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Harsh Analysis of a Non-Doc Eastern Coach

In the wake of a Game 4 loss in which the Hawks beat the Celtics by running the same simple high screen 85 straight times in the fourth quarter, the time seems right for a reminder that Doc Rivers isn't the only coach without a perfect approval rating.

In fact, one particular fellow Eastern contender's coach has his share of detractors -- including a recent player.

As reported by the Detroit Free Press, one Piston-turned-analyst doesn't believe Flip Saunders has too much pull in his own huddle:

Ex-Piston Chris Webber took a shot at Pistons coach Flip Saunders' credibility on the TNT telecast Sunday night.
When asked about the the feeling in the locker room during halftime: "No disrespect to Flip (Saunders), but it doesn’t matter what Flip says," Webber said.
The Pistons "are really nonchalant and that’s why I felt we lost last year (in the Eastern Conference Finals)," Webber said.

"It sounds crazy, but they could care less. That locker room is crazy, disciplined and unruly. Disciplined because they police themselves, they are all veterans, they know they’ve got to be in bed, they know they’ve got to work hard, I’m not talking about on the court. They come from a coach like Larry Brown, they look at him like the epitome of basketball, and they feel they can wait until the last game or the championship and they won’t lose. I’m not saying it’s right, but that’s how it is."

Rough times all around.

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Sounds like a sad reflection of the situation in Detroit since Larry Brown departed -- and a confirmation of exactly the idea that the Pistons' results in recent seasons had given us.

Saunders has long been known as a guy who could lead decently talented teams through the regular season but who wasn't a big-game coach.  The Pistons couldn't handle Dwyane Wade in the Eastern Conference Finals two seasons ago, and they completely imploded against Cleveland last year, becoming the first team ever to lose a best-of-seven series by a count of six games to none.

The stigmas remain that Flip can't win a big playoff game on the road and that he isn't a world-beater as far as being a tactician is concerned.  That his team may not even be listening to it certainly doesn't improve matters -- or my perception of him -- much at all.

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