(Editor's Note: Alternate Headline: Say, Maybe Larry Drew Ain't All That Bad)
You know, I'm not the biggest Larry Drew fan, but when I look at the coaching changes that have been made so far, I am kind of glad that the Hawks are at least being stable with a guy who has won between 55% and 60% of his games in his two seasons. There have been a lot of names thrown around the NBA coaching carousel this offseason, but the hirings that have been made are very underwhelming to me. Mike Dunlap in Charlotte was an assistant coach at St. John's last season and has never been a head coach. Jacque Vaughn was an underwhelming back up point guard in his NBA career who has only been an assistant for a few years. Now, in Portland, they are deciding between their interim guy Canales, and Terry Stotts. (Ed: Portland chose Stotts after this was originally published)
The bigger name assistant coaches that the media likes to talk about were Brian Shaw and Mike Malone. I guess my question with those two is that if they are such hot candidates, why haven't they gotten a head job yet.
With everything that I have said above though, I think we have to realize that certain coaches may avoid certain jobs because they know they will not be able to win. Say what you want about that competitive fire, but these coaches know that this is a player's league. You cannot make chicken salad out of chicken poop. Most coaches that fail do so because they simply do not have the horses to succeed. Those that succeed do so mostly because they do have the horses. I think it is very rare that you see a coach come in and make a drastic difference in the win/loss record of a team.
Relative to the Hawks, if this job was open, this would be a more attractive job than Orlando, Portland, and Charlotte because the Hawks have the horses to win and get into the playoffs. In that sense, if Mike Malone and Brian Shaw are great head coaching candidates, then this is a job they would more than likely take instead of taking a Charlotte job where they will likely not win and not be given a chance to win.
My thoughts on NBA coaching overall:
1. There is very little difference between the majority of the NBA coaches. There are very few that I would consider great that make a significant difference, and in the same sense, I think there are very few that I would consider to be terrible coaches that make a significant difference. The difference between most coaches in the NBA are the players on the team.
2. Coaching has an effect on the game, but not enough of one that the coaching is the difference between a mediocre playoff team and an NBA championship caliber team.