Monday, June 6, 2011

Golden State Warriors: Mike Budenholzer and the Top 5 Coaching Candidates Remaining

It seems as though the Golden State Warriors are in no rush to hire the next head coach of their new and improved franchise. Owner Joe Lacob has come forward and said that the NBA Draft date of June 23 is not the deadline for a new coach, although that seems to be the deadline for every other team without a current leader.

The soap opera that is the Warriors' coaching job took another twist this last week when Gregg Popovich's 14-year assistant in San Antonio, Mike Budenholzer, was interviewed by Lacob for the Golden State position.

To date, only two candidates have been interviewed by Lacob, which is supposed to mean something. Those two candidates are ESPN talking head Mark Jackson and Spurs assistant coach Budenholzer, who are perceived to be the two front-runners for the job.

The scenario took another twist when Lacob said not long ago that he would prefer a first-year head coach. That would narrow down the field to Brian Shaw, Budenholzer and Jackson, right?

Odds are the head coaching hoopla in Golden State will not stop until the end of the NBA Finals, in which case Lacob can go and interview Dallas Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey.

Here are the top five coaching candidates in what appears to be the leaderboard for the next Warriors head coach.

5. Lawrence Frank

Frank has yet to interviewed by Lacob, which seems to be the deciding factor in this job candidacy.

He is also not a first-year head coach, which is another characteristic that seems to be a deciding factor.

Frank's resume does not lie, however.

He has experience coaching the New Jersey Nets in their elite days with Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson, but the 0-16 start in 2009 may sink him for many job openings.

Frank is a smart coach that loves the X's and O's of the game. He could help the Warriors by knowing how to coach the run-and-gun style of play that could be resurrected with Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry in the backcourt.

4. Brian Shaw

As much as Shaw's coaching hype rose since the Los Angeles Lakers job opened and closed last month, it sure has fallen hard.

There have not been many rumors of Shaw to a certain team or even Shaw to the Warriors, for that matter.

Still, he was Phil Jackson's assistant in L.A. and that means the world to people in basketball.

Shaw would be a first-year head coach, which Lacob prefers, but why has he not personally interviewed him then?

I cannot help but think Jerry West's recent hiring has something to do with that.

3. Dwane Casey

As I said before, the Warriors will be holding off on seriously talking to Casey until he is done with the NBA Finals, as many teams are.

Casey is a candidate for the Toronto Raptors' job, as well.

The assistant to Rick Carlisle in Dallas has had one head coaching stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 2005-06, finishing with a one and a half season record of 53-69.

Casey boasts a sort of military style of coaching with an emphasis on defense, something the Warriors could use a healthy dose of in 2011-12.

Whether the Warriors are seriously intrigued by Casey will not be found out until after the NBA Finals, though, which is set to end anytime between June 9 and 14.

2. Mike Budenholzer

The newest candidate in the Warriors coaching saga may be the new leading candidate.

Reports are that Budenholzer was interviewed by Lacob the other day. He is one of only two candidates to do that.

Budenholzer has no head coaching experience, but what he does have is the blessing of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in the form of a 14-year coaching bond in San Antonio.

Popovich, like Phil Jackson, is the creme de la creme of head coaches in the NBA, which is why any association with either one of them is high praise.

Because of the interview with Lacob, Budenholzer is said to be one of two front-runners for the job in Golden State.

1. Mark Jackson

The man that coined the phrase "Mama, there goes that man" is said to be the leading candidate for the Warriors head coach.

Why not?

By the way he talks on ESPN, I am sure Jackson gives one impressive interview.

Again, Jackson is one of two candidates to get an interview with Lacob.

He would be a first-year head coach, as well as getting one of the first official interviews with Lacob, and those two assets may nudge him just ahead of Budenholzer for the proverbial clubhouse lead.

As far as when the Warriors will finally choose their next head coach, expect it to be somewhere between the end of the NBA Finals and the start of the NBA Draft on June 23. But as far as I am concerned, these five candidates are the only ones being considered for the job, and only three of them actually have a shot.

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