You Can Lead A Horse To Water But You Can’t Force It To Drink…….. Ah !

So the NBA season still in its infancy, and already it has had its first managerial casualty. Put your hands up if you thought that the New Orleans Hornets’ Byron Scott would’ve been that first casualty ? C’mon now, raise your hands I can’t see them ? Well, surprise, that’s definitely what has happened. Much to the surprise no doubt, to the Hornets’ fans and quite possibly the team’s All Star point guard Chris Paul. Now don’t get me wrong , I love Byron Scott and I believe him to be one of the better coaches in the NBA ! But how the hell can he not get the best out of this team which has a very good nucleus of players and if anything one the league’s elite players in Chris Paul ? Am I missing something here ?

Byron Scott,  the  now fired former  coach of the  Hornets.  GM ,  Jeff  Bower  who  has now  assumed  the  position  of  head coach  on  an  interim  basis.   And assistant  coach  ,  Tim  Floyd.   It's safe  to assume  that the  reins may  well be  handed  over  to Floyd   at some  time in the  future  given the  fact  Bower  has  no  experience  as a  coach of  any kind with   regard to the  NBA .   picture  appears  courtesy  of  nbae/  getty images / Richard  Tyson ..............
Byron Scott, the now fired former coach of the Hornets. GM , Jeff Bower who has now assumed the position of head coach on an interim basis. And assistant coach , Tim Floyd. It's safe to assume that the reins may well be handed over to Floyd at some time in the future given the fact Bower has no experience as a coach of any kind with regard to the NBA . picture appears courtesy of nbae/ getty images / Richard Tyson ..............

Now to make matters worse for the team, they will be without Chris Paul for anywhere up to two weeks. At 3-8 , having lost three straight games and with their last defeat being a rather lopsided loss to the Atlanta Hawks, 121-98. And with GM, Jeff Bower having assumed the reins, as coach of the team , on what is believed to be an interim basis. No one is quite sure what to make of the situation and what led to Scott’s abrupt firing and departure. Needless to say, that there’ll be a great deal of speculation as to what may well have went on, with regards to the action taken by Bower. Meanwhile,the task ahead for Bower and his assistants is to get the players, playing with a sense of urgency and more consistency. And that has obviously now been made a great deal harder with the loss of Paul, due to an injury. As he’s was viewed as the leader vocally , both on and off the field of play.

And things aren’t going to get any better for the Hornets in wake of what has transpired. In the Southwest Division of the Western Conference, they’ll have to deal with the likes of the Dallas Mavericks (6-3), Houston Rockets (5-4), San Antonio Spurs (4-4) and the ailing Memphis Grizzlies (2-8). Any respite that the team thought it might have , has been clouded in the aftermath of this internal upheaval. And with each of the teams in question having made significant changes to their player personnel. The thought that this might be the year for the Hornets to do something significant may well have to be reviewed.

Courtesy of NBA.com

Byron Scott relieved of coaching duties

Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower to serve as Head Coach

November 12, 2009

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have relieved Byron Scott of head coaching duties. Scott will be replaced by General Manager Jeff Bower.

“I want to thank Byron for the hard work he has put in during his time with the Hornets,” said Hornets Owner George Shinn. “I’ve hired Jeff Bower to take over the coaching reign. He knows this team better than anyone, has the respect of the players and in basketball circles, is regarded as one of the best basketball minds in the business. This is our best opportunity to reach our goals this season.”

Bower, who has spent his 14-plus seasons with the club, has been an invaluable asset for the Hornets at all levels in basketball operations. He began his tenure with the Hornets as an advance scout from 1995 to 1997 before earning a promotion as the team’s director of scouting. In addition to his scouting duties during the 1998-99 season, Bower joined the coaching ranks as an assistant after Paul Silas was named interim head coach on March 7, 1999 (and helped him lead the Hornets to a 22-13 record). After serving as the assistant general manager for the 2000-01 season, Bower was promoted to general manager in June of 2001 and has since held that position. He returned to the bench as an assistant coach under Floyd in 2003-04. Bower’s years of experience working at all levels in the Hornets’ basketball operations department culminated with his appointment to the current post of general manager just prior to the start of the team’s 2005-06 training
camp.

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Bower for his part, does have within his midst the experience of assistant coach,Tim Floyd,to fall back on. And with Floyd’s experience as a coach within the NBA , as well as at the collegiate level. It may augur well for the self installed novice coach. But that would of course be predicated upon Floyd being able to provide the much needed analysis and communicative presence to get his points across to Bower and the players alike. And based on what has transpired with Floyd on his previous foray into the NBA with the Chicago Bulls. I’ve a feeling that things might not go the way he or Bower might anticipate.

Certainly I’ve misplaced feelings about this all. As Byron Scott was the coach who brought along and nurtured the talents of Chris Paul. And it was also under his watch that David West also became an All Star in the NBA. All of a sudden, overnight, Byron Scott can’t have become the worse head coach in the NBA ? He’s had the privilege of leading the New Jersey Nets to consecutive Eastern Conference Championships and the on to consecutive NBA Finals, where upon, his teams would lose firstly to the Los Angeles Lakers, (2001-02) 4-0. And then the following season they would lose to the San Antonio Spurs, (2002-03) 4-2. On both occasions Byron Scott’s teams gave a spirited account of themselves. Albeit, that the sweep at the hands of the Lakers, came on the final leg of a hree-peat under the watchful eye of their coach, Phil Jackson .

And though this scenario may well seem far fetched. I’ve no doubt in my mind that Byron Scott will resume a coaching career in the NBA ! If the rumors are to be believed and that this could very well be Phil Jackson’s last years as a coach in the NBA . Then who better to assume the reins as his successor there in Los Angeles ?
Byron Scott as a former player with the team and a winner of multiple titles with them also. He’d essentially be the perfect fit for the team. The Lakers’ coaching staff as it is , it is bereft of someone with the same level of experience as a coach based upon the level attained by Byron Scott.Whether or not Mitch Kupchak, as general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers and the team’s owner, Dr. Jerry Buss would be amenable to such a hire, would no doubt be predicated upon the thoughts of Jackson, himself.

The fate now awaiting the New Orleans Hornets seems an uncertain one. I’d like to think also that Bowers’ action wasn’t a rash rush to judgment in getting rid of Scott. It’s tough enough for Jeff Bowers as he tries to maneuver through the terrain of the NBA as a novice coach. But it’s even far more daunting a prospect, if you’re doing that without your best player and vocal leader being on the court.

As one tries to look over the situation and review what transpired. You can’t help but wonder how much of this was in part due to Byron Scott ? And how much of this was due in no part to the players who were unable to follow the lead of their coach ? And it would be remiss , if not in part to question the action of Jeff Bower. At this stage of the season which is still in its infancy. One would’ve thought it best to keep Byron Scott on board and let him try and turn things around. Instead the scenario is now being created , that if things do get much worse.It could very well place the franchise in an irretrievable situation.And that’s something that no one within the Hornets’ organization, I fear would be willing to contemplate.

New Orleans Hornets’ roster 2009-10

NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
12 Hilton Armstrong C-F 6-11 235 11/11/1984 Connecticut 3
6 Bobby Brown G 6-2 175 09/24/1984 Cal State-Fullerton 1
23 Devin Brown G 6-5 210 12/30/1978 Texas-San Antonio 7
2 Darren Collison G 6-0 160 08/23/1987 UCLA R
1 Ike Diogu F 6-9 250 09/11/1983 Arizona State 4
4 Sean Marks F-C 6-10 250 08/23/1975 California 9
50 Emeka Okafor F-C 6-10 255 09/28/1982 Connecticut 5
3 Chris Paul G 6-0 175 05/06/1985 Wake Forest 4
24 Morris Peterson G 6-7 220 08/26/1977 Michigan State 9
41 James Posey F 6-8 217 01/13/1977 Xavier (Ohio) 10
9 Darius Songaila F 6-9 248 02/14/1978 Wake Forest 6
16 Peja Stojakovic F 6-10 229 06/09/1977 Belgrade, Serbia 11
5 Marcus Thornton G 6-4 205 06/05/1987 Louisiana State R
30 David West F 6-9 240 08/29/1980 Xavier (Ohio) 6
32 Julian Wright F 6-8 225 05/20/1987 Kansas 2

Kobe You And Are I Going To Rule The World And We’ll Have the ‘Illest ‘ Rap Video Out There ! And Tell Kanye At The 2010 VMA’s We’d Appreciate His Support

As a child growing up in the West Indies, I can remember my grandmother telling me “…… what doesn’t hurt you , won’t kill you.” Imagine to my surprise then when I heard that the Los Angeles Lakers had signed the enfant-terrible’ Ron Artest . Now don’t get me wrong , as a player , I admire Artest for what he brings to the table. An unstoppable zest for the game and a zeal not too often seen from players with far more ability but even less heart. In many respects after the Kobe -Shaq era of unbridled success with the exception of the lopsided loss of an NBA championship series to the Detroit Pistons . The last thing one might have expected , was the for the Lakers to have made a full court press and to have acquired Artest as a free agent.

Kobe  Bryant  (left) and   newly  minted  teammate  Ron  Artest   picture  appears   courtesy  of  reuters /  Mike   Blake  ..............................
Kobe Bryant (left) and newly minted teammate Ron Artest picture appears courtesy of reuters / Mike Blake ..............................

And if one remembers at the time , that Lakers’ team had enough egos on it , that it would’ve made more sense to have five separate balls on the court . Rather than them all having to share one apiece. You had Kobe Bryant , Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, Karl Malone and last but not least Derek Fisher.

From  left  to  right  Gary Payton,  Shaquille O'Neal,  Karl  Malone  ,  Kobe  Bryant   and   Rick  Fox.   All  have   a  forelorn   upon them as  they began  to    realize  that   the  improbable  and  the   inevitable was  about to  happen.   They  would   lose  the  NBA  Final   series  to  the  Eastern  Conference's  Detroit  Pistons.       picture  appears  courtesy  of   getty  images /    Mitchell   Russell  ........................
From left to right Gary Payton, Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone , Kobe Bryant and Rick Fox. All have a forelorn upon them as they began to realize that the improbable and the inevitable was about to happen. They would lose the NBA Final series to the Eastern Conference's Detroit Pistons. picture appears courtesy of getty images / Mitchell Russell ........................

There’s a saying that oil and water don’t mix . And in the case of adding Malone and Payton into the mix. Whilst on paper , it may well have all looked good. And the NBA pundits were saying that the Lakers at the time were “a sure thing thing to win to win it all “. The fact of the matter was the Lakers were too cock sure of themselves. And as the complacency set in , so too did the acrimony between the quartet of superstars on the team. What transpired in those NBA Finals was a lesson as why the old adage stills holds true. “Too many Chiefs not enough Indians .”

Lakers'  coach  Phil  Jackson  speaks  to  the   members  of  the  media   at  a  news  conference   at the   team's   training  facility  in  El  Segundo  ,  California.      The  team   now  embarks  on the  defense  of  their  2008-09   NBA  title.    picture  appears courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Nick  Ut  ..................
Lakers' coach Phil Jackson speaks to the members of the media at a news conference at the team's training facility in El Segundo , California. The team now embarks on the defense of their 2008-09 NBA title. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Nick Ut ..................

And the NBA Finals 2003-04 truly set the Lakers apart from other teams that’ve made the NBA Finals. Point blank favorites they would succumb to the Pistons in a rout unprecedented in its execution and precision. The Lakers’ players were made to look languid and very much like a group of aged geriatrics who knowingly looked out of place. And at the end of it all the Pistons would triumph with an emphatic 4-1 series win and with Chauncey Billups being named Finals’ Series MVP.

Kobe  Bryant  speaks to  members  of  the  media   at the  team's   media  day  at  the   opening  of  their  training   camp  at  the  Toyota  Center   ,  the  team's training   facililty  in  El  Segundo  ,  California.     The   Finals  MVP  of  last  year  is   relishing  the  challenge  of   opening   up  the   2009-10  season  as  the   defending   NBA  champions  and   is  looking  to   successfully   defend  that  title.       picture  appears  courtesy  of   nbae/getty  images/  Evan  Gole   ................
Kobe Bryant speaks to members of the media at the team's media day at the opening of their training camp at the Toyota Center , the team's training facililty in El Segundo , California. The Finals MVP of last year is relishing the challenge of opening up the 2009-10 season as the defending NBA champions and is looking to successfully defend that title. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Evan Gole ................

Courtesy of nbcsports.com and The Orange County Register

Kobe, Lakers must be even hungrier to repeat

‘Our focus is on getting better. It’s not really on replicating what we did’

By Kevin Ding Orange County Register

You might’ve forgotten, and Kobe Bryant almost has by now, but the Lakers broke through for a championship not too long ago … and had some trouble when they reconvened for the first time to defend it.

It was the 2000-01 season, and it was the first time Bryant’s feud with Shaquille O’Neal spread to the public consciousness.

O’Neal had a traditional plan that they could just replay the previous season; Bryant came back with new muscles to flex. Two-and-a-half months into the schedule, they were sniping through the media about Bryant overdoing his offense and O’Neal dogging it on defense.

The issue, as described back then by one Phil Jackson, was this about Bryant: “Some nights he’s in balance. Some nights it’s over the edge with trying to find how he can do a little bit better.”

In the end, Bryant hiked his scoring average from 22.5 points to 28.5 (more than he averaged in either of the past two seasons, by the way) and infused the Lakers with a fire they needed to become a far better team.

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In order to read Kevin Ding’s article in its entirety just click on the link provided
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Ron  Artest   of the  Los  Angeles  Lakers   poses   for  his  official  team  photograph  at  the  team's  training  facility   in  El  Segundo,  California.    Artest   brings along  a  great  deal  of  veteran   experience  and  it's   hoped   leadership   that'll   prove  invaluable  alongside  that   of    his  teammate  Kobe  Bryant.      picture  appears courtesy  of  nbae/getty  images/   Juan Ocampo    ......................
Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers poses for his official team photograph at the team's training facility in El Segundo, California. Artest brings along a great deal of veteran experience and it's hoped leadership that'll prove invaluable alongside that of his teammate Kobe Bryant. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Juan Ocampo ......................

Now come full circle, after the Lakers’ overwhelming triumph over the outmaneuvered and overwhelmed Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals of the 2008-09 season. Whereby, the Lakers secured their fifteenth NBA title and their coach Phil Jackson , his tenth . All it’s said had to be right in “Lakerland”. However , the tremors were there for all to witness, as the negotiations started in earnest for the renewal of contracts for players who were part of the team’s triumph. Lamar Odom it was suggested , that he was no longer a valid part of the team. And for Trevor Ariza , he felt that he deserved not only more playing time but also more money. For the Lakers’ hierarchy, a decision had to be made . And that laid in the hands of not only the owner , Dr. Jerry Buss . But also that of Phil Jackson and the team’s GM, Mitch Kupchak.

Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak speaks about what he feels that Ron Artest can provide for the Lakers as a player. The GM also speaks about the loss of Trevor Ariza , who signed with the Houston Rockets as a free agent.

Much to everyone’s surprise Ariza was allowed to flee and he signed with the Houston Rockets . Odom was re-signed by the team. But low and behold , within their midst came Ron Artest , hoping to pursue his goal of winning an NBA championship. And that comes with baggage included no doubt ? The question might now have to ask, is whether or not Artest can acclimatize himself amongst his new-found teammates and not become a disruptive distraction. We all found it somewhat surprising that during the playoffs with the Rockets , that he alongside Aaron Brooks ,showed leadership and played with a great deal of aplomb and zeal. And though the team’s heroic effort came up short , it showed Ron Artest in a light not previously seen before. That was with a Rockets team that didn’t have the services of either Tracy McGrady or Yao Ming for the playoffs. Yao Ming was lost prior to start of those playoffs. And McGrady as we know , well he’s about as soft as they come and then some !

The Los Angeles Lakers are most certainly looking to repeat as NBA champions. And if anything, they will be looked upon as the presumptive favorites within the Western Conference of the NBA. Though it has to be said that the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks , New Orleans > Hornets, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns would all like to think of themselves as noteworthy candidates to assume that mantel as favorites. But in all honesty, it is the Lakers who definitely have the most well rounded roster and the ability to win it all, of the favored representatives in the conference. That’s got to be the case with the addition of Ron Artest. He gives the team an additional offensive option beyond Bryant , Odom and Pau Gasol . And at the same time his defensive play cannot be questioned , as he’s amongst the very best in the game.

Lamar  Odom   of  the  Lakers   seen  here  at  the   team's   training   faclity    the  Toyota  Center   doing   some   pre-game   warmup  exercises.     The   player  was   re-signed   by  the  team    in  the   hopes  of   boosting  their  chances  of   repeating  as   NBA  champions.         picture  appears  courtesy  of   nbae/getty images/  Andrew   D.  Bernstein  .....................
Lamar Odom of the Lakers seen here at the team's training faclity the Toyota Center doing some pre-game warmup exercises. The player was re-signed by the team in the hopes of boosting their chances of repeating as NBA champions. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Andrew D. Bernstein .....................

And while there’s no doubt that in many people’s eyes the Los Angeles Lakers are the team to beat. In the Eastern Conference the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic would like to feel that they’ll be able to negate those thoughts. If nothing else they’ll do their utmost to prove that the supremacy of the NBA just doesn’t reside in the West but like a pendulum it tends to swing both ways.

As to what now lies ahead for Artest and his new teammates. The whole NBA world awaits as to what may well materialize. None more so than the fans of the Lakers , who now feel that even with the loss of Ariza . They are now in much better shape than before . As to what this’ll also mean for Kobe Bryant. One can surmise that the player is no doubt happy with outcome. Let’s just hope that two won’t at all be pursuing a joint recording and rap career . God knows we’ve had to suffer the indignity of listening to Bryant rap , much less the indecipherable mono-toned absurdities of Artest. It’ll be better for all of us , if they just let their ballin’ on the court speak for itself , wouldn’t you say ?