Mourning, Payton and Walker are Reliving McAdoo's ExperiencesDuring Game One of the Finals, ABC commentators Mike Breen and Hubie Brown mentioned one of the most intriguing aspects of this series--both teams have players who are used to having much bigger roles than the ones that they currently have. Guys like Miami's Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton and Antoine Walker and Dallas' Jerry Stackhouse and Keith Van Horn have accepted reduced minutes and shot attempts in exchange for an opportunity to win a championship. In Thursday's USA Today, Skip Wood wrote an article about how Heat Assistant Coach Bob McAdoo has helped former All-Stars Mourning, Payton and Walker make this adjustment. McAdoo is uniquely qualified to counsel them about this because he went through a similar transition in his career--the three-time scoring champion and 1975 NBA MVP came off of the bench for two Pat Riley championship teams. I discussed this very subject with McAdoo earlier in the season. There is an interesting "chicken-and-egg" question here: Are these teams successful because they have so many former upper echelon players who accept smaller roles or would these players only agree to take such roles on a team that is a legitimate title contender? In other words, which comes first: does being a legitimate title contender create an environment that makes players more willing to sacrifice or does having players who are more willing to sacrifice create the conditions necessary to be a legitimate title contender?
posted by David Friedman @ 2:19 AM