Sunday, May 16, 2010

Where are the white guys?

There was once a time where having a coach of African-American descent was so important that some times - it usurped the cause of victory and championships. To be clear, it was still important, but the cause of proving that black people can lead was probably more important than competence, which is ironic because competence at the job is the proof.

So, it was with joy that the Atlanta Hawks at a time were led by a black GM and black head coach, but times change and movements advance. So, while there is a desire to see more black general managers and certainly more owners, the ceiling has been broken thoroughly enough that the competence is the MOST important thing. So, there has been a lot of commentary about who the next coach should be...and it's almost jarring to see how many of those names are of African American descent. It really is about the content and the ability to lead men. So, it's with that that I actually offer the names that I think should be up for serious consideration for this job and amazingly, it's all white men.

I don't know how to explain it, but I want a coach who doesn't really have any connection to these players (sorry, Larry Drew) so, there can be a valuation on the players SOLELY on what they bring to the court, so here's the list.

  • Tom Thibodeau - My current favorite. Title, Defensive focus, involvement with one of the greatest organizations ever (hope for some spillover effect)
  • Bill Laimbeer - My wild card. I'm not sure about Bill, but he had a lot of success in the NBA as a player and in the WNBA as a coach. This could be a home run or the biggest strikeout ever, but if you're swinging for the fences - I like this. We know he's not going to tolerate a lack of toughness and leadership.
  • Lawrence Frank - My opposite of everything I said I want. There are lots of examples where a coach wears out his welcome and needs a 2nd opportunity to round out the rough edges of the first attempt. This could be the example here since he doesn't have a title and doesn't really have any demonstrated experiences with being a leader or tough guy. Not sure, but thinking that a completely different approach could again be exactly what the team needs.
  • Jeff Van Gundy - My Moneyball. Bottom line, we know he can coach. We don't know if he can win a title, but he's been close and has been in the battles. Definitely knows what it takes on the defensive end. So, along with Avery Johnson - these are the most 'NBA coach' ready of the group. Enough tape out there on this guy to determine if you like what he brings to the table. Only problem if he's the one is 'can you pay him'.
I am intrigued by Mark Jackson, Terry Porter, and Avery Johnson as men who are point guards and have an understanding of why PG is so important as well as an ability to determine how an offense and defense should work together, BUT with Mark's lack of coaching experience and title; Terry's inability to make it work with a talented team; and Avery Johnson's price tag - I'm focusing on people who I think we can actually make work in Atlanta. And this may change as I do more research, so comment away with the caveat that I don't really know what I want yet.. I'm still just happy that we're looking for something new.


Jesse said...

I like JVG a lot. I do not like Mark Jackson at all.

Here's one I thought of this weekend. What about Mashburn? I've never read anything that indicates he would be interested in coaching, but the guy is very intelligent about the game. Just an idea.

Ron E. said...

I like Thibodeau on paper as well, but didn't Woodson have the exact some arguments in his favor before his hiring?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

The difference btw Thibodeau and Woodson is that Thibodeau has designed the defenses for 18 years and has had results in the top 10 (many times top 5) for almost ALL of his teams he's worked for. Woodson's track record prior to his arrival to the Hawks was not nearly as strong - he's credited as being a part of the Detroit defensive design, but not THE designer. Not only that he did that with Brown, but his work with the Bucks and Cavs were not indicative of defensive genius work.

So, I don't want to completely disconnect Mike Woodson from that defensive juggernaut, but I do think that Thibodeau would re-design our defense to account for what we have now AND play players who can implement it. I'd hope that he'd lean on Sund to get players who can fit into a defensive scheme as well as an offensive scheme. The thing you see with the Celtics is that they will change their defense based on the personnel on the floor. I think that's a key component of this.