Let’s be honest here: Flip Saunders isn’t the main reason the Wiz are sitting in the NBA cellar at 2-15. While he wasn’t Red Auerbach, Flip also wasn’t Gar Heard. Just a mediocre NBA coach who won when he had talent, then lost when didn’t. Now while we wait for the other shoe to drop (see Grunfeld, Ernie), let’s look at the odds for prospective Wiz coaches.
Brian Shaw, 15:1. After being passed over by the Lakers, Shaw will get a shot somewhere next season. Has the look of a long-time NBA re-tread coach. D.C. might be the first stop.
Dwight Howard’s High School Coach, 500:1. The Wizards would jump from 8 wins to 50 and he’d be proclaimed a coaching genius.
Mike Dunleavy, 55:1. He obviously needs another chance. (Feel free to insert other coaching carousel names like Paul Westphal, Sam Mitchell, Don Nelson, Mo Cheeks, etc. If Grunfeld is somehow still in charge, expect one of these guys.)
John Calipari, 5:1. There were rumors Calipari was headed to the NBA last year. The perfect scenario: Calipari wins the NCAA title, bolts out of Lexington before the NCAA comes to town, reunites with John Wall (and maybe Anthony Davis or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist), and brings along Worldwide Wes as an assistant GM. Right now it’s tough to get free agents to DC. It’s like we’re Milwaukee or Minnesota, when in reality D.C. is closer to a top five NBA city.
Calipari (and Worldwide Wes) would change things, as this generation of players loves Coach Cal. With $30 million in cap space, a star PG, the Kentucky connection, and a high draft pick, Washington would transform into a free agent hot spot. This scenario may require Leonsis to wear a Sean John sweatsuit and backwards hat, but he could pull it off (Note: I know he flamed out as an NBA coach before and I know you might need to take a shower after admitting you like the idea of bringing in Coach Cal….but really, what coach would give us more hope than Cal? And you know Jimmy Wall would stay in DC.)
Mike D’Antoni, 40:1. Yes, he’s coach of the Knicks….but the Knicks are 7-10. Some of the shine has worn off, but he’s still a big name and John Wall would flourish in the Steve Nash role. Naysayers would say the hire is too Flip-ish.
Hubie Brown, 200 to 1. Hell, maybe just bring him in for the next few months. Could one of basketball’s best teachers get through to this group? If nothing else, John Wall would be in good hands.
Ms. McGee, 750 to 1. Javale’s mom seems to know the answer to everything, right? At least Javale would be motivated.
Brad Stevens, 100:1. He’s not Calipari in terms of sexiness, but Stevens would be the next college coach I’d target. That being said, NBA players might try and bulldoze Stevens and his choir boy look.
Wes Unseld: 500 to 1. WWAPD.
Jeff Van Gundy, 35:1. You pretty much have to mention his name with any NBA opening. He’s the NBA version of Jon Gruden, minus the ring and the hair.
Gary Williams, 300:1. The court naming ceremony is tonight, so maybe Gary will grab the microphone and announce he’s found the urge to coach again. The Wiz are actually perfect for him, right? No recruiting, no academic concerns, and still within a two hour drive to the Starboard.
Rudy Tomjanovich, 50:1. A player’s coach might not be what this bunch needs, but a coach with a couple rings might be able to get their attention. Or more likely Dray would pull a Kermit Washington.
Darrell Walker, 40:1. Nobody said these were gonna be exciting. The Piston assistant/former Bullet will get some interviews this summer.
Phil Jackson, 100 to 1. Sell the Zen Master and Dwight as a package deal. “Phil, we’ll give you $15 million and you only have to coach home games. Dwight, we’ll give you a max deal, the keys to the city, a roster with John Wall and a top three pick (that’s better than anything you’ve had in Orlando), and a coach who only wins championships. Deal?” Longshot of course, but Dwight…do you really think the Nets are that much more attractive than the Wiz? John Wall, Anthony Davis, new uniforms, solid owner, Obama courtside, and more cap space to add another big name player. That sounds like an easy 50 wins to me, or make that 60 with Phil pulling the strings.
Tim Legler, 200:1. If Mark Jackson can make the jump, why not Legler? With Wizard pedigree (has that term ever been used before?) and an MBA from Wharton, Legs could become a Leonsis favorite.
Larry Brown, 75:1. D.C. is one of the few places Next Town Brown hasn’t coached. “Play the right way” would be ringing in Nick Young’s ears.
Mike Malone, 20:1. Up-and-coming assistant coach who was the subject of a bidding war between the Warriors and Lakers this offseason. Should be a head coach soon.
Bruce Pearl, 150:1. Well if Jim Tressel is really getting an NFL look, Pearl could be decent Plan D hire.
Bobby Knight, 1,000 to 1. Only if there are reality TV show cameras following the whole thing. The General vs Andray Blatche…I’m upping the odds. 50 to 1. I want to see this.