D'Antoni Out?

SI.com is reporting that Phoenix Suns Coach Mike D'Antoni won't return next season after the San Antonio Spurs eliminated his team last night, 92-87. It was the third time in four years that the Spurs have knocked the Suns out of postseason and D'Antoni has reportedly lost the support within the organization - most notably from owner Robert Sarver and general manager Steve Kerr.

If that's the case, D'Antoni won't have to wait too long for a job, since he made the NBA fun again with his high-scoring, seven-seconds-or-less offense, and with vacancies in Chicago and New York.


Hey, somebody guard Tony Parker! He's down there! (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

D'Antoni appears to have been put on the clock the moment Kerr took over as general manager last summer and immediately began demanding a more solid, defensive approach, like the ones employed by the teams he won championships with in Chicago and San Antonio. SI.com is reporting that D'Antoni felt doomed the moment former Suns GM Bryan Colangelo left for Toronto two years ago.

The Suns have been an exciting team, but their inability to improve on defense and rebounding led to Kerr making the trade for Shaquille O'Neal. The trade helped the Suns' rebounding and O'Neal helped frustrated Tim Duncan some in this series, but it came at the expense of Shawn Marion, who likely would've been used to guard Tony Parker.

Parker was an unstoppable force in this series, with the Suns unable to play perimeter defense and contain his dribble penetration. He averaged 29.6 points and 7 assists while being guarded primarily by Steve Nash and later his buddy from France, Boris Diaw.

Coaching has always been a pretty dangerous profession. You're basically hired to get fired, and the general life span of a coach is three years or less (which makes Jerry Sloan's 20-year run in Utah downright unbelievable). D'Antoni was 232-96 as coach of the Suns.


This doesn't mean that I have job security, but at least I have a trophy. (AP Photo)

You know what's crazy: Yesterday, New Orleans Hornets Coach Byron Scott was handed the NBA Coach of the Year award, which really means nothing in terms of providing security in the business. Dallas Mavericks Coach Avery Johnson, NBA Coach of the Year two years ago, is on a flame-broiled seat after the New Orleans Hornets knocked out his team in five games last night. Now there is speculation that last year's Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell's job might not be so secure in Toronto, especially if D'Antoni - Coach of the Year in 2005 - becomes available and Colangelo seeks a reunion.

Scott should at least feel good that he received his trophy on the same time his team booted the Mavericks and Jason Kidd, the player responsible for Scott getting ousted in New Jersey less than a year after leading the Nets to back-to-back NBA finals appearances.

So much for those big name trades in February, huh? I didn't like the Shaq trade initially. I supported the Kidd trade, but I had no idea that the playing style would be so bland with him there. Kidd played like he was on a leash.

All this proves is that it's really hard to change your philosophy on the fly - and when the owner is prepared to spend big bucks on their teams, and they don't win a championship, somebody has to fall. And as the cliché goes, you can't fire the players.


You think I want that stinking Red Auerbach Trophy? Please. I have a job. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Sloan has never won Coach of the Year and it might be a good thing. Since he took over on Dec. 9, 1988, there have been 200 coaching changes. And check out the list of how long the past 10 NBA Coaches of Year of year stayed on the job after receiving the Red Auerback Trophy.

Sam Mitchell, Toronto, 2007
Still employed by Raptors.

Avery Johnson, Dallas, 2006
Still employed by Mavericks. Job reportedly in jeopardy.

Mike D'Antoni, Phoenix, 2005
Still employed by Suns. Reportedly will not return for 2008-09.

Hubie Brown, Memphis, 2004
Resigned 12 games into the next season.

Gregg Popovich, San Antonio, 2003
Still employed by Spurs.

Rick Carlisle, Detroit, 2002
Fired after the next season and replaced by Larry Brown.

Larry Brown, Philadelphia, 2001
Resigned two years later to become head coach in Detroit.

Doc Rivers, Orlando, 2000
Fired in December 2003.

Mike Dunleavy, Portland, 1999
Fired two years later.

Larry Bird, Indiana, 1998
Resigned two years later.

By Michael Lee |  April 30, 2008; 10:15 AM ET
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Great synopsis Mike.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 30, 2008 10:29 AM

With the Suns looking to make some changes due to recent failures, what do you think it would take to get Boris Diaw in a Wiz jersey? The guy would be perfect for this team and would still allow Eddie to go small while being effective. Great big, can do a lot of things, and is an upgrade to every last one of our bench players.

Posted by: Owl | April 30, 2008 10:42 AM

I would imagine its hard for D'Antoni to 'instill defense' when his PG can't guard other elite PG's anymore.

How did they expect to get through Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Parker, etc? Only chance was if they got a matchup versus an equally defenseless Jason Kidd or a spot-shooting PG like Derek Fisher.

Ultimately its back on Kerr, a man who showed he was ready to run a team by... working for TNT. It was Kerr who couldn't pull the trigger on the Garnett deal.

Posted by: Monte | April 30, 2008 10:44 AM

Man, never mind Boris Diaw in a Wiz jersey, I wouldn't mind seeing Mike D'Antoni on the Wiz sideline. It's amazing (well not really, it's capitalism I guess) how quickly really effective coaches (and players, heh) get looked at as losers if they can't win a championship within a couple years.

I gotta think D'Antoni could get amazing results out of this Wizards team. (I admit I'm kind of throwing Eddie Jordan to the wolves here the same way, but no disrespect to EJ, D'Antoni really does seem a couple steps better as a coach...)

Posted by: Josh | April 30, 2008 10:47 AM

All of this movement will at least give Grunfeld some options at the end of the season.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2008 10:50 AM

I think I just soiled myself. I see that D'Antoni is leaving Phoenix. I like EJ but hiring D'Antoni would make a whole lot of sense. Based on the team that EG has assembled, that style of play would be PERFECT for this team. You can say a lot of bad things about Gilbert but one thing you can't say is that he doesn't excel in a fast tempo. With GA in the middle of a break with CB and DS on the wings and AJ trailing or spotting up, we'd be hard to match up with. Haywood would be more effective against traditional teams if we wanted to switch up the style occasionally. I haven't even mentioned the 3 point threats of Pech and RM. Last but not least, we all know that AB, Nick Young, and McGuire are all better when they run because they're all the same type of build....slim and fast.
Though it probably won't happen, hiring D'Antoni as the next Wiz coach would (in my opinion) guaranteed a succession of 50 win seasons. As for the playoffs, that's a different question. It sure would be nice to have home court, though.
I know that skeptics will say that the Suns system succeeded soley because of Nash. Well, he had some measure of success before he got Nash or else he wouldn't have gotten that job in the first place. He won some championships in Italy. I may be in the minority here but we need to either switch out some players or change our style. It would be much easier to change the style since the players all know each others' games.

Posted by: mark | April 30, 2008 11:19 AM

Oh great.

Sure let's hire D'Antoni, can't want till next year blogs complaining about how that team doesn't play any defense and who they should hire as a defensive coach.

Posted by: pg posse | April 30, 2008 11:32 AM

I think he's going to be a very coveted coach in both toronto and new york. and while i agree that he could do a lot with this team, unless pollin has given complete control to EG (other than the luxury cap rule) i don't see eddie jordan being let go.

also, i'd like to see how the wizards finish out this series. so far, imo, ej has been completely out-coached...by himself. we changed up our game and rotations considerably for this series, and it has clearly been for the worse.

plus, if anything, his biggest task should've been to control and guide the players emotions, trash-talking, and focus, as well as not let the media/brown affect the refs. and he failed at those.

he seems to be very good at 'coaching'...teaching players the game, and calling plays. but unfortunately, at this level, and to go anywhere in the playoffs, an nba coach needs to know how to work the system even more so. unless of course your team is just built to succeed in the playoffs, like san antonio.

that being said, i think ej has done as much as he can with the players we have. so something needs to change.

Posted by: JC | April 30, 2008 11:35 AM

I have to agree with JC.

Specially when your are losing to the same team 3 years in a row.

And this time the Wizards had the upper hand, they have a much better team, and were kind of healthy and their mouth and attitude were really irresponsible.

Charles Barkley was right. The Wizards are the dumbest team in history.

Posted by: elmago | April 30, 2008 12:36 PM

I too like EJ but if we lose tonight or Friday, there must be some sort of change. It's called accountability, and Mr. Pollin isn't paying EJ to be a .500 team coach only to get pushed out of the first round every year.

EJ has made some dumb decisions this season and in the playoffs. He let the team say/do whatever they wanted and now we're paying for it in the media. He may be a nice guy, but I don't think he's seasoned enough to be an elite coach in the NBA. However, he does make a mean Mercedes Benz commercial, I must say.

Did anyone notice that the NBA will not fine or suspend anyone from the Celts/Hawks game for the incident with Garnet? Talk about double standard...the NBA is turning in to a joke.

Oh and can someone please translate JayZ's diss on DS? I can't understand a darn word in that rap...

Posted by: CJ | April 30, 2008 12:37 PM

D'Antoni had a great run in Phoenix but bringing him to DC makes no sense. Our big weakness is defense and bringing in a coach that doesn't try to play defense is insane.

The key point here is successful coaches like D'Antoni and Avery possibly getting the boot...translation - EJ's job security doesn't look so good right now.

Posted by: Wizzz | April 30, 2008 12:50 PM

CJ, you know the NBA is all about money. They need the big name players to win so that viewership (which translates into commercial dollars) stays high. The league will do anything it its power to protect the stars and ensure that they remain in the playoffs as long as possible. Of course, they will have to make it seem fair so that everyone doesn't view the league as corrupt.
Right now, Stern's biggest nightmare would be seeing the Celts lose to the Hawks and the Wizards beat the Cavs. While there may not be any blatant rule bending, the subtle calls here and there are designed to proling the playoffs while keeping the big names in play in order to keep the dollars rolling in. Stern is praying for 7 game series' with Garnett and James prevailing. What he doesn't want is another Pistons-Spurs borefest.

Posted by: mark | April 30, 2008 12:55 PM

Wizz, I get you completely but I just believe that our team is so skewed in terms of our player's skillsets that we're closer to being a consistent offensive juggernaut than a consistent above average defensive team. We have four starters that can shoot threes and a bunch of greyhounds on the bench like AB, NY, etc. Hiring D'Antoni would be an admission that we are built incorrectly but it would definitely cater to what we do best. I'm just hoping that it doesn't turn us into Denver (all offense and NO defense)

Posted by: mark | April 30, 2008 12:58 PM

i also wanted to say that i think EJ can be a very successful coach in this league. it's just that this team has no one on the court that takes control of the team. jamison and caron are both great leaders, but they're not the types to get in teammates' faces and chew them out for not focusing. (at least, i've never heard of them doing anything like that). and EJ doesn't seem to be the type either.

for a team to do damage in the playoffs, they need someone like that to force them to focus all year. the cavs have james. lakers have kobe and jackson. phoenix had D'Antoni and to a certain degree, nash (who maybe isn't an in your face guy, but clearly 'leads' the team and they all fall in line to him). for utah it's sloan.

imagine EJ coaching a team like the cavs. he can instill all the X's and O's, and lebron will force the team to focus day in and day out. they'd be a force.

that being said, i still think this team will be better next year, assuming they bring everyone back. having everyone healthy for a majority of the games will help us with better seeding in the playoffs, and our bench which is still quite young and inexperienced in certain areas should improve even more.

btw, i'm talking about next year, but i haven't given up on this year, yet. i still think if we can check our emotions, and play 'our' style of basketball, we will make this a 7 game series.

Posted by: JC | April 30, 2008 1:06 PM

This article just makes my blood boil...

http://www.ohio.com/sports/cavs/18394064.html

I guess that's why this guy is a writer for the Beacon - what a tool.

Posted by: CJ | April 30, 2008 1:11 PM

You know, the rap on Denver (and Phoenix) that they don't play any defense is probably undeserved. Denver had the 13th-best FG-percentage-allowed in the league this year, and Phoenix was 12th-best. That is, incidentally, noticeably better than Utah (tied for 19th this year, with... wait for it.... the Wizards!).

All three of those teams had more possessions per game than average, which is why their opponents' points-per-game look bad (Denver, 29th in the league, Phoenix, 25th... Washington, incidentally, 12th, this year, Utah 13th). But their point differentials are quite good (Utah 4th, Phoenix 7th, Denver 11th, Washington 15th FWIW), because they shot better than they allowed their opponents to shoot on those extra possessions.

My point is that D'Antoni probably shouldn't really be viewed as "no defense" and neither should his players. No more than George Karl or Jerry Sloan should. Their teams lost for reasons other than their ability to play defense. Chemistry, matchups, luck, just getting outhustled maybe - whatever it was, it wasn't that they can't play defense.

Posted by: Josh | April 30, 2008 1:23 PM

I'm sorry, mark did you say (ahem) Pech is a 3-point threat? Pech?

Posted by: jones-y | April 30, 2008 1:25 PM

I'd rather see Avery Johnson on the Wiz sideline than D'Antoni. He took a high-octane run-and-shoot offense and turned it into a great hybrid last year and the year before, able to run with anyone but also potent in the half-court offense and able to play above-average defense. That's the formula the Wiz could use. And as a point guard with a ring on his finger he wouldn't need to defer at all to the resident prima donna.

Things didn't work out this year but I have to think that's as much the fault of Cuban and the GM trading for Jason Kidd so late in the season. The same could be said for D'Antoni trying to integrate a beast like Shaq into the game.

But I'd take Avery Johnson or Hubie Brown over D'Antoni.

Posted by: Prazak | April 30, 2008 1:26 PM

Yes!! D'Antoni! D'Antoni! D'Antoni!

Please let it be so...or Avery J., or Carlisle, just get it done.

Posted by: DC | April 30, 2008 1:33 PM

I love it, just love it,you guys on this blog would drive the pope to drink,fire EJ,hire Mike D'Antonio. Please stop until the season is over take a deep breath, then give EJ a full year with a healthy squad and a GM who will give him what he needs a physical forward, a real point guard, a bench that gets it; this is a very good coaching staff the wizards improved defensively and on the free throw line so why change. The eastern conference is getting better the last thing you want to do is bring in a new staff,with new ideas and a different philosophy trust me that won't work then what?

Posted by: dargregmag@aol.com | April 30, 2008 1:34 PM

I don't know, seemed to work for Boston...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2008 1:38 PM

Why is no one talking about upgrading our bench. Boris Diaw is the perfect kind of guy that will step in and solidify our bench with AD and Songaila and Nick Young. Thats a nine man rotation (assuming our 5 starters now) that actually makes sense.

Posted by: Owl | April 30, 2008 1:50 PM

Anon 1:38, Boston did not hire a new coach this year.

Posted by: jones-y | April 30, 2008 1:50 PM

Would be interested in your opinions on the Bob Costas town hall meeting and if you feel like you get lumped in with sports bloggers because a majority of your stories are posted on the internet.

Posted by: Andrew | April 30, 2008 1:59 PM

I honestly fail to see where people dug up this idea that the Wizards are so clearly superior to the Cavs. Anyone who's not a diehard Wizards fan would find that assertion dubious, at best.

Posted by: kalorama | April 30, 2008 2:10 PM

Makr,

Bringing in D'Antoni and changing the Wizards style may sound like a great idea, but the reality is that (A)the Wizards don't have the personnel to play the style D'Antoni instituted in Phoenix and (B) his style has not bee proven to win titles. The only way in which D'Antoni would be a good fit for the Wizards is that he's a coach who doesn't stress defense and the Wizards are a team that doesn't play any.

Posted by: kalorama | April 30, 2008 2:14 PM

Mark,

Bringing in D'Antoni and changing the Wizards style may sound like a great idea, but the reality is that (A)the Wizards don't have the personnel to play the style D'Antoni instituted in Phoenix and (B) his style has not bee proven to win titles. The only way in which D'Antoni would be a good fit for the Wizards is that he's a coach who doesn't stress defense and the Wizards are a team that doesn't play any.

Posted by: kalorama | April 30, 2008 2:15 PM

Owl,

I agree the bench needs an upgrade, I've been pushing for it all year. But Diaw isn't what they need. The Wizards main needs are a physical, high energy big man; an experienced athletic, volume scoring wing player (SG or SF), an insurance PG. Diaw doesn't fit any of those descriptions.

Now, if the Suns want to deal Leandro Barbosa, that's another story.

Posted by: kalorama | April 30, 2008 2:18 PM

I actually disagree kal. I think D'Antoni's system would fit well with the players we have here. Adding a post scoring threat to run the high pick-n-roll (Tawn could do it, he just wouldn't attack the front of the rim like Amare, instead he'd toss up one of his patented lanky shots) would be one of the main concerns, and as far as fast breaking, we're already good at it. Quick shots? We do it, but we're not good at it.

And with AB developing his shot-blocking, jump-shooting, and moving to his natural position of 3/4 tweener, NY developing as a perimeter slasher, and DMac developing as a preimeter stopper, I think we'd be a good fit The only glaring weaknesses I see in fitting D'Antonio's system to our roster is that we are not a good passing team.

You're definitely right in that its not a proven system.

Posted by: jones-y | April 30, 2008 2:27 PM

And I forgot to add that a PG like Gil coming off the high pick-n-roll with the follwing options:
1. DSteve or RM on the wing to shoot,
2. CB on the wing to penetrate,
3. AJ or AB cutting down the middle after setting the pick,
4. BTH at the elbow,
not to mention
5. a deadly 18 foot jumper or
6. a consistent 'And-1' drive to the basket

is an enticing thought.

Posted by: jones-y | April 30, 2008 2:32 PM

Kalorama: "Boobie" Gibson? Delonte "please don't trade me again" West? Sideshow Bob? Wally "over the hill snail" Szerbiak? Ben "how old am I?" Wallace? Zydrunas ("fill in the blank") stiff-role-playing Ilgauskas? Please. You don't have to be a Wizards fan -- just not being BLIND is enough -- to believe that the Zards have more talent than those Cleveland geezers. Problem is, because I'm I wizards fan, I know that the reasons why we've lost to them go beyond talent.

Posted by: DC | April 30, 2008 2:33 PM

Avery Johnson fired.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2008 2:37 PM

Check out this statement from Hoopshype.com under the Ackron Journal.

And they say the Wizards are a dirty team and the refs and the league are not bias!!!! B.S.


According to a league source, NBA vice president Stu Jackson hit James with a flagrant foul-1 after Game 1 when he elbowed Wizards forward Andray Blatche. There was no official call on the play. Last year, James was hit with a flagrant-2 on a no call on an elbow he threw at the Detroit Pistons' Chris Webber in the Eastern Conference finals. . . . The NBA has moved up tonight's starting time to 6 to accommodate TNT. . . . James said his back has been feeling better during this series. He was bothered by spasms the last few weeks of the season but has not had to lay on the baseline while out of the game as before. ''My back hasn't been a problem, even the tough falls my back has been able to absorb that contact,'' James said. ''The coaching staff and training staff have done a great job of keeping us off our feet and saving us for the games.''

Posted by: bullets_0000 | April 30, 2008 2:55 PM

jones-y , I was going to write up a detailed response to your posts, but I won't bother. We'll just have to agree to disagree. Your analysis is largely based on the best case scenario of what could happen to some of the players (which is really unknown). I'm basing mine on what we know to be true of them now. On that basis, this team is a bad fit for D'Antoni.

"Kalorama: "Boobie" Gibson? Delonte "please don't trade me again" West? Sideshow Bob? Wally "over the hill snail" Szerbiak? Ben "how old am I?" Wallace? Zydrunas ("fill in the blank") stiff-role-playing Ilgauskas? Please. You don't have to be a Wizards fan -- just not being BLIND is enough -- to believe that the Zards have more talent than those Cleveland geezers. Problem is, because I'm I wizards fan, I know that the reasons why we've lost to them go beyond talent."

They really don't.

The Wiz have three solid players who are all-star caliber when healthy. Two of them clearly aren't healthy. The Cavs have one of the best players in the game who, only 5 years into his career, is already a lock for the HoF.
Advantage: Cavs.

The Cavs have a two-time all-star lowpost scoring C who, despite being past his prime is still highly effective. The Wiz have a journeyman C who, after 7 years of general disappointing and underwhelming play, is putting up "career numbers" that are nice at best, but don't disguise the fact that he's not a good enough offensive player (scorer or passer) to run the offense through him.
Advantage: Cavs.

The Cavs' star player not only scores, but uses the defensive attention he draws to set up his teammates for easy shots. The Wizards' best players don't.
Advantage: Cavs.

The Cavs have several shooters who can consistently hit big shots when given open opportunities as a result of their star players efforts. The Wizards have fewer shooters who have not proven to be anywhere near as consistent.
Advantage Cavs.

The Cavs have an assortment of size, strength, and depth along their front line. The Wizards have one real C who's not esp. athletic, one skinny backup PF who's not esp. strong masquerading as a C.
Advantage: Cavs

Are the Cavs a great team overall? Certainly not. But they're a better constructed team than the Wizards. Obviously, much of that is the result of having Lebron James. But as long as they have him, then he can't be arbitrarily removed from the equation. Saying that the Wizards have more "talent" than the Cavs aside from James is meaningless as long as they have James.

Was there reason to believe the Wiz had a reasonable chance of beating the Cavs? Sure. But was there reason to think, on any level, that they should somehow be overwhelming favorites to do so? None that I can see.

Posted by: kalorama | April 30, 2008 2:57 PM

Kal, I keep harking back to last year with the whole Robert Horry thing when guys were suspended. It appeared as though the Suns were on their way to winning the west at least. I know I've said this before but here goes..."It only takes one guy to do it to prove it can be done." I use the Colts as an example of an offense-first team that can win the big one. Before them it was all about defense winning championships. Though the Pats choked in the big game, they proved that an offensive team could be dominant, as well. I realize it's a different sport but my point is that they chose an unconventional approach and were successful. I personally think that a running and gunning 3 point shooting European style can win in the NBA and D'Antoni has proven it to a degree. I have to disagree with you on the personnel. Though Gil is a shoot first guy rather than pass first, who's to say that it won't work even better with a guy like that? GA is a more than able passer. I think we have the personnel more suited to it than any team in the league, actually....perhaps even more so that the Suns themselves. How many teams can go 8 or 9 deep with guys whose games are better suited to running and shooting 3's? Based on the little bit that I know about this system, it requires good passers (CB, GA, AB, AD, Songaila, etc), good 3 point threats (CB, AJ, GA, RM, OP, NY, etc) and guys who can get out and run (everyone but BTH, OP and Etan). The only thing we're missing is the premium rebounder/defender like Shawn Marion

jones-y, I DID say Pech. LOL. He shot it fairly well early this year and even the coachs have said that he has one of the best strokes on the team. Err...shooting strokes, that is.

dargregmag@aol.com, I would think that watching this team bang it's collectives heads against a wall every year without switching up styles or something would cause the holy father more grief than switching up coaches. I AM Roman Catholic, btw so it's ok for me to talk about him. ;)

Posted by: mark | April 30, 2008 3:02 PM

All, While I'm not calling for EJ's dismissal, you have to consider it if a guy like D'Antoni becomes available. There have been a bunch of coaches who were successful but couldn't get past a certain level who were let go. Don Nelson in Dallas, Marty Schottenheimer, Byron Scott in NJ and D'Antoni come to mind.
If we lose to the Cavs, that's 3 straight years to the same team. Something has to change. Personally, I think injuries are a valid excuse but most folks don't. Abe is old. I don't know that he has much patience or faith in EJ. It's already been documented that EG and EJ are not that close. I'd be surprised if EG hasn't already put out feelers to D'Antoni. EJ is a very good coach (of the Princeton/hybrid system). defense is not his specialty and we know that. Neither is it D'Antoni's. I believe that hiring D'Antoni would give a boost in the arm to the team, though. If we lose this series,some players on the Wiz have to feel as though we can't beat the Cavs. A change in coaches would change that mindset and some times that's all it takes to go further.

Posted by: mark | April 30, 2008 3:16 PM

"It appeared as though the Suns were on their way to winning the west at least."

Appearances can be deceiving, looks can kill, beauty's only skin deep, and other assorted cliches about how things look notwithstanding, the reality is that they didn't win. (And winning the conference isn't winning a title. Ask the Mavs or the Cavs.) Unless Grunfeld is planning to blow the whole thing up and start over, it's reasonable to assume that any moves he makes this summer will have the goal of furthering the team's title aspirations. At the very least, there's significant reason to wonder whether D'Antoni is capable of fulfilling that goal.

"Though Gil is a shoot first guy rather than pass first, who's to say that it won't work even better with a guy like that?"

I'm fairly certain D'Antoni would be the first to say that. The Suns' success was predicated on Nash's ability to run the offense in a way that not only found open guys, but created opening's for them. The main reason why that team ran the break so well is because the other four guys on the court knew that if they ran hard there was a high probability that Nash would hit them with a pass that would lead to an easy score. Players tend not to run out as hard if they don't think there's a good chance they'll be rewarded with the ball at the other end.

"How many teams can go 8 or 9 deep with guys whose games are better suited to running and shooting 3's?"

Don't know, but I know the Wizards aren't one of them. At least not as currently constructed.

I find it particularly ironic that some of Jordan's more vocal and frequent critiques are calling for him to be replaced with a coach who has frequently been criticized for doing (or not doing) the same things they criticized Jordan for, namely not stressing defense and not playing/developing his bench.

Posted by: kalorama | April 30, 2008 3:39 PM

BTW, Pecherov is shooting 28% from 3pt range (35% overall), so counting on him to be one of the shooters in an uptempo offense is wishful thinking at its best.

Posted by: kalorama | April 30, 2008 3:43 PM

On a different note, the Mavs are screwed. They're stuck with bad contracts attached to aging, declining players (Jason Kidd, Erick Dampier, Stack, EJones), they have no 1st round pick, draft pick, they're paying more luxury tax than any team other than the Knicks, and now they're going to be paying Avery Johnson to not coach the team. I feel bad for Dirk. He's an understated, quiet guy, but if ever there was a time to pull a Kobe/Zo/Kidd/Carter style revolt and demand a trade, now would be it.

Posted by: kalorama | April 30, 2008 3:49 PM

Well, Suns has denied the report, but Avery Johnson reportedly is out.

Posted by: Sagaliba | April 30, 2008 3:57 PM

"BTW, Pecherov is shooting 28% from 3pt range (35% overall), so counting on him to be one of the shooters in an uptempo offense is wishful thinking at its best.

Posted by: kalorama | April 30, 2008 3:43 PM "

No one in their right might should be counting on a 7 footer to be a shooter when his arse is supposed to be banging down low and getting boards and lay D instead where he's needed.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 30, 2008 3:58 PM

Should I root for a Wiz loss so we can get Avery in for an interview ASAP? I assume there is not a hiring freeze during the playoffs?

Posted by: Larry | April 30, 2008 4:09 PM

"No one in their right might should be counting on a 7 footer to be a shooter when his arse is supposed to be banging down low and getting boards and lay D instead where he's needed."

Hey Mark, I think this one's for you.

Posted by: kalorama | April 30, 2008 4:09 PM

Re: bullets_0000 post at 2:55 pm:
Here's a link to video of the elbow LeBron clocked Webber with: http://youtube.com/watch?v=-sTAMUZxfZA If you'll all recall, Kobe got suspended for doing the same thing TWICE last year! LeBron, however, did not receive a suspension. The league, in fact, is ridiculous. How do you think Phoenix feels today knowing that Garnett pushed a referee with his elbow and two players in that same Hawks-Celtics game left the bench but no one received a suspension. So much for the bright-line rules, or the rules regarding "unnatural basketball acts" applying to the league's preferred stars and teams.

Posted by: DCdisavowed | April 30, 2008 4:15 PM

"Hey Mark, I think this one's for you.

Posted by: kalorama | April 30, 2008 4:09 PM "

Must be the same mark who said he can see Les BouleS in the finals this season.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 30, 2008 4:17 PM

"Well, Suns has denied the report, but Avery Johnson reportedly is out."

It's hardly a surprise the Suns deny firing Avery Johnson, since he coaches the Mavs. (But it would be a great story if a team confirmed that they'd just fired another team's coach.)

Posted by: kalorama | April 30, 2008 4:25 PM

DCdisavowed | April 30, 2008 4:15 PM

Thanks!!!!!

Posted by: bullets_0000 | April 30, 2008 4:28 PM

Thanks, kal but I don't respond to certain folks. But if YOU'RE asking the question, the reigning MVP is a 7 footer who shoots from outside.
Rasheed Wallace is another. Ok. Rasheed might be 6'11 but close enough.

Posted by: mark | April 30, 2008 4:36 PM

...and most times it's not the accuracy but the willingness to shoot that draws a man out to guard a perimeter player. Even if Pech is at 28%, the fact that he will pull the trigger would make his man go out there. No team wants to give up open looks to a jump shooter with the posible exception of our hometown Wizards.

Posted by: mark | April 30, 2008 4:38 PM

Mark,

I have no quarrel with the idea that a 7 footer (or near 7 footer) can be a potent outside shooting weapon. But there's no evidence that Pech is anywhere close to being in that class.

"...and most times it's not the accuracy but the willingness to shoot that draws a man out to guard a perimeter player. Even if Pech is at 28%, the fact that he will pull the trigger would make his man go out there."

Sorry, man, but that's just flat out wrong. Opposing coaches love it when guys shooting under 30% from 3 jack 'em up from behind the line. Because every shot they take from there means one less higher percentage, makable shot that the other team is not taking closer in. There's a reason why almost all of Pecherov's 3-pt looks have been wide open and unguarded.

Posted by: kalorama | April 30, 2008 5:00 PM

Good points, Kalorama. Pecherov has clearly hit his ceiling, having played 35 games in the NBA. He will never be a better shooter than he is now.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2008 5:11 PM

Where the hel! are all the Opec fans? I think that it's probably a case of nerves. When a guy hasn't gotten much pt, he's not as confident. As soon as he gets consistent minutes, his shot'll settle down and he should be better. Maybe not good but at least good enough to be a threat. Look at Kwame Brown as an example. Once he started getting minutes, he stopped fumbling the ball and missing layups.
Ok. Bad example.

Posted by: mark | April 30, 2008 5:42 PM

"(A)the Wizards don't have the personnel to play the style D'Antoni instituted in Phoenix and (B) his style has not bee proven to win titles."

Same goes with the Princeton Offense. It will NEVER be effective with the personnel they have right now.

Posted by: Dave, | April 30, 2008 6:03 PM

"

Thanks, kal but I don't respond to certain folks. But if YOU'RE asking the question, the reigning MVP is a 7 footer who shoots from outside.
Rasheed Wallace is another. Ok. Rasheed might be 6'11 but close enough.

Posted by: mark | April 30, 2008 4:36 PM "

Yeah sure, unless you're posting under a different name.

BTW, Rasheed does play a little defense too, unlike OPech, who can't even spell defense.

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 30, 2008 6:48 PM

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