Without Isiah Thomas, Larry Brown or Stephon Marbury to dump on, the playoff possessed Peter Vescey of the New York Post turns his attention to one of his favorite targets : anyone who has a higher profile TV gig than himself. In this case, Mark Jackson.
To my unmitigated bewilderment, Mark Jackson held only Lawrence Frank (above) culpable during his ABC postgame, unchallenged analysis. Normally never this far off target, Jackson, a regular Nets TV commentator, indicted “the man in the suit on the sideline” and absolved Kidd of any and all blame.
How can one of the top ten playmakers in NBA history be so pointedly twisted?
Put Jackson in Kidd’s sneakers; I can just imagine him abiding by the game plan when it clearly wasn’t working.
Yup, he’d be the last quarterback to recognize his team was being blitzed and that an audible needed to be called at the line of scrimmage.
Nope, can’t envision Jackson tuning out an inexperienced coach, can’t visualize him demanding Carter relocate to the low docks after three or four botched jumpers in order to find out what kind of mode he was in that day – aggressive or bail out.
When, exactly, does an accredited floor general stop distributing live ammo to one of his disoriented troops? When he has shot 15 blanks . . . 16 . . . 20?
Is Jackson telling us Kidd needs Lawrence Frank’s permission before making any alterations? How can that be? I thought the point guard, especially one of the all-time geniuses at the position, is supposed to be the coach’s extension cord, with a green light to respond accordingly to what’s going on out there.
It’s not as if this would’ve been the first time in his 12-year career Kidd disobeyed a direct order. It’s not as if he hasn’t tuned out a coach or two or three. It’s not as if he ever has been shy about changing up on the run, or reacting to the rainfall of ricocheting jumpers.
In any event, there were more than a couple of culprits for the Nets, who endured the ignominy of being the only homeland not to secure Game 1. And despite Jackson’s contention, Kidd’s performance warranted a slap from Bob Ryan.
Lawrence Frank was agitated at the media’s reaction to Carter’s Game One performance, and pulled out every shot chart number to illustrate his point. Carter had 13 — count ’em — 13 shots at the rim, the coach said, which proves that he was not settling for jumpers, even though he hit only four of them. And of those nine misses from point-blank range, only two of them were contested.
Jumpers? He had to take them, the coach said: He was open. And only once in the entire game did he launch a shot against a double-team.
So Frank spent most of the day defending his leading scorer against the media hordes, and he did it vociferously at times.
“I’m allowed to be” defensive, the coach said, “because I take the stuff very personally. I respect (criticism) but that doesn’t mean I have to like (it) when one of my guys is being crushed. Watch the tape again. Look, when you’re a primary scorer, there are going to be a couple shots that you’re going to (miss) and you live with it. But he had so many great attacks. It didn’t fall for him. It doesn’t make him any less of a player, doesn’t make him any less of a person. Look, this guy has helped turn the franchise around. We’re going to be fine.”
Not a word about the condition of Carter’s bulimic dog, however.