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Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Questions and answers with Coach Clueless

The Orlando Magic close the unofficial first half of the NBA season tonight at home against the Portland Trail Blazers. Then it's a few days off for the all-star break. Orlando Magic Coach Brian Hill spent Tuesday afternoon with Sentinel Associate Managing Editor/Sports Lynn Hoppes to talk about the season so far, the 1997 player revolt, Dwight Howard and family time, among other topics.

Question: Are you a happy man?
Hill: Am I happy? You mean basketball happy? I think I'm a happy person in life. Because to me, the most important thing is health. Not just my own, but my whole family. Obviously, we've gone through a bunch of trials and tribulations in that area (daughter Kim received a lung transplant more than two years ago), and we have great health now. I'm very thankful for that.

Q: Then why do you get so cranky on the court?
Hill: When you're on the court, you're in a different world. The focus is on everything that is taking place on the court. I guess we all coach within our own personality, and mine is somewhat intense. I try to control it as much as I can. I'm constantly being reminded that by my daughter, Kim. She would say, "Dad, life is good. Relax and take it easy."

Q: Do you consider yourself a father figure to the players?
Hill: I don't think they look up to me as a father figure. I think I try to instill basketball skills and a sense of professionalism. I want to show them how to go about their jobs the right way and on a daily basis. I want to show them by example a strong work ethic and attention to detail. In turn, I expect that from them on the court.

Q: What are your thoughts on coaching Dwight Howard?
Hill: Dwight has progressed tremendously over the past couple of years. Outside of his God-given talent, we made him the focal point of the offense. He had to learn skills in the post, as a passer, as a defender and how to handle different situations on the floor. He is getting better in all those areas. That's why he's blossoming into one of the top players in the league.

Q: You coached Shaq, too. How different is coaching those two?
Hill: Both are supremely talented as young players. But there's a difference of a maturity level when they came into the league. Shaq benefited from three years of college. His demeanor when he came on the court was all business. He was fun-loving and a cut-up off the court, but between the lines, it was all business.

Q: And Dwight?
Hill: I think Dwight is getting to that point. Earlier in his career, it was more about coming out and having fun. I think he's reaching that point where he understands if you're going to be the best player on the team, there is a lot of responsibility with that. You set a tone every day with your work ethic and professionalism.

Q: How close are you to this team?
Hill: I enjoy this group of guys much more than any previous group. I'm talking 1 through 15. They are a great group of guys. I enjoy coming to work every day.

Q:: What about the player revolt and your dismissal in 1997? What are your thoughts on ring leader Penny Hardaway?
Hill: You learn from every situation that you go through in life. There is always one or two things you'd want to change if you had a chance to go back. Maybe in how you handle a particular situation, how you dealt with a player on a personal level. But there were so many factors that go into the situation that are out of your control.

Q: Have you cleared the air with Penny?
Hill: I've had no conversation.

Q: Do you want to?
Hill: I prefer not to get into it. It's just a personal thing.

Q: As your team sometimes struggles to score, what do you say to critics who say you're coaching like it's the mid-'90s?
Hill: I don't coach like it's 1996. It's a different group of guys. It was a different offensive philosophy. It's a different defensive philosophy. For someone to make that statement like that, they don't have an understanding of the game.

Q: When it comes to scoring, fans are screaming for more J.J. Redick. Your thoughts?
Hill: Critics don't come to practice. They don't coach this team. That's my responsibility. My decisions are predicated on what's best for the basketball team. It may not be what's best for the individual. What a lot of people don't understand is how much time Redick has missed, the entire summer, training camp and the exhibition season. He's worked extremely hard, and now he has earned the right to be on the floor. It's like anybody in any walk of life. Very few people are handed stuff without earning it. It's no different when it comes to a basketball team.

Q: We're getting close to the trade deadline. Any moves?
Hill: It's my obligation to always look to improve the basketball team. But at the same time, most people don't understand how difficult it is to make a trade in the NBA. To get a significant piece, you need to give up a significant piece. And our significant pieces are our young players. I don't feel in position to give up on any of these guys. We think that highly of them.

Q: What about moving Grant Hill?
Hill: In 37 years of coaching and 20 years in the NBA, Grant Hill is as classy an individual as I've ever been around. I would love to see him finish his career here. There aren't enough Grant Hills in the NBA. When you have a guy like that in your organization, you'll do everything you can to keep him.

Q: How good is this Magic team?
Hill: I think we're a work in progress. Obviously, our goal is to be a playoff team. One thing that has hurt is our health situation. Look at all the teams in front of us. They haven't gone through that. We still haven't played to our full potential yet. We hope to get all our pieces back after the all-star break, and we'll get better and better.

Q: Again, are you happy?
Hill: I don't do a lot of other stuff. I'm not a golfer. I'm not a tennis player. I'm not a skier. Do I have a greater appreciation of life? Yes. Do I have a greater appreciation for understanding that you can't control everything? Yes. You must have an appreciation for every moment that you can spend with your family. When you've gone through, what I call, a life-altering event like what we went through with Kim, you appreciate life a little more.


  • At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Whatever...BHill is trying desperately to pin the blame for this season on injuries, when only one of those injures have had a sustantial effect on the team: Ariza's. Dooling and Battie's injuries, by contrast, have helped the team by giving other players minutes (though Battie, at least, is a long-term value for the team).

    That said, I want to encourage this forum to move beyond bashing BHill and to debate topics of substantive interest. I've read and commented on this board in the past, and it's less interesting, in my view, when solely focused on BHill. In short: BHill is a below-average coach, who is probably responsible for many, but far from all, our problems this season.

    So, other topics: Consider the Milicic/Carter dilemma in the Sentinel today. What should the team do? There are valid arguments on both sides. My vote is to keep Milicic but work desperately to obtain a mid-priced, promising young scorer (names?). Big men are a rarer commodity, and while haven't much luck finding a scorer, the search shouldn't be fruitless.

  • At 4:34 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    That interview was senseless on the side of the interviewer. There were many soft questions that were begging for tricky answers. I wish Hill was wise enough to say that he is over the Penny Hardaway issue, but he was not. It is obvious that what happened in the past "is always on his mind" to the extent of affecting the health of his decision making process.

    by the way, nobody is bashing Hill while losing the sight of other pressing matters. We address matters as they present themselves. However, Hill and Smith are at the center of many ills with the team. It is hard to separate any issue from the two since most issues come to the desk of one or both of them to decide on.

  • At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    good points, matt.

    I would note, however, the recent choice of topics covered on this forum, e.g., BHill's recent interview, the Fl Today article, and those not covered, e.g., the recent Sentinel Magic trade odds calculator. It's easy and important to poke holes at the interview ("BHill sucks in this way," "no, wait, he sucks in this way, too!"). However, it might be more interesting to consider real challenges for the team: Are we likely to make any trades if we offer only are most least valuable players (Hedo, Dooling, etc.)?

    I urge the forum to debate all these topics.

  • At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    clarification: offer only our LEAST valuable players. who would want them?


  • At 6:02 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    I agree, Anonymous. We would try not to overlook other challenging issues. I don't buy Sentinel's printed copy, and the issue that you have pointed to has not appeared on their website yet, or am I missing it? In one of my earlier posts, I guess under the title of "A Real Magic Makeover", the issue of trading Hedo and Carlos for Rashard Lewis was discussed. Most of us agreed that trade makes sense for both teams. You may look it over, and let us know what you think.

  • At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    yes, i read about that trade proposal and would love to make it happen. but isn't hedo signed for four years? why would any team want to weigh down their salary cap with a player of so little value for such a long time? (i know hedo's having an especially bad year, but last year was especially good. on average, he's just bad.)

    even though the salaries match up, i think seattle would prefer to let rashard walk and sign a more valuable player with their available money rather than take on a long-term dud contract. am i missing something?

    trade odds here: http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_magic/2007/02/magic_player_tr.html

  • At 4:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    sorry (again), here's the link: http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_magic/2007/02/magic_player_tr.html

    great win tonight-- superb performances across the board. i'm happy to give hedo his props.

  • At 4:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    weird...the link won't go through. anyway, it's on the sentinel website.

    i'll finally stop posting (at least in this thread) for a while.

  • At 3:31 PM, Blogger Showtime said…

    Maybe BHill needs to get alittle more detached from all 15 players. Maybe then we wouldn't have to put up with Garrity on the court, or Battie in the starting line up. It seems to me that this is a man who is making his coaching decisions based off of seniority and "fairness". Look we're in the NBA, you play your best players. You still play Reddick because he hustles and has an incredible shot. You play Darko, if for no other reason, simply because he draws people away from Dwight in the paint (it's no coincidence that Dwight's shooting percentage has been higher since Darko has been in the line up more). If Arroyo is on fire, why would you put Nelson in at the end of the game? Oh wait, he answered that, because he wants him to be in at the end of the game. If you have a 20 year old kid who is shooting over 80%, he should A) be playing at least 40 minutes a game and B) be shooting at least 20 shots a game. Do you know what happens to championship teams when 2 or 3 of their role players get injured? The coach tells the star player to step up and drop 50, Bhill curls up in the fetal position. Anyways I'm tired of rambling, the point is we're not in a Junior Magic league where you have to make sure all the kids get their playing time because they try so hard in practice. Once again, this is the NBA.

  • At 8:04 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Hey showtime we dont call hill BSH for nothing,the bsh stands for "baby sitter hill",around here that is what he is referred to as because of the things you mentioned,we've beaten those topics down and i would tell you anytime you have some free time look through the archives and read some of the earlier posts from 2006.Not sure if i welcomed you already,so welcome to the blog.


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