With Johnny Davis dumped in Orlando, and Jim O’Brien’s job in jeopardy in Philadelphia, the New York Post’s Peter Vescey wonders where the replacements are supposed to come from.
The scariest move these days is not the firing of head coach (and/or his consignor), but identifying a satisfactory substitute. Ever since anonymous Jeff Van Gundy succeeded Don Nelson at mid-season, GMs haven’t hesitated in demoting established coaches and promoting people with no pro experience on an interim basis. Now it’s as if accreditation routinely gets you disqualified from consideration.
Examine the bewildering shifts for yourself: Despite only one game of head-coaching familiarity, Herb Williams gained advancement when Lenny Wilkens got exiled; the Nuggets wasted 14 games giving Michael Cooper a tryout before hiring confirmed winner George Karl; Timberwolf president Kevin McHale had no gameplan other than to appoint himself Flip Saunders’ sideline successor … and, judging from what we’ve seen, he’s in no danger of crashing Isiah’s list of bright young coaching minds in the business; Maurice Cheeks was bounced by the lottery-bound Blazers in favor of team personnel director Kevin Prichard, who’s basically running the exact same stuff only utilizing younger players.
And, finally, in the home stretch of a tight playoff race for the last two Eastern Conference positions, Magic GM John Weisbrod has jettisoned Davis and positioned Chris Jent, a relatively raw assistant, in his place.