I got to thinking, how many great coaches does the NBA actually have? I wrote a couple of lines on each coach to see...Don't have to read every one. Comment on any or all...give me your opinion. And how important is coaching if there aren't that many great coaches coaching?
Atlanta Hawks - Mike Woodson - Josh Smith is apparently less than happy about remaining a Hawk if coach Mike Woodson remains with the team. The organization also was on the brink of firing Woodson a year or two ago, Woodson pulled back though. However Captain Joe Johnson has made it clear he wants Woodson and his staff back next year. "I’d love for him and the coaching staff to come back." He has coached his team since the 8<sup>th</sup> of July 2004 and has led them to a 106-222 record overall.
Boston Celtics - Doc Rivers - Doc has been with the team since the 29<sup>th</sup> of April 2004 and has taken them to 168-160 overall record. He has well-documented chemistry problems with Paul Pierce and went for one of the worst win percentages in the league last year with an all-star (Pierce) and a bunch of decent developing players.
Charlotte Bobcats - Sam Vincent - He was coach of the Fort Wroth Flyers in the 2005-2006 season. Shortly after coaching the Nigeria to the second round of the 2006 Basketball World Champs where they upset traditional power Serbia. He was then hired as an assistant coach by the Mavs. In May 2007 he was introduced as the new head coach of the Bobcats. Fired after one season. He will probably settle into a lead assistant role somewhere if he is to stay in the NBA.
Chicago Bulls - Scott Skiles - Always famous in my mind for answering the question: "What could Eddy Curry do to improve his rebounding?". He answered "Jump." In every season that he has coached 82 games he has got through to the playoffs. Fired by the Chicago Bulls, so heartless, on Christmas Eve. Quickly signed for four years by the Bucks a couple of weeks ago.
Cleveland Cavaliers - Mike Brown - He would never be allowed to work for the Cavaliers if it wasn't for LeBron, but that is just a testament to how valuable LeBron is. Mike Brown needs more imagination in his offence, but that again comes down to LeBron. Overall he it is hard to tell how good of a coach he really is because of LeBron. 145-101 is the record he has maintained since joining the team on the 2<sup>nd</sup> of June 2005. He has never improved on his 50-32 and 2<sup>nd</sup> place finish in the division in his coaching tenure with the Cavaliers.
Dallas Mavericks - Avery Johnson - He was groomed to succeed Don Nelson Sr., now Donnie Jr. fired him. When taking over he won coach of the month in April. He became the fastest coach to 50 wins after he went 50-12 in his first 62 games with the Mavericks. Coach the Western All-Stars in the All-Star game in 2006. Went to the NBA Finals against the Heat and lost 4-2. He got the COY award that year as well. Johnson became the fastest to 100 wins as well in December 2006. He got the Mavericks to the best record in the west the next year and was out-coached in the first round by his mentor, Don Nelson Sr. Then Mark Cuban sets off an awful trade and the Mavs still get to the playoffs but are out in the first round. He is fired. A good coach and I'm sure any team will be jumping for joy just to have him.
Denver Nuggets - George Karl - Coming to this team on the 25<sup>th</sup> of January 2005 he has taken the Nuggets to an overall record of 171-115. His major failures have been not getting his all-stars (Carmelo and AI) to work together functionally, a lack of discipline and a lack of defence. He was the coach of the 2002 Team USA team that lost in quarter-finals…New Zealand finished higher than USA…(I had to add that)
Detroit Pistons - Flip Saunders - If I had a dollar for every time I heard a Piston fan saying they want him fired, I'd be very rich. Since taking over on the 21<sup>st</sup> of July 2005 he has led the Pistons to 176-70 overall. Saunders has often come under scrutiny for poor playoff form (2006) and poor defensive performances in the east finals that year. Saunders was also blamed for Ben Wallace leaving. But on the other hand he has been to the ECF every year with the Pistons, pretty damn impressive.
Golden State Warriors - Don Nelson - His eighth-seeded Warriors defeated the top-seeded Mavericks last year. He out-coached his counter-part. He has been coach of the Warriors since 2006 and is one of two coaches to surpass the 1200 win mark in history. Nelson has a signature style of wheeling and dealing players and his unorthodox styles, ie using three guards and two forwards with the 6'8" Rod Higgins at center in his first stint at Golden State. I could write so much, but I believe he is a great coach.
Houston Rockets - Rick Adelman - A dark horse in this years COY race, he led the Rockets to the second-longest winning streak in history -- 22 games. Since taking over the top job in May 2007 he has taken the Rockets to a remarkable 55-27 overall record. He is thought of as a "players coach" and his teams seem to have over-achieved without the presence of a superstar. Adelman achieved 800 career wins this year.
Indiana Pacers - Jim O'Brien - In his first season with the Pacers he did pretty poorly. However this is his first full season where he has not achieved at least .500. He hasn't done much wrong as a coach, but hasn't done anything great either.
Los Angeles Clippers - Mike Dunleavy Sr. - How has he been able to coach this team since 2003 and not get fired? I don’t know. He has a negative all-time coaching record and a negative overall record with the Clippers. .427 with the Clippers overall has come with one good season, 47-35 in 05-06 and came within an inch of the Western Conference Finals. Apart from that, Dunleavy Sr. hasn’t done anything good since 00-01. He isn't destined to succeed with the Clippers….(Im not sure if anyone is)
Los Angeles Lakers - Phil Jackson - One of the all-time great coaches. His worst season was last season (06-07) where the Lakers won 42 games. He has never been below .500. His all-time record is .700. He has nine championship rings as a coach. If he gets one more this year he will have a ring for every finger. Entered into the Hall of Fame last year and has only won NBA coach of the year once. One of the true greats.
Memphis Grizzlies - Marc Iavaroni - Rumors are that he is a magician, after he survived a 22-win season that seems pretty accurate. He was taken as head coach after serving as an assistant to Mike D'Antoni for years. He is lucky to be coaching on the same team again next season. We'll have to see what the sophomore coach does with his chances.
Miami Heat - Pat Riley - Inducted into the HOF this year after leading Miami to a franchise-worst record and this seasons NBA worst record. Great coach and mentor though. Probably should have stopped while he was ahead after winning his last ring in 2006 but nonetheless a great coach.
Milwaukee Bucks - Larry Kryskowiak - Did well in college, and in the CBA while coaching the (now D-League) Idaho Stampede. I don't think he is ready to be an NBA Coach yet. Shame now he has two horrible seasons (not full) on his record.
Minnesota Timberwolves - Randy Wittman - After one and a half season with the Timberwolves he has 34 total wins. Over his head coaching career he has won one third of his total games. He did, though, have a big part to play, as a Minnesota assistant, in the development of Kevin Garnett.
New Jersey Nets - Lawrence Frank - The calls for him to be fired have increased but he has stayed put, he has taken the Nets to a 191-177 overall record since taking over in January 2004. He has actually done better than most pundits give him credit for, mainly because he took over a talented squad coached by current COY Byron Scott but Frank has never taken them to their potential.
New Orleans Hornets - Byron Scott - Current COY, the best coach for the 2007-08 season. That doesn’t translate to future success obviously but Byron has had a pretty good coaching career even though he has an overall winning percentage below .500 and a .500 overall record with the Hornets. He took over a struggling Nets team, finished poorly in his first season then he build a good core of players and took them to NBA Finals. In New Orleans he has done poorly for his first three seasons, but he has now build a good core of players and is doing well again.
New York Knicks - Isiah Thomas - The less said here, the better.
Orlando Magic -Stan Van Gundy - In his first season with the Magic he has taken them from being a poor team with little respect to a good team with little respect. Every season he has coached he has taken his team to the playoffs (he resigned in 05-06, at 11-10) and a .500+ record. Personally, I have great respect for him and he has done nothing to prove that he isn't a great coach.
Philadelphia 76ers - Maurice Cheeks - He has taken the Sixers to the playoffs for the first time this year for the first time. Before Philly, he was a huge part of the 2001 Philadelphia team that reached the NBA Finals. In 2001, he was hired as Portland Trailblazers head coach. He led the team to two playoff berths in four years as coach, but could not get past the first round. He was fired after a poor start to the 2004-05 campaign. Another dark horse for this years COY after an excellent finish to the season.
Phoenix Suns - Mike D'Antoni - He's not a bad coach. He just a system and he needs the right players to fit it. He had that in Phoenix, not sure if he will have that in New York. Because of that he will never be a great coach, just not a really really bad one.
Portland Trailblazers - Nate McMillan - Great turnaround this year, but in his coaching career hasn't done much until Seattle got moved into the Northwest. He has had 4 seasons below .500 out of his 8 seasons as a head coach. Now in Portland with Roy, Aldridge and Oden the future looks stronger than ever before for the Blazers and McMillan.
Sacramento Kings - Reggie Theus - After being hired based on his coaching for the New Mexico State team in NCAA he has had one 38-44 season with the Kings. He has two years left on his contract.
San Antonio Spurs - Gregg Popovich - "The best quality since 1996." He has got his side into the playoffs every season except his first as coach. Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich should be going down in history as one of the great coach-player dynasties…Don't even know if there is such thing, if there isn't they should make it just for Popovich and Duncan.
Seattle SuperSonics - PJ Carlesimo - He will return to coach the team next season despite reportedly being very unpopular with players and leading the team to an unimpressive 20-62 record, he may not survive the team's move to Oklahoma City. There is also loud noise out of Seattle that owner Clay Bennett is interested in having assistant coach Scott Brooks take over as head coach.
Toronto Raptors - Sam Mitchell - the Cleveland News-Herald states that the Raptors probably will not make a move toward acquiring Phoenix Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, who is currently in limbo with a lot of money left on his contract in Phoenix. Also factoring into the decision is the cost to get rid of Sam Mitchell, which is reportedly about $9 million.
Utah Jazz - Jerry Sloan - He has been coaching this team since before I was born. Doesn't that just say it all? On eof the true legends in coaching circles, he is just five wins away from his 1000<sup>th</sup> win for the Utah franchise and his 11 wins away from his 1100<sup>th</sup> career win. Sloan has led the Jazz to six division championships and ten seasons with over fifty wins. He has only missed the playoffs four times out of twenty-three attempts.
Washington Wizards - Eddie Jordan - He has coached the Wizards since 2003. He had poor seasons with the Kings, then went to New Jersey to be lead assistant coach for four seasons and has coached the Wizards into the playoffs in every year except his first. However LeBron has now killed them in the first round of the playoffs three years in a row.
How many great coaches does the NBA actually have? Comment on any or all...give me your opinion. And how important is coaching if there aren't that many great coaches coaching?