Mark Jackson was the latest former NBA player to get a head coaching job. He had been a hot name for a few jobs for some time now and seemingly had his foot in the door into the exclusive club of NBA head coaches. Jackson, like Kevin McHale of the Houston Rockets and Doug Collins of the Philadelphia 76ers, kept their names in the public thought by being on broadcast.
Meanwhile assistant coaches and former head coaches Dwayne Casey, Lawrence Frank and San Antonio’s Mike Budenholzer are still waiting their turns.
Patrick Ewing too is waiting for his turn.
Ewing has been assistant coach with the Magic for the last three years and has been very open about his desire to one day be an NBA head coach. Stan Van Gundy has been very open in his belief Ewing deserves a chance. But unlike the last few years, Ewing’s name has not even been mentioned for any of the coaching vacancies available in the NBA. There are, after all only 30 of these jobs out there.
I do not know what kind of coach Ewing is or how players respond to him. Teams have more information about assistant coaches than the fan for sure.
What I do know is the results Ewing has put on the floor. And that can be pretty clearly seen in Dwight Howard‘s maturation since Ewing took over for Mark Bryant as the Magic’s big man coach. Also feel free to look at Marcin Gortat‘s development too.
Howard has put in a lot of work to improve his game over the years. A lot of people credited his summer sessions with Hakeem Olajuwon. Olajuwon helped Howard gain more confidence in his post offense, but it was Ewing on the front lines. Ewing, as Stan Van Gundy mentioned several times throughout the year, deserves a lot more credit than he is getting for helping Howard to a career-best 26.0 PER and a second place finish in MVP voting.
Again, I do not know exactly how well Ewing does his job. I imagine he does well since he has been on staff for so long and has been mentioned as a head coaching candidate.
Even some college basketball fans are beginning to wonder if Ewing could make the transition to the college game. Those Georgetown fans who are not happy with John Thompson III’s recent results — the Hoyas have been out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament just once since Thompson took over in 2004 — seem to be open to the idea of bringing Ewing in to coach his alma mater.
I have no clue if Ewing is actually interested in doing that. It is just a suggestion floating out there and perhaps an opportunity for Ewing to get into the lead chair.
As a hypothetical, I asked Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM if Ewing would take over if Stan Van Gundy were fired mid-season. His answer? “No chance!“
Coming in and coaching this Magic team would be very difficult for a rookie head coach for sure. But that is likely another opportunity where a team bypasses Ewing.
Another summer of coaching moves and decisions is passing and Ewing seems to still be left out of the coaching club.
Photo via DayLife.com.