The Los Angeles Clippers are the best remaining team in the NBA without a head coach.
Following a disappointing end to the season that saw his group get eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in the second round, Doc Rivers agreed to leave his post.
Who will fill the vacancy he left behind?
According to multiple reports, Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown has moved to the top of the list.
“Brown made a strong impression on the Clippers in his interview and is an emerging candidate with LA,” Marc Stein of the New York Times reported.
Over the course of his coaching career, Brown has won 62 percent of his games and put up an overall record of 347-216. His playoff record stands at 47-36, and he won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award in 2009.
If hired, Brown would be tasked with taking a star-laden Clippers group that struggled with chemistry issues for large portions of the year and whipping them into shape.
Is he the right man for the job? It is debatable.
On one hand, he has dealt with big personalities his whole career – both as a head coach and assistant.
With Cleveland, he was a central figure in LeBron James’ continued growth into a superstar. As the lead assistant of the Warriors, he has meshed perfectly with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
However, he has also often been accused of letting his superstars walk all over him and not using them properly. This was an indictment he faced down with James, obviously, but also during his failed stint as Phil Jackson’s successor with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Despite having Kobe Bryant and a treasure trove of big names on his roster, Brown confusingly tried to implement odd game plans and make weird adjustments that never quite jived with what the players were able to do.
What a year. https://t.co/aXauCkoKLW
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 10, 2020
To be fair to Brown, that Lakers team also dealt with a ton of injuries, but their inability to adapt to his instituted systems was definitely a failure on his part as well.
Prior to Brown wowing the Clippers during his interview, current team assistant Ty Lue was viewed as the frontrunner to be the next head coach.
“Lue, scheduled to meet with Houston early next week, was widely billed as the early favorite to succeed Doc Rivers,” Stein reported.
Jimmy Butler is built different. https://t.co/IYTGB3Pr3r
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 11, 2020
Many of the negatives often associated with Brown also apply to Lue, plus he comes with a higher price tag. It is debatable whether either one of them brings enough to the table to be considered a significant upgrade over Rivers.
That said – sometimes changing head coaches, even if it’s with someone who is not substantially better, is enough to light a fire under a squad on the edge of a title run. Lue’s championship-winning Cavaliers team is a good example of that.
With Lue’s Rockets meeting scheduled for early next week, things will likely move quickly from here. If Houston likes him, an offer will be extended – forcing the Clippers to either beat it or let him walk. And if he walks, then Brown’s hiring will become all but inevitable.