Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“I talked to him the day before he decided, and he was on the fence,” Pagliuca said. “And I told him, ‘Look, if you’re not into a rebuild — who would’ve known the rebuild would have been as quick as it is — but if you’re not into a rebuild, and you’ve done it once already, but you have to wake up every day wanting to rebuild and start from scratch again if you want to have a championship team.”
Pagliuca said although the front office wanted Rivers to stay, the group also made it clear to the coach that he should take the Clippers position if he wasn’t excited about the prospect of staying in Boston.
“Danny and I were up in the stands watching the game,” Pagliuca said. “Before the game started, Danny said to me, ‘Look down at the court. The best coach in college basketball is down there.’ I said, ‘Of course, it’s Coach K.’ He said, ‘No, it’s Brad Stevens.’ This was 2010.”
Pagliuca said the front office extensively examined the stud-turned-dud pattern.
“Our analysis showed the college coaches that didn’t make it were from big programs where it was all about them,” he explained. “They thought they had won all of those games because of their great coaching, because they were who they were.”
“What we saw about Brad was that he was the opposite of that model,” Pagliuca continued. “He thought it was about the players, not about the coach.”
Mike Dynon summed up that story pretty nicely, I think:
Of course, anthropologists are still searching the wilds of New Jersey and the inexplicable restaurants of Brooklyn for a genuine Nets fan–the species is believed to have gone extinct shortly after the team was humiliated in the NBA Finals.
The Celtics are owned by competent individuals for the first time since Walter Brown died in ’64.
When you look back on the C’s amazing run from the 50s to the 80s, the buck stopped with Red after Walter Brown died. Everything that made the Celtics great could be traced to Auerbach over a period of fluctuating ownership–there were even the crazy years in the 80s when the team was traded on the NYSE (my dad had a share), and rock bottom in the 90s and early 00s.
What you’ve got now is a rare synchronicity between the ownership group, the front office and the coaching staff–something the Celtics haven’t had since the Walter Brown era over 50 years ago. It won’t last forever–nothing does–so soak it up while it’s there. These guys are all at the top of their games, and we get to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Page 2: Where Gordy’s got thoughts
When we were at Butler, his out of bounds plays—that stuff he draws up out of a timeout—was the stuff of legend.
I remember practicing them. At the end of practice, he’d call us over and draw up a play. Then he’d sit there and tell every one of us where to be, where to go, how the defense would react and then how to execute. And every time we ran the play, that was exactly what happened.
It was moments like that where I really got a sense of the basketball mind he has. I was the inbounder a lot of the time, and he’d tell me point blank, “This is what’s going to be open, look for this.”
And it would play out exactly how he said it would. Every time.
Head on over to Gordon’s blog and give it a read. Hayward goes in depth on just about everybody on the team, and he makes his predictions about Cavs series.
Finally: A few thoughts on Becky Hammon
“D.J., O.K. — your bounce pass? It’s too low. You’ve got to hit Pau exactly where he needs it. Run that again.”
She noticed a small detail out of the corner of her eye — and then instantly located both the problem and the solution. And not only that, but we were also able to communicate with each other in such a way that we got the result that we needed.
So, this is where I trade on my South Dakota roots for a bit to talk about how gender just isn’t an issue for kids learning how to play sports in the upper Midwest.
I’m sure it’s more or less the same elsewhere, but I only grew up in one place, and I can only speak from experience in one area–the area where Becky Hammon grew up.
Becky’s entry into competitive basketball came in a coed YMCA league at around age eight. The teams were populated almost entirely by boys. But Becky’s skills were so beyond her peers’ that her parents moved her up two age groups. League officials bristled. Then they saw her play.
“When I was better than all the boys, even a grade, two grades ahead of me, they were like, ‘Oh yeah, she can stay,'” Becky said. “‘She can even bring up the ball.'”
“I mean, it was intense,” her mother, Bev Hammon, said. “They did not want her scoring.”
There was never much doubt about Becky’s competitive instincts. Those, too, seemed to be part of the family DNA. The Hammons competed at everything—board games, word games, bow-and-arrow shooting, soccer matches in the basement. When there wasn’t an actual game to play, they made one up: Who can eat all his or her vegetables first?
“Our family never loses very well,” Matt said. “Everything was a contest.”
The former Michele Hoppes just happens to be a University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Famer. She played from 1984 to ’87 and is generally regarded as one of the greatest basketball players in Cowgirl history, averaging 16.7 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
She earned special mention All-America status and still ranks in the top three in Cowgirl career records for points, rebounds, field goals, field goal attempts, free throws, free throw attempts and blocked shots.
Her son, now 6-feet-9 and 245 pounds, leads the Jackrabbits in scoring and rebounding, and had an outstanding freshman season.
In seventh grade, Mike finally beat his mom, who also served as his coach, playing one-on-one.
“That was his fault for me to stop coaching him,” Michele proudly professed. “But he got better than what I could do, so I had to get him better coaches. He’s very kind to me now. When we play one-on-one, he always lets me win, although I can’t even compete.”
Macy’s older siblings – sister Tara and brothers Jordan and Jade – at times felt overwhelmed by expectations that came with the family name. But Macy embraced the challenge after spending endless hours in the gym, working out with her father, getting the little things right.
“I knew something was different when she was in third grade and started to shoot left-handed floaters over me,” says Jordan, who played at Southwest Minnesota State. “That was unbelievable.”
When you learn basketball around here, you play with whoever’s available. And, around here, Sioux Falls is about the only town big enough to keep the girls away from the boys from the moment they first start competing with each other.
Just about everywhere else, you’re going to see a common theme: No-holds barred competitions between family members and friends, where you get no quarter for being a ‘girl’.
It’s just basketball.
Becky Hammon didn’t learn how to play ‘girl’s basketball’, she learned how to play basketball, period.
When you get to high school, college and the pros, yeah, there’s a gender division. The women play with a smaller ball, but other than that the rules are pretty much the same (right now, the NCAA rules are far more in tune with the pro game in women’s basketball). But if you love the game, those divisions come pretty late in the process. Nobody around here starts playing basketball when they get to high school–if you’re in a small town, you’ve been playing coed with playground rules from the moment you learned how to dribble.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Becky Hammon’s gender is a bigger deal to just about everyone else than it is to her. For her, it’s a ‘yeah? and?’ thing, as it is with just about every other woman that’s excelled playing basketball in the area.
Being a girl didn’t get her any consideration at all when she was learning to play, and I don’t think she expects it to get her any consideration right now.
Sure–she couldn’t play basketball at the same level as the guys she’s gonna coach. But you know what? Brad Stevens couldn’t either. Dude was a role player on a bad D-2 team. This ‘you have to have played the game’ stuff is just nonsense. Jason Kidd played, and he’s a terrible coach. Red Auerbach fiddled around at a small college back when they had jump balls after each made basket–and the NBA hasn’t seen, and will never see, a more influential coach.
‘But she hasn’t been a front-row assistant,’ ‘she’s skipping the line,’ C’mon. WHAT LINE? Who invented this line, and where are the rules for the line, and could someone please explain to me at what point in time Becky would end up at the front of that line?
Also, you know what? If such a line exists, it’s produced a boatload of crappy and mediocre coaches.
I mean, if Brad Stevens stands out for the simple fact that he treats all his players like professionals, then this ‘line’, if it even exists, needs to be replaced because guys, it ain’t working.
“But the game is so different at this level!!” Sorry. Not buying it. I haven’t seen any of these fools complaining because there are all these guys coaching women’s basketball at every level–and what the heck would any of them know about women’s basketball, if there’s such a big difference between the two sports?
If a guy can coach women’s basketball, a woman can coach men’s basketball. It’s just that simple. The game’s the game. If you’ve got a head on your shoulders you can figure out what it takes to win within that system. It doesn’t matter if your first-hand experience came from somewhere else. Shoot. You ever heard someone complaining about their oncologist because she hasn’t had the same cancer? “Oh, she can’t treat lung cancer, she’s never had it.”
Are we going to argue that Hammon is mentally (or, dare we say it, emotionally) incapable of mastering the difference between the WNBA and the NBA?
Because, frankly, that’s where we’re at when it gets right down to it.
When Becky was a kid, it was just basketball.
And you know what?
That’s still all it is.
The rest of the links:
Boston.com: A power ranking of every player in the Eastern Conference Finals (feat. John Karalis) | Brad Stevens remains humble as team continues to thrive | What the Celtics have said about each other during the playoffs
MassLive: Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, matchups, and a series pick | Boston Celtics, Jaylen Brown prepare for guarding LeBron James: ‘Totally a collective effort’ | Boston Celtics’ Terry Rozier: ‘We don’t want anybody on our side now. We’re doing good’
Boston Globe: As Terry Rozier and the Celtics prep for the Cavs they will ‘certainly pick Kyrie’s brain’ (of course, the Cavs will be able to do the same with… oh, yeah, right, they traded those guys)