Jerry Stackhouse has a rather successful NBA career after he left UNC, getting drafted as the third overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers. He found many different homes in the NBA, and yet managed to eventually become an NBA All-Star in 2000 and 2001. When he finally decided to hang up his sneakers after retiring in 2016, he immediately dove into the coaching game, taking the Raptors 905 G-League team to back-to-back finals appearances and winning the G-League championship in 2017. He clearly has a knack for coaching, and now, the association has a few organizations serving as suitors for his services.
The NBA season isn’t quite over, and yet there is currently a number of head coaches getting the boot. The short list of teams that fired their head coaches within the past month or so are the New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, and the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors are by far and away the most surprising of these teams to decide to move on from their head coaches, as Dwane Casey managed to lead Drake’s favorite team to their best record in franchise history, only to get decimated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It’s quite an extreme measure for a team to take following what was otherwise an impressive season, but the Raptors also have struggled getting past any team that LeBron James has led into the playoffs...as has every other team in the Eastern Conference. Clearly teams are losing patience in trying to conquer the Mount Everest that is James, but this lack of patience may be what gets Jerry Stackhouse a big-time job in the association.
While Stackhouse being a potential candidate for the Raptors is a bit of a given, there are other teams with open positions that are looking at Stackhouse rather closely. Mike Chiari with Bleacher Report named Stackhouse as one of three candidates that are being strongly considered to take over as head coach of the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons parted ways with their head coach and president of basketball operations Stan VanGundy after a sub-optimal 152-176 record and one playoff appearance in his four years with the team. One can imagine the Pistons don’t want to make the mistake again of having their head coach in the front office as well, but even if this is the case, Stackhouse’s reputation as a player’s coach may be a refreshing change of pace for a franchise that hasn’t seen much success since Rasheed Wallace helped lead them to an NBA title back in 2004.
Another team that is desperately looking for a way to turn their franchise around is the Orlando Magic. The Magic parted ways with Frank Vogel following a putrid 54-110 record in his two years as head coach. With not a lot of talent to work with, the franchise spent this past season in tank mode, perhaps wanting to follow in the footsteps of the all-of-a-sudden playoff contenders Philadelphia 76ers. Trust the process, right? Anyways, the Magic will undoubtedly be looking for a coach with Stackhouse’s track record to bring a new spark to this struggling franchise. Should the Magic get the number one overall pick in this year’s draft, it would be a great time for Stackhouse to jump in and mold a top five rookie into what could possibly be a savior of the franchise. It’s a hard thing to do, but his ability to relate to players I’m sure would give him a leg up on his competition for the job.
Stackhouse will inevitably find his way out of the G-League at some point, if not this year I would expect it is going to happen very soon. He has built up quite the resume that’s hard to argue with, and his wisdom and experience playing in the league is something that is hard to ignore when your franchise, well, looks like one of the ones mentioned above. For every Jason Kidd and Derek Fisher that takes a head coaching job, there’s a Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson out there that can turn an underachieving franchise into an NBA powerhouse. Will Stackhouse be able to achieve the latter if he manages to get the call? We’ll never know until a team gives him the opportunity to prove himself. Drake, if you’re reading this: it’s not too late.