With Three, You Get Egg roll--And, The First Round Draft Pick's Autograph
It wasn't just me.
Amid all the hubbub about the signing of the Bucks' first round draft pick, Yi Jian Lian this morning came this little morsel: Milwaukee head coach Larry Krystkowiak heard about it on the radio as he was heading out for coffee.
Strange, I thought, that Coach K was here in town, answering the age-old question, "One lump or two?" while everyone else of consequence at the Bucks H-Q was in Hong Kong, making speaks on his behalf: Senator/Owner Herb Kohl, G-M Larry Harris and V-P Ron Walter.
Then came ESPN's P-T-I, with co-host Michael Wilbon asking if it's right for Kohl to be answering questions about Yi's playing time--an issue that should be part of Krystkowiak's job description.
Kohl pointed out at today's news conference that it wasn't Milwaukee or the city's cultural makeup that had Yi and his entourage worried--it was his development as a basketball player. They wanted assurances he'd play and get a chance to refine his game at the NBA level, honing his skills for the Chinese national team that he'll no doubt be a part of in next year's Beijing Olympics.
Kohl is already getting heat in some local sports columns about his alleged meddling--the thinking being that Kohl should do more owning and delegating, less day-to-day dictating. The Bucks Hong-Kong-to-Milwaukee flight manifest won't do anything to shut his critics up. Surely Kohl had the cash to pop for another seat.
Maybe Kohl did the talking because the Chinese wanted it that way--the respect that comes when one deals with the boss, who just happens to be a United States Senator. Perhaps Yi and his people wanted to deal with the guy who'll be signing his paychecks, thinking they'll have plenty of time to get to know Coach K come October.
Or, maybe, just maybe, it was another chance for Kohl to let his inner Steinbrenner come out to play.
One has to wonder what happens in midseason if Yi isn't happy with how much time he's spending at the end of the bench. Does he go to the guy with the whistle and the clipboard, or the one who he talked to one summer afternoon in Hong Kong?
It might be enough to make Coach K switch to decaf.