P.J. Carlesimo will be Sonics' next head coach

The San Antonio Express-News is reporting tonight what we all widely assumed would happen when Clay Bennett hired Sam Presti as GM: That P.J. Carlesimo will be the next head coach of the SuperSonics.

You know what? I like the move.

While the city (rightly) has sentimental ties to Dwayne Casey, if the organization was looking for a guy to implement the San Antonio philosophy up here, who better to get than a guy who has been an assistant coach in San Antonio for five seasons? Besides, what did Casey do in Minnesota that has inspired you to believe he'd do anything much different as the head man up here?

And I don't view this as the typical retread situation. This guy was a heck of a coach at Seton Hall, and didn't do a half bad job in his three seasons in Portland, where he averaged 45.6 wins and was chased out of town mostly because the Blazers never could get out of the first round of the playoffs. It was that debacle in Golden State that did him in, but, really -- name a coach not named Don Nelson who has had success in the Bay Area in the last 30 years. Better yet, name a coach that didn't have a problem with Latrell Sprewell.

I think Carlesimo, who has been saddled with a bit of unfair criticism, could end up being a great hire. He's going to bring a defense-first mentality and also is a creative offensive mind. He's learned under one of the best in Gregg Popovich, and rather than hanging our hats on some unproven assistant who might or might not be able to handle an NBA team, we get a guy who was a coach for six years and has had some time to reflect on what might not have gone right the first time around and hopefully learn from it.

Then again, isn't that kind of what we all said about Bob Hill? Let's hope coming from a winning organization makes the difference for Carlesimo.


Anonymous said...

Another interesting point- The Sonics are either "the last" or "close to last" organization to fill their coaching positions, so don't be surprised if Dwayne Casey is sold on becoming the top assistant. He has been a tremendous assistant coach for us in the past, and it would allow him to stay directly involved in the league while staying close to home.

P.J. would never leave a championship team to become an assistant, but how about Casey?... I'm sure there is some fire to be back in the saddle, and he may be willing to sit on the bench for a little while?

So, for all the "Do Something to Show the Community that You Want the Sonics to Stay Here" people... even offering an assistant position to Casey could be viewed as a positive, regardless if Casey takes it.

Nuss said...

I could care less if Casey is here or not, and I think the sooner people get past the notion that who they hire as head coach has some sort of bearing on whether the team stays, the better.

It's really not that big of a deal. What is a big deal is winning. Would Casey be an asset? Sure. But on the floor, where it really matters -- not in terms of some sort of ridiculous PR boost.

People in Seattle didn't love Lou Piniella because he's Lou. They loved him because the team won while he was here. When was the last time you heard "Mr. Mariner" Alvin Davis get the kind of reception Junior, Edgar or Buhner got? People love their teams -- and the people involved -- because they win. Period. It's why all these "You Gotta Love These Guys" campaigns worked when the team is winning, and I almost fall over hysterically laughing when I see the big pictures on the side of Safeco with "WILLIE!" and "RAUL!" plastered on them.

Forget about Casey. Focus on winning.

Anonymous said...

Hey Nuss, what do you think about the leaving of Lenny Wilkens? Should this tell us something? Does it even matter? Jack Sikma left as well. I'm not sure if divorcing the old Sonic ties is a good thing or a bad thing at this point. Maybe it is just time to move on. Next thing you know, they'll have a different name, and maybe a different town.

Your Thoughts . . .


Nuss said...

Lenny's leaving doesn't surprise me, nor does it bother me. The guy came across like a bit of a buffoon during his "tenure" this time around.

I was listening to Mitch in the Morning when he "announced" he was going to be president of the team -- he seriously accidentally let it slip, and Bennett was pissed -- then watched as he pretty much did nothing about hiring a GM and coach. Also not a good idea to ignore your boss's wishes when he wants you to talk to someone (Presti) about a job.

By the time he was demoted to Head Lampshade Buyer, the writing was on the wall.

I don't think it's good or bad. I think Lenny pretty much screwed it up for himself, and seriously tarnished his legacy in the process.