instead. Black and Blue's Orlando Magic Blog: How Will Ewing Do As Magic Big Man Coach?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How Will Ewing Do As Magic Big Man Coach?

No real news to mention to mention today so I scanned the message boards for interesting discussion threads. There were the usual ones about who will be our starting shooting guard and who our overall starters should be, but one message board discussion stuck out at me on the Orlando Magic boards: How do you think Patrick Ewing will do as our big man coach?

This topic is actually more interesting than it sounds. While Ewing had a spectacular career as a pro for the Knicks, not much is really known about how good of a coach he is. Patrick Ewing was not asked back by the Rockets to work with Yao Ming, and much of the underlying sentiment was that he didn't help out Yao enough. For these people, I must defer to an article that is PROOF that Ewing is a good coach...the 2005 Sports Illustrated article "Dinner At Yaos". The article is Yao and Ewing sitting down to dinner, with Dikembe Mutombo there for the ride. This had to be one of the weirdest get-togethers in history. My favorite excerpt:
EWING: Hey, I may be 6'9", but I'm a bad 6'9". And what about you? When I first
met you, you told me you were from Zaire.
MUTOMBO: No, Congo. [Zaire was
renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997.]
EWING: How many languages
do you speak, seven?
MUTOMBO: I speak Ebonics now, so eight. Yao, do you
speak Ebonics? [Yao shrugs.]
Mutombo's cellphone rings. The ring tone is 50
Cent's In Da Club. He answers and starts speaking one of his eight languages --
not English.
EWING: Man, every time I go over to Dikembe's, he's on the
phone. [Ewing picks up his cellphone and starts mocking Mutombo.] 'Doobleedoo
doobloodoo doobleedoo. ...' I'm like, 'What the hell is he saying?'
The food
comes, and the three dig in.

There you have it. Priceless work with his big men right there.

OBVIOUSLY Ewing won't be a role model to Dwight off the court (at least I hope not). The Magic have "braced themselves for a headache" when they got Ewing because of his involvement in a strip club case. For those of you who have been waiting for the day to read about a sordid Patrick Ewing sexual encounter, there ya go. I also remember Ewing getting in trouble with Dan Aykroyd, of all people, at a strip club before so it sounds like he knows where his second home is.

On a side note, Dan Aykroyd lives on my block in New York. Not really sure why I felt the need to mention that, but he does.

Back to the reality of Ewing coaching Howard and the Magic, I think that he has the capability of actually doing a good job. Ewing's son has played pretty well in college ball, and he had a pretty well rounded game when he was in the league. He won't have the bizarre language barrier problems he had with Yao, and provides personal experience to a young squad who actually considers Adonal Foyle the veteran face of the team. The one thing I hope he doesn't bring with him is his penchant for hitting that spot between the backboard and the rim at crucial junctures of the playoffs. I remember watching games with my father, a Knicks fan, and seeing his head drop when Ewing would inevitably miss a make-or-break 2 footer with the game on the line. If Dwight does this even once, count on me to be the first to call for Ewing's head.

The bottom line? After tossing Clifford Ray out during the Brian Hill Apocalyptic saga, there aren't many spectacular names out there. Ray turned Howard into a star and completely revamped what was looking like a doomed career by Al Jefferson so there is no way Boston would part with him. At least in Ewing, there is a guy that the players know to shut up and listen to, and in the end that could provide dividends.

No comments: