I saw a video of the Orlando Magic’s Coach Stan Van Gundy showing his team how to crossover opponents and get the ball down the court. This made me think, if all of the NBA coaches were thrown into a one-on-one tournament, who would win?
There are obviously coaches who shouldn’t enter the tourney because of health conditions or the fact they know they would be massacred such as San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, Denver’s George Karl or Memphis’s Lionel Hollins.
Then there is a group of guys who could possibly be in the tournament but don’t have any playing experience. This list would include Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau, Detroit’s Lawrence Frank, Indiana’s Frank Vogel, Los Angeles’ Mike Brown and Miami’s Erik Spoelstra.
After the weak and irrelevant players have been eliminated, we finally come down to 12 entries for this king of the sideline tourney. I split the 12 in half according to the conference, so, we have six Eastern Conference representatives and six Western Conference representatives.
In order to keep it semi-fair to the older coaches, I matched the first round up according to age. The two oldest play each other, the two coaches in the middle and then the two youngest. Round two would have three guys left in the tournament, which means one of them gets a bye. I’ll be nice once again and give the bye to the winner of the oldest match up.
Here is the king of the sideline tournament followed by the breakdown.
1st Round 2nd Round 3rdRound Final
Larry Drew SVG (BYE) SVG BS
Stan Van Gundy
Byron Scott BS BS
Scott Skiles SS
1st Round 2nd Round 3rd Round Final
Kevin McHale KM (BYE) KM KM
Nate McMillan NM NM
Vinny Del Negro MW
The King of the Sideline is: Byron Scott
In the Eastern Conference, Doc Rivers against the eventual champion is the best match up of the tournament. The reason Scott came out on top is because he is the better scorer. Doc is the better ball handler and assist man, but Scott can play decent defense to stop Doc’s lane penetration and Rivers doesn’t have anyone to dish it to.
Larry Drew could score the ball, but after seeing Van Gundy’s dribble skills and the known fact of his accurate jumper, the loud mouth on the side wins the old man match up in the first round.
Skiles could do it all for his size of 6″2 including: rebound, shoot, dribble, hustle and defend bigger opponents. I like Johnson’s game but he wouldn’t be able to match the all around versatile Skiles.
After the tough first round match up against Doc, I think the three time NBA champion would be ready for Van Gundy. They both can shoot and handle the ball, but I mentioned above, Scott could also defend and has a winning pedigree. Scott takes it, close, but takes it.
The Western Conference shook up a lot different than the Eastern Conference. Every contestant in the east bracket was a guard when they played in the NBA while the west has two guards and four forwards.
The first round match up between McHale and Corbin is an interesting one. Corbin was an athletic 6’6 small forward, but McHale was an athletic and bruising 6’11. McHale had a nice mid-range jumper, solid inside post moves and could defend. The overall deciding factor was the players both weigh 210 pounds, giving the advantage to McHale because he is 5 inches taller and wouldn’t get winded. Corbin would be huffing and puffing shortly after a few elbows from Houston’s new coach.
It was painful to put McMillan on top of Jackson but it’s only right. McMillan was an intense defender who could pound in the paint if need be. Jackson was a passing point guard who couldn’t score in the NBA after he became older and no longer had the speed to take it to the rim. McMillan’s 4 inch height advantage and superior defense would ultimately win the game. Jackson should have stayed as an announcer.
Williams vs. Del Negro is arguably the most uninteresting face off in the entire tournament. Williams wins simply because he is taller and Del Negro was never a great ball handler. Del Negro would get caught in sticky situations because of his lack of dribbling, which would lead to easy points for Williams.
McMillan’s defense would be to much for Williams so-so offensive game. McMillan would struggle on offense because Williams should be quick enough to stay in front of him, but McMillan’s grind it out mentality and many nights of watching Shawn Kemp dominate will be enough to get the victory.
The final round in the Western Conference would be the cliched offense vs. defense. In this case the three time world champion Kevin McHale would come out victorious because he could shoot over McMillan. McMillan’s defense would make it a close game, but he wouldn’t be able to score at all on McHale because both are bangers and he doesn’t have a jumper.
This means we have come to the final: Byron Scott vs. Kevin McHale
I believe David would beat Goliath. Scott can shoot from everywhere and probably still has enough speed to work his way around McHale. The taller of the two could pound it inside and get a lot of offensive boards. However, Scott wouldn’t let McHale bring the ball in the paint. Even if he did, I don’t think McHale could dribble well enough to get a shot.
In the end, Scott is the tournament champion because of his skill to create his own shot and the ability to knock down buckets from anywhere on the court. His defense will be just enough to help out his size advantage and he’ll be able to take McHale out of his comfort zone, the paint.
Scott earns the crown of the King of the Sideline.