With no end in sight to the coaching search for the LA Clippers, we take a look at a couple of names they could try to grab from the Miami Heat.
It’s day 14 of the post Doc Rivers era for the LA Clippers, and we still don’t know a ton about where the front office going to go with the next hire. We’ve heard some names tossed around early, and we can figure that the biggest names – Ty Lue, Jeff Van Gundy, etc. – are going to be in the mix.
But there haven’t been many verifiable leaks coming from the typically tight-lipped organization. One Twitter reporter might claim that Ty Lue is the clear frontrunner, while another may tell you that Mike Brown is quickly becoming the favorite. The gist of it is, we don’t know!
Now that the NBA finals are over, the LA Clippers are able to interview members of the two teams in the finals, and there are a couple of names from the Miami Heat that they should consider.
1) Dan Craig
Dan Craig is the name you’ll probably hear most when it comes to available Miami staff. Craig has been an assistant coach for the Heat since 2012, taking a one year break in the 2015-16 season to work as the head coach of their G-League (then D-League) team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Under Craig, the Skyforce set a league record by going 40-10 and winning the championship, earning him Coach of the Year honors. He would also coach the East All-Stars in the developmental league.
Dan Craig has taken the Erik Spoelstra route, starting out as a video intern for the Heat and working his way up to assistant coach. Bringing him in would likely mean an attempt at importing the much-celebrated “Heat Culture.” If Coach Craig brought in the work ethic and nose-to-the-grindstone attitude that propelled the Heat to a Finals appearance, fans of the LA Clippers would be hard pressed to complain.
While Craig is the most likely target if the Clippers do raid Miami for their next head coach, he’s not the only interesting name that the team should kick the tires on.
2) Shane Battier
Shane Battier would be a very interesting person to put on the bench or staff for the LA Clippers. The prototypical 3-and-D wing was known in the NBA as a dangerous defender, in part because of his obsession with watching film and studying numbers to find out how best to guard the greatest offensive talents.
He would study his opponents and look at their efficiencies at the different parts of the court and when they were going left vs. right, and use that to make sure he would play defense that gave him the highest chances of success.
While he has no coaching experience, and so might not be the most obvious candidate, Battier took his knowledge and belief in analytics as a player with him when retired, ultimately becoming the VP of Basketball Development and Analytics for the Miami Heat.
He has an understanding that, if you make the right play by the numbers but it doesn’t work once, that doesn’t mean you made the wrong play. Even Stephen Curry misses more threes than he makes; nobody is going to watch him miss two in a row and say “that’s it, no more shooting for Curry.”
And look, I’ve argued that we need to hire a rookie head coach, but even I recognize the risk in hiring a guy who hasn’t even been an assistant coach. If we were going to give Battier the keys to the team, we would want to make sure we put an experienced roster of assistants around him.
Or maybe this is the chance for Battier to get his feet wet as an assistant coach. Let him bring his analytical mind as an assistant to whomever the Clips select for their next head coach, and possibly get him ready for the top spot if he pans out as well as I think he will.
No matter which you prefer, the Miami Heat have long been a well-run and well-coached organization. I think the Clippers could do well by considering some of their staff in the coaching search.