Saturday, May 12, 2018

Beating LeBron

Speculation on who might get the Raptors head coaching job. A focus on who has actually beaten LeBron in the playoffs.

Dwane Casey, who was just fired, was an assistant with Dallas when they beat LeBron and the Miami Heat in the 2011 finals.

Mike Budenholzer was an assistant to Gregg Popovich at San Antonio for 17 years, including four NBA championships. They beat the Cavaliers with LeBron for the championship in 2007--a long time ago. They lost to LeBron and Miami in the finals in 2013, and beat them in the finals in 2014. Budenholzer went to Atlanta after the 2013 season. Budenholzer's Atlanta team was swept by the Cavaliers in the playoffs in 2015, while being given credit for "limiting" LeBron to about 30 points. They were swept again in 2016.

Becky Hammon has been an assistant to Popovich at San Antonio for three seasons--not the greatest seasons for this team. There seems to be an agreement that there is no better school for a coach than being an assistant to Popovich. There may be a cool factor in naming a woman who played in the WNBA. She has been endorsed by at least one great player, Pau Gasol, who points out that he has helped to overcome the prejudice against European players in the NBA. Photos are a bit comical: a fairly short woman in heels, looking up to talk to NBA players.

Stan Van Gundy is getting old. The main positive item that pops for him is that when he coached the Orlando Magic, they defeated LeBron and Miami in the playoffs in 2009.

Nick Nurse and Jerry Stackhouse are both in the Raptors organization. Nurse has worked as assistant to Casey, and may suffer from the association; Stackhouse has been a successful head coach, and coach of the year, one level down. He was a notoriously tough player, and the thinking may be that the Raptors need some toughness.

The Raptors don't want a re-building year, giving a coach lots of chances to prove himself or herself. They want to have some confidence they can beat the best teams in the playoffs.

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