Coaching is very underrated in the NBA. Everyone thinks talent alone brings you success. Every winning team has a great coach running the show like a puppeteer. All of the NBA Champions of the last decade have been elite coaches: Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, Pat Riley, and Larry Brown are a few Hall of Famers with rings. Here are the top 10 coaches in the NBA for the 2012-2013 season.
10. Erik Spoelstra – Miami Heat: Love him or hate him he still has to coach his way to a NBA championship. A lot of talented teams have been formed for years now and only a few have actually succeeded. A common component in all these championship teams is extremely good coaching. He might have the best players in the universe on his team but you can’t say Spoelstra didn’t push the right buttons at the right time. It also takes leadership and coaching skill to manage star’s egos and handle the media questioning your every move.
9. Byron Scott – Cleveland Cavaliers: The 2008 NBA Coach of the Year is in the middle of a rebuilding process in Cleveland. He was a great coach with New Jersey during the golden years and is a big part of Chris Paul’s early success in New Orleans. Scott has a lot of young talent with the Cavs and will be able to put his fingerprints all over this team. Kyrie Irving is a superstar in the making and has the perfect coach to learn from.
8. Rick Carlisle – Dallas Mavericks: There wasn’t a better coach in the league in 2011 than Mr. Carlisle. The mastermind behind the Mavericks championship run and stopping the train known as LeBron James in the NBA Finals is one of the league’s best. He has only missed the playoffs once in his 10-year career but his window might be championship window is closing, if not closed already, in Dallas. Dirk Nowitzki is up there in age now and there were very little monumental offseason moves made, Carlisle will have to coach his butt off for the Mavs to succeed this year.
7. Frank Vogel – Indiana Pacers: The Pacers are on a franchise on the rise. Young emerging players like Roy Hibbert, Danny Granger, and Paul George are great corner pieces. They had a 2-1 lead on the Heat and were in prime position to pull a huge upset when Chris Bosh went down but couldn’t close the deal. Frank Vogel is behind all of this as the Pacers will be favorites in the Central Division with Derrick Rose hurt. Vogel is the youngest coach but also one of the smartest and knows how to push his young players.
6. Scott Brooks – Oklahoma City Thunder: Brooks’ young Thunder team has only improved under his watch. Granted he has the best young nucleus the league has seen in a while, in 4 years in a row his teams have progressed: missing playoffs, first round exit, conference finals exit, and then last year’s Finals loss. He will have many opportunities to lead his team to Finals glory with the players he has. He will have to make the right rotations and press the right buttons if he wants to get past the Lakers.
5. Doug Collins – Philadelphia 76ers: Doug Collins is doing a fantastic job in Philadelphia. His team had its ups and downs last year but finished strong in a close series loss to Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Now with Andrew Bynum, Collins has another piece to work with. Losing their leader in Andre Iguodala could be tough but Bynum is a dominant center. Collins will work to mold this young but very talented team into a great team in the East. He is a tough coach who gets the best out his players.
4. George Karl – Denver Nuggets: With over 1000 wins his career and an inspiration to us all, George Karl sets the bar for coaching. Karl is a cancer survivor, but he wouldn’t let cancer be an excuse for losing a few steps in his coaching. Karl’s Nuggets are consistent and are a legit contender this year in the Western Conference. Karl will keep on putting his team in the right position to win, no doubt about it.
3. Tom Thibodeau – Chicago Bulls: Coach Thibodeau is a defensive mastermind. He has coached the Bulls to the best record in the Eastern Conference two years straight now but hasn’t been able to go over the hump just yet. No Derrick Rose will hurt a lot, as would any team losing their superstar and MVP. He also lost a lot of his bench that he worked so well last year. Thibodeau is a great coach but he will be tested this year. He also has the most raspy voice in the league.
2. Doc Rivers – Boston Celtics: Doc knows what he is working with and knows exactly how to use it perfectly. Kevin Garnett aging? Paul Pierce hurt? Ray Allen not the same? No problem last year for Doc as he had his Celtics one win away from another NBA Finals appearance. His frontcourt got younger this year through the draft and he has molded Rajon Rondo into one of the best point guards in the league. Rivers is a player’s coach who has done a masterful job in Boston.
1. Gregg Popovich – San Antonio Spurs: The reigning Coach of the Year is a basketball genius. Coach Pop runs a smooth system and always seems to have his players at the right spot at the right time. He has a master at getting the best out of his role players. He has no problem handling stars, as they seem to have no ego what so ever. He has brainwashed the Spurs into a team first attitude and that’s all a coach can ask for. Greg Popovich should never be undermined and you would be a fool to ever count out the Spurs when he is calling the shots. Plus he has a pretty sweet beard.