A couple of things have me scratching my head this morning.
First, the Bulls are reportedly about to hire Doug Collins as their next coach. Huh? With the first pick in the draft and a pretty decent existing lineup the best you could do is pull a guy off the scrap heap? Surely the lure of coaching Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose would have been enough to hire someone who is, well, good. Collins has already been a coach for the Bulls, and not a particularly good one. He’s also been at the helm for the Pistons and he wasn’t very good there, either. Finally, he was reunited with Michael Jordan with the Wizards. How can we possibly forget what a rousing and inspiring success that whole era was? Overall, he has a decent but not overwhelming regular season record of 332-287, but it’s in the playoffs that he has shown hs true incompetence – 15-23. He didn’t manage to get anything done with the Bulls in the playoffs, but soon after he left the team won three in a row. This move is totally without logic for the Bulls management team. Or maybe not. This must be what they are thinking – Collins hired Phil Jackson as an assistant, and when Collins was fired for being inept Jackson took the helm and won six titles in nine years. Maybe management sees this as the easiest way to identify the next Phil Jackson. That’s the only thing that makes sense, because as a coach Collins make a decent broadcaster. I wrote earlier that I was very optimistic about the Bulls next year because of the first pick and their other tools. A lot of that optimistic will drain away if they go through with this ridiculous hire. It’s not just his record that makes it ridiculous, though. They fired Scott Skiles because he was loud and fiery and it wasn’t working for the players anymore. The mogical thing, then, is to bring in a guy who is loud and fiery and shouts at his players. That’s the ticket. If I was a Bulls season ticket holder I’d be on the phone to cancel them as soon as they hired this goof. I suspect that I would have to wait on hold for a while.
The other thing that I don’t understand at all is why James Blake insists on sucking at the French Open. He was favored at -240 to win his second round match today against Ernests Gulbis, a 19 year old Latvian who is ranked 80th in the world and has only played in four previous grand slams. Not only did Blake lose the match, but he lost it in four sets. The first set went to a tiebreaker, but Gulbis dominated it. Blake fought back to take the second set, but then he folded. He looked confused, and he wasn’t playing his typical game. This is very frustrating. Blake is the 8th ranked player in the world. He’s not a clay specialist (the fact that Americans have a mental block against clay is another entirely different, though equally ridiculous, issue that I won’t deal with here), but he has had some success on clay both in the past and this year. He made the finals in clay in Houston this year. He made the quarters in the Rome Masters before losing to Stanislas Wawrinka, who went on to make the final and take a set off of Novak Djokovic. Blake has better surfaces, but the 8th ranked player in the world should be able to win their second round match in a major against an outmatched opponent on any surface. Period. Further, we should be able to trust an American ranked in the top ten to come through as a -240 favorite. Blake is an immensely talented player, but he really needs to get his head together before his window closes completely.