I haven't really touched it on it in my writing yet, but the Frisco Legends will probably be the team I pay the closest attention to for this upcoming season. I'm intrigued in seeing how Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson handles assignments to the team he owns, I'm interested in seeing the Legends' front office consisting of Del Harris and Spud Webb do what front offices and, oh yeah, the coaching staff is led by Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman.
Interesting group of names, am I right?
Anyway, I somehow missed this, but TrueHoop's Kevin Arnovitz posted a great interview with Lieberman yesterday in which they discussed how Pittsburgh Steelers' coach Mike Tomlin handles himself in press conferences, diversity in sports, the Iowa Energy's system, her philosophy on teaching her players that won't making the sojourn to the NBA anytime soon and her fluid-until-she-knows-who-is-on-her-team coaching philosphy.
Kevin Arnovitz: From a tactical standpoint, please tell me about the Nancy Lieberman coaching philosophy.
Nancy Lieberman: I don't think it's applicable to the NBA Development League. There will be things that are applicable -- whether they're quick hitters, whether it's some continuity -- but you're dealing with different elements. You're dealing with the 24-second shot clock, getting the ball over half court in eight seconds, with the defensive three-second rule. This changes a lot of the strategy defensively and offensively that you don't encounter internationally, in the WNBA or in college basketball. I've learned more about the NBA style of basketball in the last six months. I know a lot about basketball -- it's been my life. But I've sat down with everyone from Vinny Del Negro to Alvin Gentry to Phil Weber to Mike Brown to Larry Brown to Rick Carlisle because it's very important to me as I go forward to make sure to learn and see what other people do, and then establish what my philosophy is going to be. Right now, I don't have any players. I don't know if I'm going to have athletes, or pure shooters, a legit big. Most cases in the D-League, those 7-footers aren't plentiful. So I'll be glad to share my coaching philosophy once we know what we're working with.
I had the opportunity of talking to Lieberman at the D-League Showcase way back in January and really, not much has changed. She's still talking to the best people she could possibly learn from and Vinny Del Negro and she still realizes that coaching in the D-League is probably the most unique coaching experience available - a fact very few people would be willing to argue.
Considering that coaches are asked about their coaching philosophy two months before the season begins and aren't able to answer because they don't know if they'll have Rod Benson or Robert Swift manning the low post and can't tell if they're going to be able to push the ball with a push-the-pace, Curtis Stinson-type point guard or will have to slow it down after bringing in a guy like Byron Eaton.
So, I think Lieberman answered that the right way - her philosophy for the upcoming season is developing.
And, hey, it's the Development League so why wouldn't it be?