NBA Power Rankings: Phil Jackson and Every Head Coach in the League

Ross ColemanAnalyst IFebruary 11, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Phil Jackson and Every Head Coach in the League

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    NBA Power Rankings: Ranking All 30 NBA Head Coaches

    With the news that Jerry Sloan would be stepping down as the head man of the Utah Jazz, it's time to rank the current NBA head coaches.

    Phil Jackson has more Championship rings than any coach in NBA history. Is he the best coach currently in the league or is there someone else who can edge him out?

    How low does Byron Scott drop after leading a team to the worst losing streak in NBA history?

    Read on and let us know what you think. Is your team's coach too low? Leave us a comment.

NR Ty Corbin, Utah Jazz

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    It is impossible to figure out where Ty Corbin ranks on this list because he is yet to coach an NBA game. His first as the head coach of the Jazz is tonight.

    You have to feel bad for a guy who is taking over for a living legend.

29. Frank Vogel, Indiana Pacers

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    Coaching Record: 5-1

    Positives:

    The only reason Frank Vogel comes in this low is because he has only been a head coach for six games. Sure he is 5-1 in those six games but I need to see more before I rank him higher than this.

    Negatives:

    Vogel is a very inexperienced guy. He appears to be on the right track but like I said, I can't put him higher than this.

    Historical Impact:

    Much too early to talk about Vogel's place in history. Let the guy get to 10 wins before we start talking about his place in history.

28. Byron Scott, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Coaching Record: 360-400 All-Time, 8-45 This Season

    Positives:

    Byron Scott is generally considered a player's coach. He is a well-liked former player and he has carried that over to his coaching style. He is also a very good defensive mind that gets his players to buy in defensively.

    Negatives:

    Scott has worn out his welcome in two cities already and appears to be on his way towards doing the same in a third. Scott has only done well when he has franchise point guards playing for him who can run their own offense. Scott's offensive schemes all appear to be a little slow and bland.

    Historical Impact:

    After his performance this year, Scott will always have the stigma attached to him as the coach that led his team to the worst losing streak in NBA history. The Cavs lost 26 in a row before beating the LA Clippers on Friday night.

27. Jay Triano, Toronto Raptors

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    Coaching Record: 79-121 All-Time, 14-39 This Season

    Positives:

    Jay Triano was promoted in the 2008-2009 season because of his bright offensive mind. He has done a good job at getting the most out of his team on the offensive end, with Andrea Bargnani averaging over 20 points per game.

    Negatives:

    Under Triano, the Raptors have been one of the absolute worst defensive teams in the NBA. They gave up more points than anyone else in 2009-10 and are among the worst again this season. It seems like Triano might be a lame duck coach at this point.

    Historical Impact:

    Triano is the first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history. Not really something to get a team to anything in the win column, but it helps with marketing the NBA's only Canadian team.

26. John Kuester, Detroit Pistons

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    Coaching Record: 47-88 All-Time, 20-33 This Season

    Positives:

    John Kuester is supposedly a great offensive mind, but his team is among the worst in scoring offense this year. However, we can chalk that up to the fact that the Pistons have a bad roster full of guys that probably won't be in Detroit next year.

    Negatives:

    Kuester runs a very slow style of basketball. The Pistons rarely push the pace and that could be a reason for their offensive woes. With the guys they have on the roster, it seems to make sense that the Pistons would want to run the ball.

    Historical Impact:

    Kuester has not made really any historical impact on the game to this point of his career.

25. Paul Westphal, Sacramento Kings

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Coaching Record: 304-253 All-Time, 12-37 This Season

    Positives:

    Paul Westphal is a player's coach. He is someone who always seems to get along with the guys on his roster. While that could be a good thing or a bad thing, with the roster the Kings have, it seems to be a good thing to this point.

    Negatives:

    Westphal seems to be a typical NBA shot in the dark hire. NBA general managers seem to have a very short memory and instead of hiring guys that would be a better fit, they hire guys that they know.

    Westphal is not the sharpest basketball mind, he seems like more of a friendly guy and that isn't helping Sacramento.

    Historical Impact:

    Despite a long coaching career, Westphal has not had much of a historical impact on the league.

24. Flip Saunders, Washington Wizards

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    Coaching Record: 627-489 All-Time, 14-37 This Season

    Positives:

    Flip Saunders runs innovative schemes both on offense and defense. He has had success at his previous two spots in Detroit and Minnesota. He is one of the few genuinely experienced coaches in the NBA.

    Negatives:

    That experience hasn't helped Saunders. He still has difficulty getting respect from his players and is somewhat erratic in how he deals with people. He also tends to have a tough time leading his team in clutch moments.

    Historical Impact:

    Saunders is one of the few coaches ever to have success as the head coach of the Timberwolves.

23. Lionel Hollins, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Coaching Record: 99-140 All-Time, 28-26 This Season

    Positives:

    Along with the fact that Lionel Hollins has a young roster full of talent coming off a season where they nearly made the playoffs, the Grizzlies have been a good offensive team under Hollins.

    Negatives:

    Aside from getting the Grizzlies to be more consistent, Hollins needs to figure out how to coach defense; otherwise his time as a head coach will be short. He also needs to figure out how to get his players not to fight on airplanes over gambling debts.

    Historical Impact:

    Hollins has been the head coach of the Grizzlies three times in the history of the franchise.

22. Vinny Del Negro, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Coaching Record: 102-114 All-Time, 20-32 This Season

    Positives:

    Vinny Del Negro hit the jackpot wit the roster the Clippers handed him. Not only does he get to coach one of the most exciting young players in the league, but he has a roster full of young talent. Del Negro has had no problem giving the ball to young players in hopes of getting them developed.

    Negatives:

    Del Negro has been running his players ragged this year. He doesn't seem to want to pull Blake Griffin out of the game until the rookie is about to pass out.

    While the Clippers have stepped up this year, it almost seems like they are winning despite Del Negro.

    Historical Impact:

    Any historical success that Del Negro has is due to the fact that he is coaching one of the all-time great rookies.

21. Doug Collins, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Coaching Record: 356-315 All-Time, 24-28 This Season

    Positives:

    Doug Collins is one of the great play designers in NBA history. He is able to understand player movement and defensive tendencies better than most other coaches.

    Negatives:

    Honestly, I don't understand how Doug Collins got another job. Aside from a failure to relate to the guys on his teams, he also has never had much success at any of his stops in the pros.

    Historical Impact:

    Collins was the coach of Michael Jordan twice during his career, once with the Bulls and once with the Wizards.

20. Paul Silas, Charlotte Bobcats

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    Coaching Record: 368-411 All-Time, 13-11 This Season

    Positives:

    Paul Silas is another recycled head coach who has bounced around a couple of times. He is a very experienced coach that helped lead the Hornets to the playoffs four times when they were in Charlotte.

    Negatives:

    Again this was a really bland hire for a team looking to make its mark on the NBA. I can understand wanting someone respected at the top of the team, but I think you want someone who is going to be successful, and I don't think that is Silas.

    Historical Impact:

    Silas gave us one of the best coach's quotes of all time. Listen here.

19. Avery Johnson, New Jersey Nets

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    Coaching Record: 210-107 All-Time, 16-37 This Season

    Positives:

    Avery Johnson, aside from having one of the most distinctive voices in the NBA, is also a great defensive mind. He helped take the Mavericks from defensive joke to actual title contender in a short period of time.

    Negatives:

    Johnson was always an intense personality as a player and that has carried over into his coaching style. With a young roster like the Nets, that intensity can wear on guys.

    Historical Impact:

    Johnson has already surpassed the win total for last year's Nets team.

18. Keith Smart, Golden State Warriors

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Coaching Record: 32-60 All-Time, 23-29 This Season

    Positives:

    Keith Smart is a young and energetic head coach. He is in his mid-40s and has been able to relate to his players so far.

    Negatives:

    Smart is still trying to figure out his coaching philosophy. He took over an offensive-minded team and needs to figure out if that is the type of team he wants to have going forward.

    Historical Impact:

    Smart hasn't made much of an impact to this point, but that could change depending on how the Warriors do from here on out.

17. Kurt Rambis, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Coaching Record: 51-119 All-Time, 13-39 This Season

    Positives:

    Kurt Rambis learned the coaching trade on the Lakers staff the past few years. He was Phil Jackson's right-hand man and there is no one better to learn from.

    Not only does Rambis work hard, but he has also learned how to adapt to the players on his team.

    Negatives:

    Rambis doesn't have much to work with in Minnesota. Aside from Kevin Love, there is no one really worth anything on the Timberwolves roster.

    While he may be a much better coach than people think, he doesn't have the players to make it work.

    Historical Impact:

    Nothing to this point.

16. Scott Skiles, Milwaukee Bucks

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    Coaching Record: 381-266 All-Time, 20-31 This Season

    Positives:

    Scott Skiles is one of the best defensive coaches in the NBA. He has a very hard-nosed approach to the game, which he demonstrated during his playing days and he has carried over to his coaching days.

    Negatives:

    That hard-nosed mentality has forced him out of a few stops in his coaching career to this point. His intensity can wear thin with some people.

    Historical Impact:

    Nothing to this point.

15. George Karl, Denver Nuggets

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    Coaching Record: 1,017-694 All-Time, 31-23 This Season

    Positives:

    George Karl is a player's coach. He is able to adapt his mentality to exactly what his players need. He is also an expert motivator and he gets the most out of players that need an extra boost.

    Negatives:

    Karl appears to have some absent-minded moments. When Allen Iverson was on the Nuggets a few years ago, Karl appeared to check out mentally for the season.

    Historical Impact:

    Karl is one of just seven coaches in NBA history to surpass 1,000 wins.

14. Alvin Gentry, Phoenix Suns

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    Coaching Record: 274-292 All-Time, 25-25 This Season

    Positives:

    I think Alvin Gentry is a better coach than people give him credit for. He is able to relate to players well and has a very likable mentality.

    Negatives:

    Gentry has had a hard time sticking in his previous stops, and sometimes his players take advantage of him.

    Historical Impact:

    Nothing at this point of his career.

13. Larry Drew, Atlanta Hawks

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    Coaching Record: 33-19

    Positives:

    It is hard to judge Larry Drew's positives and negatives at this point of his career, but his team has been very good this year despite breaking in a new coach.

    Negatives:

    Like I said, it is hard to judge his positives and negatives, but Drew appears to have a tough time on the offensive end based on what he has on the roster.

    Historical Impact:

    Too soon to tell.

12. Monty Williams, New Orleans Hornets

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    Coaching Record: 32-22

    Positives:

    The Hornets have been one of the better defensive teams in the NBA under the tutelage of Monty Williams. It is just his first year, but he has the roster buying into his defensive mentality.

    Negatives:

    I do question Williams' player rotations. I watched a lot of the Hornets last year and I was expecting big things from Marcus Thornton, but he isn't playing much this year and I really wonder why not.

    Historical Impact:

    Too soon to tell.

11. Mike D'Antoni, New York Knicks

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    Coaching Record: 354-300 All-Time, 26-25 This Season

    Positives:

    Mike D'Antoni is one of the most innovative offensive minds in the NBA today. He nearly changed the entire league with the Suns a few years ago, and his scheme is a fun one for players to play in.

    Negatives:

    D'Antoni is one of the most stubborn coaches in the NBA. He is unwilling to change his scheme for anyone.

    Historical Impact:

    Nothing too notable.

10. Rick Adelman, Houston Rockets

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    Coaching Record: 927-606 All-Time, 25-29 This Season

    Positives:

    Rick Adelman is a very good offensive mind. He is able to innovate schemes for his guys to make plays.

    Negatives:

    Adelman does have a tendency to let his teams get away from him in clutch situations.

    Just look back at his teams in the playoffs and you will see examples of how not to coach a team during the second season.

    Historical Impact:

    Adelman looks like he could be the next to join the 1,000-win club.

9. Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Coaching Record: 105-97 All-Time, 33-18 This Season

    Positives:

    Scott Brooks has been the perfect coach for the Thunder so far. He has been able to relate to his young players and get them to buy into the offensive end.

    Negatives:

    I don't know how much of the Thunder's success is due to Brooks and how much is due to the fact that they have two of the 15 best players in the league.

    Historical Impact:

    Nothing too notable to this point, but he could be one of the next great NBA coaches.

8. Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Coaching Record: 128-88 All-Time, 38-14 This Season

    Positives:

    Erik Spoelstra is one of those guys that pays attention to every minute detail. While that doesn't seem like something that would carry over to the NBA, it does.

    Negatives:

    Spoelstra has had a hard time figuring out player rotations, but his real problem is figuring out the offensive side of the ball.

    Historical Impact:

    Aside from coaching one of the most notorious teams in NBA history, Spoelstra has not made much of an impact to this point.

7. Stan Van Gundy, Orlando Magic

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    Coaching Record: 316-169 All-Time, 34-20 This Season

    Positives:

    Stan Van Gundy is one of the master motivators in the NBA. He is able to get the most out of his guys on both ends.

    Negatives:

    Aside from looking like Ron Jeremy, Van Gundy has had a tough time in clutch moments. Shaquille O'Neal even went so far as to call Van Gundy the "Master of Panic."

    Historical Impact:

    I think it is pretty amazing that we have a Ron Jeremy look-alike as an NBA coach. I mean just look at this comparison.

6. Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls

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    Coaching Record: 35-16

    Positives:

    Tom Thibodeau has been known as one of the best defensive assistant coaches in recent memory.

    He was able to see how that translates to being a head coach this year with the Bulls. He has also been the head of a team with great chemistry.

    Negatives:

    Thibodeau is an intense guy and we will have to see how the Bulls react to that down the stretch.

    Historical Impact:

    Nothing to this point.

5. Rick Carlisle, Dallas Mavericks

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    Coaching Record: 423-268 All-Time, 37-16 This Season

    Positives:

    Rick Carlisle is very good at keeping his players fresh. He runs good subbing patterns and gets the right lineups on the court at the right times.

    Negatives:

    The one knock on Carlisle for much of his coaching career has been his tendency to favor veterans over more skilled young players.

    Historical Impact:

    Hasn't made much of an impact in his coaching career this year.

4. Nate McMillan, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Coaching Record: 438-419 All-Time, 28-24 This Season

    Positives:

    Not only is Nate McMillan a very good offensive mind, but the job that he has done with the Blazers this year is incredible. Not only have the Blazers been without their best player in Brandon Roy, but they have also been without former top pick Greg Oden.

    Negatives:

    McMillan tends to be stringent in his slow offensive pace. For better or worse, the Blazers aren't ever going to be a high scoring team.

    Historical Impact:

    McMillan deserves some Coach of the Year consideration for his performance this season.

3. Doc Rivers, Boston Celtics

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    Coaching Record: 489-394 All-Time, 38-14 This Season

    Positives:

    Doc Rivers is a master motivator and is really able to stress a team mentality. The Celtics would not be the team they are today without Rivers at the helm.

    Negatives:

    Rivers was nearly fired when the Celtics had a poor roster. It just calls into question whether Rivers is able to compete with a lower level of talent.

    Historical Impact:

    Rivers has led the Celtics to the finals two the of last three seasons, and they look like real threats to make it back again this season.

2. Phil Jackson, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Coaching Record: 1,135-476 All-Time, 37-16 This Season

    Positives:

    Phil Jackson is the king at getting the most out of players. He is able to manipulate personalities to get them to mesh.

    Negatives:

    Not only has he never really won without talent, but Jackson appears to be a little lax at times. Without a veteran team, it seems like a Jackson-coached team could really struggle.

    Historical Impact:

    11 Championships in almost 23 seasons. Hard to argue with that. Jackson is also the only current Hall of Fame coach in the league.

1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs

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    Coaching Record: 780-370 All-Time, 44-8 This Season

    Positives:

    Gregg Popovich is one of the most well-respected coaches in American sports. Not only has he been highly successful as the coach of the Spurs but he is extremely consistent.

    The only reason he gets the nod here over Phil Jackson is because of the success the Spurs have had this season. They have the best record in the NBA.

    Negatives:

    Popovich can be a little hard on some younger players, and he can also be somewhat inflexible.

    Historical Impact:

    Popovich owns four championship rings and he has a chance to lead the Spurs to a fifth this year.