By losing the first three games of their season, the Dallas Mavericks had the worst start to a season for a defending champ in more than four decades. I’m sure that’s an accolade that owner Mark Cuban will cherish. But it didn’t stop him from spouting his mouth before Dirk Novitzki and company finally earned their first win of the season last night.
The loud-mouthed owner said, “I think we’re a better team than last year.”
Um, paging Mr. Cuban, you’re not. In fact, you’re a lot worse. Maybe you didn’t realize it, but Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler, J.J. Barea and Deshawn Stevenson were very important parts of your team last year.
Chandler was a borderline all-star last year. He played nearly 30 minutes a game and averaged 10.1 points to go along with 9.4 rebounds. On top of that, he is a very good defender and was key in clogging up the paint for the Mavs last year. Butler missed the second half of year and the postseason with a knee injury, but during his time on the court, he averaged 15 points in 30 key minutes. Yes, the Mavs won the title without him but he’s now part of a dynamic Los Angeles Clippers team that will compete with Dallas all year. Him not being on the Mavs doesn’t make the Mavs worse to be fair to Cuban and his quote, but it is going to make it harder for them to repeat as champions.
Barea is the Mavericks biggest loss in my book. While he wasn’t a starter, the little Puerto Rican was a workhouse on the court who found seems all over the place. Whenever he was in danger, he just always found a way to wiggle out of it. With the acquisition of Lamar Odom (who seems to have spent all offseason/lockout period eating chips on his couch), the Mavs have a solid sixth man to come off the bench and battle down low. He won’t be as effective as Chandler defensively, but he is more versatile on the offensive end. Read more…
After the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 108-103 on Wednesday in the second of two preseason meetings between the teams, Lakers forward Matt Barnes took issue with the “Lob City” Clippers:
They definitely have a much improved team here and are looking to make a push towards the playoffs. “They have a lot of reason to be excited, but all the celebration after dunks and all that kind of stuff, I mean, I just kind of think it looks amazing and it makes ‘SportsCenter,’ but I mean, let’s just play basketball. They act like they won the dunk contest after every dunk. So, as players, people aren’t going to tolerate that.
Whether or not the last bit about “people aren’t going to tolerate that” is a threat to the Clippers is unclear, but Barnes did take exception in the third quarter of the game when he was assessed a flagrant 1 foul for shoving the Clippers’ Blake Griffin to the floor. Afterwards, Barnes spoke about the play and while he certainly disagreed with the call, he also accepted it:
I looked at [the replay] and yeah, my arms did get extended but [Griffin] flailed everywhere like I threw him to half-court. I just think the refs are so quick to judge. Even after looking at the replay, I heard initially they wanted to call a flagrant 2 and I’m just like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I guess there’s just no hard fouls anymore. It was just a hard foul. That’s exactly what it was yesterday, my reputation. I’ve fouled people much harder than that. That’s all it is. … I have a reputation for stuff I’ve done, so I’ve earned it, so I can’t be mad at no one but myself, but that definitely wasn’t a flagrant foul. Read more…
The Minnesota Timberwolves hired Kurt Rambis as their coach in 2009. After two years with very little improvement, Rambis was fired today, but not until a lengthy wait forced Rambis to sit idly by while his future remained up in the air.
The NBA Finals ended almost a month ago. The Timberwolves season ended many months ago. What takes this long to come to a decision?
Rambis watched some of the pre-draft workouts, but wasn’t allowed into the draft room on draft night! If you aren’t going to let him in the room, he isn’t going to be the coach next year. Clearly, Minnesota had already made up its mind that Rambis wasn’t going to be its coach so why wait? Why keep Rambis in limbo and prevent him from finding a new job?
How does it help the Timberwolves to start their coaching search in mid-July?
There’s nothing wrong with Minnesota letting Rambis go. The team hasn’t improved in the past two years, although it certainly is better off financially and has more potential on the court. Nevertheless, firing Rambis isn’t up for debate. The Timberwolves’ way they fired him is
Minnesota could have fired Rambis months ago and saved everyone a lot of wasted time. It doesn’t make sense why they waited until today. Is July 12th a special date or something?
So for every other professional sports franchise in the world, I’ll state the obvious (which I guess wasn’t so obvious to Minnesota): If you’re going to fire your coach, don’t wait until three months after the year ends to do so. Do it right away and give him the chance to find a new job