Tom Thibodeau has made his way onto the New Jersey Nets’ short list of prospective coaches for next season. (New York Daily News)
Saying he is still in the “very preliminary” stages of finding the next head coach of the Nets, team president Rod Thorn acknowledged Monday he has a list of candidates that includes college and unemployed NBA coaches.
He also said he would like to have a coach in place by the draft on June 24, when the Nets will begin rebuilding a team that went 12-70 this past season.
“You’d like to have some input from your coach,” Thorn said on a conference call with reporters. “And what kind of coach you end up hiring may affect the way you draft.”
Thorn hinted the Nets will likely reach out to former Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau, who is currently associate head coach to Doc Rivers in Boston.
Thibodeau is, by any measure, a defensive mastermind. No matter where he goes, his defenses never seem to be outside the NBA’s top ten. I once wrote an article wondering why Thibodeau hasn’t been given a head coaching job, but guys with no experience — like Vinny Del Negro — have.
And then Thibs showed me why, when Doc Rivers got ejected from a game with seven minutes left in the third quarter and Thibodeau was forced into head coaching duty. Thibs forgot to make a sub. No, seriously, he forgot to make a substitution. He didn’t make one sub the whole time he was coaching, which was 19 minutes long. The quintet of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins played the rest of the game and — surprise, surprise! — had no gas left at the end of the game when Atlanta seized the game’s control.
Still, I think he’d make a good head coach. If you play as good defense as Thibodeau’s teams play, you’re going to be good. Even if your starters play 48 minutes a piece.
If Thibs goes to New Jersey or anyplace else, I will wish him luck. But the Celtics will sure miss him.
(h/t to ESPNBoston)