Most of us are just worried about seeing NBA basketball again this season.
Jeff Van Gundy is worried about the quality of basketball we’ll see when (if) the season starts up.
Former coach and current ABC analyst Van Gundy said the league needs to make sure there is adequate time for training camps and hopes they do not to cram too many games in close together. Do that and the quality of basketball will suffer. He spoke to the New York Post about it.
“The fans deserve what they’re accustomed to seeing — the best basketball in the world even if it costs the players and owners money,’’ Van Gundy said. “I’m hopeful the league learned from 1999 and doesn’t rush it and realize one more week of patience, one more week of camp would be beneficial to the fans. I’m hoping the league doesn’t rush teams into action. We have history to show some people reported in horrible shape.’’
“Reduced training camp, few practice days, basketball was very poor for much of the regular season,’’ Van Gundy said. “Once the playoffs began, it was more a normal schedule and a good product. But the regular season, fans paid top dollar for a very poor product.’’
Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated took the words right out of my mouth on this one — Van Gundy is fighting the good fight, but is going to lose this battle.
It’s about money, just like the lockout. The more regular season games the more gate receipts for owners and the less television money they have to give back. So they are going to cram games in like people on a train in India. The game be damned. But then, this was never about the game, was it?
There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.
The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.
Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via CSNBayArea.com.
– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”
Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.
If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.
They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.
All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.