Rating The Coaching Picks

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Spend 20 minutes talking basketball with Lawrence Frank and I promise you, it’s impossible not to be both impressed with his knowledge of the game and won over by his straight-shooter personality.

Spend the same amount of time with former Hawks coach Mike Woodson and I guarantee you’d come away feeling the same way. When the Detroit Pistons’ coaching search came down to Frank and Woodson as their final two candidates, there was no way they could lose, right?

Try telling that to Pistons fans (I’m Michigan born and bred, so I’ve got more than a few Pistons diehards dangling from the family tree), who from what we could gather didn’t seem particularly enthused about any of the options they were presented.

Still, for a franchise in need of a strong personality in that head coach’s chair, after several years of misses, Frank offers offer the qualities needed to deal with a young roster that needs shaping.

His selection over Woodson, an offer is coming soon as first reported by Yahoo! Sports, signals more than just an apparent shift in philosophy — the Pistons’ last three coaches have all had some connection to the organization, either player or assistant coach, prior to taking over the top bench job. It’s also a sign of the influence the new ownership group is placing in the hands of Dave Checketts, hired as a consultant by new owner Tom Gores to advise and assist alongside Pistons president Joe Dumars.

Franchises wish the process was as simple the brain trust coming together and choosing between two worthy candidates that also happen to be ideal fits.

But we all know that the only thing tougher than lucking into a transcendent talent at the top of a draft is finding the right coach for the right team at just the right time.

All but one of the seven head coaching vacancies since the end of the 2010-11 NBA season ended have been filled, the Minnesota Timberwolves waited forever to announce that Kurt Rambis would be fired so no one should expect his replacement to be announced overnight (although the list of coaches the Timberwolves are interested in/have interviewed gets more entertaining by the day … Larry Brown anyone?).

After some heated deliberation with the Prime Minister and several other trusted confidants here at the hideout, we’ve come up with Hang Time‘s very own rankings of the very best fits of these new coaches. And remember, you’re always looking for the right coach for the right team at just the right time (they are ranked in order of the coach most likely to lead his team to a playoff berth in his first season … which ultimately is the one undeniable gauge of success for any coach):

1. Mike Brown, Los Angeles Lakers — Surprised to see Brown here, at the top of the list? You shouldn’t be. No coach on the list walks into a better situation, from a wins and losses perspective. The rest of the coaches on the list combined won’t work with as much top shelf talent as Brown will in his first season guiding the Lakers. Sure, he has that whole “following in the footsteps of a legend (Phil Jackson)” thing to deal with. Folks that love to point to the failures of Brown’s Cleveland teams in the playoffs are conveniently overlooking the fact that he coached back-to-back 60-win teams in this league and also coached in the NBA Finals during his tenure with the Cavaliers. The man knows how to run a team and he’ll have plenty of success with the Lakers. Whether or not it’s championship-level success depends on much more than just Brown’s performance.

2. Frank Vogel, Indiana Pacers — Vogel waited nearly as long for official confirmation that he would have his interim tag removed in Indiana as Rambis did for his official walking papers in Minnesota. We’re still trying to figure out why it took so long in both instances. Vogel showed with his performance that he was more than ready for his shot to run a team. He guided a disheveled Pacers team into the postseason after replacing Jim O’Brien and then made Bulls fans sweat, just a little bit, in the first round of the playoffs. If the Pacers had better options, said options never presented themselves throughout the process. In fact, some could argue that Vogel’s top assistant, on-time Lakers heir apparent Brian Shaw, is as solid a hire as any of the head coaches chosen this summer.

3. Kevin McHale, Houston Rockets — The day his name surfaced in the Rockets’ coaching search I spotted McHale, a former colleague and one of my favorite people of all time, walking down a hallway during the first round of the playoffs in Portland. I asked him point-blank, “back to coaching … what are you thinking?” He just smiled then and said “we’ll see.” And we shall. I have no doubts McHale is a good fit for the Rockets. But the Rockets are fighting the toughest battle of any team on this list trying to break out from the pack at the bottom of the Western Conference playoff standings and into the top eight every year. Without a superstar to anchor this crew, McHale will have to push all the right buttons if the Rockets want to see their playoff dreams realized.

4. Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors — Kudos to the Raptors for doing what so many other teams the past few years failed to do and recognize that Casey earned a second shot as a head coach in this league. It certainly helps to walk through the door with a ring on your finger and that Larry O’Brien trophy on your resume, courtesy of a virtuoso performance during the Mavericks’ playoff run. After watching Casey’s defensive schemes chew up the opposition throughout the playoffs, you wonder how well it might work with a Raptors team that cannot compare to the Mavericks. Casey’s tasked with rebuilding the Raptors’ psyche and defensive constitution. If he accomplishes either one he’s a genius. If can manage both, they’ll be in the playoffs before long.

5. Mark Jackson, Golden State Warriors — Jackson’s placement at the bottom of our list has much more to do with his predicament than it does with our belief that he’s ready to tackle the job of head coaching in the league. (Jerry West felt the same way, and that’s always good company to keep when decisions are being made.) Like all first-timers, Jackson’s belief in himself and his abilities far outweigh the reality of his situation. To put it plainly, Jackson inherited a roster that’s in need some serious tweaking. And since that cannot happen anytime soon, a little thing called the lockout, Jackson can only fantasize about what it is he could do if the circumstances were different.


  1. Trey Hansrote says:

    The staff NFL jerseys of Detroit Pistons was originally identified since the Zollner Pistons, named right after founder Fred Zollner, proprietor of Zollner Machine Performs, which produced pistons. The team’s household arena will be the Palace in the Auburn Hills in Michigan. They’ve got won three NBA championships. 1st was in 1989 which they defended in 1990. Their 3rd and last win thus far was in 2004.

  2. johnny says:

    do you really think lebron and kobe can play at the same team for 82 games, lets look at their egos, do you really think lebron will appreciate kobe hogging the ball every night?

  3. HEAT2012 says:


  4. leBron made a bad choice says:

    leBron traveled…from cavs to heat while he should of gone to the lakers.
    Kobe/LeBron just like Mike/Pippen…I guess leBron GPS was broken or was it his brain/elbow

  5. J Larz says:

    Dallas Mavericks = World Champions!!!!


  7. Emmanuelperez says:

    Let’s look @ the reality,vogel and casey will get fired during or after the season,mark jackson will bring motivation, but not enough wins,mchale can’t do it with the team that they have,and kobe will hate brown. If the wolves r smart, they get addleman.

    • hoopsdavis says:

      I agree with Emmanuelperez on a few point, Kobe and Mike Brown will clash, with that Mike Brown will not last in LA, Mark Jackson will bring motivation to the warriors but no enough wins yet but there will be major improvement not in wins but how they play. I don’t see K. McHale as a coach at all.

  8. Vincent says:

    Hasheem Thabeet needs to improve offensively for the Rockets to be competitive. The Warriors needs to tighten up their defense and Marc Jackson recognize that. Let us see what he can do as a rookie coach.

  9. jeff24 says:

    if you look closely you can see lebron traveled

  10. Bob says:

    I agree with BigBalls100. the knicks need mike brown. I also think the lakers will win

    • Tom says:

      i’d rather have D’antoni over mike brown thank you. we’ll see after this season what he can do. but he needs a defensive, rebounding, minded center to really be a contender. we have enough talent to be a second round team this year that’s about it we don’t have the pieces to beat boston, mami or orlando in a 7 game series, as of right now anyway…

  11. Aj says:

    go lAkers!! i just watched kobe and the nba allstars here in the Philippines yesterday..it was awesome…hope brown fits in…kobe deserves at least one more ring.. Lakers!!

  12. chitoM_CDO says:

    im sure mike brown will do good this season as a lakers new head coach..LAKERS MANIA!

  13. luv2hate says:

    ur mom

  14. ZULU says:

    No , no Joe Dumars and the Pistons are missing the mark by hiring Frank’s. If all things are equal between Woodson & Franks . Then why in the _____ can having played the game not the scale tipper?

  15. matt says:

    who do you think will have the best comeback season if the season starts

    • Geoshua says:

      I think Golden State will have the best comeback season. I really think people are really really really under estimating their talent. Championship Stage Prediction – Monta Ellis vs. Derrick Rose. Be ready!!!

      • datalkofny says:

        i really do like the golden state warriors to make some noise. they do have talent and are exposive, but i will say its the sacramento kings, they got the total package (ON PAPER). They got talent and depth in the low post and they got shooters now. perfect combo, cus now they can beat you either way.

  16. 2time_NBA_ROOKIE_OF_THE_YEAR_LOL says:

    Good Luck Lakers!! I Hope your new coach won’t mess up and lead you back again to the Championship stage.

  17. QueenJAMEsCHOKE says:

    Lakers and Heat will never win a championship ring again. why? in Miami heat, because they have LECHOKE james.. nuff said.. and in Lakers.. Phil Jackson is gone..nuff said..

  18. Jodi Jezz says:

    Yes!!! My pistons made a good hire in Frank…A defensive minded coach is exactly what we needed…Pistons will be in the playoffs next year!!

    • PistonsFan says:

      Yeah that is right…the Pistons made a very good choice in Frank. I can see him as the next Tom Thibadeau. I think if the Pistons can make some adjustments to the roster, we for sure will make the playoffs next year!

  19. waitasec says:

    dont hate on d’antoni…although he doesnt play the defense…
    theres no use in replacing him with a defensive minded head coach when 2 of their biggest stars dont play the D….stoudemire and Anthony diving for a loose ball?? yea right….

    • datalkofny says:

      GREAT POINT!! that is why we need to get a defensive minded center. a true big man who doesnt score alot but crashes the boards. we couldve got one in the draft, but we got a shooting guard instead, not very wise if you ask me

  20. Dominic says:

    I wonder why nobody wanted Larry Brown? I feel that if you can get the Bad Boys II and Iverson to the NBA Finals, you’re doing something right as a coach.

  21. trublu says:

    Rockets should have retained Adelman. He did an incredible job despite the injuries to Yao and TMac. Kevin wasn’t impressive with his stint in Minessota, GM and Coach wise.

  22. Bigballs100 says:

    I think the knicks need a new coach. They have amazing talent but a coach who doesn’t have the word defense in his dictionary. If anything mike brown should have went to new York.

  23. hte lakers will win the championship next year under mike brown.

  24. kotuah says:

    Sorry Smith, I don’t think Jackson will agree with you on fantacizing actuall game situations when he said in WCF G1 ” ..no way as a coach or as a player, no matter how much practice you put in, no matter how much commission you do can you simmulate actual game situations. So you loose out on a constant battle…”

  25. zombiedude says:

    Hand Down Man Down!, Mamma There Goes That Man!

  26. Number1Houstonrocketsfan says:

    How come any of the good coaches are not being hired? For example Rick Adelman he had the most success with the Rockets, and Portland. Also Mike Woodson, he had great success with the Hawks not one negative season record. Teams that are struggling should be scouting for better coaches and the ones with the great experience.

    • BIGmatta says:

      Um hello, Mike woodson had a less than 500 record 4 out of 6 years in Atlanta. His teams won 13,26,30 and 37 games. Hardly “great” success. Didnt get to the playoffs till his 4th season.

  27. drf says:

    i think you overlooked lawrence frank. he was an awesome backup for boston last year, and has a defensive mind. it looks like he will be the man in charge in detroit next year, and could help that team alot.