Even with a short week I manged to finish off a book on the train. This time I took on Unguarded, the biography of Lenny Wilkens. Going into the book I didn't know what to expect. Wilkens wasn't really high on my list of most interesting people to read about prior to picking it up, but I'm glad I did, because he's on my list of most interesting players now.
First, the book is exceptionally well crafted. Many similar books spend too much time in one area or left me wanting to know more about one phase of a guy's career. In Unguarded, Wilkens spent an ideal amount of time discussing his upbringing, college career, nba career, and coaching/gming career.
Everything about Wilkens feels unique. He started playing the game late in life, and he wanted to use basketball simply to get an education. He's an example of the best of what you hope college athletics can do for a kid. If it weren't for basketball, he wouldn't have gone to college. After going, he wanted to become an economist and almost choose to do that rather than going to the NBA.
As a player, he represents the type of guy we all want on our team; tough defensively, unselfish, and a quality scorer. However, I enjoyed the sections on his coaching career the most where Wilkens played the role of Tony Dungy long before Tony Dungy. The coach who could motivate and push his guys without being a screaming, degrading maniac.
I've had both types of coaches, and I always performed FAR better for the motivators than the screamers. I don't want to spoil the whole book, but Wilkens is one of the most interesting people I've read about and the book will be enjoyed by anyone interested in the league.
Final score: 8/10.