From what I hear so far, the players are responding to first-year coach Eric Musselman. Because of how things unfolded in his two years at Golden State, the immediate question that arose when the Maloofs brought Musselman on board was regarding his ability to interact with his players – or, as Musselman calls it, “touch” a player, as in make a connection and have a good rapport. If his exchange with Kenny Thomas last week is any sort of indicator, then it’s so far, so good. When the Kings signed center Maurice Taylor, Musselman had the wherewithal to approach Thomas about the situation.
“Coach came and talked to me, and I respect that coach did that,” Thomas said last week. “The biggest thing is that he came and he told me. There’s a level of confidence and honesty, and I like that.”
Back here at home, I’m doing a bit of relationship building of my own (see previous blog). And while the doctor-recommended skin-to-skin contact is great for bonding between father and son, I’m thinking that wouldn’t translate to the coach-player experience. But otherwise, I’m noticing a few parallels between the two worlds.
Players, like kids, want to be fed. They like to be paid attention to when they cry. Teams tend to take on the personality of the coach, just like some kids with their parents. And, of course, if a baby or a baller is stinking up the joint, a change is in order that may require more than one wipe at it. There are no trades in parenting, though, nor should there be. But as I sit here typing near the little guy who’s wearing an outfit that reads “Instructions not included,” I know one thing. I could use a playbook right about now.
– Sam Amick