Tag: NBA Coaches

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Kings Fire Head Coach Mike Malone

The Sacramento Kings have sensationally fired head Coach Mike Malone despite beginning the new season with better-than-expected results.

Starting with an impressive 11-13 record in the tough Western Conference, and competing without star center DeMarcus Cousins for 9 games, the Kings felt it necessary to relieve Malone of his duties and instate assistant coach Ty Corbin in the interim. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news via Twitter yesterday afternoon to a considerable backlash from fans who found it to be a big surprise.

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Why Mark Jackson’s Firing Is Completely Understandable – @Ryan Oak

The Golden State Warriors fired coach Mark Jackson on Monday; one day after the team was eliminated from the playoffs, losing in the first round in a seven-game classic to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Almost immediately there was an outcry, with many pundits believing it was an extremely harsh decision, considering the success Jackson had achieved at his time at the helm.

During his three years as head coach, the team improved dramatically.

In his first season with the club, the team struggled to 23–43 record in the lockout-shortened season of 2011-12, as the team adapted to Jackson’s new style and systems.

However, in 2012-13, Jackson led the Warriors to a 47–35 record and a sixth place finish in the tough Western Conference. This marked the first time the Warriors had reached the playoffs since the 2006–07 season.

And this year, the Warriors improved to 51–31, the team’s first season with 50 or more wins since 1993-94, clinching another playoff berth.

The team, however, had championship aspirations, so the first round loss was considered somewhat a disappointment, and Jackson was given the bullet.

Though coaches should be judged on performance – and the Warriors performed relatively well this season, especially considering Andrew Bogut’s injury for the playoffs – something has been off at Golden State for awhile, and this decision was actually rumored weeks ago.

Two assistant coaches were let go under strange circumstances, there was talk of Jackson disrespecting Hall of Famer Jerry West – who is an executive board member at the club – and there appeared to be a personality clash between Jackson and owner Joe Lacob as well.

Whatever was going behind the scenes, all was not well with the Warriors. The decision is therefore a shock, but no real surprise. And I appreciate how stupid and confusing that sounds.

Yet from a pure coaching perspective, I think Jackson was overrated anyway.

He made great time-out speeches, his players loved playing for him, and he brought a long overdue defensive mind-set to the franchise.

However, his in-game coaching was terrible at times.

In the fourth quarter of game 6 against the Clippers, Draymond Green received his fifth foul. Jackson immediately replaced him with David Lee – who also happened to be on his fifth foul. On the very next possession, Lee fouled Blake Griffin – on a converted 3-point play no less – and subsequently fouled out with a lot of time left in the game. That’s just a horrible, irresponsible gamble.

With 12 seconds left in game 7, and the Warriors down four, the play coming out of a time-out ended up being a Steph Curry runner from three-point land. You would hope a team can get a better shot than that out of a time-out.

There were a number of similar coaching mistakes in the playoffs, and though one could use the excuse that Jackson was still learning his craft, such growing pains would be acceptable if the expectations for the team were lower.

Unfortunately for Jackson, the team had grown so much from a talent perspective, that it didn’t really have time to wait for him to catch-up. Rookie errors from the coach were hard to tolerate with this roster.

In any event, it wasn’t just the playoffs that highlighted potential reasons why Jackson may not have been a fantastic coach.

Part of the attractiveness of signing Andre Iguodala as a free agent was the potential to play Curry – the best shooter in the NBA – off the ball more often. Yet during the season, how many times did we see plays run with Iggy as the primary ball-handler?

There was also a strange reliance on the unreliable Jordan Crawford, the inability to get the best out of Harrison Barnes, and a penchant for over-relying on Curry – and to a lesser extent, Klay Thompson – to bail the team out when they were in trouble.

Meanwhile Jackson’s reluctance to play small ball at times seemed counter-productive, considering the Warriors roster is destined to play that style of basketball.

The simple truth is that the Warriors, at this stage of their development as a team, may simply need a better coach.

Yet ironically, I don’t think that had anything to do with Jackson getting fired.



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Is Phil Jackson on The Comeback Trail?

Widely regarded as the greatest coach in NBA history, with 11 titles to his name with MJ’s Bulls in the 90’s and Kobe’s Lakers in the 00’s, Phil Jackson’s NBA status is nothing short of legendary. Throughout his tenure as coach of two of the greatest dynasties in league history, Jackson remained an ever constant subject through both glory and despair, with his teams enjoying shining victories and humiliating defeats. His ever watchful, compassionate presence was to players as a father is to a son. Caring, nurturing and understanding whilst always ensuring lessons were being learned every day. Jackson’s success, as he claims, doesn’t stem simply from talent, but from the ability to connect with the people around him on a level unseen to the outside world. This why his nickname, The Zen Master, is synonymous with who he really is. A believer in accepting and understanding your surrounds, and not just focusing on oneself.

This is Phil’s pursuit of success and happiness, and one he’s been able to pass down to several of the NBA’s greatest ever players throughout the years.

Image Courtesy of ESPN.com

Image Courtesy of ESPN.com

Phil’s journey since leaving the Lakers in 2011 has been a rocky one. Dealing with his own illness, while being by his fiance Jeanie Buss’ side throughout her dear father, Dr Jerry Buss’ sickness and eventual death, and a potential new contract with the Lakers which for reasons largely unknown fell apart at the last minute. After retiring from NBA coaching, it’s hard to imagine Phil would’ve been subjected to the drama he’s seen since being swept by the eventual Champion Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Playoffs. Yet here he is. Not only a celebrity in his own right, but still a very much sought after asset for every team in the NBA. A part of Phil must relish the spotlight, and one team has created a new opportunity for him to be a part of it. The team with which he began his NBA journey. The New York Knicks.

It has been written to death for a week now, by a thousand NBA writers, that the Knicks have extended a big offer to Phil Jackson which they are hoping will help propel them into the next era of New York basketball, and provide them with a new lease on life. It’s no secret that the biggest market in the NBA has been one of the great disappointments in the league for many years, with millions of fans being let down year after year because of poor decisions and bad financial management. Now more than ever, with a new team across the river in Brooklyn, it is important for the Knicks to start becoming a regular threat in the playoffs. No one is scared of the Knickerbockers, and they haven’t been for a long time. Can Phil Jackson change that fact? It’s a long shot, but one most Knick fans would agree is a chance they are willing to take. With several bad contracts on the books, no draft picks and a disgruntled superstar’s free agency looming, things are looking grim for the immediate future of this franchise.

Image Courtesy of ESPN.com

Image Courtesy of ESPN.com

What Jackson will do is encourage stars to sign with the Knicks in the future. It’s a well documented fact that he’s a fan of superstars, as they are him, and as it stands, there is little the Knicks have to garner the attention of players that they want to sign. The Carmelo Anthony factor is a big one for the Knicks, and now that the trade deadline has passed, they are banking on his re-signing come free agency. Should Jackson take the job, it will go a long way in helping ensure his signature stays in Manhattan. Be it the right move or not it is what the Knicks, and their fans, desperately want.

Jackson seemingly is ready to make his move and re-enter the NBA stratosphere. After the failed attempt to get back to coaching during last season’s tumultuous events in Los Angeles, it was expected he would resign to the fact he would never coach in the NBA again, even putting a fork in it himself at one stage. The decision by the Lakers to hire former Suns/Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni angered many involved with the Lakers including fans, players and even a Buss herself. Jeanie has since explained her distaste at her brother Jim’s decision to hire D’Antoni over Phil, but speculation also continues to circle that it was indeed her late father Jerry who decided against re-hiring Jackson. It’s neither here nor there, and the truth will probably never be known. All we do know, is that Phil Jackson was ready to coach the Los Angeles Lakers last season, and was snubbed. One could argue that snub not only upset Phil (he would argue it didn’t), but also motivated him even more.

Since the Knicks first extended an offer, the stories have been running rampant about whether Phil will indeed accept the job, or fall by the wayside once again. It has been said that Jackson wants full control of basketball decisions. It’s also been written that he wants to coach too. All this along with a huge asking price. Speculation of course, but similar terms were said to be in play during negotiations with the Lakers a little over a year ago. Whatever the price, you can be sure the Knicks would be happy to entertain him until he gives them an answer. Would Phil be successful in a front office role? It’s hard to say, but he was influential in the hiring of the now fired Detroit coach Maurice Cheeks last off season, after he extended his hand to the Pistons in the decision making process. Hardly a lynchpin by which to judge his future successes or failures, but an interesting point nonetheless.

Image Courtesy of FoxSports.com

Image Courtesy of FoxSports.com

Phil’s interest in the NBA since retiring is indicative of his everlasting love of the game, and an example of how hard it can be to let go. Wise move or not, Phil Jackson wants back in the NBA, and the Knicks are providing him with that opportunity. Whether he takes it or not, is a whole other story. Can his attitude towards basketball and life in general be an asset to the struggling Knicks, or will it make no difference at all? These questions are worth pondering, and you can be sure Jackson will be doing just that, but the simple fact he is even considering it tells us all we need to know. The Zen Master is ready to make his return. Which team is lucky enough to accommodate it, remains to be seen.

As mentioned earlier, Phil Jackson’s view on life and all it holds is incredibly important to him, and in turn the decision making process. You can be sure that his eventual reconciliation will not only revolve around himself, but also his family, his friends, the players he’ll work with, colleagues and probably even the weather. Being in touch with who he is, and surrounding himself with who and what he needs to be successful is probably the most difficult aspect of any choice he eventually makes.

We’ll keep you updated with any developments.



Brooklyn Nets Announce New Coach Jason Kidd

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Jason Kidd has been announced as the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets just weeks after his retirement from professional basketball. Kidd, who played for the Nets from 2001-2008, expressed his interest in coaching after his playing career many times and was considered the front runner to land the job for the past few days as the Nets deliberated over who the best fit for the team would be. Brian Shaw, who has filled assistant coaching roles for the Lakers and Pacers, was interviewed for five hours by Brooklyn this morning, only to be told his services were not required, and Kidd would be filling the position. The Nets fired interim coach P.J Carlisimo immediately following their exit from the playoffs, and have been searching for a replacement ever since. The pickings haven’t been slim, either, with many coaches becoming available throughout the past few months including George Karl, Vinny Del Negro and Brian Shaw amongst others. The thought is that the Nets and Kidd, however, have agreed to a 3-year contract which will see him in charge until the summer of 2016.

Having only retired a week ago, Kidd is now the only player since Mike Dunleavy in 1990-91 to go immediately from playing to coaching from one season to the next.

The introductory press conference will be held tomorrow.

Nick C.



Cavaliers Reach Out To Phil Jackson, Mike Brown In Search of New Coach

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As reported late last week, the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach Byron Scott following the culmination of what would be considered by the club and its fans a rather humiliating, disappointing season. The Cavs have been on a steady decline since the infamous departure of superstar LeBron James in early 2011, and have made every effort to get back to the playoffs by drafting young rookie star Kyrie Irving and re-building what many believe can be a competitive team going forward. This has not been the case recently, and the Cavs finished the 2012/13 season with a lowly 24-58 win/loss record, missing the playoffs and sparking the firing of Scott.

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What Does D’Antoni Mean To L.A.?

After what was thought to be the job only Phil Jackson was going to take, the Los Angeles Lakers made a shock move late Monday night by hiring ex-New York Knicks and Olympic coach Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni will likely assume control of the team against Phoenix on Friday as he is currently unable to fly to LA due to an existing knee condition he recently had surgery on. This hiring makes a lot of sense to the Lakers who have struggled to get any fluency on offense this season, and with players like Steve Nash, whom D’Antoni has coached before, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard on the team this is sure to be one big offensive juggernaut. Here, we’re breaking down what went wrong with Phil Jackson, and where the Lakers can excel under Mike D’Antoni.

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EWING TURNS DOWN HEAD COACH ROLE

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Former Knicks legend Patrick Ewing has turned down an offer to take up his first Head Coach role.

Despite this being the type of role Ewing has been looking for, for sometime it has been suggested it was declined because it was for a position at the Knicks’ D-League club.

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