In the Bloody Aftermath of Suns-Clippers - Interesting Chat With PhoenixStan

So, PhoenixStan from Bright Side of the Sun pinged me this morning on GMail chat.  I decided our conversation was worth sharing with everyone.

Bright:  oops
Clips didn't look so good

me:  you think?  I thought Alex Acker was EXCELLENT!
What a mess
and what was Zach thinking?

Bright:  disaster
funny how much the Suns fans think this is all about us
I mean sure - nice energy etc
but frankly the Clips were horrible
and missing top 3 bigs
think they show up tonight?


me:  likely still missing top 3 bigs... top 4 really, since Skinner is much better against shaq than DJ
so if the Clippers decide to compete, they can, you know, keep the Suns from scoring on layups every trip... but they can't win

Bright:  sure
but they rolled over
as pathetic as anything I've seen all year

me:  well, I've seen close... but then again, I watch every Clippers' game
they've been embarrassing in each of their last 4 losses...  and they also have 3 wins in that time... 2 by blowout

Bright:  how much do you put on Clips vs Suns
I kind of feel it was 70% Clips suck and 30% Suns great play

me:  confluence of factors.... 
the Suns were energized by the chance to play fast again
then, when the Clippers offered no resistance, it snowballed
so, maybe it's 80% Clippers, 80% Suns....  synergy baby!

Bright:  this "chance to play fast again" is a myth
this is best I've read on the matter:


me:  so it's not 'the chance to play fast' so much as 'the chance to play for someone other than porter' - I'll buy that... but they were clearly energized

Bright:  yes
I am just pissed at the players
bailing on a coach like that...petulant comes to mind

me:  I think I said it on the podcast...
the players are in charge, whether we admit it or not

Bright:  yeah - I know
still, I would have expected more from Nash
to at least give it a try
I believe that the direction they were going was correct
Nash resisted b/c it didn't suit his game
not willing to sacrifice or realize his diminished role
lost a lot of respect
some day I will sit down and ask him about it  :)


me:  and yet... he's not actively sabotaging the plan... 
when you're talking about pro athletes, the difference between the performance from a 'good soldier' carrying out the plan and a 'motivated warrior' who truly believes in the plan is night and day... 
and if he doesn't believe, he doesn't believe...
you can't change the way he thinks


oooh... that's good sh*t.... applicable to a certain bearded PG in LA....

 

So, for me, lots of interesting stuff there.  For one thing, welcome to my life citizens - I am pitied by the other bloggers.  I'm the lovable misfit Clippers guy, blogging about a horrible team with a horrible past and a horrible present.  He just called my team 'pathetic' and a 'disaster' - and he's absolutely right.  Still, pitied by BLOGGERS.  It doesn't get much lower.

Part of the irony here is that the Clippers actually played the Suns close a couple of times this season when they had no right to, at least on paper.  Yet again, the Clippers give their worst effort when Baron Davis is in the game.  Coincidence?

But what really made this interesting for me was the point about the Suns quitting on Porter.  If Steve Nash, a two time MVP and the ultimate team player and non-head-case, can be accused by a highly qualified observer of 'resisting' and being 'not willing to sacrifice', and if that issue can manifest itself so clearly in the team's play under Porter, then it becomes much less surprising to think that an MDsr/Baron Davis conflict could derail the Clippers season, over and above the injury issues. 

Do you fire Dunleavy and bring in Baron's hand-picked successor in order to solve the problem?  (Which is pretty much what happened in Phoenix.)  Doesn't that just create a different problem, where the players have all the power and the coach has none?  Well, as I told PhoenixStan, the players have the power, whether you admit it or not.  A few special coaches, like Popovich and Jackson, appear to have power.  But to a large extent, their power rests in the fact that they have superstars in Duncan and Kobe that are bought in.  They deserve much credit for GETTING their stars to buy in, that much is true.  But what happened to the Lakers when Kobe wasn't bought in to Jackson's plan?  Shaq was traded and Jackson was gone.  So who truly has the power there? 

The chat was something of an epiphany for me.  I'm not a conspiracy theorist.  I don't believe that Baron Davis intentionally got an 8 second backcourt violation and a technical foul in the Memphis game.  I don't think he's intentionally sabotaging the team in an acive effort to get the coach fired.  But maybe he doesn't have to.

when you're talking about pro athletes, the difference between the performance from a 'good soldier' carrying out the plan and a 'motivated warrior' who truly believes in the plan is night and day... 
and if he doesn't believe, he doesn't believe...
you can't change the way he thinks

That's one of the few things I've come up with in this dismal season that seems to make some sense.

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