Success of Teams who Changed Coaches during the Last Lockout

When it comes to the effect that Rick Adelman might have on this franchise's success next season, a major question seems to be how much the lockout negatively affects teams with new teams. Though I think the lockout actually increased their chances of getting Adelman and not ending up with, say, the guy who became his lead assistant or the guy (SMitch) who was demoted from assistant coach to scout with the Nets, this question is still interesting.

The first thing worth mentioning is that this lockout probably leads to more margin for error for a team with a new coach than the last lockout did, based on how many more games there are this season and the reduced number of back-to-back-to-backs compared to that season. But it's still an interesting subject to put under the microscope.

This analysis will focus only on the teams who had a different coach at the beginning of the post-lockout season than they did at the end of the previous season, which removes teams who promoted an interim coach after the lockout. It also will not focus on teams who changed coaches during the post-lockout season. That leaves six teams: the Clippers (Bill Fitch to Chris Ford), Seattle (George Karl to Paul Westphal), Sacramento (Eddie Jordan to, well, I think you know), Denver (Bill Hanzlik to Mike D'Antoni), Chicago (Phil Jackson to Tim "Pink" Floyd), and Milwaukee (Chris Ford to George Karl). Here they are, in order from best to worst change in record:

Sacramento (27-55 to 27-25)

Roster overhaul: Significant. Only Tariq Abdul-Wahad, Corliss Williamson, and Lawrence Funderburke were on the team the previous season and in the rotation for the change.

Talent overhaul: Significant. Vlade Divac, Jason Williams, Peja Stojakovic, Jon Barry, Vernon Maxwell, and Scot Pollard were added FA/Draft; the Webber for Richmond/Otis Thorpe trade was lopsided because of Webber's age and his fit with Adelman's offense.

Increased number of vets? Not really. The previous season's team had many vets (Richmond, Thorpe, Olden Polynice, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf), and it's not clear how much leadership guys like Divac and Barry provided.

Denver (11-71 to 14-36)

Roster overhaul: Significant. Only Danny Fortson, Eric Williams, and Bryant Stith were still in the rotation for the change.

Talent overhaul: Significant. Antonio McDyess, Raef LaFrentz (only played in 12 games) and Keon Clark in draft/FA; gave up a late first-rounder and Tony Battie for Nick Van Exel; overpaid (top-5 pick, Bobby Jackson, and Dean Garrett) for essentially Chauncey Billups.

Increased number of vets? Yes. Van Exel replaced Jackson; McDyess replaced Tony Battie.

Milwaukee (36-46 to 28-22)

Roster overhaul: Moderate off-season, significant in-season. Added Haywoode Workman (started 29 games for them), Dell Curry, and Vinny Del Negro in the offseason. After 12-5 start, traded Terrell Brandon and Tyrone Hill, got back Sam Cassell (played in only 4 regular-season games), Scott Williams, Chris Gatling, and Tim Thomas.

Talent overhaul: Moderate. Besides players already mentioned, Glenn "I Stole My Nickname from Antoine Carr" Robinson missed 26 games the previous season and only 3 that season; also added Tractor Traylor in the draft.

Increased number of vets? Somewhat. Curry and Del Negro were the main reason for that increase.

L.A. Clippers (17-65 to 9-41)

Roster overhaul: Minimal. Isaac Austin was replaced by Michael Olowokandi, Tyrone Nesby became an undrafted rookie starter, Hollywood Robinson and Pooh Richardson missed more time due to injury during that season, and Robinson was eventually released.

Talent overhaul: See previous. The switch from the veteran Austin (who had a couple of good years in the late 90s) to the rookie Olowokandi probably didn't help.

Increased number of vets? No.

Seattle (61-21 to 25-25)

Roster overhaul: Moderate. Sam Perkins, Jerome Kersey, and Greg Anthony left via FA, Jim McIlvaine was traded, and Nate McMillian retired; added Olden Polynice, Billy Owens, and Don MacLean.

Talent overhaul: Moderate. Definite downgrade in bench players (see previous) but starters were mainly intact (though Vin Baker missed 16 games); added Rashard Lewis, who was obviously talented but not ready at that point.

Increased number of vets? No.

Chicago (62-20 to 13-37)

We all know what happened here.

What this indicates to me is that the teams who upgraded their coaches won more games. But that doesn't mean they made a huge jump (like Denver). It also indicates that who is involved in the coaching change obviously has a big effect on how it affects the post-lockout season. A bigger issue seems to be whether the Wolves' upgrade in talent is significant enough to make a big difference. Probably the only sure thing to be taken from this is that a coaching change doesn't doom a team during a post-lockout season.

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