Outside of perhaps Chris Mullin, possibly Mark Jackson, or our own Dan Devine, Brooklyn’s own Mike Dunleavy possesses one of the stronger borough-rich accents in the NBA. It was a constant reminder during the media back and forths we listened to during his time coaching the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers, and whatever surviving talking daguerreotypes that documented his playing career.
Now working for satellite radio on Sirius XM’s Off the Dribble, Dunleavy made no bones about whether or not he’d like to replace Avery Johnson (and current interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo, who he once replaced in Portland) as Brooklyn Nets head coach. From Pro Basketball Talk:
“I’m from Brooklyn. Coaching there would be a dream come true.”
Is the Nets job a premiere job in the league? “I think it is now that they’re in Brooklyn.”
“The first thing you have to do as a coach is get (Deron) shots in his comfort zone.”
This isn’t “angling.” Coaches with current jobs “angle.” Dunleavy wants a current job, he’d love to take over a team full of sound mid-range shooters that plays in the town that afforded him that accent, and he’d probably love to work for a franchise that has no bones going way into the luxury tax to acquire players.
We’re not the biggest fans of Dunleavy’s work, his offensive sets can be predictable at times and as a personnel boss he may not be the best judge in the front office. Dunleavy wouldn’t be in the front office, though. And if he can admit that all those screens he develops to free players for a baseline 19-footer would be better served freeing up a player for a corner three-pointer, this actually could be a sound payoff for both. The guy can help a team execute.
Phil Jackson — who defeated Dunleavy in the 1991 NBA Finals, the infamous 2000 Western conference finals, and the 2002 conference semis – will not be taking the Nets gig unless he goes for the full and complete money grab. Stan Van Gundy is more than content to continue to get paid by the Orlando Magic, as well he should, and wait for a better opportunity. Jeff Van Gundy may not want to leave the relative ease of the broadcasting booth in order to take the reins of a team he won’t be afforded a training camp with. Larry Brown hates to move from team to team. There aren’t a lot of famous options out there, and if we know anything about the months-old Brooklyn Nets, it’s that they love famous names.
Mike Dunleavy, despite his resume and the fact that Mike Dunleavy Jr. is currently doing fantastic work as a member of those Milwaukee Bucks, isn’t a famous name. His Q Rating is high enough, though, and he can coach. And perhaps, a few years removed from dealing with Clipper nonsense, he may have added new moves to his clipboard arsenal.
For the team’s ownership, hiring a coach in Dunleavy that could be termed a “retread” may not be a dream come true. Retreads still roll, though, and the Nets were put together to be an offense-first outfit. Dunleavy may not come with 11 rings or a press pass that says “American Broadcasting Corporation” in his briefcase, but he might be an underrated choice for a franchise that tends to rate itself far too highly.