I have met many times with Ben over the years to know better. I remember the first time I met him in his first year at a meet and greet after the Washington win, the game we came back from like almost being down like 26-27 points in the 3rd quarter, and thought to myself, man, that guy better win soon and consistently, or he's not going to last very long. Nothing he has done in the years since has changed my opinion. He really has a knack for being an abrasive control freak who often rubs people the wrong way and he's not very high on personality. He's the type of guy that you put up with when he produces, but can't wait to get rid of when he doesn't.
The way he treats his assistants is the way he treats his players, my way or the highway and your opinion doesn't matter. Which might be a fine attitude when you have good and tough players who can take it, but many young players just don't have the make up and have fragile egos and don't do well. So, as Howland has proven, during his tenure he has had 3 types of players.
- Tough players who have thick skin and respond (Farmar, Afflalo, Mbah Moute, Collison, etc.);
- Headstrong players who are tough, but think to themselves, why am I putting up with this shit? (Gordon, Nelson, Moser); and
- Guys with Talent, but fragile egos, who might not take criticism so well and don't have the stones to stand up to Howland, so they either end up not doing well or just leaving (DeAndre Robinson, Ryan Wright, Keefe, Stanback, Morgan, Holiday)
The problem is, Howland treats all his players the same, and as I've learned as a Manager you can't do that, because different people have different motivations. Some people need to be challenged, some need to be coddled, some need to be praised, and some just need a swift kick in the ass. Howland seems to only know how to kick you in the ass so often and praise you so sparingly, that you only hear and remember the negative feed back.
He doesn't seem to manage different personalities well. The reason why Scott Duncan is mentioned by Jon Gold and he was so helpful, is because Duncan was the guy that came over and picked you up after BH kicked your ass. Now, BH doesn't have anybody to do that and the current assistants are probably afraid to.
I remember how I thought it was terrifying to a young player to hear BH running up and down the court all game yelling at his players and telling what to do every single dribble. It's like BH is an arm chair PG and thinks or wishes he was still on the court. I see him doing this much less now, but make no mistake, there is a reason why practices are closed. I've talked to players, and this is what they have mentioned to me over the years.
It just really seems that BH has lost his teams. He can't seem to get his players to buy in and believe in the game plan. Just look at some of the public comments by guys like Stover. Used to be a time, BH would study tape all night and could devise a great game plan, get his guys to buy in and execute. Not anymore. Coaches have counter schemed for his one dimensional schemes and defenses. I always believed in some good hard nosed man to man defense. The thing is, when you are one dimensional, it is SO easy to beat you. BH is like yahoo and his opposition is like Google.
I always believed that you have to run multiple schemes to keep offenses off guard. When teams throw man and multiple Zone D's at us and we faulter, I would think BH would take F'n notice. No wonder BH teams can never beat a good zone, he doesn't know it well enough to beat it. Just my two cents.