Oblique Strategies was the creative problem solving deck invented by Brian Eno and although it’s made its mark in the fringes of music throughout the years, it’s never been lumped into defining the 2014-15 season of NBA coaches. Until now…
The Losers of this Card – Brad Stevens, Jason Kidd, Byron Scott, Jacque Vaughn, Brett Brown,Mike Malone & Flip Saunders
The Winner of this Card – Jeff Hornacek
The Maybe of this Card – Frank Vogel
The Celtics, Bucks, Magic, Sixers, Twolves and to a lesser extent the Kings have iffy lineups. The Kings drove out Isaiah Thomas for Darren Collison and although finding players to get along with Boogie might be an issue, he’s clearly the number one option on that team and they can’t find guys to play along with him yet. The ceiling is still the floor for young teams like the Bucks, Magic, Sixers and Wolves. The Celtics are in braintrust limbo, but apparently have their PG of the future in Marcus Smart.
Frank Vogel still has David West and Roy Hibbert, but players 3-15 are a giant shrug. It’s not his fault, Paul George will be back from injury at some point, but at the most not even this year, so he has to find ways to get some wins on that team, or join the Tank Rank and try and grab an actually good point guard to set up George.
Jeff Hornacek gets this card not for his coaching, but his choices. On paper he has three guards that play almost identically, but the schemes he’s using are good and that team is back to being a fan favorite that are worth staying up for.
The Losers of this Card: Mike Budenholzer, Lionel Hollins, Brian Shaw, Stan Van Gundy, Kevin McHale, Dave Joerger, Terry Stotts, & Quin Snyder.
The Hawks, Nets, Nuggets, Pistons, Rockets, Grizzlies, Trail Blazers and Jazz are still without one particular piece to really get going. The Jazz are on the low end of this, their expectations are still low, but they just jumbled a bunch of money into wings and appear to be losing Enes Kanter to restricted free agency this summer. The Nuggets have some established stuff, but are lacking the deadshot game killer to put the game on their back and end it. Same goes for the Hawks, but they’re ascending out of that if everyone can stay healthy. The Nets are just lacking depth and scoring in droves, while teams like the Grizz, Blazers, Pistons and Rockets are just down an extra something. The Pistons are down extra something by a lot, but there’s just a piece of the team that doesn’t add up yet.
The Losers of this Card – Randy Wittman, Dwane Casey, Derek Fisher & Erik Spoelstra.
The Winners of this Card – Rick Carlisle, Steve Kerr, Tom Thibodeau & Steve Clifford.
In off season moves, the Mavericks added some great guard depth, the Bulls added probably two of the best new shooters, the Hornets added a game leader/closer in Lance Stephenson and The Dubs added some unproven yet exciting leadership by adding Steve Kerr as a coach.
Whereas the Wizards went to add to interior depth, but lost out on perimeter defense, the Raptors solidified their core, but only added a small piece while the rest of the East re-loaded. The Heat are without their former star, and signed Bosh as their max contract guy but won’t be able to make up the production of James with Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts (both of whom are already injured). And the Knicks keep Knicking, looking to impliment a system onto a bunch of players who will take iso jumpers all day.
The Loser of this Card: Scott Brooks
The Winners of this Card: Doc Rivers, David Blatt and Gregg Popovich.
Brooks had this card thrust upon him with Durant and Westbrook both going down and now he has to draw up schemes for Perry Jones to win games. The weird thing is it’s almost working, so maybe he should get bumped into the winner circle for this.
The Clips get this with Doc Rivers trying to shape the young crew into players we never thought we would see. Blake Griffin as a jump shooter and DeAndre Jordan as defensive wizard were just dreams in the eye of no one, because who would be perverse enough to think of that? Doc Rivers that’s who.
It’s hard to believe that LeBron coming back to Cleveland would be a destructive force, but you do actually have to coach him. Couple that with the numerous new moving pieces, how to get everyone touches, the pesky interior protection weakness, etc. But you still win when you have King James.
Popovich has had the Finals wins, but as the age is running on the core of Duncan, Ginobli and Parker, the fans have baited breath to see if they can finally get that back-to-back. The Spurs cool approach to pressure might have them not sweating it for a minute, but we’ll be clutching our pearls enough for the rest of them.