March 02, 2005

The inmates are running the asylum: Portland Trailblazers coach Mo Cheeks fired.

posted by dusted to basketball at 03:33 PM - 8 comments

It is a shame that his players didn't pay back his respect with respect. Of course, with a 22-33 record, it isn't really a huge surprise either.

posted by Joey Michaels at 03:59 PM on March 02

I'm a big Portland fan, and I'm not entirely sure whether this was the right move or not. I'm glad I got to be at Cheeks' last game in Portland, though. I'm not sure if the Blazers' incredibly disappointing season is a player issue or a coaching issue, however. I've seen a lot of plays that I knew for a fact Cheeks didn't call - I can't see him saying "OK, here's the plan: Damon, you take it down the court, dribble around languidly for 20 seconds, and then take an ill-advised shot while being double teamed!" But some of the issues I've seen in Portland's play are definitely coach-related. For example, I've seen it happen time and time again in Blazers games where the ball is force-fed to Zach Randolph when he's up against the toughest defender on the team (like Kevin Garnett or Tim Duncan, for example), even if he sets the weakest pick in the WORLD, doesn't cut away from the ball after the pick, and hasn't lost his defender at all. I suppose it's not for me to say whether that's a coaching decision or a player decision, but it's happened so many times this season that I have to believe that it's a play they run with some frequency. The Blazers are so, so close to being a great team - they have been close in almost every game they've lost, even to playoff-caliber teams, they're almost always within striking distance with 5 minutes to play - but they can never, ever pull it out when they need to win. Hopefully a new coach will change that, but it won't change Zach's selfish attitude, Portland's meddling media creating distractions, or the fact that they basically have two lineups that can't be mixed and matched without creating bizarre defensive matchups and losing any chemistry or momentum they had going for them. Also, they should spend any extra money they have on hiring a full-time free throw coach. Jesus, 60% of the games they've lost this year would have been wins if they hadn't missed 10 free throws throughout the game. Can Mo Cheeks be blamed for that?

posted by bridgie therease at 06:17 PM on March 02

I think Mo Cheeks is a great guy, but he just isn't a coach. He gives Nick Van Exel(who is retiring after this season) about 35-40 minutes a game, and gives rookie Sabastian Telfair, who has great potential, about 5-10 minutes a game. This would be fine if they were a playoff team, but it's obvious that the blazers wont be a playoff team. They need to let the young guys get experience. If they lose, so what? they know they arn't going to the playoffs, they might as well get a better draft pick.

posted by cowtrasher at 06:36 PM on March 02

I don't follow basketball that closely, but he'll always be a great guy in my books for helping out that young anthem singer a while back.

posted by grum@work at 06:37 PM on March 02

And I completely agree with the free throw thing, for as much as they get payed, they should all shoot free throws like Damon Stoudamire. (Stoudamire is leading the NBA in free throw %)

posted by cowtrasher at 06:37 PM on March 02

This will clearly make the Blazers the championship team they are supposed to be. (sarcasm) I'm beginning to wonder if maybe a lot of NBA teams shouldn't even have coaches and just let the players go play streetball. Yeah, they would lose, but at least it would be exciting and they wouldn't have all these player coach disputes.

posted by Bonkers at 07:23 PM on March 02

I for one think Mo did a good job. He was given a group of players who don't understand the word team. Portland will be worse off, who'd want to coach these guys? Dunleavy had the same problems as Cheeks. Talent, skills, whatever, it doesn't win ball games, unless you use it right. 10 team mates working for the same purpose, win. Good luck to Mo, Good luck to the poor bastard who inherites this group. Hey maybe Phil Jackson wants a real challenge.

posted by km2262 at 07:57 PM on March 02

I think that Mo Cheeks should take the Temple job.

posted by insomnyuk at 01:22 AM on March 03

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