As a coach in the amateur ranks, I've had the opportunity to coach great teams and some let's just say, not so competitive teams. So when we either won or lost was it ever about me? What is the coaching effect? Obviously the younger the players the more effect I've had. I've taken some previously poorly coached kids and turned their following seasons around. However the older and more polished they get skill wise, I noticed my effects were greatly reduced. At the collegiate level, I can assess the talent and easily predict what kind of season we will have and I believe there's very little the coaching staff can do about it. What I mean is that yes I can get them to play their best and elevate their performance, but we all knew that we weren't preparing for the OCAA championships any time soon.
How much do NBA coaches afffect their team? How do you determine who a good coach is?
I brought up Doc Rivers as an example. Straight from being a Canadian TV analyst to coaching ranks. I thought he was an awful strategist based soley on stuff he said on TV, but he took the Magic to above .500 for the first few years until a horrible 1-10 start in 03 got him fired. Surprisingly he hooked up with the Celts and took them too a .400 and .293 season. Then bingo-bango-boingo 07-08, a 66-16 record and an NBA championship! Doc is Doc and I'm sure no one will ever confuse him for Red Auerbach, but obviously adding two impact players made all the difference in the world.
Other examples such as another highly touted young guy in Larry Frank. He's had a steadily decreasing winning percentage, and looks to be worse than ever this year. His fault?
I feel badly for a guy like Randy Wittman who started his career pre Lebron in Clevland than took a sucker's job in Minnesota. The lack of talent has killed his career as a coach. Where you take your job is so much more important, and I think Smitch was smart not to take that Wolves job. Compare that to Stan Van Gundy whose so far picked the right team to coach twice. Is Stan Van Jeremy really that great a coach? We saw how many mistakes he made during last years finals, but the team was still there.
Lets look at some records of coaches getting fired and their replacements.
Golden State's a good (or bad depending how you look at it) place to start:
99-00 PJ the choker Carlesimo (6-21), Garry St. Jean (13-42), 00-01 Cowens (17-65), 02 Winters (13-46), 02-04 Musselman (38-44,37-45), 04-06 Montegomery (34-38, 34-48), 06-today Nellie (42-40, 48-34, 29-53)
And if you think your team sucks, aside from one good season in 06-07 it's been aweful. Since 1995 they've had 2 seasons above .500 with a revolving door of coaches.
Knicks: Chaney (.451 and 384), Wilkens (.435), Williams (.372), Brown (.280), Thomas (.400 then .280) D'antoni (.390). Marginal statistical differences since 2001
What about mid season changes?
Phoenix last year: Porter .540 then Gentry .580
Raps: Smitch, back to back .500 (41-41, then 8-9) then Triano (.385) Why was Smitch fired?!?
Not all switches didn't pan out last year. Philly went from Mo Cheeks (.391) to Tony DiLeo (.542). But how much of that was because of schedule and injury?
Anyways, at the end of the day there have only been 317 coaches to date, and yes there have been some aweful ones (I'm looking at you PJ, Michael Curry, Leo Hamilton) but I don't think you can totally base it on just record alone.