Floyd loses bull's-eye
By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun
Tim Floyd is approaching some career milestones. Coach Floyd's New Orleans Hornets have seven wins in only 10 games this season. The most games Floyd ever won in a full season when coaching the Chicago Bulls was 17. So when New Orleans wins its 18th game, say around mid-December, will the players pour a bucket of Gatorade over Floyd? In the frenzied post-game celebration, Floyd may say something like, "Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
Floyd may not be the luckiest man on earth, but he's in the running for luckiest coach in the NBA. After posting a 49-190 record with the Bulls and getting fired early in the 2001-02 season, Floyd shockingly re-emerged this year to replace Paul Silas in New Orleans.
Floyd has taken a lot of abuse, some fair, some unfair. Former Raptor and two-time Bull Charles Oakley hated Floyd so much, Oak probably would want the inscription on his own tombstone to read, "Tim Floyd can't coach."
Floyd inherited the Bulls at the worst moment imaginable, after former general manager Jerry Krause had driven away the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and coach Phil Jackson. But a lot of aspiring NBA head coaches resent Floyd, wondering what exactly he did to garner not only one shot at the big time, but two.
Under Silas, the Hornets earned a reputation as a team that was pretty good, but ultimately underachieved considering the talent on the roster. Floyd seemed an odd choice for a squad that was looking to move to the next level -- upward, that is -- but whatever Floyd is doing has helped guard Baron Davis inch closer to superstar status.
Davis has led the Hornets in scoring in seven of their 10 games and is averaging 25.2 points overall. The club is getting solid contributions from the other four starters -- David Wesley, George Lynch, P.J. Brown and Toronto native Jamaal Magloire -- and former Orlando Magic guard Darrell Armstrong has provided energy off the bench. What's more, the Hornets are missing one of their best players, Jamal Mashburn, who will be out till January because of right knee surgery.
"I deserve none of the credit (for the club's impressive record)," a modest Floyd said. "This isn't about me."
The Hornets are one of only two teams to beat the Los Angeles Lakers this season, but the Hornets' three losses have come against the Dallas Mavericks (understandable), the Atlanta Hawks (irritating) and the Bulls (galling for Floyd).
The Hornets will face a stiff test over the next two nights, playing road games against the New Jersey Nets and the Boston Celtics. Those are tough places to play, but the mere fact the Hornets have a fighting chance is a huge step up from Floyd's days with the Bulls.
"I got beaten up (in the media) for saying every day was hell (with the Bulls)," Floyd said. "Well, how could it be fun when you're losing?"
After Floyd's experience in Chicago, New Orleans really must seem like The Big Easy.
If Floyd found a new job, Doc Rivers should have no trouble.
Rivers, a former NBA coach of the year with the Magic, is hanging by a thread. The Magic was 1-9 heading into its game last night and Orlando management reportedly has compiled a short list of potential replacements.
Among those on the list are Magic assistant coaches Johnny Davis and Dave Wohl -- both of whom have head coaching experience in the NBA -- but promoting assistants during the course of a season is a dubious exercise. If the assistants are so damn smart, why haven't they spoken up and helped to correct things by now?
If the Magic looks elsewhere, there are two people with Toronto connections available: Former Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens and former Raptors GM Isiah Thomas, who was fired as coach of the Indiana Pacers last summer.
Another possibility might be former Milwaukee Bucks coach George Karl. That notion would be enough to make Rivers throw up, given the explosive verbal battles he and Karl have had through the years.
"I don't know if I can do a better job with the group of guys we have now," Rivers said. If true, Rivers has run dry.
Veterans with the Portland Trail Blazers pulled an old prank on rookies Travis Woods and Matt Carroll last week. The vets told Woods and Carroll to lead the team on to the floor for the pre-game warmup. The pair charged out, turned around and found themselves alone. The rest of the players stayed in the tunnel, laughing for a half-minute or so, before joining the embarrassed youngsters ... The Hornets handed out bobbleheads last week to honour someone who technically played for the opposition. The game was against the Utah Jazz and the figurines were of Pete Maravich, who played for the New Orleans Jazz before the club moved to Salt Lake City.