Connect with us

NBA

NBA All-Star Coaching Controversies

Both the East and West are facing potential All-Star coaching controversies this season.

Joel Brigham

Published

on

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Every season, there are plenty of interesting conversations to be had around this time of year regarding which NBA players do and do not deserve to take part in the All-Star Game. But this season, there already is quite a bit of controversy brewing about who serves as the head coach for both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference All-Star squads.

Usually there isn’t really much of a question about who will perform these midseason duties; it’s the responsibility of the coach skippering the team with the best record in his conference, the only exception being that coaches aren’t allowed to take on that job two seasons in a row.

For the East-leading Cleveland Cavaliers, that rule wouldn’t have been a problem should they enter the All-Star break still holding onto the best record in the conference, since Atlanta’s Mike Budenholzer coached the East team last season. What is a problem, however, is that David Blatt, the man who led the Cavaliers to a 30-11 record before being fired late last week, no longer is coaching the team.

That means Tyronn Lue, who currently has only the one game (a loss) under his belt, will coach the All-Star team, despite the fact that he recently made a public push for Blatt to be given that honor anyway.

“I talked to (broadcaster and former coach) P.J. Carlesimo about it this morning and I told him I think Coach Blatt should coach it,” Lue told the AP’s Tom Withers. “The NBA has been trying to work around some different things for the All-Star Game and he’s done a great job here. We’re first in the East and I think it would be sweet if Coach Blatt could coach the All-Star Game one last time.”

Blatt will not do that, of course, in part because it’s hard to imagine him wanting to, but more importantly because Blatt isn’t currently an employee of any NBA team. True, neither was Magic Johnson when he was written in as an All-Star in 1992, but those were entirely different circumstances supported by the fan vote. Blatt, deserving though he may be, isn’t necessarily someone the fans are dying to see on the sidelines at All-Star weekend. People don’t tune in to analyze the All-Star coach’s strategies and substitution patterns anyway.

Still, the question of who actually coaches these games, especially this season and in the Western Conference, creates some interesting controversy. While the Golden State Warriors are the West’s best team thus far, Steve Kerr can’t coach the All-Star Game because he did it last year. Of course, Steve Kerr hardly has coached the Warriors at all this year as he only returned to the sidelines just this last week after missing considerable time to rehab from back surgery.

In his place, interim head coach Luke Walton has led these legendary Warriors to the best start in league history and has kept them firing on all cylinders in the absence of last season’s title-winning NBA Coach of the Year runner-up.

Could Walton coach the game as a representative of the Warriors? The aforementioned rule applies to individual coaches, not teams, so that alone doesn’t rule out Walton. At the same time, the NBA record book has attributed all of these wins this season to Kerr, not Walton, so it would be interesting to see him get the gig considering all that.

Still, the league office is mulling it over. “We’re reviewing our rules around the West Coach situation to determine what is appropriate,” said NBA spokesman Tim Frank.

Whatever happens, it all amounts to a remarkable amount of controversy for a role in All-Star Weekend that typically doesn’t generate much attention. Lue will run the East if the Cavs hold onto their lead, and as he himself has said the rest of the Cavs’ staff deserves that honor. If it were anybody but Gregg Popovich waiting to find out about Walton, there might be more of a murmur about all of this, but he probably really doesn’t care whether he ends up in Toronto next month or not.

Lue and Walton would be fun, though, and that’s the entire point of this exhibition. Of course, all of this could be put to bed if Toronto or San Antonio make up some ground over the course of the next month, which of course is still entirely possible. Barring that, though, the All-Star coaching news is unseasonably interesting.

Joel Brigham is a senior writer for Basketball Insiders, covering the Central Division and fantasy basketball.

Advertisement




Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2018 NBA Draft Diary

#28 – Jacob Evans – Golden State Warriors

Jesse Blancarte

Published

on

With the 28th overall pick, the Golden State Warriors selected Cincinnati Junior Jacob Evans.

Evans represents a solid pick for nearly any NBA team. Evans fits in the mold of a potential 3-and-D role player. Evans improved in his time at Cincinnati, culminating in his junior year, where he scored 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Evans spent three seasons at Cincinnati and rounded himself into a versatile two-way player who can bring a lot of value at the NBA level.

Evans is a very cognitive player, especially on the defensive end. He has a better grasp of his limitations than most players at this stage of their respective careers and is able to maximize his individual defensive ability within a team concept. Evans generally makes the right rotations, double-teams at the right times and funnels his opponents to where his teammates are when he cannot contain the ball-handler on his own. With the right coaching, he could become a valuable defensive wing in an NBA rotation sooner than some anticipate.

Additionally, Evans is more than just a shooter. He led his team in assists last season and has some skill as a playmaker. Evans will be more of a shooter and finisher in the NBA, but the ability to make the right pass, swing the ball when he isn’t open and take the ball off the dribble when necessary make him an intriguing prospect. This is especially true when you consider how valuable a player like Khris Middleton has become over the years, adding layers to his 3-and-D skill set each season.

The Warriors aren’t in need of an influx of talent but are happy to add Evans regardless.

Continue Reading

2018 NBA Draft Diary

#27 – Robert Williams III – Boston Celtics

With the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics have selected Robert Williams III.

Ben Nadeau

Published

on

With the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics have selected Robert Williams III.

Although there were early week rumors that the Celtics might try to trade up, they’ve ultimately elected to find a difference-maker at the end of the first round instead. For a team that nearly reached the NBA Finals despite debilitating injuries to Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, Boston’s roster didn’t need a wholesale change on draft night. But at No. 27, they’ll be more than happy to leave with the mysterious-but-talented Williams.

Last year, Williams was viewed as a potential first-rounder before he returned to Texas A&M for his sophomore year. In 2017-18, Williams averaged 10.4 points and 9.2 rebounds on 63.2 percent from the field, fueling the Aggies to a 22-13 record. During this current pre-draft process, Williams looked poised to become a mid-first-round selection once again — but his stock faded as the big night got closer. In fact, Williams even decided to watch the draft with his family, even though he was a green room invitee.

His stock has undoubtedly dropped as of late, but this may end up being the steal of the draft — naturally, he dropped right into general manager Danny Ainge’s lap. Williams, 6-foot-10, is a freak athlete that’ll bring a new look to an already fearsome defensive unit in Boston. At A&M, Williams won back-to-back SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors and averaged 2.5 blocks per game. Of course, he’ll get the opportunity to learn from the hard-nosed Al Horford, a five-time All-Star and the defensive linchpin for Boston — a win-win situation for all.

Williams, 20, joins an extremely young core in Boston that also includes Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum, among others.

Continue Reading

2018 NBA Draft Diary

#26 – Landry Shamet – Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers select Landry Shamet with the 26th overall pick.

Dennis Chambers

Published

on

With the 26th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select guard Landry Shamet of Wichita State.

Shamet, if he is able to fulfill his potential, should provide the Sixers with some much-needed shooting, as their rotation was noticeably starved for another deadeye sniper.

A career 43.7 percent three-point shooter, Shamet sank 44.2 percent of his shots from downtown last season, and he did so while firing nearly six attempts from deep a game. Sliding Shamet at the guard position alongside franchise point guard Ben Simmons allows for another weapon at Simmons’ disposal.

Standing at 6-foot-5 and 21 years old, Shamet has the size to play either guard spot in the NBA (especially given Philadelphia’s lengthy and versatile lineup). Along with his shooting ability, Shamet also led the American Athletic Conference with 166 assists last season. With Markelle Fultz still a question mark for Philadelphia, Shamet provides a secondary ball-handler and playmaker, whether in the starting lineup or in the reserve unit.

The first round of the 2018 NBA Draft was a whirlwind for the Sixers, and they ultimately land two guards of very separate varieties: an upside-laden athlete in Zhaire Smith, and a skillful “veteran” rookie whose skillset is established.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

NBA Team Salaries

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending Now