Out-of-Work NBA Coaches Who Would Be Better off as TV Analysts
It's standard operating procedure for NBA head coaches without a job to take their talents behind a live microphone for a paycheck. Heck, some people will tell you that coaches who are currently employed by an NBA team should quit and go the analyst route as well. Just ask any Los Angeles Lakers fan about Mike Brown today and they'll tell you.
As of today, Flip Saunders—former head man for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards—became the latest out-of-work coach to accept a studio analyst gig.
It's a logical move for coaches in between head coaching stops. Not only is it a cushy job, but they get to show off their basketball knowledge for everyone to see. It's a live audition. We saw it get Mark Jackson—a guy who had zero coaching experience prior to his current post with Golden State—the Warriors job, even though there were candidates with glossier coaching resumes sitting on their couches waiting for the phone to ring.
Here are five former coaches looking for a new gig who could benefit from a stint on TV.
Stan Van Gundy
It's shocking that Stan Van Gundy isn't already working for someone as an analyst. It appeared he was set to join his brother Jeff at ESPN, but the deal fell through amid some suspicious circumstances.
The former Orlando Magic coach has always flashed a great personality in his interviews, and TV talent clearly runs in the family. Van Gundy's name will come up for every head coaching vacancy from here on out, and there's no better way for him to remind everyone how good of a coach he is than to drop some knowledge as an analyst.
The Nate McMillan era came to a rather disappointing close in Portland as the Trailblazers decided to part ways with the coach who brought the team back into prominence. It's not all McMillan's fault. Career-threatening injuries to franchise stars like Brandon Roy and Greg Oden hobbled McMillan season after season.
Although he still has his Team USA job to keep him somewhat busy, McMillan is currently out of the spotlight. His firing is still too fresh for him to fall completely off the radar, but taking a TV job would boost the quiet coach's profile.
Another Team USA assistant, Mike D'Antoni, has been out of a job since the New York Knicks (or maybe just Carmelo Anthony) pushed him out the door last season.
D'Antoni was one of the most in-demand coaches a couple years ago after lighting up scoreboards around the league with Phoenix. Enthusiasm has fallen a bit with him, which is why a studio analyst gig would be great for D'Antoni to show off his offensive genius for the league to rediscover.
Long time Utah Jazz boss Jerry Sloan may be up there in years, but he's got a proven track record of success that few out-of-work coaches can match.
Sloan's wisdom and expertise would be a welcome addition to the analyst's desk. With the NBA becoming such a pick-and-roll based league, it would be great to hear what the master of the pick-and-roll set thinks about the way teams around the league run the offensive staple today.
So what if Phil Jackson won't coach again unless he gets the Knicks job? I want the Zen Master somewhere with a live microphone in front of him—even if TNT has to satellite him in from some desolate cabin in Montana.
Even if Jackson doesn't need a platform to audition for a new coaching job, having him on TV showering all of us viewers with his sage wisdom that no one understands would be worth the price of admission (or cable subscription in this case). I want him to tell me to close my eyes and imagine that I was sitting on a lily if that will help me better visualize what's happening on the court. ESPN, TNT, NBA TV...someone make this happen!