PDA

View Full Version : Will the NBA ever become a coach's league?



NYKalltheway
06-23-2014, 10:06 AM
We all know that the NBA is a player's league. It's been the case for many years. It's always owners vs players. As if the coaches have no say. In almost every situation, the coach is not really a basketball coach but some ex-player. We're seeing now inexperienced "coaches" such as Kerr and Fisher being treated as prime candidates for teams that want to contend, being paid a lot of money while the Cavs have slowly poached a top 10 (globally) basketball coach in David Blatt.


Why should the NBA become a coach's league? The answer is San Antonio Spurs. It's a coach's team. Every player in that organisation accepts that the coach is the law. In some cases there are some powerful GMs, like the Heat with Riley and now the Knicks with ex-coach Phil Jackson but they're using inexperienced coaches for their teams. Spoelstra has the results of course but that's for another story.

The NBA teams have the resources to sign whoever coach they want and assign to him whatever coaching help or scouting teams he wants. They key to success is to give the keys of the organisation to a good basketball coach and he can eventually make the team gel and play well.
We're also seeing this to some extent in the NCAA. Most colleges have kept their coaches for ages and they are actual basketball coaches in their majority, not ex-players who know almost nothing about coaching other than being coached for 15-20 years during their career.

I'm hoping the Cavs stick with Blatt even if the players don't react positively to him. My guess is that they will not really want to play for him if he's going to coach the way he wants but they'll force him to adapt to the NBA. If they let him do his job, he has the potential to become part of NBA's history.

Basketball is a coach's game and the NBA being the biggest basketball scene in the world should reflect that imo. I'm actually surprised that there aren't more teams looking into Popovich type of solutions for their franchise.

flea
06-23-2014, 10:22 AM
Probably not, players are too overpaid and too spoiled from years in AAU to accept it on the whole. It's too bad because it's the reason I'm a bigger fan of NCAA basketball by NBA by a lot. The game is a lot prettier and it doesn't have the years of rules-tweaking and official-tampering that make the NBA rigged to a certain extent. I know a lot of basketball fans who feel similarly as I do.

I would imagine if some of the better Euro leagues were more readily accessible that I would watch those more than I do the NBA - at least during the regular season. I like the NBA playoffs, even though the officiating can be both puzzling and maddening (a stark contrast from every other major sport).

But the regular season is a joke. When you only have to compete with hockey for much of the regular season and yet Thursday nights are your best draw - something is just wrong with your product. Either make it more difficult to make the playoffs or quit rigging the sport for superstars so that we can achieve some semblance of parity. I think this will be Silver's goal and legacy to the NBA - and I say this as a person who has been extremely critical of Silver thus far.

diu9leilomo
06-23-2014, 10:26 AM
No, at the end of the day its still a basketball game, coach can only do so much and fans still look up to players. Its unlikely people will wear a popovich jersey if they can choose lebron.

Crunch Time
06-23-2014, 10:51 AM
Yes, when Nike decides it's time to have 15 foot billboards of coaches rather than players.

NYKalltheway
06-23-2014, 11:09 AM
Becoming a coach's league does not mean that you have to change buying player jerseys with wearing a coach's suit or whatever. You can still buy a Lebron jersey. But Lebron (and any player for this matter) needs to shut up and listen to his coach.
It's all about the franchise's attitude. When you have players bigger than the teams you know you're heading in the wrong direction. And when you have coaches that aren't really coaches, the superstars will not really care about showing any respect to them.

dhopisthename
06-23-2014, 11:45 AM
I doubt ever. coaches are far more replaceable than players

jmaest
06-23-2014, 11:59 AM
No, at the end of the day its still a basketball game, coach can only do so much and fans still look up to players. Its unlikely people will wear a popovich jersey if they can choose lebron.

That's not what "coach's league" means.

There will always be stars. Think NFL, for example. Great coaches are able to sustain systems by assembling pieces best suited to what they want do.

I think the last lockout put the NBA on a path to this model. The success of coaches like Pop just proves out that this is a model to move towards.

David Stern turned the NBA too far to the superstar and one can clearly see that this model also lead to a decline in ratings historically:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Basketball_Association_Nielsen_ratings

Of course basketball as a sport has declined somewhat by transitioning from fundamentally skilled professionals to the more athletic model we have today. The influx of the High School athlete hurt the game, obviously, which in turn hurt the ratings.

Finals ratings will always do generally well BUT where the NBA really needs to improve is during the regular season and that's where the "coach's league" concept can really improve things.

IndyRealist
06-23-2014, 12:38 PM
No, at the end of the day its still a basketball game, coach can only do so much and fans still look up to players. Its unlikely people will wear a popovich jersey if they can choose lebron.

I'd wear a Popovich jersey.

The idea of a coach's league, or rather not a player's league, revolves around the idea of promoting team fandom vs. individual player fandom. Root for the jersey, regardless of who is wearing it. Coaches then become more prominent to the fans. It's easier in sports where players wear helmets and could be unrecognizable in street clothes.

KnicksorBust
06-23-2014, 01:44 PM
If you want to enjoy a coach's league watch college.

abe_froman
06-23-2014, 02:17 PM
we all love pop,but lets not act like coaches are all pop.so its not a good idea to run a league as if that were the case.coaching really isnt as important as its made out to be.

jmaest
06-23-2014, 02:31 PM
we all love pop,but lets not act like coaches are all pop.so its not a good idea to run a league as if that were the case.coaching really isnt as important as its made out to be.

With all due respect, that may be the dumbest thing I've ever read on PSD.

abe_froman
06-23-2014, 02:46 PM
With all due respect, that may be the dumbest thing I've ever read on PSD.

how so? you can still fair well with a bad coach(heat getting 2 rings and a 4 finals appearances with spo,brooks hasnt kept the thunder from being good,ect.),but a great coach cant do much without the talent

we overly glorify the 5 or so good/great coaches in the league ,but thats, in part, due to the lack of them.

jmaest
06-23-2014, 03:23 PM
If you want to enjoy a coach's league watch college.

There are many arguments to be made that College Basketball is a better version of the game than the Professional level. The players may not be as good, individually, but the way the game is played--with all the ball movement and everything else--is arguably better at the NCAA level.

I can't look this up from where I am but I'm pretty sure the NCAA draws higher ratings than the NBA as well. I would have to believe March Madness does at the very least.

jmaest
06-23-2014, 03:51 PM
how so? you can still fair well with a bad coach(heat getting 2 rings and a 4 finals appearances with spo,brooks hasnt kept the thunder from being good,ect.),but a great coach cant do much without the talent

we overly glorify the 5 or so good/great coaches in the league ,but thats, in part, due to the lack of them.

First off, I blame Spoelstra for this Finals loss and last season was more about the Spurs than it was about anything the Heat did to win.

BUT the Heat also had officiating on their side for all 4 of these Finals runs, if we're being honest, AND they took advantage of a weak Eastern Conference.

But let's take your example and go the other way. Indiana is a better "team" top to bottom than Miami is. Wouldn't a really good Coach have beaten Miami the last two seasons?

We've seen evidence already where Carlisle & Popp embarrassed Spoelstra with superior coaching and "less" talent. (Top to bottom Miami was more talented than Dallas for sure. I think you can make an argument that they're more talented than SAS.)

Again, point being, superior coaching would have beaten Miami multiple times. Hell if Chicago had one more guy who could actually score, they would have beaten Miami in the playoffs. If the Knicks had one more guy who could play defense, Woodson would have out-coached Spoelstra too.

Talent matters BUT Coaching can take advantage of weaknesses and scheme to the team's strengths. OKC with a better Coach should have won the last 2 titles.

It's ignorant to discount coaching.

Edit in: Fact is I could easily make an argument that the reason the NBA isn't as good as it was in previous years is because of the coaching and not the talent. In 1988 there were arguably a dozen or more really good coaches. Today there's maybe 6. That's it.

JasonJohnHorn
06-23-2014, 04:34 PM
I think in some instances it is already.

When you get an established coach that has won, he gets free reign.
nobody ever fired Phil, or Riley, or Pop, and when those guys have had problems, the player either goes, or adjusts hims play/approach.

But for those who haven't proven themselves, the owners usually go for the players, though we've seen instances where the GM/coach is favoured. Don Neslon, for instance, was allowed to stay and Chris Webber was trade (WOW). There was clearly some tension between Melo and Karl, and Denver kept Karl. Likewise, the Magic kept SVG when Dwight asked to have him fired. And GSW ownership fired Jackson despite support from his players, so the 'players' opinions didnt matter as much as the GM's.

I would agree that for the most part it is a player's league, but for the coaches that prove themselves, most teams will go with the coach over the player.

slashsnake
06-23-2014, 09:26 PM
Interesting point, but I don't think there are that many true impact coaches. Sure, Pop is amazing, Phil of course, Pat, maybe Thibs or Rivers, though I am not sure about either. But stars win games. Spoelstra has taken his team to 4 straight finals, Scott Brooks went to the finals, Rick Carlisle was thought of as a genius for a year... You get the stars, the coach looks good.

There's only a few coaches that can impact wins and losses on a big scale.

slashsnake
06-23-2014, 09:36 PM
I think in some instances it is already.



But for those who haven't proven themselves, the owners usually go for the players, though we've seen instances where the GM/coach is favoured. Don Neslon, for instance, was allowed to stay and Chris Webber was trade (WOW). There was clearly some tension between Melo and Karl, and Denver kept Karl. Likewise, the Magic kept SVG when Dwight asked to have him fired. And GSW ownership fired Jackson despite support from his players, so the 'players' opinions didnt matter as much as the GM's.

I would agree that for the most part it is a player's league, but for the coaches that prove themselves, most teams will go with the coach over the player.

In all those instances the player was on his way out though. GS stuck with the coach, but Webber had already excercised the one year escape clause in his deal. It was sign and trade or lose them. But they went with the coach, Nelson won 36 fewer games the following year and was fired, and that franchise missed the post-season for over a decade. Wrong move if they had a chance to keep Webber IMO.

Same with Melo in Denver, he was on his way out. They stuck with Karl, had some fun regular seasons and let him go after post-season failures.

And keeping Dwight again, not in the equation. He was leaving. The only question was whether or not the Magic would get anything so they moved to facilitate his leaving and gain some parts in return. Van Gundy couldn't win and got fired, and they are struggling.

All three of those were situations where the player was on his way, but I would say in each of them, had the player said "I'll sign a long term deal with a new coach" they would have fired the coach.

Like I've said, outside of the handful, its a players league and it should be.

FOXHOUND
06-23-2014, 09:39 PM
The teams that make deep playoff runs and win championships are always the best coached teams, so I think it's always been a coaches league. ;)

slashsnake
06-23-2014, 11:48 PM
The teams that make deep playoff runs and win championships are always the best coached teams, so I think it's always been a coaches league. ;)

Interesting. Which would make Eric Spoelstra the greatest NBA coach since Phil Jackson?

jmaest
06-24-2014, 01:11 PM
Interesting. Which would make Eric Spoelstra the greatest NBA coach since Phil Jackson?

Technically that would Poppovich. But Spoelstra is a close second!

goingfor28
06-24-2014, 01:20 PM
I used to go to bobcats games to watch mike dunlap

jmaest
06-24-2014, 01:34 PM
In all those instances the player was on his way out though. GS stuck with the coach, but Webber had already excercised the one year escape clause in his deal. It was sign and trade or lose them. But they went with the coach, Nelson won 36 fewer games the following year and was fired, and that franchise missed the post-season for over a decade. Wrong move if they had a chance to keep Webber IMO.

Same with Melo in Denver, he was on his way out. They stuck with Karl, had some fun regular seasons and let him go after post-season failures.

And keeping Dwight again, not in the equation. He was leaving. The only question was whether or not the Magic would get anything so they moved to facilitate his leaving and gain some parts in return. Van Gundy couldn't win and got fired, and they are struggling.

All three of those were situations where the player was on his way, but I would say in each of them, had the player said "I'll sign a long term deal with a new coach" they would have fired the coach.

Like I've said, outside of the handful, its a players league and it should be.

Your argument goes both ways, however. All those coaches were also on the way out and firing them would not have impacted the player's decision one way or the other. In each instance that you highlighted all the coaches lost their players as a whole--not just the 'star'. Individually Howard wanted to play elsewhere, so did Melo, and Webber was actually a huge baby at the time and getting to Sacramento really helped mature him in a major way.

Mark Jackson's situation is interesting. Remember this, Jackson has historically been one to argue with management. It's not outside his nature to be confrontational with management/ownership. While I don't agree with firing him, per se, I cannot say that a GM doesn't have the right to end a relationship with a subordinate who he deems to be problematic.

At the end of the day, player or coach don't rank as high as the front office. There is no better evidence than watching Bulls management dismantle arguably the greatest team of all time when all parties could have still won more titles.

Having said that, how do you define "players league" and how do you defend that by saying "it should be"?

JasonJohnHorn
06-24-2014, 10:21 PM
In all those instances the player was on his way out though. GS stuck with the coach, but Webber had already excercised the one year escape clause in his deal. It was sign and trade or lose them. But they went with the coach, Nelson won 36 fewer games the following year and was fired, and that franchise missed the post-season for over a decade. Wrong move if they had a chance to keep Webber IMO.

Same with Melo in Denver, he was on his way out. They stuck with Karl, had some fun regular seasons and let him go after post-season failures.

And keeping Dwight again, not in the equation. He was leaving. The only question was whether or not the Magic would get anything so they moved to facilitate his leaving and gain some parts in return. Van Gundy couldn't win and got fired, and they are struggling.

All three of those were situations where the player was on his way, but I would say in each of them, had the player said "I'll sign a long term deal with a new coach" they would have fired the coach.

Like I've said, outside of the handful, its a players league and it should be.

I agree that there are very few coaches that can have a big impact in the win column, and the ones you mentioned are about the only ones I would include myself (Jeff H. may join that group if he keeps up what he pulled off in Phoenix this past year).

You are spot on about the C-Webb situation, but he didn't want to play center going in and made that clear, and Nelson played him at center and management back Nelson on that. Had they handled that differently, C-Webb may have stayed. Who knows. The the Melo and Dwight situations, though, the players expressed unhappiness with the coaches EARLY on. I remember in the conference finals and the finals in 09 that Dwight was complaining about not getting the ball enough in the post and he made a comment about not understanding why the 'coaching staff' (aka SVG) wasn't getting him the ball more.... and that continued for a couple of years before Dwight left. With Karl, I think it was more him expressing criticism of Melo, but it seemed clear early on that the two weren't happy with each other and the team stuck with Karl. The last season with each team, Melo and Dwight were both gone by that point, but the friction with the coaches had been going on for years for both.

Ultimately though, as you said, there are few coaches who have a big impact. Basketball isn't like football. The players make a lot of choices themselves on the floor and the coaches have to rely on the player's judgement, whereas in football, coaches call and design pretty much ever play. For guys like Pop and Thibs and Doc that have amazing defensive schemes, their coaching is HUGE on defense, and for Pop especially, his offensive scheme helps keep the teams competitive every year and makes a lot of mediocre players (no offence Gary Neal and Roger Mason) look a lot better than they do in other systems.


But so many coaches (Mike Brown) just clear the key out and run iso plays for their top scorer. That's not coaching, that's letting the players go one-on-one.

NBA_Starter
06-24-2014, 10:40 PM
I used to go to bobcats games to watch mike dunlap

Don't remind me!:(

goingfor28
06-24-2014, 10:42 PM
Don't remind me!:(
Haha. things are looking way up now tho

Hawkamania
06-24-2014, 10:42 PM
If you want to enjoy a coach's league watch college.

That quote pretty much sums it up.

slashsnake
06-24-2014, 10:56 PM
Technically that would Poppovich. But Spoelstra is a close second!

Since Spoelstra took over though he has 2 rings, Pop only has one. So Spoelstra is better than Pop today. lol

slashsnake
06-24-2014, 11:01 PM
I agree that there are very few coaches that can have a big impact in the win column, and the ones you mentioned are about the only ones I would include myself (Jeff H. may join that group if he keeps up what he pulled off in Phoenix this past year).

You are spot on about the C-Webb situation, but he didn't want to play center going in and made that clear, and Nelson played him at center and management back Nelson on that. Had they handled that differently, C-Webb may have stayed. Who knows. The the Melo and Dwight situations, though, the players expressed unhappiness with the coaches EARLY on. I remember in the conference finals and the finals in 09 that Dwight was complaining about not getting the ball enough in the post and he made a comment about not understanding why the 'coaching staff' (aka SVG) wasn't getting him the ball more.... and that continued for a couple of years before Dwight left. With Karl, I think it was more him expressing criticism of Melo, but it seemed clear early on that the two weren't happy with each other and the team stuck with Karl. The last season with each team, Melo and Dwight were both gone by that point, but the friction with the coaches had been going on for years for both.

Ultimately though, as you said, there are few coaches who have a big impact. Basketball isn't like football. The players make a lot of choices themselves on the floor and the coaches have to rely on the player's judgement, whereas in football, coaches call and design pretty much ever play. For guys like Pop and Thibs and Doc that have amazing defensive schemes, their coaching is HUGE on defense, and for Pop especially, his offensive scheme helps keep the teams competitive every year and makes a lot of mediocre players (no offence Gary Neal and Roger Mason) look a lot better than they do in other systems.


But so many coaches (Mike Brown) just clear the key out and run iso plays for their top scorer. That's not coaching, that's letting the players go one-on-one.

Yeah that is true they sided with him (wrong move in my opinion), but arguing positions happens all the time and the coach wins the X's and O's side of things nearly all the time.

And yeah, Karl and Melo hated each other. Word here in Colorado was Karl could take to Melo in practice, meeting times, or during games and only about the game, other than that everything had to go through Melo's agent. But I don't see either of them staying around just for the coach. It made an easier story to sell for their reputations that they didn't like the coach, not that they hated the market and area.

Agree 100% with you on the rest though. It's like building around a superstar. Sure sounds great.... as long as you have Lebron or Durant. If you have Ty Lawson, or are in a small weak market where they will opt out right away, that might not be your best method. Would love to have a coach worthy of building around, but there just aren't more than a few out there.

NYKalltheway
06-27-2014, 04:47 AM
Interesting point, but I don't think there are that many true impact coaches.


And that's mostly because the new "coaches" of the NBA are former players who have nothing to do with coaching. They're too happy to be thankful to the owner/gm that gave them a chance and that's it.
The owners won't hire proper coaches because they want people they can control, who are grateful for the chance that was given to them.
Real basketball coaches in the USA are in the college game.


If you want to enjoy a coach's league watch college.

The NBA was a coach's league in the past you know... Just because some people (eg Stern) and some corporations have ruined this, it doesn't mean that anyone who preferred this has to go away.

FOXHOUND
06-27-2014, 08:49 AM
Interesting. Which would make Eric Spoelstra the greatest NBA coach since Phil Jackson?

Yeah, he's one of the better coaches in the league, in case you weren't aware of that.

Sadds The Gr8
06-27-2014, 12:06 PM
No because in basketball one player can takeover a game and can trump a system. Basketball will never be a coaches game like football