meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2012-11-11

What my musings are all about...

Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.

The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.

The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Another Theory

If a coach wants to find out if his team is going to be competitive or not, here's what he needs to do. He must sit down with a roster of all the teams in the NBA and ask himself the following: Would he substitute four out of five of his starters for four out of five starters on the opposing teams? If he would, then he has very little chance of winning many games. Next, he must repeat the question with the following change:.Would he substitute three out of five of his starters for three of the starters on the opposing team.?If he would, he will win a few more, but not that many more. Finally, he must ask himself if he would sub two of his starters for two of the starters on opposing teams. See where I'm going? The coach should start with the very best teams in the NBA, Miami, the Thunder, etc and work his way down the list of all NBA teams. Clearly most coaches would want to have the players from Miami and Thunder on their teams. But, would the Chicago Bulls, for example, sub their four starters for the four starters on the Milwaukee Bucks? Not. Would the Boston Celtics sub two of their starters for two starters on the Warriors? On Portland?

This morning I looked at the starting five/six players for the Sacramento Kings and went through all the NBA teams. Alas, aside from DeMarcus Cousins, I would sub all the rest of the King's starters for the starters on any of the other NBA teams, and that includes Orlando, Milwaukee, Philly, and Detroit, teams that are not doing well this season. What does this say about the Kings chances of winning this season? I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see a lot of talent on the Kings, beside Cousins and the new kid Thomas, maybe as long as being on a dysfunctional team won't take its toll on him? I like Aaron Brooks, with reservations, and Isaiah with reservations. But, as I said, it didn't take a lot of thinking to sub them for other players I believe are better.

When I played witht the Warriors, I used to love to battle against Tom Heinsohn, Hall of Fame forward for the Boston Celtics.  I'm married to a painter, and I told her about Heinsohn, the painter.
According to her, my one-time rival is a very good painter. Here's a poem for him and her.

Tommy Heinsohn    by Tom Meschery

In Kansas City, in the Nelsen Gallery
I look at the famous nude of Helga
and think of Tommy Heinsohn,
his famous hook shot that curved
more beautifully than Helga's hip
and his right cross that left my eye
bleeding, and how later in the bar
below the Garden he told me
he painted in the Wyeth School.
I was a rookie, and thought Wyeth
was a hotel chain. Today, I write
poems and admire the back-light
in Wyeth's painting of the dog
sunning himself in the window,
two men who made such violence
together, the work of the artist.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Theory About Championship NBA Teams

In order to contend for an NBA championship a team's starting five must be composed of players who can start on the majority of teams in the NBA.

Example: Durant, Ibaka, Perkins, Westbrook, Martin, of the Oklahoma Thunder could play on the starting five on every other team in the NBA, including the Miami Heat. From the opposite perspective, Smith and Horford are the only two players on the Atlanta Hawks who could be starters on a majority of teams in the NBA.

Example: A contending team must have at least three subs who, if they were on a majority of other teams, would be starters. This is a little trickier, and I admit allows for personal evaluation. Nonetheless, I think the reasoning holds true. For example, Sefolosha, Collison, Maynor would be starters on most of the other teams in the NBA. Tell me the poor Hawks wouldn't love to have these three guys playing alongside Horford and Smith. Okay Teague is a comer, but can he shoot a three like Maynor?

Example: Let's examine the Brooklyn Nets. At the moment, the Nets have three players who would be starters on the majority of NBA teams: Lopez, Williams, Johnson. Many teams would love to have Humphries for his tough rebounding, so he's borderline according to my theory. Ditto, Williams. But not on the majority of NBA teams. See what I mean? Then, one look at the reserves and you see that there are definitely NOT three players who could start on a majority of teams.

    Let's take the Lakers. Their starting five are wonderful and could be on any starting five in the NBA. Then, you look at their bench, not a one player could be a starter. Perhaps little Steve Blake. Perhaps.

    All right, you take it from here. Examine the NBA rosters. Enjoy. Don't get depressed if your team doesn't have the personnel needed to get to the top of the mountain.

Here's a poem about Michael Jordan who would have been a starter on any team, any time, any place, any era:

Forty-one Seconds on a Sunday in June in Salt Lake City, Utah    by  Quincy Troupe

                                                                               for Michael Jordan

rising up in time, michael jordan hangs like an icon, suspended in
cocks his right arm, fires a jump shot for two, the title game on the line,
his eyes two radar screens screwed like nails into the mask of his face

bore in on the basket, gaze focused, a thing of beauty, no shadow, or
no hint of fear, in this, his showplace, his ultimate place to shine,
rising up in time michael jordan hangs like an icon, suspended in space,

after he has moved from baseline to baseline, sideline to sidelong, his
shining, wagging his tongue, he dribbles through chaos, snaking
his eyes two radar screens screwed like nails into the mask of this face,

he bolts a flash up the court, takes off, floats in for two more in this race
for glory, it is his time, what he was put on earth for, he can see the
rising up in time, michael jordan hangs like an icon, suspended in

inside his imagination, he feels the moment he will embrace, knows his
is written here, inside this quickening pace of nerves, he will define,
his eyes two radar screens screwed like nails into the mask of his face,

inside this moment he will rule on his own terms, quick as a cat he
time, victory & glory, as he crosses over his dribble he is king of this
rising up in time, michael jordan hangs like an icon, suspended in
his eyes two radar screens screwed like nails into the mask of his face.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What Pro Coaches Can Learn From High School English Teachers.

Actually what coaches can learn from all high school teachers, not just English teachers, but since that was what I did for 21 years after I retired from the NBA, I had to give English teachers a little love in the title. So, what can coaches learn from folks who reside in the educational trenches? Very specifically: never try to be friends with your students (read: players on your team). Coaches who try to be their players' best buddy are doomed to failure. It's extremely difficult for a coach to discipline a player if that player is a friend. Parents often learn this lesson much too late. A player who will not accept discipline from a coach does not respect that coach. Period. End of story.

Why am I blogging about this? I worry that Keith Smart, the coach of the Sacramento Kings, a really nice guy, is trying to be DeMarcus Cousins' best buddy. The recent comments Coach Smart made in the Sacramento Bee following Cousins' stupid confrontation with Sean Elliot, the color commentator of the San Antonio Spurs (by the way, one hell of an NBA star when Cousins was a baby) sound just a bit too wishy-washy to me, too apologetic, too psychological. What was all that stuff about treating Cousins like he treats his 16 year old son? What? Like he loves Cousins like his son? Cousins is not his son, and he is NOT 16 years old. He's an adult. He's a pro. His absence possibly cost the Kings a win over the Lakers. And he's suspended for another game, probably another King loss without him.

I played in the NBA for ten years and been an observer of the league all my life. There are players who never grow up. They play developmentally-arrested; they leave the league with arrested personalities. It looks like Marcus is headed in that direction. Coach Smart could do the young man a big favor by making him face up to his childish behavior. The danger, of course, is that Cousins will throw another tantrum and force the Kings to fire Smart. (As he did Paul Westphal) And, as sad as it may seem, the Kings will do it, since there is no doubt that Cousins is a rare talent. But I don't believe Coach Smart will confront the kid. I'm afraid he's going to continue to try to finesse Cousins. A very bad idea.

This is not a poem but a beginning of a song from one of my favorite bands Houston Jones. I dedicate it to DeMarcus Cousins and all young people who have a way to go before they grow up.

There is no easy life
There's only the long way around.
From the edge of the world
To the heart of a three crow town.