Every year there are new rookies in the league.
But I am going to talk to you about the rookie head coaches. There seems to be a fair amount of them this season and they all enter into different team situations. So I thought it would be fun to explore what might happen to them this year.
There are some good teams (Golden State and Cleveland), a bad one (Jazz) and one I am not sure about (Knicks). It is a promising year for some of these coaches and they could prove to their organizations why they should get to keep their jobs.
Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are almost a guaranteed playoff team even in the West. They have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala in the backcourt. Not to mention they got a real backup point guard in Shaun Livingston this offseason.
However, their style of play will probably look a little different than it has in the last few years under Mark Jackson.
Kerr is going to incorporate some triangle principles straight out of Phil Jackson‘s book, but he likely will not go full 90’s Bulls on us. I am going to guarantee a playoff spot for this team, but the real test is getting past the first round and specifically past one of the top-tier teams in the West.
The Warriors lost to the Clippers (in the first round) last season and the Spurs (in the semis) the season before, so some progress would be nice even if it is asking a lot from the first-timer.
David Blatt, Cleveland Cavaliers
The longtime Maccabi Tel Aviv and Euroleague coach is finally coming overseas to coach a team with LeBron James on it.
Things can only go well for him, right? You would think so anyway.
He will have to find a way to get Kyrie Irving, James and Kevin Love equal touches or as close as he can get. That is going to be his toughest job as coach. He does not have to do much X’s and O’s coaching for those three guys because they can get everyone else is line and on board with the plan.
Blatt will very much be a personality and ego manager for this team, but will need to show a firm hand so his locker room does not get out of control.
Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz
As long as Jazz fans are not really expecting to win, Snyder should be fine.
This is Snyder’s first time as a head coach in the league, but he does have experience as a coach when he was the head man in Missouri for seven years (1999-2006). He was also an assistant with the Lakers, Clippers, Hawks and CSKA Moscow. He was also in player development for the 76ers and was the head coach of the D-League’s Austin Toros, so you know he has experience teaching players to become better.
The Jazz will not win many games this season, but Snyder will be given a long leash for at least a couple years.
Derek Fisher, New York Knicks
We saw this experiment last season with Jason Kidd, going straight from playing to coaching. I think if there is one guy who could pull it off, it is Fisher.
He commands a locker room and earns respect wherever he goes. There has never been a bad word said about him and all of his teammates have loved playing with him. He will bring the same seriousness to the sideline and should hopefully be able to straighten out some of the clowns on this Knicks team. When I say that, I mostly mean J.R. Smith because that dude might actually be riding on the crazy train.
He will have help from management in Phil Jackson so it is almost a full proof plan for him to succeed right off the bat. If he does not, you can believe that Carmelo Anthony will be grumbling for something more sooner rather than later.