Friday, June 27, 2014

2014 NBA DRAFT NIGHT WINNERS


Charlotte: you sneak into the lottery stealing Detroit's pick after making the playoffs and Noah Vonleh falls to you! Great look for the return of the Hornets. Vonleh will be able to play with Big Al and provide them with needed athleticism, scoring and rebounding. Then they swap 24 and 26 with Miami and get PJ Hairston at 26 who is an NBA ready 6'5" bull of a 2 guard that fills an immediate need. Those that worry about Hairston's off court past, I'd say that if he can't figure it out stepping into a situation like this where your boss is Michael Jordan, who coincidentally is an alum of the same school you attended, then he never will. Great night for Charlotte. 

Utah: Many including myself thought this pick was being moved, then Dante Exum falls in their lap (Orlando passed on him and rolled the dice, more on them later) an amazing break for a team searching for both potential star power and an identity. Dante and Trey Burke are both smart enough to figure out how to share the back court together. But the Jazz weren't done as they were back up at #23 and Rodney Hood is still on the board. To get a 6'8" lefty, small forward with great NCAA experience and an NBA ready three ball at this point in the draft is rare. Whether Gordon Hayward stays or goes, Hood fits nicely into this Jazz rebuild. 

Orlando: The Magic were not only winners on draft night, but they also showed some serious ONIONS. With a glaring need at PG they roll the dice and take Aaron Gordon at #4 over Dante Exum and Marcus Smart. With PG Elfrid Payton on the board they were hoping he'd fall to them at #12 but the Sixers grab him at #10. Orlando then takes Dario Saric at #12 and works out a deal to send him to Philly with a future first round pick for Payton. The Magic now have Payton, Gordon, Victor, Vucevic, Harris and Harkless to move forward with. After dealing Afflalo they most certainly will need to add a veteran or two (I thought they could have gotten more besides Evan Fournier and #54 overall for Afflalo but I think they wanted to just him moving elsewhere and his $ off the cap, though it is an expiring deal) but the Magic did the most they could with the #4 and #12 picks on both talent and filling team needs. 

Boston: Does Marcus Smart excite the Coach as much as Dante Exum or Aaron Gordon? No. But getting him at #6 makes some sense considering we don't know whether or not Rondo will want to resign next summer. I do not think Rondo is on the move before the season as Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge are building around him and the Celtics would not be getting anything close to equal value right now. Plus Smart, playing behind and/or next to Rondo can work for Boston. At #17 the C's get James Young, who can play either the 2 or the 3 and has a HUGE upside as an offensive weapon. The Celtics are now very strong in the back court and on the wing, especially if Avery Bradley is resigned. Next is figuring out how to cash in on some of these future assets and add another all-star to the Celtics. Kevin Love remains dream scenario number one, but that is still just that, a dream, at the moment. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

THE RETURN

It NBA Draft day and I have been gone way too long. Where have I been you ask? Great question. Between working my way into an NBA Video Producer position at a top sports website, producing/directing my first feature length doc, joining the producing team on another, and navigating an always entertaining existence in NYC I drove off the tracks. Now like Steve McQueen in Bullitt, I am back behind the wheel with the NBA, film, emerging television commentary and of course, the most random NYC Coachness you can handle. 

Welcome back to... THE COACHS TAKE.

2014 NBA Draft Top 10 
Before we get to the final mock there several questions I need to answer YES to, that you need to read before we begin, thanks ahead of time.

Yes:
I have been producing NBA draft content.
I cover the NBA for a living. 
I have real sources I can not reveal. 
I played basketball. 
I coached basketball.
I have learned the game from some excellent coaches/mentors. 
I will probably piss many of you off. 

Now we can check ball. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Rutgers, Rice, Disgrace.


When I first watched the Mike Rice video that ESPN released on Tuesday April 2nd, I cringed. I cringed for the players. I cringed for Rutgers. I cringed for Mike Rice’s family. I cringed for basketball. When you are committing your life to something you are very passionate about, which involves both competition and mentoring there are at times those moments where you push the envelope, toe the line, and on occasion cross it.
For Mike Rice, there clearly wasn’t a line to begin with.

I have never coached division I college basketball. But passion for the game at the grade school, middle school and high school level where I have spent most of my time coaching is still just as genuine and just as intense for many. There comes a time as an intense basketball coach where you have to remind yourself you are a mentor and role model first, before anything else. There are many ways to still be an effective hard ass and push your kids without coming remotely close to practicing any of the antics that Mike Rice displayed. What he did, what he continued to do, what he consciously chose to do in his practice sessions is one of the worst displays of misguided anger and hate I have seen in a basketball setting.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Where to begin?!?!


In a perfect football world the Jets and Giants would be playoff teams each and every year and soon there would be an all New York Super Bowl that would knock the sports world on it's ass. The two years the Jets were in the AFC Championship game feel like such a long time ago. My man Lance, L-II has his take below:


The Jets have a problem that most prophesized would come.  Although I was going to touch on this before the San Francisco debacle, now is an even better time to talk about “Gang Green” and their impending woes.  As much as the New York Jets tried to deny and avoid any friction or quarterback controversy, they certainly landed themselves in a tough spot by failing to successfully implement the Sanchez/Tebow dual quarterback dynamic.
Many were stunned at the Tebow trade in the offseason, including Mark Sanchez (despite reports that he wasn’t shocked).  In most minds, the question of how both quarterbacks would factor into the offense was imminent.  Head coach Rex Ryan boasted a plan of a wildcat offense prior to the preseason, and to Jets fans’ dismay the plan has been transparent.  ESPN analyst Skip Bayless feels as if Rex brought Tebow in just to be a circus monkey, and quite frankly I have to agree with him.  The bottom line is that Tim Tebow has not been used how he should be used within the Jets offense, and a struggling Mark Sanchez does not make matters better.

To be clear, I completely understand Rex’s backing of Sanchez as the leader and sole quarterback of this Jets team.  As an organization OF COURSE you want to be as united as you can and have roles definitive and set, but the Jets and Sanchez are making matters harder for themselves.  The Jets as a team are generating frantic media and pressure surrounding Tim Tebow and the questioning of his role on this team as the season thickens.  Those on the calmer, perhaps more optimistic side of things would say its too early for “Tebow time”, but the lackluster and mediocre play from Mark Sanchez suggests otherwise and actually prompts it.

Mark Sanchez now has a completion rate under 50% for the 3rd time in 4 games.  The Jets are 2-2 on the season, and they can only boast wins against Miami and Buffalo, two teams who right now, aren’t playoff contenders.  In addition, they previously struggled against a Pittsburgh team who has been far from impressive thus far as the Steelers lost to Oakland last week.   With the Texans ahead, the Patriots twice on the schedule, Arizona, and pesky teams like Seattle and St. Louis down the road, the New York Jets and Mark Sanchez don’t have time to be fooling around on the offensive side of things; the defensive side will also be missing Darrelle Revis for the remainder of the season, so the younger players now have a chance to show what they’ve got.

As a teammate, you realize certain roles and strategies that will ultimately help your entire team become better, and honestly Rex’s back is against the wall with Tebow.  He will have to play him in the regular quarterback slot on drives more often of otherwise he is doing Tim Tebow a disservice.  He is misusing him because every time he brings him in, its pretty much known he’s going to run.  His first pass was against the 49ers yesterday and he completed it for 9 yards. Rex and the Jets are not being as inconspicuous or wise as they could be. They should be mixing up plays and really keeping teams on their heels (especially with two able quarterbacks).  Even the San Francisco 49ers knew how to show Rex up and embarrass him by using their own second string quarterback Colin Kaepernick who rushed for 50 yards on 5 carries, one of which was a TD.  Again, Rex needs to USE Tebow and fast. Tebow can even run better than Shonn Greene, whose season stats are dismal.

In defense and a desperate belief, despite what critics and naysayers have to say about Tebow and his passing success, I strongly feel he is more than capable of doing just as good if not even better than Sanchez, and proved that by succeeding in Denver last season as the starting quarterback.  Rex needs to play Tebow on full drives and see what he gets out of it.  Hell, just use them together! You could do a flea flicker type of deal where Sanchez even hands it off to Tebow to THROW instead of run all the time.  Something. Anything! Plainly, things just need to be done different because things aren’t efficient.

The Jets are going to have a rough season if they can’t get the offense going.  This is a team that is struggling to score touchdowns, and is now ailing on both the offensive and defensive ends.  Even though they are atop the AFC East, they are a 2-2 club that could be headed for trouble faster than they know it if they don’t switch things up in the near future. Tebow can help and is one of the answers.  All in all, more effort from the defensive backs accompanied with wide receivers nailing their routes and catching the ball will strongly determine the rest of the New York Jets season.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall is official...

For years I have been trying to stretch summer through September. Outdoor hoops, ladies still in tank tops, Sunday fun day sunshine and no need for long sleeves make it easy. With October approaching time is officially running out on my summer, which was beyond adventurous. Between documenting the journey of a NYC AAU Team that brought back a National Championship to the mecca (web series on the way presented by ENEW FILMS and AWESOMENESSTV) producing some new content with RBA Sports at the new Basketball City, starting production on another film "Wah-Nee Pride", sending twelve kids from urban backgrounds to summer camp through the newly formed Billy G Scholarship Fund and oh yeah, seeing Pearl Jam at Made in America amongst other great creative performances and screenings I would have to say it was a pretty exciting summer 2012.

Now we are onto fall. Blazers, Guinness at Molly's, NBA hype and oh yes, the NFL.

I am not going to write one of those 2007 marathon posts about what an embarrassment this has been to everyone who has ever been associated with the shield, that so many hold such respect for. Hell, I played division III football and I am beyond embarrassed about what has gone on. To take it a step further I told my father earlier today as we were sitting in his living room starving ourselves that I am NOT watching another game until they bring the real officials back... period.  I know, I know, not the craziest boycott you have ever heard of but you have to start somewhere.

Below is part of a piece done by a talented young writer that will be contributing to THE COACHS TAKE this fall, Lance Jr. who had this to say:


The Seahawks/Packers game this past Monday night tipped the scale significantly.  With constant talk, ridicule, and slander, the replacement referee situation is a hotter topic than ever and it boiled over Monday.  The referees made the clearest wrong call they have all season (even after official review), giving the Seattle Seahawks the game-winning touchdown over the Green Bay Packers as time expired.  The ball was definitely intercepted and controlled by defensive back M.D. Jennings, prior to Golden Tate’s attempt to corral the ball as well. How does this get confused? 
IT WAS NOT JOINT POSSESSION ON THE CATCH!!!
(Lets forget all about the offensive pass interference on Tate prior to the catch too.)

What this means for the NFL and for professional sports in general is more controversy that isn’t needed and it taints professional sports.  Despite the sky-high ratings this is bad publicity for all, as it further puts officiating in a position that absolutely can affect the outcome of a game.  We’ve seen officiating and bad calls disturb the atmosphere of both MLB and the NBA before, and now it is more prominent in the NFL than ever because of replacement officials.  This puts the NFL at high scrutiny because of what is going on with the referee lockout, and it definitely puts pressure on Commissioner Goodell and all involved to come to a solution fast.  This is bad for pro sports, and mistakes like these cannot continue to happen on professional and grand stages, especially Monday Night Football.

The basketball coach and Celtics fan in me can't help but to think back to Game 2 of the eastern conference finals last spring in Miami. Rajon Rondo was playing the game of his life with the Celtics trailing 1-0 in the series. With 1:33 on the clock in the 4th and the game tied at 103 Rondo drove to the tin and was hit in the face as he tried to finish. NO CALL. The result... Udonis Haslem gets a dunk in transition and the Heat take a 105-103 lead and take the game to go up 2-0. The Celtics lost an epic series in seven games. Would the Celtics have won game 2 if the official did his job? Maybe. Would they have won the series? Maybe. It would have been nice to find out. My point is that officials, refs and umpires should NEVER decide the outcome of a game. When the officials are invisible that means they are doing a GREAT job.

For the NFL to put the game of football and the players safety and careers at risk because they don't want to share more of the pot of gold with the referees and their union is flat out greedy, stupid and wrong (it is a holiday so I am keeping it clean for today only)

Hopefully this is the week the NFL returns to where it should be, if not... I'll be at the movies.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The New and Improved Basketball City

Thanks to the film I am producing about THE CITY, NYC's National Championship AAU team at the 15U level I was at the new Basketball City today for the Hoop Group Buzzer Beater Classic. Teams from not only the tri-state area but up and down the east coast and as west as Chicago were in attendance as this is the last weekend of the live college recruiting period. Great to see the new facility packed with both quality on court talent and quality people. With the tournament lasting two days in the mecca there are a lot of college coaches that made their way to Pier 36 on the East River to scout out their next recruits. Bracket play makes each game crucial and look for some quality game action come Sunday with hardware and reputations on the line. The City tips off at 9:30am Sunday morning. Welcome back to NYC Basketball City.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Reggie

Hard to believe it is 19 years ago. He had such a way about him on the court. It was this lethal type of grace he moved with, with and without the basketball. Whether he'd surprise you with a thunderous two hand dunk, stop on a dime and nail a jumper in his defenders eye or block your shot Reggie Lewis could flat out play ball. He was the NEXT captain. The torch was being passed. Was a dynasty guaranteed? Not even close. But a great career and more importantly a great life was ahead. Then July 27, 1993 happened. I'll always remember being up at Camp Wah-Nee in CT. It was our off day between our two biggest basketball tournaments of the summer. At the age of 15 I understood what I was hearing when my buddy Joey Morgan shared the news but I couldn't really comprehend it. In many ways I still don't. Remember Reggie Lewis...