NBA Power Rankings: Top 10 All-Stars That Could Become Great Head Coaches
Over the past three decades, the NBA has become a very player-friendly league in regards to former players becoming head coaches. Last season over 60 percent of NBA clubs were led by former players.
This upcoming season the same pace is set to hold true. More than half the league will be led into battle by former NBA or ABA players turned coaches.
It got me to wondering how many of these players turned coaches were actually peak performers in their era of play. The majority of them were decent pros for the most part, but I was shocked to learn that only four of them were All-Star players (Paul Westphal, Doug Collins, Jerry Sloan, and Doc Rivers).
This sparked my interest: Which All-Star players playing in today’s era could one day become good to great head coaches.
I could have selected some role players, but I felt that readers would be more entertained by seeing which Star player could possibly attain greatness as a coach. So allow me to present 10 All-Star players that could become productive NBA coaches should they so choose.
10. David Lee
David Lee isn’t a household name, yet. However the young man is an NBA All-Star and has a very strong basketball IQ.
He’d been schooled by a great college coach and a very good NBA coach. However he garners attention for the way he articulates himself during personal interviews. Lee just comes off as a pretty bright individual that has an understanding of the game that’s well beyond his years.
He lacks the public plug of most All-Star players. But by the time his career ends, he’ll have enough credibility established to back whatever aspirations he might have to coach.
It'll help if he can land an NBA title before his playing career ends.
9. Yao Ming
Yao Ming is an All-Star center that’s put up remarkable numbers when healthy.
What most people outside of China and the Houston Rocket community don’t realize is Yao is an extremely intellectual being. Just listening to him speak for a few minutes and it’s easy to see that the man is very knowledgeable, both in life and basketball.
The lessons he’s learned and his endearing demeanor would make him a perfect players coach. It’s hard to see Yao disrespecting and not commanding the respect of any of his players, not to mention there aren’t many people foolish enough to challenge a 7’6” giant.
The only thing that Yao is lacking is an NBA Championship.
8. Chris Paul
Chris Paul is very much still a NBA pup and has a lot to prove before he solidifies a Hall of Fame career. However, in his brief five-year career, Paul has displayed an ability to lead a mediocre ball club like no other point-man since Jason Kidd.
His basketball IQ is off the charts. That coupled with his fiery nature makes it clear why he’d be a perfect candidate to secure a head coaching job once he hangs up his sneakers.
He has at least 10 more seasons ahead of him as a player. But once he finished, he’ll be at the head of a lot of clubs list.
Hopefully he'll win a NBA Championship before his career ends.
7. Carlos Boozer
Most fans might look at Carlos Boozer and just see a bullish brute. But Jazz and Cleveland fans are well aware of his leadership capabilities, on and off the court.
Carlos went to Duke University, a school of academic excellence and excelled as a student athlete. He then had the privilege of being led by great coaches like Mike Krzyzewski, Paul Silas, and the legendary Jerry Sloan.
Boozer’s no quit attitude would no doubt be a characteristic that his players would quickly pick up on. That coupled with the teachings he’s learned from his coaches would no doubt be a benefit that many people can’t lay claim to.
I don’t see him capturing a title before he retires from playing, but anything’s possible with Boozer’s effort, intelligence, and talents.
6. Steve Nash
For the past six to seven years, Steve Nash has dominantly dissected NBA defenses. Very few NBA floor generals have been as commanding of a team’s offensive system as Nash.
To listen to the man talk about the game of basketball is to witness a mind that is 20 or 30 years ahead of it’s time. The man is just so adapt at understanding and then applying whatever he learns on the chalk board to the hardwood.
With Nash being so well-received on and off the court, it’s virtually a given that he could bring out the best in any player he could possibly coach. Seriously, just look at his track record with the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks. How many players have had career defining seasons beside him? The list reads for days.
Nash is as credible and respectable as any player to ever play in this league, and has two MVP awards to validate his value. The only thing he hasn’t attained is a NBA Championship.
5. Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan is arguably thee most accomplished front-line player of all-time. He has five distinctions of NBA MVP (1 All-Star, 2x NBA MVP, and 2x Finals MVP), and four NBA Championships to boast.
Yet still Tim Duncan is as humble and classy an individual one can meet. His cerebral approach to the game is as broad as any other in the history of pro sports. The man has been a dominant figure since the moment he entered the NBA.
His leadership is unmistakable, as he and his Spurs club are the biggest reason Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant’s Lakers clubs didn’t win six plus Championships.
His ability to counsel and motivate his teammates is one of the most under-appreciated accomplishments of the past two or three decades of NBA play. He would without a doubt have no problem doing the same with any player who would have the fortune of playing under his leadership.
4. Kevin Garnett
Over the years Kevin Garnett has slowly developed an edge about him that rubs most, if not all, his opponents the wrong way. But he's been undoubtedly successful in pushing his teammates to levels of effort and heart they may have not believed they could reach.
Garnett’s fierce and fiery nature rubbed off on his Minnesota teammates and helped in raising that organization to heights it had never known. He was also extremely vital in the revitalization of the Boston Celtics organization, as he helped lead the franchise to its’ 17th NBA Title in 2008.
Garnett has a knowledge and understanding of the overall history of the game that very few players of today can claim. His ability to relay those lessons in a more modern tone clearly is his greatest asset as a player. He leads with his mouth as well as his play.
Any player coached by him wouldn’t be able to do anything but listen because of Garnett's accolades.
3. Chauncey Billups
Chauncey Billups' road to NBA success and greatness has been a slow steady climb to the peak. Most think that he outdid himself by having a career year this past season: his 13th in the NBA. But Billups may have outdone that with his recent display to lead, as he guided the undermanned USA select team to gold in this past FIBA World Championship.
Billups has seemingly improved his play and competence for the game each year he has played. It is extremely rare for NBA players to increase their overall production once they reach the prime ages of 27 to 30, yet Billups continues to excel as an individual and leader of successful teams.
This is no doubt a testament to his growth from an intellectual standpoint. He no doubt benefited from his tutelage under Larry Brown, Flip Saunders, and George Karl.
The way he commands his teammates on both ends of the court is only exceeded by that of Jason Kidd. His move from player to coach will go seamlessly, and his Championship pedigree only plumps his résumé.
2. Kobe Bryant
Very few players have attained the wealth of experience that Kobe Bryant has over his legendary career. He posses a knowledge and understanding of the game that possibly no other shooting guard in the history of the game has achieved while still playing. His knowledge and intelligence out weighs that of 95 percent of the league to date.
His approachability is what makes many believe that he could easily convey his lessons learned. Then there’s the merits of his performances as a player…not many have had a more decorated career.
So regardless if he doesn’t always do what many believe he should? It shouldn’t be questioned whether he understands what needs to be done. The man is proven.
He commands the attention of his teammates and would without a doubt command the attention of his players. He is the winner of five NBA Championships and several distinctions of NBA MVP.
Who wouldn’t want to play for this all-time great?
1. Jason Kidd
It is extremely arguable that Jason Kidd is the greatest NBA floor general of all time. The levels of success that he has reached, while being continuously surrounded with mediocre talent for most of his career, is truly a remarkable feat.
A number of players owe their career successes to the man known as “J-Kidd.” Not blessed with being coached by some of the all-time greats, Kidd’s brilliance on the court is attributed to his God-given talents to perceive and understand situations at an accelerated rate, possibly like no other in his era.
He puts his teammates in a position to be successful, night in and night out. To watch him counsel and discipline teammates without leaving them feeling belittled is truly a site to behold.
Jason is what most would view as a coach’s player because you can give him a mission and he’ll fearlessly lead the troops head-on into whatever battle that awaits. And though he has had his issues with understanding whom is truly in charge, he’s always has the best interest in the players around him.
That kind of trait doesn’t go unnoticed. And the fact that he’s really the only player of his era to carry teams void of other top tier players to a NBA Finals on multiple occasions only adds to his already beefy portfolio.
He may not have the label of Champion to brag about, but an argument can be raised that he has everything else.
Jason Kidd simply has the greatest set of individual accolade, consistent levels of play, and on court leadership of his era. He is without question the greatest floor general or his era. That billing alone is enough to pursue him as a coach once his sneakers are finally hung up.