NBL coaching legend Brian Goorjian, who led the Dongguan Leopards to the play-offs in each of his six seasons in the Chinese Basketball Association before leaving the club to join the Guangdong Southern Tigers, says the former CBA champion should learn from newly crowned NBA champion Golden Warriors for getting the title back in the new season.
Goorjian almost returned to the NBL with Melbourne United until the Southern Tigers offered the Hall of Fame coach a lucrative offer that no NBL would have been able to match.
Goorjian now aims to help Guangdong, who he compares to the LA Lakers in terms of franchise success, to regain their honor. He also believes the NBA’s Golden Warriors is a good example to follow for the Southern Tigers.
“We need contributions from more players. You look at the NBA finals. The difference between the Cavaliers and the Warriors is the latter has a deeper team and everybody is on the same page. That is what we need to get right.”
“If I can help players, who didn’t play much last year, to be better players and they can play more minutes to contribute during regular season, then we are going to have a better and deeper team, so everybody can keep fresh in the play-offs. For this aspect, I think Beijing did that very well,” Goorjian said.
Goorjian is the most winning coach in NBL history with six NBL championships, will assist Du Feng, the 33-year-old head coach of Guangdong. Du Feng is somewhat of a club legend having played for the Guangdong Tigers as representing the Chinese National team in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics is a young coach who will clearly benefit from having a mind like Goorjian’s patrolling the sidelines beside him.
“My work here is to work with Du Feng and help him grow as a coach. Du is a young coach, I coached CBA for 6 years and I coached internationally, I can bring a lot of experiences,” said Goorjian, who coached the Australian national team from 2001-2008.
Goorjian has cited the shakiness of the NBL as a core reason why he debated returning prior to receiving the offer from Southern Tigers. He is now coaching in a league he describes as “the AFL, if a billion people followed it”.
Despite Australian Basketball coming so close to having a legend of the game return to the league, Goorjian clearly has made the right move. The Southern Tigers have been perennial finalists in the CBA but despite having 8 CBA titles hanging in the rafters their last championship is now a decade ago and the pairing of Goorjian and Du Feng is no doubt a move made to change that fact in a very short time frame.