Ranking Scott Brooks, Erik Spoelstra and the Best Young Coaches in the NBA

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IJune 1, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 29:  Head coach Scott Brooks of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts in the second half while taking on the San Antonio Spurs in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 29, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Not only are there a ton of good young players in the NBA today, but there's also a handful of quality young coaches.

Let me clear up how I define what a young NBA head coach should be: a guy no more than 45 or 46 years old with no more than five years as a head coach. 

There's not many of those guys floating around the NBA right now, but two of the four coaches with teams still competing for a championship fall under that category in Miami's Erik Spoelstra and Oklahoma City's Scott Brooks.

In addition to those two, let's take a look at the five best young head coaches in the NBA.


5. Vinny Del Negro, Los Angeles Clippers

Del Negro takes a lot of heat in Los Angeles, but there are plenty of worse coaches in the NBA. I actually gave the 45-year-old Del Negro a slight edge over Mike Brown for the fifth spot.

In his four years as a head coach, Del Negro is slightly under .500 at 154-158, but he has taken his teams to the playoffs in three of those four seasons.

He's not the best X's and O's guy right now, but just like players need time to evolve, so do coaches.


4. Monty Williams, New Orleans Hornets

I especially like Williams as a head coach. He's only 40 and has only been a head man for two seasons.

His career record sits at 67-81, and while he went to the playoffs last year, I thought he did a better coaching job this season. He was dealt a bad hand after the Chris Paul trade and the Eric Gordon injury, but Williams' team played hard and competed all season long.

There will be much better days in the near future for Williams as a head coach.


3. Frank Vogel, Indiana Pacers

Vogel is only 39 and impressed me a great deal this season. In his year and a half as an NBA head coach, he has a 62-42 record and has been to the playoffs both times.

Indiana won a playoff series this year and plays with a chip on its shoulder. Vogel is a guy who could be an NBA coach for a very long time and amass a ton of victories by the time his career comes to an end.


2. Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat

Spoelstra is a guy who takes a ton of heat, but he's a good young coach with a bright future.

He's in a tough position because if he wins, well, he was supposed to because of the talent on the team. Yet if Spoelstra loses, then everything becomes his fault.

I'm not overly impressed with him as a tactician, but he wins. Spoelstra has a career record of 194-118 and had winning records both seasons before LeBron James and Chris Bosh arrived.

Coaching is a lot easier when you have the Big Three on the floor, though, so he doesn't get the top spot.


1. Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City Thunder

Brooks has put together a 174-125 career record in four seasons in Oklahoma City, and you saw during Thursday night's Game 3 how important a good head coach is.

The adjustments he made defensively were as important as anything else the Thunder did on the night.

Just like the Thunder have grown as a team, Brooks has grown as a coach. 

He was 22-47 his first season and has steadily gotten better each season.

The Thunder may or may not win the NBA championship this season, but of all the young head coaches in the game, Brooks has the best chance at putting together the best career.