NBA Power Rankings: Grading Tom Thibodeau and All the Rookie Head Coaches
Tom Thibodeau, who has led the Chicago Bulls to one of the top records in the NBA, heads the class of 2010-2011 rookie head coaches.
It can oftentimes be difficult to distinguish between effective head coaching, as opposed to a team simply overachieving, but there are a select group of head coaches that have clearly made an impact in their first season.
While there is not a particularly large group of rookie head coaches this season, the class of 2010-2011 rookie head coaches features a wide range of expectations and success.
We have given each rookie head coach a grade on an A to F scale.
Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls
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In his first season as an NBA head coach, Tom Thibodeau has done a remarkable job of turning the Bulls from an average team that won 41 games in 2010 to the team with the best record in the entire Eastern Conference.
The story of the Bulls' season has been the emergence of Derrick Rose into a star, to go along with great team chemistry.
Chicago currently has the second best scoring defense in the NBA, and they have not backed down from the other elite teams in the league, including a 3-0 record against the Miami Heat.
Tyrone Corbin, Utah Jazz
Corbin was put in the difficult position of replacing long-tenured Utah head coach Jerry Sloan mid-season. Making matters worse, Utah traded their star point guard Deron Williams just weeks after Corbin was named head coach.
The Jazz, now in the early stages of rebuilding, have shown a lack of motivation and passion since the resignation of Sloan, and they have quickly seen their playoff chances slip away.
Utah is just 4-10 with Corbin after beginning the season 31-23.
Larry Drew, Atlanta Hawks
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After winning 53 games in 2010, then signing shooting guard Joe Johnson to a maximum contract, Atlanta had very high expectations heading into this season.
However, the Hawks seem to have overpaid Johnson, who is not having a brilliant season by any means. As a result, Atlanta has been unable to sign enough solid pieces to fit around Josh Smith, Al Horford, and Johnson.
The Hawks will likely enter the playoffs as the No. 5 seed, hoping to avoid losing in the first round to what will likely be the Orlando Magic.
Keith Smart, Golden State Warriors
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Unofficially a rookie head coach, as Smart actually took over for John Lucas as the head coach of Cleveland during the middle 2002-2003 season, Smart has already led the Warriors to more wins than they had all of last season.
Smart inherited a predominantly offensive team and has made strides to emphasize defense at least a little bit.
The Warriors have improved their scoring defense from a historically bad 112.4 points per game allowed last season to 105.8 points this season.
One of the most exciting teams in the NBA, Golden State appears to be headed in the right direction under coach Smart after back-to-back disappointing seasons.
Frank Vogel, Indiana Pacers
Vogel, just 37 years old, started off his coaching career on a high note, winning five of his first six games after taking over as the interim head coach of Indiana, following the firing of coach Jim O'Brien.
However, Indiana has gone just 7-10 since, including bad losses to the Detroit Pistons, Utah, Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves twice.
In order for Vogel to have a realistic chance of coaching the Pacers next season, he will have to finish the last 15 games of the season on a high note.
Monty Williams, New Orleans Hornets
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In his first season as an NBA head coach, Monty Williams and the Hornets got off to a great start, jumping out to an 11-1 start.
Since then, they New Orleans Hornets have been basically a .500 team.
Point guard Chris Paul appears to have lost a step after suffering a left knee injury last season, but he is still the anchor of the Hornets offensive.
Under coach Williams, New Orleans currently has the best scoring defense in the Western Conference and has certainly made the most out of a mediocre roster.