View Full Version : Coaching Trees

11-24-2008, 01:29 PM
Pretty interesting article. A few items.

Rick Carlisle - Chuck Daly. I would have guessed that Bill Fitch was the biggest influence on Carlisle, who played for Fitch with the Celtics and started his career as an assistant to Fitch in New Jersey. However, in a Q&A with the Mavericks' Web site, Carlisle cites Daly (under whom he continued as a Nets assistant) first, followed by Larry Bird (whom he played with in Boston and coached under in Indiana) and then Fitch.

Don Nelson - Red Auerbach. Like Brown, Nelson has a style all his own. Certainly, Nellie-ball carries specific implications--incredible offenses, fast paces and lineups with little or no regard for traditional positions. If Nelson belonged in a tree, it would surely be with Auerbach. While the Celtics icon retired from the bench after Nelson's first year in Boston, it was still very much Auerbach's organization and the coaches Nelson played for (Bill Russell and Tom Heinsohn) were extensions of him.


Coaching Trees
Tracing Everyone's Lineage
by Kevin Pelton

I began thinking about coaching trees last weekend, having read a Seattle Times column that traced the lineage of the seven finalists for the Seattle Mariners' vacant managerial job filled Wednesday by former Oakland A's bench coach Don Wakamatsu. You hear a lot about coaching trees in football, a little in baseball, but very little when it comes to the NBA.

In researching this article, my tentative conclusion was that part of the reason is that coaching trees seem to have fewer common traits in the NBA than their NFL peers. In part, this might be explained by the schematic complexity of football. A Tony Dungy disciple surely coaches a "Tampa-2" defense, but few NBA defensive schemes are so uniquely distinct. Even when it comes to the aspects of the game an NBA coach can control, like pace, there's not always unanimity amongst coaching trees. Still, coaching trees and stylistic influences are an interesting way to look at the league's sideline generals.