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Thread: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

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    Default Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    This is an article from last year that attempts to trace coaching philosophies/lineage in the NBA. Probably too long to post in its' entirety here, so I will just highlight the O'Brien bits. It's worth reading the whole thing though, I learned some interesting things about the relationship history of some of these coaches and think some of the analysis here is spot on, though in some places the author seems make more of a leap than he should, such as when he puts O'Brien in the Ramsay tree simply on the strength of their family relationship.


    http://basketballprospectus.com/arti...?articleid=450

    Rick Pitino Coaching Tree
    Trademarks: Heavy usage of three-pointer, pressure defense
    Current Head Coaches: Jim O'Brien, Reggie Theus
    Other Notables: Billy Donovan, Tubby Smith


    Pitino's coaching tree is much more impressive at the college level, where Donovan and Smith are two of many former assistants who have gone on to run their own teams. In the NBA, Pitino's style has been effectively copied by O'Brien, his assistant and successor in Boston. O'Brien's teams, like Pitino's, are known for taking a ton of threes, and his defenses generally employ heavy trapping if not as much full-court pressure. In his second NBA season, Theus--a Pitino assistant at Louisville--has yet to firmly establish his coaching philosophy, but the buzzword seems to be "aggressive," which is very much in keeping with Pitino's influence.



    Jack Ramsay Coaching Tree
    Trademarks: Measured approach
    Current Head Coaches: Rick Adelman, Jim O'Brien
    Adelman Sub-Tree: Terry Porter
    Dr. Jack continues to wield influence in the league a full two decades after he last paced an NBA sideline. O'Brien is the first coach to make an appearance in two coaching trees. Stylistically, he belongs much more in the Pitino tree, but it's hard to deny his relationship with Ramsay--his father-in-law. Adelman started his NBA coaching career as an assistant to Ramsay in Portland, and can trace his even-keeled style to his mentor. In turn, Adelman influenced long-time Blazers point guard Porter, who spent his first year on the sidelines assisting Adelman in Sacramento.


    Jim O'Brien - Rick Pitino, Jack Ramsay. O'Brien is one of the most orthodox disciples you'll find, his style (threes and traps) heavily influenced by Pitino after several years together first at Kentucky and later with the Boston Celtics. Ramsay has surely had an influence as well as O'Brien's father-in-law.
    "Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better." - Albert Camus

    "Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well." - Voltaire

    Michael Pina, Red94: "There are so many different ways the Pacers can beat you. They have an All-Star scoring threat, imposing figures on the front line, steady point guard play, and most importantly, a defense that'll choke the life out of just about every offense that crosses its path."

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    Jim brings his father-in-law into town for training camp, so I think it's valid to include that in the article.

    I wish they would explain what the influence specifically is, though. They just talk about why, but they don't talk about WHAT the influence is.

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    Jim brings his father-in-law into town for training camp, so I think it's valid to include that in the article.

    I wish they would explain what the influence specifically is, though. They just talk about why, but they don't talk about WHAT the influence is.
    Hmmm, didn't know he brought him into town for camp.

    It's true, there's a lot more talk in the article about why as opposed to what/how. I figured somewhere in the population of our posters there would be people who knew enough about the various coaches (specifically Pitino for JOB) to give us some educated guesses in that area.
    "Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better." - Albert Camus

    "Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well." - Voltaire

    Michael Pina, Red94: "There are so many different ways the Pacers can beat you. They have an All-Star scoring threat, imposing figures on the front line, steady point guard play, and most importantly, a defense that'll choke the life out of just about every offense that crosses its path."

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    Yeah all we get is measured approach and even keeled... how much more vague can he get?

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    From a defensive standpoint, I wouldn't affiliate O'Brien with Pitino. The later liked to stretch out the defence - a consequence of his pressure philosophy. O'Brien's teams generally play more accordingly to Harter's philosophy of packing the lane, flood the strongside and force the other team to shoot jumpers. Different kinds of aggressiveness. This was very evident when JOB succeeded Pitino on the Celtics job.
    Last edited by cordobes; 12-26-2009 at 07:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    Where's the Larry Brown tree?

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat View Post
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    Where's the Larry Brown tree?

    Brown is in the Dean Smith tree at the top. Larry Brown does have a "branch" consisting of Maurice Cheeks and Gregg Popovich
    "Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better." - Albert Camus

    "Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well." - Voltaire

    Michael Pina, Red94: "There are so many different ways the Pacers can beat you. They have an All-Star scoring threat, imposing figures on the front line, steady point guard play, and most importantly, a defense that'll choke the life out of just about every offense that crosses its path."

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat View Post
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    Where's the Larry Brown tree?
    He had one but immediately asked to trade it for two coaching shrubs.

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    Quote Originally Posted by gummy View Post
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    Brown is in the Dean Smith tree at the top. Larry Brown does have a "branch" consisting of Maurice Cheeks and Gregg Popovich
    As well as Mike Woodson and John Kuester.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

    Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
    Conference Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
    NBA Champions 1989, 1990, 2004

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    Speaking of Keuster, Kstat how do you feel about what he is doing in Detroit at this point?

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    Love him to death. He's an honest to god actual NBA coach. No politics, no cloak and dagger scheming, he comes in, does his job, coaches the team, and gets back at it the next day trying to find the best possible way to win.

    I'd go as far as to say the Pistons would be sitting with the 2nd or 3rd worst record in the NBA at this point, with a lesser coach. He's been dealt so many bad cards, and he's kept the team afloat longer than anybody would have anticipated.

    I hope he stays here another 10 years. He's a great stable influence.
    Last edited by Kstat; 12-26-2009 at 04:45 PM.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

    Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
    Conference Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
    NBA Champions 1989, 1990, 2004

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    So if we are looking for a transitional coach again....Iavaroni?

    Fast offense with physical defense.

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    Quote Originally Posted by Major Cold View Post
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    So if we are looking for a transitional coach again....Iavaroni?

    Fast offense with physical defense.
    Heh, I don't know about that. His Memphis teams weren't particularly fast, especially in the second season. And they were horrible to watch, 1on5 every play. And he's now a defensive assistant for the Raptors, that may play the less physical defence in the league.

    Iavaroni had too many voices in his head (Mike D'Antoni, Jerry Sloan, Pat Riley, Cunningham) .... never decided what type of coach he wanted to be.

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    Yeah that sounds about right. He clearly had no idea how to use that amazing PG named Conely

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    Default Re: Coaching Philosophy Trees in the NBA

    the worst coach you can have is an indecisive one. If the coach has no identity, the team certainly won't.

    Ivaroni certainly failed at this.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

    Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
    Conference Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
    NBA Champions 1989, 1990, 2004

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