Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:29 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 12:46 pm
By Matt Moore
If you'd asked me yesterday afternoon about NBA players and their use of Twitter during the lockout, I would have said two things. One, they are almost entirely unapproachable, preferring to answer only elements of positive support or comments from other players. And two, their knowledge of how to use Twitter to express their views about the lockout have been woefully inadequate. Most notably, the #standunited and #letusplay hashtags were terribly conceived. You know what happens if you tell the public to ask the owners to let them play without any context as to the issue or your real position? You look stupid. And incapable of harnessing social media. And did I mention stupid?
If you're the union and want to use Twitter correctly, you can hold the line on the players' side of negotiations while actually being honest with fans. Sure, a lot of casual fans aren't aware of the nuances of the lockout. But those same individuals are unlikely to be swayed by a hashtag. There's more information than ever available for interested fans to learn about BRI, revenue sharing, all of it. Whether they agree with you or not, it's better to level with them and seem reasonable than to simply blindly shout at the owners and beseech the fans to support the players without understanding their side of the dispute. Shouting hasn't gotten us anywhere in the lockout, on either side.
Which is why Anthony Tolliver's appearance on Twitter Thursday night was such a surprise. I found Tolliver taking questions from fans with actual substance regarding the lockout. Our brief exchange, while he also discussed the dispute with other fans was both mature and insightful. This from a player who worked his way up from the D-League into a reserve role with the Wolves last season. Tolliver is at once the kind of player who needs the lockout over most based on his salary and the kind of player that the lockout is being waged over, the non-stars who feel they need long-term stability.
It began with Tolliver commenting "If the owners want competative balance lets have no cap! #letsjustplaybasketball." I responded to another comment from him regarding how baseball has competitive balance (on the surface, considering the small market teams that regularly appear in the World Series; timely given the Championship Series of St. Louis-Milwaukee), asking about how the Yankees still enjoy a distinct advantage due to their payroll. It was then that Tolliver began to engage in an actual dialogue, the kind the union should have been having its players participate in with fans or media or whoever they'd like instead of participating in the Twitter version of holding a sign while yelling into a megaphone. What follows are pieces of that conversation. Tweets have been edited to make reading it easier. It's hard to hold a conversation in 140 characters at a time.
Tolliver: Smart management is what creates competitive balance more than anything....not caps.
Tolliver: The Yanks have had success but what im saying is that the owners think they can "fix" the balance with a cap.
Moore: Well, that's what they're saying. I've gotten to where I don't believe they care about the balance at all. Just the profit.
Tolliver: I agree...lol. At the end of the day if they all can line their pockets with more cash they wont care about balance.
Moore: Do you guys care about competitive balance or is it one where you think it will just work itself out, i.e. survival of fittest?
Tolliver: I played on the worst team in the league and im not asking for help! we have enough talent to improve and compete.
Moore: So you think with... different approaches by management (trying to keep you out of trouble) the Wolves can compete with LA?
Tolliver: It is tougher for small market teams but it always will be
Moore: Right, but the ability to abuse the lux tax by large markets helps. There's a balance to be struck there, right?
Tolliver: With great draft choices and strategic trades i believe that ANY team can be very competitive.
Moore: (I) (d)on't mind shortening the gap with (revenue) sharing or some systemic change. (I) mind owners bullying you and squabbling over who offered 50/50 first.
Tolliver: Oh and the revenue sharing for the NBA is by far the lowest of all professional sports so yeah...that needs to increase fa sho.
Moore: If you're keeping guaranteed contracts (which you should), is shortening them a reasonable compromise? Just how much is (the question)?
Tolliver: I think shortening them is fair...and even compromising on other issues is fair as long as its compromising on both ends.
Tolliver: I believe there needs to be some changes as well. i just want a fair deal so i can play the game that i love.
Moore: Problem is that when you guys say you want to play, fans get insulted because you want to play for what you feel is a fair deal. You guys would do better if you didn't say you just wanted to play, but wanted to play when you're not bullied. Most of the smart people know the owners have driven the lockout, but the "we just want to play" approach is patronizing.
Tolliver: Why is that patronizing? We all just want to play ball BUT with a fair deal. I guess its all relative.
Moore: We live in a smarter world with messaging. So saying "just want to play" when there are caveats seems disingenuous, even if not.
Tolliver: Thats way too much to say lol...I'll stick with I JUST WANT TO PLAY. LOL.
Moore: Hey, that's easier. I'm just telling you the reactions the media gets from fans, a lot of whom have supported the union.
Tolliver: I gotcha...when players say that they dont want to offend the fans. we know the fans MAKE us who we are.. #fanappreciation
Moore: Do you think the anger and resentment from the players side at the owners antics is a good thing or a bad thing?
Tolliver: I'm not sure if the emotions the players are showing hurt or help our cause..all i know is guys LOVE this game and want to play.
Moore: Amar'e, Blake, Kobe, Steve seem pretty reasonable, but some of your guys are downright pissed. Hurt or help?
Tolliver: Some guys dont (know) all the details of whats going on..all they (know) is that the owners are locking us out & that makes them mad.
Moore: How much of it do you follow?
Tolliver: I follow every word, every article, every news story...this is my livelyhood for hopefully the next 10 years!
Moore: Has the lockout been one of the few instances where the players don't feel like the media is out to get them?
Tolliver: Media is ALWAYS out to get us! They are EVIL!!! LOL
Moore: You realize now I have to write a post tomorrow that says "WOLVES PF BELIEVES IN OCCULT" right? It's in my contract. #notreally
Tolliver: LOL aight...i dont want u to lose ur job. LOL.
Tolliver also took questions and comments from a number of fans and writers on Twitter, giving what at least appeared to be honest opinions about the state of negotiations.
His insight is a nice peek beneath the rhetoric. Tolliver acknowledges the need for change and compromise, while holding to his colleagues' stances on various issues including competitive balance. He doesn't dodge questions about players' reactions to the dispute, but also doesn't try and speak for them or against him. It's this kind of reasonable, honest dialogue that should be the backbone of the negotiations, not the players' discussions with fans and media on Twitter. But at least it shows us that the middle class of NBA players, who have become the dividing line in the negotiations headed intow next week's mediation session, have a working knowledge of the dispute, the issues involved, and a recognition of how the lockout is hurting the fans. They're willing to listen. If only both sides guiding the dispute would.
Posted on: June 28, 2011 2:26 am
Edited on: June 28, 2011 2:35 am
The Golden State Warriors have reportedly purchased a stake in the Dakota Wizards, a D-League team. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Bismarck, North Dakota, is a long, long way from the Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden State Warriors, under new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber, have just shortened the distance considerably.
RidiculousUpside.com reports that the Warriors have "bought into" the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Developmental League, giving Golden State the opportunity to run the Wizards as their exclusive affiliate.
The Golden State Warriors have bought into the NBA Development League's Dakota Wizards, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, making the two teams one-to-one affiliates for the upcoming season. The D-League team has called an 11 a.m. press conference on Tuesday in Bismarck, ND, to announce the new affiliation.With each passing month, Warriors ownership continues to put its money where its mouth is. Upon taking over the team last summer, Lacob and Gruber pledged to make the financial commitments necessary to turn the Warriors into a first-rate NBA team.
In the past month alone, the Warriors have shelled out big dollars for big name coach Mark Jackson, brought on NBA legend Jerry West as a consultant, and spent millions of dollars to buy a second round draft pick with which they selected project Jeremy Tyler. Now, they have invested in their own D-League team. That, my friends, is real commitment and smart ownership.
Of course, the Warriors are no stranger to the D-League. They've regularly sent players down for seasoning and have effectively used the D-League to find players who wound up sticking on their roster. Guys like Reggie Williams and Anthony Tolliver. Not to mention: When you draft players like Jeremy Lin, owning your own D-League team can really come in handy.
According to RidiculousUpside.com, the Warriors join the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers as teams that have bought all or part of a D-League affiliate in order to establish a direct affiliation during this offseason. Boom time for the D-League, apparently.
Posted on: March 23, 2011 2:03 pm
Edited on: March 23, 2011 2:04 pm
Timberwolves players speak up in support of Kurt Rambis as talks Heat up regarding his potential dismissal.
Posted by Matt Moore
The blame for what's gone on in Minnesota is probably an equal four-way split between management, coaching, execution, and luck. General Manager David Kahn put together a series of terrible draft and free agency decisions, then for some reason hired a coach to instill a system that was horribly suited to the bad selection of players he assembled. Drafted multiple point guards? Let's put them in the triangle which is difficult, complex, and limits point guards' ability to function. Kurt Rambis too often shows random decisions in terms of who gets time and how much (Kevin Love had difficulty getting on the floor this year, for crying out loud), and hasn't been able to get any consistency out of the young guys. The players too often break plays and don't play with any sense of awareness, and there was nothing anyone could do to convince Ricky Rubio to come over or to alter what spot the Wolves wound up with in the draft.
But because Rambis is the coach and coaches most often bear the brunt of failure in the NBA, he's on the hot seat and there's a lot of talk about him not returning. But the players, to their credit, are not walking away from defending their coach in the face of scrutiny.
"It's easy to say when you're having a tough year," Wolves forward Kevin Love said about the uncertainty of Rambis' future with the team. "It's not a direct reflection on him. It's all on us being a young, youthful team. It's unfair. As a player, I have Kurt's back."via Timberwolves players rally around embattled coach Kurt Rambis - TwinCities.com.
Love's defense of Rambis (the best defense he's shown all year- wocka-wocka-wocka, I'll see myself out) is interesting given the clashes that Love has had with both Rambis and Kahn in their first two seasons due to limitations put on his playing time. Love was heavily said to be on the block for nearly an entire season, before this year's All-Star campaign made that an impossibility. Now Love is the biggest star on the team. It speaks to Love's professionalism and attitude that he didn't simply pile on, or even duck the question. He came out in support of his coach, the way we often want players to.
For Rambis, he may end up being the fall guy, despite it not really being his fault. In reality, Rambis should not have been brought in until the team was further along with its development. There are coaches you want to develop young teams into good teams, and coaches you want to take good teams into great teams. Rambis fits more of the mold of the latter, even if he hasn't shown that yet due to opportunity. If he's anything, he's a veteran's coach, not the guy you want bringing the pups up. The result is the current situation. As an organization, you have to put your personnel in a position to be successful. The Wolves have not done so with their players, their system, or their coaches.
Posted on: November 3, 2010 10:26 am
Posted by Royce Young
Posted on: November 2, 2010 9:50 am
Edited on: November 2, 2010 9:54 am
Posted by Royce Young
Posted on: October 29, 2010 11:08 am
Edited on: October 29, 2010 11:23 am
Posted by Royce Young
After the Kings game Wednesday night, Kevin Love didn't talk to reporters. Since he didn't say anything, we're left to speculate that he was miffed over not playing the last eight minutes in a tight game. Hence the not talking.
But Thursday, he talked and addressed the perceived hiccup with coach Kurt Rambis.
Love said the right things here, but let's see how he feels in late January when he's averaging just 25 minutes a game. He might not be so fine with it then.
Posted on: October 28, 2010 4:09 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 4:17 pm
Posted by Royce Young
(When do you think people will stop using a form of that headline for questions about a topic? I mean, it's been almost four years since that movie came out. Anyway, on to the point.)
After a summer tearing up the world on the glass at the World Championships and a preseason where he put up 32 and 20 in 28 minutes of action, the common thinking was that Kevin Love would finally start getting the minutes he deserved.
Most agree he's the Minnesota Timberwolves best player. Everyone agrees he's at least a very good player. And yet in the Wolves opener against the Kings, Love played only 24 minutes and sat the last eight despite playing well with 11 points and 10 rebounds. So why did he sit?
Kurt Rambis offered an explanation, via the Star Tribune, when asked why he sat his best player:
That’s your opinion,” he said. “I thought Anthony (Tolliver) was doing the things defensively that we need. It was nothing against Kevin. I thought A.T. was doing a good job. I thought that he was moving his feet well. He challenged shots. He blocked shots.
Except I don't think Love took it that way. However, to Rambis' point, Tolliver did do well in weakside help, highlighted by this fairly excellent block. But at the same time, sitting Love the final 8:24 and playing him just 24 minutes compared to Tolliver's 28? How did Love feel about that?
Oh, Love didn't say anything. Because he skipped out of the locker room before reporters could ask. In other words, he's not happy about it. Last season, everyone thought Minnesota had one of the most promising frontcourts in the league with Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. Now, it looks like both could be run out of town and replaced with Darko Milicic and Anthony Tolliver. Yee-haw!
I thought this flowchart from Canis Hoopus put it well:
That sums it up pretty nicely. The other team got a rebound? Bench Kevin Love. The other team is scoring? Bench Kevin Love. The halftime show was subpar? Bench Kevin Love. It's really kind of how it works.
Is this a one game thing or will this become routine for Rambis? There's no doubt Love deserves at least 30 minutes a night and probably more. It's hard not to wonder if the Wolves would've won the game against the Kings if Love had played the last eight minutes (they lost 117-116). Love isn't a great defender, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't play. Carmelo Anthony is probably Denver's worst defender too, but he's not sitting down in crunch time.
They said it was all about transparency and honesty in Minnesota now. I think if they were being transparent here, they'd say, "For whatever reason, we just don't like Kevin Love. Or really, we just prefer to lose." Because as far as explaining why he plays just 24 minutes, there's no transparent or honest answer that makes sense.
There are a lot of problems in Minnesota right now from the existing roster, to Ricky Rubio to injuries. But a lot of those things can be helped by one simple basketball principle: Play your best players. Unless Kurt Rambis figures that out, he may be watching another one walk out the door with only a couple draft picks in return.