Juwan Howard has revitalized the Michigan basketball program, but the NBA could be calling for the former Wolverines forward.
As March Madness approaches, Michigan basketball head coach Juwan Howard’s only thought should be about bringing a national title to his alma mater.
While the former Fab Five forward never won it all during his playing days in Ann Arbor, he has the Wolverines ranked No. 3 in the nation in only his second year on the job. Michigan is 17-1 overall and 12-1 in Big Ten play. Though the Wolverines were a terrific program when John Beilein was on the bench, Howard is a head-coaching candidate on the rise.
Would Juwan Howard leave the Michigan basketball program for the NBA?
Howard will take home every coaching award from the 2020-21 NCAA season. Not only is he a basketball legend from his days at Michigan, but Howard is a former NBA All-Star and a two-time league champion. Prior to returning to Ann Arbor, Howard served as an assistant coach for Erik Spoelstra on the Miami Heat. Revered and respected in the NBA, Howard could return in 2021 if he wants.
Howard just turned 48-years-old. Former college coaches like Billy Donovan and Brad Stevens have shown making the jump from college to pro is not as difficult as it used to be. Although looking at Beilein’s failure in the NBA could be a reason to stay. Howard also has the luxury of not being seen as a coaching retread.
It really comes down to if he wants to stay at Michigan or go back to the NBA.
A handful of teams who could be interested in him include the Atlanta Hawks, the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards. He could stay in-state to replace Dwane Casey in a rebuilding situation in Detroit. Howard was an All-Star with the then-Washington Bullets. He spent the bulk of his NBA career in the nation’s capital and could be a long-term replacement for Scott Brooks.
As for Atlanta, Lloyd Pierce has not exactly shown much in three years since leaving the Philadelphia 76ers’ bench. Though Pierce has better job security over Casey in Detroit or Brooks in Washington, you have to wonder if Atlanta ownership is satisfied with the way the young, but competitive roster is being coached up. In short, Howard will have a few suitors in the NBA.
So should Howard leave Michigan?
No, because he will not have the same job security he would if he were to stay in Ann Arbor. It would have to take a truly incredible situation for Howard to leave Michigan after only two years.
Should Michigan win the NCAA Tournament and a team like Washington were to offer him the job, that could present a clean break for him. However, if Michigan falters in March Madness, it would only fuel the fire for him to return. If there is unfinished business to be had at Michigan, no way Howard would skip town this early in his college coaching career for the pros.
For Howard to leave Michigan, he needs a much better opportunity to be presented than the aforementioned trio of potential openings.
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