7 NBA Players Who Will Make Great Future Coaches
The complicated game of basketball requires more than just pure talent for a player to be great. As a sport with so many different rules, a true leader also needs to understand every aspect of the game to the fullest extent..
Needless to say, these are the players that go on to become successful coaches after their playing careers come to an end.
Many current head coaches once played, and while not all were stars, many got the experience of watching the game develop from a player's point of view.
Now with so many intelligent players leading their teams, it's very likely that some will one day assume the position as coach, after they decide to bring an end to their career as a player.
Here's a look at seven players whose leadership and knowledge of the game make them the perfect candidates to one day lead a team from the sidelines.
Shane Battier, though not a star player, has the makings to be a fantastic coach. While he isn't blessed with natural talent, the Duke graduate has used his flawless basketball IQ and endless work ethic to gain the respect and admiration of his teammates.
Battier is known around the league for his smarts, and was voted in 2010 as one of the 20 Smartest Athletes via a poll done by Sporting News. He finished seventh, the highest out of any NBA player on the list.
In an interview with Fox Sports, teammates, LeBron James and Joel Anthony were quick to point out Battier's intelligence, with Anthony stating, "His basketball IQ is off the charts in terms of understanding situations and being able to analyze all the different situations on the court."
Even Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had nothing but incredible words to speak of Battier.
He is like an additional coach on our staff. When I don't know something, when I'm speaking in front of the team, I turn to Shane and ask him instead of some of the guys on my staff.
His ability to dissect the game and analyze every second of it has earned Battier the reputation that he so modestly carries around today. With this leadership and intelligence he has worked so hard to obtain, Battier has the potential to be an incredible coach.
Tim Duncan has always been mentioned as one of the greatest players that the league has ever seen, but he could one day add the term 'Coach' to his resumé.
When Duncan was first drafted to the Spurs, a man entered his life that would change it for the better. That man? Gregg Popovich.
Duncan had the ever-so-special opportunity of playing under Popovich for the entirety of his career, something which has bolstered Duncan's understanding of the game to a very high level.
After spending so long learning from one of the greatest coaches of this era, it would be foolish to believe that Duncan hasn't picked up a few tricks along the way.
Combine that with his strong work ethic, high IQ and overall leadership, and Duncan could one day be a great coach.
Derek Fisher, while being incredibly intelligent like Battier and Duncan, is forced to understand the game to a whole new level.
As President of the Players' Association, Fisher is responsible for representing each of his peers during debates concerning pay and other issues. In short, Fisher is obviously a bright man, if he was the player elected for the job.
On the court, Fisher has his fair share of leadership qualities. While he may not be a star, he knows how to win, as he was a part of multiple Lakers championships.
Now, with all of his talent drained away, Oklahoma City signed him for the same reason he would make a great coach—leadership and experience.
His overall responsibility for other players now makes him an obvious choice to be a future coach, but his on-the-court actions further support the matter. Don't be surprised to see Fisher on the sidelines in a few years.
Point guards have the unique ability to watch the game develop, as it is their job to know where everybody is and where everyone will be at all times. It is their job to control the offense and make sure that everybody knows their correct assignment.
Steve Nash, being the legendary point guard he is, takes that job description to a whole new level.
Few players in the history of the league have ever been able to analyze the sport of basketball in such a way that Nash does.
Whether it is developing a brilliant play from scratch or shifting a defense to prevent the opposition from scoring, Nash has always led his team to being one step ahead of their challengers.
He knows every aspect of the game to the fullest extent, and can see plays develop far before they actually happen. He also is a natural born leader, and knows his teammates' strengths and weaknesses to the point where he can relate to them need it be necessary.
Though his playing career is not yet over, in a few years, Nash should consider coaching, as it allows him to control the offense and lead a team, without the physical strain on his aging body.
Jason Kidd is finishing up an illustrious career, but as a player who has been in the spotlight since he was drafted in 1994, it's hard to imagine him somewhere other than on a basketball court.
Luckily for him, he may not need to stay away from the game for too long, as he has the makings to one day make a return and coach a team to success.
Like Nash, Kidd has been running offenses and watching games develop for over a decade. His basketball IQ is one of the highest in the league, and may even be at the top.
His career has allowed him to play against opponents ranging from Michael Jordan to LeBron James, so Kidd know the work it takes to stop even the most talented players.
If he ever were to coach, his overall experience and knowledge would help him succeed at the job, if he were to display interest in the position.
Paul Pierce, unlike stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, is not a gifted athlete. He cannot jump that high or run that fast, and being a potential Hall of Famer was not something that came easy to him.
In order to make up for the lack of physical strengths, Pierce spent every extra hour he could manage practicing in the gym and watching film to prepare himself for the upcoming game.
He set his mind to a task, and with his work ethic, eventually achieved it. This mental toughness is something very important to a coach, as he cannot help the team win from a physical standpoint from his spot on the bench.
Pierce also is a natural leader and understands what it takes to win in this league. After spending his career listening to Doc Rivers lead the team, Pierce also should know a thing or two about proper coaching technique.
While he may not have been watching the game develop from a point guard's point of view, Pierce definitely knows how to analyze situations, due to his time in the film room, and knows how to beat an opponent using technique, rather than athleticism—something very important for a coach to understand.
So with his playing years dwindling down, it is unlikely that Pierce will ever fully retire from the game of basketball. After his playing career comes to an end, don't be surprised if "The Truth" attempts a comeback as a coach.
Being a good coach does not in any way require you to be a star player. Just ask Magic Johnson.
So while Brian Scalabrine has become the joke of the league due to his unathletic frame and his extremely rare appearances in the game, the White Mamba may be up to more than the eye can see.
No player in the league has watched the game from the bench more than him, so Scal has had the ability to watch games develop from a coach's point a view.
He knows what makes a franchise successful, as he has made multiple appearances in the NBA Finals, even adding a ring to his trophy case. He also has had the opportunity to shadow great coaches like Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau throughout his career, so he understands their approach to coaching.
Scalabrine has also expressed interest in a possible coaching job, and is targeting Pac 12 schools including his alma mater, USC.
It won't be too much of a role change for Scalabrine, as he already spends the majority of his time sitting on the sidelines in a suit, but with no current contract, Scal's next NBA appearance may be as a coach.