Great articles on best coaching fits for clippers. I hope some of these guys get interviews. Jerry Sloan ranked #2.
http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/ ... s-clippers
Best fits for the Clippers job
Del Negro Out As Clippers Coach
There's usually a common thread when it comes to evaluating the most inept operations in sports. When you think of failed franchises in our professional leagues, you think of chaos: constant turnover, bad trades, poor draft picks, etc.
But there is typically one source of continuity, and it's at the very top. Since Donald Sterling purchased the Clippers in the early '80s, his franchise has enjoyed four winning seasons in more than three decades. Now Sterling's club has punctuated its best-ever season by parting ways with its coach, Vinny Del Negro.
It's widely assumed that the primary reason for the departure is that free-agent superstar point guard Chris Paul willed it to be so. We'll leave that for others to debate, because no one is going to own up to that scenario publicly. However, if it's true, the stage is set for a true Clippers-like scenario, which would be to fire its most successful coach in attempt to appease a star player, and then lose the star player anyway. We'll see how that unfolds this summer.
The reasons for Del Negro's departure do matter, however, because if Paul and/or fellow star Blake Griffin were on board with the move, then it only goes to follow they'll be consulted about Del Negro's replacement. A personal rapport with Los Angeles' key duo is just one of several possible traits of the Clippers' next coach. Others include:
All things being equal, you'd think such a star-powered, veteran roster would demand a pedigreed coach with a track record of success.
The Clippers ranked ninth in defensive efficiency and to get to championship level, that's got to improve, so a defensive coach might be favored.
That said, the Clippers finished fourth in offense in Del Negro's last two seasons, so you don't want to bring in a guy who is going to mess up the attack.
L.A. played very slow in terms of possessions per game even though it was so explosive in the open floor and so adept at forcing turnovers, so perhaps a coach who pushes the pace might be in order.
With all that in mind, here is an off-the-cuff ranking of Clippers coaching candidates, with the list being compiled from names already mentioned on the rumor mill, plus some of the other top coaching candidates on the market.
- Mike Malone
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesIs Jerry Sloan the right fit for Los Angeles?
Malone was an assistant to Mark Jackson in Golden State this past season and previously had a good relationship with Paul when they were both in New Orleans under Byron Scott. Even without Paul, Malone's work with the Warriors' improved defense had already gotten him mentioned as a candidate for several of the league's open head coaching gigs.
- Jerry Sloan
As far as I know, Paul and Griffin don't know Sloan from John Wooden, though Paul used to regularly get his butt beat in head-to-head matchups with Deron Williams in New Orleans-Utah games. Sloan is a name-brand coach whose system is conducive to a being built around a pick-and-roll combination like Paul and Griffin. His teams have also generally played at a good but moderate pace and when he's had the talent, his defenses have been strong.
- Kelvin Sampson
The former college coach at Oklahoma and Indiana is a hot name on the coaching carousel these days but Griffin came after his days with the Sooners, so there's no tie-in there. However, Sampson's OU teams played rugged defense, as did the Bucks teams for which he served as an assistant under Scott Skiles. In Houston, Sampson learned about the wonders of efficiency and pace, which will serve him well in future jobs.
- Lionel Hollins
Hollins has proven himself to be a fine coach, which the Clippers saw firsthand in the first round after Hollins led the adjustments that helped Memphis overcome a 21-point Game 1 defeat and knock out Los Angeles. Hollins' contract is up after this season, which is why his name keeps coming up, but the farther the Grizzlies advance in the postseason, the more unlikely it seems he'd leave.
- Brian Shaw
Shaw will be coaching somebody next season after years as a reputation as one of the league's top assistants. The only problem is that if Shaw wants to use any semblance of the triangle offense that he helped Phil Jackson teach with the Lakers, it's not going to play well with Paul.
- Alvin Gentry
David Liam Kyle/Getty ImagesByron Scott had success with Chris Paul during their time in New Orleans.
Gentry reportedly has an existing relationship with Paul, but he's coached four teams now and feels like a retread. He's only been out of the first round once and all but two of his squads have finished 19th or worse in defensive efficiency.
- Byron Scott
It's now been a decade since Scott coached the Nets to back-to-back Eastern Conference titles, but he was the man in charge when Paul enjoyed his and the franchise's best season in New Orleans with a second-round appearance in 2007-08.
- Stan Van Gundy
Van Gundy is an excellent coach who will get another shot when he's ready, but for the time being, he's reportedly not interesting in coaching in 2013-14. That's kind of a snag.
- Mark Jackson
Jackson's angling for an extension in Golden State, and it's hard to imagine he'd leave, or that the Warriors would let him. However, Jackson moved around a lot as a player and would presumably enjoy the limelight of Los Angeles. His kumbayah approach might be just what the Clippers need.
- Scott Skiles
Or maybe they need a taskmaster like Skiles, who is rumored to be at the forefront of the Nets' coaching search. Skiles has a proven placebo effect on team defense when he takes a job, and it takes two or three years to wear off. The Clippers will take that.
- Quin Snyder
The former Mizzou coach gets more and more buzz regarding open jobs, though his old Duke teammate Danny Ferry may snatch him up for the Hawks. Way back in his Tiger days, Snyder coached an inverted offense. Not inside outside, but inverted -- Mizzou regularly posted more turnovers than assists during his tenure. After that job ended somewhat unceremoniously, Snyder paid his dues, learning the pro game as a D-League coach, an NBA assistant and even coached a year in Russia. It would be interesting see what the former boy wonder has learned all these years later.
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- Nate McMillan
McMillan merits mention because his name has clout in coaching circles, but he's the wrong guy for the Clippers' gig. He's always been more of an offensive coach than a defensive one, despite his reputation. He's just led teams that played at a snail's pace. McMillan is too risk averse for this group.
- Jeff Van Gundy
The other Van Gundy is a proven defensive coach and a brand name who engenders a lot of respect around the league, but it's been a while since he's graced the sidelines. He did tell USA Today back in January that he might start listening to offers this summer. He's a heck of an announcer, though.
- Phil Jackson
Unless Jackson is a pathological liar, he's not going to coach the Clippers. And as with Shaw, Jackson's system might not be the best fit for the Clippers' personnel anyway. Jackson has a knack for only taking jobs at which he can succeed. It's a great skill to have.