Elgin Baylor = Isiah 2.0

12 08 2008
Maybe LA is NYC West?

Maybe LA is NYC West?

The Los Angeles Clippers recently signed Jason Williams to a one-year contract. 

I must admit that I’m a fan of Williams but I’m not sure about this move.  This signing tells us that Elgin Baylor is more than a little skeptical of Baron Davis’ durability.  Or is he just Isiah 2.0?

With Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman on the roster, no problems will arise from their center position.  I would have used the money spent on Williams to pursue a consistent, dynamic forward to complement the stable, workman-like forces of Camby and Kaman.

The Clippers have an awful lot of players on their roster but let’s focus on the signed guards.  It’s kind of a mess and it seems like they’ll just throw some line-ups against the wall and see what sticks:

Baron Davis, Ricky Davis, Eric Gordon, Jason Hart, Cuttino Mobley and Mike Taylor will join Williams as contracted players.

Taylor will most certainly spend time in the D-League. 

Hart is a solid journeyman who averages 16.6 minutes in his career.  He can push for time and be a solid contributor if an injury hits higher on the depth chart.

It’s Baron Davis’ team, so he’ll start at the point but who will they have at the off guard? 

Cuttino Mobley was the starter last year until an injury hit and Quinton Ross stepped into the limelight.  Ricky Davis is available and can also see time at the small forward position. 

Mike Dunleavy didn’t shy away from playing Thornton as a rookie; he won’t let Eric Gordon rot on the bench.  And on the small chance that the Clippers — gasp — lose early, youth will be served.  It will be interesting to see how Dunleavy juggles the me-first Davis, the proud veteran Mobley and the instant-offense Gordon.

We may see Baron playing off the ball while Williams handles the playmaking responsibilities but I just don’t see how they can squeeze 25+ minutes for Williams. 

If Dan Dickau (15.5 minutes last year), Smush Parker (21.5 minutes) and Quinton Ross (19.8 minutes) return, it will further muddle the guard situation.  Someone’s ego will be bruised.  On the Clippers, that’s as predictable as a Tim Thomas three in transition.

The most important question is this: Is Baron Davis running in the mountains?

Photo credit: Sports Hub


Rick Carlisle: Kung-Fu Master

11 04 2008

Rick Carlisle will beat up your mother. It’s true.

The former Coach of the Year has been linked with potential jobs opening up after this season. The Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks (with John Hammond pushing) are among the teams that are interested. And this will also allow Carlisle to join Ben Wallace in a tour of the Central Division.

The word around Chicago is that Carlisle is a good coach but is too much of a Skiles look-a-like. I resent that statement because the man looks like Jim Carrey.

An interesting trend can be found when looking at the record of Carlisle’s six seasons in the league. None of his teams have ever improved record-wise.

Detroit Pistons 2001-2002: 50-32 (.610)
Detroit Pistons 2002-2003: 50-32 (.610)

Indiana Pacers 2003-2004: 61-21 (.744)
Indiana Pacers 2004-2005: 44-38 (.537)
Indiana Pacers 2005-2006: 41-41 (.500)
Indiana Pacers 2006-2007: 35-47 (.427)

Clearly, something is up. Generally speaking, the longer someone is with an organization, the better they become. As one goes further along on the learning curve, they get more familiar with their position. Players come to know what to expect from their coach. The coach, in turn, gradually learns how to motivate his players. With all other things remaining equal, a coach of Carlisle’s caliber should have shown improvement.

I don’t want to come to conclusions but is it a case of players burning out on the coach? If so, the Bulls might want to steer clear because they’re still salty off Scott Skiles.

In Carlisle’s first season at the helm, he makes his predecessors look like idiots. If there’s one thing that can be said about Rick Carlisle, it’s that he will give you an excellent first season record.

Carlisle took over the Detroit Pistons job from George Irvine in 2002. The Pistons went from 32-50 and into the lottery under Irvine to 50-32 and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals under Carlisle.

Same deal in Indiana. The Pacers went 48-34 in Isiah Thomas’ last season while losing in the first round of the playoffs. Under Carlisle the next season, the Pacers went 61-21 with a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The man can get you there but he won’t keep you there very long. The Milwaukee Bucks need a culture change. Their young players need to experience winning and the atmosphere of the playoffs. Michael Redd has only really played in three of his post-season campaigns, so their veteran leadership isn’t exactly savvy in that regard. If they wait any longer, it might be “next year…” for a long time.

If he’s willing, they should roll the dice with Rick Carlisle.