It's time for the Bulls to search for a new head coach, and I'm sure some names of potential interviewees will be released soon. Here's a look at how some of the names who are out there have done in the past. The Bulls may or may not consider all of these guys, but it's a brief overview on everyone.
Scott has had two head coaching stints in the past. The first was with the New Jersey Nets where he took over a team that stunk and had them continue to stink for one season until the Nets traded for Jason Kidd. After which, the Nets became one of the best team's in the East and made it to the finals twice.
This is sort of a mixed accomplishment. If you support Scott, it's easy to say he made it to the finals twice, but the competition in the East was really pathetic at that point in time. At the same time, the Nets weren't clearly better than anyone else in the East, so he really did maximize his playoff success.
Surprisingly, even the Jason Kidd era nets didn't have very good offensive efficiency numbers. They won primarily on defense while playing at a moderate pace. He eventually wore out his welcome with Jason Kidd much like every other coach who's worked with Jason Kidd.
His next gig was with the New Orleans Hornets, and again, he walked into a crappy situation which got better when the team drafted superstar PG Chris Paul. I've read some people question his relationship with Paul, but Paul defended him when he was let go and didn't seem all that pleased by the move in the one interview I read about it.
The Hornets also, so far, look better under Scott than they do under which ever new nobody coach they have now though the injuries to Paul muddy the issue. Tyson Chandler also credited Scott for the revival of his game. Chandler's gone on to play much worse in Charlotte after being traded away.
How much credit you give Scott for maximizing what the Hornets had is up to you. The team at it's peak played with high defensive and offensive efficiency, but surprisingly was near the back of the NBA in pace. Scott must have mastered the "run but don't rush" theory that Vinny was aiming for.
It's recently been made a big point in the local media that Byron Scott is not a hard worker. I don't know whether that's true or not, in fact, I don't recall ever hearing that until recently, but since I've had little reason to pay attention to Byron Scott until recently that might not mean much.
Scott has worked with elite PGs in the past, he's had a high level of success with them, and he's shown he can run his offense at a variety of paces. His teams have been good defensively and have achieved the peak of reasonable success and perhaps beyond. He won the NBA coach of the year in 2007/8.
Rivers is presently coaching the Boston Celtics, but he's not under contract next season. The Celtics are his second coaching stop as he started his career with the Orlando Magic. In Orlando he won coach of the year in his first campaign for his Skilesesque performance of turning a bunch of no ones into a 41-41 team.
They added Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill in the off-season only to have Grant Hill basically be "out" for his entire contract. The Magic struggled to ever take the next step and McGrady's "can't get out of the first round" stigma appeared. Rivers, pre-McGrady, had defensive oriented teams, but the McGrady Magic played mediocre defense while having a great offense. All of the teams were among the leaders in pace.
He then became the coach of the Boston Celtics giving them an initial boost prior to presiding over their rebuilding. Rivers looked like he might be on the way out, but it looks like he and Ainge had a deal that if he helped the club tank they'd let him keep his job. That's the only way to explain some of their decisions (which their own players called out).
So you know he's willing to go to some pretty extreme lengths for management. The tanking didn't work as the Celtics fell to fifth in the Durant/Oden draft, but they managed to trade for both KG and Allen and won the NBA title the next season. Boston has been known for their defense under Rivers though much of the credit has gone to defensive coach Tom Thibodeau.
He might be available, and he won a ring and a coach of the year award. He seems pretty management friendly as he was willing to tank games to improve draft position as well. For the talent he had, I think Rivers has generally done pretty well. The McGrady Magic seemed like a disappointment, but after seeing McGrady in Houston it's hard to blame Rivers for that.
On the downsides, he's friends with Vinny Del Negro, so he may not even consider the job.
Johnson has only had one coaching gig with the Dallas Mavericks. He takes credit for developing Devin Harris ignoring the fact that Harris sucked balls while in Dallas and became a borderline star when he got the hell away from Johnson in New Jersey.
On the other hand, he took the Mavericks all the way to the finals by conquering their long time rivals the San Antonio Spurs. There, they were a potential conspiracy away from becoming the NBA champions. Outside of Bibby getting whistled for a foul for receiving a bloody nose from a Kobe elbow, I've not seen anything so ridiculous in my life.
Unfortunately for Avery, he followed it up by allowing the Mavericks to be the victims of the only 8 seed / 1 seed upset since the NBA went to a seven game series. The Mavs also went out in the first round the following year. It looked like the team was just on the way down, but it went further in the playoffs the following year under Rick Carlisle.
Avery inherited an elite offense from Don Nelson and was primarily credited for convincing the Mavericks to finally play some defense. His teams played at a slow pace. It's also worth noting that Avery played under Greg Popovich and learned to coach under Don Nelson, so he has learned a lot from some of the great coaching minds in basketball.
Jeff Van Gundy
Van Gundy's had two coaching stints in the NBA and had a pretty high talent level in both stops. He was a defensive oriented, slow paced coach both times, but the rosters he worked with influenced him in that direction. His teams typically only had mediocre offensive efficiency.
Van Gundy's worked with a high end low post oriented player in both his stops building around Yao Ming and Patrick Ewing, He has one finals appearance and coached one of only three 8 seed over 1 seed upsets in the history of the NBA while with New York, but his Houston teams never made it out of the first round.
Jeff Van Gundy's name always comes up in coaching searches, but he seems pretty happy doing TV. It would take quite a bit of money to get him out of that gig, and he's not really an ideal fit for the Bulls given his slow style of play in the past and general inexperience in creating a point guard centric offense.
Casey coached the Minnesota Timberwolves for a year and a half. The first year, the team failed to make the playoffs while in the second year he had them sitting at .500 before getting axed. The team did far worse after that. Casey's teams were a bit better defensively than offensively and ran at an average pace.
I don't really know a whole lot about Casey, he's been an assistant for a long time, and his work in Minnesota looked pretty good once you saw what came afterwards. He's certainly not a name coach, hasn't worked with a star PG in the past, and didn't have amazing success or anything, but his body of work was decent enough that he's probably worth someone giving a shot to. I'm not sure I want to be that team though.
The numbers back Mitchell as an offensive oriented coach. His teams always had solid offensive efficiency while often having fairly lousy defensive efficiency. They played at paces that went all over the board.
I've seen speculation that hiring Mitchell might help land Chris Bosh, but I don't remember Bosh being overly fond of Mitchell at the time. The Raptors fired Mitchell largely because they didn't think they could win with him and wanted to keep Chris Bosh.
He did win coach of the year in 06/07 but that had to be one of the stupidest coach of the year awards ever handed out. If Sam Mitchell's your best choice then give it to Jerry Sloan who deserves one for lifetime achievement.
Mitchell's teams weren't really all that successful, but they weren't exactly loaded with talent either, nor have the Raptors done much better after letting him go. Still, he has one winning record and one .500 record in 4 full seasons and was fired midway through his fifth. That's nothing to get excited about.
Doug's a familiar face, and he obviously has organizational ties with Jerry Reinsdorf. Would the Bulls or Collins go back down this route after what happened last time? If the friendship got in the way before, it's likely to do so again.
Collins is an extreme micromanager wanting to walk the ball up and call every play. He probably wouldn't make a particularly good fit for the roster given that. His teams were good on both ends of the floor, but it's worth noting he had absolutely elite talent to work with as he had Jordan with the Bulls and Grant Hill (back when he was a bad ass) with the Pistons.
Collins is known as a very emotional coach, the type of guy who cares too much, and wears his emotions on his sleeve. He'll go to bat for his players and protect them like a father looking out for his kids, so it seems likely a whole heck of a lot more techs would be drawn if Rose wasn't getting foul calls.
If the Bulls hire Collins then it's hard to envision the relationship lasting for more than a couple years. They obviously have enough interest that his name came up this winter as well as two summers ago.
Frank's only had one coaching job with the New Jersey which started off fairly well. In fact, until this season, I'd say he genearlly overachieved with New Jersey which never had much talent IMO. The only decent front court player he's ever worked with is Brook Lopez, and he had to deal with mentally checked-out Vince Carter for much of his career.
His teams have played good defense while being somewhat mediocre on offense. The one interesting aspect of Frank is that Devin Harris really blossomed under him. While Avery Johnson takes credit for developing Harris, it wasn't until he played under Frank that he ever did anything noteworthy.
Was it the offense? Was it simply Harris's time? Who knows, but Harris exploded and became a leader in free throw attempts in New Jersey. We'd love to see that kind of development with Rose in Chicago.
Like most available coaches, he's not an elite guy, he has some interesting poitns on his resume but plenty of downsides as well.
I'll just quote what I wrote on the Calapari rumor:
First, let me say this, I have no faith that Calapari would be a good coach in the NBA.
Now let me add this, there have been rumors floating around that if Calapari were to coach an NBA team that this team would have a very good chance of landing LeBron James.
I didn't think much of the dribble drive motion offense in college when scouting Derrick Rose, nor do I think it used Rose's strengths particularly well. However, if Calapari's agency connections are able to lure a stud free agent to Chicago, then I'm more than willing to live with him for the next few years.
Most of coaching in the NBA is having great talent, and if we Calapari gets us that talent then I'll be happy to sign him up. If he's not coming as a package deal with one of the big three then I'll pass.
I'd imagine Bulls management feels the same way. Too bad they won't know if he'll influence the free agents or not until after they've hired him.