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Thread: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    I consider this a great list and I'm glad someone took the time to put such a list together.




    http://proxy.espn.go.com/espn/print?...653&type=story


    The top coaching candidates, 1 to 25

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By Chris Sheridan
    ESPN.com

    Editor's note: This article was published on January 23, shortly before the Minnesota fired coach Dwane Casey and hired Randy Wittman as the new Timberwolves coach.

    Rick Adelman is still keeping up with the Sacramento Kings when he's not flipping the channel to watch the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs, the two teams he finds most pleasing to the eye.

    But the teams that Adelman is following even more closely are a pair of high school squads in Oregon, one of which, Lincoln, is coached by his son, David, and the other of which, Lake Oswego, brings his youngest son, Patrick, off the bench.

    Rick Adelman may not be done coaching in the NBA.


    "David's team only won six games all last season, and they've already won seven this year, and Patrick is playing with Kevin Love, who's up there with O.J. Mayo atop the high school prospects list," said Adelman, who is getting to keep much closer tabs on all six of his children -- not to mention his five grandchildren -- as he sits out the 2006-07 season wondering if and when he'll be asked to coach again in the league where he accumulated 752 career coaching victories before being let go at the end of last season by the Kings.

    "We did a good job at the end of the year, but it ended up not meaning much," said Adelman, who still sounded resentful, but not quite bitter, after being let go in Sacramento after eight years at the helm, each season ending in a playoff loss. "You always have that interest in how is it going to work out now, and I still follow them. They certainly have the talent to make the playoffs.

    "I'm still just eight months removed from it, so I'm trying to give it some time. They say the biggest stress in your life comes from leaving a job or moving, and I've done both. So we're just trying to settle down and see where we're at, see what comes around," Adelman said. "I can still coach in this league."

    Adelman went on to say that he is considering hiring an agent for the first time, realizing there's a crowded field of candidates out there that he expects to be competing against in the not-too-distant future.

    The ever-growing size of that crowd of candidates is why we've put together a Top 25 list of the coaches most likely to get a gig leading an NBA team sometime over the next two years.

    The list below includes all kinds of different candidates -- Hall of Famers, local heroes, college coaches, young assistants with a growing rep, and lifers who are looking for their next opportunity. Some appear to be in the right place at the right time, while others are waiting for the carousel to come back around.

    The rankings are only a snapshot of the way things look in mid-January 2007. Coming into the season, no one had Tony Barone and Ron Rothstein at the top of the list. Things change quickly in the NBA coaching game.

    All that said, the top spot goes to someone with a championship ring, lots of wins and plenty of experience, everyone's favorite coaching vagabond ...


    1. Larry Brown
    It seems inevitable that the former 76ers coach and top exec, freshly installed as Philadelphia's newest front office VP, eventually will take over Billy King's job as team president or Maurice Cheeks' job as head coach (or both).

    When ESPN.com asked King earlier this month to refute the notion that Brown will be coaching the 76ers by this time next year, he stormed off without answering.

    2. Rick Adelman
    The 60-year-old said the toughest adjustment he's had to make in his first season out of the NBA since 1997-98 is living without a tight schedule. He said he would consider a front office position if one was offered.

    "When you've been in the league as long as I was, it gets in your blood. Right now it's just a matter of seeing how things fall," said Adelman.

    3. Marc Iavaroni
    The Suns assistant is considered almost a sure thing to join the Toronto Raptors next year after Sam Mitchell finishes out the final year of his contract. The Raptors could hire him tomorrow if they wanted to, but under the terms of the agreement that brought former Phoenix GM Bryan Colangelo to Toronto, it'd cost the Raptors $3 million -- a price tag that drops to $0 at the end of this season.

    Iavaroni also has been mentioned as a leading candidate to replace interim coach Barone in Memphis, though the instability in the Grizzlies' organization might make that job too risky for a coach taking in his first job.

    4. Mike Fratello
    Not yet a month removed from his firing by the Grizzlies, Fratello already is being described by his agent as "eager" to be back on the sidelines.

    One scenario that makes some sense is in Miami, where Fratello was a longtime broadcaster and once considered a coach in waiting. If Riley steps down permanently, Fratello could supplant Rothstein.

    5. Lenny Wilkens
    The winningest coach in NBA history (1,332 career victories) is a color commentator for the Seattle SuperSonics, which he's coached twice before, leading the Sonics to their only NBA title in 1979. He also has recently joined the front office as a confidant for new owner Clay Bennett.

    If Seattle were to fire Bob Hill, whose status is far from secure, it would make sense to put Wilkens in charge for the time being while the franchise figures out the bigger question of whether it's staying in Seattle long term.

    6. Del Harris
    The silver-haired sage, a former head coach for three teams over 14 seasons, has told those close to him that he has the itch to be a head coach again as he spends his seventh consecutive season as an assistant for the Dallas Mavericks. His age (69) would figure to be working against him. Then again, Hubie Brown was 69 when Memphis hired him in 2002.

    7. P.J. Carlesimo
    It has now been more than nine years since the infamous choking incident with Latrell Sprewell in Golden State, and Carlesimo, now an assistant coach in San Antonio, still hasn't landed another top job. The closest he came was two years ago when he interviewed in Minnesota but lost out to Dwane Casey.

    8. Randy Wittman
    Casey's lead assistant for Minnesota, he is on his third tour of duty as a Timberwolves assistant. If Casey is let go, Wittman is assumed to be the man who would take over -- even though owner Glen Taylor is said to have told Wittman last summer he was not being hired as a coach-in-waiting.

    9. Jay Wright
    The trend of bringing college coaches into the NBA has slowed in recent years, and Mike Montgomery did little in Golden State to encourage continued use of the formula. But someone will eventually go that route again, and Wright, the head coach at Villanova, is said to have the perfect temperament to be effective in the pros.

    10. Tom Thibodeau
    Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy often has said he's baffled why no one has taken a closer look at Thibodeau, his top assistant, now in his 17th NBA season. Over the past two years, Thibodeau's Rockets teams are 10-0 in summer league play.

    11. Bill Laimbeer
    He's coached the WNBA's Detroit Shock to two championships, but is ready for a new challenge. The former Detroit Bad Boy interviewed to be the Knicks' head coach in 2005 but was passed over in favor of Larry Brown.

    "It's the logical next step," Laimbeer told ESPN.com. "I'm running my course in the WNBA, but what else is there to accomplish?"

    12. Jeff Bzdelik
    He was never totally on the same page with the front office in Denver, which fired him early in the 2004-05 season, but Bzdelik is still one of the most respected young basketball minds out there. He has Air Force (18-2) ranked No. 13 in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25.

    13. Erik Spoelstra
    The Miami assistant coach burst onto the national radar this season when Pat Riley anointed him the next great young coach, a moniker he has also dispensed to a couple of Van Gundys through the years. Spoelstra, 35, is the son of longtime NBA executive Jon Spoelstra and the grandson of Detroit baseball writer Watson Spoelstra.

    14. Johnny Davis
    He is the lead assistant to Rick Carlisle in Indiana. And if Carlisle ever pulls a Jermaine O'Neal and starts to consider the possibility of plying his trade elsewhere, Johnny D., once the head coach in Philadelphia and Orlando, would be the favorite to take over.

    15. Jim O'Brien
    As it turns out, the former Celtics and Sixers coach will go down as the last guy to have any success coaching Allen Iverson in Philadelphia. His 182-158 record and three playoff appearances in three full seasons figure to count in his favor. Currently writing for ESPN.com.

    16. Patrick Ewing
    If and when the time comes for the New York Knicks to cut their ties with Isiah Thomas, it makes sense that they would bring in a franchise icon as their next coach although Ewing's work ethic as a Rockets assistant was questioned.

    17. Herb Williams
    He's always a plausible fallback candidate in New York, where he's served twice before as interim head coach. If Ewing were brought in to coach the Knicks, the guy doing most of the heavy lifting probably would be Ewing's old teammate. Remember, Knicks owner James Dolan has vowed to oust Thomas if the team does not show significant progress.

    18. Scott Brooks
    If Eric Musselman gets fired in Sacramento, the Maloof brothers may choose to promote the 11-year NBA veteran and fourth-year assistant who spent three seasons in Denver working under Jeff Bzdelik and George Karl before moving to Sacramento prior to this season.

    19. Paul Westhead
    One of the NBA's early practitioners of the run-and-gun style, and head coach for the Showtime Lakers' first title, he's now the coach of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury. As more and more NBA teams embrace that pace, Westhead wonders -- much like Dan Issel is wondering -- why no one believes he can have success with his methods in the NBA today.

    20. John Lucas
    He's built a cottage industry rehabbing players at his facility in Houston, where he currently has Steve Francis making 1,000 jump shots per day, but Lucas yearns to be a head coach again after stints in San Antonio, Philadelphia and Cleveland.

    "You got to put me No. 1 on that list, Chris," he said.

    21. Paul Silas
    Like Lucas, he hasn't coached since losing his job in Cleveland. Now building a house in Charlotte after spending last season as an ESPN commentator, Silas wants to coach again.

    22. Stan Van Gundy
    When he stepped down last season in Miami, the Heat tacked an extra year and $1 million on his contract and forbade him from speaking publicly. Curiously, his name was not mentioned at the news conference when Riley announced he was taking a leave of absence.

    23. Tony Brown
    There are those who believe Danny Ainge would take over on the bench in Boston if he fired Doc Rivers, but sources say this longtime assistant, who has a seven-year playing career in the '80s, would be more likely.

    24. Keith Smart
    Golden State coach Don Nelson recently endorsed the Warriors assistant as his eventual successor. Meanwhile, Smart is still waiting for his second chance after going 9-31 as the interim replacement for Lucas in Cleveland the year before LeBron James arrived.

    Smart edges out Dean Demopoulos in Portland, Alex English in Toronto, Alvin Gentry in Phoenix, Bill Cartwright in New Jersey, Phil Johnson in Utah, Michael Malone in Cleveland and Larry Krystowiak in Milwaukee for the final assistant's spot on this list.

    25. Sasha Djordjevic
    Hailed as the best of the young generation of Serbian coaches, he's currently with Armani Jeans Milano in Italy. Played eight games for Portland in 1996-97.

    Djordjevic edges out two Italians, CSKA Moscow's Ettore Messina and Unicaja Malaga's Sergio Scariolo, as the European representative on this list.

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    If I were running the Pacers and if Rick decided he wanted out as Pacers coach. Of the people on the list I would interview and be interested in the following names.

    Marc Iavaroni - one thing people forget about him is that he was an assistant under Pat Riley for years.

    Tom Thibodeau - I would really take a hard look at him as a possible head coach

    Jim O'Brien - I don't like that his teams take a ton of threes, but he gets his teams to play defense.

    Stan Van Gundy -

    Keith Smart - and it has nothing to do with him being an Indiana guy. I've just heard a lot of good things about him


    Those are the guys I will take a hard look at

    I still consider Mike Fratello a great coach, but I think he'd be a hard sell to Pacers fans. But look at the job he did in Cleveland and last year in memphis - those teams had no business winning 48 and 49 games respectively.

    Certainly Larry Brown is a hall of Fame coach, but I don't see him coming back here.

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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    22. Stan Van Gundy
    When he stepped down last season in Miami, the Heat tacked an extra year and $1 million on his contract and forbade him from speaking publicly.
    Does this throw up a big red flag to anyone else? I remember there was speculation at the time that Riley had weaseled his way into coaching again right when the Heat were on the rise, and this seems to lend some credibility to that speculation. I know it could be coincidental, but why else do that?

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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    keith smart was fantastic when he coached the fury. had another hoosier alum not destroyed the league....

    i can't for the life of me understand why jim o'brien isn't coaching anywhere. he was pretty successful in boston and they didn't give him time in philly.

    i think its funny that del harris wants to coach again. he resisted it for so long under nellie in dallas. but i remember him being a fairly good coach.

    i'm not sure how i feel about PJ. i'm thinking he should get another chance

    and i actually would like to see danny ainge get back into coaching, though i like doc rivers.
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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    We've already begun assembling the pieces. Why not take the next logical step......


    19. Paul Westhead
    One of the NBA's early practitioners of the run-and-gun style, and head coach for the Showtime Lakers' first title, he's now the coach of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury. As more and more NBA teams embrace that pace, Westhead wonders -- much like Dan Issel is wondering -- why no one believes he can have success with his methods in the NBA today.

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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    I like Adleman and think Iavaroni may do well. But a list that ranks Fratello, Wilkens, and Harris 4-6 is flawed from that point on (yeeech).
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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Goldfoot View Post
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    We've already begun assembling the pieces. Why not take the next logical step......


    19. Paul Westhead
    One of the NBA's early practitioners of the run-and-gun style, and head coach for the Showtime Lakers' first title, he's now the coach of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury. As more and more NBA teams embrace that pace, Westhead wonders -- much like Dan Issel is wondering -- why no one believes he can have success with his methods in the NBA today.

    I would turn over in my own grave

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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    I would turn over in my own grave
    As opposed to turning over in someone else's grave?

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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    Here are some other candidates that I think should've/could've made the list:

    1. Jim Cleamons, long time assistant with Phil Jackson and various other clubs, currently with the New Orleans Hornets I think. He had a short stint as the head coach of the Mavs before Mark Cuban took over, back when the Mavs were the laughingstock of the league. He is a sharp mind with a championship pedigree, and would be a good candidate for someone who valued his direct approach.

    2. Jim Lynam, long time NBA lifer, with head coaching experience. Jimmy is an intense high strung head coach, who probably isnt a long term answer, but in a short tun can do a very effective job. Very smart and tough.

    3. Dennis Johnson, ex pg of the Celtics, among others. Has alot of championship experience as a player in Boston and Seattle, played for or with many of the greats. Has been a long time assistant coach in the league. Knew how to win as a player, might be ready for his opportunity.

    4. Donn Nelson Jr. Long time NBA lifer, has extensive scouting knowledge and experience of the European game. Obviously has been influenced by his hall of fame father. Considered very knowledgeable, personable, and innovative.

    5. John Treleor, long time CBA coach, has been an assistant coach for many winning college programs, including Indiana and LSU. Considered to be a great technician of the game, has a calm professional demeanor. Wherever he has been, his teams get better. Reminds you a little of Carlisle in his demeanor and approach.

    6. Doug Collins, previous of the Bulls, Wizards, and Pistons. Seems to flame out quickly, but no one can question his passion and love for the game, nor can they question his knowledge of the league. Probably needs to stay on television, but coaches always seem to want to jump back in the game. I'd look for Collins to return someday when the perfect situation arises someplace.

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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    My guys from the list would be:

    - Marc Iavaroni: Only this guy is pretty much a dead lock to go to the Raptors.

    - Rick Aldeman: I like the Princeton offense and I think RA is a good coach.

    - Tom Thibodeau: I don't really know much about it, but I like what I do know.

    - Jeff Bzdelik: If he wants back in the NBA, i'd give him a look. Although maybe he has some of the same faults as Rick? IDK.

    - Michael Cooper: I don't know how he didn't make the list.

    - Stan Van Gundy: He is a good coach.

    - Sasha Djordjevic: I am intrigued by the idea of a foregin coach coming over here and coaching an NBA club. I think that if he has veteran assistants to help him he could succeed.

    Jim O'Brien: I'd consider except that his teams shoot way to many 3s. So I would probably not hire him.

    Keith Smart: Someone to consider.

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    Cheeseburger in Paradise Los Angeles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    I can't possibly imagine what would happen to our already paltry backcourt if Larry Brown were here.
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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    While I'm thinking about guys whose names start with Paul West.....why not Paul Westphal

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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    14. Johnny Davis
    He is the lead assistant to Rick Carlisle in Indiana. And if Carlisle ever pulls a Jermaine O'Neal and starts to consider the possibility of plying his trade elsewhere, Johnny D., once the head coach in Philadelphia and Orlando, would be the favorite to take over.
    Err, uh....no.

    And I don't just mean IMO it would be a bad idea either. I don't think the TPTB would do this at all. I think RedBull is closer to that position that JD.

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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    25. Sasha Djordjevic
    Hailed as the best of the young generation of Serbian coaches, he's currently with Armani Jeans Milano in Italy. Played eight games for Portland in 1996-97.

    This is my boy right here. CLUTCH out of this world. I'm surprised he didnt play more in the NBA because he is better then 90% of the Europeans coming in right now. He is better then Jasikavicus thats for sure.

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    I'm bumping this

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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    I'm bumping this
    Is it a good or bad thing that Johnny Davis ( #14 ) is ranked ahead of Jim O'Brien ( #15 ) on the list?
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    This is David West, he is the Honey Badger, West just doesn't give a *****....he's pretty bad *ss cuz he has no regard for any other Player or Team whatsoever.

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    Default Re: Top 25 coaching candidates - a good list

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Jim O'Brien - I don't like that his teams take a ton of threes, but he gets his teams to play defense.
    That's UB for you, always harping on the negative before the positive.
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