Thursday, July 05, 2007

Sonics Hire PJ - We talked about this in April

Today the Sonics continued the remodeling of their franchise in the ilk of the San Antonio Spurs. Last April I sat down with PJ and talked about what he has learned in San Antonio and what he can implement if he gets a head coaching job.
You should have a link to the interview. If not check you blockers on the web page.

Quick Thought on the Hire
: I like PJ. He is a very personable individual who will bring some energy to the franchise. In his last previous coaching stints at Seton Hall and in the NBA he was known as a yeller. That will not work with this team as it is currently built. However, I think it is short sighted to assume PJ has not grown or evolved from his past experiences and knowledge he gained at San Antonio. The key moments of his tenure will be when the pressure mounts does he revert back or in fact has he evolved. PJ is bright and bright people usually evolve.

On a personal note if I was an NBA team anywhere Dwane Casey would be on the top of my list. He is going to be a terrific head coach when he gets his next shot.


Brian said...

Hard to say if this is a good hire or not. When I first heard about this the other day I was upset that Casey wasn't picked for the job. Upon further reflection, it might be better off with PJ because after all the losing we are going to do over the next couple of years we'll probably be getting a new coach anyway.

It also seems as if Casey never had a chance due to his previous ties with Seattle. Clay put Lenny in his place, Jack Sikma and Detlef are gone, and so are Ray and Rashard. This team has lost all ties to Seattle. You might as well refer to them as "the Sonics" and leave out "Seattle."

I see how Presti is trying to make us into the Spurs, but if we start playing boring basketball like them, I don't know if I could continue to come out to all the games.

Goforbalance said...

It is hard to separate coach from players/situation. PJ's college record can be viewed as strong based on a 6 year period or weak based on a low career win %. But the quality of the players he had varied. Same in pros, he had vets who were pretty good and working together in Portland; he had lesser talent and lesser team buy-in in Golden State. In a sense PJ was as good a coach as his college recruiter and pro GM. Time will tell how good Presti is and how good PJ is here. But Bennett/Presti/Carlesimo claim one philosophy right now so I think they should get one evaluation based on the results. If in year 3 the 5 year plan isnt looking so good, that will be familiar here, and while the coach may take the fall first as he usually does it will be the owner/GM/players too. But owners and GMs use coaches and players and change them out as it suits their personal defense and the long long term. A different coach in year 3 or 4 may not be the plan but it is certainly an option that wouldnt surprise.

Right now it is looking like the Sonics are taking the Spurs model. But as much as the Spurs are known for their defense #1 in league on defensive efficiency 7 of 9 years) they also were top 10 on offensive efficency 8 of 9 years. Splitting hairs, when their offense was top 8 they won championships 3 of 4 years. When it wasnt they won 1 of 5 times.

Balance is the real message of the Spurs. Balance should the longterm goal here. Maybe the early emphasis will be on the defense but the offense will have to be there to win big, the stated goal.

PJ has some defensive credentials but he had some good defensive players to accomplish that, especially strong bigs. One thing to watch is fouling. Spurs are supreme on defense because they are top rate on FG shot defense and yet commit a very low number of fouls. PJ's teams in pros have been pretty good on shot defense but average to heavy on committing fouls in the process and that somewhat counteracts the good shot defense. Young players are unlikely to deliver good shot defense precisely and so I expect the rate of fouling might be high. With time you can try to teach and make adjustments. But I have felt that most of the power of teaching is felt before players get to the nba. Maybe I am wrong on that but the best defenders are usually the ones from top ncaa programs that taught good defense, I think. Green and Durant probably have a pretty good base but it will be tested at their pro positions which may be new.

A long post but intended to fit with the Locked On Sports philosphy of intelligent, researched discussion.
The new era begins.

Jeremy said...

One thing that I really like about this hire is this is the first time that I can remember since following the Sonics closely (the KC Jones era) that the GM and head coach were on the same page philosophically and with regards to the type of players they want to fill the roster.

Having that type of synergy from the top down will enable the Sonics to deliver a consistent message to the team and develop that culture that the Sonics speak of.

I'm very excited that the Sonics are focusing on defense. It's been a sorely missing message ever since Furious George left. I know that Nate wanted to implement more of a defensive style, but he didn't have the players to do so.

This continues to be a great day for Sonics fans. Summer league day 1, here we come. I haven't been this excited about hoops in years.

Locke said...
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