NBA Power Rankings: Tom Thibodeau and the Season's Best 10 Head-Coaching Changes
Head-coaching changes in the NBA are somewhat normal. Every season there are underachieving teams that desperately need a change in the locker room.
Sometimes the team's stars are traded, sometimes the front office is sent packing and sometimes the coach gets the boot.
Last season the NBA got trigger happy when it came to firing head coaches; there are 11 new head coaches this season.
Some of these coaches have had instant success, some have struggled to find any kind of consistency and some have flat-out been dysfunctional.
Here are the top 10 head-coaching changes of the 2010-2011 NBA season.
Dishonorable Mention: Tyrone Corbin, Utah Jazz
No disrespect to the Utah Jazz's acting head coach Tyrone Corbin. This is not his fault and the team was struggling in the weeks that led to the firing of head coach Jerry Sloan.
This is a dishonorable mention because there is nothing honorable about losing your first five games as head coach, three of them to Phoenix and Golden State.
The Jazz are in a terrible position right now and they just might drop out of the playoff picture soon.
The same talent that started the season is there and, like it or not, Coach Corbin will have to figure something out to save the season.
Chances are he won’t.
10. Byron Scott, Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers were expected to be bad. Losing LeBron James can do that to you. It even made Mo Williams cry.
But setting a new record for consecutive losses? That’s inexcusable. Their record is awful, but it is not like New Jersey was any better last year.
Also, they can still battle Minnesota for the 29th-best team in the league.
Going into the All-Star break, they managed to beat a slumping Los Angeles Lakers team. At least there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
9. Larry Drew, Atlanta Hawks
Same team, different coach. There really is not much to be said here.
The team is virtually the same as last year and it is once again on pace to snatch a top-five playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
Their lack of progress, though, makes one wonder if the coach has anything to do with how this team performs.
So far this season, Larry Drew does not seem to be making any difference.
8. Avery Johnson, New Jersey Nets
So the season has not quiet panned out the way the organization was planning. Many distractions have caused trouble within the team and the front office.
At least the Carmelo Anthony drama is over, although the Nets are probably now even sadder about that than they were before.
The rest of the season will continue to be a nightmare for the Nets.
Avery Johnson will keep trying to make something work, but the likelihood of something working is very slim.
In Avery’s defense, it's hard to develop any kind of chemistry when you have no idea who will be part of the organization when you wake up every morning.
7. Vinny Del Negro, Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers became one of the most exciting teams in the league this year thanks to Blake Griffin and the breakout season Eric Gordon is having.
Sadly, their record does not speak as much volume as Griffin’s dunks.
After a dismal start to the season, the Clippers finally got their act together and, for the most part, started playing above .500 basketball.
Sometime in December, there were even playoff talks around the organization.
Although they are still one of the worst NBA teams record-wise, it is safe to say Del Negro has this squad going in the right direction.
6. Keith Smart, Golden State Warriors
For the most part, the Warriors' season has been up and down.
For a stretch of games, they looked vastly improved on defense and showcased one of the best offenses in the league.
Then they lost five straight games by giving up 110-plus points and failing to crack 90 themselves.
As for the spot on this list, their current success on both ends of the court played a big role.
Has Keith Smart finally developed consistency with his players? That is yet to be determined, but if that is the case, the Warriors might become a very scary seventh or eighth seed come playoff time.
5. Paul Silas, Charlotte Bobcats
For the first half of the season, the Bobcats looked like a lifeless team lacking any sort of spirit.
It was painful to watch the team step on the court as they struggled tremendously on offense and seemed completely out of sync on every play.
Then Coach Silas took over.
This coaching change really did turn the season around. In just a few weeks, the Bobcats were back in the playoff picture and getting better with every game.
It will be nice to see how this group finishes the season, but chances are the team will be involved in a major trade soon.
That will just be one more challenge for Coach Silas, one which could be successful.
4. Doug Collins, Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers had a rough start to the season. Their road-heavy schedule did not help the cause as the team started to lose confidence.
Andre Iguodala was in and out of the rotation dealing with injuries, something that clearly affected point guard Jrue Holiday.
Then, all of a sudden, the team turned it around.
In the last two months, Doug Collins has shown everything that was expected from him coming into the season and more.
At this pace, the club will finish with an above-.500 record and challenge Eastern Conference teams for the fifth or sixth playoff spots.
Oh, and about their schedule: They play over 70 percent of their games at home down the stretch.
3. Monty Williams, New Orleans Hornets
If it weren’t for Chris Paul, Coach Williams would probably be a few spots lower on this list.
When your All-Star point guard refers to his coach as the catalyst of the team’s success, it gives the coach more than just a few points.
Regardless of what Chris Paul thinks about his coach, Monty Williams has done a great job with his team.
As of today, they are exceeding every expectation anybody had about them in the offseason.
The only thing missing from Williams' formula is a few drops of consistency to have New Orleans making a lot of noise in the playoffs.
2. Frank Vogel, Indiana Pacers
How obvious was it that one of the biggest problems the Pacers had was their coach?
Just a few weeks after the coaching change, the Pacers had their largest winning streak of the season and grabbed the lead for the seventh playoff spot in the East.
This was possible thanks to a more consistent lineup night in and night out and the increase in minutes of youngsters Paul George and A.J. Price.
In their last few games, the Pacers did come back down to Earth a little, dropping intense games against Miami (no blame there) and a heartbreaking overtime loss against Detroit.
Overall, the team's sudden success has to be attributed to the coach.
1. Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls
This is a no-brainer.
Although most of the credit for Chicago’s success has gone to the MVP-candidate Derrick Rose, the team’s success has been as much of a result of Thibodeau’s coaching as Rose’s play.
The team is playing the best basketball since Michael Jordan left town.
For the first time in more than a decade, the team is challenging the Eastern Conference for the top seed in the playoffs and constantly besting the best teams in the league.
What is most important about Chicago’s success is that the Bulls have done it with a depleted roster all season.
Both Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer missed significant time but the team did not lose a step.
Tom Thibodeau is not only the best coaching change of this season, but he is also one of the top candidates for Coach of the Year.
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