Nov. 14, 2016
NBA Coaches: Underachieving and Overachieving
Indiana Pacers 4-4
Recently, the Pacers barely skated past the Philadelphia 76ers. That one statement allow displays how difficult it is for this team to win right now. The Indiana Pacers simply aren’t meshing well. I’m willing to give them time but the Pacers are definitely on my list of early panic teams. They’re currently last in the NBA in points allowed and 27th in defensive rating. It’s clear where the issue lies. When you watch the Pacers play you can see them get lost on defense a lot. It’s really no communication. Players get beat on back door cuts, rotations are bad and simple things like close outs are done the wrong way.
Because of the talent level, I’d have to place the blame on Nate McMillan. As a coach, it’s definitely his job to bring this team together. He has to give the players something to buy into. I wonder if the Pacers are missing Frank Vogel at this point. The Pacers can still be the 2nd seed in the East. But if they keep playing this way, they could easily drop to 7th.
Jeff Hornacek AND Phil Jackson
New York Knicks 3-4
If this New York Knicks roster was put together 3 years ago, they would be contenders. Derrick Rose won MVP, Joakim Noah could actually move and Carmelo Anthony was still showing signs of life. Now, this team is far past its prime. Knicks fans thought having Phil Jackson be a part of the organization would save them. In reality he only made things worse. Giving away so much money to aging superstars was not the way to improve this team.
Part of the blame for this roster blunder is on Jackson but the coaching blame also goes to Jeff Hornacek. Jackson has to understand that the triangle offense is dead now. Not due to personal, but due to rule changes. The NBA now allows teams to play zone. Zone defense takes away a large majority of the triangle offense because it is run significantly in the midrange area. The Knicks could be successful with parts of the triangle offense, but that would take significant amounts of finesse from Hornacek. The Knicks fans bought into this illusion that their team was improving. But that dream won’t last for long.
Minnesota Timberwolves 2-5
Everyone, myself included, expect this Timberwolves squad to make a big leap this year. With Thibodeau running the show, and a lot of their young talent having some experience, we expected this team to be improving drastically. So far they’ve been disappointing. With early losses to the Brooklyn Nets and Denver Nuggets, the Timberwolves have to pull it together, and fast.
The Timberwolves have the young talent and athleticism to get out and run. But they’re only 20th in fast break points, which means they don’t the opportunity to run very often. Minnesota is ranked 20th in pace and 24th in defensive rating. The team not having the ability to close out defensive possessions truly affects their offensive game plan. A large amount of their points needs to come from fast break possessions instead of a bogged down offense. Coach Tom Thibodeau has time to figure things out in Minnesota. They gave him the reigns to the organization by making him head coach and general manager.