Player who never developed named Laker "player development" coach
Mark Madsen has joined Mike D'Antoni's coaching staff as a "player development coach," Mark Medina reports (scroll to bottom of the article).
I remember Madsen from his playing days as a great guy, thoughtful blogger, relentless on-court hustler and one of the least skilled players in the NBA. He seemed to be too muscular for his own good, but there's no guarantee that he would have been able to do much with the basketball with a less chiseled physique. Although he had yet to make much of an impression, good or bad, by July 2001, having just completed his rookie season, it was players of his ilk I had in mind when I advocated at that time for "admissions testing" in Fifteen Steps to a Better NBA:
Here's a whacky concept: To be an NBA professional, you must be able to play basketball. If testing is appropriate for students seeking admission to sixth grade, it's appropriate for the pinnacle of pro hoops. No one gets a roster spot without an acceptable aggregate score for skills (passing, shooting, dribbling and catching) and athleticism (agility, quickness, speed and reflexes, but not strength). Good riddance to the goons currently making millions to commit four hard fouls in their nine minutes of court time.Madsen spent his first three seasons with the Lakers, but my lasting memory of him was as a reserve for the Timberwolves, battling his old pal Shaq in the 2004 playoffs by leaning on him in a doomed effort to resist being dislodged by the behemoth, thereby making himself vulnerable to a Shaq spin and dunk because of his off-balance (weight way too far forward) defensive stance. Of course, that oddball stance wouldn't have been necessary if Shaq hadn't long ago been granted by the league a license to dislodge. Madsen's coach, Flip Saunders, proudly announced during that series his intention to intentionally foul Shaq as often as it takes. In so doing, Saunders angered the hoop gods, thus guaranteeing a no-championship future. Of course, Saunders subsequently demonstrated in Detroit that, regardless, he wasn't a championship-quality coach.
Madsen somehow lasted nine seasons in the NBA, despite the steady deterioration of his meager skills. I suppose that's a glowing reflection on his upbeat personality and attitude, but it doesn't speak well of the league. I reiterate: You should be able to play basketball to be on a team's roster and receive regular fat checks from something called the National Basketball Association.
If Dame Fortune shines on the Lakers and free agent Dwight Howard accepts the team's lucrative offer, maybe Madsen can help him with his shooting. He can't do worse than Chuck Person in 2012-13 or Stan Van Gundy and his Orlando Magic staff from 2007 to 2012. Then again, maybe he can.