This past season, former D-League and international journeyman Chris Copeland came up in the clutch for the New York Knicks. After a promising "rookie" year, the forward will look to capitalize on such success and reap the benefits this summer.
As fate would have it, his former NBADL coach may be poised to do the same.
Jay Larranaga, the former Erie BayHawks coach who is often credited with helping provide Copeland with that necessary NBA related experience, recently completed his first season on an NBA bench with the Boston Celtics. But with Doc Rivers off to join the Los Angeles Clippers, could a promotion be in line for Larranaga?
Most of Rivers' assistants will leave town, whether it be to join him in Los Angeles, or to seek other opportunities elsewhere after years in Boston. Larranaga, on the other hand, will likely be staying. With just one season with the Celtics under his belt, perhaps he's the fresh face the team is in need of.
A son of a successful NCAA coach, Larranaga was not only a solid coach in Erie, but also a huge asset to both the BayHawks and the affiliated Knicks with regard to player development during his time with the BayHawks. Held in high regard around the league, Larranaga snatched up a shot to coach under Rivers this past season and didn't disappoint.
Larranaga is a tremendous motivator of raw and/or younger talent. It's easy to get discouraged playing in the D-League if you're waiting too long for an opportunity that never seems to come, but the 37 year old coach is one who knows how to keep players' spirits up in order to help them remain focused.
With the Celtics losing Rivers and the likes of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce getting up there in age, the team may soon be poised to go through a rebuilding phase. Perhaps due to his past experiences, Larranaga would serve as the perfect candidate to help right the ship and keep it steady during what could prove to be a rather awful storm.
Larranaga is expected to be an obvious candidate to become Rivers' successor. Even so, because he's already under contract with the team, the coach is sure to have the most face and personal time around Celtics' executives to better hone in on exactly what they're looking for. What's more, Larranaga is also set to coach Boston's Summer League team later this offseason.