Notable ex-NBA players debuting as coaches in 2013-14


As coaching staffs fill out, there's always a crop of young, former NBA players who are ready to get their feet wet in coaching the highest level of basketball.

Nearly half of the 30 NBA teams changed head coaches this offseason, which means turnover on coaching staffs was at an all-time high. Filling out those staffs were former head coaches and longtime assistants, but there is of course new blood, including former players who have broken back into the NBA with clipboards and suits rather than sneakers and jerseys.

Some made immediate career moves from player to coach, while others left behind the microphone and TV cameras. A few worked their way to the NBA through college or D-League experience. Here are notable players-turned-coach who are new in the NBA coaching world.

Jason Kidd, Nets head coach

One of the big hires of the coaching world this offseason remains on the bench but only needed to change his dress and cross the East River to do so. Kidd will tidy up a pricey Brooklyn Nets roster after retiring from playing as a New York Knicks point guard. The surefire Hall of Famer leaves behind a 19-year career and 10 All-Star selections to take on the pressure cooker in Brooklyn.

Rasheed Wallace, Pistons assistant

If Kidd's sudden coaching gig wasn't the biggest surprise of such sorts this offseason, then former Knicks teammate Rasheed Wallace's was. The NBA's career leader in technical fouls finished his career as an injured big man last season who, like his underappreciated career, fell out of the headlines. But suddenly, he is back in the NBA -- and on his former team -- with first-year coach Maurice Cheeks' coaching staff in Detroit. Wallace quickly engrained himself as a teacher during the Summer League but was still issuing his famous "Ball Don't Lie!" complaints.

Brian Scalabrine, Warriors assistant

After becoming a fan favorite with the Boston Celtics and then the Chicago Bulls, Scalabrine retired in 2012 and turned down an offer to join Chicago's staff as a coach. Instead, he took up doing color commentary for CSN New England -- but that didn't last very long. Scalabrine was hired to Mark Jackson's coaching staff this summer after it lost assistant Mike Malone to the Sacramento Kings. Scalabrine follows in Jackson's footsteps. He was also a former player who became a TV personality before joining the coaching ranks.

Mark Madsen, Lakers assistant

Madsen's big coaching break appeared to be with the Lakers' D-League affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders. The former benchwarmer, who could be well known for his championship parade contributions more than his on-court ones, was named the minor league team's head coach this May after serving as a D-League assistant and then an assistant for his alma mater, Stanford. But the D-Fender appointment only lasted a few months. When the Lakers' coaching staff under Mike D'Antoni was gutted, Madsen found himself an opening and was hired as a player development assistant this summer.

Corliss Williamson, Kings assistant

Loyalty seems to be part of Williamson's decision-making. The Arkansas Razorbacks product spent 12 seasons in the NBA, starting with the Sacramento Kings as the 13th overall pick in 1995 and retiring with them in 2007. From there, the combo forward and Russellville, Ark., native returned to his home state and coached at Arkansas Baptist and most recently at Central Arkansas. Now, he finds himself back in California's capital city on a new coaching staff assembled by Mike Malone.

Nick Van Exel, Bucks assistant

Following a successful, 13-year NBA career that saw Van Exel average double-figure scoring in all but his final season, the flashy point guard broke into coaching at mid-major Texas Southern University in 2009. That lasted only a year before Van Exel took a player development instructor job with the Atlanta Hawks in 2010. Former Hawks coach Larry Drew took the Milwaukee head coaching job this summer and brought Van Exel with him.

Scott Williams, Bucks assistant

Williams joins Van Exel on Milwaukee's staff but took a different road since leaving the NBA, where the center took advantage of being Michael Jordan's teammate -- he won three championships with the Bulls. The 45-year-old entered the commentary business following his retirement in 2005. He called games for the Cavaliers and Suns before getting into coaching with the D-League's Idaho Stampede last year.

Vitaly Potapenko, Cavs assistant

After spending last season as a D-League assistant coach for the Santa Cruz Warriors, former NBA center Vitaly Potapenko returns to the city that became the first professional home for the Ukrainian. Potapenko was drafted 12th overall by the Cavs in 1996 before he forged an 11-year NBA career. The 38-year-old former center nicknamed "The Ukraine Train" also played for the Celtics, SuperSonics and Kings before hanging up his basketball shoes.

Mark West, Suns assistant

West has been out of the league for more than a decade and involved in the Phoenix Suns' front office for a good deal of time. As vice president of player programs, his duties included watching over a young Amare Stoudemire as he grew from a rookie with a questionable past into an All-Star. But not until former teammate Jeff Hornacek was hired as head coach this summer has West seen time on the bench.

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