Wayne Embry Rumors
Wayne Embry has spent the last 15 years as a consultant with the Toronto. He watched LeBron James and the Cavs eliminate his team three consecutive seasons (2016-18). “It was the same thing…greatness,” he said. “You can have a better team 1-through-12. I thought we did in Cleveland some of those years. But we couldn’t cope with Michael.”
When James announced he was leaving the Cavs for the Lakers on July 1, 2018, the Raptors suddenly had hope. Embry said jiri talked about doing something bold – find a star. The door to the NBA Finals suddenly seemed open when James went West. “Then the trade for Kawhi (Leonard) came up,” said Embry. “We talked about it a lot. It was a high risk/high reward deal.”
“Masai believed Kawhi was one of the top five players in the NBA when healthy,” said Embry. “We knew it was a risk, but we also knew we had a chance to do something special. So Masai and the rest of us said, ‘Let’s do it.’ Masai drove the decision.”
Every night I watch Giannis Antetokounmpo and feel like I see him do something I’ve never seen before in each game he plays. Did watching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar develop in Milwaukee feel the same way? What was it like watching him develop as a player? Wayne Embry: You watched greatness every night. From high school to college through the pros, you just watched his greatness. The league hadn’t seen a person his size and length with the skill and the ability to do as many things on the basketball court as he could. I just remember that hook shot in the corner in the sixth game against Boston; you didn’t see many guys do that. He just hooked the ball, that hook shot he was famous for. Left or right. He could dribble. He could just do so many things on the basketball court from high school on. I had seen him play in high school because when I was a player, we practiced at Harlem Memorial High School where he went to high school in New York. So, we got a chance to see him – not in games – but in practices and that sort of thing and then, of course, we saw him a lot at UCLA. Milwaukee had greatness. They have greatness now too.
Colangelo leaned on one of his mentors, Pete Newell, a legendary coach and basketball luminary. Newell visited Phoenix and Colangelo presented his concerns and general goals the afternoon prior to a Suns game, and the conversation continued at the arena and over a glass of wine following the game. The next morning, Newell delivered a six-page outline on the various concepts and ideas laid out over the course of the previous day. Soon after, in the early spring, Colangelo’s committee, which included heavy hitters such as Jerry West, Wayne Embry, Jack Ramsay and Rod Thorn, in addition to a handful of active coaches and general managers, convened at The Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. The committee plowed through the proposals, which included requiring teams to bring the ball over half court in eight seconds rather than 10. (Colangelo had suggested seven seconds.) The NBA’s illegal defense rule, which had existed in one form or another to prohibit zone defenses since the league’s earliest days, was scrapped. Instead, the committee proposed the defensive three-second rule, preventing defenders from loitering in the paint but allowing them to defend an area rather than an opponent elsewhere on the court.