Sometimes it’s difficult for even the most astute of basketball fans to remember the method to the madness of Douglas Edwin Moe. Even during the height of his coaching days, many pictured Doug as a “just toll out the balls” coach who let his players drive scorekeepers nuts with the fastest tempo in NBA history. Somehow, this mad scientist won more games than all but 11 “certified geniuses” to have ever coached in the NBA.
While never getting a stamp of approval from the “NBA Association,” the passing game drove the rest of the league crazy. It’s all based on constant motion. Pass and cut. Pass and cut. No standing around…MOVE! Once, Doug came across another team’s scouting report of his Nugget team, describing some of Denver’s plays…funny thing was, his Nuggies had no plays!
Doug has always been comfortable as the clown prince of coaching. When Moe was in charge, the Nuggets would usually crack 100 points in the 3rd quarter. While most people remember the points and the pace, sometimes lost in such reflection are some other numbers. At 5280 feet, Doug Moe’s 9 ½ years as Nuggets coach saw his home teams go 295-100.
The toughness of humor that are the biggest parts of Doug Moe came from a combination of a strong family, and the streets of Brooklyn. The basketball pedigree was hones at North Carolina, where he was a 2-time second All-American under Frank McGuire (and then assistant Dean Smith). Wrongfully accuses in a point shaving scandal, Doug was still blackballed by the NBA even though completely exonerated, so the 1st round pick of the Chicago Packers never played an NBA game.
He worked, went into the army, and then went to play professionally in Italy. Then came 1967 and the red, white, and blue of the ABA. No player scored more points in the league’s first season, as Doug made the All-Star team as a New Orleans Buccaneer. In his second year, Doug helped the Oakland Oaks to an ABA championship. One year with Carolina, and two with Virginia followed, but they were all his knees could stand and, in 1972 his playing days were over.
As Larry Brown’s assistant coach, Doug spent 2 years in Carolina and 2 with the Nuggets before getting his crack as head coach with San Antonio in 1976. That started a 14-season run of bad clothes, bad hair, expletives undeleted, wise cracks, high-octane offense, 628 regular season wins, and annual playoff appearances.
People think this is tough. I ain’t gonna tell ‘em any different.