Clyde Drexler says he wants to be a head coach in the NBA. "I'm going to coach in the NBA. I don't know where, but I am. And I'll be a good one," Drexler told the FanHouse blog over the weekend. "When I turn 50, that's what I'll be doing. The timing will be perfect."
I like Clyde Drexler. Houston Cougar basketball hasn't been the same since he was leading Phi Slama Jama down the court. And who can forget the joy of watching The Glide as the Houston Rockets won their second of two NBA titles in 1995? The guy is truly one of the great basketball players of all time.
But Clyde The Glide as a coach? I don't think so.
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While the UH basketball program has never been the same since he left to join the pros, it's still also trying to recover from his disastrous tenure as the team's head coach from 1999-2001. The team, in that time, went 19-39, and the players often looked to be not only out-talented when they were on the court, but they also appeared to be out-coached. It often appeared as the team just wasn't prepared for what was happening.
I remember hearing after he quit that he was more into playing golf than coaching, and that he left most of the work to his assistants. And listening to his TV commentary on Rockets games, it also appears that he's still not doing that much in way of preparation.
This approach to coaching doesn't really work in the NBA. While not every coach approaches the job with the intensity of Jeff Van Gundy, no coach, no team, succeeds with the lack-of-preparation approach. And just because he wants to coach doesn't mean that Drexler would be successful on the NBA level. Isaiah Thomas supposedly has the drive to coach, and he has sucked in that job. If Thomas, who has the desire, hasn't been able to pull it off, what makes Drexler think he can pull it off?
Maybe his attitude has changed since his days "coaching" the Cougars. But any NBA team that gives him an opportunity as a head coach is really taking a chance. Let him coach in the D-League first. Or work as an assistant. Let him actually prove that he wants to be a coach. Let him earn it this time.