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The Defensive Specialist Carousel: Who’s Next?

 

The Celtics are going to lose Lawrence Frank, probably later this week. He’s competing with Dwayne Casey for two different jobs, in Golden State and Toronto, and recent reports have indicated that Casey cannot perform both jobs simultaneously.

**UPDATE** Lawrence Frank has removed himself from the Golden State job, according to Yahoo!’s Marc Spears.

Toronto, in particular, is high on Frank, as they’re seeking a defensive specialist to avoid threepeating as the worst defensive team in the league. Frank and Casey (get a last name, you two) also have a shot at the job in Detroit, should either of those other teams decide to torpedo their franchise by hiring Mark Jackson.

**UPDATE** Golden State has launched the torpedo, it seems.

The C’s are starting to shape up like the Patriots in this regard: their game plan is so well respected that it’s increasingly difficult for them to hold on to an assistant coach. But good for Frank. As, I believe, the only head coach without actual experience playing basketball in high school or above, he’s carved out a very impressive career and he deserves another shot at running a team. He’s a great, funny dude, with his career highlight probably coming the time he swore twice on The Show Formerly Known As Cold Pizza. (WARNING: SWEARS)

So who’s next? Hit the ol’ jumperoo for a list of candidates.

Of the big names making the rounds right now, most aren’t viable options. Mike Woodson is not a defensive-minded gentleman (remember how Atlanta used to deal with screens?). Mark Jackson is, again, a mistake. Rick Adelman and Larry Brown aren’t assistant coaches by trade or by nature, even though Adelman is probably the best man for the job on the market.

The best option for the C’s is to steal a current defensive specialist from a lower-tier team. There are several names being bandied about around the league, as the Lakers and Rockets seek to fill out their new staffs, and the Celtics would be wise to seek one of these out:

  • Kelvin Sampson, Milwaukee: Former coach at Indiana, booted for recruiting violations, a thing nobody cares about in the NBA. Excellent defensive coach, particularly in transition.
  • Mike Malone, New Orleans: Ran the superlative defense in Cleveland until last year, when he dragged New Orleans from the middle of the pack to a top-five defense.
  • David Joerger, Memphis: Probably the greatest minor league coach ever, Joerger is a big reason for Memphis’s defensive uptick last season and through the playoffs.
  • Bill Laimbeer, Minnesota: Known insane person. But big on defensive toughness, and hey, it would make a fun story.

My vote’s for Joerger. He’s great developing young players, which will come in handy when the roster overhaul begins after this season, and I loved Memphis’s defense last year. Malone’s probably going to the Lakers, anyway, and Sampson has the best shot at a head coaching job.

Your nominee? Do you care?

  • http://twitter.com/Flyingfishtrump @Flyingfishtrump

    Ettore Messina
    1) One of the best coaches in Europe
    2) LA wants him ))

    • hdavenport

      I've been hearing about this guy. I think LA has him as a consultant already, actually. Apparently he's a post specialist or something, not sure about his defense.

  • sdv

    Thanks for validating my opinion that Mark Jackson is an idiot. I was shocked to read the other day that he was being considered as a head coach candidate. Have these GMs listened to his ridiculous ABC commentary? His basketball IQ comes across as shockingly low… Then again, I won't mind not hearing "Hand down, man down…" right before every commercial break.

  • Dan

    I thought McHale was recruiting Joerger for Houston. Not sure if that was resolved.

    • hdavenport

      He definitely interviewed and is still a candidate, yes. One wonders if he'll wait to see what his options are. He's one of the great unrecognized coaches out there, so Houston is unlikely to be his only shot at a lead assistant job.

  • CsFanInArkansas

    That would be like Phil Jackson coming back and being BJ Armstrong's assistant coach…

  • Scott

    Joerger only coached one season in the D-League.

    • hdavenport

      Minor league, D-League. You know what I mean, Scott! Anyway, I changed it.

  • Avinash

    Definitely Malone if they can pull it off, he could be the next Thibs which is what we were clearly missing this season.

    • Mark

      I agree!

  • James Patrick

    Lawrence Frank is setting himself up to lose. Who really thinks he can win with any of those teams? I don't think he's the kind of coach Thibs is and also, Thibs has the Bulls. He made a good team great. Frank isn't goin go make Toronto or G.S. great. Those teams won't even make the playoffs next season. So again, he's setting himself up to lose.

    The smart thing for Frank to do is stay with the C's, learn from Doc. Stick it out for a few more years and then make the jump back into a head coaching spot. But honestly, Frank will be a coach maybe 1 or 2 years and then probably lose his job again. It's the reality of the league.

  • someguyinsac

    "Hand down, Man down" goes to Golden State, those poor souls!

    • hdavenport

      I'm pretty shocked by this. There were a lot of good options available.

      • someguyinsac

        Wonder how much sway Jerry West threw into the decision to hire him?

      • Rex

        Ha, try being a Warriors fan and dealing with it. They're my hometown team, so I still root for them, along with the C's. Hasn't been a conflict because they suck. Looks like I'll be able to keep rolling with that.

  • I_Love_Green

    So how many more teams left for Frank? Just Toronto now?

    • hdavenport

      Toronto is most likely, but Detroit's out there too.

      • Batman

        frank + Bargnani = match made in heaven

        • I_Love_Green

          Why did we all get minus 1s lol

  • dalandan1

    Coach Scal should come back and become lead assistant!

  • Morpheus

    Has to be Malone. Hornets were a top 5 defensive team and all season i was very surprised why.

  • The Prayer

    I hear Malone's already been named as an assistant for GSW.

  • Avinash

    The reason a lot of these guys dont wanna come over to the Celtics is also cuse Doc just signed a long contract, which means there is no way there becoming the HC for the Celtics anytime soon. You kinda have to look at it as a corporate career move, youre not gonna join a team as the assistant coach just to beef up your resume especially when youve just done that. There are a lot of guys out there (Ex NBA players, regular guys like Spolestra and Frank) who have a lot of potential to be great coaches, I really think the Celtics need to find someone like that, maybe from the NCAA or an ex NBA player like Eric Snow for example.

    • Morpheus

      There's a name that deserves mention. Eric Snow. Hmm… wonder why he hasn't put himself out there as an assistant, HC job.

      • Avinash

        Maybe hes just waiting for the right time. I do remember him being pegged as a potential coach back when he was younger.

        Another possible name is Sam Cassell who already coached the summer league team, wonder if hell get a call. The fact that hes played with half these guys might work for or against him.

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