Keep Coach Terry Stotts?

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

He's not up for nomination as coach of the year, but Terry Stotts has done a great job with the Atlanta Hawks. He was able to coach a team with less talent than Orlando or Chicago to a better record than either of them. He weathered numerous trades and was the team's sole source of stability in a year marred by impatient questions about new ownership. What is it about his approach that had non-stars playing like superstars?

Stotts does not bring a complicated defensive scheme to the table. He is no Jim O'Brien or Dick Harter. He also does not bring a complicated offensive scheme like a triangle offense or even a heavy emphasis on inside-out play. He doesn't break out new plays merely for the sake of novelty. He will be the first to tell you that the plays he runs are common across the whole league. He will also be the first to tell you that once the players are in-tune on the offensive end, the defensive end comes naturally.

He's not a strict disciplinarian like Chris Ford, but he's also not a pushover. What he is is a facilitator. He makes it easy for his players to shine.

Isn't that what a good coach ought to be and do?

After a few superstars, the difference in talent among players in the league is not so large that it can't be overcome with desire. Stotts lets his players play the type of ball that maximizes their talents. That's what a good coach ought to do. Terry Stotts is a coach more in the mold of Milwaukee's Terry Porter in that he aims to highlight his team's strengths and hide his team's weaknesses.

His teams, for make no mistake about it, Stotts coached three teams this year -- pre-Rasheed Wallace, with Rasheed Wallace, and post-Rasheed Wallace -- his teams always competed and played exciting basketball.

Too bad there weren't any fans around to see it happen.

With new ownership in place and rumors flying high about possible head coach next year, the Hawks should give some thought to keeping the Eastern Conference's longest-tenured active head coach. No one comes to a game to see a celebrity head coach; the only important thing is winning. And coach Terry Stotts might be just the man to deliver those wins next season.

The Hawks will have 104 chances out of 1000 to win the rights to the first, second, or third pick in the draft lottery to be held on May 26. The Hawks also receive the 17th pick from Milwaukee.

The 2004 Hawks Summer Basketball Camp will be held July 19-23 for children of ages 8-17. Instructors include current and former Hawks players and coaches. More info.


Seth Sowers ofThe Rolla Daily News writes: Despite his performance on John Brown Day, Brown was still very well thought of by pro scouts.He was the tenth player picked in the 1973 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks. He might have gone earlier, but he told teams he wanted to play in the south, and that eliminated quite a few options. Brown had a more than solid seven-year NBA career for Atlanta, then Utah and Chicago. He made the all-rookie team and was a starter for some successful teams. He played against the greats like Erving Johnson. And, Brown was the one responsible for guarding him... But, that was nothing compared to the time he was forced to guard Kareem Abdul-Jabbar... After the game, one of his friends, Gene Sally remembers John calling him up and stating, "Well, I just held Jabbar to 52 points."

Pat Hickey ofThe Montreat Gazette writes: The NBA's Atlanta Hawks had to apologize for playing an unedited version of the hip-hop classic Party Up by DMX during a recent game against the Celtics.The team said it regretted the graphic and inappropriate language in the song. What made this worse - it was played during a season-ending family night.

The Athens Banner-Heraldlists the following events: TEN STAR CAMP: The Ten Star All-Star Baseball Camp, which has included past participants like Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Vince Carter and Grant Hill, will be held in Atlanta later this year. Applications are now being evaluated for this invitation-only camp, and college scholarships are possible for players selected to the All-American team. For more information, call 704-373-0873. PRO BASKETBALL CAMP: The 23rd annual Atlanta Pro Basketball Camp, directed by Bob Reinhart (who coached at Decatur High School, Georgia State University and for the Atlanta Hawks, and who is now a scout for the Golden State Warriors) will be held July 4-9 at Rhinehardt College in Waleska. The fee for boarders is $350 and $250 for day campers. For more information, call 404-876-3471.

Trent Wynne ofThe East Carolinian writes: Less than 24 hours later the league office ruled that Sura's field goal attempt was an intentional miss and did not reward him with the field goal attempt in his stat sheet, therefore with no field goal attempt there can be no rebound. This is where the problems lies with me. Understanding that a field goal attempt and a free throw attempt are different, I tried to take a look at this situation from the league's perspective. It did not take long before I was appalled at the decision. How can the NBA input a rule in some areas of the game and not others? When a player stands at the free throw line and purposely misses a free throw so that the other team does not have chance to hurry the ball up the court for the final shot, what do you call that? What do you call that NBA league office?Do you wipe away the free throw attempt by the player because the player did not make an attempt to score the ball? Does that also take away the rebound from the player that grabbed the board? If the NBA wants to start making judgment calls on one part of the game they need to start making judgment calls on all parts of the game.