Late Night Mavs: Rick Carlisle is Still King in Dallas
The Dallas Mavericks may be having an ugly season, but head coach Rick Carlisle still demands respect. As the NBA has slowly abandoned its hierarchy system, Carlisle is still a breath of fresh air in the league.
When you watch a Dallas Mavericks game, it is always fun to see the guys play their hearts out on the court. During a timeout, you see the Mavs players get together at the bench and talk it out about what needs to change. While there, the players talk about necessary changes, but they also wait for someone to join them.
Carlisle can often be seen talking or yelling at the refs during these times. No matter if the Mavs are up 20 or down 20, he is coaching. In fact, unlike most coaches, Rick Carlisle does not sit on the bench during the game. This is a strange thing in the NBA currently, but then again, so is coaching.
The NBA has quickly seen the tides turn in relation to players and coaches. I don’t want to blame it all on LeBron James, but the popularity of it can be easily linked to him. No longer are the coaches in charge in the league. No, the NBA is a player driven league, and it acts like it.
That may be an argument for another time, but now, we want to focus on the beauty that is Carlisle. Coach Carlisle demands the respect he deserves from his players. He knows what they need and he knows how to get them to that point. However, if they choose not to listen to him, consequences will follow.
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Mavs players have been benched since the day Carlisle walked in the gym, because they were not doing what was expected of them. Rajon Rondo is the extreme example here, but others have suffered similar fates. There is a man in charge in Dallas, and he is not suiting up to play each night like in other towns.
There are only a handful of teams left that follow this traditional mold. The San Antonio Spurs and Gregg Popovich are the prime example. Having never worked much with a true superstar, Pop has been able to coach the way he knows will win and it has worked wonders.
San Antonio just clinched their 20th consecutive playoff appearance. In 20 years, the Spurs have been eliminated in the first round 4 times. They have also only been swept in two playoff series. Popovich is the king of routine.
Other examples of coaches that don’t take crap could include Tom Thibodeau, Steve Kerr, and Brad Stevens. Even the best players had coaches that understood the hierarchy in place. Both Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan were coached by Phil Jackson, one of the most no nonsense coaches in league history.
The point I am trying to make in this rant is this: NBA coaches are a dying breed. Players friends and supports systems have taken over the NBA as players like LeBron have been given anything they want. Now guys like Tyronn Lue, Fred Hoiberg, and Erik Spoelstra are taking over the league and everything is changing.
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The NBA may never be the same again, but for now the Mavericks can be thankful that they have a coach in place, and not a friend. This is a guarantee that the man in charge will always make the best decision for the team. It’s not always easy, but someone is willing to do it. Carlisle and Pop are a dying breed, but those in Dallas and San Antonio know just how integral they are to the team’s successes.