Monday, May 23, 2011

Golden State Warriors: Mike Brown and the Best Coaching Fits in Golden State

For once, the Golden State Warriors are one of the bigger stories in the NBA these days. Sure, they cannot compete with the NBA Playoffs, but the recent flurry of coaching candidates that have been interviewed with the team and the news of Jerry West joining the front office has the Warriors being a hot commodity these days.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob is making all the right moves.

One thing is for sure, Lacob wants a big name as head coach of the Warriors next season. For too many years, the Warriors have been swept under the rug because of less than high-profile coaching and players. Even last year, the Warriors had their first chance at a big name coach, and they decided on Keith Smart. A less than expected season then occurred.

It is obvious that Lacob wants a high profile coach and, sooner or later, high profile players to go with that high profile coach. Jerry West's move to Golden State mean just that. He is a big name in the basketball community and Lacob hopes he can attract big name players with that big name executive.

But before the Warriors get those high profile players, they need that high profile coach.

The reason the person that fills this Warriors head coaching position will be hired will have a lot to do with how recognizable his name is. It is the first step to Lacob's scheme of moving the Warriors up in the basketball ranks with high-profile names.

5. Kevin McHale

The big name is there, for sure.

The legendary power forward, who played for 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics, has been recently interviewed by the Warriors and seems to be the front-runner for the Houston Rockets head coaching position, as well.

But McHale is a risk, if that.

Sure, he was a great player in his day, but McHale, as a coach or in any position other than on the court with the ball in his hands, has not had much success.

He stepped down as VP of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves after he and others had seemed to run that team into the ground. McHale became head coach and was not brought back after serving that brief head coaching stint in 2008-09.

Because of his risk, the Warriors would be smart not to take him on.

The name is there and he is a coach with great knowledge for the game, but his track record is what it is....risky.

4. Dwane Casey

The sexiness of the name is not there, but Casey is sought after by several teams for being one of the best assistant coaches in the NBA.

He is currently the assistant coach under Rick Carlisle for the Dallas Mavericks, and has been interviewed twice for the Philadelphia 76ers head coaching position.

He has had one stint as a head coach. He led the Timberwolves to a 33-49 record in 2005.

Not the track record Lacob may want, but Casey is a being sought after for something, right?

Two things stand out about Casey to NBA teams: He is a defensive-minded coach, and a disciplinarian.

There will be no rough-housing going on in whatever locker room Casey runs.

I am not sure that is what the Warriors need right now, though. Especially from a coach that has not been impressive as a head coach.

How that would sit with Monta Ellis is another deal.

But the defense he brings is much needed in Golden State. The problem is they just had a defensive-minded coach with little experience in Keith Smart. How did that work out?

3. Brian Shaw

The Los Angeles Lakers' assistant coach is the new, young hot commodity in NBA coaching. He is attractive to teams because he has learned from the best, and the best is Phil Jackson.

Plus, he has already received support from Kobe Bryant for the Lakers' head coaching vacancy, which means a lot.

But Shaw is one of those "hit or miss" coaches.

Do we even know what Shaw would bring to the Warriors? What does he specialize in, other than he had a good career as a player in the NBA?

It would be Shaw's first stint as head coach of an NBA team, and do the Warriors really want their team to become an experiment?

Sure, there is no one better to learn from than Phil Jackson, but there are more sure things in head coaching than Brian Shaw.

2. Lawrence Frank

Here is Lacob's Boston man.

Frank has served as assistant coach for the Boston Celtics for the last year after coaching the New Jersey Nets for six fulls seasons.

Frank's success in New Jersey is what is drawing teams to him. He had a streak of four straight playoff appearances in his first four seasons with the Nets before an 0-16 start to the 2009-10 season shelved him for good.

Frank is known for how smart he is, rather than his experience in the NBA, as many others are. The prototypical basketball nerd that found his way into NBA coaching, Frank adjusts to the teams he coaches.

With the Nets, he coached his fast, high-powered offense to several playoff appearances. In Golden State, he can do the same.

Sure, Don Nelson tried it for years, and it was successful for one of those years.

Frank is a gamble as he would most likely lead the Warriors right back into the high-octane offense that draws fans to the arena just as they were getting out of "Nelly ball."

But Frank is one of the more accomplished coaches available right now, and the Warriors could do worse than hire him as head coach.

1. Mike Brown

This is the man the Warriors need to hire as their next head coach.

He fits all the criteria that Lacob and the Warriors want and need.

He is a big name coach, after taking the Cleveland Cavaliers to playoff appearance after playoff appearance. Plus, he has ways of pleasing big name athletes like Lebron James, as he could do with Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry.

Most of all, Brown preaches defense, which is something the Warriors got a taste of with Keith Smart, but could really dive into with Brown.

He is a coach that could change the image of this team, while making them better, and teaching Ellis, Curry and Lee how to work together and elevate their games to the next level.

With the Warriors, Brown takes this team from being two to three years from the playoffs, to one to two years.

That is something the Warriors and their fans can appreciate.

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