I assumed this was a lame April Fools’ Day joke when I first heard it, but it seems to actually be true – Tim Floyd is reportedly about to be named the coach at Arizona. This is truly bizarre on so many levels. First, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for Floyd. Arizona is a good program with a great tradition, but they are little more than a lateral move from USC. He can recruit well to Arizona, but he can recruit just as well to USC if he doesn’t his job well, and he’s better located for access to more recruits. It would make sense if Floyd had a tie to Arizona, but he really doesn’t – born in Mississippi, school at Louisiana Tech and so on. He’ll get a bit more cash in his new deal likely, but he could have got more from USC if he really wanted it, too. It just doesn’t make much sense for Floyd.
It makes even less sense for Arizona. They have a prime job, and they could attract top coaches – i.e someone better than Floyd. Floyd is impressive in that he has been in lots of places, but he hasn’t exactly defined success. He has never been past the Sweet Sixteen, and he has lost at least 12 games in each of his last five college seasons. As unimpressive as that may be, it’s absolutely brilliant compared to his time in the NBA. He was 49-190 with the Bulls, and just 93-235 overall. He made the playoffs just once, and he was bounced in the first round. It all boils down to this – Floyd just isn’t a very good coach.
Not every team can hire a superstar, so some programs have to settle for guys like Floyd. Arizona is not one of those programs. It seems like they are settling for less than they have to. Jeff Capel was reportedly very interested, and Mark Few has been active in speculation. Both guys are significantly better than Floyd, and both have way more upside than Floyd does. Few has an aura from all he has done atGonzaga, and Capel is about to have the coach of the year and probably the first overall pick. Floyd has chronically underachieved. Lute Olson has one heck of a legacy, and this is not the way to fill his shoes. If I were AD Jim Livengood I would keep putting money in a pile until it was high enough to attract Few. He has done wonders in Gonzaga, so he could do magic at a place like Arizona.
Arizona hasn’t announced anything yet, and they reportedly aren’t doing it until Thursday some time. Hopefully that gives them enough time to come to their senses.