[editor's note, by TZ] I originally posted this Saturday evening before the Sonics game, but figured I'd bump it up top for those that don't spend every waking weekend moment on Sactown Royalty. -Tom
While we idly wait for Rick Adelman to get the axe, let's look at the prospective replacements, both short- and long-term:
Elston Turner. E.T. is Adelmania's lead assistant, and would no doubt be the immediate choice as an interim head coach. He's never been a head coach in the league. There are a couple of intriguing things about E.T. - he's not ancient (46 years old), he's the defensive guy on the staff and he's been around these players enough to understand their psyche, hopefully. All that said, the guy is the defensive assistant on the freaking Sacramento Kings. He's not exactly the NBA's Marvin Lewis or anything.
Terry Porter. The former Kings assistant is currently doing TV color commentary for the Spurs. He got completely screwed by the Bucks (his hometown team) a few months ago, getting fired a week before the draft because the franchise wanted to make a run at Flip Saunders and Nate McMillan (they got Terry Stotts instead). He spent two seasons in Milwaukee, and finished third in "Coach of the Year" voting in 2003-04 (behind Hubie Brown and Jerry Sloan). That season, the Bucks were quite Kings-like - an above-average offense, a questionable defense and really poor rebounding. It reminds us that unless you have a tyrant like Larry Brown, personnel dictates everything.
John Whisenant. I personally think it's silly that Whiz keeps getting brought into the conversation. But the possibility does exist - Whisenant is an old business buddy of the Maloofs and has been seen around ARCO a lot lately. The guy won a championship with the 'Narcs, but still. This is kind of like Bill Laimbeer and the Knicks, right? Just idle speculation? I really hope so, unless he can work out a Yolanda-Griffith-for-Peja-Stojakovic trade.
P.J. Carlesimo. A lot of people hate the rotating head coach carousel, and I tend to agree. P.J. is an assistant with Gregg Popovich and the Spurs right now and hasn't been a head coach since the 2000 season. He's a very good defensive coach - even his putrid Golden State squads were above average on D. But, his career win percentage in the NBA is below .500 and he's never won a playoff series. And he replaced Rick Adelman in Portland. You wouldn't want to, you know, copy Portland.
Eric Musselman. If there was a Bizzaro Adelman, Muss would be it. He's a strict, pushy, bossy little guy. He's working as an assistant in Memphis right now. He totally got jobbed in Golden State after almost getting to .500 twice despite crappy rosters (Cherokee Parks and Dan Langhi combined to play in nine games for the 2004 Dubs). I'm actually surprised Muss hasn't gotten another job yet; it's almost a no-brainer that this guy could be one of the best in the league in a short time. He would certainly whip these guys into shape, even if it meant benching some of the "stars."
Paul Silas. I think Paul got a raw deal in both Charlotte/New Orleans and Cleveland, but still. He's pretty old and he's probably not a championship-caliber coach.
Mike Budenholzer. I get excited just thinking about getting Bud as Sacramento's coach. He's another Spurs assistant, and is considered Pop's right-hand man. He's been an assistant there nine years, and the guy is only in his mid-30s. Mike Brown, the last Spurs assistant to leave, is doing pretty well in Cleveland. I wish I could wager on things like "Mike Budenholzer will lead an NBA team to multiple championships by 2015." I've never read a single bad word about him anywhere ever in my life. And it's not like his name is hard to Google.
Marc Iavaroni. He's considered the next big thing in NBA coaching. He was almost the Blazers' coach (until they got Nathan Mac) and he was almost the Lakers' coach (until they got Phillip back). He'll be a head coach before the 2006 draft - mark my words. Would he be willing to leave a rather plush assistant job in Phoenix when he could wait and essentially pick his gig this summer? Who knows.
Jerome Jenkins. Ha ha. Whoops, sorry. Don't know how that got there.
Okay, okay. That's enough. Let's rank the top five, in order of my preference:
- Mike Budenholzer
- Marc Iavaroni
- Terry Porter
- Eric Musselman
- Paul Silas
Oh, also, please vote in the poll attached to this story by clicking Entry Link below. If you pick 'other,' leave a comment as to whom you like that I have failed to acknowledge. I may or may not ridicule you.