NBA coaches should participate in All-Star festivities, too

The NBA wanting a buy-in from its stars is an understandable expectation. However, coaches are rarely a part of the All-Star festivities aside from the Eastern and Western Conference coaches. Everyone except for gym rat Tom Thibodeau is on vacation unwinding from the daily rigors of an 82-game grind. All-Stars would rather get the time off, but if the league is going to ask its most marketable stars to buy in then their superiors should lead by example.

The 3-point Contest is the ideal event for the NBA’s wisest to get involved in. A feature published Tuesday on ESPN highlighted the active coaches who can still throw it down. Jahmal Moseley is the best coach nobody really notices outside of Orlando. Despite finishing his career with the Seoul Samsung Tigers back in 2005, he can apparently still throw it down at 45, but that tracks for a 6-foot-8 fellas under 50.

Except for the 6-foot-8 Monty Williams and Darvin Ham, there aren’t many retired forwards around the league who can still flush it and nobody wants to watch coaches dunking unless we’re enhancing their hops with a trampoline and a coaches vs. coaches All-Star Game would be canceled after the third hamstring gets pulled. The NBA doesn’t need 40-and-over men getting hurt on company time. The NBA scuttled its All-Star Legends Game after David Thompson and Norm Nixon both blew out their knees in the ‘93 Game and it was replaced with the rookie showcase.

Shooting eliminates the injury risk. Obviously there should be stipulations. Coaches who’ve retired in the last five seasons are ineligible. They could still trot Mavs coach Jason Kidd out there to jack up triples against Steve Kerr. Popovich has openly expressed his deep hatred for the three-point shot, but at his advanced age, I bet he’s honed that corner three like every septuagenarian who shoots the same bucket on his own basket over and over while everyone else runs unorganized pickup runs.

Even Blazers coach Chauncey Billups made 1,830 3-pointers during his career, which puts his top 25 all-time.

But don’t get it twisted, Steve Kerr might run away with this. He’s the only former 3-point shooting champ actively serving as a head coach and he’s the league’s all-time leader in percentage. Another Warrior might own this event too, but that’s ok. Golden State brings ratings. Kerr’s one of the catalysts behind the NBA’s 3-point shooting trend. It was his Warriors squad that was the Roger Bannister of “jump shooting teams” proving they could win a championship and everyone since has followed in those footsteps. But he’s got to prove he still has the stroke.

In the non-NBA vets division, Billy Donovan would undoubtedly be a favorite. He had a cup of joe in the league nearly 40 years ago, and never made an NBA triple, but while at Providence “Billy the Kid” shot 40 percent from distance in the first season of the three-point arc’s implementation. Being nicknamed after the best marksman in the Ole West speaks to his sharpshooting reputation. If he can set a few tomato cans around the rim he might not miss.

This is the closest we’ll come to average Joe’s competing in NBA events. Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla is young enough to still get out there on a 10-day contract, but he never touched an NBA roster after averaging fewer than five points a game during his five years at West Virginia. He rarely attempted a shot from behind the arc and was more of a glue guy, but as the youngest coach in the league, he’s got the youth and endurance advantage. Some of these old NBA vets might start getting heavy arms around the third rack. What better time to find out if the head coach with the best shooting lineup this year can stand on business?

Oklahoma City’s Mark Daigneault is among the few coaches who never played a minute of college basketball. Let’s see if he’s learned anything after a few years with the NBA’s premier shooting coach Chip Engelland on staff. If the NBA can sell Kevin Hart vs. Draymond Green in a shootout, it can draw eyeballs getting the sport’s best strategists to put down the clipboard and pick up a ball. If the players are contractually obligated to represent for the brand, their head coaches should put their money where their mouths are.

Find DJ Dunson on X…or don’t: @cerebralsportex

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