Coaching any level of basketball is frustrating at times. Often frustrating, actually. From frantic five year old's forgetting about the concept of "dribble" and "referee," to college players taking time outs when they have no time outs. Ouch. To NBA players... being NBA players. Concepts like spacing, footwork on defense, passing, all of the fundamentals are practiced virtually every day on every level. Seven Seconds Or Less is not that much different than Twenty Four Seconds Or Less if you miss the shot.
This is still a very, very young team. The average age is 25.86, which is deceiving because the "shake," if you will, is more pronounced than that. Brandon Roy, Joel Przybilla and Travis Deiner are the lone "Peak Year" players (peak years being 25-30) then Andre (33) Marcus (35) and Juwan (37) wreck the curve worse than Billy the Pocket-protected Nerd. The Blazers have seven players 23 or younger,46% of the roster. Such a young team can be as fragile as it can be dangerous, and that usually falls on the coach to keep an even keel.
Nate is going to finish this season as the coach of the Trail Blazers, there's no big mystery there. But what comes after that? He's signed now for one year, so it's never to early to be thinking about who would be the best fit for a team seemingly on the edge of glory. Now, this obviously isn't a complete list, but it should give you an idea of what is "available." It does no good to anyone to simply stir the pot with petulant cries for Larry Brown or Rick Adleman. Might as well just try to resurrect Red Auerbach. Paul Allen may in fact be attempting this.
Dwane Casey: Would have some irony factor as he used to be Nate's assistant in Seattle. Is currently riding shotgun for Dallas Mavericks head coach, and bionic man, Rick Carlisle.Being an assistant coach isn't really a problem though if the Blazers want him.
- Jeff Van Gundy: The Uncle Fester impersonator is still on TNT every Thursday, during which time the studio tries to use as little footage of him as possible. Is very available to any team seeking a coach, but teams think he's "too" available, if you know what I mean...
Eric Musselman: He could be your guy, provided that you don't have an aversion to shellfish. Also falls into the "very available" category. His tenure with the Kings was uninspiring, leaving the Maloofs to pine for Adleman. Sound familiar?
- Avery Johnson: This name has been bandied about the BEdge for a while now. Had maybe the most cliche NBA coaching career to date. Sprung onto the scene, had a great season, then got the NBA Coaches "Kiss of Death," the Coach of the Year award.
- Lawrence Frank: Managed to survive Jason Kidd, briefly. Currently checking Craigslist every day to see if any NBA coaching jobs are hiring. The 0-16 start was bad, very bad. Good thing the Nets got rid of him before they went to 0-18, or 6-55.
Nate McMillan: Nate sometime appears to be using his coaching philosophy to test the "Irresistible Force/Immovable Object" puzzle. He pleads for his team to pick up the pace, but his plays are glacial in setting up the shot. It's efficient though, and he has a lot of new faces learning a lot of new things.
There are also coaches from the college ranks that could conceivably fit, and indeed a college coach might fit very well with the younger players on the team. Typically though NCAA coaches just don't work out in the Big Leagues, and there are many examples. A few (Larry) notable (Brown) exceptions of course.