As speculation continues to mount about who will coach the Nets next season, one possible candidate was on the record with Dave D’Alessandro endorsing another candidate for a head coaching spot in the NBA. Jeff Van Gundy, who is reportedly leaning towards staying with his NBA analyst gig rather than returning to coaching, had high praise for Boston assistant coach Tom Thibodeau, who was an assistant for JVG in New York:
“The guy has been so good for so long that he’s been taken for granted,” Van Gundy said of the Boston associate head coach. “And Tom now has this thing where he’s known as a defensive guy, which he’s great at — not good, great. But he also is very good offensively. And it’s the reason why I hired him initially in New York — his work with individual players. He had incredibly good offensively ideas. His work with Yao Ming still gets overlooked because Yao is hurt a lot. But in Yao’s last full year, he was an MVP candidate, 25 and 11. …”
I still think Prokhorov is more inclined to make a “splash” rather than hiring a competent assistant coach, but I could obviously be wrong here. There’s a lot of buzz about Thibodeau, and if it’s not the Nets, it sounds like someone is going to give him a head coaching job this summer. As a Jets fan, I obviously see the value in grabbing a defensive minded lifelong assistant coach. And it would be a better move than making a splash for the sake of one and bringing in failed NBA coaches like Rick Pitino or John Calipari.