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Coaches underrated in today's NBA

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

May 10, 2004
I feel that recent comments made by Pistons coach Larry Brown may have been misread or misinterpreted by some. They were taken as a way to question Lawrence Frank's hiring as the New Jersey Nets coach. In my opinion, his remarks meant to address how wacky it is in the NBA and that the coaching carousel is spinning out of control. It's obvious that Frank has shown a great understanding of players and has done a super job taking over for Byron Scott.
Phil Jackson
Phil Jackson has a level of respect few coaches have.

On Monday morning, I had an interesting conversation on ESPN radio's Mike and Mike show (Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg) regarding the importance of coaching in the NBA.

I don't think coaching has lost any of its importance over the years…if anything it's gotten tougher. Nowadays you must handle egos and get the players to blend together. Coaches have to know X's and O's and communicate with their players. And even if you do that the NBA is so wacky that you still might lose your job.

These days guys get to the playoffs and still get the axe. Just look at what happened recently to former New Orleans Hornets' coach Tim Floyd. His team lost a seven-game playoff series and he was fired! There are coaches who win 50 games in a season and then lose their job ... are you serious?

The bottom line is, one season you can be Coach of the Year and the next year is on the unemployment line. How does that happen? How do you become a dummy so quickly? Do guys forget that much basketball in such a short time? How do you give a coach just one season to build a program up? It's flat out ridiculous.

If a coach is given a chance he can make a difference on the sidelines in the NBA. Just check out the rings on Phil Jackson's hands, baby!

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he's been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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