Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Who will coach the Warriors when Mike Malone leaves?

By Justin Taylor

Mike Malone leaving for his own head coaching gig would leave a huge gap for the Warriors

The biggest decision the Warriors will make this offseason will not come during the draft or in free agency.  It isn’t going to be who will start at small forward or who will back up David Lee and Andrew Bogut next year.  The question is who will coach the team when Mike Malone leaves?  A better question might be why isn’t he the head coach here already?  I don’t know anyone who thinks that Jackson is the better coach of the two right now.  The front office better be combing through potential replacements because it’s a very real possibility that we’ll need one before the playoffs are even over.

Malone was one of the most sought after names last offseason and is once again this year.  Who exactly were we bidding against for Mark Jackson’s services anyway?  The team would probably be better off moving forward with Malone the same way we would have been better off moving forward with Gregg Popovich instead of Don Nelson in 1992?  At least Nelson was a proven commodity at the time.  People have no problem recalling when Nellie mailed in seasons in Dallas and Oakland, letting Avery Johnson and Keith Smart do the coaching, but will anyone remember Malone doing most of the coaching this year?
Some said Mike Brown should have been the guy but look how well liked he is in LA already.  Plus you can’t forget that he was only the first guy that Mike Malone outcoached from the assistant’s chair.  Kobe was happy to have him because he saw the “Hey, you four give Lebron the ball and try to make yourself invisible” offense Brown ran in Cleveland.  I always blamed those Cavs games on Mike Brown for being absolutely terrible.  After watching Mike Malone run that same play for Monta I’m thinking that I might owe Brown an apology.  Since he’s a Laker now I’m more inclined to say he can kiss my ass but I digress. 

Showing Varejo where to hide after he gives Lebron the ball
If we had just gone after Rick Adelman during the offseason this wouldn’t have been a topic of discussion right now.  It’s pathetic to think he might have actually said, “Thanks, but I think I’ll take my chances with Glen Taylor and David Kahn in Minnesota.”  Give Kahn at least a little credit for not falling for the Don Nelson okie doke though.  You know the one where he works his ass off to get you to send him and his guaranteed contract back to Maui as opposed to developing your young talent.  It would have been comical watching Nellie drive Anthony Randolph to tears again but other than that it was a good move by the Wolves to bring in Adelman.

None of the other available options fit the big talking, big splash M.O. of Joe Lacob.  Looking at the other names that were out there you realize there was no splash to be had.  So in comes ESPN superstar Mark Jackson followed by Mike Malone and more questions.  Like whether installing Jackson as coach was a PR or a basketball move?  It was actually a great pairing when you think about it.  Malone could teach Jackson how to run an NBA team and Mark could help Mike master the postgame interview.  Mark Jackson’s coaching style resembles that of Mike Singletary minus the fire, brimstone, pants dropping and Coors Light commercial quality quotes.  He’s a good leader of men and big on catch phrases but “hand down man down” does not equal a coaching philosophy.

At this point we need to figure out who should take his place on the bench.  There will be guys available and their names are not Pete Myers or Wes Unseld Jr.  We need another “potential top dog willing to come here to play second fiddle for top dog money.”  On top of my ballot would be San Antonio’s Mike Budenholzer who has been Popovich’s lead assistant since 2007-08 and was supposedly a candidate here last year.  He is yet another guy who would come in and immediately make you question whether or not he is a better coach than Mark Jackson.

A guy I like even more than Pop’s assistant is the hometown guy who might actually want to come back to Oakland, Brian Shaw. He’d be a tough get (because he just signed with the Pacers last season) but he’s worth the premium price in our situation.  I didn’t advocate for him last year but one season and a dramatically different roster later he could bring a very unique dynamic.  The hidden value is that he could go a long way toward convincing Jason Kidd to come home as well to be our player/mentor as well.  If all those dominoes fell in line it might look like one of the most successful off seasons in years before we even get to the draft.

I think Brian Shaw is actually the best fit for the town, the franchise and the roster

The other plus for Shaw is his triangle offense pedigree and that the triangle values highly intelligent, great passing big men as bigger assets than speedy ball dominating point guards.  We just happen to have a couple of those.  I’ve said in past columns that Stephen Curry is not a true point guard and the triangle removes the need for a penetrating point.  Curry would be Derek Fisher on steroids in that system even if it actually looks like Fisher is Stephen Curry on steroids.  The only advantage Fisher has over Steph is his ankles.

If Brian Shaw doesn’t float your boat lets look at the rest of the short list.  Patrick Ewing and P.J. Carlesimo will be available and would give me an infinite amount of writing material.  That’s if I didn’t get a lifetime ban for storming the court and choking P.J. before the all star break.  If we’re trying to add a little ugliness we could go after Sam Cassell, Popeye Jones or my favorite unsightly NBA philosopher Adonal Foyle. 

There is also the USF Dons all time leading scorer Bill Cartwright and that actually isn’t a joke.  His shooting method may have been one of the most awkward sights in league history (right behind Sam Cassell, Popeye Jones and Adonal Foyle of course) but he is an incredibly gifted basketball mind.  I think I’m biased on that one (since I grew up learning the game at his basketball camps at Sonoma State) but I do see him as a perfect big man compliment to the point/media man Jackson. 
It is ridiculous how important the assistant coach is to this team.  No one else in the league is having this conversation right now.  Make no mistake about it though it is extremely important.  If the team is healthy and doesn’t show dramatic improvement by the all star break Mark Jackson might be back on ESPN before the playoffs.  If that day comes we do not want to be looking to a Pete Myers or Wes Unseld Jr. to right the ship.  It’s also just one more thing for people outside Northern California to laugh at and wonder why we continue to show up.  We will be there but next year we’ll truly expect a no excuses basketball team with or without Mark Jackson and Mike Malone.
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22 comments:

  1. I wish Malone was the head coach. He is a stud.

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  2. That is the consensus as far as I can tell...I'm hoping to get a couple of Jackson supporters just so I can understand their line of thought...

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  3. is it a foregone conclussion that he is leaving? My buddy who is a Laker fan would love to see him with the Lakers.

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  4. He will be one of the most pursued names out there but I doubt the Lakers have a shot as much as Mike Brown would love to have him back under him. I don't think he'd leave for another assistant job but I expect Orlando, Washington, Toronto and Charlotte to all bring him in for head coaching interviews...I guess it all depends on how bad he wants to be a head guy, the money won't be a huge raise because I think he's making damn near head coach money here.

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  5. brian shaw seemed to be one of the names being mentioned for the head coaching job last year. i would be surprised if he took the job because of that whole thing. 'no, no, i think we'll give the head coaching job to the guy who hasn't even coached his son's CYO team... but you can totally work FOR him.'

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  6. yep...we may have screwed ourselves on that one but I like the idea of overpaying him to forget about it and putting him on the J. Kidd campaign trail...Get two hometown kids into the fold!

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  7. I feel as though this wasnt thought out very well... perhaps we should have had mike be head coach with the guy with no experience be assistant under him? naaaaaah...

    this'll be 2 straight lead assistants who have gone on to head other teams. maybe we can sucker another good assistant into signing with the warriors based on 'momentum moving forward' or promising we're a 'team on the rise'. eh whatever what's the worst that could happen?

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  8. I guess the biggest selling point is "you're practically guaranteed a head coaching job somewhere after one year here!"

    Either way, if Malone leaves we need to figure something out and fast...we're going to need a clear direction going into camp next season, not new coaches hashing things out...

    If Bogut and Curry don't get healthy it won't matter because we'll be tanking for a top 3 spot if we keep this year's pick...

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  9. Seems there is never is a normal off season for a W's fan. If not enough problems we won't even have a leader let alone any players. I guess I'll just sit back & laugh. What the hell else can you do? If the free agent players stay clear from Oakland good prospective GS coaches will probably have the GS virus bug also. I just wish someone would invent the antiserum here so my miseries would just go away, at least for a short time. I sure hope next season has a few more enjoyable moments unlike this past season delivered. Giants fans talk about torture? What about us W's fans? Misery lives in the East Bay. These fans deserve better. Hopefully someone, somehow, somewhere does something soon. S

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    1. Don't worry SRG the misery will reside in SF soon...lol...although i guess that just adds to the East Bay misery...anyways, I think some sort of road map will begin to emerge with Myers as GM...In the meantime it will take MORE patience and MORE of a sense of humor than we've had to this point...I don't know if I've got it in me either...My wife already thinks my columns sound too dark!?!? She also thought I was a masochist when she met me years ago because of this ridiculous franchise but I always say that all the losing is going to make the winning SO much sweeter one day...at least thats what I tell myself...

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    2. Frustration can enter the mind as a GS W's fan occasionally. I seem as if I was a baby but it's just frustration which builds with little hope of resolve after these monstrous years of frustration. Regardless I will need to get my shirt as soon as I come back from vacation. Too bad I don't have it already as I will be hitting the L.A. area getting pummeled by so called Lakers fans. These T's are nice & very visible to all. I will get the details as I return. Figures they arrive just before my vacation beginning. Will be back in a month nevertheless to pick up my copy of the Tee. I'll let my friend Jimbo know you have them in. Sure he would wish to have one. Real fans sometimes loose their edge occasionally. Thanks from the Trapped in GS fans everywhere for the yeoman's effort to get the name of this site out for all True W's fans everywhere. Let's study the issues which surround us here. Enjoyment from hard work pays off in the long run. It did for me. Thanks for all J. S

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  10. or, "hey you'll practically BE A HEAD COACH here! and look--we even got jackson to take the fall if you do something wrong!"

    yea, a new form of the triangle offense could work in theory with the bigs we have now. but look how bad the transition was from the triangle to mike brown's. why should the transition INTO it be any easier for the dubs? besides, we could utilize the NBA best pure shooting backcourt by just running a simple pick and pop or screen-heavy offense where curry or klay run point with the other running around like reggie miller.

    i was ringing the loudest bell to tank this year mainly to stick it to utah, with the assumption the pick would drop its value next year by at least 10 spots. now that we're on the inside looking out, though... there really isn't any GREAT pickups for us. i guess we could go the route of getting an actual pg with kendel marshal, resigning curry next year, deal him for a sf, but thats assuming curry retains any kind of value and marshal's as true a point guard as advertised.

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    1. Definitely no promises in this draft outside of the top two but Marshall would be nice if only for 15 minutes a night to let those two play a to their strengths instead of taking turns shooting and being half assed point guard versions of themselves...I do think this team will have the IQ to run the triangle but it is something that takes a while to develop but Marshall and the dual reggie's in the meantime is obviously the way to go...

      Anyone see anybody worth looking at outside of Shaw and Budenholzer though? I really had a hard time finding someone who would fit like Malone...

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    2. i dont know anyone by name. i think who youre looking for is really more a function of the head coach they were tutored under and what system they can bring on offense and/or defense. im guessing the FA brought in jackson as a figurehead/public spokesman. he'll blabber about trying hard and effort and defense while the assistant is the true coach.

      anyway, the triangle could be adapted to suit our particular back court. since the ball isn't really in any one player's hands for the majority of the time, it would really be like starting two shooting guards (which is really what we've been doing since '09). i dont really know the intricacies of the system (why would i watch any more laker's games than i'd have to?) so i wont go into details that im kinda fuzzy on. pipe dream: phil jackson comes back... as an assistant coach. to the warriors. hell yeah!

      interesting tidbit: on one of the mock draft sites (draftexpress, maybe?) the NBA comparison of Marshall was Mark Jackson. I wonder if Marshall promised UNC fans they'd make it to the sweet sixteen or something.

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    3. ooooh typo: "Im guessing the F.O.", the frontoffice not the free agent :P

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  11. I have faith in Myers, he is smart and talented. If Malone leaves and it is unlikely he will go to Charlotte, Myers will find someone good.

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    1. I'm with you, I have faith I'm just anxious to see who's coming in for an interview....

      Malone won't go to Charlotte unless they win the lottery. Why would he want to go to a hopeless bottom feeder when he has options? No Unibrow=No Malone in Charlotte...that just means he's got a few more interviews lined up before May 30th...

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    2. portland is my bet. magic will stick with van gundy, charlotte will have to be coached by a volunteer from charlotte's local community center... with the agreement that they'll censor his face on national tv, of course.

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    3. I won't rule out the Clippers until we're certain they won't use their amnesty clause on Del Negro...They could go to the finals and it would still just take one word from Paul or Griffin to get his ass bounced out of there.

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    4. and who is the del negro fellow? i was quiet sure chris paul was the coach for the clippers.

      but seriously, i hope mike has enough sense to stay away from the clips. between one trick crybaby griffin who should have pursued his promising career in acting (he could have been the G.O.A.T.) to ANOTHER crybaby flopper (though he has legit skills) CP3... im pretty sure i hate everything about the clippers.

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  12. If the warriors keep their pick, who do you think they will draft?

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  13. I've been advocating a true point guard who can allow Steph Curry and Charles Jenkins to play off the ball for stints since both are natural scorers. In this case the only name I see fitting the bill is North Carolina's Kendall Marshall. He can't shoot but we've got great options in that department. He would bring good size to the position and would get everyone involved where they are comfortable.

    I'd like to see them try to package a pick or three to get an immediate contributor to help Curry, Bogut and Lee. Thompson should get more consistent this year too and he'd be another guy helped by Marshall if they did choose to spend the pick that way. After those two options it would be between H. Barnes, P. Jones III, or A. Moultrie.

    Thanks for stopping by, check back after the lottery for my full draft breakdown to get a more researched and hopefully well thought out answer...

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