Posts Tagged ‘Bill Cartwright’

Cartwright’s Successful Start in Japan


Forget the change for Bill Cartwright going from the United States to Japan and from an NBA background to the bj league in Japan. It has quickly become about the change around the Osaka Evessa.

The Evessa, once the dominant team of the league, started this season 5-19 and in ninth place in the 10-team conference by the time Cartwright was hired  as head coach in late-January. Since his arrival, they are 10-6 and have a five-game win streak with a roster that includes 2003 Timberwolves second-round pick Rick Rickert, Florida Atlantic product Mike Bell, Dwayne Lathan from Indiana State and Louisiana Tech, and Nathan Walkup from Texas A&M.

“When he got here, he changed a few things,” Rickert told Ed Odeven of the English-language Japan Times.

Like Osaka’s conditioning.

And approach to defense.

And emphasis on toughness and rebounding.

And, of course, the win total.

Cartwright changed more than a few things.

“We’re playing smarter, and what feels better is when the whole team is on the same page,” said Rickert, who played in the NBA Development League and had previous international stops before going to Japan. “That makes my job easier.”

Reports Odeven:

Inconsistent defense has been one problem during the team’s rocky season. “Some games we play good defense, and some games we don’t,” admitted Rickert.

That inconsistency is totally unacceptable to Cartwright, who oversaw grueling 2½- to 3-hour practices for the first two weeks when he began working for the team on Jan. 21. It was like the team endured a second preseason training camp, though smack dab in the middle of it, in the same season.

But Cartwright’s mission to work his players hard from the get-go wasn’t just about showing who’s boss.

Cartwright coached the Bulls part of 2001-02, all the next season and part of 2003-04. His playing career as a 7-foot-1 center with the Knicks, Bulls and SuperSonics lasted from 1979-80 until 1994-95 and included three titles in Chicago and an All-Star appearance in 1980 with New York. He was also an assistant with the Bulls, Nets and, most recently, Suns.

He is the second coach in the bj league with the same experience in the NBA, following Bob Hill, on the sideline for the Tokyo Apache before they folded.

Former Knicks, Heat Forward Pat Cummings Dead At 55

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Pat Cummings, an original member of the Miami Heat and a former Knicks forward was found dead in a friend’s Greenwich Village apartment Tuesday afternoon, according to multiple reports. He was 55.

A standout at the University of Cincinnati, Cummings was a third-round Draft pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1978. He was later traded to the Mavericks and signed as a free agent with the Knicks in 1984.

A member of the inaugural Miami Heat in 1988-89, Cummings played 683 games over 12 seasons in his NBA career. He finished with averages of 9.6 points and 5.6 rebounds, with his most prominent stint coming as a member of the Knicks’ frontcourt rotation with Patrick Ewing and Bill Cartwright from 1984-1988.

Cummings also played for the Jazz.

The details surrounding his death were still being investigated, per the New York Post:

The medical examiner will perform an autopsy today to determine the cause of death, though as of last night there were no signs of criminality.

Cummings’ girlfriend found him unconscious on a pullout couch. He later was pronounced dead at the scene.

Chandler Recognized For His Impact

GREENBURGH, NY — The New York Knicks were the fifth-best defensive team this season. Yes, the Knicks!

This is a franchise that had ranked in the bottom 10 defensively each of the last seven years and hadn’t ranked higher than 15th since 2001. And somehow, with offense-only stars like Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks vaulted from 21st in defensive efficiency last season to fifth this season.

The biggest reason? Tyson Chandler.

That’s why Chandler, even though he ranked 19th in blocked shots per game, was voted the Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

“It’s simply because I’m able to get a lot out of my teammates and play a team game,” Chandler said. “I try not to gamble much and I try to do the right things defensively. And I’m just glad that it was recognized and hopefully, it takes us further as a team.”

After joking that he couldn’t have won the award with his teammates’ “poor defense,” Chandler seriously gave credit to his teammates for “buying in” defensively. And obviously, one man can’t defend five by himself. The Knicks do have other solid defenders like Iman Shumpert, Landry Fields and Jared Jeffries. Still, there’s no question that Chandler is largely responsible for the Knicks’ defensive improvement.

“He’s the perfect fit in terms of what I look for in a defensive center,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said.

And this isn’t the first time Chandler has made an impact on his new team. In fact, it’s the third straight year that he’s gone to a new team and helped them improve defensively.

The Chandler Effect, last three seasons

  Previous Season With Chandler
Season/Team DefRtg Rank DefRtg Rank
2009-10 Bobcats 103.4 7 100.2 1
2010-11 Mavericks 103.2 12 102.3 7
2011-12 Knicks 106.9 21 98.4 5

DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions

Chandler freely admitted that he wanted this award and used it as motivation as he worked out in the summer.

“I never set out for individual goals except for this one,” he said, “because I felt like if you’re Defensive Player of the Year, you’re changing something and you’re helping win ball games. So to win, I was speechless when coach told me.”

Interestingly, the last five DPOY awards have gone to big men — Chandler, Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett — who entered the league straight from high school. And Chandler says his best lesson came his rookie year, from Bulls coach Bill Cartwright and teammate Charles Oakley.

“They would always tell me, ‘You can’t control offensively the type of night you have night in and night out,'” Chandler said. “‘Sometimes, the ball just doesn’t go in. But defensively, you control it. You never have to have a bad defensive night.’ And I kind of ran with that. So every night, I feel like that I can always have a great game, because I can always go out there and play D.”

So while Chandler is the first Knick to ever win the Defensive Player of the Year award, you can give credit to two former Knicks for planting the seed 10 years earlier.


John Schuhmann is a staff writer for Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

NBA TV Plans Slate Of Playoff Gems

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — What do you get when you take the most extensive library of NBA footage, a room full of creative and inquisitive hoops heads and the simple directive of helping fill the basketball void so many of us have been feeling the past two months?

You get “Playoff Gems on NBA TV,” 10 crucial postseason matchups that will make their NBA TV premiers this week as Hardwood Classics.  Our good friends at NBA TV will air three games a day starting Tuesday and running through Thursday with the 10th and final game airing Friday, Sept. 2. As a bonus they’ll re-air all of the games throughout Labor Day weekend, just in case you miss one the first time.

Here’s a quick rundown of the games, including the date and times (ET) they will air on NBA TV, with a few of our notes to help refresh your memory:

Tuesday, Aug. 30

Bullets vs. Warriors, 1975 Finals: Game 3 — 8 p.m. ET

Any game featuring Rick Barry at his best is worth your time. One of the game’s all-time great scorers, Barry was at his best in this game. He lit up the Bullets for 38 points and Jamaal Wilkes put the defensive clamps, as best any man could, on Elvin Hayes to help the Warriors to what would be an insurmountable 3-0 series lead. The underdog Warriors finished the Bullets off in Game 4 to complete their magical run. There hasn’t been a Finals game played in the Bay Area since this one.

Suns vs. SuperSonics, 1979 Western Conference finals: Game 7 — 10 p.m. ET

The Sonics’ first and only NBA title doesn’t happen without them grinding through this rugged conference final against the rival Suns. Game 7 was played before 37,000-plus fans at The Kingdome. The final and thrilling seconds of this one still gets the juices flowing for Sonics fans who were worried they might not get a chance for a Finals rematch against the Bullets after losing in 1978. Hall of Fame coach Lenny Wilkens and his point guard, Dennis Johnson, did a masterful job of managing the game down the stretch.

Knicks vs. Nets, 1983 Eastern Conference first round: Game 1 — Midnight ET

For those of us with an appreciation for the artist known as Bernard King, this game will be a treat. King turned the Hudson River Rivalry into a rout with a 40-point explosion as the Hubie Brown-coached Knicks dumped the Nets in two games to advance to a conference semifinal date with the Philadelphia 76ers. HT fave Truck Robinson was on this Knicks team as well, as were Rory Sparrow and a young Bill Cartwright (seriously).

Wednesday, Aug. 31

Spurs vs. Nuggets, 1985 Western Conference first round: Game 2 — 8 p.m. ET

With the “Iceman,” George Gervin showing off all of his silky smooth moves, the Spurs and Nuggets played a classic. Gervin outgunned high-scoring Nuggets guard Alex English in a series that marked the end of the “Ice Age” in San Antonio — Gervin was traded to the Chicago Bulls after the season.

Celtics vs. Pistons, 1985 Eastern Conference semifinals: Game 4 — 10 p.m. ET

The heated Celtics-Pistons rivalry that colored much of the mid to late 1980s took its first major postseason turn in this series. Isiah Thomas had Joe Dumars (via the draft) and Rick Mahorn (courtesy of a trade with Washington) on his side for the first time in the 1985 postseason. But it was “The Microwave” Vinnie Johnson that stole the show in Game 4. The Pistons’ surprising showing in this series — which they lost 4-2 — was a statement that they would be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

Sixers vs. Bucks, 1986 Eastern Conference semifinals: Game 1 — Midnight ET

With All-World big man Moses Malone sidelined with an injury a young Charles Barkley — that’s right TNT’s very own! — went to work against the Bucks and posted a monster 31-point, 20-rebound night as the Sixers rallied for the comeback win. This was just Barkley’s second season in the league but it served as his breakout year, as he earned second-team All-NBA honors. Malone was traded to the Bullets before the start of the next season and Barkley became the face of the franchise.

Thursday, Sept. 1

Bulls vs. Sixers, 1990 Eastern Conference semifinals: Game 4 — 8 p.m. ET

You didn’t really think this project would be completed without at least one dose of MJ, did you? Michael Jordan was at his versatile best in this game, and did it without Scottie Pippen (who missed the game to attend his father’s funeral). MJ’s 45 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and two steals only tell part of the story. You need to watch the way he dictated the action from end to end to truly appreciate his performance.

Bulls vs. Pistons, 1991 Eastern Conference finals: Game 3 — 10 p.m. ET

In what turned out to be not only the defining game of this series but the turning point in this rivalry, the Bulls were on the verge of erasing three straight years of postseason frustration at the hands of their fierce rivals. MJ went off, scoring 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter in what was one of the defining moments of his early career, this was just his seventh season in the league. He added seven rebounds, seven assists, five blocks and two steals in the breakthrough game that set the stage for the Bulls’ series sweep of the Pistons and their first Finals appearance.

Celtics vs. Pacers, 1992 Eastern Conference first round: Game 3 — Midnight ET

In a battle of Reggies (Indy’s Reggie Miller vs. Boston’s Reggie Lewis), Lewis shined brightest with a 32-point effort to lead the Celtics to victory and a series sweep of a Pacers team that gave them fits a year earlier in a five-game, first-round playoff series. Even with aging and wounded stars Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish still grinding, there was no doubt that Lewis was asserting himself as the heir apparent in Boston. He, and not Bird or McHale, led the Celtics in scoring that season. In 10 playoff games that year, Lewis averaged 28 points on 53 percent shooting from the floor.

Friday, Sept. 2

Suns vs. Rockets, 1994 Western Conference semifinals: Game 7 — 10 p.m. ET

Hakeem Olajuwon was at the height of his powers in this one, destroying the Suns with 37 points and 17 rebounds as the Rockets eventually moved onto the NBA Finals and the first of their back-to-back titles. If you need a refresher course to remind you just how dominant Olajuwon was that season, here is your cheat sheet. If first-person testimonials are needed, just check with Clyde Drexler, Barkley, Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing. All of those superstars saw  their title dreams end that season because of Dream and the Rockets.

Do yourself a favor and tune in this week. You’ll be glad you did!

Where have you gone, Mr. Mourning?

CHICAGOAlonzo Mourning‘s tougher and better and would scare the Bulls more than any big man in a Heat uniform. Like, right now, at age 41.

‘Zo currently cuts a dignified presence in the Heat front office, the scowl replaced by a compassionate heart that reaches deep into the community, the Popeye forearms hidden by a tailored Brioni suit. But you could forgive the Heat for wondering if ‘Zo could find some sneakers and some shorts right now, 24 hours after Miami was bloodied on the boards by Joakim Noah and crew.

The Bulls own a huge advantage over the Heat from a big man’s perspective, and that won’t change in this series. It’s a fixed advantage for Chicago, meaning there’s nothing the Heat can do about it. Not only does Miami have the weakest collection of bigs of any team left in the playoffs, you’d be hard-pressed to recall another team that advanced this far in the post-season with a weaker group.

Remember those howls heard in Chicago when the Bulls trotted out Luc Longley and Bill Cartwright and Will Purdue? The Heat would kill for any of those guys right now.

Put it this way: The centers (Erick Dampier and Zydrunas Ilgauskas) who started 73 of the 82 regular-season games sat in suits for Game 1 because they couldn’t be trusted.