Saturday, June 12, 2010

Atlanta Hawks To Hire Larry Drew As Head Coach

It will likely be months before anyone can fairly judge this as a basketball decision but it should place a moratorium on questions about why the Hawks don't garner more attention locally. Whatever the long-term success of hiring Larry Drew, it's an uninspiring decision in the short term and one that only reinforces the perception that the organization fears change more than it desires a championship.

Nor would it be easy to argue that a (or the) key factor in deciding to hire Drew is not this:
The Atlanta Hawks will hire Larry Drew as their next head coach, a league source told ESPN's Ric Bucher.

Drew and the Hawks have agreed to a three-year, $5 million deal, according to the source. Those figures are slightly less than the three-year, $6.5 million deal Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau received from the Chicago Bulls. In both cases, only two years are guaranteed.
I can't find a complete list of NBA head coach salaries more current than this list from 2004-05. (UPDATE: FanHouse's NBA Coach Tracker has current salary information for more than half the league's head coaches. HT: Matt Moore) Drew will be paid less than Mike Woodson ever was and will be paid less than half of the league's estimated average head coach's salary in 2010. Spending money wisely is most important (that same Dave D'Alessandro report indicates that Scott Brooks currently makes $1.5 million a year) but the Hawks have not demonstrated either creativity or ambition in how they allocate their resources.

They couldn't imagine playing without Mike Bibby's limited skills so they're stuck paying him $12 million over the next two seasons. Being a tenured Hawk (and former second overall pick) earned Marvin Williams $37.5 million over five seasons to be the team's fifth offensive option (and only competent wing defender). The Hawks don't get value from the second round of the draft. They don't find useful undrafted free agents. There's scant evidence that the organization is even aware of the D-League's existence. It's questionable whether the ultimate decision-makers are aware of the larger basketball world. Bibby and Williams seemingly got paid as if their value was judged solely in relation to other Hawk players rather than the league* as a whole.

*Where Ramon Sessions is worth $16 million over 4 years or Matt Barnes signs a series of 1-year deals.

Larry Drew might well be the right choice to coach the Hawks. He was certainly the most familiar choice. The bulk of recent evidence suggests the primacy of that factor and that the organization intends to spend the bulk of their remaining resources on the player only they have ever considered someone around whom a successful team can be built.

1 comment:

jrauch said...

I would say this boggles my mind, but the cynical portion of me expected it.

I really think the hire was Dwane Casey, but he simply wanted too much money. Or any money really, given the structure of Larry Drew's contract.