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David
05-16-2003, 08:47 PM
Playoff coaches know what the hot seat is like

Coaches can't use excuses when teams disappoint in playoffs

05/16/2003

By EDDIE SEFKO / The Dallas Morning News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. In New Orleans, they sacked a good man largely because Paul Silas' two best players were injured, and the Hornets couldn't get past the first round of the playoffs because of it.

In Portland, Maurice Cheeks caught heavy flak, like it was his fault Scottie Pippen, Derek Anderson and Dale Davis were injured. They wanted his head on a platter until his team rallied to force a seventh game in the first round against the Mavericks.

Now, in Sacramento, Rick Adelman is feeling the heat. Locals are questioning his ability to lead the Kings. Never mind that their best player has missed almost all of the series.

Which brings us to Don Nelson, who in the short span of a dozen playoff games has heard talk about his coaching future go from a deafening roar to a nothing more than whispers.

Coaches in peril has become the NBA's biggest sideshow during the playoffs. It's not a complete surprise, of course. For owners, it's far easier to switch coaches than players. But when four of the league's most respected bench generals become the subject of intense scrutiny, as Nelson, Adelman, Cheeks and Silas have been, it makes you start to think some of them probably are getting unfair criticism.

"Not probably," Nelson said Thursday.

"But you know, at this point of the season, you're just numb to it all. It's like, kill us again if you want."

Coaches know this comes with the territory. But it's not always the successful coaches who get treated so shabbily. Nelson, winner of 1,096 regular-season games, has coached the Mavericks to the brink of the Western Conference finals going into Game 7 on Saturday. Yet without a contract to coach beyond this season, his future was a hot issue a month ago.

Now? Well, if he hasn't proven he can still coach the Mavericks to greater heights, then the job description is all wrong.

"It's the nature of our business, and it's one of those things that's not comfortable to go through," said Donnie Nelson, the coach's son who wears the president of basketball operations hat as well as that of assistant coach. "Sometimes you're criticized for every reason except the right reasons. You understand that ultimately, it boils down to winning and losing.

"Unfortunately, sometimes, you can push all the right buttons and make all the right moves and still lose. But the common fan doesn't really understand or see that."

And so, the coach takes the heat. And when you cut one, many of them bleed. These are people who live, sleep, eat and breathe basketball. No matter what any fan thinks, these guys know more hoops in their little fingers than the average fan will ever know.

"Coaches are going to keep doing good jobs and working hard," Don Nelson said. "Rick has been a great coach for many years and continues to be. I look at the job he's done against us, and he's done some really good things against us at both ends of the court."

Yet he's not immune to the talk. Nobody is these days.

"A certain amount of it has to do with the multimedia of our industry," Donnie Nelson said. "It's not like it was even 10 years ago, when you had your beat writer or two, and that was it [covering the team]. Now, it's 24/7. From an exposure standpoint, it's been a plus. But it opens up a forum by which sometimes less-than-expert opinions are being thrown out there and they are being treated as gospel. And that's just not the way it is.

"Unfortunately, no matter where you are whether you're Nellie, Rick Adelman, Maurice Cheeks, whoever you just hope that you are graded on truth versus speculation and fiction."

In his father's case, Donnie Nelson thinks these playoffs have reinforced the solid job that the coaching staff has done with the Mavericks.

"He came here to do two things," Donnie Nelson said. "He wanted to rebuild this basketball team. To get the franchise back up on its feet. And the second thing is to be evaluated on winning basketball games. In a short period of time, on both fronts, he's hitting the ball out of the ballpark. But what can you do? Just do the best you can with what you've got and hope you don't read your name in the paper someday."

E-mail esefko@dallasnews.com

Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dallas/sports/basketball/mavs/stories/051603dnspomavsearly.5a433.html

MavKikiNYC
05-16-2003, 10:09 PM
<< And so, the coach takes the heat. And when you cut one, many of them bleed. These are people who live, sleep, eat and breathe basketball. No matter what any fan thinks, these guys know more hoops in their little fingers than the average fan will ever know. >>



Wow. Now THAT's an original take. And it must be true because a sportwriter wrote it, and it got printed in the paper. Thank you, David, for finding this.

MFFL
05-16-2003, 10:36 PM
It couldn't be printed if it wasn't true.

David
05-17-2003, 10:30 AM
I get the feeling that it was contrary to the opinions of some of the resident experts on the forum. Imagine that.

MavKikiNYC
05-17-2003, 11:32 AM
I get the feeling that all resident expert opinons are created equal--which means that the defenses of coaches offered here have exactly the same value as the indictments; until of course tangible oncourt developments tend to support one or the other. Imagine that.

David
05-17-2003, 04:13 PM
The article quoted Donnie Nelson, someone fairly close to the situation. He knows of, what he speaks, unlike the experts around here. As a matter of fact, Donnie was talking about how the wrong expert opinion gets put out as fact, when it's not. Of course, I don't expect some people, that think they know all about it, but don't, to agree with that opinion, or with anyone named Nelson.

MavKikiNYC
05-17-2003, 04:57 PM
And so, the coach takes the heat. And when you cut one, many of them bleed. These are people who live, sleep, eat and breathe basketball. No matter what any fan thinks, these guys know more hoops in their little fingers than the average fan will ever know.

Yeah. But a significant part of the bolded post (cf above) quoted Sefko, not Little Whistle. And Sefko is about as much an expert as you are, David.

Further, Little Whistle can be counted on to give about as objective an assessment of his father's coaching performance as you can David.

And with so much doublespeak, contradiction, inconsistency, and waffling, I can hardly ever tell if I agree with your opinion or not. So I pretty much just discount it.

Chiwas
05-17-2003, 05:14 PM
The article is nice, plenty of truths, could make some cry even.

But these people who know the universe of basketball, the writer and the Nelson's, are forgetting something about the people who make possible that they can make articles and speeches and a living of it:

Fans are right.

Always.

Even if they don't know a bit of hoops. It's the law of the market.

(Fortunately enough, Cuban does know it)

LRB
05-17-2003, 05:48 PM
<< Further, Little Whistle can be counted on to give about as objective an assessment of his father's coaching performance as you can David. >>



Kiki please don't insult Donnie like that. i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif

MFFL
05-17-2003, 06:38 PM
<< Further, Little Whistle can be counted on to give about as objective an assessment of his father's coaching performance as you can David. >>



What did you expect David? Did you really think that Donnie would say that his DAD deserved to be fired?

Please.

David
05-17-2003, 09:52 PM
Does it matter that Donnie was telling the truth? Or is anything a Nelson says, automatically discounted? The point of a lot of the article was that coaches take a lot of heat from people that don't necessarily know what they are talking about. Is that true or false? I think it's true.

MavKikiNYC
05-18-2003, 02:03 AM
The point, as usual, is that you have no point. Just your own non-NBA coach opinion. &lt;Yawn.&gt;

David
05-18-2003, 07:30 AM
<< The point, as usual, is that you have no point. Just your own non-NBA coach opinion. &lt;Yawn.&gt; >>



Ah, yes, an offended, &quot;expert&quot;, just like Donnie was talking about. Have mommy tuck you in, now, you've had a hard day and you're getting tired, what with the Mavs, and Nelson, moving on to the WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS.

MavKikiNYC
05-18-2003, 08:45 AM
Edited for relevance.

David
05-18-2003, 09:21 AM
<< Edited for relevance. >>


Or lack, thereof.

MavKikiNYC
05-18-2003, 09:31 AM
Oooo..

FussMarm 1, Kiki 0.

David
05-19-2003, 05:38 AM
<< Oooo..

FussMarm 1, Kiki 0. >>



I don't blame you, if I had nothing, I'd probably sink low and go for a personal attack, too. It's easier than having a defensible viewpoint. Or maybe I'd just drop it.