April 1996: Brendan Malone "Steps Down" Because of "Philosophical Differences"
We've kept mum about this until now but The Flagrancy officially declares Brendan Malone the best coach in Raptor franchise history. How does a coach who goes 21-61 be the best in team history? By playing every game to win, by turning a team of castoffs into giant-killers, and by making the team the very embodiment of his never-say-die attitude. Malone wrenched more effort out of this team than any other Raptor coach since. It was a great record for an expansion team and the fans filled the SkyDome because the Raptors had the potential to beat anybody (as division champion Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics and World Champion Chicago Bulls found out).
Dare to question our assertion? What's the first thing that comes to mind when I throw out the names of other Raptor head coaches?
Lenny Wilkens = ZZZZZZZ
Kevin O'Neill = The worst offence is a good defence
Darrel Walker = Championship-level coach (wait, that's what Byron Scott thinks)
Butch Carter = Cuckoo! Cuckoo!
Sam Mitchell = He has some very nice suits
Of course the other big reason to love Brendan Malone was that he actually stood up to Isiah Thomas. Thomas complained about over-playing the starters. He complained that the team might actually win too much and cost the team a high draft pick (oh, the irony). He planted stories in the media about Malone purposely throwing a game (a 40-point loss to Orlando) by playing the rookies too much to prove a point to the GM. Malone responded by using only 6 players two nights later in pushing the Los Angeles Lakers until the final minute.
At the end of that first season Isiah announced that Malone was "stepping down" because of "philosophical differences." Unfortunately, Malone was too interested in winning. <sigh>