There's this article I read on NBA coaches and adjusting (or not) during the playoffs. Not sure what author would think of old Packer teams where Lombardi thought other teams couldn't beat them if they executed their game plan. I think an interesting question is how difficult is it to get a team to buy into a coach's philosophy. Most players have short careers with a small window for big bucks. If they get into the wrong situation or the wrong system, it can cost them. The NBA might be a player's league, but they have the most to win or lose in the checkbook. The incentives for coaches and players might not always align perfectly. Once had a boss tell me you aren't as smart as you think you are when things are going well, but you are rarely as stupid as you feel when things are going bad. Sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time, sometimes you aren't.
And such is life. That advice from your former employer, who fired you I assume, is the revelation of the fatal flaw of hubris. It's not about you. Being in the right place at the right time is much smarter. Or getting the No. 1 draft pick when it's LeBron James and not Anthony Bennett.
Coaching, in my view, often is a much overrated by fans and media. Part of that is because that's who is always left to explain to us why something happened or didn't work. In these playoffs, former genius Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer now is being much condemned (the ambivalence of the job) because he wasn't making those treasured adjustments that everyone loves to credit for altering a series outcome. Though since analysts generally work in reverse and see who won first before determining who was correct, it's a difficult case for the loser. Lombardi became famous for that famous sweep play that led to multiple Super Bowl wins. It also had its chicken or egg element. Did Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston (obscure references for those under 65) and Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor make the Hall of Fame because it worked? Or did it work because they made the Hall of Fame? Not to dismiss the relevance of coaches because somebody has to yell, "Go" from the sidelines, but it is about talent.
Budenholzer followed the Lombardi model of having the best team (or record), so we'll keep doing that since that's what got us here. You may remember here in Chicago, it also was Tom Thibodeau's philosophy. Which didn't work as well after Derrick Rose was injured. Thibs rarely made significant playoff changes, which got him a Coach of the Year award and affirmation until it didn't work and he was fired for also not making playoff adjustments. Generally these revered adjustments amount to little more than changing the defender or a double team. Maybe going into a zone like Boston did for the last play in Game 3 against Toronto. Ooops.
I would like to see some adjustments in these playoffs, like shooting from mid range or the teams that have the tall players actually having them get the ball closer to the basket. Budenholzer didn't do that much, either. It didn't work out for the Bucks. Perhaps there's a threat from the analytics departments to strike and shut down the rest of the playoffs if every team doesn't run at least 80 high screens and shoot 50 threes per game. So what really can a coach do?