Poll: Best NBA Head Coaching Hire So Far

Despite some speculation earlier this year that financial constraints imposed by the coronavirus pandemic would discourage NBA teams from making head coaching changes, that hasn’t been the case at all over the last few months. A total of nine clubs – nearly a third of the league – have parted ways with coaches so far, and four of those clubs have since hired replacements.

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Those four head coaching hires are as follows:

  • New York Knicks: Tom Thibodeau (replacing Mike Miller)
  • Brooklyn Nets: Steve Nash (replacing Jacque Vaughn)
  • Chicago Bulls: Billy Donovan (replacing Jim Boylen)
  • Philadelphia 76ers: Doc Rivers (replacing Brett Brown)

Thibodeau’s Bulls squads made the playoffs every year and the Timberwolves went into win-now mode when he arrived, so he didn’t necessarily seem like an obvious fit for the rebuilding Knicks. But his demanding coaching style could help get the most of New York’s young players as the team looks to return to the postseason, and he certainly won’t be intimidated by a large market.

As for the Nets, the expectation was that they’d bring in a veteran coach with a championship résumé to lead a team with title aspirations. Instead, their choice is a first-time head coach only a few years removed from retiring as a player. Nash has a preexisting relationship with Durant and his impressive accomplishments as a player should help earn him the respect of the Nets’ other veterans, but there may be a learning curve as the former two-time MVP adjusts to his first coaching job.

Donovan parted ways with the Thunder in large part because he wasn’t enthused by the idea of a rebuilding or retooling period, so it was a bit of a surprise to see him join a Bulls team coming off consecutive 22-win seasons. But it’s not as if he doesn’t have experience developing young players, having spent two decades coaching the Florida Gators. And if the Bulls take forward strides in the next year or two, Donovan’s playoff coaching experience should come in handy before long.

Finally, the Sixers hired Rivers on Thursday, pivoting to the former Clippers coach after having previously narrowed their field to Mike D’Antoni and Tyronn Lue. For a team trying to get over the hump in the playoffs, Rivers is an interesting choice — he wasn’t able to get over that hump in Los Angeles over the last seven years. And for Rivers, joining another team that features a superstar duo and some chemistry issues is a risk.

Still, despite some disappointing postseason losses, Rivers has consistently led his teams to winning records for more than a decade and he should command the respect of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

What do you think? Which of these four coaching hires do you like the best for these teams, given their respective situations, their goals, and the other options that were available to them?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

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11 thoughts on “Poll: Best NBA Head Coaching Hire So Far

  1. DeathbyDeathwest

    How is Steve Nash on this list? Kyrie and KD both said there’s no “head” coach.

    Good luck with Kyrie as part time pretend coach

    • stevep-4

      If I were Nash I would say, “go ahead, Coach! You do the job, I will play point guard”

  2. Chucktoad1

    Although I do have high hopes that his hire will turn out the best for Nash as I respect the man and the player I have to say so far Billy Donovan’s hire looks to be the most rational.

    • Chief Two Hands

      The hiring of Nash isn’t bad…the combination of Irving and Durant is awful, though.

  3. x%sure

    In conventional terms Thibs will likely make the most difference in W-L. But the situations are all different.
    Nash has to integrate difficult stars… Expectations for results are high but he has big things to mesh which should actually be his main grading point.
    Things could go awry for Donovan and Rivers.

    Agree with Luke’s theme… The picks are surprising.

  4. El Don

    The best one is hands down Nash!
    Donovan is meh!
    Thibs & Doc are plain awful!

  5. MarlinsFanBase

    Nash with Kyrie? That will be entertaining…not in a good way either.

    Donovan with the Bulls? Good possibilities if the Bulls improve the roster.

    Doc with the 76ers? They’ll make the playoffs and probably get a higher seed, but that’s it.

    Thibs to Knicks? When has anyone that has had past success worked out with the Knicks?

  6. Reflect

    The Knicks are a perpetual train wreck so the standings will never show it and he probably won’t even last, but I think Thibs is the perfect man for that org.

    Donovan is a good one too.

    Whoever the Clippers hire will undoubtedly be better than Doc Rivers. Even if it’s one of us lol

  7. davethemailman

    I don’t think any of them are “awful”. At first when Steve Nash was hired I was very surprised and skeptical. But also kind of curious, and the more I thought about it the more I thought maybe take a chance with him. I’m usually wrong about coaches, but let’s give him a chance. Next year will be interesting for sure!

  8. Bryzzo2016

    Donovan clearly could make the most impact and is the best hire. Nash would be an interesting 2nd choice but his “star” players are already pulling diva garbage. Rivers, Thibs….. meh.

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