NBA Rumors: Top 10 Teams That Should Hire Larry Brown As a Coach
Connie Mack managed the Philadelphia Athletics for 50 seasons. Consider Larry Brown his polar opposite.
Brown has made 13 coaching stops in his 38-year coaching career, going full circle from the Davidson College Wildcats to the Charlotte Bobcats without ever taking a season off since 1972.
Although Brown is 70 years old, the only man to ever coach NCAA and NBA teams to championships isn't about to take a respite from Dr. James Naismith's invention. Like Connie Mack, he has an eternal love for his sport and won't pull away until he physically can't coach anymore.
It's likely that Brown will be on an NBA sideline next season (or 2012 if there is a lockout).
The following list includes 10 struggling teams who would improve their current situation with Larry Brown as their head coach, and whether a potential Brown-to-city marriage could feasibly occur in each scenario.
Larry Brown, the Coach
First, let's take a look at Larry Brown's resume, coaching philosophy and personality.
1,327-1,011 professional basketball record (.568 winning percentage). One NBA title (2003-04 Detroit Pistons).
Brown slows down the pace on offense. Since the late 1980's, when Brown coached David Robinson and the San Antonio Spurs, he has emphasized smart shots and heady play (which drives some fans crazy).
Brown is also a great teacher on the defensive end. He has been fortunate to have many great, versatile defenders on his teams, such as Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, Dikembe Mutombo, Antonio Davis, etc. He places emphasis on defensive rotations and for his frontcourt men to be excellent man-to-man defenders.
Brown is a very intelligent man and coach, but he is an incredibly controlling, hands-on leader that can wear down on players.
Note: The following 10 teams are in alphabetical order.
Larry Brown left the Pistons in bad terms after the 2004-05 season, so this isn't really a feasible option, but he could hypothetically do well with a roster filled with young talent and savvy veterans from his days as the leader of the 2004 championship team.
John Kuester probably won't be coach for much longer in Detroit, and miracles do happen, so maybe this will occur.
Golden State Warriors
The jury's still out on Keith Smart, but playing Nellie ball isn't going to put this team into the playoffs as currently constituted. A coaching philosophy change may be needed, but the personnel there would not suit Brown's system.
Brown won't work without a solid defensive big man he could rely on, plus two backcourt men who want to run up and down the court like they are Usain Bolt at the Beijing Olympics. Unless Golden State really gets sick of fast-paced offenses, look for Brown to stay away from the Bay Area.
Larry Brown brought the Reggie Miller-led Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals twice in the mid-1990's, falling to the Knicks and Magic in 1994 and 1995, respectively. Would he be fine with working under Larry Bird, who replaced him as the Indiana Pacers head coach in 1997.
I hate to say anything bad about Pacers coach Jim O'Brien, since we share the same birthday and nationality (he is half-Armenian), but he is leading the Pacers to their fourth straight mediocre season. His job is on the line.
A playoff berth may save O'Brien's job, and even if he does get fired, I'm not sure Larry Brown can do much better with the current roster. Can Indiana really break into the top-six of the Eastern Conference with its current arsenal of players? Probably not.
However, the door may be open for Brown here. It's not out of the realm of possibility.
Larry Brown led the Clippers to the playoffs twice in 1992 and 1993, and was rumored to be interested in the team's coaching vacancy earlier this year.
I doubt owner Donald Sterling fires current head man Vinny Del Negro after the season despite the Clippers' poor record, since he has directed his entire ire at point guard Baron Davis. I would not be surprised to see Brown on the Clippers sideline in 2012, though.
Brown could turn Griffin into a defensive stalwart, and turn the rest of the offensive talent into a formidable unit. I like the possibility of Brown landing in L.A. if he decides to wait a year.
No coach has made it through three consecutive full seasons in Grizzlies' history. Lionel Hollins' sun dial is up soon, as he came to Memphis in the middle of the 2008-09 season.
Brown was rumored to take over the Memphis Grizzlies gig, and team owner Michael Heisley thinks highly of him.
The Grizzlies have talent to make the Western Conference playoffs on a consistent basis, and Larry Brown could lead them there if he gets the team to play disciplined defense and works well with Mike Conley.
However, does Brown really want to go to NBA purgatory when he doesn't really have to? I doubt it.
Larry Brown and Minnesota could be a match made in heaven...or hell.
On one hand, the Timberwolves are second-last in defensive efficiency. Brown would fix their problems quickly and help develop Kevin Love into a more solid defender.
On the other hand, Brown would be dealing with a very young roster, and may not want to be a babysitter in the coldest city in the NBA.
Either way, GM David Kahn and coach Kurt Rambis have to be wearing out their welcomes in Minnesota. A change should be forthcoming.
Portland Trail Blazers
Nate McMillan has won one playoff series in 10 years, and his team has a similar record to the Phoenix Suns, who decided to gut their entire roster this year. Will this be his last year in Portland?
Perhaps. Much of Portland's shortcomings have been due to injuries over the years, but if players aren't responding to McMillan at this point, maybe it's time for a change.
Brown would be a great fit in Portland working with Brandon Roy, one of the classiest, high-character athletes in the NBA. This would be the best situation for Brown to walk into, and he would immediately succeed.
This Sacramento Bee blog post and this website don't exactly raise hope in Larry Brown's chances of coaching the Kings, mostly since GM Geoff Petrie passed Brown over in 2007, but if the Kings continue to reign as the worst team in the NBA, anything is possible.
Paul Westphal firing rumors are rife right now, and since the Kings can pretty much go nowhere but up at this point, Brown would improve Sac-town.
However, a 70-year-old Brown probably wouldn't want to go to a team that is a complete and utter mess.
With the way the Toronto Raptors are playing (2-8 in their last 10), Jay Triano may not last the entire season. They are a defensive sieve collectively, and are the third-worst team in terms of defensive efficiency.
I don't see Brown going to Toronto if he has the choice. The Raptors do not have the talent to truly contend for a high playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and he isn't going to want to be part of a multi-year project.
Flip Saunders is in the second year of a four-year contract with the Washington Wizards, but the team has been performing so poorly that owner Ted Leonsis may be looking to make a change.
Brown was a point guard in college, so he can teach John Wall a thing or too, but while Wall has good character, I don't think Brown and Wall would mesh well together. Brown would want to install a half-court offense, and Wall is best when running up and down the floor. Wall's creativity would certainly be restricted.
However, Brown would be instrumental in the development and improvement of big men JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche.
If Brown can let Wall run a transition offense every so often, Brown to the Wizards could work well.
Now, let's put Brown's possibilities into categories.
Only If Hell Freezes Over
Oil and Water Don't Mix, But Anything Can Happen
Golden State, Minnesota, Washington
Not Enough Time
It Could Happen in 2012
It Could Happen in 2011 (If Brown Overlooks History)
It Could Happen in 2011
Perfect Fit...if the Team is Interested