In NBA circles Idan Ravin [aka The Hoops Whisperer] inspires a wide range of reactions. Some coaches, such as the 76ers' Eddie Jordan, see him as a resource. A few years ago, when Jordan was coaching the Wizards, he had a hard time talking with Brendan Haywood, the center who was then sharing minutes with Etan Thomas and was none too happy about it. "Brendan loved working out with [Ravin]," Jordan remembers, "so I went to Idan and asked, 'How do you keep a positive relationship with Brendan?' "
Ravin explained that Haywood merely wanted to be involved, to be part of the process. "You think he's challenging you, but all you have to do is ask his opinion," Ravin said. "Brendan's a cerebral guy. Empower him."
Jordan took the advice to heart. "I carried it over to my daily regimen, the idea that this is what I have to do with Brendan," he says, "and by the end we had a great relationship."
Believe It When You See It
According to an insider with legit knowledge of the situation, regardless of whatever mixed messages Arenas is sending about whether or not he's coming back, and despite the "no official time table" line that's given whenever a question is asked about Arenas and Haywood's returns, the Wizards expect to get both players back for roughly the final 15 games of the season. The plan is to limit both players to roughly 15 minutes a night and hold them out of any back-to-backs. The Wizards believe that such a final stretch run with the whole gang back together again will go a long way to getting the players back into a flow of playing with each other and also lay a foundation for next season.
"His approach, his intelligence is top notch," Jordan said. "He is one of the most intelligent guys on the team, in the league. He works on his body, he maintains his body to be big and strong. His defense has improved greatly. There are some subtle things (he can improve on) like screening and cutting - things you guys don't always notice. But overall, his improvement was huge for us. We continue to see him work on his body and his game."
"That's just how it is," Haywood said. "You know, any time LeBron gets touched, Mike runs out there like LeBron got shot or something. Calm down Mike. It's not that serious. We're not trying to take him out. It's all within the confines of the game. I don't see how coaches should be running out on the court like that anyway. Isn't there a coach's box? Since we're talking about the confines of the league rules, he shouldn't be out of the box ...
You [Ivan Carter] have been covering me for how many years? I mean, it's not like I'm a guy that takes guys out. I've been criticized normally for NOT fouling, right? This is actually different ground for me."