The Charlotte Bobcats have narrowed their coaching search to three candidates Jerry Sloan, Quin Snyder and Brian Shaw.
If Im the Bobcats, I end the search and hire Shaw. If they dont, somebody else probably Orlando will. Orlando has to hire a general manager first, so the Bobcats have a head start.
Charlotte shouldnt hire Shaw because its afraid that it will lose him. Charlotte should hire Shaw because hes the best candidate for the job.
I like Sloan. I liked him as a player and I dont care that hes 70. Comparing him to former Charlotte coach Larry Brown, simply because they are old, makes no sense. Based on his unceasing and public criticism of his players, Brown did not want to coach the Bobcats. Sloan does.
Snyder might be a fine head coach, but how would anybody know? The last time the Bobcats attempted the unconventional they hired Sam Vincent. The Vincent era, which lasted a season, was not successful.
I spent time around Snyder when he played point guard for Duke. Hes affable and bright and he knows basketball.
But what did Snyder, 45, accomplish at Missouri, in the minor leagues or in his current job as a Los Angeles Lakers assistant that suggests he is ready to be an NBA head coach? What do the Bobcats see?
His Duke pedigree wont work against him. Bobcats owner and North Carolina graduate Michael Jordan wouldnt let a college rivalry get in the way of an essential hire. Snyders resume works against him.
Shaw, 46, is impressive. He played in the NBA. He played 15 seasons in the NBA and Europe. He played four seasons for Phil Jackson and coached seven seasons under Jackson. He won three championships as a Lakers player and two as a Lakers assistant.
Kobe Bryant campaigned for Shaw to succeed Jackson this season after Jackson walked. But ownership had soured on Jackson, and Shaw and Jackson were, they believed, entwined. The 2010-11 season ended with Los Angeles being swept by Dallas. So they swept the team of Jacksons successors.
Shaw headed across the country to Indiana and became Frank Vogels associate head coach. If you watched the Pacers you know how good Vogel is and you know he had help.
Shaw, like Jackson, is a proponent of the triangle offense, and who other than Jackson has made the triangle work? But any successful coach adapts and adjusts.
Why would Shaw take the job? Whatever luster the Bobcats could offer ended when they lost draft rights to Anthony Davis.
Even if Charlotte rookies Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo improve markedly, and even if the Bobcats choose the right player with the second pick (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist), they will remain one of the NBAs worst teams.
Charlotte has to find a coach who can teach his players and reach his players and put them in position to improve. The Bobcats likely will be sub-.500 for several seasons, and the absence of success will wear on any coach.
How patient, at 70, will Sloan be? A lot of men his age are screaming out the window at kids who park in front of their house. Sloans role will be to cruise the sidelines, watch loss after loss and find a way to win before he turns 75.
The disadvantage to being 70: urgency. Dont you want to win now?
Sloan is fine. Shaw, who has never been a head coach but who has a resume that suggests hes spent his career preparing to be, is better.
But wait. Shaw used to play for Orlando. Odds are that the Magic will try to hire him. How embarrassing would it be for the Bobcats to publicly court Shaw and publicly get rejected?
It wouldnt be. Image is nothing. Mark Gottfried was not N.C. States first choice last season.
It doesnt matter who was. The Wolfpack hired the right man. Thats what matters.
Shaw is the right man for Charlotte.
Despite the Bobcats record last season, I believe Jordan remains a hard man for even a talented coach such as Shaw to turn down.
Lets find out.