With between 4 and 6 games in the book at the end of the night, it’s time to kick off our first Coach Rank of the regular Season!
Quick reminder of our starting rules. . .
1. Rookie coaches started at the bottom, raked alphabetically– they will have to prove their way up from their and sort out.
2. No points for adequately achieving or under achieving with super talented rosters (the Vinny Del Negro Principle)
3. Having no system on either side of the ball is unacceptable.
4. Rankings are cumulative and incremental. Coaches can move up or down, sometimes even by several spots, but one good/bad week/month doesn’t always override the body of work from the rest of the season and previous years.
1. Greg Popovich San Antonio Spurs — To lose the spot Pop is going to have to, you know, do something bad.
2. Tom Thibodeau Chicago Bulls
3. Doc Rivers Los Angeles Micro-Softs
Our first spot swap of the season! There’s no shame in losing to Boogie and the Kings or to Golden State. This swap is based on the incredible degree of difficulty for what Thibs has Chicago doing right now.
To tick off the accomplishments– 1. 5-1 record with the one loss being in overtime to Lebron, 2. A rotation that includes four new additions, 3. Missing at least one starter in every game, 4. Took one of the worst offensive teams from last year, reinvented the offense around a combination of post play, ball motion and cuts, and three point shots that is averaging over 100 per game.
That said, the Bulls defense and rebounding have slipped, so if those trends continue, Thibs could start to slip in these rankings.
4. Rick Carlisle Dallas Mavericks– holding steady, Carlisle reincorporated Tyson Chandler and folded in Chandler Parsons who has joined Monta at 17 points per game to round out a big three with Dirk.
5. Jeff Hornacek Phoenix Suns– Hornacek has folded in Isiah Thomas pretty well to make that three guard set work.
6. Mike Budenholzer Atlanta Hawks– the Hawks woes aren’t all Budenholzer’s fault, their three losses are all to playoff teams from last year.
7. Kevin McHale Houston Rockets– has the Rockets singing with some addition by subtraction in letting Parsons and Lin walk. Keeping post contract Ariza engaged and transforming a poor defensive team from last year into the second best in the league (for now) have McHale on the biggest jump here. (11 last week).
8. Brad Stevens Boston Celtics– the Celtics are reinventing into a Spurs style offense, and are looking good on that end, if abysmal on the other.
9. Frank Vogel Indiana Pacers– the Captain of a sinking ship this year; how engaged the Pacers stay as the losses mount will say a lot.
10. Terry Stots Portland Trailblazers
11. Jason Kidd Milwaukee Bucks– going to need to watch the Bucks more closely to see what’s going on here, Kidd has most slipped due to other’s good work and it will take time to evaluate his performance with this young roster.
12. Dwayne Casey Toronto Raptors
13. Steve Clifford Charlotte Hornets
14. Dave Joerger Memphis Grizzlies– The Grizzlies are looking dominant this year as well, and Joeger has them determined not to start off poorly as they did due to injuries last year.
15. Brian Shaw Denver Nuggets
16. Lionel Hollins Brooklyn Nets
17. Stan Van Gundy Detroit Pistons
18. Flip Saunders Minnesota Timberwolves
19. Monty Williams New Orleans Pelicans
20. Michael Malone Sacramento Kings
Williams and Malone both had some proving to do coming into this season. The Kings are off to a hot start, and Malone has the team working through their talented big man Cousins and improving despite losing Thomas. Williams’ Pelicans are putting out maximum effort right now, and new acquisition Omir Asik has looked to be a dominant pairing with Anthony Davis on the glass. Bother will bear closer watching as the season goes on.
21. Erik Spoelstra Miami Heat– I have to admit that losing Lebron and still coming out strong, reinvented around different pieces and the development of Norris Cole into a legitimate NBA player has me rethinking my stance on Spoelstra. Will need to see more for me to permanently flip on him though– after all, had Spoelstra been able to develop any of the late first round picks he had over the past four years, Lebron may have seen the possibility of getting past ‘Not two. . . ‘ in Miami instead of bolting for younger supporting players.
22. Scott Brooks Oklahoma City Thunder
23. Jacque Vaughn Orlando Magic
24.Brett Brown Philadelphia 76ers
25. Randy Wittmann Washington Wizards
26. Byron Scott Los Angeles Lakers– It is rapidly beginning to look like Scott was hired because he was a poor choice for a coach. No one expected the Lakers to win, but Scott’s attitudes towards the modern game shows he may be stuck in the past.
26. Steve Kerr Golden State Warriors
28. Derek Fisher New York Knicks
29. Quinn Snyder Utah Jazz
30. David Blatt Cleveland Cavaliers– the Cavs are going to figure things out eventually, but a 1-3 start with the team ranking in the bottom third of the league in basically every category (19th in points scored, 23rd in points allowed, 22nd in rebounds, and 30th in assists) despite having a four time MVP and two more All-Stars has Blatt as not only the worst of the rookies, but the worst in the league right now.