GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sonics Fire Weiss


The NBA had their first head coach firing today. Weiss was cut loose from the struggling Sonics.

In Weiss's defense, people were probably holding him to unrealistic expectations. The Sonics overachieved in a major way last season. Despite being 22 games over .500, the Sonics only outscored their opponents by an average of 2.6 points. The small point differential leads one to believe that they weren't actually as good as their record indicated.

If you remember, the Sonics were supposed to be awful last season, but surprised everyone. It turns out they were a lot better than everyone thought, but still not as good as they appeared.

A couple of days ago, I gave Casey his first criticism of the season.

Then, the second half started. The Wolves did an alright job at first, but their bad luck in shooting seemed to continue. Then, as the Heat took the lead and started to pull away, the Wolves seemed to go into panic mode. It was like some of those games early in the season where they seemed to forget that KG was even alive. As the Heat pulled away, the Wolves shot selection got worse and worse. It was kind of a snowball effect.

Casey cannot let this happen. So we blow a huge lead (that might have been an even huger lead) and are now down by 10. That's fine. Call timeout, regroup the team and run a play for KG. So it's not the situation we had hoped for, but the game is far from over. Just get the team together and make sure everyone knows what they're doing. Instead, the Wolves looked disorganized on the court, and nobody seemed interested in getting the best shot possible. Everyone just kind of took whatever shot was there (except KG, who rarely touched the ball).
I'm not saying Casey should be the next to go, but a little pressure from above might help him out. Casey needs to take a little stronger initiative during the game. Maybe calling timeout when we start to struggle and reminding the team to get the ball to KG would be a good idea. He might even attempt to "overwork" KG if there's pressure on him. And by overwork, I mean give him the correct number of shot attempts during the game, as opposed to letting him run back and forth setting high screens.

I remember a few years back watching a Spurs game. The Spurs got way ahead early (something in the neighborhood of 15-20 points). Then, they got a little bit sloppy. They turned the ball over twice and gave up four easy points. Most teams would just blow this off because they already had a big lead and play on, but not the Spurs. Popovich called timeout, gave his team an earful and made sure the Spurs kept their huge lead.

I was super impressed that Pops would do this. Many coaches would do this later in the game, but not many. Points scored in the first half are worth the same as points scored in the second half. Pops recognized this and wasn't willing to let a small run turn into a large one. A 10-point run in the first half is just as likely to cost you the game as one in the second half (the Wolves have many 2nd quarters this season to demonstrate said point).

This is the kind of aggressive coaching I would like to see from Casey. Stop the game if the team seems to have forgotten its game plan. Make a plan and make sure your team sticks to it. If they seem to stray from it, fix them up. Rather, it seems as though the Wolves have a plan, then forget about it as soon as the reserves come in and don't get back to it.