CURRY ACES FIRST EXAM
A rookie head coach is going to get tested, sooner or later. Michael Curry got his first challenge on Thursday and met it head on.
Curry could have easily swept Allen Iverson's absence from a Thanksgiving practice under the rug. It wouldn't have been difficult to keep it quiet - there were very few media members at the holiday practice and they're not allowed to watch until the very end of the practice session.
He could have also given Iverson a pass on his first offense with the team.
Instead, he was forthright about Iverson's absence and let everyone know of the consequences. Iverson was pulled from the starting lineup against Milwaukee and got fined.
"As head of the team, I have to make sure that I hold everybody, regardless of who it is, to the same standard," Curry said.
That's an approach that will earn him plenty of respect in the locker room. The biggest beef that the players had with Flip Saunders is that he wasn't tough enough behind the scenes when incidents happened, particularly involving Rasheed Wallace. Remember Wallace showing up late for the team shootaround before Game 6 of the conference finals? You've got to believe that wouldn't have happened if Wallace knew he'd be benched for that type of infraction.
As long as Curry remains consistent with his penalties, he'll go a long way toward retaining the players' support.
"(Curry) did a good job of handling it," Tayshaun Prince said. "For a guy who's late, we brought these things to the table at the beginning of the season, as far as rules and regulations and what he expects from us. If you don't do it, he said you're going to be taken care of and we're going to move on. He's not going to treat it as 'You're late. I'm going to keep it in the back of my mind.'"