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580 The Newbie Coach with a High Win Rate



Two of the Celtics key players, including Gordon, were injured in two overtimes against the Clippers. It was a disastrous blow; just thinking about it sent chills down one's spine.

After Gordon was taken off the court, the morale of the Celtics players hit rock bottom. Their style of play clearly lacked penetration. They seemed to be afraid of physical confrontations. Clearly, the other players were starting to worry that they might end up injured like Kerry and Gordon.

In the eyes of Coach Arnold, the players being unwilling to be too physical was a good thing. The score became irrelevant. As long as no additional players were injured, Arnold would be thanking God.

In truth, Arnold was no longer in the mood to direct the team. He was worried about Kerry and Gordon. Gordon's injury looked much more serious, so he might be out for the rest of the season. As for Kerry's left knee, they had to wait for the result of the examination. The worst case was that he would need surgery, which would mean the season was over.

Losing two key players, Arnold felt that the Celtics' road to the playoffs just got difficult. He also didn't know if they could make it through the first round of the playoffs.

The rest of the game could only be described as being uninterested. In the end, the Celtic's lost.

...

The next day, the media revealed Kerry's and Gordon's injuries.

Gordon's injury was exactly as Dai Li described, an ankle dislocation and a humerus fracture. Even if one were to ignore the ankle dislocation, a humerus fracture alone was a very serious injury. When one's bones or muscles are hurt, they needed 100 days to recover. It was not possible for Gordon's injury to heal in 100 days, so he was definitely out for the rest of the season. Based on the estimation of the doctor, even if Gordon recovered nicely, he would not be able to make the preseason of the coming season. He might be able to come back the first month of next season.

Kerry required surgery to remove the two screws from his knee in order to prevent infection that would further worsen the injury. After the removal of the screws, Kerry would need five to six months' time to rehabilitate. That meant that Kerry would also need to wait until next season to play.

Knee injuries like Kerry's were a common problem. A lot of players who experienced similar injuries weren't able to regain all of their abilities after recovering. So, if the rehabilitation of Kerry's injury did not go smoothly, it would affect his professional career.

To athletes and professional sports players, injuries are a sort of physical and mental torment. For the Celtics, this was an agonizing loss.

Losing two key players in one night, the Celtics managed to garner the sympathy of many of the fans. However, sports commentators and professional basketball coaches were not surprised by the accidents.

Injuries had always been a part of the NBA and this was the peak time for injuries to happen.


Throughout the season every year, there were always some periods in which more players got injured.

The first period was the beginning of the season. The players enjoyed several months of rest, so their bodies weren't used to the rigor of the season. Suddenly plunging such a body into a high-intensity basketball match, the players' bodies could not adapt immediately. Therefore, injuries were common at the start of a season. As the season progressed, players began to adapt to the intensity and rhythm of the game.

The second period of high injury occurrence was right before the all-star game. By then, the season was three months in. The players had experienced three months of high-intensity matches, so their bodies were worn down by fatigue. There were always some players that withdrew from the all-star game due to injuries.

For NBA players, the all-star game was a rare period of rest during the season. Although they could only rest for a week, the short period allowed the bodies of the players to recover slightly. A lot of players placed their faith and hope on that week's rest to help them pull through the remaining second half of the season.

The third period of high injury frequency was in April. The bodies of players once again became fatigued. A lot of old injuries started to reappear. At the same time, a lot of teams put in an effort to make it into the playoffs or obtain a home-court advantage. The intensity of the games increased, so the number of physical confrontations during the games also increased in number. All of those factors contributed to the increased risk of injury.

This was the current period of the season. Teams were fighting for the playoffs and Kerry and Gordan were not the only injured players. The other teams had their own injured players too. However, to lose two key players in one game was still rare.

The Celtics could not blame anyone since it was their players who were injured. It was their bitter pill to swallow. At the same time, they had to pray for their two key players to recover.

The terrible fate that befell the Celtics served as a reminder to the other teams of the NBA, especially those who would make the playoffs. They came to realize that it was not worth it to battle against the Clippers in overtime. No one wanted to risk what happened to the Celtics happening to their team. It would be fine to give a game to the Clippers.

It would be a bad idea to risk injuring key players for just one regular-season win.

No one wanted to follow in the footsteps of the Celtics. No team wanted to see their key players injured right before the playoffs. So, the playoff teams that ranked higher chose to rest their key players against the Clippers, sending their substitutes out to fight against the Clippers.

As for teams at the bottom of the league, they wanted to tank games. They "searched" and "begged" for defeat regardless of their opponent. They did the same when playing against the Clippers.

As such, when the regular season of the NBA came into its last month, the Clippers were in the middle of a very rare winning streak.

When the regular season ended, the record of the Clippers was 38 wins and 44 losses. They were ranked tenth in the Western Conference.

Before Dai Li became the head coach of the Clippers, their win-loss ratio was 16 to 32. After Dai Li became the Clippers' head coach, they had obtained 22 wins and 12 losses. This was an amazingly high win rate of 64%. With such a high win rate, one would definitely rank within the top three.

From the result alone, Dai Li was already on par with the top coaches in the NBA. Taking into account that the team didn't have any all-star players, Dai Li seemed even more impressive.

It was unbelievable for a newbie basketball coach to not just lead a weak team such as the Clippers but to achieve such a result. Many qualified and experienced coaches failed to achieve a win rate of over 60% even when the teams they lead was a strong one. Dai Li had actually managed to achieve a win rate of 64%. It stunned almost everyone.

Back then, a few of the weak bottom feeder teams appealed to the NBA, stating that they felt Dai Li, would lower the standard of the NBA. Now, those teams were silent. No one brought that up ever again.

Professional sports commentators divided and formed two factions.

One faction thought that Dai Li was truly skilled and that he was a wolf disguised as a sheep. He acted as if he did not know about basketball but, in truth, he was was well-versed in basketball.

The other faction believed that Dai Li was just lucky. All the strong teams rested their main players when playing against the Clippers while the weak teams were all looking to lose. Therefore, it was no surprise the Clippers got a good record.

However, the Clippers still did not make it into the playoffs. The competition in the Western Conference was too fierce. The teams ranked in the top nine all achieved a win rate of over 55%. It was not until the last day of the regular season that the teams making it into the playoffs was confirmed.

A total of 16 teams would play in the playoffs and, for teams like the Clippers who did not make it into the playoff, their season was over.

However, Dai LI still had a job to complete.

...

Dai Li knocked on the door and walked inside Xiao Yunan's office.

"You've succeeded again!" Xiao Yunan looked at Dai Li in admiration and said, "The regular season is over, and the selection of the award winners for the regular season has also begun. There's word saying that you've entered the list for best coach."

"Really? Will they be willing to hand such an award to a newbie like me?" Dai Li asked, surprised.

"You're worthy of winning this award. However, just like you've mentioned, you're still new. I guess letting you on the list is, in itself, a special treatment already." Xiao Yunan paused briefly before continuing, "There's one more thing, our team has decided to sign a strategic cooperation agreement with the men's national basketball team."

"Men's national basketball team? You're talking about the Chinese men's national basketball team?" Dai Li asked.

"Of course it's the Chinese men's national basketball team. Even if I wanted to sign an agreement with the American dream team, they wouldn't agree to it!" Xiao Yunan showed Dai Li the white of her eyes before continuing, "If we can really work with the Chinese men's national basketball team, it could be good news. At the very least, it will be easier for us to organize commercial events back in China. However, we haven't come to an agreement on this. The Chinese national basketball association still has some concerns."

"Then what do you need me to do?" Dai Li asked.

"In May, the Chinese men's national basketball team will come here to train for half a month before heading to Europe for some friendly games. After that, they will participate in the Asian Games. If they are trained well, we will be able to finalize this strategic cooperation agreement with the Chinese men's national basketball team," Xiao Yunan said.

Dai Li nodded and said, "I understand. What you mean to say is that, within the next month, I will be training the Chinese men's national basketball team!"