It's seems to be pretty much written in stone that Billy Donovan is leaving the University of Florida and is headed to the NBA to coach the Orlando Magic. He was offered a six-year deal that pays him an insane $6 million a year. Although Donovan hasn't accepted the offer yet, I'm postitive he will. That's a huge amount of money and Florida can't come anywhere close to it. We all have our price. I'll lick a toilet bowl seat for $10, while Donovan will coach the Magic for $6 million. It's more or less the same thing.
The question now is what exactly has he gotten himself into? Let's keep in mind that the track record for college coaches going to the pros and crashing and burning is staggeringly high. Plus, Donovan seems to be a bit of a Scott Skiles clone. Incredibly detail-oriented, strict and a major tightass. That may work fine in college, but it doesn't work so well in the pros. There have already been grumblings in Chicago about Skiles, especially from huge free-agent signee Ben Wallace. Just from an instant gut reaction, something tells me Donovan is definitely going to clash with some players.
We're also going to learn how good of a coach he really is. I'm not insulting Donovan, we already know he's a very good coach. But that two year title run at Florida was obviously the direct result of the starting 5 staying together for two years more than it was about coaching. Donovan did do a hell of a job keeping them motivated for that second year though.
And while Donovan has stayed relatively close to home, what exactly does he have in Orlando? He has Dwight Howard, who everyone loves and who everyone believes has no ceiling. But I disagree. Howard has absolutely no jump shot. If he doesn't develop one, he's not getting any better than he currently is. Grant Hill is also considering retirement. Their backcourt, with Jameer Nelson, Carlos Arroyo and J.J. Redick is below average. All those guys should be backups on quality teams. The Magic were also the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, which means half the teams in the entire league were better than them.
I realize Memphis wasn't exactly where Donovan wanted to go, but with a healthy Gasol and the #4 pick in the draft, and the fact that this year was an aberration for the Grizz, I'm not so sure the Magic are really a better place to go than the Grizzlies.
Oh well, we'll just have to wait and see. But i'll say right now, I don't think Donovan makes it the full six years.