Bedouin Holds Court
- By Skip ''Hack'' Morrissey - Beat Writer, Day 1, 2020
LAS VEGAS - When we sat together on the night of Game 7 Bedouin had assured me he would be saving his good material for the inevitable press conference. And apart from a quick shot at Renegades GM Jeff he was true to his word. Rowland had taken one for the team that night and faced the media before heading back to the room. But whilst Rowland is an amazing, now three time championship, coach he is not a good quote.
I assumed at the time that Bedouin would be taking the podium the following evening, when the Scorpions had scheduled a conference with the media but I was mistaken. But in the end that was a conference for the players who hit the stage wearing T-shirts with the championship trophy beneath the words "I Just Got Dissected!"
Dontay spoke at length about the way his game has evolved over the past year as he relinquished shots to serve as the primary facilitator on the team. He revealed that he'd been in regular contact with Flea throughout the season to bounce ideas off and credited that for much of his success in the new role.
HP spent most of his time at the podium refusing to escalate Bedouin's disgust at his own all-star snub. He explained that he'd been there before and had achieved plenty of individual accolades during his career. He did however point out that he felt he'd done a pretty good job of shutting down Ruben in their sweep of the Rockets.
The questions to Omar mostly focused on his trade from the Jaguars, he like his GM is not a Kuberka fan, and his shift from PF to C. But by far the most questions were directed at both Lorenzen Eyles and Orien Young as they were forced to discuss their upcoming free agency. Both elaborated on the way in which they had joined the team during the season and expressed a definite desire to stay if things could be worked out financially.
But whilst the players were great sports, considering most of them hadn't slept and probably had moderate to severe hangovers, the assembled media were clearly disappointed that Bedouin was a no show. At the end of the conference a team spokesman announced that Bedouin was taking a few days off to decompress, but that he would be speaking to the media after the parade in two days' time.
The parade was a fabulous occasion as the fans endured the sweltering heat to bustle amongst the tourists from across the globe for pride of place alongside the strip. But a parade is just a parade while a Bedouin press conference is an experience.
The man himself approaches the podium and stops beside it. He takes off his business shirt to reveal a "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" t-shirt underneath and points down at it. "You've been warned folks," he states as he sets himself up behind the podium. And we were off.
"Before we start I want to offer my commiserations to the entire New York Renegades organization and especially their GM Jeff. Jeff's built a fantastic team and despite having home court advantage I never felt comfortable. I know it's tough to lose in the finals, I've been there, but I'm sure they'll bounce back better than ever in 2020."
"I also want to take the time to thank all the players who spent time with us during the season. We had 21 players wear our jersey this year and I just wanted to say thank you to every one of them for the contribution they made to our championship. Home court was vital this year and every game mattered. My particular thanks go out to Leon, Ashley, Antonio, Kendall and Derrick. I hope you look back fondly on your time with us."
"And now I'll take your questions."
Q - "How does it finally feel to take a team to the championship?"
A - "Well I think taking the team to the championship is Rowland's job, he's the coach. My job as GM is to assemble a squad that is capable of reaching that destination. During my time at the Tritons I felt like I built two teams that were in the conversation but neither got there. Since I've returned to the league with the Scorpions I feel I've worked exceptionally hard to get the Scorpions to that point. I think we were in the conversation last year, but obviously we fell short. This year we made some more changes and we got there. More than anything else it's just great to see all the hours of work I put in pay off."
Q - "Given the success you had last year, and the changes you made to the roster this year, would you have considered this year a failure if you had lost game 7?"
A - "Intellectually speaking no I wouldn't have. We made changes throughout the season which make it challenging to develop chemistry and cohesion and getting to the finals after losing the conference finals last year would have been clear progress. But having said all that emotionally speaking it would have been an epic fucking failure."
Q - "What was the highlight of the season for you."
A - "Assuming that winning game 7 is excluded I'd have to say the win against the Cyclones on Day 112. We'd locked up home court, so Rowland and I agreed to rest the entire starting lineup. And whilst we have a great deal of confidence in our bench players like Lucious, Lorenzo and Janev we had that one pencilled in as a loss. The way the players came out and fought the whole way against an almost full-strength squad was phenomenal, simply inspiring. You know if you take into consideration the fact that I thought I was going to have a heart attack from the minute game 6 ended till the final buzzer in game 7, that win may take first place outright."
Q - "What was the lowlight of the season."
A - "Trading Leon fucking sucked. I've done more trades than probably ever other GM combined but I've never done a trade that I absolutely did not want to do before. But the way the penalties were constructed at the time made it simply impossible to maintain the team as it was constructed."
"Oh, and I'm still pretty damn annoyed that my colleagues screwed HP out of an all-star spot. That was some serious bullshit."
Q - "Do you anticipate making any changes this offseason?"
A - "Well with two starters hitting free agency that's not really totally up to me is it now. But in all seriousness my expectation is that we'll bring back both Orien and Lorenzen and try and run this thing back again. Having said that if you stay still you lose so we've got to continue to improve. This offseason that will likely mean some changes to the bench and we'll be looking very hard at what the best option for our MLE will be.
Q - "Do you think you'll be back in the finals next year?"
A - "I think it's a bit presumptuous to make such calls this early when the offseason could change so much. Obviously the Vultures will be adding a quality piece in the draft and the Rockets could be back again just as strong. But I think we have a good chance."
Q - "What about the Renegades?"
A - "Well I'm certainly not going to make the same mistake and say they'll regress again. I actually think they'll definitely be back."
Q - "Even though you are on the record as not thinking much of Stevens?"
A - "Rashard can get you there. My comments to date simply refer to the fact that to date he hasn't gotten it done when it counts. You may disagree but I feel Omar completely had his number in the finals."
Q - "Since you don't have any draft picks this year will you try and trade into the draft?"
A - "I have 6 players under contract and no picks. It'd be like asking a man to fish without a fishing rod. Pretty fucking challenging request. There are some intriguing prospects for sure. But I'm happy to sit this one out as I can't imagine a situation where a rookie would see a spot in our rotation."
Q - "To what extent does the league's recently announced expansion factor into your decision-making process."
A - "That's an excellent question that my staff and I have been discussing at length recently. It raises a series of interesting questions for us that's for sure. Firstly, we have obvious questions like how we should value picks in those drafts which are compromised by expansion. But the bigger question is how do you want to construct your roster with any expansion draft coming. It may not be a good time to invest in a deep roster. It's certainly added a fascinating wrinkle to the process."
Q - "Do you see this championship as vindication of your team building methodology?"
A - "Somewhat. My argument has always been that trades are the best way to build a team due to the balance between set costs and limited unknown factors. Drafting young players means unanswered questions and FA tends to mean inflated contracts. But the reality is that this season commenced with two big FA deals on the books and we don't win without HP or the assets we acquired when we traded Leon. So whilst I think this team probably speaks to the efficacy of trading more than any other championship team I don't think its definitive proof."
Q - "How long a window do you think the window for this group can stay open."
A - "Theoretically until all the core guys retire. But realistically I've always viewed HP's 4 year deal as the likely window for this unit. His versatility and defence are vital to this team's character. But it's a moot point. Each year there is work to be done. This year we need to address Orien and Lorenzen's free agency and next year it will be Omar's turn. You've got to put the work in each year or that window will close pretty fucking fast. Skip, would you like to bring us home?"
I think for a moment and then ask my question.
"Now that you've won a championship and have an experienced team that you would like to keep together....."
"What's next?" Bedouin interjects. I nod. "As I've said resigning our FAs, improving the bench, seeing if we can repeat. Weren't you listening Skip?"
"I was actually thinking more about you personally. The fact is that that you have an established reputation for building teams, seem to enjoy active trading..."
Bedouin smiles and interjects again, "Are you going somewhere with this Skip?
"Well it's just that you're only contracted till the end of 2020 which is when the expansion teams enter the league."
Bedouin laughs and then stops for a moment before answering.
"You know Skip I hadn't even noticed. What an amusing coincidence. I must point that out to ownership when we're negotiating my extension."
And with that Bedouin wrapped up the presser and disappeared from the room, leaving the media spokesman to field a barrage of questions about Bedouin's contract status.
It's never dull at the Scorpions.