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Friday, June 09, 2006

Mourning, Payton and Walker are Reliving McAdoo's Experiences

During 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

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5 Comments:

At Friday, June 09, 2006 8:31:00 AM, Blogger illest said...

Of course those players are willing to sacrifice because they want a ring.

You have to have the team contending so that players want to go there and sacrifice.

 
At Friday, June 09, 2006 9:54:00 AM, Blogger illest said...

I hate when players say we came in to win one of 2 so we are satified with the split. Why tell yourself at least we got one on the road?

Just something I noticed along with people saying in my opinion or to be honest.

 
At Friday, June 09, 2006 11:35:00 AM, Blogger Joe said...

I agree with illest.

Just ask Steve Smith and Kevin Willis and (especially) Glenn Robinson. The Spurs sure didn't need them.

 
At Friday, June 09, 2006 3:39:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Wanting a ring doesn't make sacrificing minutes/shot attempts easy. Reread what McAdoo said to me in my article about him: "“Who said I adjusted?" McAdoo asks. "I didn’t adjust. I mean, I never complained or anything, but I never adjusted. It was very hard for me mentally to do that for four years – really, for five years, because even when I went to Philly, they wanted to do the same thing and bring me off of the bench. It was something that I had to accept because it is a team game; it’s not like tennis or golf. I didn’t complain, I just dealt with it. That’s the only thing I can say – I dealt with it. I didn’t adjust to it.”"

Even if veteran players don't make a big statistical contribution to a team, their work ethic and practice habits can help build the team's chemistry. Plus, if a big name star accepts coming off of the bench and buys into the coach's game plans, then the other players will be more apt to do so as well. Sometimes that veteran player may play sparingly but make a key contribution when another player is injured or in foul trouble.

I agree with disliking the statement about winning one of two but I think that it is a defense mechanism. When you win one on the road the other team works very hard to make sure that you don't win both, so by saying that you accomplished your goal I suppose you soften the blow of losing the next game. The great thing about the elite teams is that they are greedy and never satisfied: if Jordan's Bulls one a road game they tried very hard to win the next one as well.

 
At Saturday, June 10, 2006 3:48:00 AM, Blogger illest said...

By McAdoo dealing with it he adjusted to it. He had no choice if he wanted that ring.

 

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