The Clippers will probably kick the tires on some high-profile heads coaching candidates after the season is over, but Steve Weinman at D-League Digest has a different idea:
The 2009-10 Clippers sit 18th in the NBA in pace, and there hasn’t been much to show for playing below the league average tempo seeing as the Clips rank 25th and 17th in offensive and defensive efficiency respectively and are less than comfortably perched in the standings at 21-28.
This is a team with Baron Davis running the point. The same Baron Davis who is at his best when he has the keys to play freewheeling, fast-break basketball, the same Baron Davis who played a key role in making the Nellieball system go to the tune of a playoff upset in 2007 and then 48 wins in 2007-08 in Golden State. MacKinnon’s go-go-go style that has the Stampede averaging 104.3 possessions per game would have Davis at his most fun to watch, if not his most effective as well.
It’s hard to imagine sophomore off-guard Eric Gordon would be too disappointed about the chance to take that many more shots per game. Marcus Camby played in George Karl’s uptempo system in Denver. Ricky Davis never minds the chance to gun a little bit. Perhaps getting up and down the floor would give DeAndre Jordan a chance to utilize his freakish athleticism in a way we haven’t seen yet.
Two disclaimers: One, I mean no disrespect to Kim Hughes, who has a playing, scouting and assistant coaching background, and I wish him the best of luck with this opportunity. Two, I’m also aware that neither MacKinnon’s success level nor the full extent of his tempo would necessarily translate any more directly to the NBA than do the skills of many D-League players. Three, I’m not even completely sure on how D-League coaches’ contracts work and whether considering MacKinnon would have been logistically possible for the Clips (still looking into that for my own edification).
But Bob MacKinnon’s players love playing for him and bust their tails on a regular basis. He has sent three players to the NBA this season alone and has somehow kept his team above the .500 mark in the face of constant roster juggling due to call-ups and injuries. And his team is incredibly fun to watch.
Given the Clippers’ personnel and the fact that they don’t have a whole lot to lose at this point, it sure would have been intriguing to see Coach Mac at the helm.