Which of the competitions for the head coach of the NBA is the most attractive? (2023)

With just over a month to go before the 2023 NBA Draft, one-sixth of the NBA's 30 head coaching positions are available. There is an opportunity for the five franchises to correct the recent mistakes that led to these layoffs.

We've ranked the five openings from least to most attractive based on roster strength, team market and championship pressure schedule.

5. Detroit Pistons

Which of the competitions for the head coach of the NBA is the most attractive? (1)


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  • A real young core led by Cade Cunningham, complemented by Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren.
  • #5 pick in the upcoming draft.
  • Roughly $25-30 million in cap space to play in free agency.


  • A barren lineup that needs an immediate injection of talent. Detroit finished the season with the worst record in NBA history.
  • This is not a glamorous place for freelancers.
  • The pressure is on for a turnaround soon - it's been four seasons since the Pistons last made the playoffs.

There is nowhere to go but fight for the Pistons. With the additions of Ivey and Duren in the draft, and veterans Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic via trades over the summer, the franchise has been pegged as a potential dark tournament team for the 2022-23 season. Any hopes of a competitive campaign were dashed in December when rising player Cunningham suffered a season-ending calf injury. Detroit's gift for a league-worst 17-65 record? The fifth pick in the June draft and the non-consensus trio of Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller. Whoever the Pistons take, from a talent perspective, will be an immediate upgrade — preferably a versatile wing who could complement the team's wealth on defense and center.

Aside from the existing team and a high draft pick, Detroit has plenty of cap space to add some good players to round out the rotation in the offseason. The club could also choose to remain flexible in their pursuit of stars for the foreseeable future as he is expected to have a net worth of $60.8 millionsalary expensesfor the 2024-25 season. On the other hand, Detroit may have to pay to add even mediocre players to entice free agents to join a team that has averaged 20 wins over the past four seasons.

With the elements to build a new Pistons team, the club's new head coach would be the perfect first-team coach to grow with the team - the opposite of veteran Dwane Casey. Recent similar success stories include Taylor Jenkins of the Memphis Grizzlies and Willie Green of the New Orleans Pelicans.

4. Toronto Raptors

Which of the competitions for the head coach of the NBA is the most attractive? (2)


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  • The core of Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes has several unique paths and play styles.
  • Team president Masai Ujiri remains one of the NBA's most respected managers.
  • Franchising is traditionally focused on development and a long-term approach.


  • It looks like ownership wants to win again sooner rather than later.
  • The future of pending free agents is up in the air.
  • The roster may need a significant overhaul to make an impact in the playoffs.

Toronto's failure in the game against the Chicago Bulls was the last painful nail in a season full of bad points. The Raptors' inability to break out of the first round convinced Ujiri to part ways with championship head coach Nick Nurse and served as a reminder that the roster may not be up to par in the very tough Eastern Conference.

Ujiri said during the end-of-season presser that the league's equity convinced him to trade his first-rounder in time for Jakob Poeltl instead of sending expiring contracts and veterans to renewals. While he was a significant upgrade for a team without a proven center all year, Poeltl alone failed to transform the Raptors into what Ujiri had hoped for. Some of that fell to Nurse, but some may be out of the head coach's control.

Poeltl, Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. getting ready to hit free agency. Toronto's front office needs to decide if its current path will indeed be successful after the season, or if a proper overhaul is needed around former Rookie of the Year Barnes — which would almost certainly require trading two-time All-NBA player Siakam. If they try to awkwardly maneuver inside, it can be a daunting task for any new coach and see candidates go through Toronto's limited ceiling.

3. Philadelphia 76ers

Which of the competitions for the head coach of the NBA is the most attractive? (3)


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  • Current MVP Joel Embiid.
  • Daryl Morey, ambitious president of basketball operations.
  • A balanced roster around Embiid that should qualify for the playoffs, with or without star James Harden.


  • Harden's upcoming free agency and his decision dictates the team's next steps.
  • Current pressure to pass the second round. The Sixers have not reached the conference finals since 2001.
  • Apart from Tyrese Maxey, there is no promising candidate to help the team progress to the next stages of the competition.

After their recent elimination from the postseason, it's never been clearer that the Sixers need a playoff-ready coach to bolster their roster. Despite posting a 154–82 regular season record under Doc Rivers, Philly fired the veteran coach after the franchise's third straight loss in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Even if Harden and Embiid fail to score more than 20 points in a decisive Game 7 against the Celtics, a coach with a more resourceful offensive approach and increased crunch awareness could secure a conference finals appearance this campaign.

Now there are real ramifications for the franchise, and thus the next bench boss. Reportedly, Harden plans to test free agency. If he goes to another team, the Sixers will have little opportunity to trade him and maintain their status as a challenger without gutting the roster and using a lot of draft capital to get a player of his caliber to pair with Embiid. The point guard's decision to return will weigh heavily on the franchise in the short term. But the next coach could achieve long-term legendary status if he leads the 76ers to the Finals, a feat not seen in Philadelphia since 2001.

2. Milwaukee Bucks

Which of the competitions for the head coach of the NBA is the most attractive? (4)


  • Longtime MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo with a secure contract.
  • Probably an easier way to compete in the East.
  • Veterans who know what it takes to win the title from 2021.


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  • One of the oldest teams in the league by average years.
  • Immediate expectations under great pressure.
  • Key contract decisions are needed, including with Khris Middleton this summer.

Milwaukee is now a tempting opportunity to win, but with a few burning questions that need to be answered now. First, the Bucks need to quickly decide on their plans for Middleton. He has a $40 million player option for the 2023-24 season. But at 32, Middleton may decide to turn it down to secure more guaranteed money in free agency, likely his last chance for a lucrative long-term contract.

If Middleton isn't in their plans, they risk losing longtime teammate Antetokounmpo for little to nothing thanks to a restrictive salary cap outlook. Defensive end Brook Lopez is another mystery to be solved this summer as a pending free agent. However, the Bucks are probably better suited to keep him because the big journeyman is now 35 years old and Milwaukee owns his rights to Bird.

Of course, all of this may be irrelevant to the team's boss candidates because of the opportunity to coach a longtime MVP candidate in Antetokounmpo, who is still only 28 years old and under contract through at least 2024-25. Regardless of what the rest of Milwaukee's roster looks like after the dust settles, Antetokounmpo's presence will likely keep the Bucks a contender and keep them an attractive destination for prospects and coaches. Even though Jrue Holiday's contract is entering its final season next year, expect Milwaukee to draw a lot of interest.

1. Phoenix Suns

Which of the competitions for the head coach of the NBA is the most attractive? (5)


  • Expected rivals with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant who are certainly under contract.
  • New owner Mat Ishbia has proven that he will do anything to win the title.
  • With Durant in hand, Booker secures an advantage by chasing discount veterans to round out the roster.


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  • Competitive status comes with immediate pressure.
  • Chris Paul's age and injury history could lead to a change at some point.
  • The depth lost in the Durant deal needs to be addressed.

Right now, there's no better opportunity to take over the NBA than in the desert. Back-to-back second-round exits ultimately cost Monty Williams, but Phoenix is ​​more than well-equipped to help their incoming coach live up to high expectations. Booker took another step this year leading all playoff scorers. And with Durant set to be with the Suns all season, the club has arguably the best one-two offensive punch in the league.

But while Phoenix is ​​a fantastic opportunity for any tactician who wants to fight, it is not without its flaws. The Suns' most pressing concern is likely Paul, specifically how long the 38-year-old can continue to play full-time. He played 65 and 59 games in the last two regular seasons, and a groin strain forced him to miss the team's final four playoff games, limiting him to watching the Suns' six games against the Denver Nuggets. Phoenix reportedly intends to bring him back, but apparently contingency plans are also on the table.

There also seems to be constant talk about what to do with Deandre Ayton, who hasn't always gotten along with Williams. A new coach could revive the former No. 1 overall pick, but a potential trade payoff could also help Phoenix make up for the depth lost in the Durant deal.


Who has the most NBA Coach of the Year awards? ›

Gregg Popovich, Don Nelson and Pat Riley have each won the award three times, while Hubie Brown, Mike Brown, Mike Budenholzer, Mike D'Antoni, Bill Fitch, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Gene Shue, and Tom Thibodeau have each won it twice. No coach has won consecutive Coach of the Year awards.

Who is the best coach in the NBA? ›

Best NBA coaches in the 2022-23 season

There's no argument that Erik Spoelstra, Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr are three of the best coaches in the league.

How many times did Phil Jackson won Coach of the Year? ›

As head coach:

11× NBA champion (1991–1993, 1996–1998, 2000–2002, 2009, 2010) 4× NBA All-Star Game head coach (1992, 1996, 2000, 2009) NBA Coach of the Year (1996) Top 10 Coaches in NBA History.

Who won the NBA 2011 12 coach of the year honor? ›

Spurs' Gregg Popovich named 2011-12 NBA Coach of the Year - NBA.com: NBA Communications.

Who has the most Sixth Man Awards in the NBA? ›

Bobby Jones was the inaugural winner of the award for the 1982–83 NBA season. The 2022–23 recipient was Malcolm Brogdon of the Boston Celtics. Jamal Crawford and Lou Williams are the only three time winners of the award. Kevin McHale, Ricky Pierce and Detlef Schrempf won the award twice.

Who has the most awards in NBA history? ›

Michael Jordan (22) has the most trophies in NBA history! | Facebook.

What is Steve Kerr's salary? ›

How much does Steve Kerr make? According to Sportico, Golden State's head coach earns $9.5 million annually.

Who is the smartest coach in the NBA? ›

1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs.

Who is the best defensive coach in NBA? ›

Like the offensive rankings, it should come as no surprise that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich comes in ranked as the #1 Defensive coach. Jeff Van Gundy is second followed by former Cavaliers coach Mike Brown and Celtics legend Red Auerbach.

Who was Phil Jackson's favorite player to coach? ›

Not a lot of readers may not know this, but Ed Nealy played for the Chicago Bulls only for one season. However, he still ended up becoming Phil Jackson's favorite player. Ed Nealy did not have anything out of the ordinary in his game. But he was Jackson's favorite because he was the smartest player on the team.

Who is the winningest pro coach? ›

Don Shula holds the current records for regular season wins at 328. Bill Belichick holds the record for postseason wins at 31. Belichick is also the active leader in regular season wins, with 298.

Is Phil Jackson the greatest NBA coach of all time? ›

Jackson holds the NBA record for NBA championships as a coach and is the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 900 wins. In 1996 the Chicago Bulls, under Jackson, posted the best regular season record in NBA history at 72-10, and he was named NBA Coach of the Year.

Who won more NBA Defensive Player of the year awards? ›

Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace have each won the award a record four times.

Who was the NBA Coach of the Year then fired? ›

Championship-winning or title-contending coaches aren't safe in the NBA these days. In recent days, 2019 NBA champion Nick Nurse, 2021 champion Mike Budenholzer, 2021 Western Conference champion and 2022 Coach of the Year Monty Williams and most recently 2008 NBA champion Doc Rivers were all fired.

How many first year NBA coaches won a championship? ›

Nine head coaches in NBA history have won a championship in their first season.

Has a rookie ever won 6th Man of the Year? ›

Ben Gordon (USA) of the Chicago Bulls (USA) is the first-ever rookie to win the NBA Sixth Man Award, honoring the league's top player in a reserve role.

Who has the most All-Star MVPs? ›

NBA legends Kobe Bryant and Bob Pettit share the record for the most All-Star Game MVP awards, having both picked up the accolade four times.

Who will win most improved player NBA 2023? ›

Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen named 2022-23 Kia NBA Most Improved Player.

Who has scored 3,000 points in a season? ›

Wilt Chamberlain unsurprisingly holds the record for most points scored in a season with 4,029, which he did back in 1961-62 with the Philadelphia Warriors. Michael Jordan is the only other player to score at least 3,000 in a season, a feat Chamberlain accomplished three times.

Has anyone won MVP 3 times in a row? ›

Larry Bird is the most recent player to win three straight MVP awards. Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlin and Bill Russell are the only players to ever do it. 10,501 people like this. Larry won his third consecutive MVP 34 years ago today.

Who has the most sportsmanship award in NBA? ›

The player with the highest point total, regardless of the number of first-place votes, wins the award and presented with the Joe Dumars Trophy, named after the former Detroit Pistons player and the award's inaugural recipient. Grant Hill and Mike Conley have won the award three times; the most in NBA history.

How much do NBA referees make? ›

The NBA pays its referees a salary that varies between $150,000 and $550,000 annually. The amount of money a referee earns can differ based on how many games they officiate and their level of experience. The officials are entitled to various benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and travel expenses.

How much did Phil Jackson make coaching the Bulls? ›

Salary and Contracts

During his 9-years coaching career with the Bulls (winning six championships), Phil made a total of $9 million. After leaving the Bulls, Jackson took a brief break from the NBA, only to return in June 1999 with a $30 million five-year contract with the Lakers.

How much does the head coach of an NBA team get paid? ›

The minimum salary for an NBA head coach is approximately $2 million. However, most coaches earn significantly more, as evidenced by Sportico's 2021 article of the highest-paid coaches in U.S. sports, seven of whom roam NBA sidelines.

What is LeBron James IQ level? ›

His IQ is estimated to be around 148, which puts him in the gifted range. His intelligence and basketball IQ have been praised throughout his career, as it allows him to make quick decisions on the court. He is also known for his ability to read and anticipate the game, which further demonstrates his high IQ.

Who is fastest NBA player? ›

Donovan Mitchell Becomes The Fastest Player In NBA History To Do This - Sports Illustrated Cleveland Cavs News, Analysis and More.

What NBA player has the highest GPA? ›

Who were the smartest NBA players? Intelligence cannot be measured by grades or degrees alone, but it helps prove that some players are brighter than others. Jeremy Lin is considered one of the smartest after graduating from Harvard with a degree in Economics. He maintained a 3.1 GPA while studying there.

Who has the best defensive game in NBA history? ›

1. 1963-64 Boston Celtics: 112.89. Now that you see the Boston Celtics have completed their clean sweep of the podium, it's worth reflecting on just how dominant Bill Russell was. Not only did he anchor the top four defenses in NBA history, but he also plugged up the middle for eight of the top 20.

Is Dennis Rodman the best defensive player ever? ›

Dennis Rodman was a great defender. He was one of the best individual defenders in the history of the league. His rebounding was also incredible. He did not provide as much help defense as the best players ever but still did things almost no one else did in the history of the league.

Who does Phil Jackson think is the greatest basketball player of all time? ›

The time Phil Jackson called Scottie Pippen “the greatest all-around player in the NBA”

Why did the Lakers fire Phil Jackson? ›

On top of that, Phil Jackson, who led the Lakers to their three-peat run, was fired days after losing to the Pistons because Lakers owner Jerry Buss felt it was time for a change.

How many NBA championships does Phil Jackson have as a coach and player? ›

He has the most Championships in NBA History as a player and head coach, with 13, topping Bill Russell with his 11. Phil's reign has been epic. It's been nothing short of majestic....

Who is considered the greatest coach of all time and why? ›

Vince Lombardi was the greatest coach of all-time, not only for his accomplishments on the field, but for impact outside the lines. I agree that the choice between Wooden and Lombardi is a tough one, but I think that one can safely say that Lombardi had much more of an impact outside his sport than Wooden.

Who is the greatest coach of all sports? ›

1. John Wooden. John Wooden, nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” is undoubtedly one of the most successful sports coaches ever. Wooden became famous as head coach of the UCLA men's basketball team.

Which NBA coach has the most playoff wins? ›

Phil Jackson

Who has the most NBA titles as a player and coach? ›

He won his fifth championship as head coach of the Miami Heat in 2006. Who has the most NBA championship rings as player and coach? Phil Jackson holds the record for the most rings with 13 championship rings.

How many Hall of Famers did Phil Jackson coach? ›

so Phil Jackson is coach. 10 Hall of Fame basketball players.

Who owns the Lakers now? ›

Jeanie Marie Buss (born September 26, 1961) is an American sports executive who is the controlling owner and president of the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), and co-owner and promoter of the U.S. women's professional wrestling promotion Women of Wrestling.

Who has the most rebounds in NBA history? ›

Wilt Chamberlain has the most rebounds in NBA history.

Who has the most first team all defense? ›

Michael Jordan, Gary Payton, Garnett and Bryant share the record for most NBA All-Defensive first team selections with nine. Scottie Pippen, Bobby Jones, and Duncan made the first team eight times each. Walt Frazier, Dennis Rodman and Chris Paul made the All-Defensive first team seven times.

What NBA player has the most MVP awards? ›

Michael Jordan won the award five times in his career. Hakeem Olajuwon is one of three players to win the NBA MVP and the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in the same season. LeBron James is a four-time NBA MVP. Derrick Rose became the youngest player to ever win the award at age 22.

Has a coach ever been fired after winning a championship? ›

It recently happened in the NBA when the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks fired their coaches after winning championships just a few years earlier. It can sour very quickly. Here are several times a head coach was let go within four seasons from bringing their franchise a championship.

Who is the all time losing NBA coach? ›

Lenny Wilkens has lost the most games by a coach, with 1,155 losses.

Who has the most years as a NBA coach? ›

Lenny Wilkens – 32 seasons

Lenny Wilkens tops the list for the longest-tenured NBA coach of all time. He was able to coach six teams during his 32-year run in the league between 1971 and 2005.

Who is the youngest NBA coach ever? ›

The youngest coach in NBA history was Dave DeBusschere, a player-coach for the Detroit Pistons at age 24 in 1964. DeBusschere was not your typical NBA player. Or typical anything. DeBusschere spent two seasons playing baseball for the Chicago White Sox, while also playing for the Pistons.

How many black NBA coaches have won a championship? ›

Six black coaches have won titles: Russell (Celtics 1968-69), Attles (Warriors, 1975), Jones (Celtics, 1984, 1986), Lenny Wilkens (Seattle SuperSonics, 1979), Doc Rivers (Boston, 2008) and Lue (Cavaliers, 2016).

Has any NBA player won a championship in 3 different decades? ›

He was the first player in NBA history to win championships with three franchises (since joined by Robert Horry, Danny Green, and LeBron James), as well as the first player in the NBA to win a championship in three different decades (since joined by Tim Duncan). Brooklyn, New York, U.S.

How many NBA Coach of the Year awards has Gregg Popovich won? ›

Popovich has won five championships with the Spurs—1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014. He was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2003, 2012, and 2014.

How many times has Doc Rivers won Coach of the Year? ›

NBA Coach of the Year (2000) 3× NBA All-Star Game head coach (2008, 2011, 2021) Top 15 Coaches in NBA History.

Did Phil Jackson ever win Coach of the Year? ›

Jackson holds the NBA record for NBA championships as a coach and is the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 900 wins. In 1996 the Chicago Bulls, under Jackson, posted the best regular season record in NBA history at 72-10, and he was named NBA Coach of the Year.

Why is Gregg Popovich the best coach? ›

In his 26 seasons as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Popovich has won five championships, three Coach of the Year awards, had his teams competing for titles in three different decades, along with 22-consecutive playoff appearances, the most in NBA history.

Why did Phil Jackson only win Coach of the Year once? ›

The Coach of the Year award is for the regular season and doesn't include the playoffs. The award is given to the coach whose teams exceeded expectations. It's tough to exceed expectations when you're always winning and you have the undisputed best player in the league, as Jackson usually did.

Why did Doc Rivers leave Celtics? ›

One of the reasons that led Rivers to decide to leave the franchise was that he felt his authority in the locker room weakened after nine years as the Celtics coach. Boston won the NBA Championship in 2008 with him, and he was named Coach of the Year in 2008, but in 2013 the situation was quite different.

What is Doc Rivers salary? ›

Doc Rivers Net worth 2023
Net Worth:$70 Million
Salary:$6 Million +
Monthly Income:$0.4 Million +
Date of Birth:October 13, 1961
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Mar 29, 2023

Has Doc Rivers ever been to the finals? ›

He has lost five straight Game 7s. Rivers has also now lost in the second round of the playoffs six times since leaving the Celtics following the 2013 season, and he hasn't reached the conference finals since doing so with Boston in 2012.

Who has won MVP Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year? ›

Larry Bird, Frank Layden and Pat Riley join Red Auerbach as the only recipients to have also received NBA Coach of the Year. Bird is also the only winner to receive the NBA Most Valuable Player in addition to either of the Coach or Executive of the Year awards.

Who is the best coach in the NBA 2023? ›

Mike Brown has won the 2022-23 NBA Coach of the Year award, in a unanimous vote, the NBA announced on Wednesday. Brown is in his first year coaching the Sacramento Kings, but he has already led them to one of the best seasons in franchise history.

Why did Jimmy Johnson win Coach of the Year? ›

Johnson took the Cowboys to 7-9 in his second season in Dallas. While the Cowboys didn't make the playoffs, the team's improvement was so glaring that Johnson won the NFL's Coach of the Year award. Dallas then went 11-5 in 1991 before the real fireworks began.

Why is Phil Jackson the best coach of all time? ›

Phil Jackson, who was an extraordinarily successful basketball coach for the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, was an exemplary leader. He led with the philosophy that individual and team success is the result of each individual being all they can be personally, in service of something greater than themselves.

Who has more championships than Phil Jackson? ›

Phil Jackson has won the most championships by a coach, with 11 championships.
Phil Jackson164083.7
Red Auerbach1419
Gregg Popovich212381.8
Pat Riley190482.4
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