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Who Is Coach Of The Year? The East Coast Debate

After seeing Rick Adelman win his 800th career game and the Philadelphia 76ers go on a 19-0 run to defeat the Boston Celtics last night - in Boston, no less - I had to stop and ask myself, who is the Coach of the Year this season? It's a tough question to answer, and despite the job that Maurice Cheeks has done with a young and unheralded roster, and what Adelman has done without Yao Ming - and Tracy McGrady for a short stretch - there is no clear cut favorite, because you can make an argument that at least seven or eight coaches are deserving of the award.

I've decided to split up the argument by East and West. Here's the East:

EDDIE JORDAN, Washington Wizards: For as much heat as Eddie Jordan has received on the comments of the blog over the past few seasons, I don't think any can deny the job that he has done with an undermanned and injured roster for the entire season. Still, the Wizards are 36-33. Know what there record was after 69 games last season: 37-32. It was good that Ivan mentioned what Jordan has done in his story today, because there is no way anyone would've believed that this team would be three games over .500 - and three games from having homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs if they had known before the season started that three-time all-star Gilbert Arenas would miss 61 games, two-time all-star Caron Butler would miss 20 and center Etan Thomas would be out the entire season.


If you had told me that we'd be in the position after all we've been through, I would've said, "No!" (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

You can try to discredit it by saying that Washington is in the Eastern Conference, but you play who you play. The Wizards aren't in the West, so that isn't their concern. But for this team to beat Boston twice, New Orleans twice, Dallas twice, Detroit and Orlando while missing one or two all-stars is impressive, no matter how you look at it.

Jordan helped popularize the Princeton offense in both New Jersey and Washington, but he has received criticism for this skills on the defensive end with the Wizards. You don't hear that as much after he hired assistant Randy Ayers in the offseason. The Wizards have improved defensively, holding opponents to just 98.1 points per game, which ranks - get this - 11th in the NBA (Since Jordan became coach, the team had never finished higher than 21st in opponents points per game. Last season, the Wizards were 28th at 104.9 points per game. Talk about a considerable improvement). They are also in the top half in field goal percentage defense.

Jordan should definitely get some consideration for the award, but these other guys have been pretty good, too.

MAURICE CHEEKS, Philadelphia 76ers: Nobody expected this, not so soon after trading Allen Iverson. Not after former General Manager Billy King got fired. Not after a 5-13 start. And certainly not after dropping to 18-30. But look out - the Sixers are in the playoff picture and taking it to teams with a mix of youthful exuberance and poise - which clearly comes from their calm, cool coach, Mo Cheeks.


See, back when I played Andre, I used to take it the hole and dunk on fools just like you do. Okay, maybe I didn't. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Sixers' win in Boston last night should not have come as a surprise to people who have seen them defeat in the past month, Dallas, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio, Detroit and Denver. I was at Allen Iverson's return to Philadelphia last week and I told someone, "I've seen this team in person three times the past month, I still don't know how they are doing it?" The guy said, "They run."

I knew that, but they also defend, and get contributions from all over. Still, that doesn't explain this: In their first 48 games, the Sixers won 18. In their past 23, the Sixers have won 18. Their success is quite perplexing, given the youth of their core group. Andre Iguodala gets the most attention as the leading the scorer, but there really is no star on the team. Andre Miller is a really good point guard and floor general, but Cheeks has his players giving effort on every play. There is no let up, even if they fall behind. They are winning on the road, at home. And they are above .500 for the first time all season - 66-64 since trading Iverson to Denver. How about that.

"When you work as hard as we've been working, and you start getting some rewards for it, you start feeling good about yourself," Cheeks said recently. "That's what I'm most proud of. That our players continued to play when we were down. We've had some success and we're playing even harder now."

DOC RIVERS, Boston Celtics: The coach from the team with the best record hardly ever wins this award, but Doc has to get some love for what's happened in Boston. Yes, he has Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, but it really is no small task to lead a newly assembled trio of veteran, all-star players who have their own way of doing things. He was fortunate to get all three at a time when they were hungry to win, but being hungry doesn't always guarantee that you will enjoy a buffet meal.


No so fast, Mo. I might get some votes this year. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

I spoke with Pistons General Manager Joe Dumars on Sunday and he told me that if the Celtics didn't work, everybody would've blamed the coach, but since it is working, the coach has to get the credit. I won't disagree with Joe on that one.

Somehow Rivers has gotten Garnett and Allen to buy into his system, when the new players could've easily come in with some doubts after the team won 24 games last season (Crazy thing is, the Celtics would have to go 3-9 the rest of the season to lose 24 games this season). He also has them committed on the defensive end of the floor, where the Celtics lead the league in field goal percentage defense (41.9) and points allowed (90.4).

The Celtics have answered the bell all season. They've gone 23-5 against the vaunted Western Conference, won the season series against their closest challenger in the East, the Detroit Pistons, and recently became the first team in more than six years to sweep the Texas Triangle.

Even better, the Celtics went 7-2 without Garnett this season. Rivers never let that be an excuse. He also kept his team focused on getting better each day, not complacent with their success. It says a lot about him that Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown both wanted to come aboard late in the season.

STAN VAN GUNDY, Orlando Magic: I originally left off Van Gundy, but after thinking about it, I don't see how I can. The Magic won 40 games last season. They already have 46 wins and the Southeast Division title all but wrapped up.


My goodness. I cannot believe that I almost didn't make this list. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

The Magic isn't an extremely talented team. Van Gundy has made it work with what he has, and has helped the Magic become a more explosive offensive team, even with their smallish front court.

Orlando ranks sixth in the league in points per game (104.7) - an almost 10 point improvement from last season. The only major player addition has been Rashard Lewis, who has made the Magic a dangerous team, inside (with Dwight Howard) and out (with Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu).

Van Gundy has brought out facets of Turkoglu's game that few knew he possessed. The Turkish Jordan is averaging career highs in scoring, rebounds and assists, and he, not Howard, leads the Magic in fourth-quarter scoring. He's also one of five players to have at least two triple doubles this season. Jason Kidd, LeBron James, Caron Butler and Baron Davis are the others. "Turk has always had it in him," Magic General Manager Otis Smith said. "I think Stan has brought it out of him."

He also was the first coach to publicly challenge Howard to think about dominating on both ends of the floor, not just punishing the rim with ferocious dunks. Howard is averaging a career-high with 21.1 points, leading the league in rebounds (14.4) and ranks fifth in blocks (2.3).

Van Gundy is getting it done, and the best part is, he was Orlando's second choice. If Billy Donovan hadn't returned to Florida, the Magic might not be having this kind of success.

The West is coming. . .

By Michael Lee  |  March 25, 2008; 10:20 AM ET
 
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Next: Who Is COTY? To The West, To The West

Comments

If Ivan wrote this post, it would be two words long.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Why DID you leave off Van Gundy?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I like the job Cheeks has done in Philly, and if they continue to win, he'd get my vote.

Doc was a Coach that only won 24 games last year. Before Garnett and Allen, he was not considered a great Coach. All of a sudden, he's Coach of the Year? Not in my book.

Eddie has done a very good job this year. He still has some substitution patterns that are odd, and sometimes the team looks disorganized (even after time-outs) running the last play of the game - but he certainly deserves consideration for CoY. I don't think he'll win it.

Posted by: Rook | March 25, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

If I wrote this post, it would also be two words long: Rick Adelman. Is there really any debate?

Posted by: Red | March 25, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Pat Riley for Coach AND Exec of the Year.

Posted by: Tay Biltong | March 25, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

EDDIE JORDAN GOT MY VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT OTHER COACH IS REPPIN SOUTHEAST DC?!?!?!?!?!!??!?!?!! COME BACK 2 THE BLOCK EDDIE WE NEED FREE TIX!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: i | March 25, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I'd vote for EJ only because I'm a Wizards fan. I think Byron Scott has done a good job with the Hornets, though. Why no mention of them?

Posted by: mark | March 25, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

hornets are in the west, dummy

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

No reason to call anyone names. It's just a post. No one is getting paid and a mistake is easy to make.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I support Pat Riley for Goat of the Year. And for Head-Tanker of the Year.

Posted by: Bart | March 25, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Based on what I've been reading, I think the writers and fans underestimate the talent on this team. This is probably attributable to dissapointing results in the past and similar personnel on this team.

However, the players have improved a lot. For example, AJ might be the most improved player in the league this year, and he has the highest +/- ratio. Butler is better, Haywoood, and even Stephenson. The bench no longer features Ruffin and an injured Jarvis Hayes. Without Arenas, the team has two all-stars including the second best SF in the NBA.

With Arenas, they certainly match personnel-wise with anybody in the East.

In terms of EJ, he's done wonders with what he has had this year. But some might attribute, at least in part, the second injuries to GA and CB to him for overplaying them too early. If you believe that, it taints his record.

Finally, EJ was an over-achiever in the NBA. He tends to gravitate to overachievers (GA is the obvious, but even Songaila fits the mold). He's not so patient with underachievers (Haywood,last year and Blatche this year). However, one style of management doesn't fit all. He did reach out to Haywood (with Ayers) last summer, and I suspect the same will happen this coming summer with Blatche. Also, Young deserves some personally crafting coaching given his potential.

Posted by: Izman | March 25, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I have Mo Cheeks as the COY for the East. EJ is doing a solid job but unlike the 76ers they STILL have 2 all-stars playing. While Cheeks has a PG who is playing his first season on the team and a rookie forward playing major minutes.

For the west, I have Adelman and the Zen Master in a toss-up. Frankly whoever thought that the Lakers will be the numero uno in the West at this time. Yes, they have Kobe but with all the trouble BEFORE the season started and poor performance last season Phil should get some vote.

Posted by: Dave, | March 25, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

In 2000, Doc Rivers won coach of the year for going 41-41 with a team of scrubs (starting lineup: John Amechi, Ben Wallace, Darrell Armstrong, Ron Mercer and Bo Outlaw).

To suggest that Eddie Jordan should be Coach of the Year for being a couple games over .500 with two All-stars is laughable. Pretty good job by Eddie this year, but let's not go crazy.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Jeremiah's Dad vs Eddie:
Doc added two all stars and made playoffs.
Eddie lost the league's 4th leading scorer and made the playoffs - adv. Eddie

Ron Jeremy vs Eddie:
Ron added Lewis and made the playoffs.
Eddie lost the league's 4th leading scorer and made the playoffs - adv. Eddie (Just cuz Ron is a much better coach than Brian Hill doesn't mean he is coach of the year.)

Mo Cheeks vs Eddie:
Mo lost Iverson and Korver, has overcome inept general managing and is in the playoffs. Eddie lost the league's 4th leading scorer and is in the playoffs - tie or advantage Mo...

Posted by: Anon E. Mouse | March 25, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Michael Lee, I don't know why you wrote this post and included Eddie Jordan. You must not read these blogs because if you did you would know, like Ivan knows, that most of the posters here thinks EJ knows nothing about coaching and that all of the Wizard players need to be traded for someone else. Didn't you know none of the Wiz including EJ,Pollin and EG are worth anything on this blog. They are all expendable.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I still don't understand how anyone can discredit Eddie for having two all-stars. Do you know how many combined all-star appearances Arenas, Jamison and Butler had before playing under him? That's right. Agent Zero's jersey number. These guys became all-stars playing for Eddie.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I think Mo Cheeks deserves a lot of credit, but didn't the new GM come in and tell Mo Cheeks he wanted them to play more up tempo and let the youngsters play more, like T Young. They were losing at the beginning of the year b/c they were running the wrong style of offense for that team. If you need a GM to tell the coach how to run an offense, that coach shouldn't really be COTY, should he?

Still Mo Cheeks has done an excellent job, but I wouldn't say as good as EJ.

Posted by: C-Ritch | March 25, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

C-Ritch - Touche.

I also with 12:57s anonymous post. This team is should be where it is for a squad with two all stars and an inconsistent bench. Had Caron not missed 20 games, they might be 10 wins above .500

Bottom line, COTY is not coming from the east.

Posted by: Anon E. Mouse | March 25, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"I still don't understand how anyone can discredit Eddie for having two all-stars."

In that case, Byron Scott should win this award going away. He turned Chris Paul into an MVP candidate, and David West into an All-Star. He also turned Tyson Chandler into a much better player.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Who votes for COTY and when does the voting take place?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

EJ gets my vote slightly over Mo Cheeks. EJ gets it because he has done wonders with a "8 and/or 9 man" team for most of the season. Having to deal with a spend thrift owner, a GM that wants him gone, his assistants working on 1 year contracts that expire at the end of the year, small crowds, Gilbert's drama and CB's off and on injuries is enough to make any coach fail.

Mo Cheeks has had his whole squad intact for the whole season, just like the Celtics and the Magic. The Wiz have had nothing but injury on top of injury. It takes skill to be able to keep this boat afloat when you are not allowed to sign other players because your owner is too "tight with the loot".

None of the other coachs could have survived under these conditions because they all have "$$$" support from their owners and "support in general" from their GM's. Eddie has had neither, so he should be COTY hands down this year.......

*** EJ - Keep showning BTH some "love" with 30 minutes minimum and you will be good to go........!!!!

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | March 25, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Pat Riley for Goat of the Year. I liked that!

It's funny, people on this blog want to run Eddie out of town, last year Doc was a joke in Boston, and Cheeks was public enemy # 1 in Philly, now they're all being touted for coach of the year.

Van Gundy is an interesting name on the list, remember the shaft job he got from Pat Riley in Orlando? Now Pat's got the worst team in the league and Van Gundy's going to the playoffs.

The league should order Riley to attend every game and take it like a man because his wheeling and dealing created the mess. Van Gundy is a classy guy so he won't rub salt in Pat's wounds, but I bet he's enjoying going to the playoffs and getting out from under Riley's ego in Miami.

Posted by: GM | March 25, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

A big question is when and who votes for the award? If EJ gets us to the 4th seed I think he has to be seriously considered. But B Scott in New Orleans seems to be the man as I see it. NOBODY saw them doing what they have done.

Posted by: BmoreRev | March 25, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Why NOT Pat Riley for Coach of the Year?? No one has tanked so obviously and successfully in my memory. No coach has distanced himself (literally) from a losing situation so successfully.

Coach Riley's general manager (Pat Riley) told him to tank it so that they could get some young talent through the draft, and Coach Riley has followed through on GM Riley's orders to a T. Kudos, Coach Pat, on a job well done.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Not since Houston tanked to get Sampson and created the whole lottery to keep teams from tanking. Or was that so Ewing could land in NY?

Want to make any bets if Riley actually goes with young talent, or if he trys to wheel and deal to another quick contender. Somehow I can't see the guy building around a young team.

Posted by: GM | March 25, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet you $7000.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"For as much heat as Eddie Jordan has received on the comments of the blog over the past few seasons, I don't think any can deny the job that he has done with an undermanned and injured roster for the entire season."

Sure they can. They just end up looking foolish when they do.

Posted by: kalorama | March 25, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

They ought to allow assistants on the ballot, because while Eddie has done a great job, Randy Ayers is the real miracle worker.

Posted by: John Brisker | March 25, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

A big question is when and who votes for the award? If EJ gets us to the 4th seed I think he has to be seriously considered. But B Scott in New Orleans seems to be the man as I see it. NOBODY saw them doing what they have done.

Posted by: BmoreRev | March 25, 2008 02:00 PM

I completely agree... Overall, I think Scott deserves CoY...

I had forgotten that CoY is a League wide award (not Coference).. My selection of Cheeks was made on an incorrect assumption. Cheeks deserves CoY in the Eastern Coference (if there WAS such an award)... But Scott deserves the League award..

Speaking of which, I also like what Aldeman has been able to accomplish, even after losing Yao Ming - and what Jerry Sloan has done in Utah..... but Scott gets my nod.

Posted by: Rook | March 25, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet you $7000.

Posted by: | March 25, 2008 03:12 PM

THAT'S great!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

If EJ wins the COTY award, he should do like Ving Rhames where Ving handed the Golden Globe to Jack Lemmon. EJ should hand it to Ayers.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 25, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

If EJ wins the COTY award, he should do like Ving Rhames where Ving handed the Golden Globe to Jack Lemmon. EJ should hand it to Ayers.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 25, 2008 03:50 PM

Why is that?

  • Because Ayers was able to hold the team together through all the injuries?
  • Because Players that play for Ayers win awards (5 All-Star selections, 1st Team All Defense, 2nd Team All-NBA)?
  • Because, knowing the Wizards needed to be better defensively, Ayres hired himself?
  • Because Ayres was able to prepare the team, even when there were sometimes only 7 or 8 players to practice?
  • Because other team's Coaches, Players and GM's keep praising what Ayers has done this year to keep the Wizards in the Playoff hunt?
  • Because Ayers has been mentioned so many times by NBA Analysts as having done a fantastic job this year?
  • Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

    Wow first post at 3:50pm? I was hoping we could go the entire day without him.

    Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

    Yes, all of the above.

    Posted by: DC Man88 | March 25, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

    I don't know if EJ deserves coach of the year, I would lean toward Cheeks because I think the Wiz are more talented, perhaps by far, than the Sixers are.

    That said, if Rivers gets it, that would be sickening.

    Jordan has done a great job, and deserves job security. I've been a huge Jordan fan since he got here, my only complaint is that he sometimes doesn't see the forest (i.e. the season) for all of the trees (i.e. individual games) and thus plays his stars WAY too many minutes. Could this be why we seem to get stars hurt more often than do the other teams?

    Or should the trainers/medical staff be fired? Jarvis Hayes comes back when they tell him to. Reinjures same knee and the injury becomes a two season deal. Gilbert Arenas comes back from the injury when the doctors tell him to and he reinjures the same knee and it becomes a two season deal. This season Caron Butler comes back too soon from his hip and ends up missing a ton of extra games. Anybody else see a pattern here?

    Posted by: WizFanInFairfax | March 25, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

    "To suggest that Eddie Jordan should be Coach of the Year for being a couple games over .500 with two All-stars is laughable. Pretty good job by Eddie this year, but let's not go crazy." - anon

    Exactly! Add in we're in the Eastern Conference as well. Nice job, but COY he is not. Randy Ayers deserves all the credit for the improved defense. Plus, remember EJ was not exactly thrilled about EG's push to hire a defensive assistant.

    As far as players improving under EJ, perhaps they just improved due to their own evolution as players. I don't think he improved Caron or AJ at all. I think if anything he held Haywood down. I do believe the free wheeling style he allowed Arenas to play did improve him and his career. EJ played to GA's strengths, but, at the same time, I don't think that was necessarily going to get us far in the playoffs. Now look how Arenas is repaying the organization that allowed him to become "Agent Zero".

    Michael Lee, how can you call Orlando's front line "smallish"? They have Turkoglu, Lewis, and Howard who I am almost certain are all 6'10" or taller. They're much bigger than the Wiz up front that's for sure. Howard is probably the best center in the league. Don't agree with "smallish" at all!

    Posted by: Rob P | March 25, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

    Arenas came back when doctors told him to. What he didn't do is follow the doctors' instructions prior to coming back, a fact that he himself has admitted. He pushed too hard over the summer, doing a bunch of stuff the doctors didn't approve, without giving the knee proper rest. The second injury is on him, not the medical staff.

    Injuries are part of the game. Once a guy gets hurt in a certain area, that area's always at a higher risk for re-injury. That just the way it is. Just because a guy follows doctors orders doesn't make him immune to injury from that day forward. Some guys beat the odds, some don't.

    Posted by: kalorama | March 25, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

    So Jordan gets all the blame if players fail to improve on his watch and none of the credit when they do?

    Yeah, sounds fair to me.

    Posted by: kalorama | March 25, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

    Rob P's analysis is spot on.

    Posted by: DC Man88 | March 25, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

    "Luckily, the team doctors talked some sense into Arenas Sunday night before the Pistons game. Even more important, it's good Arenas listened, which isn't a given. Had he stuck to the rehabilitation plan prescribed by the doctors in the first place last summer, Arenas very likely wouldn't have needed a second surgery. But he did his own rehab thing, rushed back too quickly, and is still in this nightmarish predicament that he wants out of, understandably." - Wilbon

    Wilbon nailed it right on the head. Arenas is partly responsible for his situation. I believe I've said as much multiple times this year.

    Wizfaninfairfax, your right that our medical staff and overuse of stars is also a major contributor. You left out Stackhouse who did all but sue the Wiz for the way his injury was handled while with the team.

    Kalorama, who are you talking to, and what are your specifics? Who do you think EJ improved as a player? AJ was always a talented rebounder and scorer. This year his defense has actually improved, which I did not even think was possible. I don't think Randy Ayers arrival is a coincidence in AJ's defensive improvement. If nothing more, he is in the right place more often.

    CB is much like GA in that he is a workaholic who is constantly trying to improve himself. Did EJ make him workout this past off season so that he came into the season in the best shape of his life? Did he show him how to make three pointers over the summer or did CB just improve himself like he has every year he's been in the league?

    Then there's Haywood who was not even the starting center for much of last season. He's having the best season of his career simply bc he has been given the minutes and he worked with our new shooting coach (can't think of his name at the moment).

    Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

    "Luckily, the team doctors talked some sense into Arenas Sunday night before the Pistons game. Even more important, it's good Arenas listened, which isn't a given. Had he stuck to the rehabilitation plan prescribed by the doctors in the first place last summer, Arenas very likely wouldn't have needed a second surgery. But he did his own rehab thing, rushed back too quickly, and is still in this nightmarish predicament that he wants out of, understandably." - Wilbon

    Wilbon nailed it right on the head. Arenas is partly responsible for his situation. I believe I've said as much multiple times this year.

    Wizfaninfairfax, your right that our medical staff and overuse of stars is also a major contributor. You left out Stackhouse who did all but sue the Wiz for the way his injury was handled while with the team.

    Kalorama, who are you talking to, and what are your specifics? Who do you think EJ improved as a player? AJ was always a talented rebounder and scorer. This year his defense has actually improved, which I did not even think was possible. I don't think Randy Ayers arrival is a coincidence in AJ's defensive improvement. If nothing more, he is in the right place more often.

    CB is much like GA in that he is a workaholic who is constantly trying to improve himself. Did EJ make him workout this past off season so that he came into the season in the best shape of his life? Did he show him how to make three pointers over the summer or did CB just improve himself like he has every year he's been in the league?

    Then there's Haywood who was not even the starting center for much of last season. He's having the best season of his career simply bc he has been given the minutes and he worked with Hopla.

    Perhaps, my man EG should be given WAY more credit for hiring these assistants and acquiring good players who like to improve themselves. Plus, if you remember, fans and virtually everyone involved with the team thought Haywood was gone after last year's playoff pout. Who kept him on the team? I just don't see where is EJ working with such an empty cupboard?

    I am not saying EJ is not a good coach, but a great coach or COY I just don't see it. At least not yet!

    Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

    Apologies for the double post!

    DCMan, as always! LOL

    Posted by: Rob P | March 25, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

    Damn, apparently I forgot to give my name to the double post. The brilliant analysis was me. I want the credit! J/K

    Posted by: Rob P | March 25, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

    got it, smartazz. Grow some sax and sign your name, a-wipe.

    Posted by: mark | March 25, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

    Mark, it's called joking i.e. J/K! Get a life and a sense of humor.

    Plus, I don't remember calling you or anybody any names!

    Posted by: Rob P | March 25, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

    Rob P,

    Orlando's front line is small. It's not short, but small. How much do those forwards weigh? How many rebounds or blocked shots do those forwards get? They are both 6-10, but they play 6-6 or 6-7. That, my friend, is small. It doesn't matter if you're tall. It's how you play.

    Posted by: Michael Lee | March 25, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

    ""I've seen this team in person three times the past month, I still don't know how they are doing it?" The guy said, "They run.""

    This scout should be fired. The 76ers play at the 21st fastest pace in the NBA at around 93 possessions a game. I don't really think that qualifies as them being a "running" team.

    Posted by: Paul | March 25, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

    Michael, I am picking up what your putting down. But, physically they are not. Plus, Howard almost makes up for it by himself.

    Where did our defense go in the first qtr?

    Posted by: Rob P | March 25, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

    "Orlando's front line is small. It's not short, but small. How much do those forwards weigh? How many rebounds or blocked shots do those forwards get? They are both 6-10, but they play 6-6 or 6-7. That, my friend, is small. It doesn't matter if you're tall. It's how you play."

    Exactly.

    Posted by: kalorama | March 25, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

    ""I've seen this team in person three times the past month, I still don't know how they are doing it?" The guy said, "They run.""

    This scout should be fired. The 76ers play at the 21st fastest pace in the NBA at around 93 possessions a game. I don't really think that qualifies as them being a "running" team.

    Posted by: Paul | March 25, 2008 09:07 PM


    I'm guessing you haven't seen this team recently?.... you can get stats to say anything you want.

    Posted by: Mike | March 26, 2008 2:28 AM | Report abuse

    Uh, Mike, the stats don't lie in this case. It's not even a case of my twisting stats. The stat I used is simply from the number of possessions per game. I don't really see how this involves "getting the stats to say anything I want." This is more like "stats debunking what people think is true based on limited observations of a team." And I LIVE in Philadelphia and watch their games all the time, and their defense (9th in the League in defensive efficiency) is driving their improvement. Enough said. When a team plays at a pace that puts them among the bottom 10 in the league, I don't think this qualifies in any way as them being a team that "runs." Could we get Mr. Lee or Carter to give their thoughts on this subject??

    Posted by: Paul | March 26, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

    The Sixers are averaging more than 100 points per game during the past 23 games. They have scored 110 or more points in six of the past 17 games. You know how many times that happened the first 54? Three. The Sixers didn't run early in the season. They get up and down more often now. That is why they win. They weren't winning with a slow pace. They run. If you live in Philly, you should know that.

    Posted by: Michael Lee | March 26, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

    I took the boxscore information from the Sixers' last 20 games and used the generally accepted formula for measuring a team's possessions per game:

    Field Goal Attempts + Turnovers - Offensive Rebounds + .475 * Free Throw Attempts (although the .475 is sometimes lowered to .4, but I used .475)

    Using this formula, in the last twenty games, the Sixers' games have averaged 94.7 possessions a game, which is slightly more than 1 possession extra per game compared to the Sixers' average number of possessions per game on the season overall (93.2 according to Hollinger stats on ESPN). Hence, the numbers back me up (again) that the Sixers have simply become more EFFICIENT and are not running. Their offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions) in the last 20 games was 107.9 (compared to 102.7 on the season overall), their defensive efficiency has been 103.1 (compared to 102.8 on the season). Hence, the team is essentially playing at the same pace, and is simply scoring more efficiently in the possessions that they do have. This has driven their improvement lately, not that they have simply been "running" much more. So, the numbers DO back me up; essentially the same pace of games, but they have been more efficient offensively in the possessions that they do have. What say you now, Mr. Lee (or anyone else)? Haha, I just like a good basketball debate, so I'd love to hear more on what you guys think, with these stats in mind...

    Posted by: Paul | March 26, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

    Numbers, smumbers. I have eyes.

    Posted by: Michael Lee | March 26, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

    Numbers, schmumbers. I have eyes.

    Posted by: Michael Lee | March 26, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

    Dear Paul,

    please watch the games and not the box scores

    love,
    Mike

    Posted by: Mike | March 28, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

    potangina! ako coach of the year! - i love philippines! chot reyes coach of the year! joke! c manny pacquiao pala.. doc rivers nd morice brooks, are you circumsize? hell no!

    Posted by: pekpek ni david stern | March 28, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

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