With the recent firing of Byron Scott, I can't help but notice how little an NBA coach actually does to impact a game.
Just take a look at these coaches.
Byron Scott : How is it that a guy who was Coach of the Year two years ago, and who has virtually the same roster, is suddenly not a good coach anymore?
What has happened since that time that has lessened his coaching ability? He led the Hornets to a 56-26 record in 2007-08 and a No. 2 seed in the West. But now all of a sudden, he is a bad coach.
How does that work!?!
Doc Rivers : After being named coach of the year in 2000 with the Magic, Rivers took the Celtics gig in 2004. He had a successful inaugural season, but after that it was ugly.
The Celtics hit rock bottom in 2006-07 when they went 24-58. After that everyone and their mother thought he should be fired. However add in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, and voila, he's a good coach again.
Phil Jackson : Jackson presided over the two best teams in the last 20 years (the Bulls and Lakers), and had the two best players in the last 20 years (Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant).
However there is no way that if Jackson took over today as head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, that they would win this year or next year, and he would probably resign before even sniffing a winning season. And he is considered one of the best coaches in history.
Has there ever been a coach who has taken a team that shouldn't win, and won with them? If Mike Brown didn't have LeBron, would he have already been fired? Will Mike D'Antoni be able to turn the Knicks around even with all the success he had with great teams in Phoenix?
Look at other sports. Joe Girardi led the 2006 Marlins, a team supposed to be one of the worst in baseball, to Wild Card contention.
Tony LaRussa continues to win with the Cardinals despite having inferior talent.
Ken Whisenhunt led the Arizona Cardinals to a Super Bowl when they were expected to have a bad year.
Obviously you can't win in the NBA without talent, but what bad team has even been coached deep into the playoffs? (And, keep in mind, making the playoffs does not count as a success when 16 teams make it.)
Any NBA coach could coach this year's Lakers or Celtics to a championship, and the "great" coaches would make no more than a five-win difference on a bad team.
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