TrueHoop: John Kuester
- The Spurs have been opting for a lot of small-ball lineups this season, to mixed results. Timothy Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell is "surprised to see that small ball treats San Antonio well, and more often than people want to admit," but also wonders whether the decision to put four perimeter players on the floor doesn't compromise the Spurs defensively: "It’s hard to funnel the guards into shot-blockers when they’re sitting on the bench..."
- The people have spoken on LeBron-Kobe.
- Kevin Durant describes Derrick Rose's dunk in Phoenix last night as "NBA live 2004-ish."
- Kevin Garnett returned to the floor for Boston last night. Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub notes that, after the game, KG was looking for feedback from teammates on his pick-and-roll defense: "One of the 25 best players ever, a member of the 20,000-point club ... comes back from an injury and he’s concerned most about…how well he’s jumping out to cut off penetration on screen/rolls? If Amaré Stoudemire made screen/roll defense, oh, I don’t know, the 27th-highest priority on his list, he might be someone people talk about as a great all-around player and franchise cornerstone."
- Kyle Weidie of Truth About It visited with Wizards' guard Mike James, who's been unhappy this season with his lack of playing time. James tells Weidie that, amid the disappointment, there's been one highlight: "James said the lone bright spot for him this season was when he played against the Pacers. Not because he actually got to play in an NBA game, but because he got to be on the court with A.J. Price, his basketball protégé with whom he often speaks. James and Price share a hometown in Amityville, NY, and James hopes that someone was able to capture a picture of the two on the floor together back on that early November night."
- New Orleans has had depth issues in recent seasons, but last night the reserves sparked the Hornets. Niall Doherty of Hornets247: "No coincidence that Darren Collison, Marcus Thornton and Julian Wright were all on the floor for both those stretches. Individually, all three of those guys had some great plays tonight, but it was a whole different ballgame when they were out there together. It was some Captain Planet, by our powers combined-type ish."
- What would you have said a year ago if someone told you that a Grizzlies-Thunder matchup would be the gem of a busy Friday night slate of games in January 2010?
- Portland Roundball Society chronicles how the Trail Blazers almost pulled off an improbable upset in Boston: "Andre Miller and Martell Webster led the Blazers on a near-heroic comeback to force overtime. Each showed steely nerves, scoring five points apiece as the regulation clock wound down."
- How do a team's offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency influence each other? Bret LaGree of Hoopinion asks, "How much is a team's offensive efficiency related to how often they force turnovers or how well they rebound defensively? Conversely, does a team's defensive efficiency reflect its ability or inability to score on a high percentage of its offensive possessions and thus get its defense set?" Brett Hainline of Queen City Hoops offers some insight from the Bobcats' look in Atlanta last night: "On Atlanta's 6 steals, they scored on 5 of those possessions, with one play being one of their and-ones, so 11 points on those 6 chances."
- Paul Pierce yuks it up with the Boston media (via Green Street).
- Shawn Marion hearts NY.
- Dan Feldman of PistonPowered digs through media archives to see if there's a deeper history to the exchange that occurred last night between Detroit head coach John Kuester and Tayshaun Prince.
- Devin Harris is unlikely to play when the Nets look for their fourth win of the year in Salt Lake City tonight. Keyon Dooling will get the start in his place, according to Dave D'Alessandro. Dooling tells D'Alessandro that Terrence Williams -- who will move into the backup point guard role while Harris is sidelined -- has "been the best player in practice. His talent is through the roof."
- Incredibly, the Raptors ride their zone defense to a comeback win over Milwaukee. That might say more about the Bucks' dearth of guys who can shoot the ball from the perimeter than the Raptors' strategic wizardry.
- The next time I complain that it's 54 and rainy in Los Angeles, remind me to click on this.
Before he was head coach of the Detroit Pistons, long before, John Kuester had the same job at Washington D.C.'s George Washington University.
In 1988-89, that team was abysmal, finishing 1-27.
The one was against John Calipari's UMass team.
Dan Steinberg of the D.C. Sports Bog has been through the archives and found that game was really something.
Not only did the G.W. students storm the floor and cut down the nets, but Kuester reportedly shed a tear. Calipari? He pretty much lost it, as the Washington Post reported at the time:
During the spurt that put the game out of reach, Massachusetts Coach John Calipari grew more and more furious with the officials. First Calipari took off his coat and threw it. Then after a foul was called on one of his players with 3:41 left, Calipari took off his tie and started to unbutton his shirt. That's when the officials slapped him with a technical. Calipari then stomped to the end of the bench and shook hands with the Colonials' mascot. Then he walked behind the bench and gave high fives to the George Washington student section.
"I apologize for my actions," Calipari said. "If they hadn't called the 'T', I would have been barechested."
A few years ago, a friend suggested I make a big chart like the cops use in mob movies. All those photos, with all those lines showing the structure of relationships among networks of people.
Only instead of researching a crime family, I should chart Larry Brown and the long string of coaches who surround him.
John Kuester: One of a zillion NBA coaches with ties to Larry Brown.
(David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images)
It is, my friend suggested, a helpful way to understand many things that happen in the NBA, and would be especially helpful today.
Basketball's inventor, James Naismith, would be up there, with a line to Phog Allen who learned from the originator. Allen has a direct line to Dean Smith, who coached ... Larry Brown.
Then the chart would start to get really wide, because the list of people who coaches who have played for or worked under Brown is immense. This is only the beginning:
- San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was once Brown's assistant, and best man. (And Cleveland head coach Mike Brown used to work under Popovich in the job Popovich used to have under Brown.)
- Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry coached under Brown in San Antonio, on a staff with Popovich and San Antonio executive R.C. Buford.
- Boston coach Doc Rivers played for Brown when he coached the Clippers.
- New York's Donnie Walsh was once Brown's assistant coach, in Denver, where Paul Silas (LeBron James' first NBA coach) played for Larry Brown.
- New Orleans coach Byron Scott played under Brown in Indiana.
- Atlanta coach Mike Woodson was an assistant to Brown in Detroit.
- Former Detroit coach Michael Curry played for Brown in Detroit.
If you made your big board of the Brown basketball coaching family, many lines would connect Kuester and Brown:
- Kuester assisted Brown in Detroit and for his entire six-year run in Philadelphia.
- Just like Larry Brown, Kuester played college basketball for Dean Smith at North Carolina. Kuester played from 1973-1977.
- In October 1978, when Larry Brown was the head coach of the Nuggets, the team signed Kuester -- who played the better part of three seasons in the NBA -- to his second NBA contract, which expired at the end of season (when Brown was replaced by Walsh).
Here's where that gets especially interesting. I know it seems like ancient history now, but Brown left the Pistons in a hail of bitterness. Brown and the Pistons reportedly severed ties after Brown betrayed the Pistons by reportedly courting a job as team president of the team Kuester is leaving, the Cleveland Cavaliers, even as the Pistons were in the 2005 Finals. (Brown then didn't get the job with the Cavaliers, and landed in New York and now Charlotte.)
Of course, that was four years ago, and the Pistons' owner Bill Davidson has since passed on. Is the reported hiring of Kuester a sign that the Pistons have mended ties with Larry Brown and his family tree of coaches? Perhaps.
Or it's a sign that it's hard to find a good coach who doesn't have ties to Brown.
Posted by Kevin Arnovitz
- The sophomores just finished their practice, with Cleveland assistant John Kuester running through sets. Right now, Kurt Rambis is leading the rookies through a walkthrough. Rambis' playbook is pretty basic -- a couple of flex sets, two bigs at the elbow in a horns set, etc. Kuester's stuff seemed a lot more complex. It must be challenging to draw up any meaningful x's and o's strategy when you have little more than an hour with a group of budding superstars who've never played together in their lives.
- By and large, most of the sophomores were going through the motions. They were certainly attentive and willing participants, but most seemed either tired, distracted, or a little bored. You know who was having the time of his life? Al Horford. The guy radiates light. He tackled the little rebounding drill as if it were moments before Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals. After the practice, he received the media with a big smile.
- After being snubbed from the rookie game last season, Al Thornton is thrilled to be in Phoenix. "I should've been here last year, but I guess I had to get better." Ran into Al's dad in the hotel lobby -- the gang is out here from Perry, Georgia to watch him.
- Most bizarre sign-of-the-times moment of the session: I'm sitting in the bleachers with Seth from Bright Side of the Sun, both of us toiling on our laptops. Seth has a bottle of Dasani water resting beside him. A young Gatorade official approaches Seth and demands that he remove the label from his water as long as he's sitting in the area.