Wednesday, April 30, 2008
There is a lot of action in the NBA, both on and off the court.
First, let’s get the latest Larry Brown gig out of the way. The vagabond coach landed yesterday in Charlotte as coach of the Bobcats. The Bobcats will become the ninth NBA team that he has coached. He has also coached Denver, San Antonio, the L.A. Clippers, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Indiana, and Detroit. In addition, Brown has coached in college at UCLA and Kansas, and coached the Carolina Cougars of the ABA. The picture shows Brown in the good old days as coach of the then-ABA Nuggets. Why not Charlotte, and why not Larry Brown? More power to them.
Surprisingly, most of the playoff intrigue is in the Eastern Conference. The lower-seeded teams such as Philadelphia and Atlanta are giving Detroit and Boston all they want. Will there be an upset? I doubt it. They’re making it interesting, though.
That thud you hear are teams in the Western Conference. What was supposed to be a set of classic playoff series have turned into wreckage. The Lakers swept 8th place Denver. The Spurs beat Phoenix, and the Hornets beat the Mavericks by identical 4-1 counts. Only the Houston Rockets spared themselves embarrassment by staving off elimination and forcing a Game 6 against the Jazz on Friday night in Utah.
The first casualty of the playoff disaster was Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson. Owner Mark Cuban made Avery the scapegoat for all that has gone wrong with the Mavs over the last two years. One truth of the NBA is that players tune coaches out after about three years or so, no matter who the coach is. Avery will land on his feet somewhere in the league. As for the Mavs, they are now just Dirk Nowitzki and a bunch of guys. This is not a championship team by any stretch of the imagination. Plus, it was a bonehead move to send two future draft picks to New Jersey as part of the Jason Kidd trade. Perhaps Cuban should cash out and sell the team. It’s going to be a painful rebuilding process in Dallas.