Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm No Expert...

I have never in my history as a blogger felt brave enough to blog about basketball. To be honest, I don't know enough about basketball to even pretend to talk about it with any sort of knowledge. I don't know who all the players are on all of the teams in the NBA. I don't know who all of the coaches are and how long they've coached with what teams. I am COMPLETELY out of my element when it comes to basketball jargon. However, history has been made today, friends. This is my first post about basketball. I'm feeling brave.

I LOVE the Dallas Mavericks. I enjoy watching pro basketball for whatever reason-- it's exciting and frankly, a beautiful sport to watch. I don't care about the politics of it all, or the fact that the players are overpaid or whatever. I am just a fan of my hometown team.

So. I would like to publicly say today, that I do not agree with the Mavs' (read: Mark Freaking Cuban) decision to fire Coach Avery Johnson today. I am mourning this great loss for our team. I remember growing up in Texas, knowing even then when I hated basketball, that the Dallas Mavericks were one of the most pathetic teams in the league. They were awful. A joke. But enter Avery Johnson. He was only with the Mavs for four years. And in those four years, I believe he accomplished a lot. Here are a few stats for you:

- In his first full season as head coach, the Mavs posted 60 wins, and their first appearance in the NBA Finals. He became the fastest coach to reach 50 wins (in just 62 games), coached the Western Conference All-Star team and was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year.

- The following season, Johnson led Dallas to a franchise-record 67 wins, the NBA’s best record.

- This past season, Johnson became the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 150 wins with a victory over Memphis on November 17, 2007. He accomplished that feat in just 191 games.

- During his tenure, Johnson posted a record of 194-70 (.735) during the regular season. He led the Mavs to the playoffs four consecutive years.

Sure, the fact that we were NOT the 2006 NBA Champions can't be ignored. But we got to the finals, didn't we? And of course there was the embarrassing first-round exit from the Playoffs last season (#1 seed knocked out by a #8 seed). People say we were outcoached. Maybe we were-- but it did happen to be by Don Nelson, the former Mavs' coach, who Avery Johnson coached under. Don Nelson groomed Avery Johnson and named him as his replacement. So... Don Nelson probably knew a little bit about the Mavs ballclub. And then there was THIS round of playoffs-- another first-round exit. But I don't think this was all Avery's fault. And c'mon, our team just went through some pretty significant roster changes towards the end of this season. No one can expect perfect team chemistry right way. Right?

Anyway, like I said. I don't really know enough about basketball to even be talking about this right now.

But I just wanted to say that I will miss Coach Johnson. He was a stand-up kind of guy. A nice guy. A guy who cared a lot about his players and really did all he could to build a strong bond and friendship with them-- and encouraged them to play the game and live their lives with integrity. And above that, I think he is a good coach.

Farewell, AJ. You will be missed.

* Statistics gathered from NBA.com

5 comments:

Jeremiah said...

great post, good points on your evidence...you're a devoted fan sista.

ps - LOVE the new blog header.

Scott & Carissa Martin said...

I'm guilty of something.
I saw this post was about basketball... and I didn't read it.
I love you though.

Ingram Gang said...

I am pretty bummed too. Frustrated actually. Come one Mark!
I hope next season we won't have to say 'I told ya so!'

jason said...

I think Cuban / Mavs are going to regret this one more than they regret trading Devin Harris for a broken-down JKidd. The biggest knock on Avery was that he was a micro-manager, and that he didn't trust his point guard to run the team (the reason for the JKidd trade), but AJ instilled a sense of discipline and defense into the Mavericks that was sorely lacking before he came. Remember, the Mavs were run and gun before it was cool to be run and gun.

At the end of the day, it is interesting that AJ maybe got fired for the very thing he got brought in to do - bring passion,discipline and defense to the Mavs. The real mistake was getting less athletic and losing a key bench component (Diop) for gaudier numbers, but less effectiveness.

The Mavs were scarred by dropping a 2-0 lead to the Heat two years ago - when the refs decided no one could look at D-Wade without calling a foul. That's an entirely different topic though.

Sorry if this is a tome - not many blogs on the NBA, so I've got to get it all out on this one!

Come on over to the Jazz bandwagon. They will need all the help they can get against Kobe and the Lakers.

Kandice said...

hey. you know i can't read this because i hate basketball, even if i go to mavs games on a regular basis... it's the squeaking of the shoes. it makes me crazy... sorry... oh yeah, and apparently even though i hate basketball i have a date with dirk later? is that the deal? :) ha. let me know. maybe i need to get that number from you later.