10 Ex-NBA players debuting as coaches in 2013-14

nbaAs coaching staffs fill out, there’s always a crop of young, former NBA players who are ready to get their feet wet in coaching the highest level of basketball.

Nearly half of the 30 NBA teams changed head coaches this offseason, which means turnover on coaching staffs was at an all-time high.

Filling out those staffs were former head coaches and longtime assistants, but there is of course new blood, including former players who have broken back into the NBA with clipboards and suits rather than sneakers and jerseys.

Some made immediate career moves from player to coach, while others left behind the microphone and TV cameras. A few worked their way to the NBA through college or D-League experience. Here are notable players-turned-coach who are new in the NBA coaching world.

Jason Kidd, Nets head coach
One of the big hires of the coaching world this offseason remains on the bench but only needed to change his dress and cross the East River to do so. Kidd will tidy up a pricey Brooklyn Nets roster after retiring from playing as a New York Knicks point guard. The surefire Hall of Famer leaves behind a 19-year career and 10 All-Star selections to take on the pressure cooker in Brooklyn. Kidd played 1391 games in the NBA, starting in 1350 of them. He holds career averages of 12.6 ppg, 5 rpg and 6.3 apg in 36 minutes on the court.

Rasheed Wallace, Pistons assistant
If Kidd’s sudden coaching gig wasn’t the biggest surprise of such sorts this offseason, then former Knicks teammate Rasheed Wallace’s was. The NBA’s career leader in technical fouls finished his career as an injured big man last season who, like his underappreciated career, fell out of the headlines. But suddenly, he is back in the NBA – and on his former team – with first-year coach Maurice Cheeks’ coaching staff in Detroit. Wallace quickly engrained himself as a teacher during the Summer League but was still issuing his famous “Ball Don’t Lie!” complaints. Wallace holds career averages of 14.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1 steal during a 14-year career with the Bullets, Blazers, Hawks, Pistons, Celtics and Knicks. He played in total of 1109 NBA games (started 956).

Brian Scalabrine, Warriors assistant
After becoming a fan favorite with the Boston Celtics and then the Chicago Bulls, Scalabrine retired in 2012 and turned down an offer to join Chicago’s staff as a coach. Instead, he took up doing color commentary for CSN New England – but that didn’t last very long. Scalabrine was hired to Mark Jackson’s coaching staff this summer after it lost assistant Mike Malone to the Sacramento Kings. Scalabrine follows in Jackson’s footsteps. He was also a former player who became a TV personality before joining the coaching ranks. Scalabrine spent his time in the NBA with New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls. He played in 520 NBA games (61 started), averaging 3.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg in 13 minutes of action.

Mark Madsen, Lakers assistant
Madsen’s big coaching break appeared to be with the Lakers’ D-League affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders. The former benchwarmer, who could be well known for his championship parade contributions more than his on-court ones, was named the minor league team’s head coach this May after serving as a D-League assistant and then an assistant for his alma mater, Stanford. But the D-Fender appointment only lasted a few months. When the Lakers’ coaching staff under Mike D’Antoni was gutted, Madsen found himself an opening and was hired as a player development assistant this summer. Madsen finished his NBA career in 2009 with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He only held career averages of 2.2 points and 2.6 rebounds per game, but he won two NBA championships with the Lakers.

Corliss Williamson, Kings assistant
Loyalty seems to be part of Williamson’s decision-making. The Arkansas Razorbacks product spent 12 seasons in the NBA, starting with the Sacramento Kings as the 13th overall pick in 1995 and retiring with them in 2007. From there, the combo forward and Russellville, Ark., native returned to his home state and coached at Arkansas Baptist and most recently at Central Arkansas. Now, he finds himself back in California’s capital city on a new coaching staff assembled by Mike Malone. Williamson won an NBA championship while with Detroit in 2004, and he was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year while with the Pistons from 2001-02. He averaged career high 17.7 ppg as a starting small forward for the Kings during the 1997-98 NBA season. Williamson holds career averages of 11.1 ppg, and 3.9 rpg in 22.8 mpg. He appeared in 822 career NBA games, starting in 293 of them.

Nick Van Exel, Milwaukee Bucks assistant
Following a successful, 13-year NBA career that saw Van Exel average double-figure scoring in all but his final season, the flashy point guard broke into coaching at mid-major Texas Southern University in 2009. That lasted only a year before Van Exel took a player development instructor job with the Atlanta Hawks in 2010. Former Hawks coach Larry Drew took the Milwaukee head coaching job this summer and brought Van Exel with him. Van Exel played 13 years in the NBA. He was an All-Star in 1998. During his NBA career, Van Exel appeared in 880 NBA games (670 started), averaging 14.4 ppg, 6.6 apg in 32.9 minutes on the court.

Scott Williams, Milwaukee Bucks assistant
Williams joins Van Exel on Milwaukee’s staff but took a different road since leaving the NBA, where the center took advantage of being Michael Jordan’s teammate — he won three championships with the Bulls. The 45-year-old entered the commentary business following his retirement in 2005. He called games for the Cavaliers and Suns before getting into coaching with the D-League’s Idaho Stampede last year. Williams played 15 seasons in the NBA, appearing in total of 746 NBA games (starting in 266), and averaging 5.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg in 16.4 mpg.

Vitaly Potapenko, Cavs assistant
After spending last season as a D-League assistant coach for the Santa Cruz Warriors, former NBA center Vitaly Potapenko returns to the city that became the first professional home for the Ukrainian. Potapenko was drafted 12th overall by the Cavs in 1996 before he forged an 11-year NBA career. The 38-year-old former center nicknamed “The Ukraine Train” also played for the Celtics, SuperSonics and Kings before hanging up his basketball shoes. Potapenko played for Cleveland Cavs, Boston Celtics, Seattle Supersonics, and Sacramento Kings, averaging 6.5 ppg and 4.5 rpg in 19 minutes of playing time. In total, he played 610 NBA games (189 started).

Mark West, Suns assistant
West has been out of the league for more than a decade and involved in the Phoenix Suns’ front office for a good deal of time. As vice president of player programs, his duties included watching over a young Amare Stoudemire as he grew from a rookie with a questionable past into an All-Star. But not until former teammate Jeff Hornacek was hired as head coach this summer has West seen time on the bench. West spent 17 seasons in the NBA, playing for 8 different teams. He played 1090 NBA games (started 548). West holds career averages of 5.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 1.3 bpg in 18.5 mpg.

Shareef Abdur Rahim, Sacramento Kings’ D-league team manager
Former NBA All-Star forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim has become the new general manager of the Reno Bighorns, Sacramento’s D-League squad. Abdur-Rahim is reportedly also the Kings’ Director of Player Personnel. According to the press release, Abdur-Rahim is entering his fourth season in the Kings front office, where he served the previous three as Assistant General Manager after spending the 2009-10 season on the Kings bench as an assistant coach specializing in player development. Prior to retiring from professional basketball in 2008, the 12-year NBA veteran amassed career averages of 18.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 830 contests for four teams



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