A couple of days ago over on the PHX Suns team blog, Suns GM Steve Kerr answered questions from fans. One guy asked simply, "Why don't you coach the Suns?"
Steve's answer demonstrates (1) his honesty; (2) his humility; and (3) his understanding of how difficult it is to coach at this level and the strain it puts on a family. Said Kerr:
"There are two reasons I wouldn't coach this team. One, I don't have the experience. I really believe coaching in the NBA is a job that requires training, and I haven't coached at any level. Two, it's an incredibly difficult job that would make balancing my family life and my career very difficult. In short, I'm not ready. Maybe down the road it's something I'll consider, but not now."
Steve's comments about the necessary training is spot-on. My years of coaching in the minor leagues were incredibly important to me as I was in a position of calling timeouts, drawing up last-second plays, developing rotations, planning for training camps, dealing with veterans and rookies, creating a vision for the team, etc.
I marvel at how someone can do it coming right from an assistant coaches chair to head coach because the head coaching at minors in one year helped develop more than two years as an assistant on an NBA bench.
There's nothing like the experience of sitting in the head chair regardless of the level. Working for a Hall of Famer like Chuck Daly was like being in a classroom every day. Coach Daly was a guy who was intensely interested in teaching -- both his players and his assistant coaches. He genuinely wanted to help his assistants develop into head coaches.
For assistant coaches, the key is to work for the best head coach you can in order to learn as much as possible.