Apparently, we have reached the bottom when it comes to the NBA’s hiring practices for coaches.
Sorry, but Mike Brown doesn’t deserve another opportunity to coach again in Cleveland. Granted, in the past, many coaches (a great deal of them white) have served as retreads, landing four and five jobs along the way. So, for Brown to get a second chance with his old squad, after a failed stint with the Lakers, is almost like an indication of diversity progress. But in this case, it just seems crazy that his new coaching gig is back with the Cavaliers where the same owner, who previously fired him, currently owns the team.
Brown’s rehiring by owner Dan Gilbert is Exhibit A that NBA owners have lost their way when it comes to hiring coaches in this league.
It’s time to stop with the retreads. It’s time to bring fresh, new faces in the mix – both from college and pro – and, more importantly, give these guys some time to develop into coaches.
The sad truth is that the same “cast of characters” out there are bad. And, except for Phil Jackson and Larry Brown – both ancient in NBA years – none have a championship in their back pockets.
Brian Shaw, a perfect example, is still waiting for his shot.
You could almost, just almost, see an owner rehire a guy who won a championship for him. Like when Phil Jackson returned to the Lakers in 2005.
But this? Nah. It doesn’t feel good, at all.
And let’s get this right. Brown was fired after having the best player, LeBron James, on his squad. Now, that same owner wants Brown to win not only without James on his team, but with a bunch of young players that have a long way to go before they are even in the conversation to contend for a title.
Cleveland has a better chance at winning the NHL’s Stanley Cup – and it doesn’t even have a team.
Yet, there’s Gilbert trying to convince Cleveland fans on Twitter that they should buy into this “new idea that was the old idea” that Gilbert dumped just three seasons ago.
He linked Brown and Jackson’s accomplishments, saying they are the only two coaches with at least five years experience that never missed the playoffs in their careers.
Enter Lame Stat City.
“Not ‘selling,’ boys and girls,” Gilbert tweeted. “Just providing facts. You decide. Let’s see how things roll next year and beyond. How many days until opening tip?”
Funny because, back in 2010, Gilbert said Brown’s runs, in each of his five years, weren’t good enough. “The expectations of this organization are very high and, although change always carries an element of risk, there are times when that risk must be taken in an attempt to break through to new, higher levels of accomplishment. This is one of those times,” Gilbert said.
Silly, all silly – especially the comparison of Jackson and Brown’s playoff record. Gilbert left out the championship totals.
It’s why fans begged and pleaded for Jackson to return to LA after that guy, Brown, was fired five games into the season.
Somehow, Brown’s Lakers started 1-4 after going winless in the pre-season.
But even the allure of Jackson is a tough sell. Jackson won 11 titles and he deserves credit. But let’s be honest, he also had Michael Jordan, Shaq and Kobe on those two teams that piled up the hardware.
At this point, Jackson is in a money-grab, building that retirement nest egg. He tried to strong-arm the Lakers into a crazy payday and also, apparently, didn’t want to coach road games.
Fans, almost as gullible as owners, were surprised Phil got a “No, thanks.”
Owners should, but won’t, run from Phil. He’s not going to the Bobcats and turning them into winners.
This is the same reason Mike D’Antoni wasn’t going to fix the Lakers, this season, and make them real contenders, as many predicted before the season. He failed miserably with the Knicks. So the Lakers grabbed him and tried to convince fans he was the guy. Except, the Lakers struggled and barely made the postseason. You wonder why a new-blood coach couldn’t have done the same.
Instead of looking at D’Antoni as “not the answer,” you could look at the new guy as a ray of hope for the future.
Owners need to start looking at hiring coaches that way instead of the “same old, same old” process that isn’t working.
You’ll be reminded when Brown is fired again in Cleveland. It’s not if, it’s when.