Friday 17th May 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Nuggets Interested in Mike D’Antoni, Fred Hoiberg

mdaYes, the dream is coming true!


Melvin Hunt has done a phenomenal job replacing Brian Shaw as head coach of the Denver Nuggets, but the interim tag remains, even this side of the regular season. The Nuggets are still expected to stage an exhaustive search, and Mike D’Antoni is among their most likely candidates(!).

From Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski:

The Denver Nuggets will begin their coaching search on Thursday, a process that will include serious consideration of interim coach Melvin Hunt, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

After replacing Brian Shaw, Hunt had the Nuggets playing much better basketball, finishing a 30-52 season on a much more competitive 10-13 run.
Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly and president Josh Kroenke plan a broad search with a candidate list that will include – among others – ex-head coaches Michael Malone, Mike D’Antoni, Scott Skiles and Alvin Gentry, league sources said.

Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach David Vanterpool will be one of a handful of assistant coaches contacted about the job, sources said.

The search will include several college coaching candidates, including Florida’s Billy Donovan and Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Those of you who read me even semi-regularly know I’m all about D’Antoni going to Denver. He’s perfect for the roster and the style the Nuggets need to play. He receives a bad wrap because of his apparently insufficient defensive tactics, but he championed the offense that’s prevalent in the NBA today. He is not incompetent. Plus, defenses can sometimes be fixed by hiring the right assistants. We saw that to a certain extent in 2011-12, when Mike Woodson helped reinvent the New York Knicks’ points-prevention prowess. They were pretty good that season, and then close to average in 2012-13.

Indeed, that’s an iffy example. Mike Woodson isn’t the ideal defensive assistant. The Knicks weren’t great under his control, and the Los Angeles Clippers’ defense has actually regressed with him as an assistant. Not his fault entirely, obviously. But you get the point.

Anyway, if the Nuggets can put the right defensive minds around D’Antoni, they can overlook whatever shortcomings he may have and focus on the pros—as in the offense. Kenneth Faried would likely blossom within pick-and-rolls as something of a quasi-Amar’e Stoudemire, Ty Lawson would dish somewhere between 2 and 5 billion assists per game, and D’Antonio knows how to maximize the talent of Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, having coached them before. A center like Jusuf Nurkic could be right up his alley, too. He’s not as athletic as Dwight Howard or STAT, but he’s mobile and has shown flashes of offensive range.

If not D’Antoni, though, Hoiberg is a nice backup. His offensive system is NBA-ready, yet it doesn’t demand the execution of D’Antoni’s, which could perhaps preserve player energy on the defensive end. He, of course, is a long shot. He has a cushy gig at Iowa State and it would take a gargantuan offer to poach him, if doing so is possible at all.

That brings us back to D’Antoni. And any other candidates who pose as palatable a fit.

So, just D’Antoni then.


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