Although NBA Players are specimens of the human nature, they would be completely lost on the court without the unsung heroes that are NBA coaches. However, like any professional job, some coaches are not as great at what they do than others. So today we will count down the NBA’s top 10 current NBA coaches.
Let’s be honest, the main reason David Fizdale makes this list is because of the “TAKE THAT FOR DATA” speech. Fizdale has won multiple championships in the past as an assistant with the Miami Heat and is known as a great player development coach. However, Fizdale did breathe some new life into the Grizzlies organization as Memphis nearly shocked the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs last year following his famous speech. Although, the main reason for Fizdales appearance is more for how he won over the city of Memphis rather than the Grizzlies on court play. A blue-collar city such as Memphis will no doubt gravitate towards someone who stood up for their team and proved himself as one of them. This acceptance has most likely guaranteed Fizdale a job for the next two or three years. David also generated great relationships with Mike Conley and Marc Gasol along with the rest of the Memphis team as they even paid for his $30,000 dollar fine from the NBA. Former players such as LeBron James have even expressed their relationship with Fizdale and so far there have been no negative reviews. The Grizzlies were also nowhere near bad last season as they ended the regular season with a record of 43-39, a one win improvement from the year before. However, Memphis did challenge the Spurs last season unlike the year before where they were easily swept. With that said, let’s take a look at where David Fizdale could end up on this list next year.
Predicted Ranking: N/A
Yes, I do not think Fizdale will be on this list next season and if you want to know why you can check my NBA Southwest Division Predictions.
D’Antoni finds ways to fit into whatever the current NBA trend is. Whether it’s the Phoenix Suns seven seconds or less offense or the Houston Rockets taking 50 three pointers in a game, D’Antoni always finds a way to win. However, D’Antoni has had some great luck with superstars in Steve Nash and James Harden, but then again, what great NBA coach hasn’t. Last season, Mike brought the Rockets back from life support. It looked as if James was going down a slippery slope with the Dwight Howard situation and the entire team looked as if they hated each other. Harden was beginning to get a bad rep and needed a change of scenery. Then came in Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni put Harden at point guard making him the center of attention and main ball handler of the team. This was huge for James’ productivity as he went from not making any All-NBA teams to nearly averaging a triple double and leading the league in assists. Mike also made another huge change as he decided mid range shots are the plague and would probably bench any player even thinking about taking a 15-foot shot. Although this seems dark, it did indeed work. Houston went from a 41 win team to a 55 win team. One of the biggest win improvements in Rockets history, if D’Antoni keeps it up, he will go down as one of the best coaches in Houston Rockets history. However, D’Antoni has had little playoff success and has had extra trouble with one specific coach, Greg Popovich. Then again, what coach hasn’t lost to old Popovich. So let’s take a look at where Mike D’Antoni is predicted to land on this list next year.
Predicted Ranking: 6/10
With the addition of Chris Paul, the Houston Rockets should see another win improvement. Although it will obviously not be as big of a win improvement as last season, I could easily see the Rockets landing somewhere around the 60 win mark. However, if you want to read more about my predictions for the Houston Rockets 2017-18 season, you can check out my Southwest Division Predictions article.
Dwane Casey has been the best coach in Raptors franchise history. Casey has brought Toronto the most success they have ever had while taking them as far as the Eastern Conference Finals. However, somehow this team has still been labeled as disappointing and underachieving due to the lack of play their two stars have shown in the playoffs. Although the fact of the matter is, the Toronto Raptors were the second best team in the east for a full two years. Once DeMar DeRozan finally blossomed and grew into his own player, the Raptors were nearing contention but were still missing another piece. Then came in Kyle Lowry who provided a second scoring option and was able to run their offense clearly. Casey had the rare and great ability to cleanly gel these egos and was lucky enough to see that DeMar and Kyle developed a brotherhood like no other. Dwane also has a front office that has been willing to spend money and do whatever they can to keep up with the Cavaliers. Obviously, that hasn’t worked but we cannot put that blame on Dwane Casey as he has done the absolute best he can stay on pace with Cleveland. Below is my predicted ranking for Dwane Casey this time next year.
Predicted Ranking: N/A
Yes, just like David Fizzdale, come this time next year, Dwane Casey will be sitting somewhere outside the top 10 best coaches in the league. This will most likely be due to the Cavaliers continual success and Celtics strengthing up their main core in an attempt to build a super team. Though, if you want to see my full predictions for the Raptors 2017-18 season, check out my NBA Atlantic Division Predictions.
Although maybe a bit overlooked due to the LeBron James factor, Tyronn Lue did indeed lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first ever NBA championship. That is something no other Cavalier coach has been able to say. Although it is obvious that Lue didn’t win the championship on his own as he had some help from the NBA’s best player, and one of the leagues premier point guards. It’s easy for some to write Lue off and say anyone can coach that team, but guess what? David Blatt couldn’t. LeBron has spent a total of 10 years with Cleveland and own just one championship. That proves that it is by no means easy to LeBron and Kyrie as although the two are split up now, he had to balance their egos for over years. However, Lue has been on record saying he has the hardest job in the NBA, which is simply not true. Last season, the Cavaliers ended with a final record of 51-31 which was good enough for second best in the Eastern Conference. However, Cleveland’s tumultuous season came to an end when they fell to the Golden State Warriors for the first time in the Tyronn Lue era. However, Lue could be on the hot seat in the coming years as Irving is already gone and most believe James will be on his way out this coming free agency. These two departures could leave management baffled and I’m afraid Lue could be the scapegoat for all of this. With that said, let’s check where Lue will end up on this list next year.
Predicted Ranking: 9/10
Although the Cavaliers may stay second in the Eastern Conference, they will drop in terms of power rankings as that will reflect on Lues ranking. However, if you want to read more about my predicted season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, check out my NBA Central Division Predictions.
Brad Stevens has officially proven himself on the professional level. There was no doubt what Stevens could do on the collegiate level as he led a less than championship talented Butler team to the NCAA Finals before losing on a missed half court shot from Gordon Hayward. However, Stevens has now proven that he is able to take that knowledge and transfer it to the NBA as he led the Boston Celtics to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance and truly brought out the best in Isaiah Thomas. Now although Isaiah is now gone, I don’t think Brad will lose any sleep at night knowing that he has a former NBA champion and scoring machine, Kyrie Irving running his offense. Stevens was also played a huge part in the acquisition of Gordon Hayward this summer and has built a culture in Boston that attracts players and makes them want to play for the organization. Although, this new team will be a huge test for Brad’s ability as a coach due to the fact that the Celtics are expected to be nothing short of a championship contender this season, despite the fact many of them have never played together. If Boston stumbles at all and drops in the standings, the downfall blame will be assigned to Brad Stevens as many will initially think that with that many stars on a team, it must be the coaching staff that is the problem. However, let’s take a look at the Predicted Ranking for Brad Stevens come this time next year.
Predicted Ranking: 4/10
Although there are questions about how well this new Celtics team can work together, ultimately, Stevens will figure it out and somehow figure a way to balance their egos. The great ones always find a way. NBA Atlantic Division Predictions.