Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Harris Isn't One of Culprits in Purple and Gold Lineup

January 14, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

Del Harris' critics are right when they say the Lakers are underachieving. They're wrong when they blame it on Harris.

I'm not suggesting we anoint him the Wizard of Inglewood. But I'm not sure the Lakers would have better than a 27-9 record, the NBA's second best, under any other coach, unless it was one who could magically correct their woeful free-throw shooting.

This is no longer a coach's league. It belongs to the players, something Magic Johnson discovered when he tried to coach. He went 16 games and out in 1994.

All a coach can do is draw plays, bait the referees and tell the players what time the bus leaves the hotel. If the players don't want to hustle back on defense, hit the boards or put any motion into their offense, no coach in this day and age can make them.

Pat Riley? Been there, done that. He stopped coaching the Lakers when they stopped listening to him.

George Karl? He did wonders with Shawn Kemp.

Rick Pitino? Even his main man, Antoine Walker, is making noise about getting out from under the Kentucky colonel.

Larry Brown? See how long he and Allen Iverson last together.

Phil Jackson? You think he wants to try it again without Michael Jordan?

Jerry Sloan? You think he wants to try it without Karl Malone and John Stockton?

P.J. Carlesimo? Just kidding.

NBA players today can be motivated, but they have to do the motivating themselves. That seems like a tall order for these Lakers. Fortunately, they have a tall guy, Shaquille O'Neal. He will be their leader some day, when he grows up. If he's not, Kobe Bryant will be.

It will take patience, not firing Harris.

If the Lakers lose tonight to Denver, I reserve the right to change my mind.

*

The NFL knows it has its audience hooked when as many people are interested in who's televising the games as in who's playing in them. . . .

When CBS welcomed home the NFL, it was front-page news Tuesday in the New York Times and the Washington Post. . . .

Bob Toledo no doubt applauds Heisman Trophy candidates who remain in school for their senior years instead of turning pro. . . .

He must, however, wonder why they all seem to play for teams on UCLA's schedule. . . .

Last season, the Bruins' home opener was against Tennessee's Peyton Manning. . . .

Next season, the Bruins' home opener is against Texas' Ricky Williams. . . .

Toledo should enjoy his vacation in Hawaii, where he's one of Bruce Snyder's assistant coaches for Sunday's Hula Bowl. . . .

UCLA Sports Information Director Marc Dellins, assuming football- and basketball-scheduling duties from retiring Associate Athletic Director Jim Milhorn, says the Bruins will continue trying to find the best opponents available. . . .

In 2000, for instance, the football team's nonconference home opponents are Alabama and Michigan. . . .

UCLA has had a former player in each Super Bowl since 1980. . . .

This year's representatives are Green Bay backup quarterback Steve Bono and Denver nose tackle Mike Lodish. . . .

This is Lodish's fifth Super Bowl. Don't ask him about his first four, all with Buffalo. . . .

You wouldn't want to be the Stanford women's basketball team's next opponent after the Cardinal's 48-game Pacific 10 Conference winning streak was snapped Monday night by Arizona. . . .

USC has no choice. The Trojans play the Cardinal on Friday night at the Lyon Center. . . .

"Our task was a little overwhelming to begin with," USC Coach Chris Gobrecht says. . . .

UCLA's women play Stanford at Pauley Pavilion on Sunday at 4 p.m., two hours after the Bruin women's gymnastics team plays host to a meet at the Wooden Center. . . .

The Bruins' famous gymnastics consultant, Kerri Strug, is lending her likeness and voice to the Feb. 8 episode of "King of the Hill." She's young Bobby's dream valentine. . . .

Vlade Divac, a free agent after the season, is eager to come home to Los Angeles, even if it's to play for the Clippers. . . .

Michigan football Coach Lloyd Carr says, "All of these years, I would have sworn the coaches were smarter than the writers. I have to admit I was wrong." . . .

I could have told him that. . . .

Coaches are good with Xs and O's. We have to use all the letters.

*

While wondering if Green Bay has scored yet, I was thinking: The NFL needs Los Angeles like it needs another billion dollars, Dick Enberg is the NFL's most valuable free agent, NBC is no longer master of its domain.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|