersey, he, to say the least, did not have much success that first season. He finished 18-64, giving them one of the worst records in the NBA, but also giving them the opportunity to draft eventual ROY Chris Paul. And after that horrid season, things didn't get any easier.

    While he had moderate success his next 2 years, going 38-44 and 39-43, he deserves more credit than what he might get. He coached a team that was devastated by something that didn't just affect them, but an entire city: Hurricane Katrina. While he had to do his job and coach, you have to think that during those two seasons, there were more concerns than just winning games on the court, and the fact that he had two moderately successful seasons under the types of circumstances he was under was very impressive. Also to mention, to have a 22 game turnaround between his first and second season in New Orleans was also incredible considering the circumstances.

    Then we look at just two seasons ago, a season that is probably his finest yet. His Hornets finished 56-26, 2nd overall in the West behind the top seeded Lakers by just a game. This was the year where, just in order to make the playoffs in the West, you HAD to win 50 games. Against just incredible competition like that, to win 56 games was an amazing feat, and absolutely deserving of the COY award that eventually won. While his team was ousted in the Conference Semis by the Spurs, he still did an astounding job coaching, again increasing the Hornets win total for a 3rd straight season, this time by 17 games.

    And then we have last year. It was a moderately successful year, though they couldn't duplicate the previous years success. To his defense though, the Hornets did battle injuries last year - center Tyson Chandler who missed 37 games and incumbent starting SF Peja Stojakovic missed 21 games. Both of these guys were key parts to their success the year before and each of them missed large chunks of games and never really were as effective as the Hornets had hoped for. Despite this, the Hornets still won 49 games and finished 4th in the Southwest Conference and again making the playoffs.

    So, while Byron Scott can't claim that he's won an NBA Title as a coach yet, he's been there twice, won a COY award, has compiled 349 career regular season wins and 33 postseason wins. And as long as NOH management doesn't pinch pennies too much, there's a very good chance Byron Scott can continue his recent run of success in as coach of the Hornets. And if he's not coaching there, I'm sure there will be a team out there willing to give him a shot since he's a coach who's proven he can take a team from worst to first in a short span of time.
     
  5. bbwchingy0007

    bbwchingy0007 BBW Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,500
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    I think this is precisely the problem that Scott is going to face. Yes he's a good coach, but it looks as if he's locked in a pretty tough situation in New Orleans. I think that team is going to be one of those teams that has winning seasons most years, and more often than not makes the playoffs, but never quite makes the impact required to produce a Hall of Fame coach. His best opportunity to make the Hall is probably to move onto another team, but then the question is where could he move to? Perhaps a good option would be Cleveland. It was heavily rumoured after the Cavs lost to the Magic that they might be looking to get rid of Mike Brown, who's shortcomings were oh-so-obvious in the clutch moments of that series. Whilst Dan Gilbert and Danny Ferry understand the importance of continuity within a team (as do the owners of most of the perennial contenders in the NBA) they also understand the need to have an elite coach. Thus the Cavs would be a good option for a coach like Scott (should the opportunity arise).

    Perhaps a more intriguing possibility, though, is the Lakers. It is not clear for how long Phil Jackson will continue to coach them, particularly given that he has no fingers left to put a ring on. If the Lakers were to need to seek a new coach in the near future, I have no doubt that Scott would be near the top of the list. He has proven that he can coach a team to the top (well, nearly) and, especially if he can build on his success in the future, he should recognised as a top coach. Combine that with the fact that he was an integral part of the Lakers' Showtime era, and the Lakers could well look towards him in the future. If they do, there will no doubt be huge pressure on him (both because of his on-court success with the Lakers and due to the success of his predecessors). Nevertheless, as coach of the Lakers one thing can be certain: you will be competing for a championship. And if you are competing for championships year on year, as a coach you are proving your worth.

    These are, however, two big "ifs". "If" he doesn't manage to move to a contending team with a willingness to spend, his chances at making the Hall are slim, for I think it is obvious that the Hornets are beginning to pinch the pennies already.


    That is his biggest challenge, and by far the biggest challenge he will ever face. However, I think D'Antoni's system is inherently flawed, in that there is such a lack of focus on defense. In some ways, he represents the total opposite of Mike Brown and the way he runs things in Cleveland. However, because defense is really where the heart of basketball in the playoffs lies, Brown should be able to do bigger and better things in Cleveland given the same resources. If, however, D'Antoni pulls a move like Brown (and hires a "Defensive Co-ordinator") perhaps he will be able to fuse entertaining up-tempo basketball with a solid defensive system. In essence, free-scoring on offense whilst making the opposition work for everything on the other end. I think, however, that D'Antoni's hopes lie largely on who the Knicks might be able to acquire come 2010. Donnie Walsh is likely to stick with D'Antoni no matter what happens this coming season, but the success of the Knicks is likely to be hugely dependent on who they can acquire in the offseason next year. If they can get a star player or two, and thus turn themselves into contenders once more, then D'Antoni might stand a better chance. However, many of the signs are pointing to the superstars of 2010 returning to their teams, given the worsening state of the economy and so on. If the Knicks don't get a star within the next couple of years, I can't see them contending within the next 5 years or so. And if they're not contending, I can't see D'Antoni sticking around for that long either.

    Neither Byron Scott nor Mike D'Antoni has what Nate McMillan has right now. In my previous post, I outlined three keys that a coach needs to be successful enough to make the Hall. First, they need to be able to coach well. I know it sounds obvious, but it is at least worth pointing out. All three of these guys check this box, although Mike D'Antoni has significant problems with his defense. Second, they need a team capable of competing for the Championship. At present, D'Antoni does not. The Knicks are likely to compete for the worst record in the NBA this season, and are relying almost entirely on bringing in a big name next offseason. However, Byron Scott and Nate McMillan do have teams that are capable of competing both now and for years to come. Third, they need a patient owner who is also willing to spend in order to make the team win. Both the Knicks and the Blazers have this owner, so Mike D'Antoni and Nate McMillan check the box. However, the Hornets look set to reduce spending at the expense of winning. Whilst this makes good financial sense, it will not win any awards for the coaching staff. Thus, Byron Scott does not have the third and final key to being a truly great coach. Granted, it's not his fault, but he doesn't have it. We can speculate all we want about what might happen in 2010, or where Byron Scott might end up as a coach, but only Nate McMillan has everything in place right now for him to go out, do what he does for the next decade or so and come out of it a future Hall of Famer. Neither of the other two can say this, so it is clear to me that Nate McMillan is the most likely of the "new generation" of coaches to make the Hall.
     
  6. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Messages:
    72,944
    Likes Received:
    10,531
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Never lost a case
    Location:
    Boston Legal
    Doug Collins is 332-287 (.536) lifetime as a coach. Superior to Scott and McMillan, but he's not even close to being a HOFer.

    I suspect that McMillan will be looked upon like Collins - the coach to get a team close enough to sniff a championship, but will be replaced by the guy they expect to win championships.

    Scott's seasons with the Nets were during the weakest seasons for the Eastern Conference in memory. Boston got an 8th seed with 33 wins - that's how weak that conference was. He's a coach with two of the top talents in the NBA and did not dominate that weak conference.

    Sloan has never won a championship, but he's coached winning teams and rebuilt on the fly several times. Riley's in because he won championships with the Lakers and Miami and also was a great coach in NY. Phil Jackson has won championships with two teams and two different rebuilt Lakers teams.

    Doc Rivers is the guy who is closest to those guys because he's won a ring, but he was regarded as a horrible coach until he was handed 3x top 50 all-time NBA players. The Celtics look like they're in serious decline from championship level, I don't think he's going to last there for very long.

    There simply isn't a compelling next generation coach outside of D'Antoni. He's had 14, 21, and 32 win seasons and is still way over .500 for his 8 year career. His system consistently made Phoenix one of the favorites to win a championship, and unlike Scott, he did it with his top guys injured. Amare, for example, missed 27 and 79 games in two of those seasons as Phoenix head coach.

    D'Antoni gets a bad rap for his teams not playing defense. While they play at a high pace, his teams in Phoenix typically scored 110 PPG and allowed 102, which is good enough to win against any opponent. In fact, those Riley coached Showtime Lakers weren't much on defense and won 5 championships (they did have Michael Cooper as 6th man, though). The Celtics of the same era weren't much different from the Suns: 109.8 PPG / 103.5 PPG defensively (in 1984) at a high pace.

    Time is not on D'Antoni's side, however. He's 57 years old, and got a real late start as an NBA coach. His overseas coaching may well factor into his worthiness to be in the HOF, though. I don't think he's a lock, at this point, to make the HOF, but if he gets a few 55+ win seasons with the Knicks before he's through, he's got the best shot of any coach with less than 10 years' tenure with a team.

    I'll close by pointing out that talent makes a bad coach look good, but it takes a guy like PJax to lead a team to championships. The Lakers were quite good, on paper, for a few seasons before PJax became coach, and had guys like Del Harris coach the team to 48,53,56, and 61 victories but not championship material. The summer that PJax became coach, the Lakers dealt away some serious talent from that 61 win team: Eddie Jones, Elden Campbell, and Nick Van Exel (the season before). PJax took them to three straight championships anyway. The second championship: 108.4 PPG, 104.8 PPG defense (21st of 29th in the league).
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  7. Moo2K4

    Moo2K4 NBA West Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Messages:
    11,768
    Likes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Alburnett, Iowa
    Doug Collins is superior to Scott and McMillan for now, but I don't foresee that lasting too much longer. Byron's already got 17 more wins and is currently coaching in arguably the best conference the game has ever seen. If he has continued success, he'll easily surpass Collins in terms of coaching success.

    I personally think that he's going to have a very good shot this year. While I did mention the penny pinching ways of New Orleans earlier, they did take on some added salary by bringing in Okafor in place of Chandler. While their salaries are similar, Chandler's contract is off the books sooner Okafor's. Okafor's contract ends in 2013, with roughly $61mil left owed of his 6yr/$72mil contract, and Chandler only has 2yr/$24mil left of his 6yr/$63mil contract. So while we might think they're trying to pinch pennies, this could be the sign of them maybe looking to build a contender. This could also be them blowing smoke at us too, but that won't be known for the time being. And Mike Brown...well, we'll see what he can do this year after losing Kuester.

    Mike D'Antoni, in my book, is a HIGHLY overrated coach. He runs a system that's built around the pick and roll and 3 point shooting. His style of coaching, while highly entertaining, is not conducive to winning. That was proven when that incredible Suns team he had fell flat on their faces each year in the playoffs during his 4 years there. His style is good for regular season wins, but his inability to coach defense will come back to bite him whenever he makes the playoffs. When you're in the postseason, getting stops is crucial, and his teams have proven time and again that they can't come through with crucial stops when needed.

    The other thing that's going to kill him is where he's coaching. We can throw away the postseason thing for now, because as long as he's in the black hole that is the New York Knicks, he's going nowhere. The way things are going, that team is completely geared towards landing a top tier FA come 2010, at least one. If they don't, his opportunity for success is going to go straight down the tubes. They're not going to have much of a team by then, and despite the ridiculous amount of cap their set up to have (potentially more if they can find suitors Curry and Jeffries), if they don't land a LeBron or a Bosh or a Wade, no other middle of the line FAs are going to want to come there either. It's superstar of bust for them, and if they don't land one of those top tier guys, they're done. You can say that there's always next year, but you can only use that excuse for so long. It's going to be 2010 or bust for the Knicks, and in essence, it could be 2010 or bust for D'Antoni's career as the Knick's coach.

    The other issue is his age. At 57, he's 11 years older than Byron Scott and has arguably had less success. He's yet to make it out of the conference finals and his best teams could be behind him. He may be playing in a weak Eastern Conference right now, which has the potential to work out to his advantage depending on what management can do in 2010, but even with that, he's got a roster that's somewhat in shambles because of the fact that this team doesn't want to dive in to 2010 cap. Mike D'Antoni is a completely at the mercy of the Knicks front office. If they make the right moves and can land those superstars, than success could be imminent. If they don't though, well, his future won't be looking too bright.

    I should also feel free to throw out this: Byron Scott, of all the coaches mentioned, is the only who has really had playoff success. He's been to the NBA Finals twice and has a 33-24 postseason record. D'Antoni, who couldn't make it past the Conf. Finals despite some VERY good Phoenix teams, is just a game above .500 at 26-25, and McMillan is actually the low man on the totem pole, going just 10-12 and has only won one postseason series.
     
  8. bbwchingy0007

    bbwchingy0007 BBW Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,500
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    I would agree that D'Antoni is probably the most compelling candidate; there is more to discuss with him. He created an innovative offensive system for the NBA, which was dominant for much of the regular season. However, against the elite teams in the so-called "second season" it proved inadequate to give him the success he craves. True, it was his offensive system that won Steve Nash two MVP awards, but is it not his lack of a defensive system that arguably cost the team a shot at a Championship?

    You brought up the pace factor and compared D'Antoni's system to the Showtime Lakers, and the Celtics of the same era. However, league-wide the pace was much faster then; that was the way the game was played. Since then the intensity on defense has increased, leading to a slower pace and thus fewer points scored. To liken D'Antoni's Suns, who played in an era where NBA teams averaged fewer than 100 points per game, to teams playing in an era where teams averaged 110+ (some even averaged 120) is preposterous. Yes, they style might be similar, but right now D'Antoni's Suns are not "the norm". Rather, they suffer when playing elite teams because elite defenses have evolved to stop that style of play. In games of less intensity/importance, D'Antoni's system can work fine, but in games of greater importance against elite opposition, his system simply does not cut it. And will never be able to cut it.


    That is true for McMillan, but if you consider that for the past four seasons he has been building a team full of young guys with great potential in what you yourself called "arguably the best conference the game has ever seen", then the fact that he has managed two .500+ seasons and had a .450 winning percentage overall with Portland is very impressive. Consider also that there has been a steady improvement of 10 games per season, and it is apparent that he is doing a great job. Finally, remember that his 41-41 season was done despite not having his #1 Draft pick for the entire season, so his primary rebuilding tool was taken away for a year. Byron Scott, on the other hand, has a few young guys at his disposal, yet managed to do significantly worse in the 08-09 season than in the 07-08 season.

    I would agree that McMillan needs more postseason experience (and success) if he is to make the Hall, but with this current Portland team, the one certainty is that they will be making the postseason a lot in the near future.
     
  9. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Messages:
    72,944
    Likes Received:
    10,531
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Never lost a case
    Location:
    Boston Legal
    I fail to see how another era's pace has anything to do with the Suns. They did what they did, and the opponents' PPG sure indicates they played uptempo against the Suns. This means the Suns controlled the ballgames.

    Not every team can win the championship. It sure looks to me that the Suns were contenders and could have won it any of four seasons. Since they've gone away from D'Antoni's style, they aren't contenders. More like 1st and out in the playoff type expectations.

    What I pointed out was the scoring differential. The game is about scoring at least 1 more point than the opponent, not holding them to under some score or making an occasional stop. I do mean occasional, because if teams could do it with regularity, there wouldn't be 90+ points per game by their opponents.

    There's also this gem I'm pulling from a thread in the Blazers forum, taken from ESPN Insider:

    Take a look at the scoring margin of the Suns, the Lakers, and the Celtics teams I posted about earlier.
     
  10. Moo2K4

    Moo2K4 NBA West Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Messages:
    11,768
    Likes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Alburnett, Iowa
    Byron Scott has done the exact same thing, twice. He inherited a New Jersey team that lacked in experience and turned them in to an NBA Finals team. He's also transformed the Hornets from a Western Conference bottom feeder to one of the better teams out West, and a team that could make some noise this year if they manage to stay healthy, which has been a problem for them.

    But in reality, he's already done the same thing McMillan is doing, and has done it twice.
     
  11. bbwchingy0007

    bbwchingy0007 BBW Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,500
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Fair point, but I would argue that Nate is doing a better job of it. At this stage it's just future projections, but the group of guys he has in Portland look set to challenge for a long time coming. It's the type of team that has Dynasty-potential. I know I'm getting ahead of myself; they're yet to make it out of the first round of the Playoffs, but this team could be great. With McMillan at the helm, I can see their steady improvement continuing into the Playoffs. Perhaps next year it will be the 2nd Round, then Conference Finals, then the NBA Finals within 3-4 years. At that stage, the nucleus of the team will still have an average age of just 26.5. Add in a couple of the other young role players, draft picks and maybe a couple of vets, and that's a really young team. And for a team like that to be competing at that age is fantastic, and gives them the chance to do that. Byron Scott has helped to rebuild a couple of nice teams, but I would argue that neither one had the same kind of potential and longevity that this current Blazers team has.



    I think the pace of the era does matter. The Suns played at a pace from a previous era. This means two things: firstly, teams were not used to playing this way any more, but secondly that there is a defensive scheme that can thwart that offensive scheme. If you play in a similar style to a Champion from 20 years ago, there is a high chance that that scheme can now be stopped. That is the evolution of basketball. One team develops a new system, does well for a few years, then someone discovers a way of stopping said scheme. All this while there are 28 other teams trying to do the same thing. However, to stop D'Antoni's system requires defensive intensity the like of which is only seen in the NBA Playoffs. Thus, D'Antoni's system virtually guarantees regular season victories (when the intensity of their opponents is lower), but come Playoff time against elite teams (when they jack up the intensity) his teams will always struggle.
     
  12. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Messages:
    72,944
    Likes Received:
    10,531
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Never lost a case
    Location:
    Boston Legal
    The world champions run a unique system that was also used to win championships in the 1990s, and it is a scheme that was developed back in the 1940s. Teams have seen it and tried 10 different times to stop it from leading to a championship, and failed.

    The Chicago Bulls under Vinnie Del Negro took the defending NBA champs to 7 games under a system much like D'Antoni's. They didn't give up less than 100 points in any game of the series. They could have won the series had one shot fallen in a couple of the games. If you want to argue that the Celtics didn't have their star, Garnett, feel free, but I would argue that the Bulls don't have a Steve Nash or an Amare.

    I don't see much evolution in the game of basketball except for one thing: the 3 point shot. Teams do tend to pass the ball around the perimeter, or drive and kick to the perimeter for 3 point shots, and it's not very interesting to watch.
     
  13. Moo2K4

    Moo2K4 NBA West Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Messages:
    11,768
    Likes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Alburnett, Iowa
    Fair point as well, but Scott's group isn't too bad either, and it's a little more proven than Nate's. He's got the best PG in the NBA, he just received and upgrade in the middle by landing Okafor, plus he's got a consistent 20/8 type of guy in David West.

    The issue I have with Portland is that their future largely hinges on what Greg Oden ends up doing. He's got to be more than a 9/7 type of a guy. If they're ever going to be better than a 1st round playoff team, he's got to establish himself as a dominant center. Last year, he did show flashes of that, but there was no consistency from him. He'd have a big game, and then he'd disappear and go for 2/2. He also needs to learn how to stay on the court if they're going to have success, so he's going to have to decrease his foul rate.

    I realize this is something that isn't directly related to McMillan, but it is related to his success. If he doesn't learn how to stay on the court (and stay healthy), as well as become a dominant center, the Blazers are never going to be more than a one and done team.

    The other issue with the Blazers is they're a team largely relying on "potential". In order for them to be a good playoff team, Batum will have to reach his potential, Oden will have to reach his potential, Aldridge and Webster and all those guys will have to reach their "potential". And there's not guaranteeing that any of them will.

    The Hornets, while I can't say they're going to fare any better, have shown they can win in the playoffs, getting the conference semi's just a couple years ago. They could have been a lot better this past season had the injury bug not bitten them as badly as it did, and it could have led to a more favorable first round matchup. Obviously that can't be said for sure, but I do think that injuries are the one thing that held the Hornets back more than anything this year. Give Scott a healthy team this yea, and the Hornets could easily make some noise.
     
  14. J_Ray

    J_Ray JBB JustBBall Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Messages:
    5,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    38
    CLOSING STATEMENTS NOW PLEASE
     
  15. bbwchingy0007

    bbwchingy0007 BBW Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,500
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    This debate has essentially boiled down to three candidates; Nate McMillan, Byron Scott and Mike D'Antoni. I think the three of us would all agree that none of these three are in anyway "locks" for the Hall of Fame. Rather we are each putting across reasons why our chosen candidate is best-positioned to make the Hall. I think that is fair to say for the three of us.

    Mike D'Antoni did a good job in Phoenix. He led the team to some great regular seasons, and his offensive system won Steve Nash two MVP awards. I'm sorry to sound like a broken record, but arguably he could have also cost the team a title by failing to address his problem of not having a good enough defense. Even Mike Brown has managed to identify his weakness (not having an offense) by bringing in outside help, and a hallmark of success is the ability to analyse your weaknesses. D'Antoni has thus far failed to do so, and there is no indication that this will change in New York. Yes, he might put together a team with a superstar like LeBron or Dwyane Wade at the heart, but still his lack of a defensive system is likely to cost the team. The barometer for success in this League is, more often than not, Championships. And Championships are won by being the best in the Playoffs, where defensive intensity is higher. Against elite teams with this high-intensity, D'Antoni's offense stumbles, and his lack of defense ultimately costs them. I earlier identified three keys to being a highly successful Coach: actual coaching ability, the ability of the team (i.e. can they win a Championship) and patience of the owner/front office. D'Antoni fails on two counts: his defensive coaching ability, and the ability of the team at present. There are many "What Ifs" surrounding the Summer of 2010, but with the salary cap projected to decline, New York might not get its superstar. Without the superstar, I can't see them coming close to competing for 5+ years. And if they don't compete for 5+ years, the chances of D'Antoni still being around are slim to none.

    Byron Scott has done a solid job in both New Jersey and New Orleans, particularly over the past few years in New Orleans in a city crippled by Hurricane Katrina. He managed to lead the team to a division title in the Southwest against the Spurs, amongst others. However, last season the Hornets struggled, and I question whether the blip on his record as Hornets coach was this year or last year. Don't get me wrong, they have good pieces, but they're a kind of 52-55 win team; good, but not quite enough to get them over the top. They will quite possibly remain at that level for quite some time, too. Now let me draw your attention back to the three keys I have already identified. Scott has shown he is a good, not great coach. However, he is young, and I am confident that, given time, he is capable of evolving into a great coach. He also has a good, young core to his team, with the best PG in the League in Chris Paul as well as newly-acquired Emeka Okafor in the post. That situation is good. However, the big question mark right now is over the owner in New Orleans. Some signals were that they might even be willing to trade Chris Paul for financial relief. Whether there is any truth to this is unknown, but as the horrible cliché goes "there's no smoke without fire". There must be some kind of penny-pinching going on for this to even be talked about. If an owner is willing to sacrifice success for financial reward, the chances of the team competing are slim. I am drawn to believe that there is some truth to the rumours, and thus that Scott has not much chance of making the Hall given his current situation.

    I would also like to point out that, yes, there is obviously the chance for each of these coaches to move on to greener pastures. However, I would also like to point out that the three candidates are relatively equal right now (particularly Scott and McMillan) so none would have much of an advantage competing for a new job over the other two. Thus I am focusing primarily on their current situations, on the basis that they each have a similar chance of obtaining a better job in the future.

    Nate McMillan is my choice for most likely to make the Hall. He did a decent job in Seattle before joining Portland. In Portland, alongside Kevin Pritchard and with the backing of a wealthy, patient owner in Paul Allen has compiled a great squad full of potential going into the next decade. The team has already managed its first 50-game winning season, and looks set to improve still more going into next year. They have always shown steady improvement, and with more postseason experience they can truly be a great side for years to come. Whilst McMillan, like Scott, might have some issues in terms of coaching ability, he, too, is still young and has time to iron out this problems. His squad is good, with the potential to be truly great, and the owner in Portland is one of the best to have in the League. I see no reason why, ten years from now, we couldn't be talking about the three or four titles Nate has won in Portland, with the potential for more further down the line as his young talents become experienced vets. Neither of the other two have this kind of potential in their current job, and that is why Nate is the most likely of the "new generation" of NBA coaches to reach the Hall of Fame by the end of his career.



    side note- pleasure debating with you two guys, looks like we got a good'un compared to the others. Good luck guys.
     
  16. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Messages:
    72,944
    Likes Received:
    10,531
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Never lost a case
    Location:
    Boston Legal
    I agree that it's hard to figure out which guy is a lock for the HOF. A lot of tenure and a lot of wins can get you in, even if you have a near .500 record. It isn't clear that anyone who's coaching now will get that kind of longevity. Jerry Sloan will get in, even if he never guides his team to a championship.

    Certainly the three guys we discussed aren't exactly coaching the favorite to win the championship. There's a lot of pressure for all three to produce, so they could easily be cast aside long before they'd be considered HOF material. The strategy of looking at the league and teams and picking a coach who's got young talent and potential to go on a run of winning seasons is a fair one.

    When it comes to these three guys, you have to ask if you were owner and could pick one of the three for your team, which would it be? That would dictate which of the three are likely to get rehired if the inevitable happens. I think it's D'Antoni.

    There's a guy we may have overlooked: Flip Saunders. 52 years old, 13 years as head coach, 587-396 (.597), plus 6 50+ win seasons (3 with Minny, 3 with Detroit). And three straight losses in the ECF.
     
  17. Moo2K4

    Moo2K4 NBA West Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Messages:
    11,768
    Likes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Alburnett, Iowa
    This discussion, as mentioned, has boiled down to Byron Scott, Mike D'Antoni, and Nate McMillan. All of them have had reasonable success in the regular season, while D'Antoni and Scott are the two that have really tasted postseason success, with Scott getting the most with 2 Finals appearances.

    What it boils down to, for me, is how will these guys' teams morph over the next few years? With New Orleans, you mostly know what you have already. Okafor, West and Paul are all proven players and are a very good core that has the ability to have success if they can stay healthy. They also have a young and improving Julian Wright who could break out this season if given the chance. He's got potential to be a good offensive player and a very good defensive player if he can learn some consistency.

    D'Antoni, with what he has now, has no chance of getting postseason success. His future success boils down to the summer of 2010 and what the Knicks can do, which is why he's such a wild card in this discussion. He, in reality, really doesn't have control over his own fate at the moment, and if the Knicks can't make a splash, he's not going to be having any success there any time soon with the core that they've got.

    And then McMillan has a team who has a lot of very good building blocks, but it's still a team largely tantalizing because of potential. The only "proven" commodities on that team right now are really Andre Miller and Brandon Roy. You can also throw Aldridge in to that mix if you want, but I think he's still got some growing to do as a player before he can really be considered more than a good player in this league. The Blazers success, as I mentioned earlier, is going to be based on how these young guys - Oden, Batum, LMA, Webster, Rudy, etc. - progress. If they make the strides people think they can, than this is going to be a championship caliber team. However, if they don't, than the Blazers will never be more than a one and done team in the playoffs.

    In the end, I'll go with Scott's chances here. He's got the proven commodities on his team, and if they stay healthy, there's a good chance that he could have some success in the West, especially with teams like San Antonio just getting older and having more and more issues staying healthy.
     
  18. Moo2K4

    Moo2K4 NBA West Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Messages:
    11,768
    Likes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Alburnett, Iowa
    So uhhh...who won?
     
  19. J_Ray

    J_Ray JBB JustBBall Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Messages:
    5,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Apparently some judges have been busy, so I'm waiting on the last guy since it's currently close. Top 2 will advance to a debate with Entity btw.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2009
  20. J_Ray

    J_Ray JBB JustBBall Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Messages:
    5,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Scoring went:
    1st place vote=3pts
    2nd place vote=2pts
    3rd place vote=1pt

    I was going to advance the top 2 from this match but there is a tie for 2nd place, so I'm going to put all 3 of you through to the Finals to face Entity. Unless there are any opposed to the idea, congrats to all of you advancing.
     

Share This Page