20 Second Timeout is the place to find the best analysis and commentary about the NBA.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Brad Daugherty: "DVD Extras"

Just like a DVD contains extra features, sometimes I like to share with 20 Second Timeout readers some material that did not make it to the "big screen" version of one of my articles; here are some Brad Daugherty facts and quotes that I was not able to include in my HoopsHype.com piece about him:

The University of North Carolina--and the aura of legendary Coach Dean Smith--made an immediate impression on Daugherty, a 16 year old freshman: "I think that the biggest thing that I remember is just trying to take it all in," Daugherty says. "It was such a big venue, every time that we stepped on to the floor, whether it was the first practice or the coaches’ clinic—I remember that from my freshman year. There were 200 coaches sitting in the stands and I was just blown away—all these coaches came to watch Coach Smith teach. We had great players, so I tried to learn and absorb as much as I possibly could. I spent a lot of time with Sam Perkins and some of the older players."

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Daugherty, who shot 65% from the field as a Tar Heel senior, could not name a collegiate player who he had difficulty scoring against or who was difficult for him to guard. Ironically, the player who he had the most trouble guarding in the NBA was one of those older teammates who showed him the ropes at Chapel Hill: Sam Perkins. "Sam was really difficult to guard because of his ability to shoot the three. When he played with Seattle he played center a lot and I’d have to guard Sam. It was really, really difficult just because he’d bring me so far out from the basket in their offense and I just did not want to be (that far from the hoop). I was a pretty good defensive rebounder and I loved to control that end of the floor. Boy, when I had to go out and guard him it took me way out of my comfort zone. It made it hard for me to get back and rebound the ball and if I didn’t come out far enough on him, he could shoot. Sam could really stroke it. I always say that he was the toughest guy for me to guard. The guy I had the most trouble scoring on was Mark Eaton because Mark was 7-4 and 330 or 340 pounds—he was a huge guy--and he was just mobile enough and he was left handed. I loved to turn and shoot hook shots and even when Manute Bol, who was 7-8 or whatever, guarded me, I could score pretty easily because he was right handed and I loved to shoot hook shots. If you can shoot jump hooks or hook shots, which no one does today, a right handed guy—I don’t care if he is 8 feet tall—is going to have an extremely difficult time getting to you."

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Daugherty has some pointed criticism of the way that the NBA game is played today: "The college game is more about the ten guys on the basketball team. The ability to win a basketball game is stretched throughout your roster of ten and it starts at practice where those guys who might not be starters or getting a lot of minutes do a job helping to prepare the guys who are going to play significant minutes. They help prepare those guys and they do that as one. Then you go and play the game and you’re pulling together as a unified team trying to win. Everybody is doing their job trying to win. Pro basketball is more of an individual game. Even though you have 10 guys on the floor—the two different teams—everyone is playing one on one basketball when they get the basketball. In college basketball you have a set offense that yields an end result but in pro basketball you have one or two guys who are the main scorers on their team and when one of those guys touches the basketball it’s going up at one point or another. It’s more of an individualized game and as an individual you are looked at to do more on a nightly basis. There are guys who score 20-25 ppg and get 8-9 rpg and they are on teams who haven’t won a playoff game but they are considered to be superstars. In the college game, that is not the way it is—you win or lose as a team. In the pro game, you win or lose as an individual. I think that has made the pro game less attractive to a lot of people over the years.”

I asked Daugherty if this difference between the college and pro games is something new. He replied, "I think that the game has been that way for years, I will say that, but I think that (in the past) when the (pro) game was more individualized you had guys who were fundamentally tremendous basketball players who shined: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and, before them, Dr. J (Julius Erving)--guys who were tremendous basketball players. Now you have guys who are tremendous athletes who may not be as fundamentally sound. Those guys—Michael, Magic and the others—were also great leaders. They led their teams. Now you have guys who are tremendous athletes but they might not be very good leaders. I see all the time that they talk about guys and say, ‘We need to get someone else to play with this guy so that he has a chance to win.’ Well, that’s ridiculous. If a guy is a superstar then he needs to lead his team to the best of his ability and make his teammates better. That’s the way I look at it. I think that there is a vast void because of this."

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Racing is a bond that connected Daugherty with his Cleveland teammate Larry Nance during their playing careers. "Larry’s a drag racer. He loves drag racing. I’m a pretty big drag racing fan as well. We went to a lot of events. Larry had a pro stock dragster for a while and has run a lot of events. We spent a lot of time at Norwalk Raceway (west of Cleveland) testing cars and goofing around. Larry’s got a tremendous passion for drag racing and it is his dream to someday compete fulltime at the NHRA/IHRA levels. I hope that he can do that."

Their other teammates did not share their enthusiasm for racing: "They all thought that we were ding dongs. Most guys, they have no clue as to what is going on in the world of racing. They think it’s all just a hayseed sport. That is where I applaud NASCAR, because they are making a tremendous leap to broaden their horizons. They’re working on diversity initiatives that have to get better but they’re working on those types of things. My teammates, most of them had no clue about racing. They didn’t understand it and most of them didn’t want to understand it. There were a couple guys around the league who were into cars somewhat and those guys would always stop Larry and me and talk to us. Tom Hammonds, who played for the Denver Nuggets, ended up driving a pro stock dragster for a little while and he actually won a race, I do believe, maybe four or five years ago. There was a sprinkling of guys who were either car buffs or race fans who knew that Larry and I love it and we would always have conversations."

Daugherty's first racing love is NASCAR but he also follows other motor sports: "Man, I love speed. I love anything that’s a hot rod. I watch the Dakar Rally, I watch the supercross series, I’ll watch a sprint race, I’ll watch a drag race, I’ll watch when they race transfer trucks. I just love speed, I love cars but I’m a huge NASCAR fan because I understand the sport a little bit and I’ve been in the sport and I’ve been up close to the sport. So I really, really enjoy NASCAR."

Some non-NASCAR drivers he has enjoyed watching over the years include Warren Johnson (Pro Stock), James "Bubba" Stewart (motocross) and Kenny Irwin, Sr. (Sprint Cars). Daugherty adds, "I’ve watched a lot of Formula One racing. I’ve followed Michael and Ralf Schumacher’s careers. I’m a big F1 guy. I like Indy Car racing. I watched Ayrton Senna back in the day. Michael Schumacher has been remarkable in what he’s accomplished throughout his career—just tremendously talented. We’ve got Juan Montoya, who’s coming to the NASCAR ranks and it’s going to be interesting to watch him participate. I’ve watched a lot of series, which would probably surprise a lot of people."

posted by David Friedman @ 4:09 AM

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