May 26, 2005
Here's part of ESPN.com's scouting report on Graham:
Negatives: His rebounding and shot-blocking need work. So does the jumper. He still needs to show the ability to do more off the dribble, and some scouts have questions about his work ethic. Has the tendency to disappear in games.
Great, he'll fit right in.
YEAR TEAM W L WIN%
1994 POR 44 38 .537
1995 POR 44 38 .537
1996 POR 49 33 .598
1997 GSW 19 63 .232
1998 GSW 21 29 .420
1999 GSW 6 21 .222
6-YEAR TOTALS 183 222 .452
Carlesimo didn't do much with a solid Portland team, winning 44, 44, and 49 games and going just 3-9 in the playoffs. Perhaps most importantly, the Blazers were very good before he got there and very good after he left. Then he moved on to Golden State and completely tanked, and also got choked by Latrell Sprewell (which I don't necessarily hold against him).
I am not a big fan of giving jobs to coaching retreads. If you look at the coaches who have been successful in the NBA over the past couple years, guys like Gregg Popovich, Nate McMillan, Stan Van Gundy, and Mike D'Antoni had little or no head-coaching experience when they were handed their jobs. And guys like Jeff Van Gundy, Scott Skiles, Jerry Sloan, and Rick Carlisle had just one job before their current one.
The notable exceptions are guys like Larry Brown and George Karl, but Carlesimo can't possibly be compared to them. If I were the Wolves, I would be looking for the next great head coach, not the next mediocre head coach who has already proven what he can and can't do with several other teams. Either that or you try to convince Brown that his next stop should be Minnesota.
Because of that, and the fact that his actual tournament playing record is pretty amazing (he won back-to-back World Series of Poker Main Events in 1980 and 1981, and then won again in 1997), I'm looking forward to reading One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey 'The Kid' Ungar, the World's Greatest Poker Player more than I have any book since I heard Michael Lewis was coming out with something about Billy Beane and the Oakland A's a few years back.
I want to know more about these guys -- how they think, how they act, how they play, how they came to play poker for a living. I want to know why Gus Hansen is so successful in tournaments despite people calling his style reckless and his results lucky. I want to know what Negreanu does that makes him such a force in tournaments. I want to know exactly why Phil Ivey is considered by almost everyone to be the best player in the world right now, and I want the answer to go beyond stuff like "he's fearless at the table" and "he doesn't make any mistakes" that you hear every time the question is posed.
To think of it in baseball terms (since I think of everything in baseball terms), we know guys like Hansen, Negreanu, and Ivey are .300 hitters, but we don't know what sort of specific skills they bring to the table. Do they walk a lot? Do they control the strike zone? Do they steal bases efficiently? Do they have a lot of power? Are they great defensively at key positions? Whatever the poker equivalent of that information is, I want it. I'm hoping the book on Unger goes into those things, because that's what I'm hungry to read about.
Today at The Hardball Times:
- Dumb And Dumber (by John Brattain)
Today's Picks (37-31, +$675):
San Diego (Lawrence) -105 over San Francisco (Hennessey)
Chicago (McCarthy) +125 over Texas (Young)
Boston (Clement) +120 over New York (Pavano)