|Malcolm Huckaby remembers the making of Erik Spoelstra||05.28.12 at 7:28 am ET|
The little office light on in the practice facility still on at 3 a.m. The calculating of plus-minus plays in practice. The guy breaking down film for Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley.
This is my memory up close with a Pat Riley clone and future coach of an NBA dream team named Erik Spoelstra.
I had fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams, playing in the NBA for the Heat, when I inked a one-year deal in 1996 as a free agent with Riley, who coached the team then.
Riley mused on a then-undrafted free agent point guard out of Boston College who had overcome a horrific ankle injury, calling me a player who was a PHD (poor, hungry and desperate). Spoelstra, at the time, was crafting his skill in the dungeon of the video room of the team, working long hours desperately trying to give Riley any advantage possible.
Most people on the outside at the time of the 1996-97 season failed to give the kind of credit they do now for the work of assistant coaches, who work zombie hours with all the credit going to the head coach. But the knowledge that was around when I played was priceless. You had a Hall of Fame coach in Riley, along with Stan Van Gundy (who, after I asked him and Spoelstra how much sleep they got the night before, replied, “Huck, sleep is overrated”), and assistant coach Bob (Can Do) McAdoo, who once led the NBA in scoring when guys with nicknames like “Ice Man” were playing.
|Irish Coffee: Uno-Uno and Celtics number 11′s||11.11.11 at 1:00 pm ET|
It’s 11-11-11, and it’s Day No. 134 of the NBA lockout. Hence, the analysis of the No. 11 as it relates to Celtics.
The results aren’t good. Since 1946, there have been 23 seasons when nobody wore No. 11 for the Celtics — and they won 10 titles in those years. While 22 players have worn the No. 11 for the Celtics, no one ever made an NBA All-Star Game in that uniform. Dana Barros did participate in a 3-point contest, but lost in the first round.
The most significant player ever to wear No. 11 for the Celtics is Chuck Cooper, who became the first African-American drafted by an NBA team when the C’s took him in the second round with the 12th overall pick in 1950.
The best player to ever wear No. 11 for the Celtics has to be Bob McAdoo, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee who played just 20 games in green after C’s owner John Brown pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Tom Barker and three first-round picks to the Knicks. McAdoo, general manager Red Auerbach and player-coach Dave Cowens all learned of the trade in a newspaper, the ensuing resentment killed the 1978-79 season and they traded McAdoo to the Pistons for M.L. Carr and a pair of first-round picks in the 1980 NBA draft that eventually turned into Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. And the rest is history.
But which player enjoyed the best career in a No. 11 Celtics uniform? Let’s take a look at the 22 candidates.