Blogtable: Thoughts on offseason coaching hires so far?
Each week, we ask our scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
From NBA.com Staff
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Six NBA teams have hired new coaches so far this offseason. Did any of them nail it?
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Steve Aschburner: I’m eager to see what J.B. Bickerstaff does now that he finally has his own parking space, proper office and a full offseason and preseason to ramp up as the Memphis Grizzlies’ coach. I suspect we’ll get a better feel for his coaching chops than two interim gigs have shown. To me, the roster in Milwaukee is too flawed for Mike Budenholzer to achieve instant respect. So, David Fizdale to New York is the one where I expect noticeable progress and improvement from Day 1. Fizdale not only has logged the time to bring proper experience to the Knicks position, he no doubt learned plenty — good and bad — from his Grizzlies’ run. There is urgency, there are resources, there are a few players to build around in New York. I think Fizdale is a swell fit.
Shaun Powell: The correct answer is: Who knows? All of these coach hirings sound and look good in May. And even in the case of the Knicks getting David Fizdale, whom I believe has much of the tools needed to deal with the modern-day player (Marc Gasol exempted), he doesn’t have much talent to work with — same with James Borrego in Charlotte — so again, who knows if the Knicks nailed it? Love to see what Igor Kokoskov does in Phoenix, especially with the No. 1 pick. Maybe the Suns nailed this one. He’s definitely the most intriguing hire until someone offers Becky Hammon.
John Schuhmann: At this point, all six look like good hires, but time will tell. With a few of these teams (Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns), it’s more critical for the organization to be patient than for the coach to make an immediate impact. The Detroit Pistons (yet to hire a coach), Toronto Raptors (yet to hire a coach) and Milwaukee Bucks are the teams with win-now rosters where we’ll really need to see an impact next season. Mike Budenholzer had a top-10 defense in three of his five seasons in Atlanta and his Hawks ranked higher in both ball and player movement than the Bucks, so there’s promise that he’ll add some creativity to that offense and do better with the Bucks’ length on the other end of the floor.
Sekou Smith: There have been several excellent hires, based on the profile of the coaches and the openings they filled. The Knicks knocked it out of the park with the David Fizdale hire. Right coach at the right time for a team that desperately needs a fresh set of eyes on their problems. Lloyd Pierce seems like an ideal fit with the Atlanta Hawks given his experience with “The Process” in Philadelphia as an assistant coach. The Hawks seem to be in the opening stages of their own rebuild of that nature. Former Hawks boss Mike Budenholzer is a nice get for the Milwaukee Bucks. There are few coaches in the league with the track record of improving the overall performance of his team without superstar additions to aid the process. I’ll take a wait-and-see position on the other openings that have already been filled. And I’m curious where the Toronto Raptors will turn now that they have moved on from Dwane Casey. Talk about a critical hire for a franchise at a crossroad moment. They can’t miss on this one.