5 NBA Assistants Who Could Get a Shot as a Head Coach by the End of the Season
Most NBA teams don't have much patience with head coaches who fail to make large strides in a certain number of years. Scott Skiles, although holding a fairly successful background, hasn't been able to take Milwaukee beyond mediocre since he started in 2008. Washington has put in too much effort over the offseason to waste its time with the below-par Randy Wittman. These are exactly the types of situations assistant coaches wait for.
From guys with head coaching in their bloodlines to assistant coaches who have years of experience under their belts, here are five talented individuals that could find themselves with head coaching opportunities before the 2012-13 season comes to an end.
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I don't think it's any mistake that Los Angeles brought in longtime coach Bob Ociepka for the 2012-13 season. Chances are huge he'll be stepping up as head coach soon enough.
According to an article on ESPN.com, current head coach Vinny Del Negro is walking on very thin ice with the Clippers.
"Vinny has lost the team," one source said. "They don't want to play hard for him."
ESPN reported that players became frustrated with Del Negro's constantly changing rotation, and the franchise is sure to side with the team over the coach, especially considering the losing streak L.A. experienced last March.
Ociepka joins the Clips with over 30 years of coaching experience to his name. At 63 years old, he returns to Los Angeles for his second period with the Clippers after serving as an assistant coach from 1993-96 under Bob Weiss and Bill Fitch. Ociepka was an assistant coach for Del Negro with the Chicago Bulls from 2008-10.
John-Blair (J.B.) Bickerstaff is entering his first season as assistant coach for the Rockets, but I think a team may come calling for him before this season ends. With the experience and coaching bloodline that Bickerstaff holds, it's only a matter of time.
Bickerstaff displays a high basketball I.Q. and a talent for coaching. Prior to working in Minnesota, the 33-year-old assisted his father Bernie in Charlotte, and he also wore the head coach hat for Charlotte's summer league in 2005 and 2006.
Bickerstaff took his first job at just 25 years old, making him the youngest assistant coach in the NBA.
Almost 10 years later, he's proven he's more than ready to take the reins and lead a team of his own.
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Although Don Newman is entering his first season with Washington, I wouldn't be surprised if he was called upon to step up to head coach before the end of the season.
The Wizards have made lots of roster changes for the better, and current coach Randy Wittman just doesn't seem to have what it takes to lead a team to the postseason. Wittman has an overall record of 118-238, and Washington may not have much patience with him.
Newman comes to the Wizards with over 20 years of NBA experience, including his most recent position as assistant coach for the successful San Antonio Spurs. He's no stranger to smart coaching, and Washington may have had this idea when they brought him in.
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If the Milwaukee Bucks don't look to be in playoff contention by midseason, Jim Boylan may have the opportunity to replace current head coach Scott Skiles.
Skiles has been coaching in Milwaukee since 2008, and he hasn't been able to do much with the Bucks. Boylan has been working with Skiles for quite a while, and he has been working in the NBA since 1992.
Boylan would not be completely new to the head coaching situation, as he served as interim head coach in Chicago for the final 56 games of the 2007-08 season.
As an assistant, Boylan has plenty of successful seasons under his belt. He has reached the postseason in the NBA with Chicago (three times, two 47-plus win seasons), Phoenix (once, a 50-plus win season) and Cleveland (four times, one 54 win and two 47-win seasons).
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For Stephen Silas, coaching runs in his blood. Silas has over 10 years of experience in NBA coaching and scouting, and he spent several years in Charlotte working under his father and longtime head coach Paul Silas. At the time of his hiring as an assistant with the Hornets on June 5, 2000, he was the youngest assistant in the NBA at the age of 27.
Silas currently serves as assistant coach for Golden State. There, he develops perimeter players and focuses on game preparation and managing the team's offensive and defensive playbook. Although Silas has not yet added head coach to his resume, he did hold the Summer League head coaching position for the Warriors in Vegas this past season.
If Mike Dunlap doesn't successfully lead the Bobcats, I could see Charlotte being interested in bringing back the younger Silas.