Monday , Dec , 06 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

36th Edition – December 6, 2004

You know I’m impressed with Sam Mitchell. I mean here’s a guy who’s in his first year as an NBA head coach and he’s already reached favorite coach status in my book. Now you might say I’m exaggerating a bit since the Raptors have a losing record (and I am if you’re talking about statistics, 7-12) but I’m talking about from a managerial standpoint.

36th Edition - December 6, 2004
In today’s NBA, it’s quite clear that the players possess just about all of the power. It’s their league and they know it. Fans come to see them, not a bunch of expendable guys in suits. And as a result of this landscape, most of them are spoiled, overly sensitive, and need to be catered to and coddled. So if a group of players believe that their coach is not on the same page as they are (collectively, individually, or both), it’s only a matter of time before mutiny takes place and the coach is out on his ass.

That’s what happened to the great Hubie Brown in Memphis, and it looks like Jeff Bzdelik is headed for the same fate in Denver. But then you have Sam Mitchell, a rookie coach whose players are constantly second guessing him in the media by their negative comments, and on the court by their uninspired play. That usually results in a head coach’s ultimate undoing. Mitchell on the other hand refuses to go out that way. He’s fighting back. If a player doesn’t play with all out effort on both ends of the court, then they aren’t playing regardless of their status (Vince Carter), new contract (Rafer Alston), or potential (Chris Bosh).

You gotta respect Mitchell’s stance. He’s all about the bottom line, which is winning. Individual goals aren’t important to him, it’s all about the team and doing what’s best to make sure they’re successful. And if someone is not complying with that mantra, well then they’ll be watching instead of participating. That’s one way to maintain the integrity of the game, and I’m feelin’ that.

What’s The Haps

–I know it’s early, but if they stay healthy, the Spurs ARE GOING TO WIN THE GLORY. Only Minnesota could derail them.

–And speaking of the T-Wolves, they’re starting to hit their stride…even though they’re kinda old at a couple of key positions (Cassell and Sprewell).

–To use the cliché Houston you have a problem to describe the Rockets would be an understatement.

–Dirk is working his way up to Duncan and Garnett status as the premier power forwards in the league. And in a few years, Amare Stoudemire may join them.

–Reading that the Lakers were afraid to end up like the Bulls and then watching them lose to the Bulls was the definition of irony.

–The Lakers haven’t won the title in THREE YEARS, so why do people (ESPN) keep referring to last summer’s break up of Shaq, Kobe, and Phil as the end of a dynasty? They had a three-year run of the league that was great, but there was nothing dynastic about it.

–And another thing, if the Lakers don’t win the championship this year (and they probably won’t) then what would be the difference from the previous three seasons?

–People are feeling real good about the Clippers these days who are playing well. But they’re still the second best team in the town.

–The Washington Wizards are very quietly having a nice season thus far. They’re the second highest scoring team in the NBA. I bet y’all didn’t know that.

–I’m saying it now, the Orlando Magic are going to win the Southeast Division when all is said and done. And yes, I’m picking them over the Heat.

–Now that Mike Fratello is the new coach of the Grizzlies, will he use a telestrator to diagram his plays for the team? I know that was corny, but oh well.

–Derek Fisher went from being a second string point guard who made $3 million a year on a winning team to a second string point guard who makes $6 million a year on a losing team. Does anyone think he made the right decision?

–Sacramento may have righted the ship, but they have no shot of winning when it really matters.

–Props to the Pacers for maintainin’ at home despite their circumstances, but they’ve hit the road and reality has started to kick in.

–Oh, and Ron Artest should’ve received 40 games max.

–How ’bout them Bobcats? An expansion team THAT DOESN’T possess the worst record in the league.

–Where will Jason Kidd finish his career, because it won’t be in New Jersey?

–The Pistons AREN’T talented enough to coast through the regular season.

–Steve Nash is dope.

–And someone needs to tell Damon Jones that he isn’t.

Aiight I’m good.