Tag Archives: Terry Porter

Bucks Weeked: Bogut gets Shaq’ed… Terry Porter and more

ShaqShaq dominates Bogut: School was in session Saturday at the Bradley Center for Bucks center Andrew Bogut and fans as a well-rested Shaquille O’Neal demonstrated what superstar center play can do for a team. Shaq beat Bogut in the post time after time, shooting his half-hook over him; hitting that push shot in his face; wheeling around him for dunks and even hitting his free throws on his way to a 29-point, 11-rebound tutorial. Shaq shot 12-16 from the floor and shared the wealth with four assists as the Suns won 104-96. “He looked like he was in his prime again,” Bogut told reporters after the game. The Bucks did make it interesting as Ramon Sessions led rookies Luc Mbah a Moute and Joe Alexander (with Bogut and RJ) on a charge that pulled the Bucks to within 81-80 midway through the 4th quarter. But Shaq, Leandro Barbosa and Steve Nash stopped the young Bucks cold with an 11-2 run to put the game out of reach. Sessions led the Bucks with 23.

The lesson here for young centers like Bogut is that Shaq can still be Shaq, and they’re not all that. Wonder what he’s got in store for Dwight Howard?  The asterisk shall be removed from Shaq’s entry in the Bob Boozer Jinx center rankings, where I’m happy to report that I knew Bogut and other centers weren’t all that and had the Diesel listed third, with said asterisk.

The Bucks fired Terry Porter two days after the predraft workout of Andrew Bogut (left).

Bogut gets the Shaq treatment:  Phoenix Suns coach Terry Porter gave Shaquille O’Neal the night off Friday in Chicago, part of a rest-a-Shaq plan for Suns back-to-back games. Why not do the more obvious thing and rest Shaq in Milwaukee on the second night of this weekend’s back-to-backs?  Andrew Bogut.

“Most likely he probably will play, in that type of scenario when they have a post presence. And historically (Andrew) Bogut has hurt the Phoenix Suns in the last few years so we will definitely try to play him (Saturday),” Porter said.

As Bucks head coach 2003-05, Porter conducted Bogut’s pre-draft workout two days before being fired (see photo at right). Saturday is Milwaukee native Porter’s Bradley Center debut as the head coach of the Suns, his only BC appearance this season. Porter might, however, want to rethink his rest-a-Shaq schedule. The Bulls blew out the Suns 100-83, dominating on the boards in the 1st half. The Bulls? Dominating the glass?  (Yeah, I wrote this before Shaq humbled Bogut on Saturday; but c’mon – the Bulls, dominating the glass?) 

Celtics bench handles Bucks:  Well, it was good for three quarters, definitely an improvement and without Michael Redd in the lineup. The Celtics were at full strength and led 75-70 heading into the 4th quarter. The Bucks fumbled this game away while Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Celtics center Kendrick Perkins were on the bench to start the 4th. Richard Jefferson, who led the Bucks with 20, and Andrew Bogut were likewise taking breathers as the Celtics got going with three steals. Coach Skiles quickly sent Bogut back in to help restore some order, but the refs hit Bogut with his 5th foul on a ticky-tack call. So much for that Idea.

Next thing Bucks fans knew Lucky Luke Ridnour‘s alter ego, Crazy Luke came to play; Charlie Villanueva put on his Redd shoes and chucked up a couple of ill-advised long jumpers; the whistles blew and blew on the Bucks; and the game was over. Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn’t even bother putting Ray back into the game. He didn’t need to – the Bucks lost it to the Celtics’ other Allen, Tony. With a game against the Suns Saturday night, Skiles didn’t bother putting Bogut back in either. R.J. also got a rest.

Joe Alexander scored his first NBA hoop Friday — a 3-pointer in garbage time. Joe finished with 3 pts. …. The Bucks frontcourt played solid and the Bucks held advantage on the scoreboard while Bogut was on the court, despite some embarassing moments: Perkins blocked his shot not once, not twice but three times!!!  Possible effects of spending an Olympic summer in Basketball Australia’s cortisone gulag?  Bogut had 11 pts, 8 rebs. Charlie V added 13 pts, 12 rebs, almost all of it in the first half.

Devin Harris spoils Iverson’s Debut debut:  Allen Iverson hit the floor running for the Pistons Friday night, then proceeded to watch ‘Tosa’s own Devin Harris shoot free throws all second half as the Nets won in New Jersey, 103-96. New Jersey point guard Harris was 19-22 from the line and scored 38 pts, being hacked equally by the Pistons guard crew, including four from Iverson in the 3rd quarter. 

As eye-popping as Harris’ performance was, Iverson should work his way into the Pistons defensive schemes easily enough. The bigger trouble for Detroit following the Iverson trade is losing Antonio McDyess’ help in the paint. New Jersey center Josh Boone had his way Friday with the Detroit frontline, scoring 9-12 from the floor for 18 pts, and grabbed 14 boards. This shouldn’t surprise Bucks fans: the 6′ 10″ Boone gave Bogut fits last season in the Nets’ four wins against the Bucks. These Pistons are softer than ever under the hoop and off-season acquisition Kwame Brown is no kind of answer. The Cavs, Sixers and Magic have gotta like what happened in the New Jersey paint. Bogut and the Bucks will take note, too.

Indiana Pacers forward Troy Murphy, right, drives to the basket against New Jersey Nets forward Yi Jianlian (9), of China, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008. Yi Jianlian says “Hi”: He must be waving hello to all of us in Milwaukee because what he’s doing there Saturday against Pacers big forward Troy Murphy can’t possibly be defense, can it?  After beating Iverson and the Pistons Friday, the Nets went on to Indianapolis where the Pacers the previous Saturday had surprised the Celtics in a win. New Jersey had no better luck than Boston, losing big, 98-80. Yi and Nets center Boone in particular had rough nights, shooting a combined 3-16 after teaming up for 30 against Detroit. Yi finished with 2 pts, 11 rebs in the loss. The guy he was allegedly guarding? Murphy rumbled for 17pts, 10 rebs. Both the Nets and the Pacers are 2-3.

How ya doin’ Yi?  In five games as a starter this season, Yi is averaging 9.2 pts and 7.8 rebs in 25 mins. Along the way, he’s blocked five shots and taken care of the ball, which was a problem here last year. He’s turned it over just six times so far.


Boris DiawRemember when the Suns put Leandro Barbosa and Boris Diaw on the trading block last summer in hopes of acquiring a veteran star to help Shaq and Steve Nash make a run at a championship? (No, Chad Ford at ESPN, the Suns could not possibly have thought that moving up your overhyped draft would get them to the NBA Finals). Michael Redd, some speculation went, would be a natural fit for the Suns, who could use a prolific scorer to give Nash another option.  Barbosa ($ 6.1 million salary) + Diaw ($9 mill) = $15.1 mill, a nice, neat fit under NBA trade rules with one Michael Redd ($15.78 mill).

Rumors surrounded Diaw and Barbosa and a few teams in the days before the draft. On draft day the Bucks swung the Yi for R.J. trade and suddenly Redd was off the table. Well, what about now?  Barbosa and Diaw are still in Phoenix, coming off of Porter’s bench. Given how active the Bucks look without Redd and that coach Skiles sure wouldn’t mind two more quick, active players with playoff experience, Bucks GM Hammond should take a good look at this trade, if Phoenix is willing.

Diaw, 26 and entering his 6th NBA season, can play three positions – shooting guard, small forward and big forward. As always, in accordance with the jinx that is the title of this blog, the Bucks could use some help at power forward. So far this season, Diaw’s minutes are down under new Suns coach Porter.

Barbosa, also 26 and in his 6th NBA season, is known for his full court speed, ability to get to the rim and his 3-point shooting. He’s a career .408 3-point shooter, 7th best among active players. (Redd, at .384 is 18th active, but a very average .365 since becoming a starter 5 years ago). Barbosa is the type of guard who thrives in Skiles’ ball movement offense and would look great flying all over the court with Ridnour, Sessions, R.J. and Luc Mbah a Moute. Add Diaw and the two Charlies and the Bucks would have a versatile, athletic team to go with their big center, and plenty muscle on the bench for the East.

At this stage in Redd’s career, playing with Steve Nash is a better deal than anything Skiles has to offer with Ridnour and Sessions. Nash = open 3’s. Redd’s nearing 30 and probably shouldn’t be bothered breaking in a young point guard (Sessions) which is where the Bucks seem headed over the next year or so. Redd’s been down that road before with T.J. Ford and Mo Williams. While Skiles is speeding things up in Milwaukee, Terry Porter is slowing things down in Phoenix, emphasizing half court offense and defense. Redd would be the prolific scoring remedy to complement the inside game of Stoudemire and Shaq, and Nash would make it work. Redd’s defensive shortcomings would still be there, but a new environment might be what he needs more than anything else.

What about Terry Porter? Would he want Michael Redd to join him on his second head coaching job? This is an unknown. Redd had his breakout season under Porter, and there seems no reason Redd and Porter couldn’t be reunited. This is a good trade for both teams, right? Or is there a reason? Prior to Porter’s last season in Milwaukee, he gave this interview to Inside Sports. Even then, the coaching emphasis for Redd was “to get other guys, other teammates involved”; to “make the adjustment by making his teammates better”; and this:

…. “We don’t have a bona fide superstar, we don’t have a Shaq or a KG or a Tim Duncan, so there’s no true anchor like that. Mike (Redd) had a great year last year and it’s going to be a lot of pressure on him to try to duplicate that this year and try to get the same numbers. But we really try to rely on teammates offensively and defensively.”

Sounds as though the ball movement and decision-making issues with Redd were brewing the season before the Bucks maxed Redd’s contract in 2005. It’s that idea that Redd is not Kobe, and shouldn’t ever have tried to play like him. I’m sure, however, that Porter realizes that many of those issues never would have arisen in Milwaukee if the Bucks had started an experienced point guard in the backcourt with Redd. The Phoenix Suns don’t have that problem.

Bucks coach Jim Boylan: In the spirit of Al McGuire

Members of the 1977 Marquette Basketball team.  Left to right: Jim Boylan, Bill Neary, Ulice Payne, Butch Lee, Jim Dudley, Gary Rosenberger, Bernard Toone, Jerome Whitehead, Craig Butrym, Robert Byrd and Bo Ellis.Find Bucks assistant coach Jim Boylan in that suave, Billy Dee Williams cool,  disco days meets “The Great Gatsby” photo to the right and win the first ever Bob Boozer Jinx door prize.

The photo, from the Marquette archives, via a Sports Illustrated ‘Where are they now?’ feature, is the official team photo of the 1977 NCAA champions. Boylan is farthest to the left, seated in the back of the ’34 Packard, wearing the only all-grey tux. Left to right from Boylan: Bill Neary, Ulice Payne, Butch Lee, Jim Dudley, Gary Rosenberger (in the passenger’s seat), Bernard Toone, Jerome Whitehead, Craig Butrym, Robert Byrd and Bo Ellis.

It seems odd, yet somehow fitting, that Boylan would take a seat furthest in the back — he was nowhere near the back of the ride on the ’77 Warriors. As the starting point guard, he was in the drivers’ seat more often than not. But then, no player is behind the wheel of the Packard in the team photo, an important, and quite deliberate pose. Warriors coach Al McGuire was nothing if not a basketball artist; his motif was the essence of “team.”

Or, as McGuire might have told the story of the photo shoot years later and probably did, the coach had reserved the drivers’ seat for himself but lost his tux on the way to the photo shoot or somesuch and decided to bench himself out of the picture, the sort of thing that McGuire would do, the team being less about him and more about the players (whether that was true or not).  There was something magical about Al McGuire telling a story, spinning myth and street legend with wisecrack yarn and Manhattan snap.

Up until his death in 2001, when asked who, of all the players he coached, his favorite point guard was, McGuire would get serious and the answer was always the same: Jim Boylan. Sometimes he’d say Boylan was his favorite player, period. Boylan reminded Al of Al.

Al McGuire

I came across a great story on the Chicago Bulls website about Jim Boylan and the Bulls after Boylan took over for Scott Skiles last December. What caught my eye was the following quote from Boylan:

“I told the guys that we shouldn’t concentrate so much on winning. Let’s concentrate on letting go of the things we can’t control and free ourselves to be the kind of players we know we are. Live in the moment.”

That quote from Boylan, Bucks fans, is the Al McGuire basketball philosophy to the letter. It was infused throughout the basketball world in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when McGuire was on top of that world and players, especially those on Al’s home turf in state, were told to just play “in the moment” and forget the scoreboard. The coaches would let you know when to look at the scoreboard and the clock. It was all very mystical and Zen, long before Phil Jackson won championships and wrote “Sacred Hoops.”  It was very McGuire.

Boylan, at age 52 — after two college coaching jobs (Michigan State under Jud Heathcote and head coach at New Hampshire) and five jobs as an NBA assistant (including his first with Mike Fratello in Cleveland and two with Skiles, in Phoenix and Chicago) — is still Al McGuire’s point guard.

The Bucks job is Boylan’s sixth assistant post in the NBA, reunited for a third run as Skiles’ lead assistant. He joins Skiles’ most impressive staff to date, with Lionel Hollins from the Memphis Grizzlies, a 20-year NBA assistant and Kelvin Sampson, one of the best college coaches in the game. Rounding out the staff are Kohler’s own Joe Wolf, an up-and-climbing NBA coach-in-the-making from the CBA and the D-league; and Bill Peterson, the coach who developed Finley, Nowitzki and Nash in Dallas, and was responsible for Ramon Sessions development last season for the Bucks.

They’ve have all been “hired” for two weeks or more now (the Bob Boozer Jinx blogs about Skiles and his assistants are archived here.) This is a staff geared to develop its own stars, not to coach somebody else’s 2nd or 3rd tier NBA “stars.”  Boylan’s story with the Chicago Bulls offers even more insight. On a Skiles-Boylan team, the ball will move and the tempo will be up in transition. It’s been described as an Eastern Conference version of the Phoenix Suns phenomena — Eastern Conference because, on a Scott Skiles team, defense will be played.

When Skiles left Chicago in Boylan’s hands, Boylan sped up the tempo even more, and the Bulls talented point guard, Kirk Hinrich shot less. Sometimes he didn’t shoot at all, as though he were channeling Boylan style of point guard play. The Bulls stat hounds ignored the scoreboard and the shooting stats, and instead tracked ball movement and pace like it was religion.

Looking ahead to next season, don’t expect overpaid shooting guards to freeze the Bucks offense by palming the ball, holding it with the dribble, then lowering a shoulder into the teeth of the defense with no passing mindset. Sloughing off in transition won’t be a good idea, either.

Monday, I’ll have a take on Bill Peterson and his development work, and I’m projecting a suprising revelation in the mix. For now, check out some more Jim Boylan in-action photos from J.E. Skeets yahoo blog “Ball Don’t Lie.” It’s true — Boylan does kind of look like the evil president from “24.”

The catcher’s crouch:

The “I just might kill Hinrich during this timeout I’m about to call” pose:


One final coaching note:  Former Bucks coach Terry Porter (2003-05) is back on what New York Post columnist Peter Vecsey calls the NBA “coaching carousel.” The buzz in Phoenix says he’s the leading candidate to fill the job Mike D’Antoni vacated last week. Porter, an asssistant with Detroit the past two years, is believed to be the first candidate Suns GM Steve Kerr interviewed for the job, Charles Gardner reported yesterday at JSOnline.  Vecsey saw opportunity coming for Porter a month ago in his column, and I swiped Vecsey’s crystal ball for a day or two in an early BBJ post.

Bucks fans may never know why then-Bucks GM Slickless Larry Harris rescinded the vote of confidence he gave Porter at the end of the Bucks injury-riddled 2004-05 season. When Bucks owner Herb Kohl fired Harris in March, he told us the firing of Porter was “Larry’s decision” — but then Herb had been labelled a meddler by ESPN’s Marc Stein and was on the defensive about that “growing reputation” and perception.

In any case, Porter got a bum shake from an impatient GM who didn’t have a plan for building the Bucks. Porter deserved another year, if for no other reason than it is bad policy to treat a hometown hero with such little respect when being a hometown hero is part of the reason Porter got the job in the first place.

Terry’s been coaching in Detroit the last couple of years — under Flip Sanders, one of the coaches Harris supposedly fired Porter to bring to Milwaukee (I’ve come to doubt that’s the real reason Porter was fired) — which says something about how well-regarded Porter is in NBA coaching circles. Suns GM Kerr is looking to bring a defensive edge to the Suns, and who better than the top assistant in Detroit? Phoenix, with Nash and Stoudamire and Shaq, looks like a good opportunity. It’s about time Porter got a second chance to head a team.

Vecsey tabs Terry Porter on head coaches’ list

How short is the list of great coaching candidates in the NBA today?  Very short. Maybe even shorter than the shelf life of a Larry Brown commitment.

After the five big names mentioned by every team in the coaching market – Jeff Van Gundy, Larry Brown, Rick Carlisle, Scott Skiles and Mike Fratello – the first name tossed into the “available” ring by New York Post columnist Peter Vecsey is none other than former Bucks coach Terry Porter.

Seems that Vecsey, like many Bucks fans, thinks Porter was unfairly fired by Kohl back in 2005, and deserves a second chance. In retrospect, maybe Porter doesn’t lose his job at all it had occured to the senator and GM Larry Harris to find out if the coach they wanted, Flip Saunders, would actually come to work for them.

Find the replacement first, then fire the coach. That’s the Detroit way. Joe Dumars and John Hammond had Larry Brown all lined up when they fired Rick Carlisle in 2003. And they had Flip Saunders ready to go shortly after ridding themselves of Brown two years later. I’d be very surprised if Hammond does things differently in Milwaukee, firing Krystkowiak before he’s found his replacement.

However Hammond proceeds, Vecsey offered up Porter’s name as his top suggestion to coach the Memphis Grizzlies, based on speculation that the Grizzlies might not land Larry Brown, whom they’ve been considering as GM/coach. Vecsey figures Brown will seek greener pastures than Memphis and that the other top candidates, Carlisle and Skiles, will be headed for other teams.