View Full Version : O-Magic's Slide Dulls Doc's Sheen

11-13-2003, 12:31 AM
A couple of years ago Doc Rivers was being hailed as one of the best and brightest young coaching prospects.

But has he really done more than get .350 group of talent to play .500 ball?

And now the Magic, after having traded for Drew Gooden last year and signed Juwan Howard in the offseason, are festering in a 6-game losing streak.

What gives?

Is Doc in danger?

11-13-2003, 01:38 AM
They had some injuries didn't they?

And TMac just started to get his game goiung. That helps Doc.

But when they have their shooters back and if they don't start winning something will be done. Whether it is Tmac for Kobe or getting rid of Doc. They should be doing better than they are. But I don't know how much better..

11-13-2003, 01:52 AM
Kiki I think that Rivers is very overrated as a coach. Of course Grant Hill has given him a built in excuse for mediocrity for a few years now. Don't know how long this will hold up. Let's face it, he coaches in the east and has one of the arguably top 5 players in the NBA on his team. If he can't get some improvement out of this team soon I would think Orlando management's patience will start to wear very thin.

11-14-2003, 11:25 PM
Can Kiki spot a story coming? Thanks to The Bac who posted The NBA Insider in a separate thread.

This story bears following. Rivers is probably overrated, but McGrady better be prepared to win a championship SOON, or live with the reputation of Coach Killer. I think he's a little young and early in his career to be looking for that label.

Karl replacing Doc? That would be rich. Didn't Karl rip Doc for not having paid his dues? But seriously--who would hire Karl at this point? I wouldn't even consider replacing Nelson with Karl.

-Is Tracy McGrady trying to get Doc Rivers fired? That's the word from two league sources close to Magic players who claim that McGrady no longer gets along with Rivers and wants a change.

While no one is claiming that McGrady has asked for Rivers to be fired (he doesn't want to fall into the same trap Penny Hardaway did in Orlando), if you listen closely to McGrady's comments in the media, you'll be able to pick up on his distaste for Rivers. Last week McGrady complained that he and the rest of the team were unprepared to play against zone defenses. His comments about wanting to call it quits and his dispassionate play at the start of the season were also meant to convey to management that he could no longer handle the status quo.

On Thursday, McGrady stepped up the rhetoric a bit, claiming it was time for a change.

"When you're not winning, changes have to be made," McGrady told Florida Today. "I don't see a light right now; really, I can't even see the end of the tunnel."

"Who knows what's going to happen? I'll leave that up to the management," McGrady said. "Right now, I just want to go out and compete with these guys. This is who we are. These are the coaches we have to play under and these are our players. Whatever happens, it's not up to me. It's up to management if they want to make changes. I'm out of it. I'm a player."

Rivers said he's willing to take the fall for the team. "It should be, it really should be," Rivers said when asked if his job security was in question. "Someone is going to take the blame, obviously. And if we keep losing, it'll be me, the players or management. It could be anybody. That's just the way business is and the way sports are. I understood that when I got into this. But I believe that we'll turn this around."

COO John Weisbrod claimed on Thursday that he hasn't considered firing Rivers or Gabriel . . yet.

"I'm not speaking along those lines or thinking along those lines," Weisbrod said. "I know it's the unavoidable question because it happens to be on everyone's lips and that's the culture of sports. That's the way everyone thinks when a team gets in these circumstances. But now I'm focused on joining hands with Gabe and Doc and trying to fight out of this."

"Anytime you are 1-7, you need something to change," Weisbrod said. "I'm hopeful that, despite how discouraging things may seem now, we can rejuvenate ourselves and get over the slump."

If things continue, Weisbrod will have no choice but to make a move. It will be one that probably works for both McGrady and Rivers. McGrady is frustrated with how the team has developed. He wants to win and there's a feeling in Orlando that the team has tuned Rivers out. Rivers has eyed several other high-profile jobs the past few summers. He has never wanted to quit on the Magic, however. If they let him go, he'll be free to grab another job. (The Hawks' and Knicks' jobs could become available right away if Rivers is fired.)

However, it's a no-win situation for Gabriel. Who is he going to replace Rivers with? The only high-profile coaching candidate out there is George Karl, and most don't believe he'd be a good fit. It's doubtful that an assistant coach is going to do any better than Rivers. If Rivers gets hired somewhere else, turns a team around and the Magic continue to struggle, Gabriel may be the next go.

11-15-2003, 11:27 PM
Interesting note.

Welcome to the McGrady Zone

Tracy McGrady has figured out the zone defense. After a four-game slump in which he admitted to being clueless against the zone, McGrady got "in the zone," totaling 87 points in his next two games, including an N.B.A. season-high 51 Friday at Denver.

Such games seemed far away less than a week ago. During his worst stretch since joining Orlando in 2000, McGrady averaged 15 points on 30 percent shooting over four games and showed a stunning streak of vulnerability. Saying he had never faced a zone, McGrady, who scored only 4 points against Minnesota, all but begged the league to outlaw the defense.

He said he was so frustrated that the thought of retiring at season's end entered his mind.

Although he knew McGrady's retirement comment was not to be taken seriously, Coach Doc Rivers cringed at his statements about the zone.

"It gave opponents back the edge he had on them," Rivers said. "Before, they didn't think he could be stopped with anything, but now it's like, `Whoa, here's something.' Then, they say, `What is it about that that bothers him and maybe we can do that in man-to-man, too?' It gives guys a fake confidence against Tracy until he makes three in a row."

Figuring out the zone was simple for McGrady. After studying film and listening to Rivers, he realized that he had to stop standing on the perimeter, hoisting jump shots. He began to penetrate the seams and to push the ball in transition to get shots before the defense got set.

"I can't be stationary in the zone," McGrady said before his breakout games. "I have to keep moving, pick my spots and stay aggressive. When I'm stationary, it's pretty simple to defend me."

Figuring out the Magic's problems may be more difficult. Despite McGrady's surge, the Magic (1-8) has lost eight straight games. And though McGrady has conquered the zone, Orlando is likely to see more of it since its best shooters, Pat Garrity and Gordan Giricek, are out with injuries.

With no outside threats, McGrady has no one to pass the ball out to after driving against the zone. That also allows defenses to collapse inside and nullify the play of Drew Gooden and Juwan Howard.

"Everybody knows right now that we lack shooting," Rivers said. "So they're going to crowd Tracy and load up on him and make our other players make shots. They should do that. I would do that against us."