When a team is completely remade just 15 months after winning a championship, some wonder if the head coach could soon be on the chopping block.
There is no need to worry about that with Rick Carlisle. As he begins his second four-year term with the Dallas Mavericks as head coach, he is the perfect man for this job, one that will consist of finding a way to mesh a roster with five new projected rotation players and three rookies.
Carlisle has the tools to make it work with this new team, one that has a completely new backcourt, as well as a new starting center. His reputation as a players’ coach will help this squad gel quicker than the average new-look team.
When you compare him to the other coaches of the Dirk Nowitzki era, Carlisle has the perfect mix of qualities. He knows when to push the buttons of certain players, as well as encourage them. He also mixes in his on-court strategies admirably.
Don Nelson was a great coach but did not nearly focus enough on defense to get his Mavs teams close to competing for a title. To this day, he is still known for his high-powered offenses and little-resisting defenses, as he moved that philosophy to the Golden State Warriors recently, a team that beat the Mavs in the first round of the playoffs in 2007.
Avery Johnson gained a reputation of not being the perfect players coach during his tenure with the Mavs. He often was too hard on his then-young point guard Devin Harris. He also made very bad mistakes, ones that could of been avoided with the common sense approach of Carlisle. The biggest one that comes to mind was during the 2006 Finals when Josh Howard called a timeout he couldn’t call. That resulted in two free throws for Dwayne Wade, eventually leading the Miami Heat to that win and the 2006 title. Even though Johnson had a great regular season record with the Mavs, he didn’t succeed well in the playoffs. Johnson didn’t have what it took to be a great coach at the most crucial times. One could argue that if Carlisle was coaching the 2006 team, the Mavs would have two titles. (more…)