As Ray Allen’s playing career winds down, he has noticed that a number of players from his draft class have made the transition to coaching.
Derek Fisher, who was drafted 19 picks after Allen in 1996, recently became the head coach of the New York Knicks and other players from that class have become assistant coaches including Boston Celtics assistant Walter McCarty, Chicago Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin and Atlanta Hawks assistant Darvin Ham.
Allen, who has played in the NBA for 18 seasons, believes he has what it takes to coach in the NBA if he wanted to, but it’s not something that he’s interested in doing in the near future given the commitment and sacrifices involved.
“As far as me coaching when I finish, I couldn’t see myself going from this to then being a head coach, no,” Allen told Basketball Insiders. “I have four boys at a young age and I would love to have an immediate impact on them where I’m not always gone every day. If I went into coaching then that would really take me away from them and it’d be even worse than what I’m doing now. I would much rather spend my time doing that with them.”
While Allen wants to be around his family right now, it’s possible that he could become a head coach down the road once his children are older. It’s something that interests him, and he believes he could be effective on the bench due to his playing experience.
“I like trying to get people to realize their full potential and getting people to be better and motivating people to be better than what they were,” Allen said. “I’m a coach already. I think if you look at the guys around this locker room there are so many guys that come from so many walks of life, so many college programs and so many different mindsets when it comes to the game, you could see that each one of these guys can be a coach in the locker room. And that’s what makes this team pretty good, because the IQ is pretty high. We also have kids and most of our kids play and you coach them.”
Allen believes that former players make excellent coaches because they understand what a team is going through during a season and how to communicate with all types of players.
“Most of the guys that play, a lot of the guys are coaches when they play,” Allen said. “They’re extensions of the coach. When you do step on the sidelines and you end up watching the game, really coaching sometimes is standing out of the way. Coaching sometimes is just giving a person just a couple of tidbits of information and letting them go out there and find themselves. Each player requires a different type or style of coaching. You can’t be a tyrant coach where it’s your way and it’s only your way always around the clock, especially in professional sports. In college maybe a little bit more that way, but in the NBA you have to mold your personality to what you think each player may need.
“It’s just like in life, communication is the biggest key in any relationship. I think to make it in this 15-man environment and then to be a coach or to deal with the coaches, you have to understand relationships and you have to be able to communicate real well.”
Allen has heard some people question if an individual can go straight playing to coaching, as Fisher and Jason Kidd did, but he doesn’t see an issue with it.
“It’s the same as actors ending up directing,” Allen said. “You’ve been around long enough on one side of the camera, not everybody could do it but you pay attention while you’re acting or while you’re playing, you pay attention to it and gather all of the information you can.”
When asked how much longer he wants to play in the NBA, the 38-year-old says he isn’t sure.
“I don’t know,” Allen said. “I mean, it’s not something that I think about right now. I enjoy what I’m doing and I appreciate what has happened, what I’ve gone through in my career. Time will tell when it gets here, when it’s time [for me to retire].”