Barring an unprecedented hiring, firing and run of success, the two longest active streaks of receiving Coach of the Year votes will end this season.
George Karl and Lionel Hollins have received votes each of the last four years, but each are out of work after bitter partings – Karl with the Nuggets, Hollins with the Grizzlies – last offseason. Sometimes, coaches in their position get burned out and need a break, and neither landed a job for this season.
Does Karl want to coach again? Yes.
Does Hollins? Via Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune:
“Of course,” Hollins says when asked if he’d like to return to the coaching ranks. “I miss coaching. What I miss is the teaching … the development of the team and the players. … the players working together and watching them grasp it mentally, and then have them go out and do it physically.”
Hollins publicly campaigned for the Pistons job, the only one to open during the season, so this league-wide interest shouldn’t come as a surprise. The bigger question is whether it will be reciprocated.
Right now, I’d peg just four teams as likely to change coaches this offseason:
The Pistons have already rebuffed Hollins once, and the Knicks’ job appears destined for Steve Kerr. Still, there are several other teams that could change coaches – Lakers chief among the teams that barely missed the likely list – and the field will certainly create more vacancies.
Hollins is a good coach, and he should find a landing spot, but it isn’t a given. As the NBA becomes more analytically focused, Hollins will have to become more accepting of new methods and collaborating with a front office.
He’ll have to show during interviews he’s open to that. It wouldn’t be a big shift, as most of Hollins’ principles match analytically produced strategy. Really, it seems Hollins objects to outside influence more than anything – even if he happens to agree with those other voices, though maybe not their methodology.
It’s a short bridge to cross, and I think Hollins will. He’s clearly motivated to do so.