nate33 wrote:I'm reflexively skeptical of former NBA star players as coaches. My belief is that their coaching inevitably gets overrated due to nostalgia about their success as a player. In fact, it's usually the case that star players make lousy coaches because they don't know how to relate to most ordinary players who lack their elite athleticism, coordination or instincts.
I think former players can make good coaches, but it's typically the grinder role players with so-so athleticism who have had to outthink and out-scheme their opponent their entire career just to get on the floor.
The only caveat would be former star players whose NBA success was clearly and obviously due as much to their basketball IQ as their physical ability - guys like Tim Duncan, Chris Paul and Steve Nash.
Juwan Howard as a basketball player did nothing to make me believe he is one of the 30 best and brightest basketball minds on the planet, suitable to coach the NBA. I would prefer to grade him solely on his coaching success. He has done a nice job this season at Michigan, but I'd like to see his track record over a few more years before committing to him.
The thing I want most in a coach is a guy who can implement a player development plan. I want someone who is familiar with how they do it in San Antonio, Toronto or Miami, where we consistently see late draft picks steadily get better and better until they're quality starters.
Eh, I get what you're saying, but my recall about Howard may be quite a bit different than yours.
The Howard I remember wasn't a guy that was exceptionally blessed athletically or physically gifted, or somebody I would consider a star.
He built an 18 year NBA career on hard work and dedication, despite playing the majority of it out of position and at a physical disadvantage for his position.
I'll take guys like that all day long, and being part of that Heat culture he knows exactly what it takes to succeed on this level.
This piece on Howard if you haven't read yet provides some insight into how he ticks, it paints a picture quite different than the one you are painting about star players.https://www.si.com/college/2021/03/15/juwan-howard-michigan-donnie-kirksey-daily-cover
As Juwan reached his 30s, his skills and playing time declining, Jenine wanted him to retire. Donnie teased Jenine that Juwan would never walk away, that he would play as long as he could and then coach. Jenine jokes, “I wanted to kill him,” but of course Donnie was right. Juwan retired from the Heat and became an assistant coach, working for the team whose ethos most suits his own. In that role, he could handle the losses. But he got frustrated by entitled players who didn’t work hard, who did not value the game as he did. He wanted young Juwan Howards, and he wanted to be their Donnie Kirksey. Juwan and Donnie both loved basketball, of course, but a lot of people in Chicago loved basketball. Donnie loved players who took the game seriously, and Juwan was drawn to the work.
Even now, with Michigan on anybody’s short list of national-title contenders, some people don’t get it. There are whispers that assistant Phil Martelli, the longtime head coach at St. Joseph’s, does the coaching and Howard does the publicity and the recruiting (he has the nation’s No. 1 class coming in next season). There are racist undertones there: Howard, the only Black head coach in the Big Ten, surely must need a white guy to show him the way.
But anybody close to the program knows better. On most days, Howard gets up at 5:30 and makes a coffee on his Nespresso machine and adds two packets of raw sugar as Jenine makes him breakfast. It’s her chance to see him, but also her chance to make sure he consumes food before basketball consumes him. So she does it right: avocado toast on Ezekiel bread with smoked salmon and truffle oil, or his favorite, turkey sausages. He is out the door by 6:30, breakfast in hand. It is often the last thing he eats before he gets home at night; he then grabs a bite and goes back to work.
This is typical behavior for a major-college basketball coach. But it is not typical for somebody who made more than $150 million playing in the NBA. The parts of the job that people thought Howard would hate are what he loves most. He looks forward to every practice. He encourages college players with a fraction of his résumé to pause practice if they have something to teach a teammate. He likes recruiting. Sometimes, when he sees Michigan’s women’s team running through the school’s Player Development Center, he stops practice to give the head women’s coach, Kim Barnes Arico, a high-five. When Michigan needs to call a play late in the game, Howard draws it up. Juwan has told Jenine the only part of the job he really doesn’t enjoy is dealing with the media—not because he gets criticized, but because it’s repetitive.