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May 14, 2012

Nate Tibbetts, Patrick Ewing next up in Charlotte Bobcats' coaching search

               Deliberate is the key word in the Charlotte Bobcats’ coaching search; the front office isn’t under any time pressure to replace Paul Silas, so don’t expect any imminent decision.

               President of basketball operations Rod Higgins told the Observer Monday that he’s taking a “nice, slow pace’’ to make sure they consider everyone worthwhile. Part of that is about arranging interviews with coaches who just finished up, either with the close of the regular season or the end of the first round of the playoffs.

               It’s also about who might not yet be available. As Higgins put it, “our list might include guys (still) in the playoffs.’’

               The Bobcats have already interviewed Michael Malone, the lead assistant to Mark Jackson at Golden State. Higgins used one word – “impressive’’ – to describe Malone. He’s considered a defensive specialist. He was a key factor in the New Orleans Hornets improving greatly on defense two years ago, when Malone worked for Monty Williams.

               A source familiar with the search said the Bobcats are set to interview Cleveland Cavaliers assistant Nate Tibbetts today and Orlando Magic assistant Patrick Ewing later this week.

               Tibbetts has worked for Cavs coach Byron Scott since December of 2011. Most of his experience is as a head coach in the NBA’s development league. Tibbetts spent two seasons as coach of the Tulsa 66ers and two previous to that as coach of the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

               Tibbetts did impressive work in Tulsa. He produced four call-ups to NBA teams, the most in the D-League in that span. His team advanced to the finals of the D-League playoffs in one of those two seasons.

               Ewing, now an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic, is considered one of the best centers in NBA history. He was elected to the basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

               Ewing played most of his career for the New York Knicks before finishing out with the Seattle Supersonics and the Magic. He was just the 10th player in league history to reach 22,000 points and 10,000 rebounds.

               Centers rarely become NBA head coaches. About half the 30 coaches in the league are former NBA players and almost all of those played guard. The only current coach who saw the game from a big man’s perspective is the Houston Rockets’ Kevin McHale, who played mostly power forward with the Boston Celtics.

               Agent David Falk, who represented both Ewing and Bobcats owner Michael Jordan as
players, finds the lack of big men elevated to head-coaching positions strange.

               “It seems like there’s this bias that point guards make better coaches because they lead the offense,’’ said Falk, who no longer represents Ewing. “But (former Georgetown coach and NBA center) John Thompson coached Allen Iverson to be one of the best small players in NBA history.

               “It’s the strangest thing. Michael’s coach never had (head-coaching) experience and he was 6-10. And no one has a question about Phil Jackson’s success’’ with the Bulls and later the Lakers.

               Ewing has nine seasons of experience as an assistant, first with Washington under Doug Collins and then with the Magic. In Orlando he has tutored Dwight Howard, the dominant center in the NBA. Howard has improved offensively in those seasons but has never reached the rounded offensive game Ewing displayed as a pro.

               Ewing was a fine shotblocker, and obviously the Bobcats could use help with their low-post defense; they were among the worst in the NBA last season in points allowed in the lane. Also, if the Bobcats are fortunate enough to get the No. 1 pick in the draft lottery, it’s a virtual certainty they would select Kentucky big man Anthony Davis.

Posted by Observer Sports on May 14, 2012 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

Comments

They need to sign Ewing as a player for next season

Posted by: Greg | May 14, 2012 11:24:52 AM

I can't see the Bobcats signing Ewing. Not because I don't think he can be a great head coach. I think he can! Thing is, I just see this as a dangerous move for Jordan because its going to be seen by the media as him hiring another buddy. There are already too many questions about him being an owner and if he signs Ewing and he doesn't work out, the long term damage may be too much.

Posted by: Mike | May 14, 2012 11:42:55 AM

Patrick Ewing - would have to learn to be more fan friendly, if he was hired as a HC. As a player and as a coach, he refuses to interact with fans. With a last place team, Ewing and MJ both need to be seen around Charlotte promoting the Bobcats and the team events.

Posted by: Catsnmbr1Fan | May 14, 2012 12:01:34 PM

I want an experienced head coach ie MIKE D'ANTONI. NO MORE EXPERIMENTING WITH THIS TEAM

Posted by: ANGRY BOBCAT!! | May 14, 2012 12:56:00 PM

It wouldn't shock me to see us give an assistant a chance and then fire him after a few years when we don't reach that "next level".

Posted by: Cheeseburgerface | May 14, 2012 1:35:01 PM

Are you telling me they really don't have a short list?

After all we went through this year they are just getting started on this?

If there's on consistent theme -- it's "ASSISTANT".

Obviously we are getting an assistant.

Posted by: George Hanson | May 14, 2012 2:46:43 PM

I am available! I am living proof that someone from the D-League can be an NBA head coach. I think I lasted all of 1 year!

Posted by: Sam Vincent | May 14, 2012 3:10:39 PM

I am sure they alrdy know who they want but they need to make it look like they did a slow methodical process of interviewing a diverse number of coaches. This way when everybody is pissed off by their choice they can point to the process.

Posted by: TrueBBallFan | May 14, 2012 3:34:16 PM

Brian Shaw should be the next Bobcats Head Coach. He is the best available candidate, pay the man !! ( Kobe desperately wanted Shaw and was very pissed when they didnt hire him )

Posted by: Elliot | May 14, 2012 4:26:40 PM

@Elliot - Spot on. Bring in Brian Shaw! He should've had the Lakers job but their front office wanted to rid themselves of the Phil Jackson regime. I don't want to see the HC rejects like D'Antoni (have you ever see his team play defense?).

Posted by: PantherDave | May 14, 2012 4:39:34 PM

Brain Shaw is still coaching in the playoffs.

If they have a short list, how would it help them announce it? Idiotic comment.

Posted by: Billy Jack is not back | May 14, 2012 8:24:13 PM

BJ, want to take another shot at a post that makes sense?

Posted by: George Hanson | May 14, 2012 8:34:49 PM

Question #1: Does Micheal Jordan have a foc#ing clue what he is doing?

Posted by: tony | May 14, 2012 9:09:02 PM

Hey BJ - Where did anyone say he wasn't coaching in the playoffs? It's been reported by various media outlets that the Bobcats plan to interview him once the Pacers season is over. But I guess you already knew that since you don't make idiotic comments.

Posted by: PantherDave | May 14, 2012 10:09:15 PM

Tibbets is connected to cho. Why don't you say it? Cho was asst. gm at the same time Tibbets was with the thunder.They have a very close relationship. Why do you continue quoting rod higgens? Nobody respects his opinion and infact he is hated by most fans. He needs to go sit down somewhere and let cho do the talking. We know higgens is your source but be objective.

And MJ will be out of his mind to let higgins hire Ewing. He will get killed by the media again if it does not work out. Phil Jackson and Ewing have different personality. Phil is smart guy. Ewing was never a leader even when he was the best player on the team. He was never vocal. He also hated talking to the media.

Posted by: crymeariver | May 14, 2012 11:24:01 PM

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