Steve Clifford Tells The Media What Every Coach Has Ever Wanted To… You Don’t Know Shit

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How often do you think coaches want to say this to the media? These guys spend every second of their 18-hour workday taking notes in front of a screen or instructing on the court. And on the rare occasion they go home to see their wife and kids or go to California in the middle of training camp to sleep with their ex-teammate’s ex-girlfriend, they’re still day-dreaming schemes and portioning minute distribution. Basketball is their life. They eat, sleep, and breathe it.


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I’m not usually the guy to defend coaches. I get the pressure they deal with, and the difficulty of managing egos, and the weird dynamic of attempting to boss around guys half your age who make ten times your salary, and all of the struggles a coach might deal with at the professional level. But at the end of the day, there’s always a job for them. Show me an NBA coach who was fired recently and I can almost guarantee they’re an assistant with another team. Coaching is a fraternity in the NBA. So for all the shit they may take, they’ll always have a job waiting for them.

But in this scenario, I have to give credit to Clif.

How often do you think coaches want to say this to the media? Every week? Every day? Every hour? Every minute? These guys spend every second of their 18-hour workday taking notes in front of a screen or instructing on the court. And on the rare occasion they go home to see their wife and kids or go to California in the middle of training camp to sleep with their ex-teammate’s ex-girlfriend, they’re still day-dreaming schemes and portioning minute distribution. Basketball is their life. They eat, sleep, and breathe it.

For them, it probably sucks to deal with the media. Not necessarily because of the time commitment, but because of the threat they pose.

One “journalist”, who might spend 75% of the game looking at Twitter, can shape public option on a coach in the blink of an eye. Reporter X, who has a minimal understanding of the Hornets defensive scheme but a large following in Charlotte, can write one “Steve Clifford Fails to Make Adjustment, Costs Charlotte The Series” column and shift public sentiment against Clifford. Sure, that’s (likely) not going to jeopardize Clifford’s job. The majority of front offices won’t factor in the opinion of a bunch of Twitter eggs and angry email-writing fans. But one column about Clifford’s adjustments can turn into fifteen questions that he has to deal with tomorrow… and fifteen more columns the day after that… and so on and so on. All because Reporter X didn’t understand the difference between 91 points and 107 points per possession.

It’s not to say there aren’t smart basketball writers out there. There are hundreds of them. There are guys and girls out there who understand the game as well as anyone, or who can at least articulate their understanding at a high level. But for the few half assed reporters asking half assed questions under their own half-assed premises, I can totally understand why guys like Steve Clifford need to snap and tell these guys just how little they actually know. And there isn’t a half-assed reporter out there who can’t at least appreciate how calmly and tactfully Clifford just tore them down.

Good job on you Cliff. You’re probably about to get swept, but it’s been a hell of a year.



P.S.   I totally understand the hypocrisy of me writing this after how much I’ve killed Rambis and Phil the last few months on this site. I don’t care. The utter ridiculousness of running the Triangle with a basketball unicorn like Kristaps is something even the least knowledgable basketball fan can see. Besides, that’s not about understanding scheme. It is about one thing and one thing only, and that’s Phil’s ego. Goddammit I hate that motherfucker.


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