Hear Me Out...The NBA needs a Jon Gruden-type coach
April 25, 2019
I know the NBA is powered by its superstars. That's never been a secret and it's the model that works for a league with an 82-game season and four best-of-seven playoff rounds. But I think if we threw in an eccentric coach along the lines of a Jon Gruden-type it would add to the league's entertainment value.
Now, this isn't because I'm trying to help out the NBA TV ratings. Honestly, when it comes to TV ratings, I've officially moved into the camp of who cares? TV ratings are a lot like the stock market, there are 1,000 variables that factor into the final number and no one really knows where they're going to end up. Plus, I don't own any of these teams, so the ratings have no real impact on me.
The only reason I want a Jon Gruden-esque coach in the NBA is for pure entertainment. Gruden is amusing because he's got a lot of bravado, uses more platitudes than a politician and acts as if the buck stops with him. I say acts because when things are good Gruden is front and center to soak in the praises, but the minute they go wrong he's throwing everyone under the bus. Throwing them under the bus is too nice, he just throws them under a steam roller.
Just look at when he took control of the Raiders again. He trades Khalil Mack, the league's best pass-rusher. Then when the Raiders pass-rush is, um, poop. He blames the past regime for drafting poorly. It had nothing to do with Mack not being on the team but everything to do with it being someone else's fault.
Now there are plenty of candidates to fill this role in the NBA but there's no need to go through any of them because I've got the perfect man for the job.
Richard Andrew Pitino.
The only way this is going to work is if some NBA team owner gives Rick Pitino full control as he had in Boston where we went 102-146 in four seasons. This way we get the full Pitino experience.
Pitino has already been rumored to circling the Cleveland Cavaliers job, and if this were to happen, condolences to Cavs fans but that's a win for everyone else.
Can you imagine in this day and age of NBA player empowerment, a notoriously stubborn, my way or the highway Rick Pitino butting heads with the Cavs players? He'd set that franchise back decades, there's no way they'd get any impactful free agents and they'd end up looking like some NBA G-League team.
Pitino at one time was a great coach, his time with the Knicks wasn't too bad, but hubris can take down even the best of minds. Look at his latest book "Pitino: My Story." The cover of the book tells you everything you need to know. First, "Pitino" is in all bold, red lettering and hanging just above a sternly looking Pitino. Below "Pitino" is "My Story" in possibly the smallest font you can have on a cover.
What the cover is saying is get ready to be mildly shocked and learning nothing new as I, Rick Pitino sidestep any blame.
Full disclosure, I haven't read the full book but have read enough excerpts to get the gist of it, Pitino is the leader of men and everything that happened at Louisville falls at his feet BUT he accepts no responsibility for what happened at Louisville.
I get hypocrisy like Pitino's can be annoying but I choose to enjoy it, it beats being driven mad by it. But having Pitino in the NBA, while likely to be short-lived, would be worth every penny. The amount of reaction he'd drive on Twitter on a daily basis could rival President Trump's.
So I say go for it Rick, fight your way back into the league and you'd be the perfect Jon Gruden-esque coach for the NBA.
Just stay away from my Bulls.