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NBA AM: Doc Rivers Unavailable
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On May 24, 2013 @ 10:09 am In NBA | No Comments
Former Iowa State forward Will Clyburn discusses the 2013 NBA Draft and what he brings to the table in today's video of the day.Watch More Video Here
For the Brooklyn Nets, last offseason was all about putting together a star-studded roster to help make their move to Brooklyn an immediate success and push them up the Eastern Conference rankings. By adding Joe Johnson and re-signing Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace they were able to significantly improve their roster and become a playoff team, ending a five-year streak of being in the lottery.
However, early on in the season management and ownership came to the conclusion that they did not have the right head coach in place. They decided to fire Avery Johnson, a former Coach of the Year who was named the Coach of the Month weeks before his firing. P.J. Carlesimo took over on an interim basis and made it clear that he wanted to be the long-term choice for the position.
Unfortunately for Carlesimo, he was unable to guide the team to the level of success he needed to in order to have the interim tag removed. Instead at the end of the season they announced that they would be going in a different direction and now they are one of eight teams looking for their next head coach.
There is a quality list of candidates available, like former head coaches Nate McMillan, Byron Scott, Scott Skiles among others and quality assistants like Mike Budenholzer (San Antonio Spurs), Mike Malone (Golden State Warriors) and Brian Shaw (Indiana Pacers) who seem ready for their chance to be a head coach.
The Nets clearly have their sights set on a big-name head coach, though. One of their first calls was to Phil Jackson, but the former Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls head coach said ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to their offer as he has ever other one that has come across this offseason. Their next call was to Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, but it didn’t get far enough for Rivers to even say no as Jackson did. He wasn’t given the chance.
According to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge denied the Nets permission to talk to Rivers, who still has three years and $21 million remaining on his contract.
“Doc has told me he’s coming back,” Ainge said. “I talk to him almost every day about our team and what we are going to do moving forward.”
Rivers is on the record expressing his disinterest in rebuilding, but it remains a serious possibility in Boston. The Celtics want him to be a part of whatever route they decide to take; if we don’t see Rivers in the league next year it’s going to be because he changed his mind and decided to retire, not that he was plucked away by another team.
When you are as successful as the Celtics have been over the years, there are going to be teams throughout the league that try to emulate your blueprint. They won’t be able to do so with the same head coach, though, because Rivers isn’t going anywhere as long as the Celtics have a say in the matter.
LeBron Proves Jordan Wrong: Even with as many great players as there are in the NBA today and how many terrific match ups we see on a nightly basis, the ones that are always going to have the most intrigue are the ones we’ll never be able to see. It’s natural to wonder how the all-time best would have done against each other, but we just have to settle for it being nothing more than a hypothetical with no definite answer one way or the other.
Michael Jordan, widely regarded as the greatest to ever play and now owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, is put in these fantasy match ups the most. For many years it was Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant who he was paired up against, but now it’s Miami HEAT forward LeBron James. James has continuously improved his game since coming into the league straight out of high school in 2003. He’s developed into the game’s most dominant force and is coming off of his first championship, with his second ring just five wins away.
At 28 years of age and considering his current level of play, talk about where James could end up in the hierarchy of all-time greats is starting to become rampant. So rampant that Jordan was willing to divulge into how he would defend him if we could somehow find a way to put the two head-to-head in their primes.
“So if I have to guard him,” Jordan said to ESPN’s Wright Thompson, “I’m gonna push him left so nine times out of 10 he’s gonna shoot a jump shot. If he goes right, he’s going to the hole and I can’t stop him. So I ain’t letting him go right.”
One of the things that made Jordan great was his competitiveness and the way that he responded to any kind of criticism. Jordan wasn’t trying to point out a fault in James’ game, just simply trying to explain how he would go about defending a guy who has become the league’s most difficult cover.
However, in true Jordan fashion James took note of Jordan’s comments and has proved them wrong on several different occasions since they were first made back in February. In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, James once again put to rest the notion that he’s a jump shooter when he goes left.
With just 2.2 seconds to work with, James was heavily overplayed to his right side by Pacers forward Paul George. James quickly took advantage, driving to the hoop and finishing, all with his left hand, in just enough time to beat the buzzer and give the HEAT a 1-0 series advantage.
“The theory is wrong, I guess,” James said.
If Jordan is without an answer for how he would defend James with his send-him-left strategy looking shaky, he shouldn’t fret. That just groups him up with everyone else who is currently tasked with defending the league’s reining and four time Most Valuable Player.
HEAT-Pacers Game 2 Tonight: In related news, James’ HEAT and the Indiana Pacers resume the Eastern Conference Finals tonight with Game 2 in Miami. If it’s anywhere near as good as Game 1 was, we’re in for a real treat.
Game 1 was about as close to a morale victory as you can get in the playoffs for the Pacers. They went into Miami and continuously made clutch plays before ultimately seeing James steal the game away late with consecutive layups in the final moments of overtime.
Those plays have become highly controversial with Pacers head coach Frank Vogul receiving serious criticism for his decision to leave Roy Hibbert, his defensive anchor, on the bench for both. The Pacers were in the game thanks largely in part to Hibbert’s defensive play around the rim and making it difficult for the HEAT to score points in the paint.
Late in the game, though, the HEAT went small and Vogul did not feel comfortable enough with any matchup on the floor to put Hibbert out there. Concerned about All-Star forward Chris Bosh’s ability to shoot or drive by him, Vogul felt the Pacers were better off with Hibbert on the bench and James feasted.
It’s safe to say that Hibbert will be on the floor if that situation presents itself again. What we will find out as this series proceeds, though, is just how big that mistake was. Being able to steal away homecourt advantage for the Pacers would have been huge. If they head back to Indiana down 0-2, that decision will only continue to be questioned and criticized more.
The Pacers are a young team that is somewhat ahead of schedule. Tonight will be an interesting test to see how they respond to just coming up short in Game 1 and whether or not they can quickly put that loss behind them and leave with the game they came for.
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