After firing head Coach Luke Walton, the Lakers’ coaching search was as ridiculous as the plot of your average daytime soap opera. They played a waiting game with Monty Williams and he actually chose the Phoenix Suns over the Lakers. Next they tried to play hardball with Tyronn Lue over length of the contract as well as trying to force Jason Kidd on him as an assistant, only to have him walk away. Apparently now they’re looking into Frank Vogel.
All this is to point out that the Lakers are a mess and finding the right head coach is extraordinarily hard and in Dallas, that gets forgotten from time to time.
Frankly, under the ownership of Mark Cuban, the Mavericks have been blessed with great head coaches and assistants. Hall of Famer Don Nelson coached Dallas from 1997 to 2005. One-time NBA Coach of the year Avery Johnson spent time at the helm from 2005 to 2008. Rick Carlisle has been with Dallas for 11 seasons now and is signed for the foreseeable future.
Things haven’t been easy the last several seasons in Dallas and when things get rough, the coach is usually the first to get the blame. This past season was no different, with calls on social media questioning if Carlisle was the man to lead the team into a new era.
Given how hard it is to find the right coach to pair with NBA players, Carlisle remains the perfect fit for Dallas. Moving past the obvious consideration that he’s one of five active NBA coaches with a championship on his resume, the Mavericks need a strong, smart coach to work with two top tier talents in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.
The Mavericks are likely doing everything possible to make both players feel as part of the decision making process as possible when it comes to building the Maverick team of the future. But having an authoritative voice in the room in Carlisle to work on the basketball side of things is very important. Both players have a great deal of talent, skill, and experience despite their relatively younger ages. Those traits must be honed and Carlisle is just the coach to guide them to even greater success, given his history first as a NBA role player, and for the last few decades, as a NBA coach.
He’ll always have ticks that drive us nuts, mainly his penchant for playing veterans. But that’s what all head coaches do! I’d like to be a fly on the wall in some of the Mavericks’ discussions involving coaching decisions compared to advanced analytics, but a big part of being a coach is trusting yourself and Carlisle does not lack in confidence.
Being a head coach in the NBA is tough. Being a successful one is nearly impossible long term. The game can change nearly over night at times, as can team situation. With roster volatility along with player health and mood, a NBA head coach often has to be so many different things to different people, including his own players. We’re lucky to have Rick Carlisle. It would be wise of us to remember that when things get frustrating at some point in the NBA season.
After all, it’s a short fall to being a mess like the Lakers.