Some of my scattered thoughts starting with the sentence:
The next Brooklyn Nets coach should…
Be built to last.
I’m going to try to say this without sounding as ageist as possible. The Brooklyn Nets need to build a winning culture over many years. This year was the first step towards relevancy in the NBA, and a big one at that, but the building needs to continue. The Brooklyn brand is the obvious marker that will entice players and free agents, but smart players are only going to be drawn in by the flash of the market for so long. They’ll also want stability in the organization, and stability for a player means a coach.
If the Nets hire Jerry Sloan (who retired two years ago) or Larry Brown (who’s 72 and rarely stays anywhere beyond three years) or even a sudden changed-of-heart Phil Jackson (who retired three years ago), it’s hard to imagine any of those guys staying for more than a few years.
Say the Nets hire one of these coaches, then go hunting on the free agent market in 2015-16 with a coach considering retirement. Or, they hire one of these coaches and they leave early, leaving the Nets with their fourth coach in as many years.
Does that scream stability?
I’m not particularly interested in Jerry Sloan as the next Nets coach. What I’m more interested is a coach who can become the Brooklyn Nets version of Jerry Sloan: someone who’s intelligent, reliable, commands respect, and who will stick around to help build a winner in Brooklyn beyond this iteration.
Be a good coach, not a good interview.
Before a coach wins any job, he needs to show up for the interview. That can make or break a candidate’s chances, but should it? Someone recently told me that no coach has been a better interview in the past decade than Vinny Del Negro. Sounding good in a closed office is one thing, but coaching is about application, not presentation.
Have something to prove.
One of my bigger criticisms of Brooklyn — and this franchise as a whole for the past half-decade — is the constant needy longing for a superstar name, for an enormous splash, for the publicized searches for the biggest and brightest.
Sure enough, the first person the Nets contacted about their open position just happened to be the greatest living basketball coach, and two other coaches with over 1,000 wins are on their list.
Established names are overrated.
Eric Spoelstra was a 37-year-old nobody that started as a video coordinator, and as a first-time coach concocted a perfect offensive system to maximize the talents of the greatest basketball player on the planet. Tom Thibodeau was a drill sergeant of an assistant coach, and as a first-time coach changed the course of basketball defensive strategy. Mark Jackson led a youthful Golden State team to 47 wins and a second-round fight with San Antonio.
Why not someone like Dave Joerger, who helped create Memphis’s top-notch defense? Or Alex Jensen? Couldn’t one of these guys be the next great head coach?
A coach who will work to prove he belongs in the NBA? That’s who you want.
Even though the franchise has been around for over 35 years, the Nets pressed the reset button on April 30th, 2012. They’re starting over. The best way to start fresh is to start with someone who’s going to bring a fresh perspective, or someone who needs to prove that they still have one.
Take the Nets some time to find.
One of my finest teachers in high school often mandated that there’s no extra points for speed on a test.
While that’s not true in basketball — you can get lots of extra points with speed! — it’s true in this search. There’s no rush.
The Nets aren’t going to get better coaching points by figuring this out in the next two days. It’s May. and there aren’t any official games until November. This isn’t a decision the Nets need to rush into immediately and book interviews with candidates in the next two days. There’s time. Better to find the right candidate that can stick around for 15 years than rush into the wrong one who won’t last past five.
He’s implementing a complicated system, like, say, the triple-post triangle offense. Then he’ll need some more time to tweak and teach the finer points of the system.
Dunno why that’s what comes to mind.