JJ Redick to L.A.: How Coaches With No Experience Fare in 1st Season

JJ Redick to L.A.: How Coaches With No Experience Fare in 1st Season article feature image

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ESPN analyst and former All-Star JJ Redick has become the Lakers' new head coach after opening as the favorite to receive the nod at the beginning of this coaching search.

The Lakers made a well-known overture to UConn coach Dan Hurley, who opted to remain in the college ranks on a substantial pay raise. That leaves Redick the head of a franchise in relative limbo, with star LeBron James an eligible free agent.

Usually, teams in these situations that hire coaches with no experience are in these sorts of situations: between philosophies, in the midst of uncertainty. Which begs the question: how do these types of coaches — without college or NBA experience — fare in their first season?

Since 2006, only six head coaches have been appointed without requisite experience. By and large, these coaches have done well against the spread — with one exception: Derek Fisher, who was abysmal under these circumstances when he was appointed in 2014 to become the Knicks head coach in 2014.

Against The Spread Records, Profit for Inexperienced Coaches in 1st Season

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr — who is still at the mantle at that organization — had by far the best record at 47-33-2. A $100 per game bettor who blindly bet on every Warriors game that season against the spread would have been up $1,164.

Same goes for Mark Jackson — who Kerr replaced — who profited $528 if you had bet $100 on every single Warriors contest during the 2011-12 season.

Tailing all of these coaches during their first season would have netted bettors $641 across all seasons for just a 1.4% ROI.

But while Fisher would have lost tailing bettors $1,421, he fared far better on the moneyline, when his bad team that finished 17-65 was up money on the season because they were routinely underdogs.

ML Record, Profit for Inexperienced Coaches in 1st Season

Fisher performed far better on the moneyline on account of the large payouts bettors received from heavy longshot bets. For instance, against the Hawks on the second-to-last game of the season, the Knicks were an average of +1200 underdogs on the moneyline to beat the Atlanta, which finished the season as a No. 1 seed. New York won the game and cashed bettors $1,200 for a $100 wager.

It was Nash who finished atop this leaderboard on the moneyline with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden in tow. Kerr finished in second on this leaderboard thanks to a Warriors team that finished the season as heavy favorites in many of their matchups.

Do keep in mind that Jackson's record of 23-43 was distorted by a lockout season that only played 66 games.

Blind moneyline bettors across all six seasons on inexperienced coaches would have netted a bettor $1,254 for a 2.7% ROI.

So, in all, both methods are profitable over this small sample size — albeit by a slight margin. It's not an advisable betting strategy — nothing as all-encompassing ever is.

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