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A few years ago, a friend suggested I make a big chart like the cops use in mob movies. All those photos, with all those lines showing the structure of relationships among networks of people.
Only instead of researching a crime family, I should chart Larry Brown and the long string of coaches who surround him.
John Kuester: One of a zillion NBA coaches with ties to Larry Brown.
(David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images)
It is, my friend suggested, a helpful way to understand many things that happen in the NBA, and would be especially helpful today.
Basketball's inventor, James Naismith, would be up there, with a line to Phog Allen who learned from the originator. Allen has a direct line to Dean Smith, who coached ... Larry Brown.
Then the chart would start to get really wide, because the list of people who coaches who have played for or worked under Brown is immense. This is only the beginning:
If you made your big board of the Brown basketball coaching family, many lines would connect Kuester and Brown:
Here's where that gets especially interesting. I know it seems like ancient history now, but Brown left the Pistons in a hail of bitterness. Brown and the Pistons reportedly severed ties after Brown betrayed the Pistons by reportedly courting a job as team president of the team Kuester is leaving, the Cleveland Cavaliers, even as the Pistons were in the 2005 Finals. (Brown then didn't get the job with the Cavaliers, and landed in New York and now Charlotte.)
Of course, that was four years ago, and the Pistons' owner Bill Davidson has since passed on. Is the reported hiring of Kuester a sign that the Pistons have mended ties with Larry Brown and his family tree of coaches? Perhaps.
Or it's a sign that it's hard to find a good coach who doesn't have ties to Brown.