NBA

NBA AM: The Fall Of The Big Name Coaches

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Coaches Are Not What They Used To Be:  For a time having a high priced, big name coach was all the rage in the NBA, but a funny thing happened on the way to the NBA Finals; the high priced guys were still at home.

For a while now the trend in the NBA has been to ditch the higher priced guys for younger, hungrier and altogether cheaper coaches.

If you look around the NBA over the last two summers, the number of “named” coaches being hired has decreased with those open coaching jobs going to assistants or lesser known coaches.

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Part of that is cost. If you get the same number of wins with a former assistant why pay the price for a named guy? There is also a growing sense that some of the named guys don’t work as hard or connect as well as some of the assistants that are used to being on the floor with their players and have the ability to connect differently.

There is obviously a boom or bust factor in going with an unproven guy, but if you look at some of the best coaching jobs in the NBA this season, a lot of them were first-year or second-year head coaches, not the guys that had been deep into the post-season.

Ownership plays a role in this too. Some of the newer and somewhat younger owners that don’t have a basketball pedigree find themselves attracted to the allure of a known “named” coach, but they soon find that those guys wield massive egos and demand power. Former assistants tend to go with the flow and are easier to control and manage.

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With so many teams looking for new head coaches, keep in mind the name of the game has changed in the NBA. Gone are the days when the “named guys” with 10 years of experience were coveted. In today’s NBA, teams are looking for young, hungry and controllable.

When you ask yourself how guys like George Karl, Lionel Hollins and Nate McMillian are not running NBA teams and names like Kevin Ollie and Steve Kerr are getting more play, a lot of it has to do with wanting someone new and someone fresh rather than trying on the old hat and hoping it pans out.

Dueling Griffins?:  The Cleveland Cavaliers removed the interim label from General Manager David Griffin yesterday while also announcing the removal of head coach Mike Brown. Both were not altogether surprising moves by the Cavs. Things seemed to be lining up for Griffin to continue in Cleveland and there was little doubt that Brown’s system was not working in Cleveland. Surely Griffin, who’ll likely have a short leash to get the Cavaliers moving in the right direction, knew he needed to pick a better fitting coach to have credibility with his players and his fans.

»In Related:  David Griffin Takes Control of Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers have already been linked to a dozen or more coaching candidates with the idea of an “up-tempo” style being kicked around.

There have been several names thrown out such as former Laker coach Mike D’Antoni, former Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro, Alvin Gentry who is an assistant with the Clippers now. Steve Kerr, who is said to be closing in on a deal with the New York Knicks, has been mentioned mainly because Griffin and Kerr worked together in Phoenix. That seems to be the common thread from initial reports that Griffin is going to hire someone associated with his time with the Suns. Those storylines overlook the fact that Griffin has worked in the NBA for more than 20 years and has a wider range of former associates than just those that were in Phoenix at one point.

The name that seems to be getting the most attention initially is Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin.

While most of the open coaching jobs in the NBA get linked to established names and former head coaches, few reports talk about Griffin as a head coaching candidate. According to sources close to the process Griffin has been in the discussion for most of the open jobs, so the Cavs may have some competition for the other Griffin.

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The Cavaliers will be holding a press conference today to formally introduce David Griffin to the media; however a new coach is not expected immediately as the Cavs are just starting the process of formal interviews.

The NBA Draft Combine gets underway in Chicago tomorrow and this is usually the first rally and interview point for teams as the bulk of the league is in one place.

It’s likely that many of the open coaching jobs start to make progress after this weekend, and while the Cavaliers may have some favorites, Adrian Griffin is an interesting name to keep an eye on especially as this process plays out.

The Cavaliers finished the season 33-49 and went 17-16 after firing former General Manager Chris Grant. They missed the eighth seed in the East by five games.

If the standings hold true, the Cavaliers are looking at the ninth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Up Close With Rodney Hood:  NBA Draft hopeful Rodney Hood talked with Basketball Insiders in between workouts at IMG Academy last week about preparing for the NBA, what he needs to show NBA teams and what he thinks he needs to improve on.


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About Steve Kyler

Steve Kyler

Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.