Bulls insider

Why these 3 ex-Bulls could make the Steve Nash leap

/ by K.C. Johnson
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Bulls insider
USA Today

Let’s make this clear from the jump: None of these people will be the next Bulls’ coach.

Still, the unexpected news landing Thursday morning that the Brooklyn Nets hired Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash as head coach made the mind wander.

Which recent Bulls would best make the jump from playing to coaching despite, like Nash, owning no previous head coaching experience?

There is precedent for Nash’s hire. Steve Kerr, Jason Kidd, Doc Rivers, Isiah Thomas, Mark Jackson and Larry Bird all landed head coaching jobs with no previous experience.

And while Artūras Karnišovas doesn’t have these three ex-Bulls on his interview list, it’s fun to ponder the possibilities.

Scottie Pippen

The Hall of Fame forward has made noise about desiring to coach in the past. In his typically confident fashion, he has said he has no interest in being an assistant coach first.

Pippen consistently drew raves for his acumen in the triangle offense and landed on 10 All-Defensive teams. So he possesses a high basketball IQ at both ends.

His Hall of Fame credentials, not to mention his deep baritone voice, would seem to lend themselves to commanding the huddle. Sure, he might have some explaining to do about sitting out the final 1.8 seconds of a playoff game because coach Phil Jackson didn’t call a play for him.

But he could bring his six championship rings to that conversation if he wanted.

Luol Deng

The two-time All-Star forward fashioned a sturdy career from accountability, durability and reliability. He received consistent praise for taking young players under his wing, most notably Jimmy Butler. His work ethic and indefatigable spirit on the court would seemingly translate well to a grinding profession.

 

Deng is comfortable in a leadership role. His status as the face of Great Britain basketball at the 2012 London Olympics offered evidence of that.

If Tom Thibodeau hadn’t just signed up to coach the Knicks, he could even come along as Deng’s associate head coach. Such was the bond those two men shared.

Kirk Hinrich

He didn’t own the nickname “Captain Kirk” for nothing.

The son of a longtime high school coach, Hinrich always held high standing with his teammates because of his toughness and selflessness. Scott Skiles considered him a coach on the floor.

While dealing with the media — a huge requirement for today’s NBA — wouldn’t be one of his favorite tasks, Hinrich has spent his post-playing days working occasionally at a basketball academy. He trained Bucks’ draftee Donte DiVincenzo for his predraft process.

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