Let’s Pick Everyone’s New Coach


I hate coach hiring season. Teams never pick the right guy. Vinny Del Negro has been hired twice and still gets interviews. Byron Scott has had four jobs and counting. This is stupid. I’m stepping in and fixing these teams myself.

New York Knicks:

What they need:

  • A player developer who can help bring Kristaps Porzingis along.
  • Someone with enough cache and stubbornness to keep Phil Jackson from meddling.
  • Someone who won’t sleep with player’s girlfriends/wives/exes/siblings/pets.

Who they should hire: Ettore Messina

Messina comes from the Spurs, so he’s seen player development at the highest level. His international experience could be critical in forging a bond with Porzingis. He’s universally beloved in basketball circles both domestic and abroad, so he should be secure enough in his position not to play Phil’s depression-era offense. And as far as I know, he’s not an adulterer. So that’s a plus.

Indiana Pacers:


What they need:

  • An offensive guru who force whatever four mannequins are stuck around Paul George to pass a little and maybe make a shot.
  • A big enough name to earn the immediate respect of the locker room after losing a popular coach in Frank Vogel.
  • A small enough name not to question Larry Bird’s unfettered dominance of the organization.

Who they should hire: Mike D’Antoni. 

If the Pacers really are confident that they can maintain their defensive play no matter who coaches the team, D’Antoni is the perfect coach to fix the offense. He’s a point guard whisperer who can coax ball movement out of anyone, a major necessity for a team that just finished 21st in assists. He’s a big enough name to earn locker room respect, but was humbled enough with the Knicks and Lakers to defer to Larry Bird.

Houston Rockets:

What they need:

  • Someone who can get bad defensive players to play passable team defense.
  • Someone who can make James Harden try hard.
  • Someone who can hold a locker room together.

Who they should hire: Frank Vogel

The entire 2014-15 season should be Vogel’s audition tape for the Rockets. Without Paul George, he nearly dragged a barebones roster to the playoffs on grit and defense alone. Imagine what he could do with a talent like Harden and a front office that supplies him with actual players. He tends to defer to players in locker room matters, a tactic that worked well when David West was on his team, but might require a more active touch with Harden. But Vogel’s only 42 and has time to grow. His basketball qualities are perfect for Houston.

Memphis Grizzlies: 

What they need:

  • Someone who’s prepared to stick around for a lengthy rebuild.
  • Someone who can develop the players during that lengthy rebuild.
  • Someone who’s open-minded about modern basketball techniques like shooting outside of the paint.

Who they should hire: Jarron Collins

I’m just using the old standby, “hire the best Spurs assistant you can,” except with Golden State inserted instead. But Collins makes sense on a lot of levels. He’s young and has a low-profile, so he’d probably be willing to take a job like this that will likely take a few years to pay off and is in a small market. He’s seen basketball played the right way up close and could impart that upon a young Grizzlies team. And he’s seen by most as Steve Kerr’s handpicked successor to Luke Walton. The original model turned out pretty well, so I tend to trust Kerr’s judgment.

Sacramento Kings: 


What they need:

  • An adult human.
  • Someone to connect with DeMarcus Cousins.
  • Someone to ignore Vivek Ranadive.

Who they should hire: Patrick Ewing

What do the Kings have to lose at this point? Absolutely nothing. They’ve tried hiring a coach on quality (Mike Malone) and name value (George Karl). Why not bring one in solely to work with Cousins, and figure out the rest from there? Things can’t exactly get worse for Sacramento. If Patrick bombs, just fire him and trade Boogie to the Lakers. But this is clearly their last shot to make things right with Cousins, so they might as well go all in on it.

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