Rick Carlisle was as close to a sure thing as possible when the Mavericks hired him as their head coach in 2008.
He had spent six years coaching in the NBA (with the Pistons and Pacers), won a Coach of the Year award and won 61 games in another season.
Still, he had a reputation as being cold with his players and too stubborn to adjust in the playoffs. He was far from a sure thing.
That’s just the nature of coaching.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on the Artie Lange show, as transcribed by The Dallas Morning News:
The hardest job for an owner of any professional sports team is hiring a coach. I talk to people here about the Cowboys and everybody wants to slam Jerry Jones. Hiring a head coach is harder than finding a wife. I’ve been lucky, I’ve only had three coaches in my entire 14 years.
It’s difficult to assess coaches, who often work with the same players with the same teams before being fired. A team’s success is dependent on players more than coaches, and coaches’ main contributions come behind the scenes.
But the Mavericks got the Carlisle hiring right, in part because they used the best information at their disposal. One study found Carlisle got the most out of his players, and another showed he used the most effective lineups more often than other coaches. I’m sure Cuban interviewed Carlisle too, judging the coach on subjective factors.
That background work has resulted in a highly successful partnership between Carlisle and the Mavericks, the peak being Dallas’ 2011 title. Only Gregg Popovich and Erik Spoelstra (by a few days) have been with their current team longer.
By the way, Cuban has been married since 2002 – meaning his relationship with Tiffany Stewart outdates his with Carlisle.
NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season.
The “Players Only” schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 and includes matchups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later.
Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other.
Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters.
Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program.
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.
Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.
Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.
The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.
Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.
But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.
Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.
The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.
He might get back far sooner than that.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.