Tuesday, June 2, 2015

NBA Teams Want to Win, But They Don't Want to Wait

A couple of proven winning NBA coaches have already been fired this offseason.  All of the league's coaching movement was kicked off by the Thunder firing their head coach Scott Brooks.  Then the Pelicans fired Monty Williams and Tom Thibodeau was sent out of Chicago.  All of the coaches had made the playoffs this past season, besides Brooks who missed by one game.

Just yesterday the Chicago Bulls announced they have hired Fred Hoiberg.  This past year he led the Iowa State basketball program to a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  The previous year he had took a team of misfits and made them into a national title contender.  Throughout his career as the Cyclones' head coach, Hoiberg has developed an ability to mesh a wide range of talents and personalities into a winning team.  This will be a crucial skill for him to utilize at the next level if he plans to succeed in the NBA. 

Although Hoiberg may be a great coach for the Bulls, Tom Thibodeau simply did nothing wrong to get himself fired. Throughout the past few years he has made the playoffs every time, even when Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah had both gone down with injuries.

Despite being successful, Thibs was scrutinized throughout his tenure.  At many times management, players, and people close to the Bulls organization complained about him making his players practice to often and that he even played them to many minutes.  Besides that he did nothing wrong.

Well respected NBA trainer Tim S. Grover voiced his opinion on Twitter by saying,
"Thibs: won without his best player. Made role players into stars. Brought life back into declining players.  Repayment? You're fired."  
Then, ex NBA player Charles Oakley also tweeted out his opinion saying,
"I feel so sorry for the bulls fans.  The players or [are] soft. Tom T, was a great coach. U have to work and play in bball, Not work and Cry."  
Although Thibs is no longer in Chicago, he will surely get another chance with another team.  He could be a perfect fit with a young team that contains lots of potential and talent.  Teams like that would be able to benefit from his strict style and ability to develop players.

Another interesting case to look at is Monty Williams.  He brought a Pelicans team, who many expected to be a joke, all the way to the playoffs this past season.  All he had was Anthony Davis and a few other decent NBA players.  It's not his fault he went up against the Golden State Warriors in the first round.  It seems the Pelicans like what Golden State has done with their recent success though.  They have hired Alvin Gentry, who is currently and associate head coach with the Warriors.  He is known for having a talented basketball IQ on the offensive end of the floor and has helped develop some teams across the NBA throughout his tenure.  Even though Gentry is a good coach, their previous one did nothing wrong to get fired.

The same thing happened in Oklahoma City.  Scott Brooks is arguably one of the NBA's best coaches. In 2012, one of the only times he had a healthy team, he brought his young Thunder squad all the way to the Finals only to lose to LeBron and the Heat.  The next years were followed by James Harden leaving, and then Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, and Kevin Durant all getting hurt and ruining potential playoff runs.  After missing the playoffs this past season, it seemed as though next year would be time for Scott Brooks to prep his for a long awaited playoff run.  Instead, he was fired for mistakes made by the general manager and players getting hurt.

The problem is simple.  NBA teams don't want to wait to win; they demand success now and don't take failure as an option.  In some cases bringing in a new head coach may be good for a team's culture.  No longer are they "friends" with their coach, instead they are determined to prove themselves to a new coach and adapt to a new style.  Change is usually good because it helps players realize what they are truly capable of.  In other cases, some coaches are just not a good fit.  Although Tim Thibodeau won in Chicago, neither management nor the players liked him.  All in all, NBA teams are firing proven coaches for no other other reason than urgency.  A team's window to be successful is short nowadays; one year they can be a contender and the next they can miss the playoffs.  Urgency is now key in the frantic world of the NBA, and not only is shocking coaches, but also fans, players, trainers, and many others across the league.

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