unguarded-my forty years surviving in the nba-lenny wilkens with terry pluto

“So I was traded to the worst team in the NBA that played in the worst arena with perhaps the worst fan support. I had a choice: I could pout and perhaps try to force a trade. Or I could make the best of what many would consider a bad situation.” (142)

“He also had some substitution patterns that made no sense, leaving some of our best players on the bench for long stretches in critical parts of the game. His idea of motivation was to write on the blackboard before a big game: IT’S NOT THE DOG IN THE FIGHT THAT COUNTS, IT’S THE FIGHT IN THE DOG.” (125)

“What often happens when a team changes coaches is that players receive an immediate infusion of energy. That’s why so many teams win their first game after bringing in a new coach. The adrenaline doesn’t carry over for long, but for one night, it can really fire up a team.” (165)

“I learned from dealing with Wicks that when a player is truly unhappy, he only makes the other players anxious and easily disgruntled. There’s only one thing you can do: Trade him. Keeping a malcontent around doesn’t make him any better, it just makes the entire situation worse. No matter what you get in return, you benefit from the addition by subtraction.” (151)

“Not getting past the second round of the playoffs was like a bone in all of our throats. It was always there, even when we tried to pretend otherwise. As a coach, the hard part was that the regular season hardly seemed to matter. Ther was virtually no criticism of how we played the first 82 games. Over and over, we heard that the team overachieved. But then we supposedly ‘underachieved’ in the playoffs. That just didn’t seem right.” (272)

“Our rut was we’d win 50 games in the regular season and be near the top of the Central Division, but in the playoffs we’d lose int he second round. The fact that we lost to a more talented team in the second round-or that we never should have won those 50-some games in the regular season…well, none of that mattered.
We were good, but not good enough.” (264)

i got many a chill reading this book this week of the NBA playoff season. i felt like he could’ve been writing about right now, and it’s not a coincidence that this man who had this history in atlanta ended the last chapter of this book just as he was taking the head coach job in toronto. what i would give to hear his opinion of dwayne casey, and any advice he might have to the man. the only thing i really want an answer to is why we’ve been punished for so long seeing james johnson on the bench? i’ve never wanted a trade so badly as i do for this guy if we’re not going to play him.

staying power-this man could do the seminar. there’s so much here-so much history and so much witness. i’ve oft stated that i’ve noticed or aspired to a lenny wilkens‘ record in life-the winningest and losingest. the bottom line squad goal is to always be living and learning, trying and succeeding. what an inspiration to us all.


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