Welcome to the NBA Roundtable, where EJ, Bill and David are gonna talk new Coaches, Zbo vs the Truth, are the Spurs good or just lucky and is Phil Jackson just trying to sell a book?
EJ: I like the hire. Budenholzer spent 19 years in the most consistent organization in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs. Sitting next to Coach Popovich as his lead assistant should have him well prepared for the job and working with long time friend in General Manager Danny Ferry should make his transition into the big chair an easy one. The Hawks appear to be in a rebuild mode, so Budenholzer might take his lumps early but he’ll be fine in the long run.
Bill: I think this move to be as good a hire as the Hornacek hiring in PHX. Bud comes from a rock solid organization that’s structured to win from top to bottom. While I’m not all that sold on just how good a coach Popovich really is, his ability to get the most out of his players is rather unparalleled. Hopefully some of that has rubbed off on the new coach, but will it matter in ATL? Will the players respond or will they rebel? It remains to be seen, but I’m more on the side of thinking that a fresh, organized start will be more readily accepted than the symphony of disarray that’s plagued the organization for so long.
David: I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a fan of Horney’s hire in PHX, but I do love this hire. Unlike the NFL, NBA coaching hires seem to look for the hot new thing, rather than the OC that has had top 5 offenses the past 5 years, they want to grab that special team coach that made the jump from 21st to 3rd in the league overnight. EJ and I had a discussion about where Howard should go, and to me the smartest place to go is Atlanta, Horford can be the Duncan to his Robinson- or more like his Bruce Bowen down low. I do love the Hire, Danny Ferry is on a roll.
EJ: Slim to none. It’s not Steve Clifford’s fault as he comes cross country from the Lakers to take the Bobcats top job, but the team is just so bad, and with Michael Jordan as a bumbling owner there isn’t much hope it’ll get better. The Bobcats thought the right guy was Mike Dunlap and he only lasted a season. To go through six coaches in six years proves to me the problem isn’t the coach, or how well he fits, but how bad of a job Michael Jordan is doing.
Bill: I hate to say it, but I’m putting Clifford on my short list to be fired before mid-season. The lack of talent in Charlotte is a real hindrance to any coaching effort, and that’s more the fault of the ownership than anything else. It’s hard to fathom how Michael Jordan, one of the pillars of the game as we know it, is one of the weakest links in the NBA on the ownership front. The questions are many, but the answers are few. Would a better collection of talent really help the team succeed or would a change in ownership be the right answer? Jordan has shown time and again that he can be clutch when the situation demands it… but he’s been throwing up bricks for too long. It’s about time he sits on the bench.
David: He could be a good coach, but to be honest with you, I thought Clifford was a great hire. I still do. The problem was he lost the players, and in the NBA, you can’t do that. Bottom line, until Jordan is gone, they could hire Phil Jackson as coach and Pat Riley as GM and still stink.
3. Who is more likely to get moved, Z-Bo or Paul Pierce?
EJ: I think both men will be playing somewhere else next season but the one most likely to be traded away will be Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies had a remarkable run to the Finals but the Grizz have a young power forward in Ed Davis, that they picked up in the Rudy Gay trade that needs to play. If the Grizz can flip Randolph for a guard/forward that can score then it’s a win for them. Pierce? He’s a goner too. Not sure the Celtics will find much in trade value for him but I expect Paul to somehow find his way home to Los Angeles.
Bill: I’m going with Randolph. His contract is ridiculous given his production and considering that Ed Davis is capable of putting up similar numbers at a huge value by comparison, that makes Z-Bo expendable. With his departure, it would provide immediate cap relief and the opportunity to further strengthen an already solid roster. While the series with the Spurs didn’t turn out quite how they expected, they did what many didn’t think possible: compete each and every game. I don’t know how much of a drop off in production they will undoubtedly see if Z-Bo is sent packing, but I feel that the other members of the team can easily pick up the slack.
David: I actually think Z-Bo will be back, so I’m going with the Truth. The Celtics HAVE to rebuild. You can excuse them for the original big three because they had Reggie Lewis. Rondo is no Reggie Lewis.
4. Spurs: Lucky or Good?
EJ: It’s insulting to the track record of the Spurs to call them lucky. They have the rings, and the playoff appearances to show for it. I might find San Antonio boring to watch, and I’m far from alone in that sentiment, but they are a great franchise.
Bill: A mix of both, but more to the side of good than lucky. It’s amazing to consider just how well Tim Duncan has continued to perform despite his age. One thing you can’t teach is size, and he’s still got plenty of that as well as a knack for making people look just plain silly with that laser accurate bank shot. I’m not a fan of the franchise in any fashion, but I have to respect what they’ve done over time, and that’s build a winner and keep themselves in a continual position of contention. That takes savvy and shrewd business sense, something the Spurs have in spades.
David: Lets be honest, they have had a fairly easy road, and no Westbrook made it easy, but unlike the Heat, they took advantage to roll through the West. I’ll say there is luck involved, but other teams have gotten “lucky” with Parker and Manu going down with injuries in years past.
EJ: A little bit of both. Phil has to know what he’s doing in these interviews when he makes these Kobe vs. Jordan comments, however, because it is Phil I’m inclined to believe that he’s just giving his honest opinion. The man has 11 rings and has managed some unique individual talents with his zen skills. His insights are pretty revealing, even if he is selling books in the process.
Bill: I’m going to say… honest. Sure, he’s trying to generate some publicity for his book and all, but I take Phil to be a genuine, up front, and devoid of bullshit kind of guy. He’s been around long enough to know how and when to deftly word a statement to convey his point and this time is no different; however, when it comes to the continual comparisons between Jordan and Bryant, one thing is certain: Jordan is and always will be his choice. That’s no slight to Bryant, it’s just that Jordan was just that good.
David: I think its trying to be in the news. I think he’s upset he doesn’t have a studio job, that he’s not part of a front office, and no team is crawling to him with a mega-team for him to coach. They guy is easily a top 3 coach of all time (argue amongst yourselves) and he’s not sitting there with Chuck and Kenny? He’s not even doing a Red on Roundball segment? He’s not even given a GM job? Couldn’t he be just as good as Elgin Baylor? I know I know, Lets the Clippers sign LeBron James, and with that core of Cp3, Bron and Blake- with Duncan and Paul Peirce coming off the Bench, and He’ll be back.
By the way, has anyone read any of his books?
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