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News » Nets go from bad to worst with 0-18 start


Nets go from bad to worst with 0-18 start


Nets go from bad to worst with 0-18 start

It comes down to these questions: Is NBA action primarily supposed to provide "fun" for the public? If so, then should the games be regarded and evaluated as sheer entertainment — like movies, TV shows, concerts?

If so, then why not enhance the entertainment value by changing the rules? Introduce a 4-point line, a 5-point line. Put bonus circles on the court so that any shot made with a shooter's foot in the circle could count as seven points. Or have a wheel-of-fortune set up wherein a randomly chosen fan could spin the wheel to determine exactly what that bonus might be. Perhaps the opponents would be forced to play a man short for two minutes. Or whatever.

The truth of the matter is that NBA action is all about competition, and that in itself should provide all the "fun" that a sports fan requires. Most casual fans, however, are reluctant to do more than casually observe the games. But they're cheating both themselves and the game itself.

The solution to this dilemma is in educating the fans. Instead of highlighting the most spectacular dunks, passes, blocked shots, and so on, the media should make a concerted effort to show that there are other less obvious areas of the game that are enjoyable to behold.

Working harder to more fully understand the unfolding of a basketball game is a difficult undertaking, to be sure, but the rewards are incredibly satisfying — and much more fun than watching endless scoring marathons.

As is the case for so much of the unhappiness that besets our modern world, education is the true key to having more fun.

Travels with Charley — Part 2 of 3

For Part 1, please click here.

Shortly after their coach arrived in town, most CBA teams conducted a free-agent tryout camp. Anybody was eligible to sign up if they could afford the approximate $150 entry fee, the motel accommodations (at a reduced rate arranged by the host team), the meals, and the transportation costs (some players traveled thousands of miles).

After quickly observing layup lines, the coach and whatever assistants he had would then divide the players into teams — four, six, or even eight depending on the enrollment. The double-sessions on Day One would consist of scrimmages — usually 20 minutes running time.

Cuts would be made after the second session. I don't know what other coaches did, but I made sure to meet with every guy who had to be sent home and communicate what I thought were the aspects of his game that needed the most work.

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Another scrimmage was conducted early the following morning. In the evening, a much-ballyhooed scrimmage was held among the survivors.

The camps generated loads of publicity in the local media, especially if a home-town high school or collegiate hero was among the hopefuls.

As far as I know, only two tryout players ever advanced to training camp, the same two eventually making a regular-season squad. Penny Elliot with the Albany Patroons, and Darrin Sanderlin with the Savannah Spirits.

For me, these tryout camps were held for two reasons: For the pub, and to make some extra money. So I always felt that there was something fraudulent about them.

Two-a-days were also the rule for training camp — and after literally hundreds of phone calls, a roster of 20 players was the norm. In the morning (optimally 11:00), I'd conduct drills in some basic skills, and then introduce my offensive and defensive game plans. We'd also spend about 20 minutes on a controlled half-court scrimmage — meaning that I'd stop the action to make corrections.

For the evening session (ideally around 6:00), we'd review the morning's lessons, and then have a lengthy scrimmage.

Just to make sure everybody got a chance to show what they could do, I never made any cuts until at least four full days had been completed. Not even in the case of a certain 7-footer who was in such poor shape that he threw up at least 2-3 times every session.

Before, in-between and after every practice,coaches would call each other to check on the progress of specific players. Sometimes a guy who didn't fit into my system would be a perfect fit for another coach — so we'd arrange trades to keep that player off the waiver list and ensure that he'd wind up in the right place. A No. 9 draft pick was usually the minimal price to be paid for this procedure.

Agents would also have to be contacted for updates on overseas traffic, both coming and going. And NBA teams — usually assistant coaches — would have to be asked about probable cuts.

Unless they spent the summer yelling at their kids, their wife or their pets, virtually every CBA coach in creation would get at least some throat soreness as training camp progressed. By the end of camp, some of us would be reduced to using a megaphone.

Also, standing around is tougher on a coach's hips, back, knees and feet than running is for basketball players. That's why between-practice naps were essential.

Getting down to 10 players was always difficult in that two excellent players would have to be cut. That's when the telephone traffic among CBA coaches would get the most intense — finding homes for good guys who just fell short of what you needed, and/or trying to get something for nothing.

Camp would last 14 days, and even teams that were within a couple of hours drive would usually avoid playing exhibition games. Why? Because playing one of these would cost a morning practice session. Because injuries were also a bigger danger. Because the owners always balked at springing for travel and per diem costs. And because neither coach was eager to reveal his strategies.

Hopefully, about 75 percent of a coach's playbook could be installed in time for the opening of the season. The rest would have to be added during the rare in-season practices.

The whole deal constituted an enormous expenditure in energy, time and money. But here's the kicker: As we shall see in Part 3, a coach considered himself fortunate to have a single player survive from training camp to the end of the season.


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 3, 2009

 

 
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