Bucks Diary

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Parsing Larry and other thoughts

Bucks general manager Larry Harris answered questions yesterday regarding the job status of coach Terry Stotts. In such situations, a general manager is normally not free to say what he genuinely thinks, so, as fans, we have to read between the lines. Let's try:

1. "I haven't really thought about it. Terry and I have been targeting toward getting Michael back and making a final push at the playoffs. Terry and I are on the same page with that agenda."

Translation: The first sentence is completely disingenuous. When you are general manager of a team that has lost 19 of 22, of course you think about the coach's status. The second sentence is delusional. The Bucks have no hope of getting into the playoffs this season. Harris knows this. The third sentence is odd. Either its simply a poorly chosen mixed metaphor or Harris is implying that there are other issues or "agendas" upon which the two disagree.

2. "I'm the GM he's the coach. I don't want to evade the issue, its a very sensitive issue."

Translation: I think in the first sentence Harris is trying to distance himself from the ultimate fate of Stotts. 'We are not arm-in-arm' he seems to be saying. The second sentence is laced with irony. "I don't want to evade the issue". Of course he does. In fact, the entire interview is one long exercise in him trying his damndest not to address the Stotts issue while at the same time apperating to address it.

3. "We're all aware of the injuries we've had. We are going to continue to play hard and our guys are not going to give up."

Translation: In the first sentence Harris is implying that he's tired of the injury excuse and that he doesn't fully buy it. The second sentence is either wishful thinking or a bit of parental lecturing for the players ears ("you will eat your dinner and then you will do your homework").


So what was the underlying message Harris was trying to get across? Here's my take. First, I he is clearly not happy with Stotts' performance. Why do I think that? Because nowhere in his comments does he even try to mount a defense for Stotts. All he does, really, is rationalize giving him a stay of execution.

In fact, if you did an abstract summation of Harris' "comments within his comments", it might read like this:

"Yeah, Stotts is doing crappy, but I can't fire him yet. Either I don't have anyone lined up who I think would do better, or someone with a higher pay grade told me I couldn't. So I guess he's our coach for the duration. And as such I better not undermine him with any of my comments otherwise I'll be going down the eventual shitter right along with him. I can't quite justify firing him now because he's got that injury excuse to lean on. Kind of weak, but we'll see. If he can turn things around when Redd gets back, and get us into the playoffs, then I'll keep him. I doubt he will, but either way, we're probably stuck with the guy for the rest of the season. So stick it out with us Bucks fans because we are going to keep trying really, really hard. We sure are."


At February 18, 2007 at 5:53 PM, Anonymous paulpressey25 said...

A few years from now, we will all look back and people will realize how overmatched Stotts was for this job. The biggest job of an assistant is to be everyone's friend. The head coach has to be everyone's hard-ass father.

I'm not sure why Kohl couldn't see how poorly Stotts fit the role of head coach before he hired him. My guess is that he didn't want a headstrong guy after Karl.

Herb needs to look for the best coach out there right now and/or for next season. It will be the most important move made for the next few years.....

At February 20, 2007 at 1:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently the previous poster thiniks that NBA players are in need of an authoritarian father figure. He is probably just projecting his own need onto actually successful people.

At February 20, 2007 at 1:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and the blogmaster has impressive powers of mindreading. Unfortunately these don't compensate for a pedestrian understanding of the game itself.

At February 21, 2007 at 3:43 AM, Blogger laserbomb said...

I know that one tonight must've been another tough loss to take, Terry. No need to get down, though, have some fun while you've got the nice per diem and prime spot on the sidelines. I'm sure you're probably a great husband and pal, and good at some other things too. In 20 years when you're laughing with Jan about it all some time (and skimming over the .400 career record part), you'd be happy you did. Why wait until then to enjoy life?

At February 22, 2007 at 6:57 AM, Blogger The Ghost Runner said...

Anonymous, you can't take things so personally. Its Bucks basketball, my friend, not life and death.

As for my ability to mindread, at the outset I said the post was an exercise in interpretation, or, as they say in politics: parsing words. That necessarily involves attributing beliefs to the speaker that are not directly stated. I wouldn't call it mindreading, though. The interpretation was based solely on what Harris said, and just as importantly, what he didn't say. There is no telekinetic element to it.

As for my understanding of the game, I'd say pedestrian is a pretty fair assessment, in so far as pedestrian means "commonplace". If you read the subtitle of the blog that's all I've ever claimed to be... a fan giving his notes, nothing more.

Thank you for your comments, though.

At February 22, 2007 at 7:01 AM, Blogger The Ghost Runner said...

That's Coach Stotts making those comments?

At February 22, 2007 at 7:15 AM, Blogger The Ghost Runner said...

Laserbomb, did you road trip to the game from Wisconsin? That's dedication, baby.

Also, do you know who the anonymous commenter was from last post, the one that took personal shots at me and paulpressey25? You implied it was Stotts. Were you being sarcastic? I ask because the content made it seem as though like it was either him or else a family member. Whoever it was seemed to take everything as a personal attack. I guess it could just be someone with a lot of empathy for Terry Stotts. But, even then, the response was almost a personal reaction rather than an intellectual defense of Stotts.



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