Saturday, June 21, 2008

Who is at Fault, Part III

More comments from Bill Simmons on what makes coaches bad coaches.

Not enough winning streaks. Obviously, this doesn't count for the Dream. The Dream don't have any winning streaks. Simmons is attempting to account for teams that are world-beaters one night and egg-beaters the next. I'm assuming that a "win streak" in Bill's mind is a set of two or more consecutive wins. Therefore, a W-L-W-W-L-L-W-L record would consist of one "win streak" in eight games.

Opposing 3-point percentage. Will the three-point shots be contested by the defense? The Dream aren't bad off -- they're in sixth place, with opponents only shoting 32.4 percent beyond the arc. (The leader is the Fever, which holds its opponents to 25.7 percent; at the bottom of the league is the Comets with opponent shooting 42.9 percent from the arc.)

Clearly, Atlanta is keeping teams from dropping bombs from outside. Then again, teams might be more comfortable to just drive the ball into the paint rather than shoot from outside, and that might be relected in the stat line.

Lousy record on the road. I'd say our road record is pretty bad. I think every team in the W has won at least one away game, putting the Dream in dead last.

Lack of a consistent rotation. According to Simmons, it's important for a team to get to know each other. As a point guard, for example, you'd know the tendencies of every player. Who to pass to, who you can expect to make the shot on the low post, who really needs a great open look before you care to pass them the ball. Teams get to know each other's personalities. If the coach is buzzing people in and out with every stoppage of play, there is no flow. A coach who screws around with the lineup all the time destroys a team's confidence, since most players are egomaniacs and take any sort of benching as a slur on their innate ability.

I don't think there's any sort of stat that can measure that, but I'd claim that the Dream are some major offenders, at least in terms of starting lineup. I'd say Betty Lennox, Ivory Latta, and (now) Tamera Young are dependable, but you don't know what sort of mismash of players Coach Meadors is going to throw out there to fill the holes in the other two spots. I tend to agree with Simmons. Pick somebody, even if it's defensive liability Jennifer Lacy or immobile center Katie Feenstra. You have to decide, at some point, "this is what we're going with, win or lose." One message board poster complained about Coach Meadors subbing people in after just two minutes of the first quarter.

Downright stupidity. Or as someone called it, "monkey f--king". A "monkey f--k" is when the coach makes some egregiously dumbass move. The message boards have begun to take note of what they consider such monkey f--ks during Dream games.

* Not performing a countdown from the bench when you are near the ball handler and the shot clock is counting down to zero.
* Having Betty Lennox play point guard at times.
* Putting in Ann Strother to make a critical inbounds pass late in the game when Strother had been sitting on the bench the entire game until that point.

Has the poor monkey been violated egregiously during Dream games? When you're looking for bad things, you'll find them, and you might have a tendency to ignore the good. However, when you're 0-12, it becomes very hard to point out what is "good".

(* * *)

I'll review Simmons's points on what are his supposed signs of a bad coach:

1. Lousy record in close games.
2. Too many turnovers.
3. Too many offensive rebounds allowed.
4. Not enough winning streaks.
5. Opposing three point percentage.
6. Lousy record on the road.
7. Lack of a consistent rotation.
8. Downright stupidity.

Many of the things there can be found in the statistical records.

1. Lousy record? 0-2, and the New York loss was particularly frustrating.
2. Turnovers? We're 12th. But Betty Lennox sure turns over the ball a lot.
3. Offensive rebounds? We're just horrible, at the bottom of the league.
4. Not enough winning streaks? Yes, because we haven't had a win.
5. Opposing three point percentage? The high point. We're sixth in three point percentage against.
6. Lousy record on the road? Yes. Lousy record at home, too.
7. Lack of a consistent rotation. I don't have a stat to look at this, but I'd say "yes".
8. Downright stupidity. Message board posters will continue to note humps of the ol' monkey.

My conclusions will come in a future article.

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