Tuesday , Jul , 01 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

Coaching Carousel

Every off-season begins the flood of rumors on possible free agent singings and trades, but the biggest decisions teams make are often the ones that decide who will be pacing the sidelines for them.

Coaching CarouselFrom Toronto, to Philadelphia, to New Orleans, seven
coaches had lost their jobs while six of the vacancies
had been filled (at time of this article Washington
had yet to name a coach). Two of the dismissed
coaches, Paul Silas and Larry Brown, were able to
acquire new jobs. Silas now in Cleveland will be under
the microscope trying to turn that franchise around
and help Lebron James reach his full potential.The
“Big Easy” let go of a successful coach in Paul Silas
and elected to hire Tim Floyd, who you may remember as
the coach with the worst winning percentage in NBA
history from his days in Chicago. Why Hornet
management would fire a well liked well respected
coach in Silas for a proven loser in Floyd is just
another reason why this franchise always seems to get
stung.

Larry Brown moves from Philly to Central Division
champ Detroit, Rick Carlisle who was brilliant in
rebuilding the Pistons with back to back 50 win
seasons was fired due to his inability to get Detroit
to the Finals and his problems with management. Brown
is Joe Dumars hope of getting over that hump and
returning the Pistons to their glory days, despite the
fact that Larry Brown even with his impressive resume
has never led any team to an NBA title.Larry Browns’
former team, Philadelphia, went with a first time NBA
coach, Randy Ayers. A long time coach at Ohio State
and then an assistant under Brown, Ayers now will get
a crack at Iverson and the 76ers. Brown and Iverson
had many a publicized blow up from shot selection to
showing up for practice, inspite all of that the 76ers
still remained a force in the East and made it to the
NBA Finals in 2001 against Los Angeles losing the
series in 5 games. In Toronto Lenny Wilkins was sent
packing, his NBA record for wins and losses, was not
enough to help the Raptors overcome tons of injuries
and a sense of apathy from Vince Carter. Kevin O’Neill
a former Raptors assistant is now the head coach his
first try at leading a team, time will tell if he can
do the job, but a productive rookie Chris Bosh, and a
possible trade of Carter may help O’Neill along.

The hottest coaching commodity this off-season hadn’t
even coached this past season, but was a analyst for
TNT, Jeff Van Gundy. Van Gundy who in 1999 led the
Knicks to the Finals only to lose to San Antonio,
stepped down from his coaching duties in New York in
2001. Washington and Cleveland pressed hard to hire
Van Gundy but he ultimately decided on Houston, hoping
he can get Yao Ming and Steve Francis into the
playoffs which they just missed out on this past
season. Former Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich stepped
down from his duties due to his fight with cancer.

With all these moves and all the speculation about how
one coaches style may fit better with a certain team,
which may be true, it all comes down to one thing and
that’s the players performance. The coach is there to
make the players the best they can possibly be by
putting them in a position where they can most help
make the team a winner.