Let's all admit that Keith Smart did a good job coaching the Golden State Warriors this season. On the heels of Don Nelson's second tenure, Smart made the Warriors about the Warriors and not at all about him. He was a good choice during this transition time. But it is time for the Warriors to turn a corner and I just do not see Keith Smart leading this team next season.
Given the fact that a major roster turn-over is very unlikely, the Warriors do need to make some changes and bringing in an experienced, seasoned coach would be an important starting point.
So who is available and who should the Warriors bring in? Well, I'll give you my top 3 options based on the following criteria: 1. Proven winner; 2. Experience as a head coach; 3. Stable personality; and 4. Demands player respect. With that, here they are:
1. Jerry Sloan - Sloan basically captures all of the criteria in a nutshell. Sloan had a career regular-season win–loss record of 1,221–803, placing him third all-time in NBA wins. And he coached the Utah Jazz longer than any other coach in NBA history and I believe had the longest tenure of any professional coach among all major sports. He was semi-forced out of Utah because of player run-ins but if he had the energy, he could come in to Golden State and help transform this franchise instantly.
2. Jeff Van Gundy - Van Gundy would have been first if not for Sloan. 430-318 (.575 winning percentage) in nine-plus seasons as New York Knicks and Houston Rockets coach, one NBA Finals appearance. What he lacks in stature, he makes for in passion. He would get instant respect from players and would be a great 'organizational stabilizer'. Warriors could do a lot worse than Van Gundy for sure.
3. Mike Brown - Brown is widely regarded as a defensive specialist, which would certainly serve the Warriors well. He guided the Cleveland Cavs to the 2007 NBA Finals and has been honored as NBA Coach of the Year for leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a team record and league best 66 wins in 2009, and 61 wins, again a league best, in 2010. Certainly, Mike Brown knows how to handle an NBA superstar...
4. Don Nelson - He's available to coach, right?