The Charlotte Bobcats interviewed their tenth head coaching candidate this past Monday. According to the Associated Press report, the Bobcats met with Lakers assistant coach, Quin Snyder in Chicago.
Snyder is an interesting candidate. His coaching career began in 1992 where he spent one season as an NBA assistant with Los Angeles Clippers before joining Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s staff at Duke University in 1995.
He left Duke for the Missouri head coaching job in 1999, but would resign after seven seasons with Missouri due to a scandal involving NCAA violations.
In 2007, Snyder re-launched his pro basketball coaching career with the NBDL’s Austin Toros and took them to the D-League Finals in his first season. He enjoyed two more winning seasons with the club before signing with the Philadelphia 76ers to serve as an assistant under head coach Doug Collins. After one season in Philadelphia, Snyder joined new Lakers Head Coach Mike Brown and his staff last offseason.
Snyder has come a long way since leaving Missouri in 2006, but one has to wonder if he is ready to take control of the Bobcats.
Charlotte has interviewed a wide range of candidates to fill their head coaching vacancy. Snyder’s name was the most recent reported. The Bobcats have talked to some highly respected names around the league; such as Nate McMillan and Jerry Sloan. Like Snyder, they have also looked into other guys who have been working their way up through the coaching ranks. Former Bobcats assistant Stephen Silas, Pacers assistant Brian Shaw, and Magic assistant Patrick Ewing are just a couple of up and coming names Bobcats team executives have met with.
It is unknown how many different coaches the Bobcats will consider. They have kept their list of candidates private. Out of the ten prospects interviewed so far, only Patrick Ewing has been told by owner Michael Jordan that he will not be Charlotte’s next coach.
Rumors have also surfaced, but have not been confirmed, that Brian Shaw might be waiting to see what the Orlando Magic do to fill their own vacant head coaching position. Other reports indicate that Shaw is the leading man for the position with the Bobcats.
The Bobcats do however appear to be ready to begin to trim down their list of coaches. Bobcats’ Director of Operations Rod Higgins said recently via AP, that the team would hire a coach “within the next couple of weeks.”
According to further AP reports, the final crop of candidates will meet one-on-one with Owner Michael Jordan. Bobcats General Manager Rich Cho and Director of Operations Rod Higgins have been conducting the interviews thus far.
The Bobcats should probably lean toward hiring a more experienced type of candidate like Nate McMillan or Jerry Sloan. Snyder and other current assistants interviewed are all very respectable, but the Bobcats need a coach that can pilot the franchise through this difficult period.
McMillan just seems like the obvious choice for Charlotte. He has experience coaching young teams with a losing past. When he took over as Head Coach of the Portland Trail Blazers in 2005, the team was infamously referred to as the “Jail Blazers.” McMillan quickly turned Portland around in the winning column, guiding young Blazers teams to the postseason in three out of six full seasons with the team.
The Bobcats need a guy who has built a reputation of respect and has a proven record of developing young players to lead them from the sideline and in practice. McMillan is a North Carolina native and played two seasons for the NC State Wolf Pack before heading to turn professional in 1986. McMillan has demonstrated that he can endure rough situations and the Bobcats situation will certainly be no different.
Former Utah Jazz Head Coach Jerry Sloan would be the other likely contender for the job. Sloan spent 23 seasons in Utah and won a 1,000 plus games in a market that doesn’t have big name free agents lining up to play in.
However, it would be surprising if Sloan even took the job if offered. He is a Hall of Fame Head Coach and is in the same boat with Don Nelson as the only two coaches with over a 1,000 wins and no championship. Sloan will probably consider going to a team with a better chance of winning a title sooner rather than later. The Bobcats aren’t that team right now.
This month is so critical for the Bobcats future. They have the second pick in the June 28th draft and have a myriad of coaching applicants to choose from.
Making the wrong decisions now would bury the Bobcats chances of becoming a relevant team in the NBA anytime soon.