Former NBA player Ed Pinckney has been named as lead assistant by Michael Malone. The Denver Nuggets head coach hooked a big fish with the addition of the well-regarded assistant Pinckney, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowki.
Pinckney has a long background in the NBA. During his playing days, Pinckney went around 6'9" and 195 pounds. He played his college ball at Villanova, during the hay-day of the sport on the East Coast. In 1985, Pinckney scored 16 points and grabbed 6 rebounds to lead his team to an NCAA title over Patrick Ewing's Georgetown Hoyas.
After college, he was the 10th overall pick of the Phoenix Suns in '85, and went on to play in the league for 14 seasons for the Suns, Sacramento Kings, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat, and Philadelphia 76ers. For his career he averaged 6.8 points and 5.0 rebounds. In his 793 NBA games, he started 335 of them or 42.2%.
He retired in 1997, and came back to the game officially in 2003 as an assistant coach at his alma mater and is known for helping Villanova land Kyle Lowry and the Nuggets' own Randy Foye. From there he joined the NBA ranks in 2007 as an assistant with the Timberwolves. While in Minnesota he worked under three different head coaches in three seasons: Randy Wittman (the current Washington Wizards head coach), then Kevin McHale (currently the head man in Houston), and finally Kurt Rambis.
In 2010, Pinckney joined forces with Tom Thibodeau in Chicago. He was with the Bulls through this last season, and is leaving now that Fred Hoiberg has replaced Thibs (not a totally dissimilar situation that Melvin Hunt faced in Denver, not totally).
Back in June of 2013, Pinckney interviewed with the Memphis Grizzliles for their head coaching gig (the same summer Malone and Brian Shaw received jobs) and was known for the following:
The source said the Grizzlies like Pinckney for "his knowledge of defense from [Tom] Thibodeau and [Pat] Riley, and for his good rapport with players." While the Grizzlies were No. 1 in the NBA last season in opponents' points per game (89.3), the Bulls were third-best (92.9). Both teams demonstrated a strong persistence with their physical and solid frontcourt play. Pinckney's coaching with first-time All-Star Joakim Noah could provide value for Grizzlies big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
A defensive minded guy, known for getting along with players. And as a former player, Ed knows that players like to work on their offensive games, too (and a lot). It will be interesting to learn more about him, frankly I don't know a ton yet. There is a great read from April of 2014 profiling Ed by CSN Chicago that you can read by clicking here.
A quick snippet:
After a few seasons with the Timberwolves and a brief return to Philadelphia, where he was the 76ers' television analyst for a year, Pinckney came to Chicago with Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau in 2010. Thibodeau isn't a huge proponent of his staff talking to the media—Pinckney isn't much of a self-promoter anyway—but that unique background, in the opinion of ex-colleague Ron Adams, is part of the reason Pinckney's stock is rising in NBA coaching circles these days.
"The one thing about Ed is he has a real love for basketball and he really loves the game. Enjoys the game, enjoys the players. It's kind of interesting with the guys he's recruited over the years at Villanova, he's still in contact with the kids, with the parents. That's just who Ed is. If you look at Ed's background as both a player in the pros, a player in college, he has an interesting perspective because he's also done broadcasting. Some people may not think that's important, but I think it is because you get to sit back, you watch people, you watch games obviously," explained Adams, now the Celtics' lead assistant after holding the same position with the Bulls under Thibodeau. "You look at the game from a different level and I think as a head coach in this league, it's important to look at the game through many lenses and I think Ed has the potential to do that. But let's face it: in this league, for many people, it's just a matter of getting a break. He's been around the league for a long time, been around really great coaches, been at great programs. He's learned from Tom, [legendary Villanova coach Rollie] Massimino in college. He really has a rich legacy of basketball behind him, so why not?
Another piece is now in place for the Nuggets with Pinckney. The team still may require an offensive minded assistant. It's great that Pinckney has such a diverse background in terms of playing in winning programs, and being with a variety of coaches (big wins in Chicago). Pinckney will be a branch off of Thibs' tree one day soon, but for now - he's the top assistant in Denver.