I was reading some of the posts in the article about defense today, and noticed that there were some comparisons between Weissâ€™s tenure and Bob Hillâ€™s regarding offensive and defensive efficiency so far this year. Some of the posts were pointing out that it is not entirely fair to judge apples against oranges (the different use of the roster between coaches). My mind began to rabbit trail on this, and it got me to thinking about coaching and our two young gun centers.
Swift and Petro didnâ€™t get much run until Bob Hill took over; since then, they have really been a great surprise. It has been eons since Seattle has had even one young center to be this excited about, let alone two of them under the legal drinking age.
The question that comes to my mind is this: does Bob Hill have the track record of working with bonafide centers in the league? How about the patience, skill and experience that will bring out the best in our guys?
Thanks to Basketball-reference.com, I took a little peek at the centers that Hill, Weiss, Nate, and George Karl have had the opportunity to work with; did they all have legitimate players to develop? Were they successful?
Nate really got the short end of the stick here. The stable of Centers under his care looks pretty dismal; Calvin Booth, Jerome James, Drobjnak, Vitale Potapenko and one year of a rather aged Patrick Ewing; nothing to write home about. Not that he wasnâ€™t able to get some run out of them, just that he never really had them young and was able to put his stamp on them. He definitely had some success with Drobbers; and J.J. had a nice playoff series and a half.
Bob Weissâ€™s stable of big men really didnâ€™t seem that great either. He did have Kevin Willis in his late 20â€™s, and used him effectively. He had Kevin Duckworth as a rookie; Frank Brickowski for a bit; a 38 year old Artis Gilmore, and a 35 year old Moses Malone (who was still playing well).
As for Coach Karlâ€¦it is amazing the level of success he has had as coach without a legitimate stud center. He has great success without any real centers of renownâ€¦unless you count Joe Barry Carroll, Ervin Johnson and Benoit Benjamin. Karl typically uses a Power forward in the pivot like he did with Sam Perkins, and Scott Williams. Does anybody remember Rich King?
Coach Hill seems to have been associated with more prominent, big name centers during his coaching stints than the others. He had a young Patrick Ewing, Bill Cartwright in his prime; Rick Smits in his prime, and David Robinson in his prime as well. Throw in a very old Moses Malone and the list is very impressive.
The fact that Bob Hill has Jack Sikma working with the bigs has got to be a benefit (credit where credit is due, this was Nateâ€™s hire). It is interesting that I canâ€™t really remember Karl, Weiss or Nate actively using an experienced big man as an assistant coach except for the one year of Sikma by Nate.
I think Bob Hillâ€™s experience and association with all star quality Centers bodes well for the development of our young pivots. Hill was the one to live or die with these guys, and the gamble is paying dividends.