(at least one of these men cannot be trusted to run a major company)
If you were thinking the 50 team (!) ABA was short on credibility, what with the likes of Ann Iverson and Brady Anderson amongst the league’s brain trust, think again. Newly appointed Commisioner John Salley flexes his mental chops for the LA Times’ J.J. Adande.
How to make money in the new American Basketball Assn., a far-flung league with more than 50 franchises spread from Brooklyn to Beijing with little resemblance to the free-spending, high-flying forerunner of the 1970s?
Salley thinks he will be able to compete with the NBA’s Developmental League because he says he doesn’t believe the NBA’s heart is in it, that it would rather import ready-made European players than spend money to develop them on their own. He also thinks his product will be part of the solution of what ails hoops in this country: the lack of fundamentals.
“What they’re doing is stifling the development,” Salley said. “The AAU’s not teaching them that. They’re watching And1, dribble-dribble-dribble, shakey-shakey-shakey, go left. There’s no jump shot, there’s no backboard shots. Dwyane Wade shot a backboard shot in the playoffs and they were going crazy that he used the backboard. That shouldn’t be something you brag about.”
At a news conference last week to announce the hiring of Don Casey as the coach of the new entry the Hollywood Fame, Casey said he was excited to teach the zone defenses the league allows.
The problem is, not a lot of people buy tickets to watch zone defense. That’s where Salley comes in. He has a better sense of what sells. At the news conference he kept hyping the Fame’s dance team, which was in place long before the playing roster had been finalized.
“The girl in the middle danced with the [Washington] Wizards,” Salley pointed out. “She danced [on tour] with Beyonce.”
Of course, when I think of former Detroit Pistons running leagues I think of Isiah Thomas, who took the Continental Basketball Assn. from a $10-million investment to bankruptcy in less than two years.
“I think he got set up,” said Salley, although that doesn’t fit most accounts of the debacle.
Speaking of questionable business decisions, SF State is betting that someone is willing to pay $50 to dine on rubber chicken and bask in the toastmaster skills of Steve Lavin. The event’s press release claims the former UCLA coach “is frequently an invited keynote speaker throughout the country for business, community, and collegiate events. Lavin addresses a wide range of topics including communication, motivation, management, recruiting, leadership, and naturally, college basketball.” But strangely, there’s no mention of subjects in which Lavin is clearly an expert.
The Chicago Tribune’s Sam Smith proposes Da Bulls, “take a look at committing to a small lineup, Andres Nocioni playing forward with Deng.”
The Bulls are going to be small no matter whom they play. Ben Wallace will be fine, but he’s no longer that Ben Wallace who can dominate a game on defense. It may be better to give him four offensive players to work with and take your chances.
I know, the Bulls are very small without P.J. Brown, who hasn’t made a shot in his last 11 quarters and is 0-for-8 the last two games. And Brown brings those intangibles that made Antonio Davis so successful here two seasons ago. But the Bulls are an aggressive defensive team that plays help defense well. In effect, they can zone the post and overplay it with Wallace and let teams beat try to them from outside.
It would be a risk against a team like the Bucks, Monday’s opponent, who have plenty of size inside with Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva. But it might be worth a shot unless the Bulls can get Kevin Garnett quickly.
Please, forget about that one. Consecutive Bulls losses usually mean I get questions about trading for Garnett. It has long been one of my favorite column topics, though I’m about done with it. I can’t help it if the Timberwolves don’t realize it’s what they should have done.