Sunday, May 19, 2013

NBA Update

I said that I wouldn't watch the NBA playoffs until the Heat had lost three games in a series.  So far I haven't had to watch a thing.  Here were the scores of Miami's second-round series with Chicago:

Chicago 93, Miami 86
Miami 115, Chicago 78
Miami 104, Chicago 94
Miami 88, Chicago 65
Miami 94, Chicago 91

So the Heat went 8-1 through their first two series.  Here were the results of all four quarter-finals (higher-seeded team listed first):

Miami 4 - 1 Chicago
New York 2 - 4 Indiana
Oklahoma City 1 - 4 Memphis
San Antonio 4 - 2 Golden St.

This sets up the following semi-finals:

Miami v. Indiana
San Antonio v. Memphis

Two comments about the second round.  First, for all my complaints about Russell Westbrook, it is striking how quickly the Thunder fell apart without him.

Second, the Indiana Pacers are coached by a guy named Frank Vogel, who is 39 years old.  Vogel was a student manager under Rick Pitino at the University of Kentucky, and went with Pitino to the Celtics.  He then worked his way up through the NBA ranks before becoming a head coach two years ago.  Last year, he took the Pacers to the Eastern Conference semi-finals, and this year he has them in the Eastern Conference finals.  He is clearly a great coach, which is not surprising given his connection with Pitino.

Now here's the thing.  I'm pretty sure that Vogel could take almost any big-time college job and become a major star.  His experience in the NBA would really help with his recruiting, and he certainly knows how to do the X's and O's.  Within a few years of entering the college ranks, he would be nationally famous -- and then he could keep that job for 25 years, making a fortune and likely ending up in the Hall of Fame.  On the other hand, if he stays at Indiana, he will just be another one of those guys who gets knocked out of the playoffs year after year because his team never has enough talent to go all the way.  My guess he will stay in the NBA -- that's what most NBA guys do, even the ones like Larry Brown and P.J. Carlesimo who proved their ability to win in college basketball.  But to a college fan like myself, it seems like a big waste of coaching talent.


  1. I was at an Old Dominion women's basketball game in the middle 1990s when they had Ticha Penicheiro. They were clobbering someone--probably George Mason, because I was living in Falls Church at the time--and, anyway, there was this sequence where ODU got a turnover and then did several intricate passes through the opponent's retreating defense, leading to Penicheiro converting the kind of athletic layup that few of her peers could've done. Anyway, it felt like there was about 45 people in the gym watching this, and even most of the players and coaches seemed to be pretty much tuned out in the middle second half of a late blowout. But Penicheiro wasn't asleep, and neither was this one ODU assistant coach, Alisa Scott. Almost immediately once ODU got its turnovers, as the three-against-two-or-whatever, fast-break offense was developing, Alisa Scott stood up at the sideline with her clipboard. With each good decision and crisp pass that one of the players made, Alisa Scott called out a "Yes!" that you could hear throughout the quiet gym.




    And then Penicheiro got the ball at the end and did some sort of really cool fake and underhanded layup as her momentum carried her out of bounds, Alisa Scott erupted in an "Oh! God! Yes!" and threw down her clipboard on the court.

    That woman really, really likes basketball, I remember thinking to myself. I was so glad to see a few years later that Alisa Scott got into coaching in the WNBA. She was an assistant coach for the Houston Comets in several of their league-championship seasons, in fact.

    All of that is not to say that a coach needs to go to pro basketball if they really, really like the game. I just always find interesting those individuals who seem to find being around perfect execution of a good gameplan or trained skills to be so, so, so much better than anything else about their jobs. All coaches seem to like that aspect, but some of them seem to also like in near or greater quantities winning or helping young people achieve their goals or other aspects. Not some coaches. Some basketball coaches seem to just crave to be around perfect basketball execution.