Tag Archives: New Orleans Hornets

Another Amazing Week In Sports, Politics & Nonsense!

24 Jan

What an utterly amazing week to be alive to blog!  Unfortunately, other obligations AKA my paying job, got in the way of being able to write too much.  I realize that given these uncertain times I should feel lucky to have a good job.  And I do.

I also feel lucky to have this blog and to be able to present my thoughts on the week we all just got through together. 

Here goes!

Another Giants’ receiver gets shot!  Seriously what are the odds of the guy who replaced Plaxico Burress on the Giants roster also getting shot so soon after Burress accidentally capped himself?  Better than back to back Big Blue championships, I guess.  Here’s hoping Taye Biddle gets better soon.

Jeff Kent – when you look at his numbers even after accounting for the slugging era he played in, they are very impressive for a second baseman.  As a Mets fan, I saw quite a bit of Kent in the 90s.  He never struck me as a Hall of Famer.  Maybe that early impression is what keeps me from seeing him as Cooperstown-worthy now…

Alonozo Mourning – Zo has once again decided to retire.  Somehow this one feels more real.  After battling through kidney problems and leg issues through the years, I think he’s done.  Does anyone remember how limitless the Charlotte Hornets future looked way back when they had the young versions of Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson playing for them?  Maybe the young & current version of Chris Paul will deliver on that long ago promise for the franchise that fled Charlotte for New Orleans…

Brian Schottenheimer – I don’t get it.  What’s the big deal whether he comes back to the Jets as their offensive coordinator?  In three years with the Jets, Marty’s son has produced the 25th, 26th and 16th ranked offenses in the NFL.  This gets him serious consideration for the head job?  And this merits the Jets’ brass losing sleep over whether he’ll be happy to return?  Maybe it’s just that they figure if they keep Shottenheimer and the current offense in place the odds are better Brett Favre will return?

Rex Ryan – Maybe it’s cause he’s a twin and I have twins.   Maybe it’s cause he’s Buddy Ryan’s son and for some reason I always found Buddy entertaining despite my being a Giants’ fan.  I don’t know.   But, for some reason, I like Rex Ryan and feel like he’ll do a nice job with the Jets.  If nothing else, his press conferences are already better than Eric Mangini’s.

Goodbye Guantanamo! – The new president carries through on his promise to close Gitmo.  Good riddance!  Call me crazy but simply “disappearing” people just doesn’t seem real American to me.  Feels like we all ought to have more faith in our system than to resort to that kind of third world dictatorship kind of move.

Goodbye Torture! – Barack Obama delivers again!  Nice first couple of days for him by the way.  So far so good, but we’ve got a long way to go.  Thanks to President Obama, now the US will not be allowed to torture suspects anymore.  Another good move. America should not tolerate torture.  Beside not being in keeping with our constitution, it’s not all that effective.  How about just making them sit through a full episode of the “Color Honeymooners”?  Yikes!

Pope’s On Youtube – He’s got his own channel there.  How long til he’s got his own development deal with some cable channel?

Mark Ivaroni Fired – Is every NBA franchise going to fire their head coach this season?  And will it make any difference in Memphis anyway??  Especially when you hire Lionel Hollins for the THIRD time to coach your franchise.  What’s he going to do different this time??  Third time!  I’m not making this up!

New York’s Got a New Senator – And it’s not a Kennedy.  Would have been poetic to see Caroline Kennedy take the seat her uncle once held.  But, after her disastrous couple of weeks in the spotlight think we all learned why she’s stayed private all these years. You know, uh, you know….

Manny Ramirez – Being a pain in the ass can cost you a lot of cash.  Now, not even the Mets are interested in one of the game’s very best hitters.  As a Mets’ fan, I’m very worried about the pitching rotation and just don’t think they have enough hitting.  Manny could go a long way toward solving half their problems.  Course, he’d add a whole other set in the process but that’s just Manny being Manny.

Mark McGwire  –  Not only does his brother Jay introduce him to roids, now he outs him.  Would I love to be a fly-on the wall at the McGwire family reunion!

Herm Edwards Fired – Had to see this coming when the Chiefs brought in a new GM.  And although Edwards isn’t saying it, I will.  Clark Hunt has a lot of nerve firing Edwards after signing off on the youth movement that put the Chiefs at 2-14 last year.  If Edwards had known he had just one year to work with, maybe he’d have rethought going young.

Who’ll Bail Out The Veteran NFL Coaches? – Maybe it will be the Chiefs who are rumored to be pursuing Mike Shanahan.  It’s amazing to me to see all these young guys getting hired for head coaching jobs this year while big names like Shanahan, Jon Gruden, Marty Schottenheimer and Bill Cowher may be sitting out next season. 

Let’s take them and a few others case by case:

Mike Shanahan – Not surprised KC would want him.  After all, they had to play against him for so long and know how good he is.  Am surprised that he’d go somewhere so quickly after Denver, especially without being able to have Denver-type control.  Really thought that once again he’d replace Wade Phillips.  This time in Dallas.  If Jerry Jones were smart and Shanahan were interested, he’d make sure history repeat itself.

Jon Gruden – Tampa’s entire roster seems to be dogging him in the press, but you have to believe he’ll get another chance.  When he does, he’ll win again.

Marty Schottenheimer – All Brian’s dad ever has done is win.  Ok, not in the playoffs so much.   Still, I don’t buy he’s not one of the top 30 coaches in the pro football world.  Don’t see Norv Turner really lighting things up in San Diego either…

Bill Cowher – he strikes me as the least interested in coming back this year.  Still, think the Jets blew it by not overwhelming him.

Dan Reeves – He wants back in.  So much so that at age 65 he’s interviewing for the offensive coordinator spot for the 49ers.  Like Marty Schot, he’s another guy who has done nothing but win.  Unfortunately, both he and Marty may never get a crack at a top spot again.  Here’s hoping they both do.  The ultimate of course, would be to see Reeves get another team to the Super Bowl only to watch them get crushed by Marty’s first ever Super Bowl team. 

Denny Green – I’m just throwing him in here.  I haven’t even heard he wants to coach again.  But, with the Cardinals going to the Super Bowl, it’s worth noting that Green brought in some of the guys who have gotten them there.  You may have heard of one of his guys.  Kurt Warner??

Deep breathe!  Think that was everything I wanted to get out.

Thanks for taking a look!

Come on. Admit it. This Guy’s A Great Coach!

15 May

When you think of those great Laker Showtime teams of the 80s, who do you think of?  Magic? Kareem? Worthy?  Right.  And then somewhere down the line you remember Byron Scott.  All the guy does is be smack dab in the middle of winning basketball teams.

Now that he’s a coach, it’s much the same.  When I say “NBA genius head coach”, who pops to mind?  Riley? Jackson? Popovich (not really but he’s got lots of rings so I felt like I had to include him)? Brown?  Maybe even Nelson (more for his experiences and long term regular season success than his startling lack of championships)?

No matter who you answered.  Chances are it wasn’t Byron Scott.

Now, I’ve got another question for you  What’s wrong with you?

Maybe you haven’t been paying attention, but Scott’s pulled off a feat none of the other guys I mentioned above would ever dream of.  To begin with, he took, and I want to emphasize he accepted these jobs, they were not punishment doled out by the league, two of the scariest head coaching posts in the league.  Byron Scott agreed of his own free will to coach the Nets and Hornets.  He actually believed he could win where countless others had failed in New Jersey and New Orleans/Charlotte.

Turns out, Byron Scott was right. 

Scott lead a NJ franchise that had had almost no NBA success since it foolishly traded Dr. J upon entering the league to not one, but two Eastern Conference Championships.  Sure, they got demolished in the finals two years straight, but most folks in the Garden State hadn’t been that excited since a rare Springsteen/Bon Jovi double bill in ’93.

Once NJ returned to its losing senses, it quickly kicked Byron Scott to the curb.  Scott left the Nets with rumors about his work ethic and basketball smarts.  Maybe that made him less attractive to other teams, but clearly the rest of the league missed out on a great coach.  Despite a very shakey home court situation, Scott has his Hornets poised to take out the playoff tested Spurs.

If he does that, then the Lakers could be up next in the Western Conference Finals.  Anyone want to bet he can’t beat his old team?

Are The Pistons Crafting a Brave Legacy?

15 May

At first blush, you might think that the NBA’s Detroit Pistons and MLB’s Atlanta Braves have nothing in common.  You’d, of course, be wrong.

The Pistons and Braves have success in common.  Long term success.  We all know the Braves’ story.  Something like 14 straight division titles.  All they’ve done since the 90s is win, win and win some more.

It might have slipped past you, but that’s all Detroit’s done for this Millennium.  After eliminating Orlando recently, Motown’s Bad Boys earned their (are you sitting for this?) SIXTH straight Eastern Conference Finals appearance.  Sure the East has been down in quality for a while, but you’ve got to give it to Detroit for their consistency and success.  Six straight anything is not an easy thing.

Here’s the catch.  There’s a dark side to this tale of accomplishment.  During Atlanta’s winning run, they made won exactly one World Series.  Think about that.  Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux, not to mention the Jones boys added up to exactly one world series title.  Unlike say the Buffalo Bills in the NFL, the Braves actually did break through to win one.  Still, the Braves lack of championships puts a damper on almost twenty straight years of phenomenal regular seasons.

Back to Detroit.  Six straight conference titles later and how many NBA titles do they own?  One.  And after that one, they still couldn’t keep Larry Brown from leaving town.  Detroit needs to step it up title wise or they’ll soon have their legacy tainted by thoughts of what could of been like the Braves.

What are their chances this year?  Who knows? 

They’ll either face LeBron and Co or a Boston team that ripped through the regular season only to struggle on the road during the playoffs.  The Pistons beating either wouldn’t be the greatest upset ever. 

Following that, they’d rep the East against one of this quartet:  New Orleans, Utah, LA or San Antonio.  There’s no easy road here.  Chris Paul is killing everyone he’s been up against.  Utah has the biggest home court advantage in the league.  LA’s got Kobe playing like an MVP, even if Chris Paul should have gotten the trophy.  And, well, San Antonio is the flip side of the Pistons.  They’ve made the most of their playoff runs.

If the Pistons can somehow break through, they’ll have earned the right to no longer be compared to the Braves as well as a proud legacy all of their own.

Me and Maddux are betting against them.

Is An “All Black” Staff the Key to Byron Scott’s Success?

10 Apr

I was listening to ESPN radio host Stephen A. Smith recently interviewing NBA head coach Byron Scott.  For those of you who keep up with this space, you know that I’m kind of a Scott fan.  As a former fan of New Jersey’s Nets, I look back on the Scott years with fondness.  Brooklyn is welcome to take the Nets away whenever they can scrape up the cash to tow them out of the impound lot.

Anyway, there I am listening to Smith when he asks Scott about the fact that he has an “all Black” coaching staff.  Smith wondered if that was helping Scott produce the terrific year he’s getting out of  the New Orleans Hornets.  The coach answered yes. 

In his own affirmative action, Scott said he purposely put together an all African American coaching staff when he got a shot with New Orleans because he felt that former players who were African American would relate better to today’s NBA players.

I must admit to a few reactions.  First, a certain smugness.  I’ve sometimes wondered if having a staff that heavily reflects the backgrounds of the players they coach would help a team do better.  According to Scott, it does and I’m right.  Always a nice feeling, by the way.

Second, I was kind of shocked Scott would come right out and say he purposely hired only Black men.  I couldn’t help but think that he was leaving himself and the organization open for some law suits.  Picture an NHL executive admitting publicly that he put together an all white staff to relate better to his largely all white team and I think you can see how that might spark some outrage if not legal action.

Finally, I was a bit confused.  What does this say about our society at the very time we’re busy trying to get the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds to just get along?  Clearly African Americans haven’t been given the kinds of opportunities that white coaches have even in sports in which the players are now largely non-white.  African Americans have been shafted historically.   So, it’s hard for me to get worked up about Scott’s statement. 

And yet, something won’t let me let it go completely.  Is Scott throwing out the idea that sports ultimately is colorblind and based only on performance come game time?  Why shouldn’t people be able to coach even if they don’t look or come from the same background as the people they are teaching?

Ultimately, I guess I wanted Byron Scott to allow for the possibility that he might find a white guy who could relate to his players and teach them effectively despite their differences in background.

For me, a mostly but not entirely African American coaching staff would feel like the best mix for an NBA team these days.  After all, Byron Scott, somebody’s got to relate to the Peja Stojakovic’s…