The NBA has not seen a lot of European coaches take center stage in the league. Most of the NBA's coaches have been American or even Canadian players taking over the coaching role once their careers have come to an end. But the same cannot be said for European coaches in the NBA.
Given how many European teams have been playing excellent basketball over the years, fans have wondered why this is the case. And according to one former NBA player, two of the best coaches in the NBA would not fit the current NBA environment because of their coaching styles.
Former NBA player and current UNICS Kazan player Mario Hezonja spoke recently about the possibility of European coaches in the NBA. When asked about legendary coaches like Zeljko Obradovic or Sarunas Jasikevicius coaching in the NBA, he believes that their style would be too intense for the current NBA environment.
"They'd get punched on the second practice, and they'd get fired right after that. It's not because of how good Zeljko and Saras are, it's because of how the other guys react. At some point, they should be given a chance to at least try."
Obradovic is considered the greatest European head coach of all time, with an incredible record of 9 Euroleague titles. But he has never gotten consideration for a coaching job in the NBA. A former teammate of LeBron James has heralded LeBron and Obradovic as the only people who know everything about the game.
"Obradovic knows everything about basketball, he's probably the smartest person I've ever met. There are only two people who for me are at that level of knowing everything about the game: LeBron James and Obradovic".
As for Sarunas Jasikevicius, he is the current head coach of FC Barcelona's basketball team. He did have a stint in the NBA, playing for the Indiana Pacers. His work as a head coach of BC Zalgiris is heralded as excellent, winning 5 Lithuanian league titles during his stint, before taking over Barcelona, one of the biggest Basketball clubs in Europe.
Perhaps we will see a European coach play in the NBA somewhere down the line. But as of now, it is still perplexing as to why we have never seen a European coach in the league, given how well they have performed in the role on a different stage.