Um, Yeah, Coach Brown, We're Talkin' About Practice
by Joe Tone
on Mon, Dec 10, 2007 at 5:18 PM
NBA players get paid a truckload of money to be good at what they do – namely, putting the ball into the hoop. NBA coaches also get paid a truckload of money to be good at what they do – namely, making sure the players know what the hell they’re doing. And any 7th grade CYO coach will tell you that one of the most fundamental things in accomplishing these goals is to practice. Run scrimmages, run laps, get into the routine of things, etc.
But according to a Mary Schmidt Boyer story in today’s Plain Dealer, the Cavs practice less than Allen Iverson (see above). Here's her actual description:
“Coach Mike Brown was shocked when he realized that before Friday's session, his team's last contact practice came on Nov. 23. No offense, coach, but it shows. If the Cavs sometimes look as if they've never played together, the fact of the matter is that they haven't. Through an unusual confluence of events, they have a couple of veterans playing with young players such as Daniel Gibson, newcomers such as Devin Brown and guys who haven't played much, like Shannon Brown and Dwayne Jones. Throw in Sasha Pavlovic, who missed training camp, and Larry Hughes, who has been out a month with a leg injury, and it's a recipe for the season-high 27 turnovers that doomed the Cavs at Charlotte.”
That’s 13 days between practices, two weeks during which LeBron got injured and the Cavs had to learn how to play without him. Wouldn’t “unusual confluences of events” merit a little meet-and-greet between players?
What’s worse than the Cavs' lack of practice is the is the fact that Brown apparently didn’t realize the team hadn’t practiced. He was "shocked" to learn of this trend. Even with road trips, travel, and a rough schedule, it seems like there had to be at least a couple of days when Coach could pencil in a practice for guys who were probably looking at each other and floor and thinking, “Who the hell are you?”
The lack of real practice left a squad whose whole game plan centers around one player to learn to play without that one player in the middle of real, live games. Yes, those would be the games when they were getting waxed left and right by the dregs of the league. -- Vince Grzegorek