D’Antoni’s contract extended, Sprewell interested in Denver, and more…
From now on, this will be the spot where you can catch up on the big news in the NBA, with comments and analysis from yours truly. As with everything at HoopsVibe, this is an interactive affair. Use the box at the bottom of the page or email me directly (CY.Ellis@hoopsvibe.com) to share your thoughts on what’s going down in the world of basketball. If you drop me a line, I promise to get back to you either personally or via the blog the following day.
Let’s get right into it.
Sun Extend Mike D’Antoni’s Contract
How could extending the coach of the year’s contract possibly be a bad move? Here’s why: dude can’t coach. Although the Suns came out and shocked the league last year by racking up wins playing playground basketball, they fell short due to their glaring defensive weaknesses. While D’Antoni can’t be blamed for the fact that Steve Nash moves laterally as well as a crab moves forwards, he should at least be held responsible for not working on creating a defensive concept for the team.
Some of you will wonder what I mean by that, so I’ll explain. Whereas some teams have defensive structures (zones, rotations etc.), others, when matched up man-to-man, play with a defensive concept that guides all decisions made by the defensive players. For some, the plan may be to allow attackers to penetrate, then collapse on them. Other teams choose to pack the zone in order to encourage the opposition to launch threes.
If D’Antoni introduced any concept, it was to let the other team score so that Phoenix could get back on offence quicker. The Suns could break sixty wins every season, but without the ability to shut down opposing teams, they’ll never make it over the top. D’Antoni will continue to be praised as they win in the regular season, but the fans will soon grow tired of having their season ended by a team which handles their business on both ends of the floor, be it the Spurs or someone else.
What’s more, the man has the presence of a garden statue during games. Do something, Mike! Although photos occasionally surface of him yelling an instruction or having a quiet word with one of his players, he spends the majority of his time standing motionless in his box, arms folded, moustache unruffled. The only coach who ever had the right to have his hair unaltered at the end of the game was Pat Riley, and that was only because he used enough hairspray that his head was listed in the arena security booklet as an official fire hazard.
As a Denver fan, I’m not sure how to feel about this. Part of me remembers the high-flying youngster who terrorized the league by dunking, defending and draining threes. Another part remembers the man who tried to squeeze P.J. Carlesimo’s eyes out of his head. One part of me remembers the player who came in and immediately contributed to the Timberwolves, helping them to make it further than they ever had before. Another part remembers Latrell “I have to feed my family” Sprewell and how he sulked for an entire season when management wouldn’t meet his contract demands.
From a purely basketball perspective, this is obviously a good deal for the Nugs. They can add a veteran to the roster who, with Julius Hodge (who recently underwent knee surgery), can help to fill the void created when Voshon Lenard’s tendon forgot the season had started, rupturing in the first game of ’04-’05.
Having missed out on Ginobili last year, and Joe Johnson, Michael Redd and Jesus Shuttlesworth this year, Kiki is more likely looking for a serviceable option rather than a long-term candidate. Spree, who will be thirty-five when the season tips off, only has so much left in the tank, although certainly enough for one more productive season. That is, if he wants to contribute.
If he agrees to take the midlevel exception (which is all Denver can offer), the Nuggets will have snagged the best shooting guard available for that sort of money. However, bargain or not, they’ll always have to handle Sprewell with tongs, and it may turn out that he’s more trouble than he’s worth.
As far as the NBA goes, that’s all there is for today. If you’re a streetball fan, check out my interview with Myree “Reemix” Bowden of the YPA, the man you may remember for his performance in the 2004 NCAA dunk contest. Otherwise, visit us again tomorrow for the latest on the summer transactions and other basketball news.