Reading some of the comments on BF recently, the general sentiment among fans seems to be that the team has an extremely bright future, but needs a different coach to take the next leap. It would appear that Randy wittman and possibly EG are in lame duck periods and that assistant coach Don Newman is in position to take over the head coaching job from Wittman when Wittman's contract expires after next season. There has also been a lot of change this past season with teams replacing successful head coaches. Many of these coaches would be available to come to Washington and I bet that many of them would jump at the chance to work with John Wall. It seems that we all want the same thing from a coach for this team, a defensive minded guy that gets our players to play a tough, physical brand of basketball, but a guy that doesn't completely disregard the offensive end of the floor. Many coaches are available, some more realistic than others, so let me know what you guys think about the possibilities for some of these guys to take over.
Staying home to start:
Randy Wittman - has done a fantastic job, beginning to change the culture in the locker room and on the court. He has this team playing great defense and also the locker room is filled with leaders and strong role models instead of knuckleheads and shenanigans. A lot of people harp on his overall record which isn't great, but his only head coaching jobs so far were in Cleveland before LeBron, Minnesota before Love and Rubio, and now here in Washington. This upcoming season he will be fielding easily his most talented roster ever.
Don Newman - The man many have pegged as the coach of the future and the one I am the least familiar with. Since he comes from Gregg Popovich he has my vote. Since he is part of the Pop coaching tree, he will probably instill good defense, and a solid offensive system. The one thing he will be able to bring is structure, which I like, but I also think Wall needs to be able to push the pace and run a little bit. I don't see that becoming a problem and watching the give and take with that could be fun and exciting.
Now some recently available coaches
George Karl - a very exciting possibility. The man has been coaching forever and he is one of those guys who has forgotten more about the game, than I am likely to know about it. He has been able to win with many different teams and most recently ran a high-octane, up-tempo style in Denver that would be awesome to see in the district. Karl also was able to reign in some of the bad habits of Carmello Anthony and successfully helmed a team with Allen Iverson and Carmello Anthony fighting over who gets to chuck it in a worse situation. Early in Melo's career he institued the 5-5-5 rule to Carmello disciplined, meaning if Melo got 5 postups and 5 free throws, he could take 5 jumpshots. I guy that really connects with his players. I would be remiss to disregard Karl's recent health struggles though, which could play a part in his next decision.
Doug Collins - This guy is absolutely one of my favorite coaches. He is a great defensive mind and a guy who was a great role player in the NBA for a long time. He also has a reputation for developing point guards and having a good relationship with him. He is not a player's coach however, and has been known to tear into rookies and destroy their confidence. Seeing as how the Wizards have the 3rd overall pick in the upcoming draft and are probably looking for him to be a factor, Collins may not be the right fit. Especially considering he has never lasted a with a team for longer than three years, nearly always leaves acrimoniously, and usually leaves right before the team has an amazing amount of success.
Scott Skiles - Another great defensive mind, and as a former point guard in the NBA holds the record for assits in a game with 30. I don't really think Skiles is a good fit because, to be frank, he quit on the Bucks this year. He stopped caring weeks maybe even months before he was fired.
Larry Brown - The man has a ring, and he seems to love taking on tough challenges. Washington certainly presents that. He is a hall of famer that has a special relationship with his point guards. Players love him, the GM's are another story. In Charlotte he exercised a tremendous amount of control over personnel decisions, and with EG's job in serious jeopardy he may be unwilling to take a chance on a guy like Larry Brown. I really respect Larry Brown, but this is a tough sell for him.
Brian Shaw - One of the nest assistants in the NBA, spent years on the bench learning from the Zen Master himself, Phil Jackson. He brings the triangle offense with him. He turned down the Bobcat's job last year, because he wants to be successful in his first coaching gig and he has offers on the table from Brooklyn and the Clippers at least. LA is an attractive destination, but if the Clippers resign Chris Paul, would Paul want to play in a system that deemphasizes the point guard? Would we want that system in DC?
Lionel Hollins - The Grizzlies have given teams permission to speak to him regarding their vacancies. He is a defensive guy that has helped Mike Conley become a borderline all-star and Marc Gasol win defensive player of the year. He is a great coach, and he would help the team to the playoffs. I think people are making too big of an issue about the shove, but regardless a coach should not act that way.
Vinny Del Negro - I have never been impressed with Del Negro. He did a good job in LA during the regular season, but in the playoffs other coaches have been able to figure him out. A lot of the success of that team has to go to Chris Paul as well. He had roughly the same roster Thibs had in Chicago, but under Thibs that team won 50 games and had the league MVP. He should be in the discussion, but unless he makes personal improvements, his teams will never be as successful as they could be.
The Long Shot
Phil Jackson - Any conversation about coaching at the NBA level needs to include Phil Jackson. The man has 11 championships. His triangle offense gets the game flowing and the players moving around, but de-emphasizes the point guard a little bit. He has had Michael and Kobe, but Michael and Kobe had Phil. Jackson has come out and said that he doen't want to coach anymore, but there just seems to be a glimmer in his eye when he says it. He has also dealt with his share of injury issues and his wife lives in LA. when he was considering returning to the Laker's bench this year, he was negotiating being able to only coach the home games, so I doubt a cold-weather city interests him much at this point.
So there you have it. A pretty big list, including three of my all time favorite coaches. For what it's worth I think that Randy Wittman should be given a chance to play with toy he built, but should he falter at all one of these other coaches should get a call. What do you guys think? Who ya like as the coach of the future?