Grading The NBA Coaching Hires For The 2010-11 Season
This offseason, there actually were some transactions that did not include a Mr. LeBron James. Seven teams made coaching changes in the offseason. As usual there were some returning faces and some new additions to the NBA coaching fraternity. So as usual, there is one question.
How did each team do in their hire?
Atlanta Hawks Hire Larry Drew
Before being hired to replace Mike Woodson, Drew was an assistant to Woodson. He also has worked for the Lakers, Pistons, Wizards, and the Nets as an assistant before. He also played in 10 NBA season in the 1980s.
Why did the Hawks hired Drew? Because he is affordable. The only reason he was hired was because he will not command a high salary.
Quite frankly, the Hawks dropped the ball with this hire and he is a clear downgrade from Woodson.
Los Angeles Clippers Hire Vinny Del Negro
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Del Negro was previously the coach of the Chicago Bulls, who under his watch consistently underachieved over the last couple of years. They, despite having an elite young point guard in Derrick Rose, a very good slasher in Luol Deng, and a very good center in Joakim Noah, barely made the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference.
And now he is hired by the ultimate underachiever, the Clippers? At least his players were fighting for him at the end of his tenure in Chicago.
New Orleans Hire Monty Williams
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Monty Williams is now the youngest coach in the NBA as he is only 38 years old. He was also a nine year veteran in the NBA and earned a reputation as an honest hard-worker on the court. He has played for some really good coaches like Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, and Larry Brown and is also credited as helping Travis Outlaw's game while being an assistant with the Trail Blazers.
While he is relatively inexperienced, this has the potential to be a really good hire for the Hornets.
Chicago Bulls Hire Tom Thibodeau
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Tom Thibodeau has been one of the top assistant coaches over the last few years, as he was the architect of the Celtics' defense that led them to their victory in the 2008 NBA Finals. He has a wealth of experience as an assistant and has worked for good coaches like Jeff Van Gundy and Doc Rivers. He should make the Bulls a very strong team defensively and with some nice additions to the team in Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver, they should be a top 4 team in the East this year. Thibodeau also should cure the Bulls of their underachieving ways from the Del Negro tenure.
Philadelphia 76ers Hire Doug Collins
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Doug Collins, in all three of his stops as an NBA head coach, has greatly improved the team that he is coaching. The Bulls, Pistons, and Wizards all improved by at least 10 games in Collins' first season. The 76ers have been rather wayward of late and have really underachieved. They should show marked improvement with Collins at the helm and they'll be on the right track to get back to the playoffs in a few years.
Cleveland Cavaliers Hire Byron Scott
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Byron Scott has been one of the better coaches in the NBA in the last decade. He made the Nets championship contenders and turned the Hornets into consistent playoff contenders. He is one of the better players' coaches in the league and has made each team consistently better during his time as a head coach. He has the respect of his players and they play hard for him. That is something that cannot be underestimated.
New Jersey Nets Hire Avery Johnson
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Avery Johnson was extremely successful when he was the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks. He nearly won the NBA Finals and won a bunch of games. He instantly makes the Nets much better as they could be playoff contenders this year (sounds crazy but the Nets have made some nice moves but did not sign a big name). This is a fantastic hire for the Nets as they hire a great coach to help resurrect that franchise as they begin the transition to moving to Brooklyn.