Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Of the coaches starting the season with a new team, who has the hardest gig?
Steve Aschburner: Any coach new to his team this season has his hands full. Mike Brown, with the heat of the L.A. spotlight, the expectations, the egos and the end of the triangle offense will earn every penny. Others are near the end of their contracts. But Monty Williams won 46 games with New Orleans last season. If Chris Paul stays put with David West gone and limited help arriving, he and the Hornets will be hard-pressed to get 19 (half the pace of last season, based on 66 games).
Fran Blinebury: Mike Brown. He’s following perhaps the greatest coach in NBA history by taking over the helm of an aging ship that just had a gaping hole blown in its hull with the loss of Lamar Odom in a city where anything less than a championship is considered a failure. Good luck with that.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Mike Brown. Rick Adelman will have to do a lot of heavy lifting in Minnesota and Kevin McHale steps into Houston at a particularly challenging time, but try being the guy who can get his team to a conference final and be part of a failed mission. That’s life as coach of the Lakers.
Shaun Powell: We don’t know the final makeup of the Lakers just yet, so we’ll put an asterisk next to Mike Brown‘s name. And assuming Paul Silas doesn’t count in this, his first full season with the talent-starved Bobcats (he took over for Larry Brown during last season), the guess would be Lawrence Frank in Detroit. Yes, he does have new ownership, which will refreshingly allow Joe Dumars to do what’s necessary. But the Pistons are coming off a poor season, attendance is lacking and there are odd-fitting pieces on the roster. Frank may need to take a few blows to the chin this season until the cap opens up and a lottery pick arrives next summer.
John Schuhmann: Dwane Casey, who’s taking over the team that has ranked last defensively for two straight seasons. The Raptors are young, but none of their young guys looks to be a franchise cornerstone, at least until they bring Jonas Valanciunas over next year. Casey’s patience will be tested and hopefully, the team’s new owners give him ample time (he only got a season and a half in Minnesota) to turn that team around.