Poll time: Pick your Hawks’ coach (I’m going with Johnson)

Avery Johnson awaits the polling results for the next Hawks' coach.

Avery Johnson awaits the polling results for the next Hawks' coach.

The Hawks — seemingly the only NBA team looking for a head coach that has not been linked to a rumor involving Phil Jackson, Tom Izzo or Jeff Van Gundy — appear close to making a decision on Mike Woodson’s replacement.

The good news is it will not be Bob Weiss. The Hawks and Rick Sund (in Seattle) both made that mistake before.

Who's your first choice as Hawks' next coach?

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But here is your question of the day: Could you be happy with any of these four potential coaches? I’m listing the four, in my personal order of preference. I’m also posting a poll and I’m interested in both your vote and your feedback. All of this assumes that Sund has not been stashing some secret candidate in a basement, unknown to anybody with a blog or a Twitter account.

♦ Avery Johnson: He also is a candidate in New Jersey, and is the only true proven head coach of the four, with a .735 winning percentage (194-70) in Dallas. The Mavericks reached the NBA finals in his second postseason (2005-06). When they lost in the first round the next two years, Johnson lost his job. But Rick Carlisle’s inability to do much better as his successor (one playoff round win in two seasons) speaks volumes about the flaws on the roster. Johnson, known as the “Floor General” in his playing days, was a point guard as a player and probably could help the development of Jeff Teague, who played little under Woodson.

♦ Larry Drew: He probably would not be a popular choice with the public because of a perception that, since he coached under Woodson, he would be a Woodson clone. Not the case. Drew is liked and — here’s the key — respected by players. Drew would bring more discipline and structure than Woodson, a higher level of accountability and more creativity on offense. Obviously there are no guarantees when somebody moves over one seat from the assistant’s to the head coach’s chair. But the one advantage Drew has over any candidate is he has been with the team and therefore is familiar with the problems on the court and in the locker room. There have been several cases where a team fired the head coach and promoted the assistant and it worked out, but here’s one the most extreme one: Chicago Bulls fired Doug Collins and promoted Phil Jackson.

Dwane Casey: He’s the only candidate other than Avery with NBA head coaching experience. By all accounts, he got a raw deal in Minnesota, getting fired by then-general manager Kevin McHale after going 53-69 in a season and a half (20-20 in year two when the ax fell). Every T-Wolves coach who has followed Casey has flopped: Randy Wittman (38-105), McHale (20-43) and Kurt Rambis (15-67). Casey, currently an assistant in Dallas, has been clamoring for this job. He’s also familiar with the problems in the Hawks’ locker room. He’s a smart guy and a good guy. Just not sure if he’s the right guy.

Mark Jackson: He was a terrific player and entertaining as a TV analyst. But he has never been a coach at any level in any capacity. Everybody wants to talk about how Larry Bird (147-67) pulled it off. Nobody wants to talk about Quinn Buckner (13-69 after being hired by Sund in Dallas). (Bird also had at least been in the Boston Celtics’ front office.) I’m sure we can fund a lot of examples on both sides, but here’s the real question: Do you feel comfortable entrusting a veteran team that couldn’t get over the second-round playoff hump to a novice?

So there are the four.  What do you think?

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131 comments Add your comment

JMar

June 7th, 2010
10:11 am

NOTA. Ty Corbin. Not that he’s in consideration. My second preference would be any of the three not named Jackson.

Jeff Schultz

June 7th, 2010
10:14 am

JMar — Good call on Corbin. I’m surprised the Hawks didn’t talk to him (as far as we know). I like anybody who studies under Jerry Sloan.

JC

June 7th, 2010
10:14 am

Johnson would be ideal, and more open to parody!

JC

June 7th, 2010
10:18 am

In the fun-loving, Dwight-Howard-impersonating-Van-Gundy sort of way

F-105 Thunderchief

June 7th, 2010
10:19 am

Tyrone Corbin

Tremaine

June 7th, 2010
10:29 am

The next level for the hawks should be a championship. Avery Johnson has won a title so he knows what it take to get there. Also he would be a good influence on Teague.

Jerry West

June 7th, 2010
10:30 am

Of this group, I’m taking Avery. Corbin intrigues me, and I wish some attempt had been made at Thibodeau. Got a feeling it ends up being Casey though.

Beast from the East

June 7th, 2010
10:30 am

I’d love to see Doc Rivers, mentioned in Bradley’s column. But of the 4 you have listed I would have to say Avery Johnson by a large margin.

Reggie

June 7th, 2010
10:32 am

Jeff

If Avery were to get the Hawks job. Wouldn’t you be worried about how things ended with him in Dallas. He is known as a coach that lacks creativity on offense similar to Mike Woodson

TONE

June 7th, 2010
10:32 am

I see you are leaving the door open for my sources to be right by mentioning a secret candidate in the basement . word has is that coach julian king Head coach TC williams is putting his staff together while all this speculation is going on , his top assistant will be Mike Washington current head coach of Oak Harbor high school in Oak harbor Washington State not D.C. Mr washington a fairly new high school head coach is an offensive genius and he was a 5th through the 10th grade teammate of Julian king , my sources also claim that Aubrey Brown a retired science teacher and middle school coach will be another assistant for coach king , Mr Brown coached both King and Washington in the 5th and 6th grade in south georgia. Mark Jackson has also been mentioned but its because he was a teammate of Julian kings at Temple under John Chaney
never doubt your waitress

Tucker T

June 7th, 2010
10:34 am

You make a good case for Johnson. The problem is that the rich Russian guy in New Jersey can pay whatever Johnson wants if he decides that Johnson is the guy. Would the Hawks be able to go dollar for dollar with Drago?

allan in texas

June 7th, 2010
10:35 am

Avery,Avery,Avery!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Benjamin

June 7th, 2010
10:38 am

My thing is this:

With due respect to both Drew and Casey, I am tired of seeing the Hawks skimp on coaches. I really do think that Casey could be a better head coach than even Avery, but Avery’s got a proven track record as a head man at this level, which beats Atlanta’s previous M.O. of bringing in guys like Lon Kruger, Mike Woodson, and Terry Stotts.

Avery’s a good coach and, as you’ve said in your blurb re: him, was a guy whose flaws may have been reduced a little after he left, as his successor in Dallas couldn’t get more out of what he had. And Carlisle’s not a bad coach. The situation in Dallas seems to extend beyond the suit on the bench.

I like Casey. I like Drew all right. I don’t think that Mark Jackson is what we need, considering he’s got zero coaching experience…

I want Avery of those options.

GT Alum

June 7th, 2010
10:40 am

Yeah, if Thibodeau, Corbin and possibly Doc are available, I’m not sure why the Hawks haven’t talked to them (at least as far as we know). I’d put any of them ahead of anyone in this group not named Johnson, and Rivers would of course be my top candidate.

Brandon

June 7th, 2010
10:49 am

Im worried about the whole Avery Johnson wanting a say in personel which is reportedly the reason he was not a finalist for the New Orleans Job. I like Casey out of this groop. He had a roster that lacked talent but still managed a .500 win percentage in year 2 his replacement had more games and less wins and the next head coach struggled as well. With the Hawks talent Casey would have a legitimate chance to be successful even if Joe Johnson leaves.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

June 7th, 2010
10:50 am

Hasn’t Thibodeua already taken the chicago job? I thought he would be a better hire than jackon and possibility johnson too

Jeff Schultz

June 7th, 2010
10:53 am

Beast from the East — I’d love to see Rivers too, but looks like he’s going to take some time off after this season (if he’s not coaching Celtics).

Jeff Schultz

June 7th, 2010
10:53 am

Reggie — I would be more worried about Avery if Carlisle had done more with that team.

Jeff Schultz

June 7th, 2010
10:54 am

Tone — Thanks. I’ll jump on that story right away. Right after the Easter Bunny is named general manager.

GT Alum

June 7th, 2010
10:55 am

Actually, let me re-phrase. I understand why they wouldn’t have talked to Thibodeau or Doc, but I don’t know why they wouldn’t wait another week or two to do so.

Jeff Schultz

June 7th, 2010
10:55 am

Tucker T — “Would” and “Could” are two different questions. I don’t think Hawks owners have any desire to get into a bidding war.

Jeff Schultz

June 7th, 2010
10:57 am

South Ga Dawg — Yes, Thibodeau took the Bulls job.

TONE

June 7th, 2010
10:59 am

The easter bunny! good one , hey but King does have more coaching experience than mark jackson so I am writing in 1 vote for King

Time

June 7th, 2010
11:00 am

For the love of god, would the Hawks please interview Bill Laimbeer. Imagine Laimbeers gritty tough guy style imparted into players like Josh and Al. Guys would always have to give 100 percent or open themselves up to “I had women play harder than that” criticism. Or they’d just be fearful that Laimbeer would slap them around.

Under Laimbeer you could be pretty sure the team would never roll over like it did at the end of the Woodson era.

GT Alum

June 7th, 2010
11:02 am

JS, I’ve been trying to say the same thing about the criticism of Johnson not winning in the playoffs with Dallas. That team has supposedly been on the verge for years, but has never broken through. Everyone was saying how loaded and dangerous they were this year, but then they went down in the first round to the “old and decrepit” Spurs. As you said in the article, if Dallas hasn’t won as it should, at this point, that’s got to mean there’s issues with the core of that roster.

JC

June 7th, 2010
11:10 am

Tucker, hopefully the Russian will be wary of hiring Avery and recreating the team his American doppleganger Mark Cuban made in Dallas. They’ve already got Harris, Hassell and a lanky 7-foot foreigner who can shoot way better than he can post up (Yi).

Glenn

June 7th, 2010
11:11 am

I think we should just bite the bullet & scrounge up the 12,000,001 dollars a year it will take to get Phil Jackson . I would be willing to attend three games a year if we did that . All those other jokers are just reachers . Avery Johnson will want personnel say . Sounds kinda iffy . Really wish we could get someone proven .

Ted Striker

June 7th, 2010
11:14 am

None of the above! Bob Knight! He needs to get suspended by David Stern so he can go to his grave happy.

Mr. Phil

June 7th, 2010
11:14 am

Going with Avery here, but not exactly thrilled about it. In fact, I can not think of a name I would be thrilled to hear as coach (RIP John Wooden). I would probably feel the same about every name on the list (one is as good as another) except Mark Jackson. That would be the only obvious mistake here, even though I jokingly made the case for him myself a few weeks back.

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Word

June 7th, 2010
11:17 am

Not that I am interested but any word on what Woodsons doing? Job Hunting or just chillaxing while his eyebrows grow back?

NC Braves Fan

June 7th, 2010
11:17 am

My guess is the Hawks will go with the candidate they feel that Joe Johnson might want to play for. Is that a fair assumption Jeff and if so, who might that be at this point?

Carter

June 7th, 2010
11:18 am

No Avery, he was HANDED a great team and what—NOTHING
B. Scott–my last recall he made it to the FINALS twice!!!! Proven Coach and have gotten the MOST out of ALL his players. B. Scott will bring value and experience to this young team. He will CHECK J. Smith, and Maximize his talents. Hawks need a coach that believes in playing and developing players during the season so that those plyers(Teague, Morris, Collins) know their roles and contribute to the team.

We needed to change the speed of the game; we need defense on J. Nelson but our lack of coaching and making changing during the game, Jeff Teague SAT!!!!! Young Legs, Can shot, Lighting fast, not to mention gritty—–Jeff Teague

My point is we need a coach who know the importance of all his players and use them to the better of the team. Not a coach who say this league is to fast for him, he is not ready, excuses because you played FAVORITES!!!!!!!!!!

B. Scott I like a lot, simple put he can coach and its on his resume.

Mark Jackson does break the game down to a science. HMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmm
He did play, and was a great point guard, in New York a tough city to play for and survived.

HawkKingBibby

June 7th, 2010
11:22 am

I wish Tyrone Corbin was in this mix. Maybe he wants to stay in Utah since he will have that job in a few years?

Jesse

June 7th, 2010
11:24 am

I’d go with fresh and new. Jackson would be out to prove himself. He was a great PG and those are the kinds that make good coaches. He was a better PG than Avery Johnson, so that means something….

Deemark

June 7th, 2010
11:24 am

If had to choose out of the four, it would definitely have to be Avery johnson, with Larry Drew a close second. But if we could wait a couple of weeks,I would love for us to make a strong run at Doc Rivers. Also, it’s not too late to talk t Tyrone Corbin. Any guy learning from the likes of a Jerry Sloan has to know how to coach and instill discipline within a team, and we need discipline on this team more than anything(Josh Smith).

Ron E.

June 7th, 2010
11:30 am

If these are the top 4 choices on Sund’s list, he hasn’t made much of an effort to find a coach that can lead the Hawks to a championship as soon as this upcoming season or else he has been giving a strict salary limit for the next coach by ownership. Of the choices listed I like Casey best. I can’t have faith in Drew after all the years he has sat next to Woody. Johnson’s last few years in Dallas don’t give me confidence in his ability to take the Hawks beyond the second round. Let some rebuilding team give Jackson his on-the-job-training.

JC

June 7th, 2010
11:32 am

Glenn, maybe Avery wanting personnel say isn’t such a bad thing, as long as it’s related to players. Lord knows ASG needs an advocate on the inside to spend what it takes to build a winning team. Sund is far too shrewd to suggest going over the cap; that’s why ASG hired him. But if Avery shows success with the team, then says “I need semi-big-name-free-agent-player-x to make it to the next level,” ASG would be more likely to respond than if Woodson had suggested it.

Ramon

June 7th, 2010
11:36 am

The Hawks did a phone interview with Tyrone Corbin.

Clyde

June 7th, 2010
11:41 am

Mark Jackson

JC

June 7th, 2010
11:41 am

Also for the record, Larry Drew will make a fine head coach somewhere, someday. He’s a solid coach, commands respect from his players and has the good PG mentality of Avery, Jackson and Rivers. I just don’t think he can be differentiated enough from the Woodson-led teams right now that he should get the job.

TJL

June 7th, 2010
11:48 am

how come byron scott has not been mentioned at all?

Paul Hewitt

June 7th, 2010
11:51 am

As I’ve said before I can coach both. We can have doubleheaders at the thriller dome. We both run the same offense now.

ZEKE

June 7th, 2010
11:56 am

WHAT ABOUT ME
hello hall of famer here and i am a short interstate drive away !!!!!!!
make the call

Kenbud

June 7th, 2010
12:01 pm

People LIKE Mark Jackson. His personality, his grit, his NBA knowledge and understanding of players.

That’s why he’s in second. Should be in first.

Not Drinking the Kool - Aid

June 7th, 2010
12:03 pm

Avery Johnson is definitely the guy. Why would any coach not want some personnel input into a playoff team trying to take the next step? Especially for his own job security. As Bill Parcells said, “If I’m going to cook a meal, I definitely want to be the one buying the groceries for that meal.” Also, the Hawks are a team that has not had a true center for the past few years and not a lot of depth and player developement. I would hope the next coach would want some personnel say. I don’t believe Avery wants absolute power in Atlanta or else why give him a second or third interview. Byron Scott has not been mentioned because all the rumors out of New Orleans say that he wore out his welcome with the players in N.O. B. Scott now has a rep. for being not player friendly. A bad match for most young up and coming teams. Just say no to Bill Laimbeer not enough NBA coaching experience, and WNBA experience is not NBA experience – Two different games. The Hawks should entertain Jeff Van Gundy and Lawrence Franks, I also like Ty Corbin under Sloan, Corbin has the experience to make a good coach.

Lebron James

June 7th, 2010
12:04 pm

Logic says Avery Johnson, but I get this weird feeling Casey may be the man for the job.

S Tony

June 7th, 2010
12:06 pm

I like the idea of promoting the lead assistant. He knows the roster. He knows all of their strengts and weaknesses. He knows what’s worked and what hasn’t worked in the past few seasons and probably knows how to fix it.
Do we have Earvin Johnson, Michael Jordan, or Tim Duncan here? NO, but the most successful NBA head coaches over the past 30 years were either promoted from being the lead assistant or were already in the organization when they got their first NBA head coaching gigs.
See Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, and Gregg Popovich.
My vote goes to Mr Drew.

Jeff Schultz

June 7th, 2010
12:07 pm

GT Alum — Thanks.

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