How good will Brian Scalabrine be as a rookie coach? Is Golden State lucky to have his services? Let's start with his playing career. Scalabrine is best known for assuming the NBA Cult Hero status from former Bull and Laker, Jack Haley. Is the White Mamba here just to pass his end-of-bench excellence to a promising young Kent Bazemore? No, as some Celtics bloggers suggest, he might just be one of the best hoops analysts anywhere.
Player-to-Coach transition: Can a retired Center break down a game plan as well as a retired Point Guard? I would argue that from the Center's vantage point, with his back to the basket on both sides of the floor, he can be a more effective floor general than a Point Guard, who is primarily concerned with setting up the offensive plays. The 2013 playoff Warriors consistently relied on their stout defense leading to fast breaks and half-court offensive plays set up with a high post screen extremely far away from the hoop near mid-court. Will this style of play continue in the regular season next year? I hope so because it creates so much space both at the 3 point line and at the rim with the proper off-ball movement.
Igoudala mentioned how appealing it is for him to play with high IQ bigs, and that our roster starts two of them. Scal should have an immediate effect on a super-smart Bogut and Lee to immediately recognize spacing mismatches from the high post and make that pass or move just a critical instant faster. This is the guy that Thibodeau brought over to play with the Bulls most likely because he understood his scheme better than any other player or possibly any coach did. When Scal retired, he was immediately offered an assistant coach position with the Bulls, but he turned them down in order to do television in Boston.
In this Chicago interview, he talks about how much he respects Coach Thibodeau. So why did he pass on that great opportunity to join him on the bench? Why is Ron Adams, Thibodeau's lead assistant, not have his contract renewed and back in Boston? Chicago's history of egotistical GMs is their loss and definitely looks like our gain. I'm going to assume that even though he had less connections here (Lacob and Erman), our franchise is a more appealing place for him to begin his coaching career.
Brian Scalabrine - "The White Mamba" Interview || 2013 || || HD || (via Homeekilla)
So, we've got Celtics continuity now with Erman and Scalabrine on hand to install a Thibodeau-style defense led by players that can execute like Bogut and Igoudala. Would Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry been able to play defense at this high of a level? Maybe that's the primary reason they're no longer with the team. Their individual defensive effort was decent in the playoffs, but can they excel in a more complicated, help-oriented scheme? We will not know that, but our new free agent additions should thrive in this system. Speights played behind the premier-passing big man Marc Gasol in Memphis, and remember, Jermaine O'Neal played two seasons in Boston replacing the White Mamba after he left for Chicago. How much will this nullify what Doc wants to do with Blake and Jordan at our toughest Pacific rival?
What's more exciting than Scal's Xs and Os knowledge is that he is easily the most entertaining personality connected to this franchise. This guy likes to inject humor and humility into every conversation. Let's face it, we have a roster full of high-character guys. This is awesome, but how important is it to talk a little trash on the court on the way to becoming the NBA's elite franchise. When Steph shimmies around the court, don't we play at an even higher level while the crowd goes up another notch? Coach Scal has seen Kevin Garnett at his highest, most nastiest level and may encourage our players to play with that level of nastiness. (Doubt that Bogut needs help in that area)
I think we have a future head coach joining our staff. He's got the ability to communicate and break down advanced hoops strategies to his players and media. I'm excited to see what type of insight he can bring to help our players continue to play with incredible poise and smarts in crunch time. I look forward to ordering his signature drink "The Big Ginger" at all the best bars around da Town. He is new to the Bay, but my hope is that he and his family plan to stay a while and enjoy a legendary ride.
In case you haven't seen the unbelievable Scallenge, here is a taste of how much fun he had in Boston taking on all kinds of challengers 1-on-1.
The Scallenge: Round 1 (via Vladimir Kunshin)