Every NBA team is chock-full of talent. Each team needs a good coach to shuffle a lineup and find the players that mesh the right way. Sometimes some of the best teams in basketball don’t work well in a bad coaching system.
Coaches also have to deal with large egos, injuries and the grueling 82-game season filled with scheduling obstacles. It is easy for a coach to let a city, the players or even the fans get the best of them. Here are the top five coaches heading into this NBA season.
Number five: Rick Carlisle
Listen, let’s just forget about this past season and remember the body of work here. Carlisle in his lengthy career as a coach has only had two teams fall under the .500 mark.
He is 28-30 coaching in the playoffs and has an NBA championship thanks to beating the LeBron James led Miami Heat.
Carlisle is 694-520 in regular season games and will become just the 18th coach to hit 700 wins this upcoming season. He also won the Coach of the Year award in the 2001-02 season.
Carlisle has had the pleasure of coaching guys like Shawn Marion, Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki throughout his tenure and has found a way to get the best out of them.
Number four: Erik Spoelstra
Spoelstra has risen from a video coordinator to two-time NBA champion and a spot in the top five.
In his first years he obviously benefited from having LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but some of Spoelstra’s most impressive coaching came in the last 41 games of last season. He coached his team from what was a 11-30 season and turning it into 41-41.
Spoelstra has an impressive 70-40 playoff record and has won 61 percent of his regular season games.
Spoelstra will continue to be tested moving forward as his team is no longer the front runner in the Eastern Conference.
Number three: Brad Stevens
Stevens has had a short amount of time coaching in the association and came on board with the Celtics mid-rebuild.
Stevens is 11-17 in the playoffs, but has run into the Cavaliers in two of the last three times he has made it to the playoffs.
The first season he took over as head coach, the Celtics had 25 wins and last season had 53. He also continues to build moving forward with the recent addition of Gordon Hayward.
Stevens has won 51 percent of his games and will continue to improve that mark moving forward.
Number two: Steve Kerr
Winning two out of the last three championships will absolutely win you credit.
Steve Kerr has been fantastic for the Golden State Warriors. He has led the to the best NBA regular season record of all time and has gone 207-39 in three years at the helm. Kerr has proven that lots of talent doesn’t just translate to wins but also to championships.
Kerr has been fantastic, but it has been too small of a sample size to propel him into the top spot. It also doesn’t help that during the playoffs last year Mike Brown stepped in and coached the Warriors extremely well.
This Warriors team has a ton of talent and if Kerr sticks around and can stay healthy, he will quickly approach the top spot on this list.
Number one: Gregg Popovich
Pop has created a way of life in San Antonio. He has created a system that works with nearly all selfless players.
He has created a platform for Kawhi Leonard to grow into a star and successfully passed the torch from Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker to Kawhi Leonard and Lamarcus Aldridge almost without skipping a beat.
Pop has 1,150 wins which is more than three of the other four coaches have total games.
He has five NBA championships and some electric in-game interviews. Coach Popovich, if he retired tomorrow, goes down as the best coach in NBA history, but for now he just gets to improve on the most impressive resume we have seen in the game today.
There used to be a day in which people said once Duncan, Ginobili and Parker retire the Spurs will drastically struggle. As Ginobili and Parker begin to pack it up and follow Duncan, the Spurs were the two seed in last year’s NBA Playoffs.
Popovich has created an incredible winning culture and the Spurs don’t seem to be slowing down.
Good coaches are hard to come by. Many of the best teams have the best coaches to lead the players they have.
Six of the last seven NBA championships have been won by a member of this list. The only one who hasn’t is Brad Stevens.
A good coach creates a culture and can get players to buy into a system. Nearly all of the coaches listed have created a winning foundation and atmosphere during their tenures in the Association. We will see just how good each coach will perform in the 2017-18 NBA regular season and beyond.
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