How To Lose An NBA Coaching Job In Three Years Or Less


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"Why would you even think about leaving, LeBron? It's not like YOU won NBA Coach of the Year or anything..."

Mike Brown was fired as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers late Sunday night, but you probably already knew that. What you might not know, though, is that since 2009, eight of the last 10 NBA Coaches of the Year weren’t coaching the team they won Coach of the Year with within three years (thanks, Wall Street Journal). Put in another, far less confusing way: 10 guys win NBA Coach of the Year, eight are out of a job within the next three seasons.

Six coaches (Doc Rivers, who won COTY in 2000 with Orlando, Rick Carlisle (with Detroit in ’02), Avery Johnson (with Dallas in ’06), Sam Mitchell (with Toronto in ’07), Byron Scott (with New Orleans in ’08) and Mike Brown (with Cleveland in ’09) were fired. And two, Hubie Brown (with Memphis in '04) and Larry Brown (with Philadelphia in ‘01), resigned. As for the remaining two lucky job holders? Gregg Popovich is still with the Spurs, the team he won Coach of the Year with in 2003, while Mike D’Antoni, who won Coach of the Year with Phoenix in 2005, left for New York in 2008.

We’re not saying the award is cursed or anything. Still, maybe Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks, who won the 2010 NBA Coach of the Year award, would do well to watch his back over these next few seasons. As Scott plots out his coaching goals, we offer some tips on some things that worked – and some things that didn’t – from your fellow NBA Coach of the Year brethren.

DO: Win an NBA title (or three) and dance at the subsequent championship parade(s). And when we say dance, we mean dance just like this (see: Popovich, Gregg in ’03, ’05 and ’07).

DON’T: Hold the best record in the NBA for two straight years. That’s a sure-fire ticket to chop city (see: Mike, Brown and the 2008-09 and 2009-10 Cleveland Cavaliers). And for that matter, don’t match the most playoff appearances (five) in franchise history or turn in the highest winning percentage in team history.

DO: Implement the Hack-a-Shaq strategy of defense whenever possible. Even if it’s within the first five seconds of a game (see: Popovich, Gregg and this youtube clip).

DON’T: Accept any invitations to coach the Western Conference All-Star team (see: Scott, Byron in 2008 and Johnson, Avery in 2006). You know the saying: First step, the Western Conference All-Star team bench, next step, the NBA coaches unemployment line.

DO: Try to accomplish everything in seven seconds or less (see: D’Antoni, Mike and the 2005-06 Phoenix Suns).

DON’T: Lead your team to its first division title in franchise history, and then sign a four-year contract (see: Mitchell, Sam and the 2006-07 Toronto Raptors).

DO: Bring Steve Nash to your team (see: D’Antoni, Mike, Nash, Steve and the 2004-05 Phoenix Suns).

DON’T: Be the fastest coach to reach 50 wins, the fastest coach to reach 100 wins, or the fastest coach to reach 150 wins (see: Johnson, Avery and the 2005-06 and 2006-07 Dallas Mavericks).

DO: Have an awesome mustache (see: D’Antoni, Mike and his upper lip).

Hope that helps, coach Brooks.