The LA Clippers Should Hire a First-Time Head Coach

LA Clippers, Doc Rivers, Ty Lue (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
LA Clippers, Doc Rivers, Ty Lue (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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With Doc Rivers and the LA Clippers parting ways, the Clippers should look at bringing in a rookie head coach to lead the team.

In case you hadn’t heard, Doc Rivers isn’t the head coach of the LA Clippers anymore. Whatever your thoughts on Doc, and however we feel about his dismissal, this leads to a very tricky coaching search for the Clips.

This team has mortgaged the future to win now, so whoever comes in needs to be ready to take this team to the next level immediately. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George having the opportunity to walk after the upcoming year, the Clips don’t have much time to spend settling in to a new coach.

Despite this, I argue that the Clippers should bring in a first-time NBA head coach, rather than drawing from a list of previous coaches.

There’s a track record recently for first time head coaches taking the reins and performing well immediately. Look at all the head coaches to win a championship recently, going backward in time:

  1. Nick Nurse
  2. Steve Kerr
  3. Tyronn Lue
  4. Gregg Popovich
  5. Erik Spoelstra

That’s a lot of guys who took over having never been the head coach of an NBA team and having great success (I’m not counting Pop in that; he was a first time head coach when he was hired, but that was in the 1990s..)

The NBA has gotten better at realizing that there’s talent to be had outside of the ranks of former head coaches, and I hope that the hiring process for the Clippers reflects that.

Naturally, there will be plenty of interviews, both internal and external. Former coaches like Tyronn Lue and Mike D’Antoni will certainly be looked at. But there are so many great NBA minds out there that are waiting for there first chance, and this would pose a great opportunity.

A first time coach would be stepping into a situation where they’re expected to win quickly, but it’s hard to imagine a better superstar for a first time coach than Kawhi Leonard. The Klaw isn’t one of these guys who needs some venerated, long-respected head coach; he performed just as well under Nick Nurse as he did under Gregg Popovich.

The team has superstars, a good bench and young guys to develop. It’s the ultimate chance for a coach to show what they can do. Much will be written about all the possible head coaching candidates for the Clippers; personally, I’m really hoping that Wes Unseld, Jr. and Becky Hammon get some serious looks from the Clips.

Ty Lue seems unlikely to get the Philly job. dark. Next

Be sure to stay tuned to Clipperholics for constant coverage of the Clippers head coaching search!