The Milwaukee Bucks will interview former assistant coach Kelvin Sampson for the vacant head coaching job on Thursday. Nothing personal against Sampson, but the Bucks must find someone better to lead the team next season.
Milwaukee has an opportunity to bring in a great head coach that can inspire the players to perform above and beyond their standard level of play. The Bucks need a coach that will be able to bring in talented free agents and then coach them up. More importantly, the organization needs someone who has experience as a head coach in the NBA.
Sampson has been coaching since 1979. The 57-year-old has been the head coach for Montana Tech (1981-85), Washington State (1987-94), Oklahoma Sooners (1994-2006) and Indiana Hoosiers (2006-08). Obviously, he is most famous for his recruiting scandal at Indiana in which he was forced to resign after two years of coaching. Sampson is currently the assistant coach for the Houston Rockets, but it is very likely that some team will hire to be the head coach in the upcoming offseason.
Former Bucks head coach Scott Skiles, who resigned earlier this season, hired Sampson to be an assistant coach in 2008. It is a well-known fact that Sampson had a big influence on point guard Brandon Jennings, something that could motivate Milwaukee to hire him as the head coach.
With that being said, the Bucks have an opportunity to start fresh, something they should truly consider. Hiring Sampson is a desperation move that would only be considered because he has spent time with some of the players. Milwaukee general manager John Hammond must shoot for the stars if he wants to get the Bucks on the right track next season.
One coach in particular that would a terrific asset is Stan Van Gundy. The 53-year-old has proven to be a top-notch talent who has taken mediocre teams with plenty of flaws and made them great. Van Gundy is also capable of getting the best out of his players so that the team can excel as a whole. Shooting guard J.J. Redick, who played under Van Gundy with the Orlando Magic for several years, saw his numbers consistently improve season-by-season once the head coach took over. If the Bucks wanted to keep re-sign Redick in the offseason, hiring Van Gundy would be a great start.