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Reggie Theus: Serious Candidate

Paul Gutierrez in the Sacramento Bee presents an ode to Reggie Theus this morning. While I knew Theus had some sort of relationship with the Maloofs, I didn't know how close they all were.

Of course, the WAC is not the NBA, but it was in Spokane, Wash., site of the Aggies' first-round game against Texas, that Theus looked into the crowd and saw a couple of familiar faces. The Maloofs skipped the Kings' road trip to Miami and went "dancing" with Theus and the Aggies instead.

"We talked before the tournament and they said they wanted to come and that was the last I heard about it," Theus said this week from New Mexico. "Then, I look up in Spokane, and there they were. It was such an unbelievable thing. Our relationship and friendship is something that I respect greatly. It goes very deep."

John Whisenwho?

I haven't really given my thoughts on Theus The Coach before, so here goes:

  • I've never seen a New Mexico State game. In fact, I've never seen Reggie Theus on the sidelines.
  • Theus was an assistant coach at Louisville under Rick Pitino while Francisco Garcia was a star there. Given the similarities in Theus' and Garcia's playing styles, I'd venture to say they worked together quite a bit.
  • If you want to find the polar opposite of Eric Musselman... you look no further than Reggie Theus.
  • Here's a look at Theus' teams at New Mexico State. 2005 was the year previous to Reggie's arrival; he coached there in 2006 and 2007. 'W-L' is the team's record against Division 1 opponents. 'Pace' is how many possessions per game the team uses. You know offensive and defensive efficiency -- points scored/given up per 100 possessions. 'Marg' is the difference.
Year     W-L    Pace    OEff     DEff    Marg
2005    4-24    69.4    94.9    107.0   -12.1
2006   15-14    68.3   104.5     98.8    +5.7
2007    24-8    70.4   107.3     98.4    +8.9

Again, I haven't watched NM St. But that incredible first-year difference -- without the benefit of a full recruiting class -- indicates to me that Mr. Theus has some coaching chops. The huge jumps in offensive efficiency weren't due to some gimmick -- the team played at a similar pace. And that defensive efficiency jump his first year tells me he can motivate. Whether Theus has just college coaching chops or real, translatable coaching chops... none of us knows.

But add in his respect for the Maloofs, his relationship with Garcia, and his obvious desire to coach the Sacramento Kings... and I'd endorse the hire. Hiring coaches is a crap shoot. You could a ton worse than Reggie Theus. (Read: Eric Musselman.)