Atlanta's front office knew there was work to do following an underachieving season capped off with an unceremonious playoff exit. Team owner Tony Ressler said the organization had been complacent and everyone had to improve.
After assistant coach Chris Jent was hired to serve on the Los Angeles Lakers coaching staff, the organization's off-season to-do list became more daunting. Below are ten coaches that could not only fill Jent's role but perhaps a larger role should the situation arise where they need it.
10. Earl Watson
Earl Watson's time as a head coach in Phoenix was a struggle. During his tenure, the team went 33-85, and he was let go just three games into the 2017-18 season. But that shouldn't completely diminish what Watson brings to the table. The former NBA point guard has ample experience in player development and would make a fine assistant coach. Watson is currently working under Nick Nurse's staff in Toronto.
Head coaching record: 33-85
9. Dave Joerger
Dave Joerger is only 48 years old and has spent more than half his life coaching basketball. Joerger has experience in the G League and the NBA as both an assistant and head coach. After a disappointing end to his tenure in Sacramento in 2020, Joerger has spent the last two seasons serving under Doc Rivers in Philadelphia.
Head coaching career record: 245-247
8. Brian Shaw
Despite being a three-time NBA Champion, Brian Shaw has only received one shot at a head coaching gig. That was with the Denver Nuggets from 2013-2015, and it did not go well. However, the former combo guard has a strong resume as an assistant coach. Shaw could easily fill the role of the associate head coach and, if things go awry, an even more important role. Shaw currently works on Ty Lue's coaching staff in Los Angeles.
Head coaching record: 56-85
7. Larry Drew
Let's party like it's 2011. Larry Drew was the Hawks head coach from 2010-2013. Every season, the team finished with a record above .500 and a playoff appearance. Following his time in Atlanta, Drew served as head coach in Milwaukee and Cleveland. He has served as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers since 2020.
Head coaching record: 162-226
6. David Fizdale
David Fizdale served as an assistant coach in Atlanta from 2004-2008. From there, he spent eight years learning under Erik Spoelstra in Miami. Unfortunately, his time as a head coach in Memphis and New York didn't pan out. Fizdale spent last season as an assistant coach under Frank Vogel, but when the Lakers front office cleaned house, Fizadale was let go. Atlanta's front office should seriously consider bringing Fizdale back.
Head coaching record: 71-134
5. Scott Brooks
Scott Brooks has been on an NBA coaching staff every year since 2003. The former point guard won the 2010 Coach of the Year Award and coached in the 2012 NBA Finals. Brooks last stop as a head coach was with the Washington Wizards, where he had mixed results. He spent last season as an assistant in Portland under Chauncey Billups.
Head coaching record: 521-414
4. James Borrego
James Borrego has been on an NBA coaching staff every season since 2003. The 44-year-old has served two stints under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio and spent the last four seasons as the head coach in Charlotte. Borrego could not get the Hornets into playoffs, but he finished his final season with a record of 43-39. I fully expect a team to bring the veteran coach on as an assistant this off-season.
Head coaching record: 148-183
3. Sam Cassell
After a storybook career, Sam Cassell immediately picked up the clipboard. The three-time NBA champion has worked as an assistant coach for 13 seasons, the last eight of which under Doc Rivers. The former All-Star point guard is well overdue for a promotion. Cassell would make a great right-hand man and potential successor to Nate McMillan.
2. Frank Vogel
If Frank Vogel doesn't find a head coaching job this off-season, then Atlanta's front office must pursue the veteran coach. Not only did Vogel help lead the Lakers through their most tumultuous season, but it ended in a championship. Additionally, Vogel is known for his defensive knowledge and has a proven track record of managing superstars' egos.
Head coaching record: 431-389
1. Quin Snyder
Quin Snyder is part of the legendary Mike Budenholzer 2013 coaching staff. If, for some reason, Snyder doesn't get hired as a head coach in the next few weeks, then he's got to be Atlanta's number one choice to fill the void left by Chris Jent. Head coach Nate McMillan could greatly benefit from having such a strong right-hand man.
Head coaching record: 372-264
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