- Gregg Popovich
- Coach Pop has a basketball mind unlike any other coach in history. He is on the level of Phil Jackson when it comes to getting the most out of each one of his players. He has never missed the playoffs and has won five titles with the Spurs. Watching how his teams are so in sync and on the same page speaks volumes about how good he is at managing players and gaining their respect and trust. He has had help by having guys like Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, but Pop’s ability to make everyone feel important to the team goes a long way.
2. Erik Spoelstra
- Spo, as his players call him, is probably the most underrated coach in the league. He took over a struggling Heat franchise in 2008 and has done nothing but build a great culture for the team. He has made the playoffs all but one year and took the Heat to the finals four years in a row, winning two titles. What impresses me about him is how he adapted his formula to his team. The Heat were a half-court slower-paced team his first two years. The when LeBron and Bosh signed, he switched to the now very popular small ball approach, which allowed his team to go more up and down the floor. This adaptation shows his great coaching ability.
3. Doc Rivers
- Of all these coaches, Doc is the best at managing various personalities. I mean he did coach Rajon Rondo, which I have heard is nearly impossible to do. Doc commands a lot of hard work from his player, and it shows from the great defense they usually play. As an NBA champion, Doc knows what it takes to win and has shown great resilience when it comes to facing injuries and roster changes. If your team has a lot of guys with attitudes, I would make Doc Rivers my first choice. Doc’s best attribute is his defensive game-planning. He always knows how to give the opposing superstar at least a little bit of trouble, which adds up in the end most of the time.
4. Brad Stevens
- He made the college to pro jump and has been incredible as the head man in Boston. His rugged style fits perfectly with the Celtics roster and it shows in their scrappy play. Stevens brings a very old-school approach that involves a lot of ball movement and an inside-out focus rather than the modern day outside-in logic. He doesn’t have a lot of big names (other than Isaiah Thomas), but that has not stopped him from putting a team on the floor that currently sits 3rd in the Eastern Conference. i would not be surprised if he wins Coach of the Year at some point in the future.
5. Steve Kerr
- His approach may be very risky by primarily relying on the three-pointer, but when he has a guy like Steph Curry, he can afford to. Kerr emphasizes perimeter ball movement combined with multiple screens and wants his team to constantly be in motion. Having great athletes is what drives his system and he has found the perfect fit for the Warriors. Playing for both Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich as a player, Kerr has a system featuring aspects from two of the greatest basketball minds in history. It takes a lot to win as a coach, so those who think the he has it easy should think again.