The Washington Wizards announced on Thursday that they named Jarell Christian, Mike Longabardi, Dean Oliver and Corey Gaines to the staff. Tony Brown was promoted to Associate Head Coach after already holding the role of the team’s top assistant coach for the last three seasons.
What does each of the new coaches bring to the table?
Christian was the Capital City Go-Go’s head coach in the 2018-19 G-League season and coached them to a 25-25 record which is very strong for an expansion team. In this role, he will now get time with the parent franchise which will help him grow further.
Longabardi comes to the Wizards from the Cleveland Cavaliers where he was part of their 2015-16 NBA championship team as an assistant. He also served as the top assistant on Larry Drew’s squad last season in Cleveland.
Before going to Cleveland, he was with the Phoenix Suns and spent six years with the Boston Celtics where he was on their 2007-08 championship team.
Of all the coaches who joined the Wizards, Oliver’s addition piques my interest the most. He spent time working for the Seattle SuperSonics, Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggest in similar analytical roles.
Oliver is also the man behind the “Four Factors of Basketball,” which determines the key performance metrics (KPIs) that influence whether a team wins a game. Swish Appeal founder Nate Parham wrote a detailed analysis on how these factors work back in 2009 which explains it all better than I can.
Gaines comes to the Wizards after serving on the New York Knicks’ (2017-18) and Phoenix Suns’ (2010-15) staffs. He is best known within the WNBA however, where he was the Phoenix Mercury’s head coach from 2008-13 and led them to the 2009 WNBA championship. Gaines was also an assistant on their 2007 WNBA championship squad as an assistant.
What does Tommy Sheppard have to say?
In a press release, the Wizards’ General Manager said the following:
“We are looking forward to having the experience, knowledge and diversity of skills and ideas that Mike, Dean, Corey, and Jarell will bring not only to the bench but to our organization as a whole,” said Brooks. “Mike will use his considerable experience and championship pedigree to head up our defensive efforts, Corey will bring a unique perspective as former NBA player and assistant coach with championship experience as a WNBA coach and executive, Dean will combine his unparalleled knowledge and application of analytics to our on-court work, and Jarell has formed strong relationships with our players through the great work he did last season with the Go-Go.”
What are your thoughts of the Wizards’ newest assistant coaches? Let us know in the comments below.