Golden State is on the verge of bigger and better things. The Warriors have transformed within a year, from a forgotten franchise into a media mainstay. This season has brought a new ownership and new players. In fact, within the last year-and-a-half, 11 new players have joined the team. There are only three players on the roster that were with the team at the start of the 2009-10 season.
Star players Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry were once considered to be on the chopping block, but both have now been praised as cornerstones of the franchise.
Last off-season, acquisitions David Lee and Dorell Wright, as well as rookie big man Ekpe Udoh, have all been included as key pieces to the team's new core. With a seeming commitment to these key players, the next step is a commitment to a new coach.
There has been endless speculation as to who the Warriors will hire. The rumored frontrunner was former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown. However, this mourning Mike Brown signed a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. Brown will be their replacement to Phil Jackson. With Brown out of the conversation, the coaching candidate list just keeps narrowing itself down.
Another candidate for the job, Kevin McHale, has been interviewed by the Warriors within the last week. McHale, however, is believed to be a shoe-in for the Houston Rockets head coaching vacancy. Whether he is a fit for Golden State or not, he may not be an option for long.
Former Warrior coach, Rick Adelman, is the most experienced of the rumored candidates. Adelman was coach of the Warriors from 1995 to 1997. During those two years, he was not able to achieve much success, but the ownership (Chris Cohan) didn't provide him with much to work with. During Adelman's tenures with the Blazers, Kings and Rockets, he led his teams to consecutive playoff appearances. Still, he has never won a championship with any of his teams. He is also 64 years old (65 in June), and the Warriors' new ownership is looking for a younger coach who can lead this young team for years to come.
Of all the options, Lakers' assistant coach Brian Shaw has the best resume for this particular job. Shaw has been a part of three NBA Championship teams as a player, and two NBA Championships as a lead assistant coach. None of the other candidates have led or helped lead any team to a championship.
Shaw was under the tutelage of legendary coach Phil Jackson for each of his five championships as a player and coach. He also has strong ties to the Bay Area, after growing up in Oakland and playing one year for the Warriors in the 1997-98 season.
Phil Jackson has been recognized by many as the greatest coach of all time. Those who hold Jackson in this regard justify doing so by the 11 NBA Championships he has attained as a coach, the most of any NBA coach.
Jackson began grooming Shaw personally for a future head coach position, whether with the Lakers or not. He has also endorsed Shaw, making it clear that he is confident in Shaw's ability to lead a team successfully.
Who fits the Warriors best as head coach?
Most critics agree that the Warriors need a defensive coach. Whether any of the above coaches fit that mold or not is debatable, and the final decision will likely rely on the strength of their interview. As the list of probable coaches seems to thin itself out, we can only narrow down those already speculated on.
Although, the Warriors front office has stated that they are not in any rush to hire a head coach. So the question arises, do they have a hidden gem in mind? It may be that the Warriors have not announced their true favorite yet, only interviewing the usual suspects as a ploy. To appease all the anxious fans in Golden State, hopefully we find out sooner rather than later.
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