Thibodeau has received high praise for his work as the assistant coach on the Celtics, oftentimes receiving more credit for the Celtics' title than head coach than head coach Doc Rivers. He sports a 1.000 win percentage after taking over head coaching duties for one game in place of Rivers, and has been interviewed by the Knicks, Bulls, and Sixers over the last two offseasons. Sure, he'd be another gamble for Sacramento and has no prior experience with developing young players, but Thibodeau's area of expertise could sure help a team that ranked in the bottom five in every defensive category last season.
Which brings us to Westphal, who if nothing else, has the most credentials of the three finalists. Westphal led the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals in his first season, ultimately losing to Jordan's Bulls in six games, and won no less than 56 games in his first three years as head coach. Although he didn't have as much success in Seattle, he coached the post-Shawn Kemp (or Vin Baker-wasted) SuperSonics to 45 wins. In fact, the parallels to Sacramento' most successful head coach, Rick Adelman, are almost too easy. Of course, Westphal won't have the luxury of having Chris Webber and Vlade Divac to run his offense, so expecting another 1999-like reincarnation is more than a little short-sighted.
I'm not sold that Westphal is the answer and still wish the Kings would think ouside the box instead of going down the same old road. But perhaps it could be worse. I can buy that Westphal's learned from his past mistakes, and that not everyone's cut out to be a college basketball coach. From all indications, his heart is in it, and maybe he can at least point the team in the right direction and help cultivate the young talent.
And hell, at least the Kings didn't hire a Laker.