NBA Coach Hiring and Firing Grades




Lakers hire HC Frank Vogel: C Grade
This is not a good hire, but at least the Lakers didn't bring in Tyronn Lue to be their next head coach. Hiring Lue would've been an absolute disaster. I know he technically won a championship in Cleveland, but that was all LeBron James. Lue had absolutely nothing to do with winning a title.

Hiring Lue would've been horrible because James is no longer capable of winning a championship. James can't play defense any longer, and his offensive game will erode quickly in the coming years. The Lakers would be wise to trade him for decent value at the first opportunity. Bringing in a LeBron puppet would've been the worst thing Los Angeles could do.

That said, Frank Vogel isn't exactly a very inspiring hire either. Vogel had success in Indiana, but he did a woeful job in Orlando before taking a year off for health concerns. The Magic struggled in Vogel's final year, then went on to qualify for the playoffs the season after Vogel was fired without making any radical changes to its roster. That's a bad sign for the poorly run Lakers, but at least Vogel was brought in instead of Lue.

Comment on the other free agent signings below.

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Cavaliers hire HC John Beilein: B+ Grade
This was certainly unexpected. John Beilein has been a great coach for West Virginia and Michigan since the early part of the previous decade, but there was no buzz about him heading to the NBA. Yet, here he is, signing a 5-year contract with Cleveland.

Five seasons seems like a lot, considering that Beilein is 66. According to my Windows calculator, Beilein will be 71 when the contract expires, so forgive me for being skeptical that he'll last that long in Cleveland. Something else to consider is that coaches who have gone straight from Division I basketball to the NBA have poor track records. In the past 25 years, only Billy Donovan and Brad Stevens have established winning records with their NBA teams.

That said, I don't think that means this is a poor hire. On the contrary, Beilein is excellent at developing players, and that's exactly what the Cavaliers expect him to do with Collin Sexton, who struggled as a rookie. Beilein won't win a championship in Cleveland - he may not even make the playoffs - but he could improve Sexton and the other young players, which would set the stage for the Cavaliers to have more success under their next head coach.

Comment on the other free agent signings below.

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