Stan Van Gundy has reportedly agreed in principle to head to the Detroit Pistons as coach and president of basketball operations, which means Golden State Warriors fans now get to watch him develop Andre Drummond (who they definitely could've had) in the Eastern Conference.
Of course, as SB Nation's Tom Ziller pointed out yesterday, it might be worth taking his past tendencies into account but as far as we know that ship has sailed.
As Kings fans can attest: nothing is final with SVG until the ink is dry and proven not to be the disappearing variety.— Tom Ziller (@teamziller) May 13, 2014
Anyway, with Van Gundy gone and Steve Kerr still possibly going to New York, the Warriors could eventually be forced to start looking elsewhere. And although that includes a long list of guys, the next interviewee in line appears to be former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins.
Hollins is not exactly popular around here for obvious reasons - he got 2% of 1100+ votes in our last poll on Monday - but, based on Marcus Thompson's description of the situation, it might not be nearly the terrible situation that some fans have immediately assumed.
Golden State wants an offensive guy and Hollins definitely a defense-first candidate...But the Warriors want an advanced offensive system for Curry to lead. If you believe the scuttle, one of the reasons Memphis fired Hollins was because the new owner wanted a new-age approach (advanced stats, movement, emphasis on spacing, etc.)
To that end, I’m told Hollins is going to bring on a respected offensive mind as an assistant. No doubt, the Warriors would want to approve, but one name being linked to Hollins as an offensive-guru assistant is Paul Westphal...Another factor in Hollins’ benefit: he’ll come cheaper than Kerr and Van Gundy and he isn’t, far as I’ve heard, demanding final input on basketball decisions.
Piggybacking off of Thompson's discussion there, Tom Lorenzo's point about Hollins from our Q&A the other day might be worthy of consideration as well: the problem in Memphis was as much about a radical shift in philosophy that he feared was disruptive as it was about a general resistance to analytics. Is he old school? No question. Did he run an "old school" offense in Memphis, predicated on grit, grind, and post play? Yep. But do we know for sure there would be problems if he interviewed, knew what he was getting into, had an offensive assistant, and generally agrees with the organization's vision? No.
But I'll co-sign Thompson's point and extend it a bit: Hollins deserves a look from the Warriors because he has proven he can develop players and win in the Western Conference. To anyone saying that he'd be a lateral move because he's just like Mark Jackson, that may be true... but a) he's more experienced and knows what he's stepping into, b) has proven capable of helping a range of players develop (from Mike Conley to Tony Allen to Zach Randolph) and c) the fact that he ran an "old school" offense in Memphis doesn't exclude the possibility of him adapting (an attribute that good coaches generally have) and running an offense that fits the Warriors.
None of that is to say Hollins should be the choice - after Van Gundy, there's merit to a number of the guys the Warriors are reportedly looking into - but those questions (and others, including Thompson's point about how much input he'd want) are what interviews are for. The Warriors don't have to sit around look at media reports and quotes from a year ago trying to speculate about what might happen - they will have a chance to get a feel for whether his vision fits there, how much input he'd want, how much of a problem that Memphis situation really is in a new context, and weigh his merits against those of the other options. If they have lingering doubts, they could talk to him again - this is why you go through a hiring process and don't have coaches draw sticks for the job.
If it turns out that he's a guy they can't work with after they interview him, they'll move on. If they determine they can work with him - in whatever type of format that might be - then we'll just have to have faith that things don't suddenly go south. Maybe it would be a lateral move, but at this point the Warriors will likely be choosing from a range of lateral moves and NBA uncertainties and "lateral" means approximately 50 wins and competing for home court advantage in the playoffs when healthy.
It wouldn't be the end of the world. Really, given that coaches probably get too much of the credit and the blame, none of these candidates would be terrible if vetted.
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