Tags Posts tagged with "Kobe"

Kobe

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I think that we all knew it was a matter of time before Jeremy Lin had a bad game.  Why do I say that?…..because even players like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Kobe have bad games from time to time.  Jeremy Lin has dominated the NBA for the past 10 games, and he was bound to have an off night.  Now the question remains as to how he will bounce back.  I’m betting that Lin will come back in a powerful way and get back to the form he’s shown over the past month.

What will the defenses do now?  One thing that we saw in the Miami game is that Jeremy had problems against Mario Chalmers.  Well, guess what?  A lot of NBA point guards have a tough time against Chalmers.  Mario Chalmers is one of the best on ball defenders in the NBA and it was a learning experience for Lin to go against not only Chalmers, but also Lebron and Dwayne Wade.

Nevertheless, look for NBA defenders to try to apply immense on ball defense against Lin to see how he responds.  One thing Lin can do to counteract this is to use his body more as he brings the ball up.  Towards the end of Sam Cassel’s career, Sam would literally bring the ball up the court by dribbling up the court and shoving his backside into the face of his defender.  With Jeremy Lin being as physically strong as he his, this is something that Lin can do as well.  Some coaches call this, “putting the defender on your hip.”

Hey, we knew it would happen.  I’m predicting that Lin is going to bounce back in a majorly positive way.

But ultimately it is a huge compliment to Jeremy Lin that defenses are so keyed in on stopping him.

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Phil Jackson, Coach
Phil Jackson is an retired professional basketball former player. Photo: shutterstock
I’m at home in MN today and I had the television on for the Jim Rome show and they were talking about Alonzo Mourning’s comments regarding Phil Jackson as a coach. Now it’s possible that Alonzo’s quotes were taken out of context. Everyone around the NBA knows Alonzo is a class act and so maybe either he was kidding, or maybe he was joking around, or then again, maybe he was expressing on an honest opinion. Regardless, I thought that as one who played for Phil Jackson for three years, I would go ahead and chime in on my thoughts on Phil Jackson as a coach:

First of all, here is Alonzo’s quote:

“To tell you the truth, Phil doesn’t have to do anything but call time outs,” said Mourning, the former NBA star who helped lead the Miami Heat to the 2006 championship and twice was the league’s defensive player of the year. “Kobe is the facilitator. He is the one driving the mission of this particular team right now,” Mourning said. “The communication level he has with his teammates out there, you can just see it. I think Phil is just showing up, to tell you the truth, and Kobe is doing all the work to make this team successful.”

So, first of all, I do agree with Alonzo’s view that Kobe is the facilitator and that Kobe definitely pushes his teammates to higher levels of play than they could do on their own. I can tell you that there were times when Kobe coached me on where to be in the triangle offense and things I could do to help the team. Kobe helped everyone’s level of play immensely in addition to getting a lot of teammates wide open layups and dunks.

But when it comes to Phil Jackson I have to say that Phil is an amazing coach. Let me give a few reasons.

TRIANGLE OFFENSE: First, the triangle offense allows every single person on the court to constantly be touching the ball. I once asked Phil’s trusted assistant for 15 years, Frank Hamblen (whose specialty is defense), why Frank liked the triangle. He said to me simply, “There is always someone in the triangle in position to get back on defense.” Simple, but incredibly important in preventing easy baskets. Phil was a great role player for the Knicks and when he coached he wanted everyone touching that basketball a lot so that when the time came to attack, they were in some kind of rhythm rather than not touching the ball for 5 minutes in a game which happens sometimes. In the triangle offense there is a counter for every single thing a defense can do. Believe it or not, there are a lot of NBA sets with no automatic counters. Phil has taken everyone on that LA team, in Hollywood, and made them buy into the Triangle which is essentially a team offense. That in itself is no easy feat! But even when I was there, he got everyone to buy into the triangle. And if you tinkered with the Triangle or abused it, Phil would pull you out of the game and give you some bench time–and not just for a few minutes….try a few weeks sometimes!

MENTAL COMPONENT: Phil kind of had a way of knowing how to motivate people. When the we lost games in Los Angeles, Phil would come in the next day and be upset. Not all NBA coaches are like that! One time he came in and told some guys that they were nice good guys….the types of guys that a girl would want to take home to their parents. Then he said something like “I need some guys that are going to be mean on the court.” Needless to say, our team got meaner the next game.

TRUST IN PLAYERS: This kind of goes with the triangle offense, but the way Phil coaches he allows the players on the court tremendous freedom to basically do anything they want, AS LONG AS IT WAS WITHIN THE TRIANGLE. One of the first rules of the triangle offense is that if you have a direct line to the basket, you immediately take it. (In other words, going on your own and being aggressive and even shooting an unexpected shot is part of running the triangle effectively) It sounds so basic, but some coaches run plays like a football play with a specific end in mind. So the result is that with the basketball coaches that coach like football, some players end up being “robots,” which is the worst thing you can say to any basketball player.

PR–This is an interesting one. When we played against the 76ers in the NBA finals in 2001, there was a lot of talk about Shaq swinging his elbows and hitting Dikembe and other 76er players in the face/head. During one of our team meetings, Phil told all of us that when we addressed the media later that day that we should emphasize the fact that “Shaq deserves the right to ‘pivot’ when going into a post move.” It was kind of funny, because it was a great counter-argument to the media storm and other teams public complaints about Shaq’s physical play. And we went on to win that series never losing another game.

In game 3, Phil ran the same triangle play 3 times in a row in the fourth quarter. He cut Lamar off of Pau and then Kobe and Pau played the two man game on the elbow. Phil knows when it’s time to get the ball to his best players.

And finally, I must say that when I end my NBA career and transition into coaching, one of my first stops will be to visit some of my old coaches to pick their brains. My visit with Phil will be very interesting because I already know which questions I want to ask him. I want to ask him what his substitution philosophy is and how he does it. It seemed to work for us in the 2000-2003 years, but I want to know why he does it the way he does. I am also going to ask him for advice on using the media to get points across to players. Sometimes he talks to players individually when there is a problem and sometimes he used the media. I want to know what factors influenced his decision to go with either way. I’m not sure what is going to happen in this Championship series, but I can say definitively that Phil Jackson is a Hall of Fame coach.

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Lakers, Championship, Celtics, Timberwolf, Phil Jackson, Kevin Garnett, Flip Saunders, Fired
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Photo: 360b/shutterstock
The other day someone said to me, “Who do you want to win the championship…the lakers or the celtics?” That’s one of the hardest questions I could answer, but the truth is that I want the Lakers to win. I am a Timberwolf first and foremost, but I gave three years of blood sweat and tears to Phil Jackson and the Lakers. I have to pull for my old team even though I do want Kevin Garnett to get a ring.

I cannot believe that Flip Saunders was fired. I cannot believe it. This man can flat out coach and while I hope that the Pistons have success in the future, let’s not forget that Flips tenure as head coach of Detroit took the Pistons deep into the playoffs every year. Coaching is not an exact science and it’s not easy at the NBA level with mature and grown men all of whom have strong competitive natures. I wish Detroit well, but they lost a gem with Flip.

My summer is going well. I enjoyed watching Kobe tonight. It’s nice when you see someone care so much about what they do as Kobe cares about his profession. Phil Jackson used to put us in the video room and show us film. “Fellas…like it or not, what you see on the game film is what the fans see….this is your livelihood. It should be important to you.”

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Shaq, Garnett, Miami Heat, Miami Uniform,, NBA
The Miami Heat are a professional basketball team based in Miami, Florida, United States. The team is a member of the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association. Photo: shutterstock.com
Tonight we play against the Miami Heat once again here at home. They key to beating Miami is trying to find a way to slow down Shaq. I use the term “slow down” because there’s no way to stop Shaq from having an impact on the game. He is too talented of a player. Tonight you can expect us to double Shaq a lot with our smaller guards to make him throw it out and put someone else in a Miami uniform in a position to try to beat us.

Our last two games have left us with a bitter taste in our mouth. From blowing a huge lead against Seattle to losing in Utah, we really felt like we were in both of those games. We should have won against Seattle, and we had a real shot at spoiling Jerry Sloan’s 65th birthday when we played Utah a few nights ago.

If the MVP ballotiing were today and if I had a vote, I would have to go with Dirk Nowitzki. He’s just done so much this season and the Dallas Mavericks are the best team in the NBA. Although you have to give Kobe and Steve a look too. To me, no one else in the league has been as outstanding as those two. If you had to look at an impact player though, Chris Webber has been maybe the biggest difference maker in the league when he signed with the Pistons a few months ago. Chris Webber is one of the most skilled passers to ever put on a uniform in this league. When you play against him, he’s like Garnett. He boxes you out with his hands. Both those guys have the strength to hold people off with one hand and then be there for the rebounds.

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Derek Fisher, Don Nelson Basketball Camp, Injury, Lakers, Utah Jazz, Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Oakland
Derek Lamar Fisher is an American basketball player. He spent his first eight seasons with the franchise, winning three consecutive league championships (2000–2002) with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Photo: shutterstock.com
Warriors versus Utah Jazz Playoff Series I played with Derek Fisher for three years while playing for the Lakers and he is one of the most professional people I have ever met in any field. When I got to the Lakers Derek was going through a very serious foot injury and was on the injured list for some time. One time while he was injured we as a team were playing terribly. Before one of the games, Derek gave an impassioned speech while in street clothes and really tried to encourage the guys to take up their level of play a notch. Everyone in the locker room from Shaq to Kobe to Slava Medvedenko was all ears. Afterwards, Phil Jackson referred back to Derek as the emotional leader of our group.

Derek was always working on his jump shot. There were so many days when Derek would be there early at the gym with his brother feeding him passes and giving him feedback on fine-tuning aspects of his jumper.

Later that same season in the playoffs Derek had a monster game against the San Antonio Spurs and hit something like seven or eight three pointers in a blowout win for us. A few days later when we were watching the game film in our “warrior room,” Phil Jackson commented on how Derek had played so very well, and yet Derek did not get involved in any kind of self-promotion, or on-court antics that are so popular in the game today. Phil Jackson rarely was impressed with individual accomplishments, but he was keenly appreciative not only for how well Derek played, but how Derek Fisher carried himself while playing so well.

The Warriors vs. Jazz series is a great one. I was so happy for how well Derek played tonight for his team. I actually want the Warriors to win because I grew up about 30 minutes from Oakland and I know the Warriors team pretty well. Don Nelson was the coach of the warriors when I was in high school and I even worked at the “Don Nelson Basketball camp.” But above all, I’m just so happy that Derek Fisher’s daughter is doing well after her surgery. I hope that Dee Brown’s injury is okay and I hope that he’s able to make a full recovery. Detroit is my favorite to win the title.

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Gregg Farnam, Boston, Treatment for my injured ankle, Lakers, Phil Jackson, Kobe, Target Center,
Gregg wanted me to get a lot of treatment for my injured ankle so that hopefully i can get back to playing this week. Photo: shutterstock.com
We are struggling right now plain and simple. Our trainer Gregg Farnam had me stay at home so I was not at Boston for the game. Gregg wanted me to get a lot of treatment for my injured ankle so that hopefully i can get back to playing this week. I am actually dying to be ready for the Lakers game. It’s always great playing against Phil Jackson and Kobe.

I was lucky to have TV’s in our training room and weight room, so while I was doing all of the rehab in the Target Center with our assistant trainer, I watched as much of the game as I could. Troy Hudson, Garnett and Ricky Davis all hit huge three pointers for us. But it was really Troy who gave us a huge spark. Troy has always had big games against the Lakers, so I’m thinking he’ll probably start again on Tuesday when L.A. comes to the Twin Cities.

Having a sprained ankle is brutal. You sit there and basically work out for hours each day doing ankle drills, stationary bike and the Eliptical Machine. Then you try to freeze your foot (not really, but it just feels like it) with ice for 20 minutes to get the swelling out. I REALLy am hoping to be back soon. Man, I neglected this blog for a little while because I was so busy with ankle stuff, but I’ll be writing more stuff soon.

My old teammate Ervin Johnson used to say “365 days is too long not to laugh.” I know we’re losing, but I’m going to try to use some humor in the locker room to get us more loose and back on track. I’m going to share some stuff on this blog too that has happened in the locker room in the last few months that’s pretty funny too. Have a great Monday !!!

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Break Loosing Streak, Ricky Davis, Kevin Garnett, NBA Players, Kobe
We Broke our loosing streak and win against portland. Photo: shutterstock.com
Tonight we broke our losing streak and Ricky Davis was a big part of the reason why. Ricky had been in a slump for a couple of games and he did what great players do during such a hard time. Ricky Davis would get to practice extremely early and take jumper after jumper after jumper. It’s nice to see an NBA player like Rick who is so gifted also have such an intense work ethic.

The other day in the locker room, Ricky and I were talking and he told me that he was actually drafted into the NBA when he was 17 years old!! I was shocked! Ricky actually attended University of Iowa for part of his freshman year in college and then he declared for the NBA that summer. Unfortunately, that was the summer of the NBA lockout, so Ricky had to wait for a little while before he was able to showcase his abilities and heady play.

I’m glad that young players are able to come to the NBA if they are ready. But, it is amazing how players like Ricky, Kevin Garnett and Kobe are able to make the jump at such a young age. When I was 17 years old there is no way that I was mentally capable of thinking about going up against people like Shaq, Patrick Ewing, and Karl Malone. It is a testament to the competitive greatness of high school players who successfully make the jump because the NBA has some TOUGH players!

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Mike Krzyzewski, Coach k., Duke Coach, NBA
Mike Krzyzewski is an American basketball coach and former player. Since 1980, he has served as the head men's basketball coach at Duke University after taking over the program from Bill Foster. Photo: shutterstock.com
Coach Mike Krzyzewksi of Duke Coach K had some interesting things to say about basketball in his recent Q&A with the Charlotte Observer. At one point in the article, he compares young high school basketball players to 16 year old Michelle Wie who is a tremendous young golf talent who is able to reap the financial rewards of turning pro at a young age. Coach K. stresses that he does not think the exodus of great high school players to the NBA will hurt the college game but that NCAA basketball is going to be fine regardless. I guess it’s just refreshing to see such a respected coach like Mike Krzyzewksi state publicly that opportunities like playing in the NBA should be based on merit—especially when most of the other professional sports are already allowing the best players to come join their ranks.

It is ironic that so many other sports allow high school athletes to make the jump directly to the professional level. It is really a tough thing to say though given that for every Lebron James, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, or Kobe….there are countless players who don’t get drafted and never make an NBA team. For those guys, (who could have been stars in college), they’re thrust overseas or onto some CBA or NBDL team where they have to go against grown men who are ten years older and stronger.

The quote I found most interesting in a different article by the Charlotte Observer was this one. Here is the question that was posed to Coack K. When asked about the biggest differences between the NBA game and the International game, Coach K. responded by saying:

“I didn’t know this because I’m not coaching the NBA game, but in the NBA, they really don’t allow much physical contact. They’re trying to make it more of an offensive game, so there’s not the bumping and all that on the ball handler. There’s no hand checking at all. The international game is 180 degrees different. … That’s their rule, and we have to adjust to it, instead of saying, “That’s not the way we play.”

for complete article, visit: Charlotte Observer

I think in the late 1990’s the NBA game was truly a physical, gritty, and very punishing league in terms of physical contact. Granted I was at home in college watching the games from the sofa with a bag of potato chips, but that’s my view. Sometime in the early 2000’s the philosophy of the NBA rules committee changed to promote more scoring. The end result is that in some ways, high school and college basketball are more physical than the NBA. You might think I am joking or that I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I can tell you that when I first played in the Long Beach Summer League with NBA rules for the first time, I almost fouled out in the first game. I still remember Kevin McHale telling me two years ago about how “if you so much as tough a guy with your hand on the perimeter, it’s a foul,” whereas, “you can absolutely tackle a guy away from the ball in the paint and there’s no foul.” Perhaps the NBA should re-evaluate the direction of the physical contact rules so that we are more prepared for international competition.

At any rate, it is what it is, and we as players have to adjust to it. To finish up, I wanted to share one line from the letter that Dwayne Casey sent out to all of us players dated August 22nd. It was a letter that definitely got me fired up for the coming season. “Training camp will be demanding and everyone will have to earn their spot.” I haven’t heard a sentence like that since my high school coach John Raynor who referred to every single player every year as a “varsity CANDIDATE.” I am very excited for camp to start and I’ll be writing more about our informal team workouts in a few days.

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Denver Nuggets, Little win streak, Minneapolis, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, Dwayne Casey
We win against the Denver Nuggets and we have a little win streak going.

We just beat the Denver Nuggets and it feels nice to have a little win streak going. (Winning two games in a row is a lot better than losing 8 out of 10!) After the game, me and my two roomates along with my other buddy and his girlfriend all went out to Champs in downtown Minneapolis to get a burger. It’s kind of fun going to Champs because half of the Minnesota timberwolves office personnel and ticket sales people usually go there after each game. It almost feels like the Timberwolves Holiday party in some ways because it seems like so many people from the organization are there. I even ran into a lot of the production/network support people who travel with us and broadcast all of the games on the local Television station here in the Twin cities. One of the directors of community relations was there with her sister and Dad. We all sat around and shot the breeze while we waited for our tables.

But most often after the games, I drive straight home and crash. It’s just too hard to be at the arena from 5:00pm till 10:00 pm and then be out till midnight eating a postgame meal. Tonight I got home a little after midnight and tommorrow my garage door repairman is coming at 8am. I need to make sure I don’t miss him because my garage door is broken! It’s a good thing that we have the day off tommorrow. Actually, the “young guys” have to come in and get a workout and get some extra shots. I’m so glad that I’m not in that “young guys” group anymore. It seemed like when I was in LA with the Lakers, Phil was always giving Shaq, Kobe, Rob, etc, the day off and me and Deaven George and the rest of the young guys had to come in and play a game of three on three where we ended up trying to absolutely destroy each other in a basketball sense. But, I’m grateful that Phil did it that way and I understood what he was trying to do–get us extra reps to improve. Coach Casey is doing the same thing. Who knows, if my garage door can get fixed quickly, then I might go in there and lift some weights or something.

When we were losing a lot of games a few weeks ago, Dwayne Casey stayed very positive. After we lost a tough home game last week, he came into the locker room and said, “You guys are giving me the effort and the intensity…..I promise you that things are going to shift and come back around…..” He emphasized that we need to cut down on turnovers in order to put ourselves in a position to win. One of Coach Casey’s lines that I really like is this: “If you mess with the game, the game will mess with you.” What he’s really saying here is that if you disrespect the game of basketball by not playing hard or by cutting corners, you’re not going to get too many breaks. Conversely, if you play hard all the time and really try to play the right way, you’re going to get your share of breaks and good bounces.

Well life in the NBA never slows down. We fly to NYC this weekend and then on to boston. I started reading a new book for fun. I’m not even sure about the title, but it’s something like, “The Rule of Four,” written by a bunch of students at Princeton about an ancient text. It’s a very entertaining book. A friend of mine gave it to me as a gift and it’s been a nice distraction to get my mind away from the game through the ups and downs.

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Robert Horry, NBA Finals, San Antonio Spurs, Utah, Text Massages, Mark Madsen
I sent massages to Robert Horry. Photo: shutterstock.com
I think you guys will find this pretty funny. Last year during the NBA finals Robert Horry had just hit a HUGE three pointer and basically won a huge game for the San Antonio Spurs. I was in Utah at the time and was so happy for Rob. I knew he’d be getting bombarded with phone calls so I sent him a text message from my new phone. (My phone keeps all text messages from the last six months, so I’ll basically quote it).

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June 15th 1:41 AM (I wrote to Rob) Congratulations on the 3 pointer record. Now hurry up and get your 6th Ring! MM

June 15th 1:54 AM (Rob wrote to me) Who is this?

June 15th 8:25 AM (To paraphrase my text to Rob) Your buddy, Mark Madsen!

June 15th 8:57 AM (Rob to me) What’s up Dog? Didn’t have your number stored. How’s the family? Better yet, how’s the hand? (My parents and some family members had met Rob and loved him.)

June 19th 11:54 PM (Me to Rob) Rob….great job! It couldn’t be happening to a better guy!

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I didn’t include everything from our texts during the finals, but I put most of it just because I thought some of you guys might get a kick out of it. I included this because Robert Horry was my first true mentor my rookie season along with Rick Fox and Shaq. But I have to talk about Rob a little beacause our lockers were right next to each other and he was such a great veteran for me to have. We sat next to each other in Phil jackson’s “Warrior Room” toom. (That’s what Phil called the film room.)

One time I came to the bench after I missed a shot and Tex Winter said, “Your job is to pass the ball!” Robert looked at me and said, “Don’t listen to that…..you are a scorer….when you get on that court you are a scorer!” Of course Rob and Tex had a great relationship but sometimes as players we have to keep each others’ confidence high.

Another time we were having a team meeting and Derek Fisher said something like, “We’ve got two superstars in this room (Shaq and Kobe) and the rest of us are role players and we have to do our job.” Derek was one guy who would tell everything like it was. He and Phil used to have heated exchanges from time to time and Phil loved it. He once called Derek the “emotional leader” of the team or something like that. We were losing at the time and it was sort of a clear-the-air type of meeting. I kind of agreed with what Derek had said. I could tell Rob was uncomfortable with what Derek said because he started shifting around and looked ready to say something. These meetings were great because the respect level was high so guys could say whatever they wanted and no one took it personally.

Rob then went on to tell everyone in the room, “Yeah, we have two superstars in this room and the rest of us are STARS. There are no role players in this room there are stars in this room.” I’ll never forget that because that is truly the way Rob plays basketball. I think his confidence level is so high that when the huge shot comes he just has such great self belief he always seems to knock it down. I could go on talking about Rob and the lessons he taught me.

Ocasionally Rob had a bad game as every single pro-athlete does. One time I think he played about 20 minutes and didn’t score and had one rebound. (I have plenty of games like that too.) I was curious to see how he was in the locker room. The media guy came by and handed everyone a copy of the box score of the game which is the routine. Rob glanced at the sheet of paper and then crumpled it up and tossed it away and went to shower. It was like Rob was not going to dwell on anything negative at all. I now do the same thing after a bad game. For me it’s kind of a mental way of telling myself. “Hey, I played terribly, but I’m crumpling up this bad memory and flushing it down the toilet and tommorrow I am coming back with all my confidence and effort! I’m going to be strong and forget about it like Rob does.”

I was lucky to have Robert Horry as a mentor. On every team some players really have a sports mind and can see every little nuance and others can’t see any of it. Rob is one player who seemed to see every single detail of every game. When we were on the court together, he’d see something on defense and shove me and yell “Go double team that, I’ll watch your man.” The first time I was scared to leave me man for fear he’d score and Phil would highlight it on film review the next day. But soon I realized that Rob was rarely wrong with his defensive assignments and he ALWAYS had my back when he told me to go double. I wish Rob the very best in everything and I look forward to seeing him soon on Dec. 15th.