NBA Roundtable

Raptors Keep Triano As Head Coach

In Coaches Corner on May 12, 2009 at 9:43 am

USA Today reports

Jay Triano signed a three-year contract Monday to coach the Toronto Raptors, dropping the interim tag after taking over the team during the season.

Triano was promoted Dec. 3 after Sam Mitchell’s dismissal.

The Raptors went 25-40 under Triano but finished strong, going 9-4 in their final 13 games.

Colangelo sums it up nicely

“We have gone through an extensive evaluation process and have done a lot of soul-searching internally and came to the conclusion that Jay Triano was the right leader for this team as we move forward,” general manager Bryan Colangelo said.

Triano is eager

“Today it’s a great honor for me to be really rewarded by an organization that I’ve been devoted to for the past seven years,” Triano said. “I’ve spent an awful lot of time late at night here at the arena preparing for games. I’m just anxious and excited. Things won’t change.”

A Few Thoughts

  • This is not a surprise move. It’s not a move which creates great expectations, or one that creates a bouyant reaction from the players. It is a … comfortable move.
  • Jay Triano had a mixed start to his NBA Head Coaching career. There were a lot of red flags, and a lot of promising traits. It’s unclear how his career will develop from here. He might be something, he might be a disaster waiting to happen.
  • I didn’t like that the club gave him a three year contract. I thought that was unnecessary since he already had close to a full season under his belt. However, the third year is only a team option, so no harm no foul.
  • No word on the money — I’m guessing $2mil-to-$2.5mil per annum
  • Colangelo said both he and Triano will have veto power over the assistant coaches — It has to be that way. You can’t give a coach an assistant that he doesn’t (and will not down the road) trust, because it will never, and I mean never, work out.  It’s hard enough being a head coach than to be worried about the guy next to you possibly stabbing you in the back — seriously, the most important trait in an assistant coach is being trustworthy.
  • Jay Triano said he’d look for an assistant coach with some experience — judging from his first season, that is necessary — I think the bigger need for him is to bring in someone who can coach defense because I don’t believe Jay can coach defense (I think a fair chunk of the problems with the pick and roll defense stems from coaching).
  • Bryan Colangelo wasn’t forced into this decision financially. If the money was tight, and he was unable to sign a high profile coach, he could have just as easily hired another hot shot assistant from another team. He choose Triano because he admires and respects Triano’s abilities as a Head Coach.

Training camp

There’s a fair bit being made out of Triano getting a training camp with this team, is that important? Yes, I think so, I think it’s very important.

It’s very difficult to change a way a team plays in the middle of a regular season. As a head coach, you do not have enough practices and the number of games you have to play in a short span of time loses focus on a lot of the ideas you’re trying to put across. Having a training camp to force those ideas across is very valuable.

This is particularly true for first time coaches — because they always try to do too much too soo (from my view, Jay was guilty of this). After they make too many changes too quickly, the important ones get lost in the shuffle, and the players come out confused and fail to execute properly. The team ends up playing without cohesion, and becomes a group of individuals doing their own thing.

Jay Triano didn’t have the experience to handle that better. Having a training camp will be big for him.

Overall, am I happy with the decision?

Not happy. Not enraged either.

I do want to see Jay Triano get a chance to prove himself as a head coach … I’d just rather that chance didn’t happen now, and not with this Raptors team.

On a happiness scale I’m about a 2.5 out of 10.

I’d have rathered the team took a shot on a more promising first time coach, or a high profile defensive minded head coach.

Arsenalist has a great post up over at Raptors Republic with a written summary of Jay Triano’s introductory press conference, and also video of the press conference. That’s worth checking out.

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