Sounding Off: NINE To Five (Rip & Tracy)

by Sandy Dover / @SandmanSeven

Sometimes, I have a lot of thoughts and opinions on some happenings that have occurred in the world of the NBA. But many times, I don’t have the conviction to write 700 words on every singular subject of interest — but I may have a bunch of short bits to communicate en masse, on occasion. And so I’ll be Sounding Off on occasion. Holler.

Seeing Richard Hamilton end up on the Detroit Pistons‘ bench is a little tragic. It’s not World War III or any sort of hyperbolic comparison that’s often made when there are conflicts in the sports world, but it does disappoint a little. Clearly, Rip doesn’t like the circumstances of his presence on the team right now, and head coach John Kuester hasn’t really done well with communication (that I know of), and it hurts him further as the team looks to move on with different ownership (which reads as the potential lack of a job after the season ends…or earlier, for him). With that said, Rip probably should be silent and talk to management, and Kuester should explain himself, at least in the sense of getting No. 32 on board with the game plan. This could be avoided totally without there being a great big issue.

One thing about the Pistons that everyone knows is that they suck. They are losers in the League, and sometimes, in an effort to help build up developing players, it’s widely known that some veterans are sat down. Now, most of the time, said vets are actually not presently-productive team legends, but in this seemingly hopeless case of Detroit, which Rip being included in potential trades, sitting him doesn’t seem like that bad of an idea, as preserves him and keeps teams from seeing what could be his present-day flaws and has them ideating about what all he can still do. In this sense, it helps the former starting shooting guard.

Kuester, though a good assistant coach and seemingly a very competent head coach, hasn’t really clicked with the players and for whatever reason, he’s no longer the sacred cow of the Pistons’ identity. He needs to get on board with rebuilding some relationships, because it’s not like the players were known to be uber-whiners individually. All the signs point to some feathers being rubbed the wrong way, and while coaches have a responsibility to shake players out of their malaise and into playing winning basketball, there also are more productive ways to build identity without people wanting to rip your head off.

I’m so disappointed in Larry Brown. Not even a month after he left the Charlotte Bobcats, Mr. Play The Right Way was jonesing over the idea of coaching again, after essentially quitting on his team and whining (again) about his players. He clearly has no discernible conscience and even more upsetting is that he will use the media (again) to lobby for a new job that another NBA team may actually be silly enough to give him. I really don’t understand this man. He said after his very first season with the Bobcats, when he took them to the Playoffs, that he sort of yearned to go back to Philadelphia where his family is (and where a front office job was open with the 76ers at the time). Fine, but then you get the time off and after shamelessly walking away from your team, you go and request for another position, despite your child-like nonsense and selfishness as a career head coach?

Only in America.

Tracy McGrady is starting for the Pistons. He’s playing point guard. And he’s winning. He’s come full circle.

Remember when he came out of Mount Zion Christian Academy in North Carolina as a high schooler, and the dude was playing all the perimeter positions? He was primarily a point guard back then. Remember when he was being constantly admonished by former Toronto Raptors head coach Darrell Walker? The times when he did play and got productive minutes, he was a point guard for much of the time.

I say these things because it frustrates me constantly when scouts and people in general see tall players playing non-traditional positions according to their size, and then the players are subsequently moved over to whatever mundane position of the day it might be. T-Mac’s success at running the point in Detroit isn’t an anomaly. He’s always been a point guard, but he’s also been other things on the floor, and those other things shouldn’t have ever made one of his “unorthodox” gifts be made to be of less importance, because the truth of the matter is that Tracy became a star from learning how to fuse his playmaker skills with his scoring prowess.

Tracy McGrady is finally a point guard. Again.

Sandy Dover is a novelist/writer, artist, and fitness enthusiast whose work has been published by US News, Yahoo!, featured in Robert Atwan’s “America Now“, and now in Buckets and Playmaker magazines. You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at Facebook and Twitter.