Lauer Sounds Off: Assistants Filling Roles

By Scott Lauer
February 28, 2013

Scott Lauer is the radio play-by-play voice of the Charlotte Bobcats. His column will appear on on Thursdays throughout the season. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bobcats organization.

There’s a belief that being an assistant coach at the top level is the best job in the coaching profession. Those that support that theory will express how it’s a “stress free” life. In fact, I’m going to ask Head Coach Mike Dunlap in my radio pregame show on Friday, if his blood pressure has changed since his days as an assistant – most recently as last year with St. John’s (although he did take over for Steve Lavin as interim head coach). Whether or not assistants agree with that theory, it’s clear that they work hard scouting and working out players leading up to the games.

I introduce the topic because I would think that most head coaches would agree that their assistants’ contributions are critical to their own success. The Bobcats staff includes Rick Brunson, Brian Winters, Stephen Silas and Dan Leibovitz. Here’s a glimpse into the backgrounds and skill sets that these men deliver.

Coach Brunson is in his first year with Charlotte, coming over from the Chicago Bulls bench. The genesis of his relationship with Coach Dunlap goes back to the 1990’s when he played for him in Australia with the Adelaide 36ers. He played collegiately at Temple for John Chaney, and forged an NBA point guard career lasting nine years with grit and physicality. Coach Brunson brings controlled intensity to shootarounds, and he’s known Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for several years, living nearby MKG, who hails from New Jersey. It’s not uncommon for Coach Brunson to spend ample time every day personally aiding MKG, including sitting next to him on many flights.

Coach Winters is the veteran NBA coach on the staff of assistants. He was the head man with the Vancouver Grizzlies during Shareef Abdur-Rahim’s prime and also guided the Golden State Warriors briefly. He has spent many years as an assistant with a variety of teams, beginning a coaching career in 1984 with Princeton, helping Pete Carrill, before moving on to Cleveland in 1986 with Lenny Wilkens. He was also the head coach of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever from 2004-07. All of this came after a nine-year NBA playing career. His jersey was retired by Milwaukee. Winters brings a calming, quiet, veteran influence to the court.

Coach Silas is the lone returning member of the staff from last season, currently in his 12th year in the league. He’s been with the Hornets, Cavaliers and Warriors as an assistant. He played four years in college at Brown University. He was afforded the opportunity to fill in as the head man periodically last year under his father, Paul Silas. He’s a very intelligent person that communicates well and obviously grew up on the game.

Coach Leibovitz spent 16 years coaching in college, including four years as the head coach at the University of Hartford. He spent a decade learning under John Chaney at Temple and spent the last two assisting at Pennsylvania – his alma mater. Leibovitz is in his first year at this level and has known Coach Dunlap for many years, as their paths have crossed in the college ranks numerous times.

Lauer Blog Archive:
2/21/13: Lauer Sounds Off: Mullens and Hendo Combo Key for Cats
2/7/13: Lauer Sounds Off: Numbers
1/31/13: Lauer Sounds Off: Grizzlies Get Trading Started
1/24/13: Lauer Sounds Off: Biz a Bright Spot in Last 2 Games
1/14/13: Lauer Sounds Off: Seattle Still Deserves a Team
12/27/12: Lauer Sounds Off: 9 Observations Heading Into New Year
12/20/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Kemba Deserves All-Star Consideration
12/13/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Biz a Big Matchup
11/29/12: Lauer Sounds Off: MKG Making a Positive Impact
11/15/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Good to See Cats Getting National Recognition
11/8/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Cats Have Options without Hendo
10/31/12: Lauer Sounds Off: NBA Predictions
10/25/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Kids Have a Blast at Cool School
10/18/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Thoughts Midway Through Preseason
10/11/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Bobcats Visit Charleston
10/4/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Thomas Stronger, Focused
9/27/12: Training Camp In Asheville!
9/20/12: Offseason Moves