Nick Minnerath, One More Detour

Dave Murphy —  September 20, 2013

NBA training camps will soon open their doors. Well into the luxury tax and confined by the new CBA, the Los Angeles Lakers have been scooping up minimum salary free agents. There’s currently 15 guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts, including more than a few wild cards – it will be that kind of season.

Also in play are camp invites from the outer fringes, playing for exposure and the remote possibility of bumping someone else out of place. This is part of the league’s elusive allure, for veterans at the end of their careers, perennial D-leaguers and cautionary tales. Nick Minnerath is a skinny white 24 year-old with lots of ink, hailing from a fragile east coast spit of sand. He wasn’t drafted, was never an AAU prospect and in truth, was basically a washout, even apart from basketball.

This summer, Minnerath managed to get an invite to the Lakers training camp. A couple weeks later, he turned it down. He’s not however, giving up on his hoops dream.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts is a golden place during the summer – dunes and cord-grass, harbors and lighthouses, marshy inlets and terns and wheeling gulls. The population swells to about half a million and the road over the Sagamore Bridge becomes glutted with SUVs. Town boards have long fought against commercialization and to an extent, they’ve succeeded. The forces of nature have not been as kind, with land that constantly shifts and erodes. For three months out of each year, summer residents move back into their vacation homes and relive childhood memories and perhaps make some new ones, while just as many tourists snatch up overpriced rental cottages, months in advance.

When the crowds leave, the Cape changes. The long off-season can be cold and desolate, restaurants close and traffic thins. Nor’ easters blow sideways off the Atlantic, flooding homes and knocking down trees and power lines. The population is an odd combination of retirees, fishermen, construction workers and artists. There’s generational alcoholism and drug use. Cape Cod kids either look to get out or become resigned to a lifetime of limited economic opportunity. Nick Minnerath was a typical townie, baggy jeans and a Celtics hoodie. He would have blended right in except that 6-9 kids stick out on the Cape.

Minnerath grew up in Truro, the son of Michael Minnerath, a Cape Cod National Seashore Ranger. The town is second only to Provincetown at the end of the geographic line. It doesn’t have its own high school – Nick attended Nauset Regional in nearby Eastham. He skipped regularly, got into drugs and failed off the basketball team in his freshman and junior years. He admits he wasn’t particularly into it and had no hopes for college.

Nauset’s head coach Keith Arnold saw something different, size and raw athleticism, as well as a pure jump shot. Minnerath began working out seriously the summer before his senior year. The kid who had nearly bottomed out, approached the season with a new determination. Two games in, Nick Minnerath broke his ankle. A dream that had barely come alive, was already over.

Minnerath managed to graduate, attended a semester at Cape Cod Community College and then resolutely bottomed out. He was heavily into cocaine, took odd jobs – construction worker, cab driver in Provincetown, clerk at Cumberland Farms in Eastham. Cumby’s is one of the places that doesn’t close down during the off-season, it’s where you get your gas and scratchers and cigarettes. According to Nick Minnerath, “I was 19 and I felt like my life was already over.”

A trip to Lincoln, Nebraska with his father made a difference. They were there to visit his aunt and he spent some time at the local YMCA, playing pickup ball with a few guys from the University of Nebraska. He was out of shape but the potential was still there. They asked where he was playing. The answer of course, was nowhere.

Minnerath returned to the Outer Cape, to drugs and sitting on a couch. Something had changed however, a faint flame had been rekindled. “I’d probably be dead if I continued where I was going”, he says. His dad’s girlfriend Janet, suggested contacting junior colleges. She helped him with letters and emails, over 50 of them. Only one coach responded. Steve Finamore at Jackson Community College in Michigan extended an invite to an open gym in June, 2008. There were no promises made. Nick, Michael and Janet, packed their car and drove 900 miles. On a Midwestern basketball court, Finamore watched for ten minutes and then pulled Nick’s dad aside. He offered a scholarship on the spot.

Minnerath found a new focus at Jackson. He caught the attention of Coach Ray McCallum from the University of Detroit Mercy, was offered a scholarship and accepted. He broke into the starting five his first year with the Titans. By his senior year in 2011, Minnerath was attracting national attention. Five games into the season, he blew out his right knee with torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments. His father was called out of the stands. Michael said, “It was just the most heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Somehow, Nick Minnerath came back again. He graduated, rehabbed all summer, returned to the Titans for a redshirt season as a graduate student. He put up an average of 14.6 points and 5.9 boards, dropped 36 on Valparaiso, 34 against Cleveland State. He got an invite to the Portsmouth Invitational in April, had pre-draft workouts for ten NBA teams including the Celtics, Pistons, 76ers, Warriors and Kings. Minnerath’s number wasn’t called in June but he played for Sacramento during Vegas summer league. He also caught the attention of the Los Angeles Lakers.

At 6-9 and 215, Minnerath can run the floor, play above the rim and knock down the three-ball. For the Lakers, he would have been one more potential swingman in a glut of swingmen. He earned an invite to camp with the additional carrot of the Los Angeles D-Fenders. Instead, he took one more detour on his unlikely basketball journey and signed with Obradorio CAB in the Spanish ACB League. Realistically, Minnerath made a decision that was good for him, both financially as well as on the floor. It would have been fun to see him give it a shot in Los Angeles. Yet for a Cape Cod kid once headed nowhere, Nick Minnerath is still living a basketball dream.

Dave Murphy

Posts

62 responses to Nick Minnerath, One More Detour

  1. OT: a very nice perspective of the secret to a championship.

    http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2013/09/19/how-is-a-championship-team-built/

  2. Looking at the 1997 Finals Utah vs Chicago and I have a few comparisons to make.

    John Stockton was 35 then. He averaged 14.4ppg and 10.4apg for the season on a team that won 64 games only to fail against the Bulls.

    Jeff Hornacek was 33 then. He averaged 14.5ppg and was an undersized SG. Pippen ever-so-often posts him up.

    Bryon Russell is a defensive guy specifically tasked to guard MJ. Tall order but who could stop the guy? He averages 10.8ppg for the season and he was an athletic 3 that can be a defensive cog. He was 26 then.

    Karl Malone is the greatest PF to not ever win a ring. Overall he’s 2nd only to Tim Duncan, but in terms of offensive dominance, the MAILMAN always delivers. Kinda fitting coz today we do it via E-Mail. He was 34 then but averaged 27.4ppg and 9.9rpg en route to his 1st (and only) Most Valuable Player award.

    Prepare for drumroll for starting at Center is Greggggg Ostertag. For what its worth, this was his best season as a pro averaging 7.3ppg and 7.3rpg. He can thank John Stokcton for his career.

    From the bench they have Howard Eisley, Shandon Anderson, Chris Morris, Greg Foster and Antoine Carr. The team is 2nd overall offensively at 103.1 PPG and 8th overall in oPPG at 94.3. This team was not particularly athletic, they were no defensive savants either, yet somehow they find a way to sweep the Clippers in the 1st round, the Lakers in the 2nd round and the ever-strong Rockets at the WCF thanks to the Stockton three.

    Maybe its just me or I’m just hallucinating with lack of basketball but this team looks like the 2013 Lakers. But with Jordan in it.

    Stockton – Nash
    Hornacek – Blake
    Russell – Johnson
    Malone – Gasol
    Ostertag – Kaman

    Eisley – Farmar
    Anderson – Meeks
    Morris – Young
    Foster – Hill
    Carr – Sacre

    Jordan – Kobe

  3. I love reading these background stories on players trying to make it into the NBA. Thank you, Dave.

  4. One of the signs of an excellent, well written article about an obsolete individual (particularly as it pertains to sports) is when, after reading said article, the reader – who in this case, had never heard of said individual – decides to further educate himself about the subject within the article .. Excuse me while I do some further research on Nick Minnerath.

  5. another nice piece Dave

  6. warren: gotta admit you had me eating out of your hands with the comparisons between the ’97 jazz and this year’s laker edition; until i saw this:

    Malone – Gasol

    bit of a stretch??

    otherwise, great insight and story lines as always.

    Go Lakers

  7. Twitter blowing up with news that Ryan Kelly finally signed. Slow Friday.

    PP, Tra, PB, thanks for nice words.

  8. There is a massive difference between Blake and Hornacek; and while Malone then and Pau now are bout the same age, Malone was a once-a-generation specimen with a Kobe-like commitment to conditioning and was still at his peak in 1997, so there is a huge difference there as well.

    Also, Malone was a fierce low-post defender, one-on-one, as Lakers fans saw for ourselves in 2004 when at 40 he D’d up Tim Duncan in the conference semis. Pau is a better one-on-one low post defender than he given credit for, but Malone was a human wall on the blocks. I could go on.

    And I expect that if Robert sees this, he will see a gap between Jerry Sloan and Mike D’Antoni.

  9. dave m: all time favorite oldie to go with your slow friday theme:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0oAyNAUDC4

    Go Lakers !!

  10. Warren,
    Your optimism is awesome

  11. Great article. One of the best ever here at fb&g. Please keep them coming… i knew about him only because i live in Portugal but i never imagined his background.

  12. Either you did a ton of research on Cape Cod or you are from there. Great read!

  13. Stockton was still nasty and feisty that year on both ends of the floor. He would have ate Nash up.

  14. To compare the Jazz of 1997 to the current Lakers is ludicrous. The Jazz were one of the most scrappiest teams ever.

    Just as D’Antoni “revolutionized” the NBA with the spread uptempo pick and role game in 2005, the Jazz really were the innovators of the pick and roll game, which everyone tried to suddenly incorporate into their playbooks. However, there isn’t an offense that is en vogue that is sweeping the league, although every team has traces of D’Antoni’s sets and actions. That’s one aspect. Nothing about this team is unique at all. The Jazz had the same coach with a system and its star players for 15+ yrs. Their execution of the flex actions wasn’t matched by anyone except the Bulls running the triangle.

    Stockton and Nash. People forget Stockton was a bull and a top defender positionally and all time steals leader. Nash on defense isn’t great and given the rule changes for point guards, even Stockton would have a hard time guarding the top 3rd of the pg’s in the NBA.

    Defense of the Jazz versus any D’Antoni team. I’m not gonna use this moment to bash D’Antoni but we know his shortcomings defensively, even though every NBA champion in the past 15 years off the top of my head has been a top defensive team.

  15. LT, yeah I lived there for a while. Thanks!

  16. 97 Jazz: We have exactly one thing in common with that team. Neither of us could beat the 97 Bulls. Beyond that I see no comparison. I will go out on a limb and predict that our results will fall far short of the 97 Jazz.

    rr: The distance to which you refer would not be called a gap. It would be called a light year. And I am no big fan of Sloan.

    Most Disappointing Season (from prior thread): Many of you changed this to the “worst” season. That is a different convo. Disappointing is where expectations are high and we disappointed. Last year has no equal. Many cite 2004, but that team made the Finals which shows how big of a disappointment last year was. The “Announcement” was shocking, but the season after was hardly disappointing.

  17. Great article Dave,

    In my work as a teacher, I come across so many teens that may not have the talent of Nick, but lack any sort of drive or desire to be more than what they are.. so many small town kids trying to be the big fish of small ponds… its sad to be witness to young lives going to waste and I take heart with stories like this one, it shows that its never too late to change.

    This made my day, thanks again =) peace

  18. “I will go out on a limb and predict that our results will fall far short of the 97 Jazz.”

    – Even at my hope/prediction of 50 wins, that will be considered falling far short of their team.

    “The Jazz were one of the most scrappiest teams ever. ”

    – I was in College at this time and was quite involved w/ the NBA being in a big city then. The Jazz had scrap-role players. Bryon Russell, Howard Eisley and Greg Ostertag. We have exactly those kinds of players in Wesley Johnson, Jordan Farmar and Jordan Hill.

    “Stockton and Nash. People forget Stockton was a bull and a top defender positionally and all time steals leader.”

    – We are comparing a 35-yo Stockton and a 40-yo Nash. Both are non-premier defenders. Stockton was a really good stealer while Nash is just average. Still, at their ripe ages, none of them were defensive savants. 1997 season was Stock’s last good year in steals (2.0 spg) and its safe to say he was on decline at that point.

    “Warren, Your optimism is awesome”

    – Wouldn’t be me if it wasn’t. Haha.

    “Malone – Gasol, bit of a stretch??”

    – Pau Gasol and Karl Malone are not comparable except that they both are the team’s best big man and both play the PNR to perfection. They also have really good PGs to credit for that. Defense-wise its understandable that Malone’s strength, size and girth pretty much covered for the space needed to defend the post.

  19. Great piece, Dave. You are a fine writer and burnish this site with your contributions.

  20. Like most (all?) Laker fans, I despised that 1990s-era Utah team. I also have hopes that the coming season will bring a few pleasant surprises at Staples Center.

    But to compare a back-to-back conference finalist with multiple Hall of Famers in their primes to this season’s Lakers is beyond a stretch, particularly with the Lakers’ best player having the equivalent of two decades in the league (including playoff games) on his legs and coming off what for some has been a career-ending injury.

    I love Pau, but he’s no Malone; never was. A 67-year-old Nash is no Stockton. Blake is no Hornacek. I could go on and on, but why bother?

  21. Really an outstanding article, Dave. Reads like a novel. Thanks!

  22. @Warren

    The scrappy team remark is an indictment on the coaching staff currently in place. While, I would like for the Lakers to be like this, the team will always take on the personality of their head coach. And the laid back let it rain culture that D’Antoni has on offense that doesn’t stress execution as much and the laissez faire attitude on defense (we’re talking about a coach who argued with a reporter that he did in fact practice defense for 30 minutes). I can think of a number of coaches who have gotten their teams to play hard (Sloan, both Van Gundy’s, Del Negro, Hollins, Karl…) and interestingly enough all of these coaches are available.

    Sorry for the rant. I’ll just agree to disagree.

  23. I don’t expect everyone to agree or see things the way I do. I just found ‘similarities’ that could be key to success this season. In that light, the thousand reasons I gave, there can be a million more reasons to disagree. Thats fine.

    If our record this season were to be based on fanbase confidence, I can tell you that we’re already winning the Wiggins sweepstakes by a mile. This is the pulse of most I know and I can tell you it has everything to do with the coach. Between Kobe’s injury, Nash’s age and Pau’s ‘softness’ or whatever we’re just simply doomed.

    What makes Mike D’Antoni so hated? I have the top 3 of reasons:
    1. He is not Phil Jackson.
    2. He is not Phil Jackson.
    3. He is not Phil Jackson.

    Of course Phil will not say the ‘right things’ to correct this. I don’t expect him to. After all the rift between Jim and Jeannie is so obvious and the more he keeps mum on the matter the more it favors him. Even if MDA leads this team to the Finals and lose in 7 games to Miami, there can never be enough hate. The reason would be “ah he can’t win game 7 against Miami, Phil would have.”

    The narrative about hating MDA has become too prevalent. I do not defend him but I also don’t bring that negativity with me so I leave enough space for his success. I don’t expect a championship out of him this year, I don’t expect him to go 0-82 either, if you know what I mean.

    To say that the 2013 Lakers will not be scrappy because they ‘take on the personality of their coach’ is just wrong on many accounts. The odds of that happening is the same as the positive side. Its also the same as saying the team will lead the league in scoring this year because they ‘take on the personality of their coach’ … which is just plain wrong.

  24. Warren,
    Thanks for stating the case so well.

    Mike D’Antoni is our coach and he brings some positives. How about we simply let him coach and enjoy the team we have. There is a place for the half-empty approach, but there is no valid reason for a completely-empty approach to this year.

  25. Warren –

    Good points. Last season was truly a perfect storm, from injuries to the entire atmosphere surrounding the Lakers organization, including the way the Phil/MDA thing played out. I’m also hoping for a scrappy season and for enough energy and competition (and hopefully good health) on the floor, that it becomes a self-sustaining storyline.

    PS, I second what Craig said.

  26. Hustling and the now overused word “scrappy” (sorry) does not require talent to be able to do so as a team. Some players are better than others in this regard and I believe you could call this a talent but some coaches request it, others give lip service and others demand a certain energy level. Scoring is a function of the talent assembled, system, implementation and execution of it. The personality of the coach is irrelevant to the coach.

    Last year Jackson would have probably been the best for the team. People bring up Nash and Howard’s ability to adapt to the triangle offense but Jackson adapted before in 2004 when they tried a similar experiment with Payton and Malone. The 2004 did not run the triangle like other Jackson teams. So that point was overstated.

    But my “hate” with D’Antoni has nothing to do with Jackson. It is hard to compare someone who has never even been to the finals to someone who has WON 11 rings. That isn’t fair to him or any other coach.

    I have other issues with D’Antoni namely his lack of attention to defense. I look at Sloan’s teams: they want to pack the paint and will concede the 3, I look at Thibs system: I see strong side overloads, Carlisle: mixtures of zone defenses to give offenses different looks and adjust for lack of defensive personnel, etc.

    I’ve seen a coach who despite, having one of the most freewheeling fun styles of play has alienated players and has had issues communicating with players. I’m not even going back to the Knicks where he suddenly benched Larry Hughes or TMac, I’m going back to last season when he said Gasol’s spot was safe.

    I’ve seen a coach with one of the oldest teams in the league play a 7-8 man rotation on a 2nd night of a back to back versus the Nuggets who played at the fastest pace in the league.

    I can’t remember one instance where he made a “great” coaching move and outcoached. At the end of the day for me, while I love the Lakers, I am realistic. I don’t see any D’Antoni team winning a championship unless the players are naturally great two way players or are that much more superior than any other team. And I’ve already seen how good a D’Antoni team is with a ball dominant star player.

    I’ve never seen so many qualified coaches that are sitting around waiting for a call: Hollins, Del Negro (I personally think he is better than gets credit for), SVG, JVG, George Karl, Sloan, and obviously Jackson. I’m sure there are plenty of others. But the decision to go with D’Antoni was because its the future of the NBA according to Jerry Buss. While I don’t completely disagree, there has to be a better fit for this team. If this team had Van Exel, Ceballos, and Eddie Jones running wild with a ceiling of 45-50 wins then I’d be fine.

    I will say this. D’Antoni’s system is beautiful to watch when its running on all cylinders and everyone is moving together. You can usually see how good it can be when we play teams like the Timberwolves. MDA gets a full training camp and I’m sure he has been in contact with players on what they need to work on. So I’m definitely looking forward to the season.

    I’m cautiously optimistic about the season. I’m never satisfied with anything unless its a championship, that is part being a Laker fan. I’ve probably been spoiled, as most of us have probably been. With that said, I’m not a blind follower that just thinks we will win everything and likewise I’m not part of the tank for Wiggins club either. I think Kobe would be the biggest benefactor of the camp, as I think MDA would likely stress him making quicker decisions and keeping the offense in rhythm.
    —-
    S/N: I would like to see other comparisons to other teams and eras. I’ve seen 1997 Jazz, I gave the 2008 Lakers (lol).

  27. people forget.
    Phil Jackson was NOTORIOUS for NEVER practicing defense.

    this does not defend D’Antoni. i’m just tired of reading pointless comments. as Phil Jackson said himself, a good offense IS good defense. if the shots go up at the proper time, with the proper alignment of players, offensive rebounders should be in position and it should be tougher for the other team to fast-break in return. again though, this does not defend D’Antoni. we’ll have to wait before we see how bad the team is or isn’t this year.

  28. WWL: “He is not Phil Jackson.” Clearly not. This alone does not preclude him from being our coach. However I have yet to see what qualifies him either. Other than our owner with no experience selected him. He selected Mike Brown as well – why shouldn’t he be our coach? He has had about as much success as MD. I am glad to see you have amended your 50 win prediction that it is in fact a hope/prediction. I always thought that it was. Personally I am hoping for 82-0. My backup hope/prediction is 81-1.

    mud: “we’ll have to wait before we see how bad the team is or isn’t this year.” It is going to be bad, however we already know that the post season mantra after 2014 will be to give MD a chance with some real talent. Injuries and no camp was the excuse in 2013. No talent will be the excuse in 2014. You tell me in 2015.

    LakerFanatic : “Last year Jackson would have probably been the best for the team.” Certainly could not have been worse : ) “But my “hate” with D’Antoni has nothing to do with Jackson.” Ditto. That is why I wanted Shaw or Rivers or Scott, or any of the guys you are naming. “I’m cautiously optimistic about the season.” Have you seen a Kobe update that I missed?

    Craig W: “How about we simply let him coach and enjoy the team we have.” We did that last year. We will be forced to again this year. After the coming abysmal season – we will debate this again next year.

    Half Full or Half Empty: This is also contingent on how large the cup is? If you want to concede that we have no chance for a title, a 50/50 chance to make the playoffs, and very few guys on the roster who are part of our future – then proceed to say that the season will be interesting and fun, then I am OK with that. Trust me it will be interesting and fun for me – this is the Lakers !

  29. I agree that MDA was put into a very bad situation, and I think that most people, including me, simply overrated the solidity of the talent. I thought the Lakers would win about 55 games, but I (and others) cautioned people to remember that it was a team with four very old starters, with a fifth starter coming off a serious back injury, and a very weak bench.

    That said, to attribute the D’Antoni criticism entirely to whiny Phil-loving fans is, and to write it off, is, frankly, not the kind of nuanced approach that is supposedly the site’s goal and is just the flip side of the one-way anti-MDA narrative about which that group of posters complains.

    Specifically:

    1. Howard didn’t like him. That is obviously partly on Howard, but getting along with Howard/pushing him to stay was a key part of MDA’s assignment and he didn’t do it.
    2. D’Antoni was not able to get Nash and Howard to click.
    3. D’Antoni played Kobe an absurd amount of minutes. That may or may not have caused the injury, but it was not a good idea either way.
    4. The team played at a much faster pace than its personnel was suited for (5th in the NBA).

    As to defense, I don’t know how much Phil’s teams practiced defense,but I do know that Phil had a very good record as a defensive coach, and D’Antoni doesn’t. The SSOL teams in PHX were better on D than they were given credit for, but overall, the record is not good.

    A lot of that is talent. It is very clear to me that Lamar Odom was a bigger part of the Team D on 2008-11 teams than he was given credit for, and last year’s team was OK on D late in the year, once Howard started moving better, and went 28-13 over the second half. But there no real evidence that D’Antoni is good at coaching D.

    As to fan pessimism, I am hearing plenty of both viewpoints. But the real problem is that the team looks like a 30-35 win team, which is not a great place to be.

  30. What makes MDA so hated?

    1. He overplayed Kobe and may have ended Kobes chances at another ring.

    2. Most of the veteran players did not respect him (Kobe, Pau, Jamison, Howard)

    3. By most accounts, all the major adjustments were made by the players, not MDA.

    4. MDA is an excuse maker…i.e. The team is struggling because Nash is hurt, wait till Nash gets back, he’ll fix everything.

    5. He is not Phil Jackson, but more importantly, he is a painful reminder that Jim Buss makes the basketball decisions.

  31. @LTMitchell: “He overplayed Kobe and may have ended Kobes chances at another ring.”

    Yes. As a coach there is a time and a place when the player can waive you off…unfortunately MDA needs to have a backbone and save Kobe from himself. It is interesting that Popovich can sit players at given periods of time and even a game here and there and it is final. Obviously Kobe is wired differently but I forgot about him overplaying Kobe at the end. Definitely a good point.

    I agree with most of your points, but #1 & #4 just brought back memories from last year.

  32. By this point in time several medical doctors have weighted in on the fact that the achilles tear does not result from overuse, yet I still hear the refrain, “…he overplayed Kobe…”. If you continue to believe Mike D’Antoni is responsible for Kobe’s injury you have clearly stated this view by now. The doctors don’t concur. Now let us leave this subject alone. There are clear disagreements and we shouldn’t be putting this in any argument against Mike D’Antoni.

  33. Another comment section devolved into a discussion of Mike D’Antoni. To boot, this time in the comments of a fantastically written post that has nothing to do with him.

    Clearly that NO ONE has nothing new to bring to the table about the coach will not deter the idiocy of continuing to talk about him, so we should at least get some things straight…

    Are you a doctor? Did you examine Kobe’s injury? Perform his surgery? Have you examined him in the past? Did you know what the wear and tear on his body was after 17 seasons of NBA basketball? No? Than please stop talking about his injury as if you have any insight into why it occurred. As Craig mentioned, doctors independent of the Lakers — not anyone on their staff or any of their trainers — have said that “overuse” does not contribute to this injury. Find a doctor on the record who says it did and we can have a conversation. Until then, please stop.

    Whining about the coach also isn’t going to get him fired. Just as whining about Kobe’s shot selection or how often he shoots isn’t going to get him to pass more. Fans love to bitch and complain, and I get that. But doing it over and over in every single thread is tiresome. I don’t know how many times I have to say it, but I will ban people for being repetitive. When it happens to you, don’t say you weren’t warned.

    There are fair critiques about this coach. I believe him wanting to play as fast as he does has a negative affect on the team’s defense. I believe the reports that speak to how his communication needs to improve. I believe he needs to continue to evolve his playbook to maximize the strengths of his best players even if that means continuing to diverge from some of the sets that he’s built his reputation on — if he doesn’t he’ll deserve the criticism he receives in these areas. I’m sure other things will pop up as the season progresses.

    But, as of now, nothing is changing and continuing to spew the same rancid points over and over needs to end. Personally I don’t care if you’re bothered by this or not.

  34. Hiring MD was not the worst thing last year!

    Signing Nash was! No Nash no thoughts of a run and gun team like the old Suns. No thoughts of the new Show Time by a ill Jerry or his want to be good son.

    No Nash, No MD and probably Phil and a properly used twin tower winner.

    Steve Nash was the villein for coming in the first place!

  35. Repetitiveness: Pretty much everybody who posts here a lot is repetitive. Warren, for example, has posted something pretty much every day for the last ten explaining why he is optimistic about the team and mostly, the people who disagree with him, like me, had been quiet about it until the 1997 Jazz comp–which, by the way, was the first lengthy OT post in this thread. Craig is also extremely repetitive. So, repetitiveness per se isn’t really the problem that Darius has.

    Kobe’s injury: stuff I have read about it has indicated that there is really no way to know to what extent, if any, overuse caused the injury, but that it can’t really be ruled out as a contributing cause, either. The basic info sources, such as Wiki and WebMd, do indicate that overuse can be a cause. There is a podiatrist in San Antonio, Ed Davis, who said it was preventable, although he didn’t focus on MPG.

  36. is there really a need to determine blame?

    sometimes things just won’t work out no matter what you do.
    sometimes things work out despite bad moves.

    last year stunk. this year might and might not. if all the naysayers are already correct, then just forfeit the season, but if the team is going to do that, then i quit caring, too.

    there are no promises in sports or any other activity. we can play the odds, but there’s always a chance that the longshot comes through, or there wouldn’t be odds. being correct about bad things happening when the odds are in the favor of bad things happening is nothing to feel proud about.

  37. rr,
    You’d be best served if you didn’t try to say what I do and don’t mean.

  38. @Keno: not sure I agree completely, but if this is indeed a serious post it is an interesting view nonetheless.

    The original post was well written. I think everyone is just anxious and looking forward to the season. MDA rants aside, I think the team will do better than that god awful 12th place in the West prediction.

  39. I seriously cannot believe this thread has come down to this… There’s a reason why the bloggers select a topic and we (as commenters) should try and stick to it, with the occasional off topic mention being obviously allowed as it has always been.

    What do the ’97 Jazz have to do with Nick Minerath? And that’s the first reply to the post (which is great as I said above)! Maybe I could understand if people started talking about Elias Harris or not inviting CDR and stating their opinions about our training camp invites. Instead, after that totally off topic dream comparison, we somehow managed to find ways to criticize MDA on a post about NIck Minerath’s story.

    Darius doesn’t need my help but I, as fellow commenter, feel a little bit sad that people can’t really pay attention to the great work Dave Murphy put into this post. I just hope I can see more posts like this specially during the off season as they are far more interesting than anything about MDA or the 97 Jazz. There are plenty of posts about X’s and O’s during the season on which you can criticize the players and/or the coach. Amazingly, those posts don’t generate the amount of “educated” replies that those off topic rants do…

  40. Excellent article. I barely knew who Minnerath was before I read it. Still haven’t seen more than a snipped of footage of him playing but Dave, your article single-handedly made me wish he hadn’t signed overseas, but was instead competing for a job in LA.

  41. Dave,
    Thanks for possibly explaining why Minnerath chose to go overseas, rather than fight it out in a very crowded and competitive Laker camp – with $ guaranteed to 15 players already.

  42. Thanks to all for the kind words. It was a fun article to write and the feedback is rewarding. There will be more bio-type pieces in the future. As for MDA and other topics, we’re all passionate basketball fans here and sometimes things tend to go off the rails. They come back center eventually, sometimes with a little help. Maybe I’ll write about D’Antoni the player some day. Then again, that would take a lot of research for his Italian years. So maybe I won’t.

  43. Everyone seen this Nick Minnerath video (via Slam Online)? I’m hoping he’ll turn enough heads in Europe to get a better look by NBA scouts next year.

    http://www.slamonline.com/online/media/slam-tv/2013/07/undrafted-ep-6-nick-minnerath-video/

    Loved your story, Dave! That’ll be a tough act for you to follow. Maybe do some cameos about the new Lakers on the roster, particularly the young “disrespected”/underachieving ones who have a lot to prove?

  44. Dave

    Great story but you may have missed your calling. This sounds like it should be a screenplay. I for one would pay to see that movie.

    And yes I was kind of serious about Nash. Would they have hired. MD if there was no Nash signing? MD is not a bad coach but they did put the wrong roster together last year. For that reason I feel they will look better and be more fun to watch this year. Superior coaches can mold a team but some coaches are not able to change their philosophy to fit the personal.

  45. I apologize for the ’97 Jazz comment if that derailed the conversation into something else. I was reading about Minnerath and didn’t find anything to add or subtract. At that time I was watching the Jazz-Bulls ’97 series and found several interesting points.

    Just a point of clarification, should I just not say anything instead?

  46. You could’ve said “great article” instead…

  47. I wonder how Malone’s career turns out if he didnt have Stockton to run PnR with him for basically his entire career, he was good but somewhat overrated in my opinion.

  48. Very good article!!!

  49. Fern – I wonder how Stockton’s career turns out if he didn’t have Malone to run PnR with him, ect …?

    My point being, basketball IS a team sport and ain’t it grand when a player can leverage the skills of his teammates for extraordinary results?

    And BTW, Malone stands at 6th on the all time rebounding list as well; overrated I guess is a subjective evaluation. But I ask, Malone’s overrated compared to who, exactly?

  50. Re: Malone “overrated” : Giving it a few minutes thought, I guess Elvin Hayes, Garnett, Duncan, McHale would be in the great PF discussion. Probably Bob Petit as well, although I know little about him as a player.

  51. Renato Afonso September 22, 2013 at 4:59 pm
    You could’ve said “great article” instead…

    – Yeah and after this post has been up for like a week? Still? Anyways, understood.

  52. Warren, please don’t change. While the article was well written, why should any Laker fan concern themselves with Nick Minnerath after the few mins already spent reading about him? Without Warren’s contribution there would be no more than 5 responses to this article and the would have all been “nice article”. I will repeat, please Warren, never change. Your enthusiasm for the Lakers is a breath of fresh air in these tough times.

  53. I don’t think it’s bad to have off-topic comments. I think they can help drive conversation.

  54. It is when the off-topic comments become so predictable and repetitive that it gets tiresome. And – yes – I have been guilty of that at times.

  55. I have been guilty as well. So to try to bring in some new links:

    This was not exactly the Kobe update I was hoping for:
    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-kobe-bryant-contract-20130923,0,2681184.story#axzz2faHecyve
    “The Lakers haven’t opened contract negotiations with Bryant” – Not good. We want to start this convo as soon as possible. Plant the seeds, then yes see how the injury recovers. Radio silence is not good.

    On the MD front – there is the following:
    http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakersnow/la-sp-ln-mike-d-antoni-lakers-season-20130921,0,6285664.story#axzz2faHecyve
    “I’m looking forward to getting to know the guys. See how they interact with each other — see if we can have a little bit of chemistry this year than we had last year,”
    I think I will let MD’s comment stand on its own accord.

    Lastly and most compelling: Jeanie
    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-lakers-jeanie-buss-20130922,0,7605583.story?page=3&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%253A%20latimes%252Fmostviewed%20%2528L.A.%20Times%20-%20Most%20Viewed%20Stories%2529&utm_source=feedburner&track=rss#axzz2faHecyve
    I was stunned. I said to Phil, “They came to you. You were not looking for the job. I cannot believe this.”
    “But I want my brother to realize that I’m not the enemy”

    Well – I would question whether the Buss Family soap opera is over based on that article.

    At least we are in the news !!!

  56. I liked what I saw of Minnerath in the video posted. But, if hes not even coming to training camp, although I think thats most likely best for him.

    As for jeanie and jim. I know a lot fans wish jeanie flat out controlled the laker organization. However, lately Jim has seemed more what I expect out of Laker ownership then Jeanie.

  57. On Jeanie: I love her, lover her old-time Laker lover for Chick and his legacy, her kindness to Marge, and her over-all womanly sensitivities . . . . but enough already! It’s time for Jeanie to get to work and stop whining about how her boyfriend was kicked to the curb (again). I’m not encouraged by this continuing horse****–it’s time to move the franchise forward.

  58. Warren–

    There is no need to apologize for the 97 Jazz thing.

  59. It is when the off-topic comments become so predictable and repetitive that it gets tiresome.

    People are bothered by repetitiveness when

    a) The tone is shrill/pompous whatever
    b) The stuff being repeated is stuff that they personally disagree with and/or don’t want to hear.

    So, repetitiveness per se isn’t really the issue.

  60. Robert,

    Like I have said, I don’t see any reason for the organization to talk about Kobe’s contract right now. They stuck with him through the Howard thing and the injury, he is going to get 30M this year, and he has yet to demonstrate that he can play at all, much less play near his previous level. And, as noted, Kupchak’s own repetitiveness has come into play with the use of the phrase “financial flexibility” so suggesting that they are going to commit to paying Kobe X$ right now, or even talking around it, doesn’t make a lot of sense IMO.

    We know that if Kobe plays next year, for the Lakers or for another team, he is going to take a huge paycut. Beyond that, there are too many variables to really make that conversation worth having.

    As to Jim and Jeanie–there are reasons so many people say that it is not a good idea to mix business and family.

  61. rr/bryan s: “not a good idea to mix business and family.” Exactly. If this wasn’t family then Jeanie would have resigned and moved on. With “family” – they are stuck with each other.
    Kobe: We could not sign or even preliminarily prepare a contract at this time. What we could do is to start the convo and I see that as valuable. What would Kobe be worth if he had not been injured? The Laker FO and Kobe may have completely different numbers there. The level is adjusted when we see if he is not returning to full strength, however the gap could remain. With our big FA summer coming – I think we should know this before June. And if we don’t start the convo now – we probably won’t until June. Do we want a big media circus over the KB contract next June?
    WWL: Yes – no need to apologize or stop posting. We may disagree on some things, but what I find interesting about this board is that there are other people who think about the Lakers as much and as avidly as I do – there are others in my life who think this behavior is strange so I use this board as evidence that I am not the only one : )

  62. Warren,

    to be fair, even though it seems otherwise, it bothered me more that the conversation led to MDA again than the 97 Jazz thing. It could’ve been just a simple off topic post and people would tell you that there’s no way to compare the 97 Jazz to the current Lakers and people would get back to the topic at hand (Minerath’s life story and training camp invites). Suddenly it went to MDA again and I lost interest in the replies…

    However, like I said before, I agree that off topic posts should be and are obviously allowed to keep the conversation flowing… That being said, can we get a real X’s and O’s (offense and defense) post about MDA? No “he doesn’t connect with players” or “he’s just terrible” or “I wish we had Phil” stuff. Just pure tactics about him in Phoenix, in NY and last season in LA. I’ve watched a lot of film about his schemes and some conclusions are fairly interesting and revealing and I would like to share them with you guys. Plus, being a basketball coach in Europe, I get to watch a lot of basketball in the old continent and I can tell you that MDA’s offense is very similar to what we get here. Why not have a topic for that and let people really state their mind about him, instead of reading it in every other topic?

    And on a totally off topic note again: why isn’t Mike Fratello coaching in the NBA? He did an amazing job with Ukraine and it seems to have gone unnoticed in the US…