11.09.2005

The Indestructible Beat of Rip Hamilton



With all due respect to the Spurs, who I now like and respect--a mere 30% of this resulting from Timmy D's willingness to use the term "retarded"--the Pistons look out of hand, out of control, out of their minds unstoppable and are the best team in The Association. They are so good, that even their discarded trash becomes breakout starters (Smush Parker) and serviceable role players (Ronald Dupree). Why do their recent contract extension signings (Prince) never falter ? Why does their perenially great-not-superstar backcourt (Rip/Chauncey) play like, um, superstars? Why do headcases for other teams (Sheed/Arroyo), instead of sapping the team's energy, only boost its swagger to unprecedented heights? The only answer I can construct is that, for the past three years, they have managed to convince themselves that everybody doubts them and is out to get them.

Owner Bill D has played a huge role in ordering two major coaching changes in the past four years, and has seen his name slammed throughout the whole Larry Brown debacle. Joe D made a potentially career-ending draft decision, which somehow now looks staged as if to just draw more ire and doubt in the team's direction.. People called their 04 title a fluke. Even their Euros (Darko/Carlos D) think everyone is out to get them. And in Flip Saunders, they even have a HEAD COACH with a huge chip on his shoulder.

Make no mistake, I could not stand Flip in Minnesota. He always made adjustments too late, he leaned on KG too much, he couldn't defend the pick-n-roll, he did not get the players to "buy in," he choked in the playoffs, and he was just generally too passive-aggressive, which seemed to eff with the players' heads. When he signed with Detroit, suddenly the media started calling him an "offensive mastermind" and a "tactician." I began wondering if those terms meant "teaches players to throw the ball into Kevin Garnett in the post,
have him take a whirligig jumper or wait till he gets double-teamed and have him kick it out to someone for a jumpshot."



But at least through four games, Flip has proved me and all of his other doubters (many of them residing in Minnesota) dead wrong. Sheed, Ben, Tayshaun, and Chauncey are playing way more fluidly and relaxed on the offensive end. And Rip Hamilton is easily the second best two-guard in the league to Kobe right now. I say this because Riley & Co. have taken it upon themselves to try to destroy Dwyane Wade's career with their recent overhaul (AND HE STILL CANT BE STOPPED). The Pistons are once again a joy to watch, and look even better than they did in their title run year. Maybe...maybe...they just needed a manager, not a nitpicker.

But there is one thing, one overlooked element that should be the hallmark of Larry Brown's career. One thing that LB is capable of doing that not Flip or any other coach has done before: He knows how to stop teams who have Shaq. Larry is Kryptonite. (Note that Popovich doesn't count here because he was playing with TWO hall of fame centers in 03, and weren't both Shaq and Kobe a bit injured or something? Weren't they?). LB's 2001 Game 1 Finals victory over the Lakers may have been his greatest achievement ever. That Sixers team sucked and everyone knew it. Then, in 04, The Pistons shoved it down the Lakers' throats, with steady Shaq-harrassment coming from Elden Campbell, Big Ben, Sheed, and even Big Nasty. And last year, even with Shaq promising South Beach a championship and hungrier than ever, LB had Diesel looking like:


This may ultimately be the reason that the Pistons will miss both Brown, and the Finals. Flip and so many other coaches fail in these monumental tasks, because unlike Larry, they are followers and not leaders. During the Wolves/Lakers WCF series in 04, Flip pulled out some gawd-awful Mike Dunleavy-circa-Brian Grant on the Blazers shit and made Shaq go to the free throw line 30 times a game. Shaq hit them when they counted, Kobe, Kareem Rush, and Devean George got involved, and the Lakers won handily. Larry defied convention, and instead learned how to annoy the hell out of Shaq, still let him get HIS, but annoy him to death...which seems like an appropriate point to bring up a thesis.

If you wanted to teach a young child about the differences between Jews and non-Jews, you need not look further than the NBA head coaching circuit. Specifically, to the differences between Larry Brown and Phil Jackson. I really could draw up a chart here, but to save time...A Jew coach is far less likely to make those dumb comments about "hip-hop" and "prison garb," Jews are completely incapable of keeping a calm, Zen-like mindset, and a Jew would never ever ever date a chick like Jeannie Buss. On the other hand, non-Jew coaches don't totally lose their shit over a game-ending non-call (Lawrence Frank), non-Jews are not so overbearing, annoying, and constantly tinkering that their teams become a pain to watch (Larry Brown), non-Jews in positions of authority do not engage in silly fun-uncle stuff like doing magic tricks on team plane rides (Bob Weiss), and non-Jews are not so paranoid as to bring this type of situation on themselves. From the Houston Chronicle:

"A few days before the start of training camp, Van Gundy asked for an appointment with the guy who fined him $100,000 and threatened to throw him out of the NBA last spring. Stern invited him to New York. They had breakfast at a diner in Connecticut. "I don't want to be seen as someone unappreciative of all the NBA has done for me," Van Gundy said. "I'm an employee of the NBA. He's the commissioner. I've benefited from the NBA probably more than anyone."


Ok, ok...We know that the Van Gundy brothers aren't really Jewish. But come on...Stern and Van Gundy at a Diner in Connecticut? That's like, the most Jewish shit ever.

32 Comments:

At 11/09/2005 12:18 PM, Blogger Noah said...

Your commentary on Jews is pretty ignorant (just as Phil Jackson's idiotic comments on prison garb). Jews are more diverse than your steotyping suggests. I'm not even sure why you even bring Jews into the conversation in the first place. Your blog is great but come on man, leave the racial/ethnic comments for fools like Phil Jackson and Rush Limbaugh.

Noah

 
At 11/09/2005 12:46 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

Noah, I hope we don't lose your readership, but please understand. This is a blog that was founded on poking fun of those who are different from us (Euros). I figure I at least get to poke fun at those who are the same as me (Jewish) every now and then. I admit that these "everyone gets it equally" arguments are tiresome and that stereotyping is wack, but I do notice that nobody (this isn't on you) made a fuss when I deemed bad dancing, mormonism, and getting kicked in the face by Bruce Bowen qualities of being white (google search for: guess who's coming freedarko). Recognize that this is satire...I'm not sure that makes it any better, but it certainly distinguishes me from Rush Limbaugh and Phil Jackson.

 
At 11/09/2005 12:58 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

noah, chill. you should have assumed that THC is jewish because all jews love to talk about being jewish. in fact, one of our number tried to claim van gundy for the tribe, which is another sure sign of jewishness. basically, black people can use the n-word, but others can not. feel me?

 
At 11/09/2005 1:51 PM, Blogger The Cavalier said...

What is "jewish" and what is the "n-word"?

Excuse my ignorance, but if freedarko is "highbrow comedy", then I am "poop jokes", so you know where I'm coming from.

 
At 11/09/2005 1:56 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i am thinking that noah assumed we weren't jewish, which is weird. and not just because we allude to it constantly.

but even if we weren't, jews as a people are probably the most touchy out there about being dealt with by others in semi-satirical conversation about race/ethnicity. look at how much non-blacks are comfortable saying about blacks (same goes for asians and non-asians, italianos and non-italians, etc.) but if a goy even raises the possibility that jews might have some funny tendencies, all of a sudden someone's hitting up morris dees on speed dial.

jews are different from other people. get over it. it's called identity.

 
At 11/09/2005 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you guys, but man... this is the most retarded shit I've ever read.

 
At 11/09/2005 2:37 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

more hate! is the problem that THC's jew/goyim dichotomy was offensive, or is it just dumb and not funny?

 
At 11/09/2005 2:44 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

yeah, are you referring to the post or the comments?

and is it not funny? or offensive? (please dont say both)

 
At 11/09/2005 2:45 PM, Anonymous raftery said...

I hate to be a nit-picker, but Adelman never coached Grant in Portland. Anywho, I get sick of hearing all the time how the T-wolves couldn't get out of the 1st round: They were never the favorite. They lost to the better team everytime. They were never favored to win. They were always a team of perimeter jump-shooters, even KG. They never had guys who attacked the basket & got to the line, a major deathblow in the playoffs. They bring Sprewell & Cassell, two guys who have a knack for getting fouled & creating shots and low & behold their in the WC finals the same year they arrive. The one time they were ranked higher was when they had to play the Lakers who floundered during the reg. season cause of injuries, again losing to a better team come playoff time.

 
At 11/09/2005 2:47 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

nitpicker? what are you, Jewish? I'm changing it, thanks.

 
At 11/09/2005 2:52 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i think this unprecdented backlash says a thing or two about my "insensitive" pigeonholing of our audience.

 
At 11/09/2005 2:55 PM, Anonymous brickowski said...

hehe. i thought the post was pretty funny, but the comments have made it even better.

thc is right about how good these pistons look. i'll even agree that they're currently better than my spurs. them only giving 2 to the kings last night was some of the easiest money i've ever made.

 
At 11/09/2005 2:58 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

if nothing else, this post has SPURRED the return of brickowski. i think we will get along much better this year now that i legitimately like the spurs...but back to controversy...

 
At 11/09/2005 3:22 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i almost wrote a post on brickowski to get him to show his voice here again, since the only other way to ensure his presence is to bash the spurs and i'm below even doing that this season

 
At 11/09/2005 3:24 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i also forgot to mention. . how dumb is it of the kings to try and "psych out" the pistons by making them feel like shit-out underdogs from an urban hellscape? i think a better strategy would be to show footage of them celebrating after beating the lakers, or even just a highlight reel of unquestioable basketball excellence

 
At 11/09/2005 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys keep up the great work. This site is the best. People talk about it all day at the office (it's what gets us through the day). We loved the jewish comparison/contrast (not insensitive, pretty smart and witty). Keep up the great work.

 
At 11/09/2005 3:40 PM, Anonymous KandimanCan said...

I didn't see it on the blog or maybe i missed it but if you guys haven't seen it yet: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/chris_ballard/11/09/pistons/1.html You guys got some due recognition.

 
At 11/09/2005 3:51 PM, Blogger Ian said...

From one Jew to another (presumably), I'd say you're pretty much on the ball with one glaring exception: I would twist out Jeannie Buss in a heartbeat.

 
At 11/09/2005 3:52 PM, Anonymous brickowski said...

oh, dudes, i'm not going anywhere. if i've been absent of late it's only because i've been busy watching as much action as i can.

the league really speaks for itself right now. isn't it glorious?

now that the bastards have taken away league pass i'll probably have more time to spend here.

congrats on the SI.com shine.

 
At 11/09/2005 4:07 PM, Blogger Noah said...

Point(s) taken with the exception that I see no reason why a Jewish Phil Jackson wouldn't get with Jeannie Buss. Didn't she once pose for Playboy?

 
At 11/09/2005 4:11 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

And it comes full circle!!! I knew that the allure of Jeannie Buss would get us all through this.

 
At 11/09/2005 4:20 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

what good jewish boy doesn't secretly want to ravish a shiksa, preferably one as blonde and all-american as possible? we used to keep pictures of thick polish chicks up on the wall by our death camp bunks

marrying one, though. . .she'd at least better be from a major city.

 
At 11/09/2005 4:23 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

anyone who thought that was unsuitably, godlessly offensive, beware my philip roth and soul on ice references!!!!!!!!!!!.

no reason to mention the holocaust. i guess i'm still salty that someone tried to tell us what we could and couldn't say about jews.

 
At 11/09/2005 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"jew" is the new "n-word"

 
At 11/09/2005 4:46 PM, Blogger El Huracan Andreo said...

We're poised to bring ethnicity and race into this debate. PC be damned.

Count me as the Cubano breaking up the Jew beat. Though we also have an Asian, esq. no less.

This is the ACLU of hoops commentary, representin' all forms and tones that have only infiltrated the Association in drips.

Look at who we can count among our ranks:

-Gilbert Arenas (half cuban)
-The Schayes (super tall menorah wielders.)
-Zhi Zhi, Tabuse and Yao ('nuff said.)

35 cents. Cheap!

 
At 11/10/2005 3:09 PM, Anonymous a-girl said...

not for nothing, but i am far more offended that you said the 2001 sixers team sucked.

are you an anti-phil-ite?

 
At 11/10/2005 3:42 PM, Anonymous DaveyD said...

Huracan,

How can you forget about Andres Guibert?? The original Afro-Cuban all-Star.

 
At 11/10/2005 5:03 PM, Blogger Rocco Chappelle said...

a-girl,
When an injury to George Lynch feels like a major blow to your title hopes, yeah, your team sucks.

 
At 11/10/2005 8:32 PM, Anonymous aug said...

lets just hope this post didn't piss off ugueth urbina. if so, god help us all.

 
At 11/11/2005 1:45 AM, Anonymous brickowski said...

the pistons just validated every kind word THC said about them. ever. what a cold blooded team! i'm starting to believe they can bring this intensity every night, and that should terrify the entire league.

i refuse to believe flip saunders has anything to do with it.

 
At 11/11/2005 9:16 AM, Blogger emynd said...

The 2001 Sixers did stink. That championship run was a testiment to the genius of coach Larry Brown (who as much as I hate the guy, is a truly great basketball mind, albeit a not very versatile one) and the genius of one Allen Iverson. In one of the truly great individual post-season performances in any sport ever, AI basically willed his team to the finals. Two serieses in a row they lost the first game of the series and two serieses in a row, they were down 3-2... and still won that schitt.

That team did "suck," but that just makes them that much better.

-e

 
At 11/11/2005 10:36 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

that sixers team was dope when they ran at the beginning of the year, but the mutumbo acquisiton, while amazing from a sitcom point of view, signalled just what a sucky team they were. you get a ninety year-old to make a title run?

also i agree with brickowski, thc is dead-on about the pistons. they look scary professional, scary good, and scary enthused. proof that larry brown is a pox upon my basketball house: all of a sudden billups, prince, and the wallaces have become players worth paying attention to when they're on the screen

 

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