Mike Dunlap was an assistant coach for the last 10 years or so, starting with the NBA and going back to the college ranks, then he was hired as the Charlotte Bobcats head coach. Now, he has to fill out his staff of assistants. The Bobcats have had some interesting assistants over the years. Mostly determined by need and nepotism (has there ever been a coach that didn’t have a brother/son/relative on staff?) familiarity and someone that’s good at certain positions are what have shaped past staffs, but I don’t know about that with Mike Dunlap.
Like many fans, especially here at BobcatsPlanet.com, I’m hopeful things are going to change. Not just uniforms, staff and draft picks, but a whole cultural change, starting with Rich Cho and continuing with this still, somewhat, questionable hire of Mike Dunlap. But let’s hope for the best and assume that Dunlap will surround himself with interesting and influential assistants.
First hire, as far as I know, is Rick Brunson. Rick Brunson is a young former player, at 40, he played for the Rockets as recently as 2006. He finished his career and became an assistant/scout 6 months later. Brunson was the 1991 McDonald’s All-American Game MVP, well, co-MVP with Chris Webber. He went on to play at Temple and wasn’t drafted but, here’s where paths cross: he was signed in 1995 in Australia with the Adelade 36ers. That’s right, for coach Mike Dunlap. So much for few connections, but there’s nothing really wrong with that. Team MVP for Dunlap and he was back in the US for a few years at the CBA level, some stints with the Trailblazers and then he became a fixture in the NBA for almost 10 years. As I said, he must have caught someone’s eye as an analytical player because he was hired at the NBA level as a player development assistant. That somebody was George Karl, wait, not the George Karl that was so glowing about the hire of Mike Dunlap, was it? Yes, and Mike was a fellow assistant at the same time in Denver. Rick Brunson went on to assist at the college level and then was hired to join Tom Thibideau’s staff in Chicago, another good mentor.