You may be right that many fans overvalue the coach's contribution. At the same time, I think you tend to undervalue it a bit. In the end, it's probably somewhere in between. Talent is prerequisite to winning, no doubt. A clever coach can get you open, but you still have to nail the shot. If your guys can't match up, no coach can help. It's when you have teams of relatively equal talent that coaching makes the biggest difference. It's not just superior X's & O's or better substitutions. It also shows up in fundamentals and cohesive team play resulting from good direction & productive practices.
Coaching has the most impact in the playoffs. Not only are the talent disparities smaller, but you see the same team for at last 4 games running. That's where coaching become a little more of a chess match, with moves, counter-moves and those infamous adjustments. You can't just ‘run your system' because the other guy knows how to stop it. You'd better have a Plan B.
Well, Do the Bulls have interest in Billy Donovan? He has a 61% win record in OKC, albeit with some very good talent onboard. On the plus side, he's been very consistent with changing rosters and stars. But he's seldom gone far in the playoffs, even with some great players. I'm really not sure how I'd rank him. My problem with Donovan is that he's had great players and not done all that well with them. To be fair, he didn't have Harden. But that 3-game meltdown vs. Golden State is still telling. I agree that he's competent, but nothing special.
I think coaching success is an elusive entity. It depends on the coach's skills, on his personality, on the roster... and the synergy of how those things fit together. The great coaches are those who find that synergy year after year, under different circumstances, with different players. COY? It often means somebody got lucky with a team that shouldn't have done so well. In a year or two, they ‘regress to the mean' of their talent and bye-bye coach. More likely, the award should go to a coach whose good team had a great season. Do you think it'd be any better if the coaches voted instead of sportswriters? The Coaches Association vote was a tie between Donovan & Budenholzer.
One who left insulted after an offer of a two-year extension, that being Donovan, and the other under scrutiny for a second consecutive playoff collapse. The media certainly could do as badly. Heck, that Coaches Association must have been awfully resentful of Nurse. It shouldn't even have been close with that Raptors roster. Though I will say I do like Budenholzer.
I understand your point about the playoff difference and that he's failed there, as has Donovan. Though as Jeff Van Gundy likes to point out in blaming management for every coach fired, at least Donovan's teams were generally underdogs. Of course they often should not have been with Westbrook and George and earlier Durant and Westbrook. I got this betting list from one of the Vegas sites this week about one of the open jobs:
Tyronn Lue +300 (3/1)
Sam Cassell +400 (4/1)
Jeff Van Gundy +500 (5/1)
Nate McMillan +500 (5/1)
Stan Van Gundy +500 (5/1)
Brett Brown +600 (6/1)
Kenny Atkinson +800 (8/1)
Jason Kidd +900 (9/1)
Chauncey Billups +1000 (10/1)
Ime Udoka +1200 (12/1)
Billy Donovan +1400 (14/1)
Wes Unseld Jr. +1600 (16/1)
Becky Hammon +1800 (18/1)
Darwin Ham +2000 (20/1)
Of course, Steve Nash wasn't on anyone list. These things are more the Usual Suspects thing. My Bulls guess for now without any inside knowledge is it will be from among Udoka, Unseld and Ham from that lot. Oh yeah, and maybe Stephen Silas and Jamahl Mosley. That's right, I really have no idea. Veterans I like who aren't mentioned much anymore, by the way, include Lionel Hollins and Brian Shaw. Anyone seen Larry Brown? Have at it.