NBA

Straight shooting: Rambis could face big trouble

Share This Story

Charley Rosen

Charley Rosen is FOXSports.com's NBA analyst and author of 17 sports books, the current ones being Bullpen Diaries: Mariano Rivera, Bronx Dreams, Pinstripe Legends, and the Future of the New York Yankees and Crazy Basketball: A Life In and Out of Bounds.

MORE>>
 
   
 
Several extremely well-qualified NBA assistant and ex-head coaches didn't even apply for the Minnesota job because they think the front office is loaded with know-nothings. Case in point, the insistence from the team's brain trust that they expect to have a losing record in the upcoming season. Losing is, in fact, OK. This admission, as true as it very well might be, is asking for trouble.
If losing is officially acceptable, then why should the players knock themselves out diving for loose balls and otherwise putting their well-being at risk in trying to win games? As soon as a ball game turns against them, what's to prevent several players from devoting their primary energy and focus to just getting theirs? For sure, the prognosis is a correct one — the T-Wolves are years away from being a solid team. And the main purpose behind the lose-lose statement is to take some pressure off of Kurt Rambis as well as to prepare the fan base for routine disappointments. But such dire predictions are better left unsaid. While Kurt Rambis is good people and I surely do hope that he does well with the T-Wolves, he will need to change his habitual game plan in order to gain his players' loyalty. There's no doubting his expertise in the coach's alphabet of Xs and Os, but in the past Rambis has demonstrated an overriding cynicism toward even the Lakers' players that — if uncorrected — could undermine his effectiveness in his new job. Whatever his public posture might have been, in private Rambis nearly always accentuated the negative aspects of players' performances. They don't work hard enough. They're too stat conscious. On this-or-that play they zigged instead of zagged. And so on. Perhaps working under Phil Jackson has softened Rambis' attitude and made him more accepting of players' flaws and more patient in general. If he indeed has reached a new level of relational maturity, then Rambis could turn out to be an excellent coach and leader.
It seems that Dwight Howard is really enjoying his superstar status — and rightfully so. He's making a movie, which, if it's anything like the flicks that Shaq starred in, should be nothing more than 100 minutes worth of silly juvenilia. Whatever. As part of his burgeoning celebrity lifestyle, however, Howard has also expressed the desire to have his own reality show. Here's a suggestion: The show should focus on Howard's learning how to make savvy passes when he's doubled, how to shoot a short-range jumper and how to make free throws. That's the kind of reality that the young man should be interested in.
Kelenna Azubuike recently came forth with what seemed to be a minor complaint about his coach, Don Nelson. Azubuike expressed his desire to play more, which was only natural. But he also said that when he did play Nellie would plug him into any of the five positions from point guard to center. None of the Warriors' players, Azubuike added, has any idea what Nellie will do from game to game. In truth, this is a serious problem. That's because it is absolutely imperative for at least the players in a team's regular rotation to know when and where they will be playing. While sitting on the bench and waiting to be summoned, they need to carefully watch the movements of whomever they'll be guarding. Also, knowing approximately when they'll be taking the floor allows the players to get ready — to stretch during a timeout or while a free throw is being taken, to sharpen his concentration.
Of course, every player, especially those at the end of the bench, has to maintain a constant, if minimal, degree of readiness in case of emergencies. But too many surprises for the guys in the rotation translate into too many unproductive minutes while they warm to the occasion. This is just one more reason why Nellie Ball — which many of his peers actually call "Junk Ball" — doesn't really work.
Here's hoping that Quentin Richardson hasn't sent out his laundry in the past several months. Or made too many non-returnable deposits on living quarters. At this point, he should be happy that there are still teams who value his services. But he should also be wondering if his expiring contract is worth more to his team-of-the-moment than his expiring game.
LeBron has again made a point of defending his post-Game 6 dissing of the Magic last spring by saying that he's "moving on," which is exactly what the athletic director at Louisville said in reference to Rick Pitino's recently revealed sex scandal. At least, however, Pitino did issue a mild mea culpa, which is more than LBJ did. "Moving on." Here's what that phrase really means: I am not willing to accept any personal responsibility for any criticisms that have been leveled at me for whatever past misdeeds I might have committed. I refuse to make any further comments about it/them, and as far as I'm concerned it/they never really happened. Any media that persists in raising what I consider to be a dead issue will be considered a non-person.
So there's Stephon Marbury eating a jar of Vaseline and then smoking a joint in public view. He insists that he's entitled to do these things — mostly getting high while being videoed — because he's a "grown man," and not under contract. In fact, Marbury is proving to be even more self-destructive than the NBA's resident nut-job — Ron Artest — ever was. How long, though, before Marbury calls a press conference to declare that he, too, is "moving on"?
Has Allen Iverson really come to the end of his NBA career? If so, it's about time that NBA decision-makers have realized that — because A.I. loathes practice, is a ball hog, takes too many bad shots, makes feckless gambles on defense, is reluctant to be part of a disciplined offense, insists on starting, and is perpetually on the verge of off-court trouble —- the guy's more trouble than he's worth. Too bad, because Iverson had the talent and the courage to be a truly elite player. Instead, he's become little more than a minimally appealing sideshow.
I am hereby proposing a new nickname for Nate Robinson. Peter Pan. That's because he can fly, and despite his dimunitive stature he can accomplish magical things. But mostly because he never wants to grow up.
Several bloggers have taken me to task for "stealing" the Artest-underwear story from ESPN.com's Bill Simmons. But nothing could be further from the truth. Here's what actually happened: Artest's bizarre behavior was first communicated to me several weeks ago by an NBA veteran turned radio sports host. But I refrained from reporting the incident until I could discover another verifying source, which I eventually did — an ex-NBA coach. Only then did I think it appropriate to print the anecdote. Moreover, I never, ever read Simmons.
Tagged: Lakers, Heat, Magic, Metta World Peace, Quentin Richardson, Stephon Marbury, Dwight Howard

More Stories From Charley Rosen


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..