Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hi. I'm a professional motivational speaker.

I'd just like to throw my two cents in about John Lucas's involvement in the Beasley issue and his supposed expertise and success with rehabbing players.

Full disclosure and not so brief aside:  I am a huge fan of Jerry Tarkanian and have always held a grudge about John Lucas replacing him as the Spurs' head coach in 1992 after only 20 games (Tark was 9-11!.  One of the driving forces behind Tarkanian's firing was Dale Ellis's public expression of discontent.  Dale Ellis!  Though One of my favorite factoids about the Tark firing is as follows:  "Tarkanian may have actually brought about his own dismissal with a letter he sent to McCombs on Monday urging the acquisition of a point guard and arguing that the team could simply not win without one. "All I wanted was a point guard," he said."  (Source:  New York Times.))

Back to the subject at hand.  This week it has become clear that the entire NBA world sees John Lucas as some kind of rehabilitation specialist.  He helped TJ Ford recover from his back injury.  He counseled Sean Williams while at BC.  He rehabilitated Daryl Strawberry in the early 90's.

HEYWAITAMINUTE!  Strawberry was back on coke and ho's approximately twelve times after Lucas's intervention.  Sean Williams never made anything of himself.  And TJ Ford, well, he didn't exactly have a drug problem and I'm not sure making a player work hard qualifies someone as anything more than a drill sergeant.

John Lucas, when he was with the Spurs, was a successful coach.  He threw it all away by taking an offer  behind his team president's back to become the Sixers' General Manager, Vice President, and Coach.  That didn't work out so well for him and he spent the next two seasons going 24-58 and then 18-64. (He was noted for trying to take Derrick Coleman on as a reclamation project.  It did not go well.)

Lucas then went on to coach the Cavs, where he was fired in his second year after having the worst record in the league.  (One could, however, argue that Lucas's poor record led Cleveland to the acquisition of LeBron James, in which case I may be underestimating his genius.)

My point here is not that Lucas was a terrible coach (though I think he was) or that he can't rehabilitate players.  But he currently makes his living as a consultant for players to hire and the Beasley situation is getting him more publicity than I've ever heard him get before.

I can't help but think that Lucas is charging a pretty penny (pursuant to the NBA's rules, the team must pay for treatment in its substance abuse program) for his services and it's a little questionable that it's been publicly announced that he is working with Beasley to overcome an issue that should be privately addressed.  I think Lucas's history of player oversight (Lloyd Daniels, Derrick Coleman, Vernon Maxwell, Darius Miles, DaJuan Wagner, and Ricky Davis played under him, to name a few) is questionable.  And I think that in Michael Beasley, Lucas may have found the best possible PR boon his company will ever receive.

More conspiracy theories soon!

As always, e-mail me at dontgiveupthebasketballblog@gmail.com 

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