Basketball, NBA, NCAA Tournament, Sports, Sports Commentary

It pays to take one step at a time …


It pays to take one step at a time …

The sporting weekend brought about a number of thrilling events, with perhaps the most scintillating of them all, being the Elite Eight games, which led to the Final Four of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . The quartet of teams now making up the Final Four, are among the most renowned programs in Men’s Basketball at the D1 Level. Needless to say, the fans of College Basketball as well as the programs in question, have to be enthralled by the events which have taken place.

=========================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


=========================

Slideshow.

There can be no denying these four teams have played the best throughout much of the tournament , with the highly favored and regular season unbeaten Kentucky (Wildcats) leading the way. John Calipari will be seeking to win the second national title of his career, while looking add his name alongside John Wooden and Bobby Knight as the only coaches in College Basketball to have led their respective programs to a national title and an unbeaten season during the same year. There is a great deal of pressure on this Wildcats’ team to succeed while adding their name to basketball immortality .

Mike Krzyzewski as the head coach of the Duke (Blue Devils) will be making his twelfth appearance in the Men’s Final Four , while also seeking his fifth national title for the program. Needless to say, Krzyzewski in some circles might be considered one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history and has to be ranked alongside such legendary luminaries John Wooden , Bobby Knight and Adolph Rupp . I certainly believe if Krzyzewski can lead Duke past Michigan State (Spartans) on Saturday , 4th April,2015. Then this sets up the Blue Devils for the chances to add a fifth title to the program’s already illustrious history.

(4)

The four remaining head coaches will lead their respective programs in the Final Four . Clockwise, Mike Krzyzewski , top left , John Calipari top right , Tom Izzo, bottom right , and finally , Bo Ryan . AP Photo / Mark Howard

Tom Izzo’s name has become synonymous with the success achieved at the Michigan State Spartans’ program and his having led Michigan to what will now become their fifth Final Four appearance and the thirteenth time, where he has taken the Spartans beyond or where they have reached the Sweet Sixteen, during his two-decade plus career with Michigan State. This contest has the makings of a classic match-up between two legendary head coahes. As to the outcome , everything might suggest the Blue Devils being a slight favorite , but absolutely nothing can now be take for granted at this juncture.

The second of the two Final Four contests pits the Kentucky Wildcats against the Wisconsin (Badgers) , coached by Bo Ryan . Wisconsin like their opponents are regional number one seeds remaining at this stage of the NCAA Tournament, further highlighting, why ‘ March Madness ‘ is far more an exciting a premise, than the ” perceived idiocy “ of College Football and the recent changes made within the sport. Undoubtedly, there will be a great deal of tinkering being made to the current format as the sport looks to legitimize its standing in Collegiate Athletics, with their being the constant criticism of an archaic and money-driven format within College Football.

As fans of College Basketball along with analysts covering the sport debate the merits of the four teams left in the tournament , the unfolding stories which tend to encapsulate the event will now be front and center over the next few days , until we have the first of two tip-offs to determine who will be the two finalists in the national championship game.

With a mere seven games to be played for the vast majority of the teams in the 2014-15 regular NBA season. It has been interesting to see the fallout from what has been an understated season . Granted, the play of several players having exceptional seasons , with James Harden , Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook seen as the front-runners for this season’s League MVP Award. All three players have led their respective teams to a playoff berth , with only the Golden State Warriors (60-13) having secured a divisional title, winning the Pacific Division within the Western Conference , rather comfortably over their closest divisional rival the Los Angeles Clippers.

With the Golden State Warriors being the only team to have won sixty games or more this season. The Atlanta Hawks are the only other possible franchise now in with a remote chance of matching the Warriors’ feat with regard to exceeding sixty victories this season . It does seem to leave something of a question mark as to how competitive the NBA has been over the course of this regular season schedule. Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr has a team playing with a great deal of confidence .

With nine games left on their schedule , the Golden State Warriors have already set the franchise record for wins in a season , beating out the mark set by the 1974-75 team, coached by Al Attles and led on the court by of Hall of Fame player Rick Barry . This was a year removed from the team that won the NBA title . With the division won, and mathematically , Golden State cannot be caught within the Western Conference for the best record . Steve Kerr will likely mix things up somewhat , by having his bench players play an even bigger role , resting his starters as the season winds down . However, with a game coming up against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, 31st March , I am inclined to believe once that contest’s results are in the books , Kerr and the coaching staff will place that particular strategy into being.

(7)

Al Attles who coached the Golden State Warriors to their only NBA title , in their victory over the Washington Senators in the 1974-75 NBA Finals . Attles is still closely involved with the franchise where is he is a team ambassador . NBAE/ Getty Images @ all rights reserved

Spare me the excuses and niceties when it comes to the mediocrity shown by the Los Angeles Lakers , New York Knicks , Minnesota Timberwolves , Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers ! Their front offices smacks of incompetence, with the continued apathy shown by their respective legion of fans, with their mundane and asinine analysis of their teams’ failures, shows them to be just as lacking of intelligence as the general managers and owners in question of the aforementioned teams. Plans were scuppered by conceit , stupidity , but above all poor coaching by Byron Scott , Derek Fisher , Flip Saunders , Jaime Borrego and Brett Brown . As to whether or not., either of the quintet of coaches will be returning for next season, will likely be predicated upon how their teams close out their respective schedules. Consistency , among these five teams have provided us with more than a rare glimpse to why by enlarge the NBA remains a diaspora of extremely average teams, with few being able to win more than 60 % of their games over the course of the season.

Phil Jackson’s competency as a front office executive has to come into question. The New York Knicks could barely stand on their own feet, having to be propped up more often than not, with little to show for a consistent lack of effort. It doesn’t pain me to say this ___ “but what the hell are the Knicks doing, playing as they have been, simply, making a mockery of the NBA “?

The Knicks are simply living on past glories , with their showing no signs of improvement or actually knowing how to extricate themselves out their own mess.

Needless to say, with their fans living in hope that the 2015-16 season, brings about a sea of change with the franchise being able to sign several marquee free agents. My question for these very same self-absorbed and self-indulgent fans, who coaches the team next season ? Clearly, Derek Fisher has little or no knowledge as to what is needed and his coaching staff has provided little assistance in trying to turn things around for the franchise over the course of this season. A great deal of the blame, has to be placed firmly on the shoulders of Phil Jackson , with his ego managing to get in the way of common sense and astute thinking, concerning the hiring of Fisher.

(8)

Derek Fisher head coach of the New York Knicks is seen at the dais , taking questions posed from the convened press after his formal introduction in his capacity as head of the Knicks’ coaching staff. . Also pictured are GM Steve Mills , second from the right , alongside Phil Jackson who heads up the Basketball Operations for the Eastern Conference based franchise.. The Knicks will end this season with the worst record in the NBA and in the team’s recent history. Jackson has yet to commit himself to Fisher and the coaching staff next season , but there is likely to be a major shakeup among the playing and coaches during the off-season. With NBA Draft due on the 25th June ,2015 , all signs would point to the fact , any moves would likely be made prior to the event . AP Photo / Howard Roberts

There has been a marked difference , in how both the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks have gone about rebuilding their respective organizations over the past few seasons. New York , has simply been wayward, with little thought or strategic planning being put into place and owner James Dolan , simply treating the franchise like a priceless bauble , something to be stared at and admired from afar, little does he realize , that the structure has been falling apart at the seams during that time-fame. In the case of the Warriors , it has been sound management within its hierarchy led by Jerry West, who alongside GM Bob Myers , has been given a clear path to proceed along by joint-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber . Golden State might well be in a better position to forge ahead with their bold ambitions while the Knicks are likely be to foraging around for pieces of scraps left at the table by the rest of the NBA. It pretty much has summed up their season this year , and in many respects the greater half of these last twelve years .

=========================

==========================

Picture gallery. By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in a reformatted size alongside the pictured narrative.

As an impartial observer or avid fan of the NBA, where do you believe the New York Knicks might have gone wrong over the last six years ? Also are you of the opinion Phil Jackson will ultimately succeed in turning things around for the franchise , whether he chooses to step backing into a head coach’s role or not ? Of the quartet teams making up the Final Four , which pairing do you believe is likely to provide the fans with the most entertaining national title game ? Chime with your observations and thoughts as you see fit.

🙂

Tophatal

Social media access : Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal’s Blog on Twitter.com

Tophatal’s Blog on Pinterest.com

=======

NCAA Men’s Basketball

NCAA Men’s Basketball news

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (brackets)

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament results 29th March and 28th March, 2015

NCAA March Madness

—-

NBA

NBA news

NBA schedule 30th March

NBA schedule 31st March and for the 1st April

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA projected playoffs match-ups

Golden State Warriors’ history

Golden State Warriors’ profile

Golden State Warriors’ news

Golden State Warriors’ roster and coaching staff

This month in NBA history
—–