Coaching Choices Who Can Encourage Chris Paul to Stay with LA Clippers
ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne recently reported that management is interested in signing a big-name coach. A laundry list of different coaches has been in the mix ranging from Lionel Hollins and Alvin Gentry to Jeff Van Gundy and Byron Scott.
The Clips will likely be in search of a coach that can nab Paul’s endorsement. Moving quickly is then an imperative, as the Clips would want to lock up next season’s coach before CP3 hits free agency on July 1.
Who would the Point God like and respect? Which coach might be able to positively impact Paul’s free-agency decision and keep him in the City of Angels?
We will look at five potential coaching candidates that could encourage Paul to re-up with the Clips this summer.
Prior to his stint in the East Bay, Malone served as an assistant coach for the New Orleans Hornets, where he developed a strong rapport with CP3. According to Hoopsworld’s Eric Pincus, Malone is on Paul’s short list for LAC coaches.
The Clips desperately need a tactician that can draw up efficient scoring opportunities and shore up Lob City’s suspect defense. However, even with Paul’s endorsement, Clips management should ensure that Malone is the right fit for the high-pressure job.
Former New Orleans Hornets head coach Byron Scott was key in developing a young Chris Paul. The coach has a knack for developing young talent in general, having improved Kyrie Irving on the Cleveland Cavaliers as well as young Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson while coaching the New Jersey Nets.
Scott is not as well known for his X’s and O’s, but he is a player’s coach. However, given that Scott has not had deep postseason success since his time in New Jersey, Clips management might prefer someone that has succeeded more recently.
Perhaps the Clips need a coach that has more of a handle on an effective defensive system. Nevertheless, Scott’s ties to Paul could encourage the All-NBA point guard to remain in Los Angeles for the long term.
Shaw has been credited with the player development of young guys like Paul George and Roy Hibbert in Indiana. He has received multiple player endorsements for a head-coaching bid, including ones from Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom.
After Phil Jackson retired in 2011, Shaw was in the mix as the Zen Master’s successor before management hired Mike Brown.
Shaw might be the most recognized assistant in basketball, and he certainly deserves a chance to run a team. Whether or not he is ready to take a fringe contender to the next level while managing the egos of superstars Paul and Blake Griffin is a compelling discussion.
The Van Gundy Brothers
Either Jeff or Stan Van Gundy would be a welcomed addition to Lob City.
Both are excellent defensive savants that could really tighten up the Clips on the other side of the ball. Jeff turned the New York Knicks into a solid defensive team and then helped the Houston Rockets develop defensively. Whether he is willing to leave his broadcasting job is a whole different issue.
While Stan has already expressed that he intends to take the year off from coaching, the right offer could entice him to hop on the next flight to Los Angeles.
Stan took two different teams to the NBA Finals between 2005 and 2009. For all the heat he took from Dwight Howard last season, Stan still helped guide an Orlando Magic team featuring Hedo Turkoglu as its second-best player all the way to the Finals just four seasons ago.
Either Van Gundy could be the right coach to maximize DeAndre Jordan in the post while bringing the right X’s and O’s to optimize Blake Griffin and Chris Paul pick-and-rolls. Both brothers have appealing resumes that could help Paul and Co. reach new heights next season.
The former head coach of the Utah Jazz, Jerry Sloan could be the right drill sergeant to turn Paul and Griffin into a 21st century John Stockton and Karl Malone.
Sloan took the Jazz to the NBA Finals in back-to-back postseasons in 1997 and 1998, dropping both to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. During his 23 years in Salt Lake City, Sloan’s teams developed a reputation for playing tough smash-mouth basketball while getting the most out of their role players through a fluid offensive and defensive system.
A student of the game, Paul surely has great respect for what Sloan was able to achieve in a small market in the competitive 1990s and early 2000s.
For a team that Charles Barkley called “softer than tissue paper,” the Clippers have to be looking for a tough head coach. If the price is right, there may be few better coaches on the market than Jerry Sloan.