1. Greg Popovich San Antonio Spurs
2. Tom Thibodeau Chicago Bulls
3. Doc Rivers Los Angeles Micro-Softs
4. Rick Carlisle Dallas Mavericks
5. Jeff Hornacek Phoenix Suns
6. Mike Budenholzer Atlanta Hawks– After watching the Hawks in action this week I had coach Bud listed as “maybe up one” for a long time. But even coming off back to back losses, I couldn’t demote Hornacek yet. I need to watch both these coaches a bit more, but Buneholzer is on my “rising stars” list. Its just hard to move up in the top.
7. Kevin McHale Houston Rockets
8. Brad Stevens Boston Celtics
9. Frank Vogel Indiana Pacers– Vogel is another coach who is working very hard to rise up in the rankings. He has delivered wins over Miami and Chicago in the last week, and has a team of castoffs and deep bench players playing very well around his one remaining All-Star. Meanwhile Stevens has the Celtics looking plucky. McHale’s Rockets have floundered after their hot start, but even with a 69 point victory, its hard to demote a 9-1 coach. I’d consider McHale on notice for a drop, however, and I will be watching the Rockets next week.
10. Terry Stots Portland Trailblazers
11. Jason Kidd Milwaukee Bucks– Third coach in a row where what I have to say is “I’m impressed, but there’s not enough justification yet.” Kidd has the Bucks at 5-5, having just unseated the Heat. Their defense is atrocious and there are un-watchable stretches of mistakes, turnovers, and bad decisions– but the Bucks two best players are both 19 and in their 1st and 2nd years respectively. Kidd has the Bucks moving the ball, moving their bodies when they aren’t, and taking a pretty good shot selection. He’s also figured out that positions be damned Giannis and Jabari both need to be starting very quickly in this season. I’m going to have to watch the Bucks again next week and watch the Blazers to compare the job of the guy ahead of Kidd in these rankings.
12. Dwayne Casey Toronto Raptors
13. Steve Clifford Charlotte Hornets
14. Dave Joerger Memphis Grizzlies
15. Brian Shaw Denver Nuggets– I had Shaw listed as probably down after watching as much of the Nuggets as I could stomach, but the coaches just behind him haven’t been impressing and I didn’t have time to watch the Pistons this week– I will the Nuggets, Nets, and Pistons next week and there will likely be some change in these three’s order. Malone and Kerr are breathing down this clump’s neck though as well as the Kings and Warrior’s have both looked impressive and well coached.
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
21. Steve Kerr Golden State Warriors— Rookie coach climb alert. His time under Coaches Jackson and Popavich have served Kerr well– he’s got the Warriors in the top 10 in points scored, points allowed, rebounds, and assists.
22. Scott Brooks Oklahoma City Thunder– The Thunder are almost keeping afloat. Brooks moved up a spot by maintaining the same spot as he outpaced coach Spo on the “bad coach, good team” train.
23. Erik Spoelstra Miami Heat– Far too many of the Heat’s possessions involve four guys standing around at the three point line while a fifth guy dribbles then one of them misses a contested shot. The ball sticks, the players stand, and these aren’t known sharp shooters– Deng has never been an ace three point shooter, Bosh while good for a center has struggled from the line and done his best work when he has gotten inside, and watching Josh McRoberts and his 25% stand out there is just inexcusable. The only time the Heat look good is in transition. Add in Norris Cole falling off far enough to make my original assessment of “can’t develop talent” seems appropriate. For a guy whose supposed to be a video room genius, Spoelstra just hasn’t looked so great when “Hey, you guys are three of the best 10 players in the League, just go do your thing” stopped being a valid coaching strategy.
24. Jacque Vaughn Orlando Magic
25.Brett Brown Philadelphia 76ers
26. Randy Wittmann Washington Wizards
27. Byron Scott Los Angeles Lakers
28. Quinn Snyder Utah Jazz– I liked what I saw from the Jazz. The team is looking plucky. I’m not sure that plucky is enough, but for a team built on average prospects from the lower lottery without a single true star, the Jazz have forged a kind of identity and carved out some wins in the tough West. I think it speaks a lot to Snyder’s future prospects, but I am not sure this roster will serve him very well towards those ends.
29. Derek Fisher New York Knicks
30. David Blatt Cleveland Cavaliers– Their offense is coming together, and the wins are starting to trickle in, but the kind of locker room dissension, and the sinking feeling that Lebron is the player/coach/GM of the Cavs leaves a lot to be desired. He started at the top of the rookies based on Alpha order, but has fallen to the bottom of the league– don’t worry though, I am sure Byron Scott’s despicable coaching job in LA will bring him down here sooner or later, and I have not been impressed by the 76ers or Magic and their coaching strategies, so there may be a raise for the Euro coach soon.