Evaluating the New NBA Coaching Class… So Far

Over the summer thirteen new NBA head coaches were hired. Some of these were just guys jumping ship. Others are first time head coaches, and have either disappointed or shocked the NBA world. From Doc Rivers to Steve Clifford we’ve got you covered.

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Brett Brown- Philadelphia 76ers
Previous Job: San Antonio Spurs (Assistant)
When he came in: The 76ers were the last team to hire a coach when Brown came in. As Bill Simmons said, “It’s the most brazen tanking attempt in NBA history.” Turns out it’s not. Brown has the Sixers shocking the world as they had a huge opening night win over LeBron and the defending champion Miami Heat. The Sixers since then have had big wins.
Job Security: His job is very well secured, regardless of how bad, or well the Sixers do.
Grade: B+

Brad Stevens- Boston Celtics
Previous Job: Butler University (Head Coach)
When he came in: The Celtics weren’t looking like the mess they have been this year. While I expected they’d be pretty bad because of the loss of Peirce and Garnett, you’d think they’d be a lower end mediocre club. Stevens lead the Dogs at Butler to two final fours. The Celtics got Jason Terry and Chris Humphries. They also cashed in with Kelly Olynck in the draft. Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green are going to be fun to watch.
Job Security: Like Brown, the Celtics have a project going on, so his job is very secure.
Grade: C+

Jason Kidd- Brooklyn Nets
Previous Job: Played as a guard in the NBA.
When he came in: Many fans expected the Nets to be a top competitor in the east. The Nets acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. However, the season hasn’t been going too well. Injuries have plagued the Brooklyn ballers, and Kidd hasn’t been able to keep his club together. He has entertained us though, with the beer incident.
Job Security: The Nets were quick on the trigger with Avery Johnson. We might see Lawrence Frank take over mid-season.
Grade: D

Steve Clifford- Charlotte Bobcats
Previous Job: Los Angeles Lakers (Assistant Coach)
When he came in: The Bobcats were the Bobcats. Michael Jordan’s franchise has been looking for a puzzle to put together. Kemba Walker has been the centerpiece of the Bobcats, and will continue to do so. But Charlotte is at .500 so that’s a good sign.
Job Security: If they don’t make the playoffs in two years the Bobcats will have a new coach.
Grade: C

Mike Budenholzer- Atlanta Hawks
Previous Job: San Antonio Spurs (Assistant Coach)
When he came in: The Hawks were just getting ready to prepare for a major change. Josh Smith left for Detroit. The Hawks are relying on Jeff Teague this year. The Hawks are 9-8 so far but that could change.
Job Security: Even if they don’t make the playoffs the Hawks have faith. He’s secure.
Grade: C+

Mike Brown- Cleveland Cavaliers
Previous Job: Los Angeles Lakers (Head Coach)
When he came in: Cavs fans were probably rejoicing. Brown is the winningest coach in franchise history. The Cavs shocked the world by drafting Anthony Bennett. Bennett hasn’t done too well so far. Andrew Bynum brought over plenty of absentee notes from Philadelphia which are piling up.
Job Security: The Cavs are going to give Brown some more time because he knows the organization.
Grade: C-

Mo Cheeks-Detroit Pistons
Previous Job: Oklahoma City Thunder (Assistant)
When he came in: Detroit’s future was looking brighter. The signing of Josh Smith gave the Pistons something to build around. The Pistons also have Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Both of them have great size that will contribute to the Pistons as a whole.
Job Security: Though Philadelphia didn’t give him too much time, the Pistons will, but it won’t be the best decision.
Grade: C

Larry Drew- Milwaukee Bucks
Previous Job: Atlanta Hawks (Head Coach)
When he came in: The Bucks did make the playoffs but were swept by Miami. Milwaukee is currently sitting at the bottom of the east at 3-13.
Job Security: He’s a tough one to judge. I’ll give him a year.
Grade: D

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Brian Shaw- Denver Nuggets
Previous Job- Indiana Pacers (Assistant)
When he came in: Coaching nerds around basketball were finally happy to see Shaw get a head coaching job. Denver lost Andre Iguodala, but still have a great guard in Ty Lawson, and big man in Kenneth Faried. Shaw’s Nuggets could be an interesting team to watch down the stretch.
Job Security: Shaw’s finally a head coach. Denver will have to give him some time to figure it out. He’s pretty secure.
Grade: B-

Dave Joerger- Memphis Grizzlies
Previous Job- Memphis Grizzlies (Assistant)
When he came in: The Grizzlies came off of their best postseason run, reaching the conference finals. The Grizzlies primarily looked the same in the offseason, centered on Marc Gasol. The question Grizzlies fans still wonder is why wasn’t, Lionel Hollins’ contract renewed.
Job Security: He learned under Hollins and the Grizzlies will get better as the season continues. His position is very secure.
Grade: C+

Jeff Hornacek- Phoenix Suns
Previous Job- Utah Jazz (Assistant)
When he came in: Suns fans remembered him as the all-star guard that brought life to Phoenix along with Charles Barkley. The Suns will have to rely on Eric Bledsoe who’s at 19.6 points per game, and the defense of Goran Dragic. The Suns aren’t doing too badly though. They are currently 9-8.
Job Security: Phoenix usually gives their coach a season or two in order to adjust. His job is secure.
Grade: B

Mike Malone-Sacramento Kings
Previous Job- Golden State Warriors (Assistant)
When he came in: The Kings were already dismantled enough as it is. Malone brings in an excellent defensive mind which is what Sacramento needs, in order to fully develop John Salmons and DeMarcus Cousins. The loss of Tyreke Evans was filled by Ben McLemore. The Kings will have to be smart in the draft though in order to become a full time contender in the west.
Job Security: The Kings gave Keith Smart enough time. Malone might get a little more though.
Grade: C-

Doc Rivers- Los Angeles Clippers
Previous Job- Boston Celtics (Head Coach)
When he came in: The Clippers were coming off of a first round playoff upset, just like the Celtics. Rivers is a great coach for a team like the Clippers. His excellent defensive skills as a player could help improve the defense of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan.
Job Security: He’s got the best squad on the list and they could become top contenders.
Grade: A

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