David Blatt and other coaching abominations

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers-Press Conference

Everybody, David Blatt is submitting a historically awful coaching season.

I’ll break it down:

  1. He was gifted the best player in the league who is either in his prime or very close. That player is also A. very unselfish, B. an extremely gifted defender and C. extremely coachable.
  2. Included under the Cavs preseason Christmas tree was the ultimate stretch four, who is a rebounding machine and a talented passer. Kevin Love is not that bad of a defender either.
  3. A talented point guard who can get into the lane whenever he wants.

Now the Cavs are certainly flawed:

  • Their bench is terrible.
  • Anderson Varajao is already (predictably) out for the season.
  • Dion Waiters was (predictably) a head-case, chemistry killer.

All of that said, the Thunder are 18-19. As you remember, they started the season without Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and they play in the West, which is a million times better than the East. Their bench and overall depth are also terrible. The Cavs are 19-18 and their top three guys have been (mostly) healthy all year. What? How?

David Blatt is getting destroyed by Scott Brooks!

I admit that I fell into the same trap as everybody else. “I like that Blatt won all those games in Europe. I like that he’s bringing a different pedigree to the NBA.” Now that resume from Russia and Israel looks a lot less impressive. Like a gunfighter from Sweden.

I think I would have fired Blatt already. The whole, “well the 2011 Heat got off to a slow start” argument has worn off right? Everyone expected this team to be an offensive juggernaut. Maybe that was an unfair but this team should not be the fifth best team in the East.

This got me thinking of other historically awful coaching performances:

Sean Payton, 2014 Saints

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All they had to do was go 8-8 and they win the worst division in modern NFL history. And they couldn’t do it, with Drew Brees, Mark Ingram, Jimmy Graham and three talented receivers. Sure, their defense was not good, but solid was all they needed. At the end of the season, they lost got crushed by the Panthers and beat handily by the Falcons at home. In the words of Will Ferrell, what the Hell happened! Is the Super Dome haunted?

Mark Richt, 2008 Georgia Bulldogs

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This team had Matthew Stafford, AJ Green, Knowshon Moreno, Mohamed Massaquoi (I know but on a college team with AJ Green?), Justin Houston (admittedly a freshman) and Geno Atkins. That team lost three games. Three.

Bob Stoops, 2008 Oklahoma Sooners

Bob Stoops

This team had Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham, DeMarco Murray, Trent Williams and Gerald McCoy. They made it to the National Title Game, I’ll give them credit for that, but they got beat pretty bad by Florida, 24-14 (a more lopsided game than the score would indicate). But this spot is more of a life-time underachievement award for Stoops. I believe people ripped on the Big 12 in part because loaded Oklahoma teams kept coughing up big bowl games. The 2006 team, with Adrian Peterson as a junior, had a lot of those same players (notably as freshmen) and lost three games — notably the famous Fiesta Bowl to Boise State.

Dusty Baker, 2001 San Francisco Giants

Dusty Baker

Another life-time underachievement position because Baker also disappointed with very good Cubs and Reds teams. In 2002, people praised Baker for getting the Giants to the World Series. In retrospect, they should not have lost to the Angels. Oh my God, Barry Bonds hit .370 that season with 46 home runs, 100 runs and RBI each, had a staggering 198 walks for a .582 on base percentage and 1.381 ops. But that team wasn’t all Bonds all the time. They had Jeff Kent who hit .313, Benito Santiago (who had a decent offensive season), and Reggie Sanders (who wasn’t great but was a very solid player). They’re pitching staff had a top three of Russ Ortiz, Jason Schmidt and Livian Hernandez. Go back and look at the Angels roster.

But they lost to the Angels in seven games. What is inexplicable is the year before when they did not make the playoffs (2001 when Bonds hit 73 home runs).

Bobby Cox, any year in the ’90s that wasn’t 1995

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Now that It’s official a certain fact needs to be shouted from the rooftops. THE BRAVES TOP THREE PITCHERS WERE ALL HALL OF FAMERS. Um, that hasn’t really happened before. If this the rest of the Braves team was a bunch of castoffs and journeymen or if they could only keep Maddux, Smoltz and Glavin together for a couple years, I would give Bobby Cox a break. People give Cox a break because they won one World Championship, but give any other strong manager of the era that team and he would win at least two. In particular, the losses to the 1993 Phillies and 1997 Marlins seem particularly egregious in retrospect.

Bill Self, 2014 Kansas Jayhawks

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Bill Self had the best two players in college basketball — Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid — and they lost in the second round of the tournament to Stanford. In case you’re checking, Stanford had zero NBA players that year. The game was also in St. Louis, which I’m sorry to say is a partisan Kansas crowd. I don’t care that Embiid was hurt. Self still had the best five players in the game. Every year that goes by the 2008 National title win looks flukier and flukier. (Also, screw Kansas.)

John Calipari, 2010, 2011 and 2013 Kentucky Wildcats

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There’s been a significant amount of revisionist history foisted on the public these days about John Calipari. Pundits have been praising Calipari for his X’s and O’s work, in game coaching and that his teams play hard. They even give him credit for convincing players to sacrifice minutes. I believe this talk is inspired by the fact that the 2014 Wildcats might go undefeated and thus become the greatest college basketball team of all time. The coach of that team has to be an all-time great right? All of those people need to chill out because Kentucky should have won five titles in a row. Were Coach K, Billy Donovan, Rick Pitino or Brad Stevens had been given this much talent, he would have won at least twice by now. I believe Calipari is the best recruiter of all time but he also has a prodigious history of leaving flaming bags of poop at two different programs in the form of NCAA sanctions as he walked out the door to a better job.

Mike Brown/Mike D’Antoni, 2012 Lakers

Mike-Brown

If you think I’m being unfair to one coach or the other, Brown could easily make this list for his job manning the Cavs during the first LeBron era and D’Antoni did a horrible job with the Knicks. However, this season went so poorly that the emotional stress convinced Dwight Howard to flee the sinking Lake Show ship like it was on fire. The raging dumpster fire that is the 2014 Lakers owes its inception to these two guys.

Scott Brooks, Thunder 2011 to Present

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It’s not Scott Brooks fault that the Thunder traded James Harden. It’s a move that looks more perplexing every day, especially when Harden should win the MVP for the Rockets. Still, he’s had three of the top 25 players in the league, including two in the top 10 the past five years and has no hardware to show for it. The Spurs have made the finals twice in this span and the Thunder happen to be the worst match up for the Duncanettes.

Thoughts on Mizzou’s Victory Yesterday

NCAA Football: Missouri at Toledo

Encouraging:

1. We beat a ranked SEC team on the road. So far, in our short history in the SEC, we’ve done that once and it was an over-confidant, injury-riddled Georgia team last year.

2. It was really nice to have a heartbreaking loss go the other way for once. South Carolina’s defense was dominant the whole way and it took was two drives for us to take the lead. It was good revenge considering how the Gamecocks beat us in Como last year. On second thought, not quite on the same scale. That game was in overtime. Mizzou had a 17-0 lead going into overtime … alright that’s enough no need to relive it further.

3. The Mizzou defense looked great. I would go as far as to say Mizzou outplayed SC on d, considering how much more often the Tigers were on the field. It’s really difficult to block Makcus Golden and Shane Ray on the same play and we really missed Golden last week against Indiana. Our linebackers — Kentrell Brothers and Michael Scherer in particular — were very good, wrapped up runners very quickly. Even the somewhat maligned secondary played excellent with the exception of a few wide open receivers.

4. I hope Indiana upsets someone in the Big 10. They play Michigan State for homecoming Oct. 18 (fingers crossed). Still, Mizzou’s inability to stop the run last week was in part because Indiana’s quarterback was a good runner (not many of those on the east side of the SEC) and that they ran a very good blocking scheme.

5. It sounds like both Jimmie Hunt and Darius White should be back for the Oct. 11 game against Georgia. I think they are both better receivers than Bud Sasser and their return would have to help the offense.

6. If Mizzou can beat Georgia (a big if), the Tigers will be in the driver’s seat in the SEC east.

7. By the transitive property, Mizzou should be able to beat Georgia in Como considering the Bulldogs lost at Columbia, SC.

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Discouraging:

1. So the Tigers did a great job stopping the run yesterday, but what are they going to do against Todd Gurley, who is really in a league of his own as far as a Heisman candidate. Our salvation might be how boring Georgia is running the ball; the Bulldogs use very little misdirection. We’d be lucky to hold Gurley to 100 yards rushing.

2. Maty Mauk’s stench kind of threw off the fact that Dylan Thompson was pretty terrible yesterday. Can we expect Hutson Mason to be equally awful? Georgia’s receivers will be better than South Carolina’s. I think it’s fair to say, even though they were ranked, that South Carolina is worse than anybody expected.

3. Wow was the offense bad yesterday. I think you can point to Mauk for a lot of the struggles; I think his completion percentage was like 20 percent (it was actually 35 percent). He needs to stay in the pocket longer. Most of the time we had decent pass protection that Mauk ran out of. Mizzou started to click when South Carolina stopped blitzing (I have no idea why they did that and I doubt Georgia’s D coordinator would make that type of mistake). I do think play calling was a factor as well. It took us way too long to figure out we need to attack with long passes.

4. With two of our receivers hurt, why did we not try to throw to our running backs more? I think we need more formations where Marcus Murphy and Russell Hansbrough (at one point yesterday Brad Nessler called him Tyler) are in the game at the same time. In general, we need to get Hansbrough the ball more. His three touchdowns were not an aberration — he was a beast all game.

5. Man does that loss to Indiana look bad now, especially because the Hoosiers got clowned by Maryland yesterday, 37-15.