I realize this question might be one of which came first the chicken or the egg, however I'm curious to know what other people think about the subject so I'm typing this up to get a feel for the mood around here.
Antonio Harvey tonight tweeted the following two tweets: "This isn't a system problem! This is a component problem! Don't change the system, change the components! But somethings gotta change!" A few minutes later he followed that with, "OK, I'm gonna let you guys have your say, just know that I don't see a lack of coaching, I see a lack of effort!"
My quetions, as I do have a couple are this, Should not the coach have the ability to change his system from year to year when the "components" change? Secondly, Why is it easier to believe that multiple players in a contract year are just deciding to mail it in rather than accept the possibility that they aren't getting the system the coach is trying to implement?
I have a couple observations on what is going wrong this season. One is something that has been a hallmark of a McMillan team just as much as "scrappy" is one of McMillan's favorite words and that is horrible pick and roll defense and stagnant, open-mouthed, glazed-eyed staring on offense. Yes, that's an exaggeration, but some nights it sure feels that way.
What's my point? When the team commentators have to resort to defending the coach without so much as a substantive reason why, you know there is problems. McMillan has always been good at pushing young talent either to get better and be disciplined or to lose all confidence and become virtually worthless on the court. Yes, there has been some prominent examples of those players that proved their talent was very limited and McMillan was able to work things towards their strengths and get more out of them than they've shown elsewhere since leaving. The ones that come to mind immediately are Outlaw, Webster and Bayless. However the same tenacity and relentless attitude that drives certain young players to prove themselves has got to be grating and even maddening to veteran players who already have. Men like Camby, Felton, Wallace, Crawford and Thomas do not need to be reminded of their mistakes and told not to do them, and McMillan is that type of coach if media reports are at all accurate.
What I see on the court isn't a lack of effort, it is confusion on where to put that effort. I don't see McMillan's problem as having a lack of components as Antonio Harvey puts it, I see it as an inability to work the system to utilize those components.
McMillan has always been able to get a team that is expected to do poorly to over-achieve when main players are out with injuries, but it is not a stretch to say that several times in the last few years, when the team has been at full strength they have struggled, people have been discontent with their playing time. Guys have not "bought into their roles" as is very important for those players finding themselves the second or third option.
Recently someone linked to an article about Ray Allen's sentiment upon McMillan leaving Seattle and his reaction was very telling. There was no connection with the coach, a man called Mr. Seattle, and the best star on the Sonics team at the time. Allen compared McMillan's demeanor with one of the assistant coaches and said that McMillan never let the players in, never really took the time to get to know anyone or let them get to know him as anything but a boss. He also noted the lack of encouragement when guys were struggling, and that to my mind is huge.