Hunt for head coach?

According to Philly.com’s John Mitchell, the Denver Nuggets are “believed to be interested in promoting [Melvin] Hunt to replace George Karl.” Mitchell is also reporting the 76ers are interested in Hunt for their current head coaching vacancy. This is the first time Hunt’s name has been mentioned in connection with Denver’s search for a new head coach since George Karl was fired last week.

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Hunt has been a longtime fan (and blogger) favorite within the Nuggets community. He was considered Karl’s top assistant throughout his tenure in Denver and often gave lively interviews when confronted by the media. Though he’s never been a head coach in the NBA, Hunt has always carried himself professionally and is well respected throughout the league. He’s known most for his player development and was largely credited for assisting JaVale McGee with maturing on the floor since coming to Denver.

Reaction: This is great news. Hunt is the exact type of guy Denver should be looking at. Though he’s unproven, Hunt has always come off as head coaching material. Charlie had a chance to talk to him extensively last summer and had nothing but praise for him. I also met him this past year at Nuggets practice and came away impressed. He could not have been more polite and informative.

As I stated several days ago, this is an incredibly important juncture in Nuggets history, for obvious reasons. The Nuggets next head coach cannot be an average, run-of-the-mill type of guy. You cannot fire a future Hall of Famer and follow it up by hiring a mediocre NBA head coach. The Nuggets absolutely must come away with a defensive-minded coach that management can build around for years to come. A young, up-and-coming assistant who could grow with the Nuggets’ already young roster would fit the bill best.

If Hunt turns out meet the above description, let’s just hope Josh Kroenke has the ability to see it. Hiring from in house would be ideal and something fans could hop on board with immediately.

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  • Scott

    Hopeful that Josh finishes the clean out on draft night by including Andre “The Run Killer” Miller in a trade for a top 20 pick. Maybe we could use it on Shane Larkin or another PG

    • slader

      Miller doesn’t have that much value. The new GM will need to be creative to get rid of him, prolly in a package that involves taking back some lousy salary.

      • steve

        honestly, i wouldn’t be surprised if we traded andre and the pick and got very little back in return, just to get him off the books and out of Denver. That way we have a few more dollars in FA. We don’t need another rookie on this squad at this time. Groom fournier, hamilton and qmiller.

        • slader

          Fine with me, but we need to keep a min of 13 active players. If Brewer and Mozy walk and we trade Anre M, we’ll need a warm body or two. Draft Muscala and sign a FA shooter. Done, and we still have a logjam at 3 BEFORE Gallo returns.

          • herpderpnuggets

            definitely need a shooter this offseason….I MEAN BIG TIME!!

          • dynamo.joe

            Who is this logjam you refer too? You just said let Brewer walk. Presumably you are keeping Iggy? Are you moving him to the 3? Or are Hamilton and Chandler a logjam?

            If we trade YMCAn’re, let Brewer and Moz walk, that leaves:
            PG Lawson/Stone
            SG Iguodala/Fournier
            SF Chandler/Hamilton/QMiller
            PF Faried/Randolph
            C McGee/Koufos

            Ah, I answered my own question. I forgot about QMiller. Which has been pretty easy to do so far. He better step up, because I have seen exactly 1 flash of anything from him and that includes 3 or 4 DLeague games, where he looked like an average DLeague player.

      • dynamo.joe

        How bout this?

        http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=mrj73jv

        Chicago hates Boozer by this time and are desperate for a big. I’m willing to take just about any package that includes Jimmy Butler winding up in a Nuggets uniform. And give up anyone beside Faried, in this case The Big McGeezy, for the aforesaid Butler.

        In short we take the criminally overpaid Boozer for the rights to the criminally underpaid Butler.

  • slader

    i like Hunt too, but promoting from within doesn’t usually work as well for an Asssitant as going to another team. We’ll see.

    • dynamo.joe

      Well, the conventional wisdom is ‘you don’t want to replace a HOF coach, you want to replace the guy who replaced the HOF coach’.

      That would suck for Hunt in the short term, but in the long run you just want your name entered into the head coach carousel. And the flip side is you eclipse the HOF coach and have a long run in Denver as the next great young coach.

  • steve

    I wouldnt mind Hunt. I still think Brian Shaw is the guy. With the Nets looking at Jason Kidd and Clippers probably going vet coach in Karl or Hollins, i think Shaw might be the front runner in Denver. With his experience behind Phil and now Vogel, i can’t see why he doesn’t land a job.

  • Native Nugget

    Don’t know enough about Hunt to weigh in. Not sure I would agree that being from in house would get the fans on board. The lack of head coaching experience is a worthy factor.

    In the end I’d like a balanced coach – one who is strong defensively and offensively. If we go too far in the ‘grind-it-out’ direction I don’t think we have the players to fit that system and we’re looking at a rebuilding project. Would prefer to find a coach who can bring defensive discipline and a strong half court offense while keeping some of our running game intact.

  • LobCiudad

    Hunt would be a good choice. Remember how this team was considered a great experiment? Well, that experiment definitely paid off, and now it’s time to stop treating the roster as an experiment, and start treating it as a success. I think it would be a huge mistake to bring in Hollins. I have no problem with the guy, but I don’t see it beneficial to take a brand new approach to this squad. I say we get a coach who can breath some fresh air into the team, and give it some new blood, while also focusing on strengthening what the Nuggets did great last year as well as the things they needed to improve. Add the missing pieces (an outside shooting threat), emphasize defense (both by locking down Iguodala and focusing on it in practice), and let this dominant and athletic lineup which started to blossom last year, explode into a legitimate threat.

  • Dinosaur Dave

    Promoting Melvin Hunt as head coach is probably a wise move as he seems like he really connects with the players and is focused on their development. He also knows how to run the system that won them 57 games last season, while at the same time being free from the stubbornness of George Karl. There’s also the need for some degree of stability within the organization.

  • http://Twitter.com/A_Rodriguez8 D3Ntilthe3ND

    Hunt would be great as a last resort, but I don’t think he’s ready just yet. Definitely not as ready as any of the other candidates,

    BCS, imo is getting Shaw & Hunt to work together. Hopefully we can keep Chad Iske if Shaw doesn’t bring anyone over

  • Mikey K

    Meh. If you’re gonna can a HOF coach, you better have a big name coming in. No Lionel Hollins or anyone connected to Karl. It MUST be a clean break. It’s why Shaw and the VGs are the names coming up time and again. If you’re gonna do this, you better not disappoint.

    • ryanvdonk

      mcmillan would be a good fit IMO. in his two head coaching gigs he has run two different offenses, both with some levels of success, so i think he could employee some of that same run and gun we used (and he did while playing under karl) but have some basic half court to go with it. also, he has always had a good mind for defense, something this team sorely needs and nate has always emphasized both as a player and coach.

  • Mark from Charlotte

    Hire Hunt or Shaw as head coach………………

  • Erlingur Grétar Einarsson

    Actually, I much prefer Hunt over Hollins and even Shaw. He knows the team, the brass and the city, he has a great analytical approach to coaching (according to what we’ve seen from him as an assistant, at least) and understands the importance of good defense at the same time. In fact, the only guy off the top of my head (of those who would realistically be considered for it, so no P-Jax) who I’d immediately take over Hunt is Nate McMillan. He did great things in Portland, has managed big names and egos, and comes with a clout of respect around him already at a young coaching age (plus he was one of my favorite NBA players back in the olden days).

  • bmac

    I have always liked Hunt, but I would have to interview him and see what his philosophical differences to Karl are. If he is molded directly from Karl, and can clearly articulate what makes him different, and what he would do different if he were in charge, then maybe. Unfortunately, we won’t get to hear those questions and answers. I just hope if he doesn’t give a clear reason and actual plan of how we would address what he sees as negatives, then I would pass. That goes for any coach, for that matter.