Is Lavin 2.0 An Upgrade?

Stephen Dunn

Bumped. GO BRUINS. - BN Eds.

Dan Guerrero's new basketball coach threw his team under the bus yesterday after he was badly out-coached by the man who is used to be widely regarded as the worst basketball coach in the Pac-12. In Alford's post-game comments, there was no acknowledgement of his bizarre tactical decision to play zone defense for most of the game, nor a mea culpa for his daft substitution patterns, nor acceptance of blame for failing to properly prepare and motivate his team. Although Alford wasn't known for his passing prowess as a player, his ability as a coach to pass the buck is masterful.

Earlier today I described Alford as a terrible coach, and my comment was criticized as "dumb" by someone who explained that Alford "wouldn't be coaching at all" if he were terrible. Although I thought it was obvious that I wasn't comparing Alford to every basketball coach at every level of coaching in the world, I guess I need to provide parameters for those who are excited by the offensive output of Alford's team. When I describe Alford as terrible, I'm comparing him to coaches that lead top Division 1 basketball programs. I'm also comparing him to the coaches that have led UCLA's basketball program throughout the years. By those measures, Alford is justifiably described as terrible.

Most UCLA fans regard Steve Lavin as a terrible coach. He talked a good game but he couldn't coach worth a lick. Former UCLA star Baron Davis had this to say about Lavin: "We should have a banner up there: the only team to make the tournament without a coach." As bad as Lavin is as a coach, a comparison of Lavin's and Alford's coaching records favors Lavin:

Coach Seasons W L PCT SOS TA SS EE TA% TW%
Lavin 10+ 209 134 0.609 9.34 7 5 1 70.0 61.1
Alford 18+ 402 211 0.656 5.76 7 1 0 38.9 41.7

(SOS = composite Strength Of Schedule, TA = Tournament Appearances, SS = Sweet Sixteens, EE = Elite Eights, TA% = percent of seasons with a Tournament Appearance, TW% = Tournament Winning percentage)

Although Alford has a higher career (Division 1) winning percentage, it's based on an incredibly softer strength of schedule. (To put Alford's career SOS of 5.76 into context, UCLA's SOS for the current "cupcake" season to date is 6.32.) In terms of tournament appearances and tournament wins--the things that matter to programs that don't settle for mediocrity--Lavin's record is dramatically superior to Alford's.

Therefore, based on coaching records, it's hard to argue that the new Steve (Lavin 2.0) is a better coach than the original coaching fraud, Lavin 1.0. Since neither coach has a history of success or interest in teaching basketball, and since neither coach shows any skill at game management, how is Lavin 2.0 an upgrade over Lavin 1.0?

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.

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