“Any information you get is going to help you, but I’m not one of those guys. Basketball is not like baseball. You can use that [analytics] knowledge and help things, but at the end of the day it doesn’t work in basketball in my mind.”
Archive for Larry Brown
“Last part of the play must be the strongest.”
As we sit back and watch both New York professional basketball teams in the NBA playoffs (Knicks-Celtics and Nets-Bulls) for some strange reason I thought back to the 1975-76 season.
The Nets defeated the Denver Nuggets that year 4-2 to win the ABA championship, their second ring in three years. The Nuggets, coached by Larry Brown had the best record in the league and were led by David Thompson, Dan Issel and Bobby Jones. But Julius Erving was too much for them in the finals; Doc averaged 37.7 PPG in the finals. Over in the NBA, the Celtics had captured the title beating the Phoenix Suns 4-2. It was the Celtics 13th ring.
75-76 was the ABA’s last season.
Their “swan song.”
The red white and ball was no more.
Four teams (Nets, Pacers, Nuggets and Spurs) joined the NBA on June 17th, 1976.
Or like my friend Glenn Thomas likes to say, “Suspended operations.”
There was talk of a possible game between the Nets and Celtics to determine the real champion.
No such luck, it never happened.
While researching for this entry, I found this piece of information from http://www.remembertheaba.com/abastatistics/abanbaexhibitions.html
After the 1974-75 regular season, the ABA Champion Kentucky Colonels formally challenged the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors to a “World Series of Basketball,” with the winner to take a $1 Million purse (to come from anticipated TV revenues). The NBA and the Warriors refused the challenge. Again, after the 1975-76 season, the ABA Champion New York Nets offered to play the NBA Champion Boston Celtics in a winner-take-all game, with the proceeds going to benefit the 1976 United States Olympic team. Predictably, the Celtics declined to participate.
In my neighborhood we had Celtics fans, Nets fans and Knicks fans. My guy Jack Kelly from 7th avenue is one of the biggest Celtics fans around so I’m sure after he reads this entry, he’ll have something to say about the meeting that never took place. My good friend Kevin Molloy was a Celtics fan too. It was not hard to root for them. They played the game the right way.
The Celtics were fundamentally sound. They had Dave Cowens, Paul Silas and John Havlicek up front. “Hondo” was 36 at the time and nursing a sore foot. Boston had three players (Cowens, Hondo and Silas) make 1st team all-defense.
The Nets, coached by Kevin Loughery played a run and gun style led by the “Big 3″ in Julius Erving, Brian Taylor and John Williamson. People tend to forget that Larry Kenon and Billy Paultz were NOT on this Nets team.
Doc was incredible. He was the leading scorer that year and had captured his third straight league MVP.
When the merger took place Red Auerbach said that we’re going to see one of the greatest forwards to ever play this game. He was talking about Julie.
The backcourt battle between Jo-Jo White and Charlie Scott vs Taylor and Williamson would have been sweet.
Overall for the ABA, the players and teams did well in the NBA after the merger.
“The ABA was like the wild west, and Julius Erving, George Gervin, James Silas and all the other ABA stars were gunfighters. They are men of legend known to millions, but whose actual deeds were seen by few,” Bob Costas said in Terry Pluto’s fantastic book about the ABA.
The following season after the merger, the Portland Trailblazers won the NBA championship (thanks to Maurice Lucas). Their opponent in the finals was the 76ers (thanks to Doc), the Nuggets won the Midwest and the Spurs led the league in scoring. The Nets on the other hand were a mess. They had the worst record in the league at 22-60 but they did do something to make the NBA history books. In February they became the first NBA team ever to have an all-left-handed lineup: Tim Bassett, Al Skinner, Bubbles Hawkins, Dave Wohl and Kim Hughes.
Nets-Celtics in 76 would have been special.
So, who wins, Nets or Celtics?
The year was 1970, I was six-years-old living in Brooklyn, New York. It was the first time I fell in love; in love with the New York Knickerbockers.
That was forty-two years ago. It was also the year the Knicks won their first of two NBA championships.
How can a young boy growing up in the schoolyards of Brooklyn not be affected by the way the Knicks played the game?
“The New York Knicks in 1970 had a team that a college coach could take his team to see and say, ‘now there’s the way the game is supposed to be played,” said the late Pete Newell.
Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, Willis Reed, Phil Jackson and Dave Debusschere were together for both titles and all likable guys. The Knicks hit the open man, defended well and played the right way. Red Holzman was the head coach who made it all happen. Red’s assistant coach was Danny Whelan, he was their team trainer.
In 1973 the Knicks had a starting five that all came from non-high major colleges: Frazier (Southern Illinois), Earl Monroe (Winston-Salem), Bradley (Princeton), Debusschere (U of Detroit), Reed (Grambling). I’m not sure you will ever see that again.
The Knicks were a team dedicated to one common purpose: Winning a championship!
It’s now 2012 and there’s a new kid on the block. The Brooklyn Nets will begin play this season on Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. Some of my friends, who USED to be Knicks fans have switched over and will begin to root for the Nets and they have asked me to join them. It must be noted that some have said to stick it out and be loyal.
I have a tough decision to make, I know. Do I hang with the Knicks or change my allegiance and go with the Nets?
As a kid I watched the Knicks on television and listened to the games on the radio. Marv Albert doing the play-by-play alongside Cal Ramsey who handled the analysis. I can’t forget the night while watching the Knicks play in Phoenix where Suns guard Ron Lee crashed into the press table after diving after a loose ball and spilled soda all over Cal’s new sport jacket.
The Nets of the 70′s were a fun team to watch. The ABA had the red, white and blue ball and the three-point shot. They had the dunk contest and some really cool team nicknames. The Nets had Julius Erving, Larry Kenon, Brian Taylor, ‘Supa’ John Willamson and the ‘Whopper’, Billy Paultz. They were coached by one of my favorites of all-time, Kevin Loughery. His favorite play was ‘LA 23′. In 1976, the Nets defeated the Denver Nuggets in the final championship before the merger.
On Christmas night in 1976 I attended my first Knicks home game; I was 12. My older brother and I sat in the red seats just a few feet from the court. It was Erving’s first season as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers after coming over from the Nets. Philadelphia, behind Brooklyn native Lloyd Free led the Sixers with 30 points leading them to the 105-104 win. I rode the ‘A’ and ‘F’ trains back to Brooklyn heartbroken.
Brooklyn has always been a great place for basketball. Back in the day the schoolyards were filled with outstanding players. You could find a good run almost anywhere. High school basketball both the CHSAA and PSAL in Brooklyn was king. Outdoor summer league action was also very popular.
In 1978 the Knicks drafted Micheal Ray Richardson, an unknown, but very talented point guard from the University of Montana. ’Sugar’ quickly became my favorite player. I loved the way he defended and shared the ball. In the schoolyard I would emulate his game; including the “over-the-head” finger roll on a lay-up.
In 1982, after four seasons that saw the Knicks make the playoffs just once (losing to the Bulls 2-0) Sugar was gone; traded to Golden State. I was bitter for a short time but something positive came out of the trade; New York received Brooklyn native Bernard King.
Hubie Brown was the new Knicks head coach. The energetic, hard-working, passionate coach got the Knicks to the Eastern Conference semi-finals in his first season. Scraping up money to attend as many home games as possible was the norm for me. Reading about my team every single morning in the New York Post, New York Daily News and the New York Newsday; I became an expert. I also came around to embrace Hubie and even memorized his legendary “POWER RIGHT” call on offense.
Scrounging up loose change to buy Basketball Digest each month kept me up on not only the Knicks but the entire league. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Pete Vecsey of the Post providing the best coverage around the league.
As a teen, my love for the game was growing. I began to feel like an expert by taking notice of other players and teams. I became a huge NBA fan, I was so into it that I could tell you where every player attended college.
My life-long friend Glenn and I went to the Garden on Christmas night in 1984. MSG was sold out. “This place is electric,” he said as we watched both teams warm-up. King dropped 60 on the Nets. Little do people realize the Nets won the game and Michael Ray, playing for the Nets scored 36 points, including 24 in the second half.
While Sugar was a member of the Nets, I loved watching them play too. I would catch a bus at Port Authority and make the short trip over to the Meadowlands. At first there was no stop for the arena, I was left off at the racetrack and had to walk through the grass and the mud to get to the game.
One night I missed the bus back to the city and Darryl Dawkins gave me a lift.
The highlight of 1984 came when the Nets upset the defending champs Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the Eastern conference play-offs. Before the series Erving announced, “You might as well mail in the stats.” OK Doc, whatever! That’s why we play the games.
The Nets won the series (3-2) and beat the Sixers in the fifth and deciding game on the road at the Spectrum. The place was stunned; as well as the rest of the league.
After Knicks home games we would wait outside the Garden for the players to get autographs and try to get their sneakers. One night we walked with Hubie from the Garden to the parking lot across the street where he kept his car. Hubie had a stat sheet in one hand, a can of diet soda in the other, a black leather bag over his shoulder. He talked to us like we were his coaching staff.
One season I attended 39 of the 41 home games at the Garden. You could use your high school student I.D. card to get half off of a ticket. We bought a ticket for $8, sat in the blue seats but snuck down after each quarter. By the fourth quarter we were sitting behind the Knicks bench. Being a die-hard hoops fan cost me my first girlfriend too. I put the Knicks ahead of a wonderful girl. Big mistake.
During the 80′s, (one the best decades of pro basketball) the NBA scheduled pre-season doubleheader exhibition games at the Garden; 6PM and 8PM. It was there, in 1986 that I first caught a glimpse of a future Hall of Famer, Dennis Rodman. The ‘Worm’ minus the tattoo’s and body piercings was a rookie with the Detroit Pistons in the six o’clock game. There were about 400 people in the stands.
This year’s Knicks squad has gone back to an “experience” philosophy with guys like Jason Kidd (39), Kurt Thomas (39), Rasheed Wallace (38), Pablo Prigioni (35) and Marcus Camby (38).
I lived through Pat Riley, who came on board in 1991. Riley brought a different brand of basketball than the one he used in LA. Instead of the fast-breaking, up-tempo style, Riley came in with the “tough-guy” approach. The Knicks had guys like Charles Oakley, Xavier McDaniel, Anthony Mason and Greg Anthony to provide the muscle. They battled every night.
Riley coached the Knicks for four seasons reaching the finals in 1994. Assistant coach Jeff Van Gundy took over after Riley left. JVG is a grinder, one of the hardest working guys in the profession. Five years later the Knicks made it to the finals against the San Antonio Spurs (the strike season). New York’s regular season record was 27-23. But they came up short in the finals four games to one.
Things have not been the same since.
Lenny Wilkins, Don Nelson, Herb Williams, Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas all tried to bring the glory days back to the Garden. Since Holzman stepped down in 1982, the Knicks have had 16 head coaches.
The Nets made it to the NBA finals twice (2002 and 2003) only to find themselves on the losing end. It’s been five years since they have tasted the play-offs.
Mike D’Antoni arrived in New York in 2008. His uptempo style called “.07 seconds or less” in Phoenix was met with mixed emotions in the Big Apple. Some said that style was only good for the regular season and would not work in the playoffs. D’Antoni was gone after three and half years, making the playoffs just once.
D’Antoni gave Jeremy Lin a chance last SEASON. Lin brought excitement to the Garden. The Harvard graduate who was cut by three teams, played in the D-League and was sitting at the end of the Knicks bench when D’Antoni called his number. In 35 games, Lin scored 14 points per game and dished out 6.2 assists per game. Lin wound up getting hurt and missed the last part of the season, including the playoffs. No offense to Carmelo Anthony, but Lin was by far the most popular Knicks player.
This past summer the Houston Rockets (a team that cut him last year) signed him; the Knicks refused to match the offer. Fans were ticked off, including me. When I think back to the Knicks of the early 70′s, Lin is the one player who would fit in rather nicely with them.
The past twelve years the Knicks have been difficult to watch. They have not won a playoff series during this stretch. From 2001 to 2010 they managed to make the post-season just once! This is NEW YORK CITY…THE MECCA OF BASKETBALL!
A few months ago Phil Jackson was interviewed on HBO’s, Real Sports. The former Net and Knickerbocker said of the Knicks “the pieces do not fit.”
I have been with the Knicks for a long time. I have a chance to switch teams.
Athletes file for free-agency and leave their team, right? Why can’t fans switch teams?
Here’s the deal; I’m a basketball guy, not a fanatic that dresses up in a jersey, attends games and screams like crazy. I don’t call into sports talk radio shows and place blame on the coach for the team’s loss. I coach high school basketball and enjoy players that play the right way. I don’t live and die with the Knicks results anymore. I think it’s great that Brooklyn has a team to call their own. It’s also fantastic that New York City now has two NBA teams.
I welcome the Nets to Brooklyn with open arms and will still keep a close eye on the Knicks.
From this day on… I will root for both teams!
Yes, you read that right. I will cheer for both New York basketball teams. (On nights they play each other, I will sit back, relax and enjoy the game.)
So good luck to both the Nets and Knicks. I hope to see you both in the Eastern conference finals someday.
-Coach Steve Finamore
Quote of the Day
“Think about everything you do or say because it will have an effect on you or someone you know.” -Frank Layden
1-TH Online.com on Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State and a couple of new players. Iowa State rode a pair of one-and-done transfers to its first NCAA tournament appearance in seven years. The formula worked so well that the Cyclones will give it another go in 2012-13.
2-Jeff Goodman of CBS Sportslinechecks in a situation with Texas and the NCAA. The NCAA is investigating whether Texas sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo has accepted impermissible benefits while working out in Ohio this past summer, Texas spokesman Scott McConnell confirmed to CBSSports.com. ”We’re aware of the situation,” McConnell told CBSSports.com. “But no judgment has been rendered by the NCAA.” The 6-foot-1 Kabongo is a Canadian who averaged 9.6 points per game last season and was in Ohio working out with Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson — a long-time friend and fellow Canadian who also played at Texas.
3-Eric Prisbell of USA Today on Larry Brown, now at SMU.
4-Marc Berman of the NY Post on J.R. Smith of the Knicks, he’s upset that he will not be starting. “I think disappointed is an understatement,’’ Smith said of his status made clear by Woodson on Tuesday. “My whole process of getting better this summer and everything I went through was to be in that starting role.”
Another great pass from Camp Darryl leading to basket; On today’s date in 1955, Norm Nixon was born. In 1980, the Dallas Mavericks played their 1st NBA game.
SI.com on new SMU head coach Larry Brown making a few changes at SMU.
Starting point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas told the school’s student newspaper that Brown basically told him that he “wasn’t good enough to play for him.”’
Samarrippas, a 5-foot-10 guard who would have been a junior next season, averaged 6.9 points and 4.2 assists a game last season. He started all 31 games last season, and was a starter most of his freshman season.
The Dallas Morning News, citing a source, reported that three non-starting forwards were also being removed from the team. Leslee Smith, Ricmonds Vilde and Eric Norman all would have been sophomores next season.
The last game of a 10 hour day yesterday saw a player from Camp Darryl score 52 points. Most incredible thing was he shot 23-24 from the FT line. Early on he missed his first attempt and then made 23 straight. This player was totally in the zone. Enjoyed watching his performance.
Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News with a brief history lesson of the New Jersey Nets.
One day in the locker room, Super John Williamson was unpleasantly surprised to read in The Star-Ledger (a scoop by the late sportswriter Mike Weber) that he was one of the lowest-paid Nets. Sitting on a stool, growing angrier by the moment, Supe threw down the broadsheet and suddenly hurled an ice pack at the unsuspecting general manager, Charlie Theokas. Months later, Williamson grew too large in girth and was shipped to a fat farm under the care of a trainer named Jack Sprat.
Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports on the hiring of Larry Brown at SMU
Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News on Bo Ryan and the transfer rule.
“Nobody’s trying to hurt anybody. If the kid doesn’t want to talk to you about a transfer, just do us a favor and go tell the administrator,” Ryan said Thursday. “All we were saying is, ‘If you want to go to one of these schools, come in and talk.’ He doesn’t have to talk to me, but you can talk to a representative of our school.”
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports on Derek Fisher firing back.
On November 7, 1991 Magic Johnson announced that he was retiring from basketball due to the HIV virus.
At that time, there was no twitter, no blogs and I didn’t have a cell phone. Did they have cell phones back then?
I was conducting practice with my freshman basketball team and our athletic director called us over to break the news.
Where were you during that announcement?
Boston Globe on Larry Brown – he’s been bouncing around visiting practice at different spots. Some good quotes on player development.
“I coach the pros just like college kids,’’ said Brown. “Everybody says the pros don’t want to learn, and that’s not true. They all want to learn and they all want to get better.
“They know if you can help them. If they know that a coach and a coaching staff want to make them better, then they are all in. I love that part of it.’’
Jason Smith of the Memphis Commerical Appeal on Josh Pastner’s Tigers working on defense.
“But it’s one of those things where it’s not just about one guy,” said Murphy, who, prior to joining Memphis’ staff in 2009, worked alongside highly esteemed NBA assistant and defensive whiz Tim Grgurich as a member of the Denver Nuggets’ staff. “It’s about a multitude of players, especially on the perimeter. We ask our big guys to be alert to the ball. So if it’s being driven, to be able to help. If it’s on the weak side, you can go for the shot block.
“We ask our perimeter players to be more aggressive. We challenge our perimeter guys to be elite defenders. … The great defensive teams, whether they’re in man or zone, are working as one. If I’m guarding the ball, I have to know that the guys behind me have my back. If I’m guarding the weak side, I have to know that I have the guy guarding the ball’s back. So you’re all working in unison.”
Kevin Harris of the News and Tribune on Bob Knight returning to the State of Indiana.
I had two kids that went on to become very good coaches. One of them couldn’t guard anybody and the other one couldn’t shoot — Steve Alford and Mike Krzyzewski,” Knight said. “Steve Alford could not guard this (podium). Mike couldn’t hit a bull in the … with a tennis racket. But they have both gone on to become decent coaches.”
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I know this is a basketball blog but I need to get something off my chest.
I hate the overtime rule in college football.
Doesn’t seem right.
Flip a coin, kick off and play the game.
Marty Budner of the Observer & Eccentric on Detroit Titans Ray McCallum and his Detroit Titans. I have watched Coach McCallum since day 1 at Detroit, he recruited one of my players and has done a very good job with both the player and the Titans. We have seen Butler and VCU the past couple of years do very well; don’t be surprised if you see the Titans win a couple of games in March.
“Expectations are high within our household,” said McCallum Sr. “Being a coach’s kid, he had a ball in his hands from the time he was born. He’s been taught what it takes to be a player and the approach you have to take to be a player
“(The Pre-season Player of the Year designation) is something I didn’t really think about as a coach. I just pushed him to get better and to recognize his weaknesses. That’s the approach I’ve taken with him.
“Our whole thing is I want him to be the best he can be, and with that it takes work, dedication and discipline,” he said. “He’s embraced the position he’s in. He’s got to go out and do it each and every day, but he’s really invested in his game and that’s why he’s in this position.”
Lansing State Journal on the Michigan State Spartans looking for a leader. Leadership in basketball is vital to team success. If no one is willing to lead, it could be a long season.
“Austin Thornton – what we need out of him first is leadership,” MSU coach Tom Izzo said earlier this month at media day. “We talked about it last year. We thought it was a weakness of our team, and so he did a great job of that. He’s played in two Final Fours – as (Green) has – which I think there is some experience.”
Jon Krawcczynski of the A.P. via Times Union.com on the stars in college basketball this season. No Jimmer, No Kemba. I’m not sure who will step up this year but like Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe once said, “March Madness creates stars.”
Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger is a no-brainer and North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes has the reputation and the expectations, if not the resume, to be the Tar Heels’ next big thing. Fans in Columbus, Ohio, and Chapel Hill, N.C., have the NBA lockout to thank for getting another year with both highly touted youngsters.
After that, it gets a little thin, but at least one player isn’t bashful about trying to fill Walker’s role as the Big East’s biggest star.
“You know, you saw what he did, the way he carried that team and provided leadership and you want to be like that,” Pittsburgh senior guard Ashton Gibbs said. “I know my role last year kind of moved into more of a star, leadership kind of role. I’m not saying I’m Kemba, but you see what that team was able to do. I got to see it firsthand and that’s something to strive for.”
Jeff Washburn from jconline.com giving us his take on the Big Ten men’s basketball conference this season. He says he’s been watching college basketball for 50 years. That’s a long time to be in the game. WOW! He likes Ohio State.
News 4 Jak.com via CNN on a former college basketball player now training kids – also some good stuff from experts on your job. Over the years I have seen many people get into basketball training. Be careful who you send your child to for work; make sure that trainer is passionate and energetic. I once saw a guy charge a lot of money training kids wearing flip-flops.
Joanne Gerstner of the New York Times with Larry Brown, a guy who wants to get back into coaching. Brown is a great basketball mind. He should be with a team somewhere. Great teacher.
The jones to be an N.B.A. coach is still in the well-traveled Brown’s blood, and he doesn’t hide his desire to officially be back in the game soon. He said he has chatted with Rivers about what’s open with the Celtics — both now and in the future.
“I’d go help Doc in a minute, but he wants to help the people he’s evolved with,” Brown said to the Boston Herald. “He’ll try rewarding the guys who have put in their time with him. It works. Two of his assistants (Lawrence Frank and Tom Thibodeau) have become head coaches. We talked about it, and he wants to help the people who have been with him.
“I have no problem with being an assistant coach, but I really want to get back to coaching again, or even move into management. That was a one-time thing we talked about, with the understanding that if he ever had another opening, we would talk again.”
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Andy Katz from the mothership on Kentucky inviting NBA teams to Lexington to watch Wildcat players go through a workout. I like this plan so much better than college players travelling all over the country to NBA headquarters to work out for the specific team. I once knew a player who had to attend 8 workouts in 9 days. Kid was gassed towards the end.
Calipari said Kentucky coaches cannot participate in the workout but are allowed to watch. He said he was hoping to get friend and former NBA coach Larry Brown to help conduct the workout. Calipari added that all 30 NBA teams were invited and was hopeful that upward of 20 would attend the sessions.
“We’re going to do the agility stuff, everything that they do in Chicago [at the draft camp May 19-21],” Calipari said. “We’ll also give them time to do an interview for 20 minutes or so.”
Calipari said there will be plenty of shooting but there won’t be any 3-on-3 competition. He said there was some talk of bringing in other players but Calipari didn’t want to do that to avoid any chance of the spotlight moving away from one his players.
“This is for our kids,” Calipari said. “We’re trying to get our kids the information they need.”
NBA teams can conduct their private interviews with the players right on the spot. I’m sure it would make the athlete much more comfortable too. Also, for the smaller schools with a player who has a chance for the league they can work out with players from a nearby school close in proximity. For instance if Central Michigan University had one player that had a shot he could head 60 miles down 127 North to participate with the Michigan State players.
But knowing the NCAA, they’ll probably find something wrong with what Cal is doing…
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