Grading the NBA's Rookie Coaches

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Grading the NBA's Rookie Coaches
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

It's been something of a rocky season for many of the NBA's nine first-year head coaches, but that was largely to be expected.

Given that Jeff Hornacek's Phoenix Suns have traded their preseason tanking predictions for a possible playoff appearance, things are even better than they could have been.

While you'll find more of these debut decision-makers at the bottom of the standings than the top, you won't find many disappointments in the bunch. With rebuilding clubs eyeing up-and-coming coaches as part of their long-term plans, short-term progress isn't easily captured in the box scores or league standings.

Not all of these coaches, of course, inherited a starting-from-scratch roster.

Jason Kidd took on a gargantuan payroll and minuscule championship window with the Brooklyn Nets. Dave Joerger's Memphis Grizzlies were Western Conference finalists in 2013. Brian Shaw's Denver Nuggets had dreams of making it far after grabbing the No. 3 seed out West last season.

Save for Hornacek's Suns and Shaw's injury-riddled Nuggets, there haven't been a lot of surprises. For the most part, the teams on this list are largely in the range of where we thought they would be.

That's a good thing. At the least, it means none of these coaches have looked in over their heads.

With zero duds bringing down the group and a few studs leading the charge, let's see how this solid set of first-year coaches have fared in meeting the varied list of expectations each has faced.

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